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'Conservatives have traditionally been too focused on cutting the supply of government and would be better focused on reducing the demand for government'.

Demand rises to match supply of government, as it does with health care; 'I'm entitled to it, its my right!'

To cut demand supply has to be cut, even in advance, and what remains concentrated on those (problem families with habits entrenched over generations) who are most antisocial and or inflict most cost on society. And who lack the capacity to change themselves.

This is horribly authoritarian. But see no alternative if government is to be smaller, and society more civil.

Wouldn't a smaller state - that just concentrates on core functions (defence, law'n'order, protecting private property rights and, at a pinch, non-distorionary welfare payments)- more or less automatically lead to a stronger society?

To say that "a smaller state needs a stronger society" is, to my mind, putting the cart before the horse, which is, I think, roughly what the first comment here says.

I for one welcome Oliver Letwin's contribution. To start with the 'high-falutin' language first off, thats no bad thing. Its all fairly standard academic language, commonly used in university discourse, even with less gifted undergraduates. Letwin shouldn't feel the need to dumb down, he's the ideas man and its good to see that he's thinking carefully. Anyway, the same article written in what you guys call 'plain english' would be bordering on the incomprehensible. Secondly, the big idea doesn't strike me as demanding a bigger welfare state of causing more demands on the pockets of taxpayers: its an approach to government, not a manifesto, the way we approach problems. Also, its not about 'small government' anymore, its about a framework government - Letwin himself says that its about creating the conditions where individual spirit can be maximised to the biggest possible degree. Although its not 'big' government, its certainly 'broad' government - and this is far better than the current narrowly based, highly central, highly reductionist version of government. Letwin has made New Labour look like old stuff: good for him. This is a philosophy for a new conservative century.

Government needs to be smaller.

Government needs to be different.

The unelected and corrupt quangocracy which rules Britain after 10 years of Labour needs to be eliminated. NHS patients must no longer be lied to by their doctors because the NHS quango insists that the truth must not be told.

Information must reside in the public domain, not be held back and seen only by appointed power-brokers whose names none of us know, and the existence of whose positions of authority are withheld from public knowledge.

Once information is exposed, and elected representatives replace the quangocracy, millions will find that their quality of life will improve.

Government is not being supplied as demanded, but as is convenient for news managers who wish the public not to know. The cost of the quangocracy runs to billions. Tax cuts beckon, as well as happier doctors, nurses, police officers, teachers and millions of others. Maybe the term 'burn the bastards' is a bit strong, but that's what needs doing.

I would agree with John Reeks on two points:

(1) That this is important evidence that Oliver Letwin is broadening out the philosophical attractiveness of a future Conservative Government.

(2) That this is 'fairly standard academic language'. See comments on other thread about post-modernism.

I would disagree with John's remarks about a 'plain english' version being incomprehensible, with the implication that this did not matter (or that people who wanted such a version are somehow too thick to count). We lost power because we gave the impression of only talking to ourselves; I'm not sure talking jargon improves this. (A very good rule of thumb: never invest in something you cannot describe in under twelve words.)

Does anybody else think that Oliver Letwin always seems to speak with contempt regarding the Conservative Party?

William, you're totally right where you say you disagree with me, but I'm not sure we do disagree, though I can understand why you think we do. We absolutely shouldn't start talking to ourselves and we shouldn't let language get in the way of ourselves and the electorate; all I'm saying is that the philosophical basis of conservatism shouldn't need to be articulated in the same language that we use to communicate it to people, academic language needs to be upheld where appropriate otherwise we're going to end up dumbing down our philosophy.

Mark Wadsworth: "Wouldn't a smaller state - that just concentrates on core functions (defence, law'n'order, protecting private property rights and, at a pinch, non-distorionary welfare payments)- more or less automatically lead to a stronger society?

To say that "a smaller state needs a stronger society" is, to my mind, putting the cart before the horse, which is, I think, roughly what the first comment here says."

I partly agree with your first point, Mark. I think that a smaller state would produce more room in which civil society could grow but it wouldn't happen quickly or always smoothly. In this 'gap' between the withdrawal of inadequate state welfare and its eventual replacement by superior private and voluntary welfare many vulnerable people would struggle... making it a process that would be difficult for any politician to defend.

It is for this reason I pretty much wholly disagree with your second statement. Only when stronger social institutions are already beginning to flourish can we cut the supply of the state.

Steven, I think you are imagining that, the man is a Conservative therefore he would be holding himself in contempt. What you may be detecting is a sign of the stress he is under at the moment. There is still a big battle to be won within the party, and it may have just begun today at CH with his article.

ED/Mark et al... Would it be fair to say that the changes you refer to - in how the state interacts with society - will take at least one, probably two generations to complete, and as such we can't just 'ween' everyone off the Gordon Brown - lets get everyone hooked on me - New Labour project overnight.

