#SluggerReport – Is our “political sensemaking” turning politics into the proverbial dog’s breakfast?

This morning’s SluggerReport took as an anchor piece Janan Ganesh’s excellent column on the neutral radicalism of David Cameron. In particular he has this bit spot on…

In Manchester, the right’s purists nag about Tory plagiarism of “unsound” Labour ideas: the national infrastructure commission, paid grandparental leave, the living wage.

Neutrals are taken in by the show of heterodoxy. But these statist gestures are rounding errors next to the cuts and structural upheaval. They provide political cover for the real work of Cameron’s premiership, which is searingly right of centre.

If we struggle to see that, his English aversion to ideology and its articulation is the reason. The speech he gives on Wednesday will be all “security” and “stability” and plodding common sense. This is never intended to deceive but it is deceptive: under the flannel is a provocative government.

Doubters of Cameron’s claim to historic status say he has no coherent worldview, no Cameronism. But neither does any normal person. Our beliefs are a dog’s breakfast of instincts and biases.

Running a state according to a system of thought is neither human nor, to judge by the 20th century’s body count, humane. Cameron shows that it does not take a philosophy to change a country, just the knack of responding dynamically to circumstances.

Those of you who want to hear more from Ganesh (and who can) can pick this up from the BBC iPlayer.

But it’s also worth paying attention to David Cameron’s interview in which he turned on the Spanish nurses his government turned to dig it out of the artificial hole it created in recruitment policy and accused them of coming to the UK to claim in work benefits.

  • kensei

    It’s the straight out black is white language that really bugs me. People will be better off after the tax credit changes, even when it’s arithmetically impossible. Whether that line will stand up to what people get in their pay checks is another matter.

    My favourite so far as been

    That was the Labour assumption – that just giving people extra money would help them out of poverty.

    Everyone knows it is more hard work and not more money that gets people out of poverty.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Everyone knows it is more hard work and not more money that gets people out of poverty.”

    Unless of course, you are nominated for the board of a bank with an international profile, and can simply attend board meetings.

    The real “hard work” that will get people out of poverty is the hard thinking required to understand what poverty actually means, and the recognition that it is not simply lack of money, but frequently an ideological approach to “need” that directs wealth towards those free marketeers who seem to need to acquire money simply for the sake of acquiring money, seldom through “work” that in any way reflects any real effort that may seriously be measured against such acquisition.

  • gendjinn

    “Everyone knows it is more hard work and not more money that gets people out of poverty.”

    And water does not solve thirst.
    Food does not solve hunger.
    Fire does not solve freezing.

    Money is the very thing that solves poverty.

  • mickfealty

    Maybe. And maybe my point was too broadly cast. I’m thinking this is maybe a better subject for a Friday thread than something run of the mill. Work would have been the traditional Labour/Union answer.

    The truth is though that traditional opportunities for work are disappearing. That’s perhaps one reason why the Tories have been cannibalising the public sector.

    Good piece on that subject from Anthony Painter here: https://goo.gl/hXKiyW

  • Reader

    Would it have helped if he had used the old cliché give a man a fish/teach a man to fish?
    Or were the obtuse responses guaranteed anyway?

  • Zeno

    Poverty is the state of being extremely poor. That means not having food or shelter all the time. Not being able to afford clothes. Do we have anyone in Northern Ireland unable to have food ,shelter and clothing because the government doesn’t provide those basics for them?