Rebel Wednesday: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Dave?

Only fairly mild kerfuffle greeted the revelations over the weekend of David Cameron’s links to the secretive and relatively-unknown, but avowedly leftist freemasonry network Common Purpose that’s steadily come to permeate the upper echelons of Britain’s public life.

The degree to which it’s inflitrated a consensus around its left-liberal elitist, statist, pro-EU, pro-Green ideology into the higher reaches of the police, education, local government, civil service and the ghastly-in-name Third Sector of quango/”charity” land, all under the seemingly innocuous guise of leadership training, was overshadowed by fuss about Cameron’s failure to disclose, despite two opportunities, his links to it.

Which is a pity. Because far more worrying is quite why those two opportunities might have been missed (“…administrative oversight”? Yeah, right), and also, what a re-evaluation of parts of Cameron’s ministry against the knowledge of links to Common Purpose might reveal. Because setting some of Cameron’s actions, or inactions against a Common Purpose backdrop could mean that so much else, apparently incongruous in a supposed Conservative, suddenly slots into place.

There’s been very little done about curbing the huge parallel state of Left-sympathetic quangos, fake charities & semi-autonomous state agencies left behind by Labour, and in which CP reigns supreme. No move has been made to reverse the decision taken under Gordon Brown to remove the prior restriction of charities’ political campaigning – with the entirely predictable result.

There’s been no move to undo Brown’s 1997 raid on private pensions which was disastrous for private pension provision. That damage has been compounded by the attrition against savers and pensioners caused by artifically depressed interest rates under QE and the consequential inflation, penalising thrift and self reliance. Result: more people likely to be state-dependent in retirement.

There’s been scant attempt to ameliorate the attachment to deficit financing and increasing public debt, or to curb the excessive size of the state as a proportion of GDP. Fiscal drag is bringing more and more people into higher-rate tax bands, even at far from high-level incomes, disincentivising ambition & aspiration, and presaging a greater role for a benevolent, paternalistic state.

The notion of ever reviving grammar schools, arguably the most effective engine of social mobility ever devised, has been dismissed. Even the restoration of the Assisted Places Scheme, which enabled bright kids from modest backgrounds to go to good schools until abolished by Blair, hasn’t even been mooted.

There’s been an eagerness to avoid giving any “offence” even to the more militant strains of totalitarian political Islam challenging our most basic precepts of liberty, free speech and tolerance. From a Prime Minister who declared, within hours of Drummer Lee Rigby’s murder by Islamists who cited – at the scene – the specific verses of the Qu’ran that to them justified their actions, that “this was nothing to do with Islam”.

There’s been the readiness to accommodate the first state licensing of a free press in 300 years, to the extent of entrusting midnight negotiations with state-control-eager leftist politicians and the leftist pressure-group Hacked Off, without any representatives of the press allowed to be present, to the hapless Oliver Letwin.

There’s been obstructionism, obfuscation and subterfuge about an EU Referendum, for which even a vague commitment, forced by UKIP’s surging popularity, had to be extracted in a manner more akin to pulling teeth than to any commitment to democratic pluralism.

There’s been a barely concealed contempt for the traditional conservatism, both economic and social, of the Party’s grassroots and activists, and for their presumed incompatibility with more enlightened metropolitan attitudes. The “swivel-eyed loons” comment was, almost certainly, the true feelings of the Cameroon inner circle coming out into the open.

There’ve been the only half-hearted attempts to get to grips with mass, uncontrolled immigration, despite mounting evidence of strain on public services and deleterious effects on the indigenous working-class.

Thee’s been a willingness to abandon civil liberties on sometimes spurious security grounds, to the extent of floating plans to snoop on emails, re-adopt the European Arrest Warrant and European Investigation Order, and accommodate the US NSA monitoring internet use. There’s been a willingess to stand by as opinion containing not incitement, but merely views uncongenial to their recipients, is criminalised with the epithet “hate”.

And there’s been the ongoing eagerness to accept all things Green, in particular a probably unprecedented transfer of income from middle-income and poor to rent-seeking corporatist elites by Green subsidies recouped from domestic and commercial energy bills, the effects of which are starting to become apparent.

Tell me that any of these conflict with the Common Purpose agenda.

But don’t take it from me. For a second opinion about what, politico-ideologically, makes David Cameron tick, read the chapter titled “Cameron’s Party?” in Robin Harris’ superb “The Conservatives: A History”. Harris, also the distinguished author of a very fine biography of Margaret Thatcher, was Cameron’s first boss in the CCHQ Policy/Research Department.