What I am really saying is this: I don't actually have many differences with the opinions of those on the ‘right’. I think where we fundamentally differ is the pace of change the electorate will tolerate. I vote for small steps in the right direction, others on the ‘evangelical’ right (well okay that's a tad unfair, most are born believers) want Rome built in a day. And that’s a prospect voters just will not entertain.

Oberon: I gather quite a few evangelicals actually want Rome burnt in a day....

..or part of it at least William... okay, I picked the wrong analogy!

Descartes befor deHorse
.

Anoneumouse: In this particular case we are dealing with 'human' logic, not the concepts of the philosopher. My we are being intellectual today.

Nah William, we want Rome reformed in a day...

Speaking as an economist, rather than wearing my political hat for a moment, I fancy a brief and self-indulgent rant...

Why is it that so many people identify "economics" with finance and with growth, business, and so on? That isn't the etymology of the word (it actually means literally "rules of the household"); and it isn't how any economist would understand his subject. In contrast an economist understands his subject as the consideration of how best to employ finite "resources" (such as time, creativity, sexual potency, jail space, research and development budgets, sunlight, spin bowlers, labour, constitutional credibility and indeed (occasionally) money), given constraints (creating incentives) and available rewards (e.g. love, peace, family harmony, headbanging rock records, well-balanced children, low crime rates, and indeed (occasionally) money).

Economics journals are full of articles about the economics of religion, environmental economics, the economics of the family, the economics of law and order policy, the economics of healthcare, the economics of constitutional arrangements, the economics of education, and indeed (every now and then, when there's space) the economics of business.

No modern economist would accept the characterization of economics that Letwin suggests, as if somehow a concern for "constitutional, social, [and] environmental" issues (as he puts it) were something one had *in addition* to economic concerns. Economics enlightens one's understanding of all of these fields, and guides one in how to be effective in them. It is not the end of one's considerations - any more than the study of chemistry is the end of one's considerations over what paint to use on one's living room wall. But economics is not a money-focused activity, and if you think you can say anything worth saying about how to address constitutional, social or environmental issues without making extensive use of economics, you will discover yourself sadly deluded...

Editor, 17.40, thanks for comments, but I suspect you are equating "welfare" (as in cash benefits) with "the State" (as in meddling civil servants).

I for one am all in favour of universal benefits/Citizen's Income type schemes, so that even those out of work are (by and large) worse off, but it would that much easier to work your way out of poverty (no means testing) and savings and marriage would not be discouraged - would this not be "superior private and voluntary welfare"?

So that's my view on "welfare". From a moral standpoint, it's no different to a universal entitlement to free state education or free NHS or the right to call the fire brigade or the police. Not that I take a moral view on anything, I just ask "What works?"

The other beauty of universal benefits is that it takes far fewer meddling civil servants to administer them. So I am afraid that I don't see welfare and a large state as synonymous and neither do I think that there is a big transition period to worry about.

WHOOPS!

"even those out of work are (by and large) NOT worse off"

To cut demand supply has to be cut, even in advance, and what remains concentrated on those (problem families with habits entrenched over generations) who are most antisocial and or inflict most cost on society.
People who are anti-social should be locked up or executed, this will sort them out!

Leojamespage has it (in the earlier thread last evening 18:40) - this is elitism first and foremost. Oliver is a very clever thinker who is still, it seems to me, out of his depth in politics. Keith Joseph had this trouble before him, but fortunately switched onto the fact that government need not be as complicated as conventional politicians and bureaucrats would like to think. The question is whether Oliver will also actually think or whether he will be content to provide intellectual cover for his vacillating friends.

In his cerebral way, he would make our politics a battle of ideas. He says “the free market has won the battle of economic ideas” (I quote from the Times On Line piece). Gordon Brown and his friends have unfortunately not been told the importance of this victory; they control with grim pleasure large chunks of the economy and, without shame, take what chance they get to extend that control.

Oliver’s intuition tells him that the monolithic government, to which Gordon Brown and company are addicted, will collapse of its own accord and that another Battle of Ideas will release us from the Nanny State that our growing bureaucracy is paid and trained to nurture. The rest of us, much less clever, say we have a rotten, ponderous, expensive and intrusive government which our Conservative parliamentarians are going to have to fight to change.

Oliver’s “third intuition” is about a “framework”, as a “powerful engine”, “leading” people. To say the least, his imagery is counter-intuitive – actually, it is so difficult to work out what he is proposing that I take the liberty to put some words in his mouth. What he would like to say, if he and his colleagues were brave enough, is this: (1) we have had enough of the presumption that public sector workers have a selfless vocation and that workers in the private sector are venal or victims; and (2) in the very large sectors of our economy – in Health, in Education and in Welfare to be specific – the best private providers are far, far better than the best public providers in spite of the state near-monopoly with which they have to compete; and (3) the overall efficiency and effectiveness of our state hospitals, schools and job centres would be vastly improved, given time, if they escaped government management and operated in a free market.

