Tuesday, April 27, 2010

David Cameron's profound empathy


Fraser Nelson refers to this campaigning episode as a demonstration of David Cameron's 'amiability'.

But it more than that; much more. Look at the body language: spontaneous, empathetic, compassionate and authentic. Could you see Gordon Brown instinctively crouching in order that a wheelchair-bound child might be able to observe such a conversation?

Fraser Nelson's article:

David Cameron has just taken his first real “kicking” of the campaign from a parent of a disabled child. Handled it brilliantly, I think. The parent is angry, understandably, about the problems he has finding a normal school for his wheelchair-bound son. The Tories are suspicious of the “inclusion” agenda – often a code for denying special-needs children the extra tuition that they deserve. But, as the father of a severely disabled son, Cameron knows more about this subject than almost anyone else in Westminster.

“It should be your choice, sir” he said: and he’s right. The voucher system would make a disabled child worth north of £22,000 a year to teach – four times more than an able-bodied pupil. You can bet that the new breed of Swedish-style 'free' schools (if they are allowed to make a profit) will be doing all they can to attract the business of people like the father Cameron spoke to. He should be in a position, under the Tory proposal, where special needs schools and “normal” schools are fighting for the right to educate his son.

Cameron tried his best to get this across: people will differ on this, but I didn’t see him looking defensive. I saw him empathise. “Nice to meet you,” he said to the wheelchair-bound pupil at the end. Cameron knows how irritating it is to see adults ignore a disabled child, as if they are not a person just because they can’t communicate as well. Cameron kneeled down, to make sure the child could see the discussion he was having with his adult: a position that he will be all too familiar with.

Cameron is very good at dealing with real people, and I think that came across. I wish him several more such encounters in the remaining nine days of the campaign.

30 Comments:

Blogger John R said...

If you have no other reason this single episode should show you why you should vote Conservative next week.

27 April 2010 at 14:09  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ John R (14:09)—Harsh though it may sound, the plight of a disabled child weighs less with me than the plight of a nation disabled by membership of the European Union. As Cameron and his party refuse to administer the cure for our disability, they forfeit my vote.

27 April 2010 at 14:50  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Your Grace is becoming very temporal and much less spiritual. Is this Your Messiah ?

27 April 2010 at 15:34  
Blogger Gnostic said...

On a one to one basis I'm sure Cameron is a nice bloke. However, since he is the prospective PM of the UK where is Cameron's profound empathy with the rest of the electorate?

27 April 2010 at 15:50  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Voyager,

Politics is temporal.

Mrs Gnostic,

You can't please all of the people all of the time.

27 April 2010 at 15:54  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Your Grace, he doesn't seem to please anyone much.

27 April 2010 at 16:03  
Anonymous John Bradford said...

Is Your Grace aware that the man berating David Cameron is one Jonathon Bartley, of Ekklesia? I'm under the impression you're not his biggest fan...

27 April 2010 at 16:34  
Blogger John R said...

@Johnny R

If you can't empathise with the one, then you'll never empathise with the many. Character is revealed by the way you deal with those around you.

Which of our other senior politicians/candidates would have instinctively reacted this way?

27 April 2010 at 16:35  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Bradford,

His Grace was not aware, though he must correct you that he has nothing against Jonathan Bartley personally, whom he has never met. To learn that it is the Labour-supporting director of Ekklesia who is berating Mr Cameron simply fills His Grace with more admiration: most politicians simply walk away from their opponents and detractors: David Cameron engages because he cares.

27 April 2010 at 16:49  
Anonymous GTGTWG said...

Hmmm...let's find him a few babies to hug on his travels YG! Oldest trick in the book.

27 April 2010 at 16:55  
Anonymous not a machine said...

save Philip Lardener !

Whilst his choice of words was a little forthright and perhaps not modern , if a candidate has a view on a aspect of law that he/she feels isnt working , I would have thought they have right to say so if the voters are also echoing the laws failings . The case that no one can speak against flawed laws within a party enchroaches a little into freedom of speech .

In reading the words it is a fine line wether he was homophobic or just articulating a new law in a clear way . An appology or clarification , but dismissal is bit quick .

Re post : yes David Cameron does empathise , but it perhaps was the wrong incident for a man with a busy schedule , as at best the man was intent on an argument , when not all intigration issues of disability can be addressed as easily as a kerbside chat . It was an exchange of views and surprising lacking in gentility from the parent who didnt seem to think David Cameron might understand more than he thought.

27 April 2010 at 17:20  
Anonymous Oswin said...

I once read the case-notes of a 'controlled' psychopath...he felt nothing, for no one; indeed, his natural inclination was to do harm to others; but he did not do so. His intellect (for want of a better term)told him that his 'inclination' was against the good of society, and that 'society', when thoughtful and well-ordered, was a good thing.