Even at that time, there was an internal debate about what political direction the Party should be taking: the more robustly-Thatcherite one, or the softer, what’s come to be known as the metropolitan-liberal “moderniser” one. Harris hints strongly that he quickly identified the specific political direction that most appealed to Cameron – upwards. And there are some very instructive insights indeed.

Post the 2005 election:

“…the leader did not devote much time to economics. Nor did….Osborne, who busied himself with Party strategy & finance”.

The assumption was that the economy was safe,.. so was largely irrelevant as an issue.”

This, remember, was with Gordon Brown ensconced in the Treasury, ramping up public spending and debt as he had been since fiscal 2002.

More than happy [with Cameron] were sections of the media usually hostile to Tories. To the Guardian, the Independent and above all, the BBC, Cameron’s message seemed uniquely sympathetic, and their coverage showed it.

Harris then goes on to comment on the disappointing 2010 election campaign and the unseemly rush into Coalition:

62% of Conservative Party members deemed it ‘poor’

Cameron rejected the option of a minority Government and swiftly set out to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. He showed enthusiasm rather than reluctance.  Members remarked how much more at ease he was with the new Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, than with some of his own colleagues. Cameron portrayed the Coalition as an ideal, not a necessity, and a welcome change to single-party government.

The suspicion has duly grown ….. that the leadership wishes to make coalition with the Liberal Democrats a permanent feature.

Now try a thought experiment. Instead of looking at all this and saying “could this really support the crazy notion of Cameron as a Common Purpose adherent or sympathizer?”, turn the question round, and look at it from the reverse angle. Assume the Common Purpose sympathies as a given – then ask yourself how much is actually at variance with, or inimical to, a Common Purpose agenda, rather than in line with it? My instinct is to say: with the exception of free schools and the efforts at welfare reform, perhaps not all that much.

Now consider the state of the Party. It’s haemorraging support, to the extent that the current membership figure virtually had to be dragged out of Shapps, mainly to quell speculation about how disastrously it had dropped. And it’s admitted losing the ground organisation, too, the constituency-level footsoldiers that are crucial when General Election time comes. We saw it – or rather the lack of it – in Eastleigh earlier this year.

YouGov’s (and prominent Labourite) Peter Kellner is on record as saying that a centrist Conservative Party must be kept in being, and even allowed occasional periods in office provided it does nothing substantial to reverse the prior leftwards march, not only in order to maintain the illusion of democratic choice, but to prevent the emergence of a robustly centre-right alternative offering real ideological choice and threatening to roll back the liberal-left orthodoxy.

You might ask yourself how well the prospect of a second coalition with the LibDems after 2015, which, so rumour has it, is being strongly factored in to No 10 planning with the receding propsect of an outright victory, if not campaigned for outright, chimes with that. Rather well, I would have thought.

It might of course all be just unfortunate coincidence, with other explanations. But if it is, its effects seem to be pretty much in line with the widely-accepted Common Purpose agenda. Contemplate Cameron, not from the angle of frustration or confusion over why a supposedly Conservative leader seems to be so assiduously doing un-Conservative things, and it seems to make no sense. But regard him as a Conservative Party in-house Common Purpose mole, pace Le Carré’s The Circus in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and it suddenly makes a whole lot more sense.

So might there just be the possibility that the Tories elected as their leader a covert adherent to left-liberal communitarianism? And if so, then just like Bill Haydon, he’s pulled their Circus inside out.

 

Michael is a freelance writer and commentator, from the small-state, low-tax, free-market libertarian perspective. He opposes all strands of Leftism, whether economic, cultural, Green, Islamist, or Eurofederalist. He tweets as @A_Liberty_Rebel

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  • right_writes

    Yes I agree with this…

    I also think that Huhne and Clegg were dispatched from the EU inner sanctum to provide “leadership” over the EU question.

    Huhne was a little too enthusiastic, and got caught…

    But Cleggie is right in there… The problem is that Cameron is more pro-EU than Clegg, so he is (ultimately) rather superfluous.

  • Simon Roberts

    I’m glad that someone other than Brian Gerrish is talking about this.

    This move to “modernise” the Tories never came from the grass roots, it was the product of muddled thinking in the 1990′s about being the “nasty party” and a misunderstanding of demographics.

    As I’m sure we are all getting tired of pointing out, Cameron has not undone any of the Blair/Brown agenda and has accelerated it in areas like destroying the military.