Perhaps our leaders are brave enough, after all ? Yet I have a little doubt about “Framework”. Ever since Michael Howard was shadow Chancellor, we have been told to like the idea that a new Conservative government will keep taxes at current high levels and will allow them to increase thereafter. Oliver’s colleagues are saying it still. Is the idea then to divest government of its role in Provision, to launch the state’s schools and hospitals into a commercial environment that has for a long time been pretty well regulated, to save huge sums of money as a result – and spend the lot on a whole new regulatory environment aimed, not at “central direction and control”, but to “lead people to act” in desirable ways “of their own volition” ?

Privatising the NHS was thought of in the past as unacceptably radical. It is probably OK now, being done already in snippets by New Labour. But Thought Control, as a Conservative policy – who would have thought it ?

How exactly does prohibiting schools from selecting on the basis of ability or from even interviewing parents help to create a better framework for independent actors to better society? How does a progressive tax on travel demonstrate a lack of faith in central control? How does judging candidates on the basis of their race and gender rather than their abilities contribute to a better "sociocentric" programme? How does continued membership in the EPP and continued high taxation free people to use their own resources locally to improve society?

I've read Letwin's article three times, the first two thinking it was hogwash in high falutin language, the third thinking there might be something there, but that it certainly bears no relation to recent Party policy.

Its all fairly standard academic language, commonly used in university discourse, even with less gifted undergraduates.

No it is simply pretentious twaddle designed to obfuscate and make the trite and simple seem profound and original. There is nothing in social sciences that cannot be explained using simple language unless one is basically illiterate.

Letwin's commentary is trite. What is his approach to Islamic Charities taking care of Islamic communities using Saudi money.

I wish these politicians would recognise that they have created a society which now has significant concentrations of Muslims, of Poles, of Slovaks....and that he lives in Dorset but in much of the country Islamic Charities want to run schools, and all social infrastructure for the benefit of a segregated Muslim community.

Perhaps Letwin ought to realise that much of the State interference in lives came from two World wars which brought T H Green's concept of "National Efficiency" and the Socialists idealism of the First World War German economy run by Erich Ludendorff as the basis of Socialist Economic Planning

Letwin attempts to bastardise standard political philosophy and wrap it in silly syntax to make it appear his own thoughts; it is basic political philosophy and top-down rather than bottom up.

The real question is whether the much-vaunted multicultural society is compatible with democracy or not and whether the threat of internal terrorism makes authoritarian government inevitable as the only means of rebuilding the institutions of the realm which have corroded.

I remember all this rubbish "centric" language being deployed in another forum thirty odd years ago. It was rubbish then and is rubbish now.

[email protected]:53,

To be fair, in his speech Letwin himself says that the way he expressed himself [in the section of the speech that is virtually word-for-word the Times article] was deliberately obfuscatory and over-blown, and that his point in doing that was to mock those that thought New Labour intellectuals because they use unnecessary jargon and Cameron's team non-intellectuals because they try to speak clearly. (I repeat Letwin's claims - I do not necessarily endorse them!)

I'm not convinced by the thought that a multi-cultural society is incompatible with democracy - that notion seems to me to run with the thought that to have democracy we need a demos (as opposed to the many demoi in a multi-cultural society), so that the only form of democracy possible will be the nation state. But Britain has always been a state of many nations, and yet we have made democracy work pretty well here.

The "deliberate obfuscation" was a rather stupid mistake.
I don't think the average reader is going to think, oh, what a clever parody of new labour.
They are going to be put off!

Letwin is not a great communicator, on TV/radio always coming across as patronising and appearing to treat his interlocutors as idiots. Hangover from his academic career I guess!

[email protected]:16,

I don't think that Letwin is offering any kind of code for privatising the NHS. He's not intending to sell any hospitals to the private sector or anything like that.

Neither is his notion of splitting provision from responsibility anything to do with a transfer of funding of public services. It would be perfectly possible to provide all the current funding for public services but have the management of that funding done through private sector agencies. (Indeed, that already happens in the NHS.) He clearly intends that the State should continue to pay for health and education. He just doesn't necessarily think it should necessarily be only state-owned entities that do the provision (think of the distinction within a company between having an in-house marketing department to do marketing, so that the company both pays for and actually provides the marketing, and having marketing done by a marketing agency, in which case the company still pays for the marketing but it is actually *done* by an outside company.)

I'll start listening to the Tories when they have something worthwhile to say.

But Britain has always been a state of many nations,

That is farcical. The Duke of Cumberland smashed the Scottish clans in 1745 and banned them. Scotland was under military occupation.

"Democracy" as you call it only extended to ordinary people irrspective of gender in 1918. after a major world war had exhausted the population.

