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The British People used always to be known for their fairness - that together with tolerance was always considered to be one of our national characteristics. It would be good to get back to that!
Janet Daley is really on to something here I feel and it ties in with the idea of reciprocity (i.e. I do something for you; you do something for me) which I believe has already been looked at in the Conservative Party by such people as David Willetts.

"Across the board - including with regard to the Scotland-England relationship - there is enormous potential in this political theme."

How about fairness throughout all regions of the UK including Wales and Northern Ireland?
Oh, that does not fit in with the theme.
David Cameron was right on so many levels in his speech on Friday.

There's a sweet irony here. It's Gordon Brown's favourite word.

Grant Shapps could introduce the concept of fairness and respect between neighbours, particularly with regard to being fair and respecting those living close by when it comes to playing loud music. On a summers day I often hear neighbours playing booming music and the most disconcerting thing about this is that the music can be coming from houses quite a distance away but modern sound systems are very powerful and still carry a stong level of volume. This makes leaving the window open on a hot weekend virtually impossible. Doing the right thing, the fair thing, has to be about government and local councils supporting neighbours who want to leave their window open without having to listen to other peoples music blasting all day long.


No it should be value for money!


I don't really get what you are saying. What theme?

Janet Daley has been forced to thaw her icy attitude to Cameron but let us not forget her poor judgement when being a leading Brown cheerleader in his bounce days. Nevertheless both what she and the editor are saying sounds common sense to me.

Daley:"..including with regard to the Scotland-England relationship.."

Hey, are we obsessive nutters becoming mainstream? :-)

ChrisD | May 26, 09:48
"..fairness throughout all regions of the UK including Wales and Northern Ireland?"

Absolutely! Just England needing to get it now, to complete the current phase of devolution.

"Fairness" is a great theme for all topics.

As always, she is spot on. The major obstacle to me bothering even to vote next time around is that as a law-abiding, tax-paying British subject, you get bugger all back from the UK. Any Party that starts to do the right thing as she suggests will seriously be on to something.

http://www.order-order.com/2008/05/sheep-with-wool-pulled-over-her-eyes.html - best read before anyone takes Janet Daley seriously again.

Furthermore, I find it strange that this definition of Conservatism says nothing about conserving anything e.g. the Monarchy. Daley's definition seems to me to be more like an aspect of Conservatism than a catch-all phrase.

You've missed the greatest penalty of all -- the death penalty -- and oddly it's found in NHS hospitals.

If the NHS can't afford the cancer drugs you need, it won't allow you to contribute. Alan Johnson doesn't like the idea of a two tier system where people who saved are better able to look after themselves. No, he expects you to pay with your life to defend a system where you either have everything or nothing. If you're rich enough you can pay everything and survive. If you're not quite rich enough, then you pay for nothing and die.

This is not unlike UKIP's general theme of 'Justice and common sense'

RichardJ: I remain a big fan of Janet Daley. In the leanest of years when very few commentators had a good word to say about the Conservatives she stood with us - not uncritically - but nonetheless as an advocate for small government, personal responsibility, Euroscepticism and so on.

She isn't perfect as Guido pointed out but she's got most of the big calls right in her careeer as a columnist.

I've even heard it said that Guido Fawkes gets some things wrong!

We've been here before with this sort of language. William Hague had a common sense revolution, IDS his fair deal for everyone and Michael Howard's promise to speak for the forgotten majority that do the right thing. Fairness may be the correct theme but it's as old as the hills.

One person's idea of 'the right thing' is NOT the same as anothers.

Patsy: True but give us some examples of what you're worried about...

The first "right thing"would be fairness to England,Cameron is still talking about "Britain"when he means England,but then he does not want to be Priminister of England.... so thats all right then ,lets have someone who does,and that means giving England her own Parliament

'the idea of reciprocity (i.e. I do something for you; you do something for me)'

As JFK once said asking not of your country but of yourself.

'the right thing' is NOT the same as anothers.

The whole basis of politics is in this conundrum?

For example, and just to bang on a bit:

The right thing in terms of the post devolutionary settlement and the consequent democratic deficit is to re-establish the English parliament.

David Cameron indicates that the right thing is to preserve the Union. Better an unhappy marriage than risk a messy divorce.

Despite the unfaithful partner explicitly suing for divorce, maxing out the family credit card and turning up in a furniture truck to strip the joint assets.

UDI. Fisheries, for example.

I could go on and usually do.

Fairness is fine but doesn't really mean anything objective unless you give it content, in which case you may as well make the content the message.

So why not: "Setting good people free". That's what I get from the above so why not call a spade a spade.

"I've even heard it said that Guido Fawkes gets some things wrong!"

Very true. Driving without insurance for example...

The other issue I have with this phrase is that it's the sort of feelgood remark that Labour or the LibDems could come up with, even if we disputed their right to use it. What we really need is something that clearly distinguishes us from them without alienating floating voters.

We should remember who our friends are. I do not have any time for Janet Daley. She was nothing less than a cheer leader for Gordon Brown when he became leader and her judgement was completely wrong. When will we learn who our friends really are. She is another egregious example of a political commentator who blows hot and cold according to the political wind. We win some vital elections and suddenly she is trying to write Conservative policy. Come off it!

Tim, sorry I was out in the garden!

Personally I don't like the sentence - 'No one should be penalised for trying to do the right thing', very much. It seems to me to start from a negative premise.