    That’s very different from modernising – it is a complete betrayal of conservative principles. There’s obviously more going on than just reform.

    Sadly, most Tories just think tribally and still think that Milliband would be worse than Cameron. Bloody fools.

    • dr

      This is the problem that I have with the current “unite the right” campaign. Their argument is that the most important thing is that we get an EU referendum, and the only way that we can get that is by getting a Tory government at the next election. They claim that if the referendum was resolved in an “out” vote, then Dave would have no choice but to repeal the European Communities Act.
      the big problem I have with this, is that apart from the fact that Dave could just ignore the result of a referendum, (the “unite the right” campaign claim that he couldn’t do this, or it would permanently split his party), is that a referendum is a necessary but not sufficient step to us being successful outside the EU.
      So, (this is assuming, obviously, that Dave is PM after the next election), if an “out” vote was secured and the European Communities Act was repealed then the first thing that would have to happen, would be that Dave would have to go to Europe to negotiate a free trade deal. Why would he bother to get a good deal? Being a Europhile he would want to start planning for re-entry to the EU, so a free-trade deal would be damaging to this vision. So it would be best for him to come back from Europe with a deal that contains some tariffs and say, “well, sorry, its the best that I could do.” Then the next thing, after securing a free trade deal, should be to dispatch the foreign office around the world to negotiate trade deals with many other countries. Again, why would Dave ask the Foreign Office to do this? The answer is, he wouldn’t. He would simply allow the negative consequences of leaving the EU to unfold, whilst ignoring the benefits. This would mean that soon after 2020, the stage would be set for a second referendum on rejoining “in principle” the EU, based on the “empirical evidence” of the damage done by leaving the EU. Once that referendum was won, Dave, or the then prime minister, could go to Europe and beg them to have us back. They would, of course, agree, so long as it was on then terms. We would then re-enter the EU, join the Euro, and find that we have none of the opt-outs or the vetoes that we have today, simply because the EU won’t give them to us.
      The unfortunate truth, is that an EU referendum, offered by a Europhile PM, isn’t worth the paper it will be written on, because, quite, simply, that Prime Minster won’t be interested in showing that Britain can thrive outside the EU.

      • http://www.honeybadgerblog.co.uk Honey Badger

        Any renegotiation of powers is going to fail withany minor concession gained being hailed as a major coup. This will allow the establishment to campaign for a “Yes” vote.

        With the CBI, the BBC, all major UK political parties and even the USA campaigning to keep the UK in, I am not confident that we will be able to carry a “No” vote.

        I will however, be campaigning like my life depends on it.

        Hopefully the EU will tear itself apart in the meantime …

      • Phil B

        As any court room lawyer will tell you, never ask a question that you don’t know the answer to. Or, in the context of a referendum, phrase the question to give the result you want.

        So IF (and it is an extremely big, vitamin enriched, gold plated and turbocharged IF) a referendum is held, then it won’t be an IN/OUT question but weasel worded to confuse and give the result required by our Alien Overlords.

        Besides, Cameron has absolutely no intention of withdrawing from the EUSSR so the above won’t apply. See here for his opinion :

        http://www.th-eu-nit.com/index.php/articles/2382-cameron-admits-he-wont-honour-an-out-vote-in-a-referendum

  • Officer Crabtree

    Great article.

    I was a natural Tory voter- aspirational, small statist and pro individual choice. I have been disavowed of the idea that Tories offer any of this over the last decade. I will now vote (and did do in the Eastleigh by-election) UKIP.

    No party reflects my political view but UKIP would at least stand up for a few of my core beliefs.

    I’m fairly new to libiterianism (just starting to read Atlas Shrugged) but feel more free of spirit for having made the discovery. Now to become actually free.

    • http://www.honeybadgerblog.co.uk Honey Badger

      Nigel Farage had admitted that he is a Libertarian. You are in good company. Join the club.

  • mikebravo

    I thought Cameron let everyone know who he was in his rose garden speech after the election when he stated that he and Clegg “shared a common purpose”.
    It certainly sounded like a statement of intent to me. I find it difficult to believe that someone in his position with speech writers could make a comment that without fully knowing it’s meaning.
    He has certainly been following the cultural Marxists path since then, one hand held by Francis Maude and the other by Julia Middleton no doubt.

  • silverminer

    Right on the button. Lib Lab and Con all pulling in the same direction, i.e. the subversion of a free society and the changing of our values. If they succeed we will be (perhaps we already are?) living in the kind society that we, as libertarians, despise. This could have been written for Cameron:-

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.” Cicero.