At no stage was a significant cultural group requiring "sensitivity" towards its non-belief in the core Christian culture of the nation. At no stage has any sectional group produced suicide bombers.

Never before have we had a grouping in society with allegiances to foreign groupings as with Islam and Pakistan and Arabia.

Never before has MI5 had to expand so rapidly to engage in surveillance in major British cities.

The circumscribing of civil liberties in this country have increased significantly since the 1970s, to the point where people speak in whispers for fear of being overheard by the Thought Police.

Look at the legislation - RIPA, Extradition Act, European Arrest Warrant, and a whole slew of measures which restrict freedom and individual liberty - and barely commented on as the country slides into police control directed by London


One can have democracy and a multicultural society - but it is democracy of a Balkan type, in which loyalty to one's ethnic group is the primary consideration, and in which group rights and grievances take precedence over individual freedoms.

Well said, Sean.

To be clear, I am not advocating multiculturalism. Neither am I (as one might suppose, from TomTom's energetic 10:01 posting), expressing anything sympathy with the "circumscribing of civil liberties" of the past sixteen years. But I don't want to argue against multiculturalism in terms that would require me to advocate, also, the break-up of the Union.

Britain has always been a state of many nations - whether all of those nations had equal voice is irrelevant. Indeed, before Britain, England was a state of many nations. Latterly, we have made democracy work in Britain, despite our many-nation form.

Cameron's approach requires leveraging off diverse goals of many small organisations with their own agendas. Whilst traditional multiculturalism is probably on the way out, he will have to be very careful in chasing it away that he does not, at the same time, chase away precisely those support organisations that he needs to make his one idea work...

On a more historical note, I want to disagree with all sorts of [email protected]0:01 remarks.

I don't agree that democracy began only in 1918 (sic. - perhaps 1928 was meant?) - universal adult suffrage and democracy are not co-extensive concepts. There was certainly democracy in the UK after 1832, and probably in England back as far as the fourteenth century.

I disagree that at no stage was there "a significant cultural group requiring "sensitivity" towards its non-belief in the core Christian culture of the nation". Quite the contrary - dealing with Catholic dissenters was a major issue from the mid sixteenth to the mid eighteenth centuries (and Catholics were culturally crucially different from Protestants, most specifically in their hierarchy of political allegiances, in ways that exactly parallel the hierarchical allegiances of devout muslims today). Indeed, it precisely in this conflict that liberalism as a concept developed.

Of course, Catholics owed allegiance to foreign powers, so TomTom's wrong there.

I suspect that the expansion of the spy network in Elizabethan England was, allowing for its time, at least as important as any expansion we have today.

So, lots of historical disagreement. I'm sure that other readers will find my dissent positively *thrilling*...

Andrew, you make one fundamental error...to speak of Scotland, Wales, England, Northern Ireland as nations is fine, but they share ONE CULTURE.

250.000 Poles settled in Britain 1945-1948 as they could not return to the homeland we had gone to war to defend. They seem to have blended in without a need for special diets, school uniforms, or removal of any symbols of the British identity because they shared the SAME CULTURE.

What has kept this country whole is a common culture - Christian Missionaries landed in Ireland before they arrived in England. The culture across Europe was broadly similar and a Latin Mass in Scotland was a Latin Mass in Warsaw or Berlin or Rome.

What is a problem is a refusal to acknowledge the Christian Culture upon which West European Civilisation is based and indeed which is one of the fews things binding us in common identity with Russia.

Remember John Adams....

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing. Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the People, who have... a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean the characters and conduct of their rulers. There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free 'government' ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty. Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among people."


Tell a Friend-John Adams

"in much of the country Islamic Charities want to run schools, and all social infrastructure for the benefit of a segregated Muslim community"

As far as I can see the demands appear to wish to replicate what is already done by the Jewish community in this country.

The United Synagogue, the mainstream orthodox body in the UK was actually set up by Act of Parliament, and has therefore a statutorily recognised position in the UK.

Jewish schools are run both using state funds and private money.

The Beth Din has existed for decades to resolve civil disputes using Jewish law.

The is a network of kosher slaughterhouses, butchers and restuarants.

The Jewish community has a large network of charitable institutions with the aim of looking after the Jewish community. Jewish Care, for example, provides funding for care homes for elderly Jewish people.


We've had this all going on for decades now, with out any notable impact on the British way of life or democracy.

In fact, with particular respect to the issue

I don't agree that democracy began only in 1918 (sic. - perhaps 1928 was meant?)

NO 1918...it was a Khaki Election and for that reason very salient. It was the first election with female participation which was the greatest expansion of the electorate at any one time....yes they had to be 30....but it was the first really "democratic" election.

