My Photo

Blog stuff

I also write at

« La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera | Main | Rosh Hashanah - Jewish New Year »



All this dynamic taxation stuff has me thinking about buying gold, but anyway...

You're right about the danger of becoming the feel-bad party - and that's one of the reason why KC is coming across especially badly; his whole schtick is one-more-heave, engage-the-enemy-more-closely stuff. All we need to do, he seems to say, is be more aggressive in our attacks on Blair and Brown and it'll all come good. But really, we need to look like a government-in-waiting, portraying Labour as a stifling force, but celebrating the good things.

About the economy going belly up - if it goes REALLY belly up, my guess is that that will consolidate support for Brown. Always keep a hold of nurse...


In saying this, David Cameron is simply following in the tradition of his party, for it is they - in their zeal to crush local government dissent - who have centralised education on a scale unprecedented in the history of this country.

Blame woolly-minded liberals to the extent they're responsible - and I do - but a big chunk of the problem with education in this country can be traced back to the *expansion* of central government that took place under Margaret Thatcher into the realm of the school. (Well-meaning liberals who have gone soft on cuddly Ken should remember that Kenneth Clarke when he was Education Secretary was the personification of the Thatcherite bully-boy. Still, not quite as bad as he was as Health Secretary. But he's pro-Europe, so that makes him a nice guy, right?)

There was a brief interlude under Major - now Blair has embarked on a programme that Thatcher could have only imagined.

As a liberal, it pains me to point out again that it is the conservatives, with a small 'c', that have the best tunes on this subject. Simon Jenkins' "Accountable to none" - his account of the Tory centralisation of Britain - is a far more effecient demolition of Thatcherite policy in education than any on the left managed around the same time.


That 'tradition' is a relatively recent thing. The Tories used to be quite keen on local government - the shires and all that.

The problem is that, in the postwar era, both of the parties have been centralisers. Yes, Labour set up the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly (some, high-level decentralisation); yes, the Tories got the state out of running businesses (narrowing the competence of the central state); but throughout, the drift has been more and more to central control.

Yet (o, paradox) at the same time, the size and complexity of the British state has become basically unmanageable, and so it has been significantly decentralised - just to managerial, rather than political, authorities. And that was started by my lot, unfortunately - though Blair and Brown have taken the agenda much further.

The comments to this entry are closed.