I am not particularly impressed by empathy and compassion alone. I am more concerned with what a person does, and the difference that they make. I am not as sanguine as Your Grace.

27 April 2010 at 17:49  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ John R (16:35)—Which of our other senior politicians/candidates would have instinctively reacted this way?

I imagine Clegg would have seized the opportunity to empathize. He would, though, have revealed more than his caring nature if he had squatted down in these shorts.

27 April 2010 at 17:49  
Anonymous Adrian Peirson said...

I'm suprised at you falling for this bit of staged publicity.

Mass public manipulation, he'll be walking around with a kitten next.

Tell me how exactly is he going to improve our education system when they are pumping our children full of Mercury.

1 in 166 children now have Autism

The chemical dumbing down of society

Didn't Huxley predict this.

27 April 2010 at 18:45  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

MrAP said:-
I'm suprised at you falling for this bit of staged publicity...Mass public manipulation, he'll be walking around with a kitten next...

You mean walking on water surely! - Don't you know that they love that sort of gig round here.

27 April 2010 at 19:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Adrian Peirson. Taking into account the blog that the guy edits I would suggest that he's one of the last people who would willingly stage a positive photo-op with any Tory.

27 April 2010 at 19:45  
Anonymous graham Wood said...

"Look at the body language: spontaneous, empathetic, compassionate and authentic."

YG. There is nothing new in such a photo-op. In fact they are two a penny just before elections.

I wonder if he said the the father:

"Yes, your son deserves the fullest and best treatment that the NHS and other agencies can offer. But its a pity that we do not have the cash for that, since we are so busy paying the European Union 45 million each day, part of which could have contributed to such services. Not to mention the £1.2 million we pay out for each MEP in the pretend parliament .... " and similar in the same vein.
Actions would, as always, far speak louder than words and contrived "empathy" from this brand of politician.

27 April 2010 at 19:48  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Well, fancy Jonathon Bartley, of Ekklesia using his own flesh and blood as a sacrifice to further his cause of self-publicity.

Desperate times? Desperate measures.

Of course, his wife upon divorce will be able to claim upon the ground of: utilitarianism (we were used).

27 April 2010 at 20:26  
Blogger D. Singh said...

In the theatre they say never work with children and animals.

In the mafia: never involve your family.

In politics, never, ever, involve those whom you love.

27 April 2010 at 20:35  
Anonymous John Knox said...

Dear Cranmer,

I understand that you long for an end to the Labour government. Every intelligent Christian person should.

However, the recent saga with the candidate in North Ayrshire and Arran shows that Cameron is not good with people that have decent old fashioned views. It takes him only minutes to decide that they should be removed once they open their mouth. Even stronger, that he would kick Margaret Thatcher out of the party if he could. In effect this is what he did, as her views on homosexuality and laws that she introduced have now become a capital offense under Cameron. Views that used to be common good in conservative circles have now been ousted.

We find the same intolerance with Cameron as with new labour where it concerns removing old fashioned Christian views from public life.
Mr Lardner's view were only moderately conservative. The old stance of the Party used to be that the practice of homosexuality be regarded an offense under criminal law.

No debate is allowed, we just kick those out who dare disagree to earn our brownie point with departments and Europe. Remove the old conservatives from public life. While a large percentage of Englishmen shares these views. Whether it be homosexuality or Europe. New Torry tells the population what to do and when to keep their mouth shut.

Is this liberalism? Of course not. Is this conservative policy? Quite the contrary. The conservative pary is being hyjacked.

Mentioning Rhodesia's Ian Smith, God rest his soul, in a positive light seems politically incorrect as well. Of course, we don't want to know it used to be a safe and prosperous country for black and white, the breadbasket of southern africa with a Rhodesian dollar that was en parre with the Pound before Labour. Lets don't mention the sorry and appalling state of most of Africa now, lets do oust someone who dares to mention that Ian Smith might not have been all wrong.

John Knox is disgusted with the Scottish Conservative Party and Mr Cameron. They have betrayed their inheritance and the Iron Lady. When will Britain wake up to this?

28 April 2010 at 04:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Knox is disgusted - so am I. Having read the Lardner story, I don't feel (as a lifelong Tory voter) that I can ever vote for them again. Traitors!

How can they treat their natural supporters with such contempt?

Flossie

28 April 2010 at 06:24  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Well then. Just another nice media set-up for misleading us and distracting us from the elephants?

I see many CHers attribute the ploy to Lib Dems, and that they're congratulating Cameron on his response.

Whether or not Fraser Nelson ever before met the Ekklesia guy, I note the reference to "the new breed of Swedish-style 'free' schools." So.. more foreign ideas feeding a divisive issue? The further to divide the already divided?