Probably I am biased - it was the first time in the history of this country that my family had been consulted - but I appreciate some people on this forum probably had family members being consulted hundreds of years earlier and they thought that was "democracy"

We've had this all going on for decades now, with out any notable impact on the British way of life or democracy.

In fact, with particular respect to the issue

Posted by: DavidDPB | May 09, 2007 at 13:03

Let's do the same for Muslims then....separate schools for girls, strict Koranic instruction, arranged marriages, halal food, Sharia law, niqab, hijab, jilbab.

Separation from Non-Muslims and use of Urdu and Sylhet in all correspondence. It will certainly mean that police will not arrest people in Beeston or Batley without permission of the Community Elders and that a new arrangement will be necessary in Central Bradford....though I think as Conservative policy it will probaly attract Muslim voters

The Jewish community is a tiny grouping whose religion is highly compatible with Christianity.....though I note that Jewish groups have great difficulty in accommodating themselves in Muslim areas in Antwerp or areas of France......

"The Jewish community is a tiny grouping whose religion is highly compatible with Christianity"

Less so than Islam. To take a major example, while not acknowledging his status as the Messiah, Islam nonetheless accords Christ the status of a major prophet, while Judaism does not recognise the person of Christ.

It was also much larger, relatively speaking, historically, peaking at almost a million when the UK population as a whole was smaller. And in fact if you go back around 80 or so years, the Jewish community was felt to be entirely incompatible. At the turn of the 19th century, there were writigns complaining of entering parts of London and not hearing any English being spoken; the community in Bethnal Green tended to speak Yiddish. The first major peice of immigration legislation was created in response to mass jewish immigration.

Islam nonetheless accords Christ the status of a major prophet

Yes and Moses too - but Mohammed is the greatest of all and only The Koran has not been defiled as the Tanach and Bible because only Mohammed is pure and undefiled....I see DavidDPB you are well on the way to Mecca

Judaism does not accept Jesus as The Son of God nor that he was resurrected after Crucifixion. His person is referenced by Josephus....in that sense Islam and Judaism have compatible views on Jesus Christ.....and yet both are in error

The ability of minorities to live within this country is closely bound up with their respect for the majority, the culture and heritage of the country. Jews were readmitted by Oliver Cromwell against the wishes of Parliament, but fortunately he was not subservient to the whims of Parliament as Lord Protector - some would say, dictator

Andrew Lilico:So, lots of historical disagreement. I'm sure that other readers will find my dissent positively *thrilling*...

OK. You're on.

I don't agree that democracy began only in 1918....
Point to Lilico. To constitute "Democracy" there must be a certain social attitude or presumption. They had votes in Ancient Rome and Soviet Russia, after all. The fact that women did not have the vote in the 19th Century does not mean that Victorian Britain was not free.

dealing with Catholic dissenters was a major issue from the mid sixteenth to the mid eighteenth centuries
Technically "recusants", not "dissenters". And perhaps it would have been less of a 'major issue' for the Govmt of the day if it hadn't criminalised Roman Catholicism?

(and Catholics were culturally crucially different from Protestants,
I think you mean "crucially culturally different", unless you're making an extremely subtle linguistic point about crucifixes, but we'll score that as a draw. Being picky, there would have been few cultural differences (as opposed to religious ones) between the groups in the 16th century, but of course that would not be true today.

...most specifically in their hierarchy of political allegiances, in ways that exactly parallel the hierarchical allegiances of devout muslims today).
Er, no. I think you're trying to say that you couldn't trust 16th Century Catholics because they were all under orders from the Pope to go and blow up parliament, and you can't trust Muslims because they see themselves as part of a world-wide faith and not a local nation. Even Ian Paisley's moved on from this level of analysis, Andrew.

Indeed, it precisely in this conflict that liberalism as a concept developed.
Er, no. You're probably referring to John Locke, but he isn't really your best advocate here. He had curiously asymmetrical views of how religious tolerance should work.

Of course, Catholics owed allegiance to foreign powers....
That's a remarkably casual way of being gratuitously offensive, Andrew. I think you might care to rephrase that.

I suspect that the expansion of the spy network in Elizabethan England was, allowing for its time, at least as important as any expansion we have today.
I'm sure you're right. I've often wondered - if she really was Good Queen Bess - why so many people were queuing up to plot against her; but I'm not greatly fussed one way or the other. I believe she's been dead for some time now.

And in fact if you go back around 80 or so years, the Jewish community was felt to be entirely incompatible.

I disagree. Didn't Oliver Letwin's grandparents come from Ukraine and thence to the USA, whereas his parents prospered as academics, his mother at Cambridge, and young Oliver at Eton. That is a very remarkable story of success from Ukrainian refugee to Rothschild banker and Privy Councillor in two generations.

I really cannot accept that this country did not provide opportunity for those coming from Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland, or The Pale.......and I doubt Nigel Lawson, Leon Brittan, Harold Lever, Robert Maxwell, Michael Howard, and many others would agree with you.

