Sunday, December 02, 2012

David Cameron's Spouting Of Nonsense To The CBI

As some private matters have had to take priority for the past couple of weeks I'm a bit behind the curve on this one, but the Prime Minister's equation of the state of economy with wartime conditions was so flatutently overblown that it couldn't pass without being the subject of comment at the earliest opportunity. 

He was, of course, whipping up the Confederation of British Industry, the country's most powerful trade union, into a frenzy over red tape, historically not the hardest of tasks. His apparent lack of understanding that red tape is probably only there because somebody who has to take responsibility for things has determined that it's necessary in order to prevent businesspeople from acting in a thoroughly irresponsible manner, rather than in the merely moderately irresponsible one which seems to be the common default mode of many, is a little troubling, for it suggests a certain lack of knowledge about how organisations work in the real world. As any good car mechanic will tell you the best view of the guts of any machine is always had from below, because from that perspective you see what goes where and why. But there's no reason to suppose that he ever should have gained that perspective, given that his only experience of work outside of politics has been as a PR man for a television company. 

Being a PR man for a television company seems like a bit of a cushy number - while the British have good cause to complain about the quality of much of the television they receive, the activity itself remains popular; far too bloody popular, if you ask me, given the consistently, and increasingly, outlandish nature of much programming. I'm sure he worked very hard at it, but it can't have been as difficult as being a PR man for a firm of manacle manufacturers. Now that would be a challenge, and no matter what you might think of the type of person who would take that task on you could never criticise them for not having the courage of their convictions.

Yet thae idea that a period of peacetime economic difficulty is in some way similar a way of life that involves having to run out to the Anderson shelter in case Hans and Willi actually manage to drop those twenty tons of TNT on your head tonight suggests a disturbing lack of perspective. I think it was the Venerable Fulton Sheen who remarked that is always in peacetime that debate is at its most shrill; and the Prime Minister's comments are a particularly good example of his point. In Britain, the legal function of government is to be pro-Britain, neither pro-business nor pro-worker. The national interest demands a necessary separation of government from business. It's unfortunate that, like so many of his recent predecessors, David Cameron just doesn't seem to get that point.

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