The thin end of David Cameron’s intellect
Rather than get hysterical about how ignorant our Prime Minister is when it comes to British constitutional precedent, convention, usage, citizen rights protection and Law (operating as he does in a stratosphere far above such earthbound concerns, it’s only to be expected) I propose in this piece purely to reconstruct a key paragraph from Mr Cameron’s speech at Ninelives School today.
As the longer-serving prisoners at Slogwood Scrubbs will know only too well by now, the aim of this site is to deconstruct bollocks as well as reconstruct common sense decency. But because David Cameron is unique among UK politicians in his ability to claim that “we must be clear about” stuff on the one hand (while at the same time having some kind of cerebral auto-destruct synapse in his head) I shall be forced to reconstruct even the bollocks before deconstructing it. Only by my doing this can we be clear about Dave’s lack of clarity.
The Prime Minister read PPE at Oxford, but the constitutional philosophy module was clearly not graced by his presence at lectures and tutorials. This has been amusingly confirmed by his Oxbridge contemporary James Delingpole, who long ago wrote that Cameron ‘drank beer, played tennis and listened to The Smiths (and Supertramp, as I recall: he wasn’t that cool)’.
Supertramp. Dear oh dear oh dear. Anyway, this is how Dave Gave a little Bit* of his core philosophy to we His Subjects today. For reasons of being clear about this, I’ve annotated a guide through the labyrnthine muddle involved:
1. I know the Bill is only in draft form at the moment, but “put out of action” is disturbingly vague. It could encompass everything from shallow graves courtesy of the SAS to Borstal ShortSharpShock via cyber-attacking laptops. I think Dave should be clear(er) about this.
2. I’m the sort of chap who is exceedingly careful to operate inside the law. I have no idea what purpose “just” serves in that sentence, other than perhaps to highlight that Grant Shapps operates miles outside the law most of the time. Either way, obeying the Law is like being pregnant: you either are or you aren’t. If you are obeying the Law, then the only way to render you illegal is to change the Law and thus make you an outlaw.
We in the political philosophy trade are sticklers for detail on this point: just as we told barmy Hattie Harman that she couldn’t post-date banking law in order to feel Freddie Goodwin’s collar, equally we tend to think that laws passed specifically to put citizens outside the law are political in nature, and thus to be avoided if at all possible.
I would very much like to be given some comfort, however, on the question of “detesting” things: does detesting Tim Yeo make me an extremist, or merely a reasonably discerning empirical moralist who knows a wide-boy when he sees one?
3. Whaddya mean “we” Paleface? The current Conservative Party Weltanschauung is everything I won’t stand for under any circumstances. I won’t stand for it because it is greedy bigotry made flesh, and bad for what traditional Britons might call Benthamist social common sense. Ideology doesn’t come into it.
4 & 5. I have to treat these Siamese twins as one, because both the Prime Minister’s woeful command of English and his Freudian Slip are showing. Once again, I find myself called upon to help the dear boy with his bollocks construction.
“These people aren’t just extremists. There are despicable far Right groups too.”
The varietal interpretations of this are as follows:
Extremists are not always Left wing. Some Nazis are hard to stomach too.
We’re not just going after Occupy. We’d also like to have a crack at the Greens and UKIP.
These people are equally dangerous whether they support Jeremy Corbyn or Michael Fallon.
Earlier in his speech, Mr Cameron was at pains to reassure those paying attention that his NVE definition was “narrow”. But the buckshot target he describes above is about as narrow as Eric Pickles.
6. Neuroscientists have long dismissed the idea of “brainwashing”, and they are right so to do. The spectre of helplessly brainwashed immigrant Yoof stomping robotically upon British democracy is fine as War on Terror fearmongering, but doesn’t bear even the most cursory analysis beyond that No Brains Land.
First up, the discovery of brain plasticity has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the brain both learns and unlearns with equal flexibility.
Second, it would be good to know wherein this British “democracy” resides; it certainly isn’t apparent in our media set…whether the masthead reads The Guardian or The Sun.
Third, if we are all so easily brainwashed – and the BBC is such a hotbed of Commies – how did the Conservative Party romp to victory last May?
What the Prime Minister wishes for is nothing less than a wedge with which to jam shut the door to counter-revolution. Blair’s pc consensus strategy aspired to the exact same outcome. The former admires the latter: they are both antithetical to the concept of personal liberty.
We used to elect Governments in the hope of good governance. Socially functional governance doesn’t mix with ideology, be that of the Left or Right: good governance involves the use of common sense based on empirical observation of change.
The thing about sense is that, by and large, only well-educated common people like me have it. Not being in any way common, the Prime Minister has only “a” sense. It is the sense that his privilege is under threat from any future revival in common sense.
At the moment, the Common People are distracted and relatively at ease with the world as it is. The aim of this Conservative government is to pass enough politically motivated legislation to ensure that, when the People do wake up, it will be too late.
For thugs like Boris Johnson, the answer is water cannon. For Camerlot, the weapon of choice is non violent extremism framing. For the Germans at the moment, it is Grecophobe racism. For the Nazis, it was the Reichstag fire.
Chacun a son gout.
*I must fess up to the fact that while Supertramp weren’t my bag Man, Give a Little Bit is a great pop song