Nor do I recall Chaim Weizmann telling Arthur Balfour he wanted England as a Jewish homeland, or that he wanted crosses removed from public symbols, or Christmas carols restricted; or the right of Orthodox Jews to serve in the police force with beards and locks and Homburgs.

I do not know how many bombs people in Bethnal Green planted on the Tube during the 1946-48 problems in Palestine....nor do I know if any suicide bombers were active in Britain. I tend to think not.

Nor do I recall the Irgun recruiting in London and suggesting murdering British citizens - though we do know Begin was instrumental in plans to murder Ernest Bevin and Konrad Adenauer.

I suggest the analogy is misleading and that the arrests in Beeston and Batley yesterday have no parallel in the British Jewish community


All valid points, Tom Tom.


And in terms of numbers, the high point for the Jewish population was about 450,000 in the Fifties, well under 1% of the population.

Andrew Lilico at 0930

I might be ahead of you on this. I am clear that the NHS and schooling should be privatised on the basis that all medical and educational work should be done in the private sector, and that the essential funding should remain as a mutual programme in the public sector. We might know that Oliver himself is not brave enough to think this through, but I am not sure that he is speaking (or even hinting) authoritatively on behalf of the Cameron team, nor that we have any clear idea what any Cameron policies will be.

As you say, Oliver might not be against government buying from the private sector – indeed post-Dobbs that is what New Labour has learned to accept in running the NHS. Your example of a company buying in its marketing makes my point especially well, since marketing must be provided coherently: the company board must never allow different messages to be put out, so it must make a 100% decision – in-house or out-source. What we now need Oliver and his colleagues to act upon is the pernicious competition between the state and private providers. We must put an end to the presumptions that (1) public sector workers deserve excellent salaries, (2) they deserve unjustifiably good pensions, (3) in spite of these things they hold the moral high ground and (4), in spite of all the evidence, only they may be trusted with our health and our schooling. They and the private sector providers must for the common good be brought onto the same playing field.

This is how Oliver could make his own transition from the “econo-“ to the “socio-“. We would do well economically (as the Hayek thinkers showed us was necessary and which is still all-important) by restoring health and education to the free economy; and we would break down the modern English class barrier that divides vertically the nation’s producers from the government’s clients.

In my ignorance, I would as a new prime minister require all schools and hospitals to take on one of the various corporate forms available to private enterprise; all else would follow. I would certainly finalise the programme before the end of the first parliamentary term, so that these institutions are not renationalised in the way that GP Fund Holders were brought back into the public sector after 1997.

[email protected]:47

I don't accept that it is any more true of muslims today that they are widely inclined to violent resistance against the state or that they owe allegiance to foreign powers than it was true of the Catholics in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. (If anything, my guess is that it is less true.)

[email protected]:01 stated:

"At no stage was a significant cultural group requiring "sensitivity" towards its non-belief in the core Christian culture of the nation. At no stage has any sectional group produced suicide bombers.

Never before have we had a grouping in society with allegiances to foreign groupings as with Islam and Pakistan and Arabia."

My example of Catholics was in answer to this point. - Or are you saying "Catholics would never have plotted against the Crown or owed foreign allegiances, but of course Muslims do"...?

"....I see DavidDPB you are well on the way to Mecca"

I hadn't planned on a holiday this year.

"Judaism does not accept Jesus as The Son of God nor that he was resurrected after Crucifixion. His person is referenced by Josephus....in that sense Islam and Judaism have compatible views on Jesus Christ.....and yet both are in error"

Judaism doesn't ascribe even the status of prophet to Christ, unlike Islam. Islam at least recognises that Christ played a part in continuing G-d's message. Judaism views Christ as it views Mohammed-absolutely nothing. (Leaving aside the Chief Rabbis view in the first edition of the Dignity of Difference with regards to all religions other than Judiasm having some part of the message, but only Judaism being the whole and direct message).

"I really cannot accept that this country did not provide opportunity for those coming from Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland, or The Pale.......and I doubt Nigel Lawson, Leon Brittan, Harold Lever, Robert Maxwell, Michael Howard, and many others would agree with you."

That's great, as I wouldn't accept that either. You can probably tell by the fact I never said that.

Nonetheless, anti-semitism was a real problem faced by Jews when they came here, and many of the comments directed at the muslim community today were directed at them. As I said, the first major piece of legislation directed at immigration was in response to Jewish immigration. If you went to East London at the height of the immigration period at the turn of the century, you'd most likely experience the same sense of dislocation-a completely foreign language spoken, hebrew signage etc.


"I suggest the analogy is misleading and that the arrests in Beeston and Batley yesterday have no parallel in the British Jewish community"

Because you have misunderstood the analogy. The analogy is nothing to do with any ridiculous sense of justification for terrorism or anything like that. The analogy was limited to parallel civic structures the some muslims want, such as schools etc.