28 April 2010 at 08:21  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

Would Adrian Peirson explain precisely how a David Cameron's campaign team managed to "stage" a confrontation with a highly driven opponent? If anything, the staging came form the other direction.

28 April 2010 at 08:58  
Anonymous Voyager said...

but it perhaps was the wrong incident for a man with a busy schedule

According to BBC News (make of that what you will) the Conservatives invited Bartley to meet Cameron. After all they must know each other as Bartley left LSE in 1994 and promptly worked for John Major on his campaign against John Redwood

28 April 2010 at 09:13  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

In front of a shed load of cameras he gets on his kness and talks all soppy. click.click.click

Anyone got a puke bag?

28 April 2010 at 09:29  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Sorry Cranmer, but the only person to get a kicking here is you. Your blatant electioneering significantly diminishes the value of your blog. You've just taken one step too far towards become part of the Conservative election media strategy.

Last week you posted several anti-Clegg stories because that's what was required, and this week it's pro-Cameron stories because that's what's required now.

This latest piece is almost a complete non-story - all you've established (even assuming that it wasn't staged) is that Cameron can empathise with someone in the same position as himself - hardly a surprise and thus not worth a drop of cyber ink on your blog.

Take a look at the comments above; never before have you manage to instil such a sense of agreement amongst those normally so opposed.

I think you have done us and yourself a disservice today. I look forward to a return to our usual diet of intellectually stimulating and worthwhile articles.

28 April 2010 at 10:05  
Anonymous graham Wood said...

Mr Burgess. Very good comment from you - I fully agree. Cranmer has been deceived by a superficial image (DC's "empathy") as opposed to the in depth coverage of the real issues and the ideology that lies behind them. For that we need to thank the fearless Gerald Warner. Read this excoriating piece from hi:
supranational nightmare

CHOICE is a luxury that is no longer on offer to British voters. The identical programmes of the three main political parties have effectively created a one-party state. It is the great irony of this general election that the expansion of the traditional two-horse race into a three-horse contest has brought not the slightest philosophical broadening of the electoral landscape.

It would be more accurate to say that Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats share a homogenous culture. It is possible to detect slight differences in their respective agendas – the Liberal Democrats’ dissent from the Iraq War would be one instance but these are purely tactical variations in the implementation of a common political culture that Gordon Brown once described as “the Progressive Consensus”. When the advent of David Cameron as Conservative leader absorbed even the Tory Party into that consensus, multi-party democracy became history.

This did not simply happen: it was engineered. Nor is it a British phenomenon; if anything, Britain is a latecomer to a post-democratic political system that is propagated by the European Union as well as, at global level, by the United Nations. It is a necessary precursor to world government, the ultimate objective of the Progressive Consensus. Before attempting to understand what is happening at national level, we need to recognise the bigger picture, the context in which our own helotry is being engineered.

That picture is darkly dystopian. The EU project is a distorted attempt to recreate the unity of Christendom, but in the interests of the most fanatically anti-Christian agenda of which one could conceive: that of the Frankfurt School of Marxism. Economic Marxism is now the province of historians; cultural Marxism is carrying all before it. The fall of the Berlin Wall marked only the collapse of a failed model of state socialism. The rise of the European Union signals the resurgence of cultural Marxism, untrammelled by the need for Five Year Plans and regarding plutocracy as perfectly congenial.

Let the capitalists create wealth, is the new philosophy, so long as the state, through punitive taxation, is the largest beneficiary and dictates the mores of corporations, communities and individuals. The characteristics of cultural Marxism are materialism, statism, militant atheism, sexual nihilism, cultural shallowness and the sedulously fostered illusion of popular autonomy within what is actually a totalitarian system.

Its enemies are religion, the family, authentic as distinct from synthetic communities, tradition, national identity and homogenous culture. In recent decades the forces of cultural Marxism, spearheaded by the EU, have launched a ferocious attack upon all those unsympathetic institutions, increasingly employing legal coercion.

When the baffled voter looks at the three mainstream political parties and wonders why he cannot identify with any of them, his choice has been removed by supranational forces. He is alarmed by immigration and, so widespread is that concern, the snake-oil salesmen have adopted a cosmetic pretence of responding. Dave is babbling about an unspecified “cap”, Gordon pretends immigration is diminishing and Clegg wants to amnesty illegals.

None of that comes near meeting public concern.

28 April 2010 at 10:23  
Anonymous circus monkey said...

He did handle it well and let the mean spirited who would put a negative slant on it stew in their own vinegar!

28 April 2010 at 11:31  
Blogger Preacher said...

graham wood.
Excellent post, in a nutshell, it's spelt: NWO.

28 April 2010 at 11:34  
Blogger Dave said...

And no one thinks that Bartley shamelessly expoited his son in order to try and score a few points off Callmedave?

28 April 2010 at 18:13  

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