There is no excuse for terrorism, for the calling of a violent overthrow of the state or any variation on that. But simply having the same sort of institutions that the Jewish community has had for ages without any ill effect (and in fact, it helped the Jewish community to feel grounded and part of UK society) does not equal that.
The Jewish community has exactly the same parallel civic structures that you have raised concerns about with regards to them being used by the muslim community-jewish specific charities, schools etc. without threat to British civic life and democracy.

No DavidDPB it is not parallel. You ignore Saudi Arabia and its funding of mosques and schools in this country. In this area the synagogue was abandoned as the area became predominantly Muslim; the place to which the synagogue moved is now increasingly Muslim. The local independent grammar school has increasingly Muslim intake, the Jewish intake has evaporated as they migrate to the independent high school in another metropolitan district.

The niqab is commonly worn, the chadoor very very frequently. The notion of White Flight is self-evident and the areas where Muslim taxis dare not venture is defined.

I don't know of any such areas where Jews settle - I don't think Roundhay or Adel in Leeds led to a mass exodus of native population to other areas.

I have not seen a rash of synagogue building to be quite so dominant as the one in Peterborough. Nor do they paint "Menachem" on walls quite as they spray "Osama" is some civic areas.

I don't know how many Jewish gangs beat up native Britons for trespassing in their park or their part of town....but here it happens.

Saudi Arabia has a big budget for missionary work and Britain is subject of Saudi attentions. It is conducive to conversion, and critical mass exists in certain cities for influence to be developed and extended. Even Sayeeda Warsi wrote in the Yorkshire Post yesterday urging integration of illegal migrants.....

I frankly don't care about Muslim schools; but I do care if the Conservative party is ready to practise apartheid with Bantustans given over to different groups so it can play off one group against another in a manner used in the colonies.

I do sometimes wonder if the game is not to simply cluster ethnic groups so they don't encroach into Dorset or Wiltshire or Devon.

When you have schools that are 50-96% Muslim and a University with 50% first years Muslim, or whole areas of town conversing in Urdu.........or only see policemen after an anti-terrorist raid; it tends to give a different perspective.

Just one parallel however; had Jews ever behaved in the manner that recent settlers in this island have done, do you really believe they would still be welcome here ?

"No DavidDPB it is not parallel."

Setting up Muslim charities, civil courts etc is parallel. No one has a problem with the Beth Din, and it's existence hasn't caused the end of democracy.

"You ignore Saudi Arabia and its funding of "mosques and schools in this country"

Not really. The funding itself is not an issue; it's what is being preached and taught. That certainly needs to be addressed. Lord knows I'd love Neturei Kartei establishments to be policed.

"In this area the synagogue was abandoned as the area became predominantly Muslim; "

Immigrant population flows aren't that unusual. The flow of the Jewish population in London (based on the 19th century immigration) moves from the east end west and then north west. You can trace it by looking at abandoned synagogues (some of which used to be hugenot churches and are now mosques). As immigrant communities become wealthier, they move out of areas associated with poor immigrant communities to those they see as up market. (As an aside, I know of several grandparents tearing their hair out as their grandchildren move back into the East End, a place they and their parents strived mightily to escape from).

"The niqab is commonly worn, the chadoor very very frequently"

And? I may not disagree with it, but they can wear what they want in their private time. Go to Charedi areas-the men all wear black suits with tzitzis hanging out, the women wigs and long dresses. It looks alien, but then so do mohawk haircuts. As it were.

"I don't know of any such areas where Jews settle"

Jewish immigrants used to settle in the East end of London, and essentially operate their own isolated community. They had their own schools etc. You still get isolated areas of Orthodox communities, such as the Charedi mentioned above, as demonstrated by the setting up of the Eruv in London to allow the Orthodox to do certain things on the Sabbath (an Eruv is essentially a marked out area which is treated as an extension of the home. It can be the difference between pushing a pram and not pushing one. It's marked out by a series of polls with a wire strung between them overhead.)

"I have not seen a rash of synagogue building to be quite so dominant as the one in Peterborough."

As the UK Jewish population is declining, that would be unlikely. Were it in the similar throes of an increasing population, you most likely would. Check out London's old synagogues

"I don't know how many Jewish gangs beat up native Britons for trespassing in their park or their part of town....but here it happens."

Jews currently? Thankfully no as far as I am aware, there doesn't appear to be a gang culture. There are of course examples of non- Jewish whites beating up people for "trespassing." We deal with them quite rigorously, as we can and should deal with any Muslim youths that do the same thing. It's a question of proper policing.

As regard to negative reactions to Jews by the native population, yes, it's rather sparse now. But then Jews have been here in high profile numbers for sometime, and the community is now seen as part of the background. It wasn't always the case. Going right back to the 1700s for example, the first major synagogue was allowed to be built only next to a ditch where dead dogs where thrown. Getting slightly closer to modern life, there was of course the well known Cable Street Riots with Oswald Mosely and the BUF. For sometime afterwards there were Jewish gangs looking out for fascists.

"Saudi Arabia has a big budget for missionary work and Britain is subject of Saudi attentions.It is conducive to conversion, and critical mass exists in certain cities for influence to be developed and extended."

Christianity of course is well known for its missionary work. Both religions are proseletysing, again something they have in common, which Judaism, in actively discouraging converts, does no share.
I doubt we are near critical mass-over 90% of the UK population remains non-muslim, but there is really nothing you can do about people advertising their religion and other people freely converting. We tend to give Saudia Arabia, rightly, a lot of stick for cracking down heavily on Christian missionaries and for refusing access in certain areas to Jews; I'd hate to see this country go down the same road.

"I do sometimes wonder if the game is not to simply cluster ethnic groups so they don't encroach into Dorset or Wiltshire or Devon."

The Government could make more efforts with regards to placing immigrants outside of major urban centres, but them of course you get complaints from local residents in the areas they do propose to place them.
There is also the problem of clustering. New arrivals in a strange place will obviously want to be near others like them and to be in areas which have the infrastructure and amenities they need (see the Anglo ex-pat communities for example). Again, this is normal historically and based on that you would expect a dispersal as the community becomes more established and richer.

"Just one parallel however; had Jews ever behaved in the manner that recent settlers in this island have done, do you really believe they would still be welcome here ?"

I would hope that the majority of British people were intelligent enough not to attribute the actions of some Jews with the actions of all Jews. I would of course totally expect, and indeed support the attention of the authorities on the community out of which the problem was happening. Unfortunately, there still remain some people who like to blame all Jews for the behaviour they attribute to some Jews. I'd hope they'd be the minority in Britain, a traditionally tolerant place overall.

TomTom, what is it with you and Jewish people? Let's include Huguenots, Poles, Chinese, Japanese, Buddhists and Hindus and plenty of others into that rhetorical question, the answer is a resounding "no".

The Letwin doctine is wrong to assert that there is a consensus relating to economic management.There is not.To my knowledge Conservatives do not believe that public spending is inherently a good thing.There remains a desire to rain back the state which will inevitably mean cutting back many of the new labour extravagances.

Our Party needs to be the party of reform within the public services.The notion that more and more taxpayers cash is what is required is not bought into either by the mass of the electorate or the conservative movement.Producing the kind of society that conservative's aspire to relies upon allowing wealth to drift downwards throughout our social strata.The agents of social mobility ,selective education and particularly grammar schools,secure two parent married families and a respect for rule of law as embodied in our police and criminal justice system are key.These things will not happen by allowing individuals to act in the best interests of society they will happen if we ensure individuals are allowed to act in their own best interests alone.

TomTom, what is it with you and Jewish people?

Mark wadsworth would be better addressing that to David DPB who first brought up this issue in relation is Muslims as a counterpoint.

What your point is Mark I don't know - mine is the fact that the police raided locally yesterday 2 years after explosions on London Transport and I don't know why it has taken them 22 months or why they seem to spend so much time in West Yorkshire

As immigrant communities become wealthier, they move out of areas associated with poor immigrant communities to those they see as up market.

Not true. Cities like Bradford and Keighley are refilling because most marriages are to family back in Bangladesh and Pakistan and who speak no English. 60% Bangladeshis live on benefit so they are hardly likely to move upmarket or become Investment Bankers.

You might look at birth rates and compare the differential rates of fecundity. The simple fact is that cities like Bury, Oldham, Bradford, Keighley have a demographic problem which entrenches poverty and welfare dependency - only the very rich and the very poor can afford large families.

We deal with them quite rigorously, as we can and should deal with any Muslim youths that do the same thing. It's a question of proper policing.

When do you think West Yorkshire can look forward to that ?

David DPB - well said.

As for multiculturalism - I watched Big Brother and I have to say that Jade Goody came from an alien culture as far as I'm concerned. I doubted we shared a common British culture - in fact I hope not. There are many fellow citizens of Engliush, Scots, Welsh or Irish descent whose way of life and interests could as well be those of Albanians. The real multiculturalism that is Britain isn't about Islam or Hinduism or Christianity, its in the diversity that exists in the indigeneous as well as in immigrant communities.
The separateness of the orthodox Jew doesn't stop him being British (or English or Scots); the separateness of the Plymouth Brethren doesn't make them a threat (except apprently in New Zealand politics).
If elements of the population organise and become a danger then step down firmly on that. If Saudi money is fuelling fanatics, stop it. But lets not go into the hysterics of WW1 and WW2 and treat whole nationalities as enemy aliens.

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