Of course I believe that the ideal in society is a family of a mother and father and their children, but in our present society, in this country, this is more of an ideal than a reality. And I can't see this changing until there is a real 'shake up' of some sort in society, which will encourage young people to have goals to work towards, and take responsibility for their actions, rather than plump for instant gratification/oblivion.

Unfortunately this is not a fashionable attitude yet, not really, and the media, particularly the BBC do not seem to encourage more personal responsibility. I recollect a female interviewer harangueing a Conservative MP some months on the BBC, when he dared to suggest that marriage was the ideal state for bringing up children - she was a single parent.

Another area that concerns me increasingly is the law! Specifically, the judges attitudes to interpreting criminal law, and the sentences that they hand out, the government's apparent inability and unwillingness to tackle many, many meaningless sentences being handed out - and often laughed at!

I see very little 'fairness' in the law these days, and I know that there are many, many bereaved people who would agree with me!!

I saw a grandson of 4yrs this weekend with a rounded little children's table knife, chasing his much older cousin - in fun (of a sort) and certainly not knowing the significance of what he was doing. He was holding it, as you would if you were going to knife someone (I was taught myself !! a very long time ago!!), he could only have picked that up from the media.

If I made a great fuss about that I would be considered to be a 'Mrs. Whitehouse' type and being 'unfair' no doubt! Actually that lady is going to be represented by Julie Walters in a play about her life this coming week! I always thought that Mrs. Whitehouse should have concentrated more on the amount of violence on the small screen, even at that time, rather than the sex shown.

Fairness. Perhaps, only by insisting that 'fairness' is achieved in the courtroom, meaning that the sentences should accurately reflect the enormity of the crime committed, and NO reference made to a criminal apparently saying 'Sorry' or admitting to the crime, would the victims of crime feel some fairmess prevailing, and likewise in time it might just persuade the families of the villains to be more aware of what a fair and just society really means!

I am sure the Conservative party should take the word "fairness" on board. Labour have been batting with it for ages and it rankles that they seem to have got a monopoly.

Labour, when talking about "fairness" mean transferring money from one person to another - it's their main reason for existing. I could never understand why they were allowed to get away with it, "fairness" to me meant that someone whose work is worth more to people (OK society) than someone else gets more income than someone else.

It seems that Labour have been so successful with their "fairness" spin they have used it to justify a lot of what they do. You may recall the Blair/Brown election broadcast where they are seen talking aimiably and one says "fairness is something we all agree on and justifies any action." (For example, using the law to stifle debate. Wrecking private schools Tories send their kids to. Sending the police after the middle classes and excusing the wastrels, who vote Labour. etc. etc.)

Yes David Sergeant I think your last paragraph, is a very fair example of how fairness can and is being twisted !

To me, "fairness" is the consequence of our underlying beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviours - in much the same way as happiness. Pursuit of fairness or happiness for their own sake is a recipe for disaster.

In my field - strengthening families and reducing family breakdown - it is very likely that the pursuit of fairness is one of the main reasons for the high rates of breakdown amongst unmarried parents. Fairness puts the spotlight on whether it is "my responsibility" or "your responsibility", "my turn" or "your turn". Monitoring such even-handedness leads inevitably to charges of "unfairness". Married couples, incidentally, tend to foccus more on "our responsibility", "our turn", and specialise roles between them - a generally more efficient, equitable and less stressful arrangement.

At a personal level, we have a couple of family mottos in our house. "We don't do fairness" is one of the most important. The aim is that our children stop worrying about whether something is fair and get on with doing their bit. Fairness breeds envy of those who are inevitably better or richer or have more stuff. As parents, we obviously do our utmost to spread our love, attention and time appropriately amongst all our children. It is their expectation and monitoring - the pursuit of fairness - that we actively discourage and dismiss, usually with a healthy dose of humour.

At a political level, many a national news headline contains the complaint of "post-code lottery". Underlying this is the belief that all should be fair. It never will be. Rather than encouraging innovation and excellence, the vain attempt to defy such unfairness leads almost inevitably to the imposition of top down government, dumbed down expectations and a stifling target culture. Yuck.

Kindness, gentleness, wisdom, sacrifice, patience, forgiveness, honour and commitment are the sorts of qualities that make individuals attractive and vibrant. If our politicians have these qualities, then so will the government.

Yes fairness would be a good start (though it is hardly a shattering apercu) but let us go beyond that to champion liberty too.

Let's not have any more stories of householders being prosecuted for a raised dustbin lid, or respectable housholders being arrested and fingerprinted because the yobs tormenting him made a false accusation etc etc. You all know the sort of thing that has proliferated under Labour and might be described as a Littlejohn story.

Let's return to position where Government, both central and local, is the servant not the bossy master of the public.

Martin, I find myslef saying "Yes, but...". Thats because we have growing problems in society as a result of people not taking the law and bylaws seriously. How many councils have fined people for dropping litter or allowing dogs to foul the pavement - suprising numbers have achieved zero fines. Then there is the law as set out by Govt, enforecd by the police and sentenced by the courts. Again its not working, in large part because criminals don't take it seriously. Take youth crime where feral gangs get more violent because at each point they are caught the message they get is that no-one takes their crime seriously. This ends up with a tragedy such as the knifings we have seen recently. Not only are the victims let down by the system but also the kids who are allowed to psiral out of control with no real boundaries.

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I entirely agree that laws must be obeyed. My criticism is of the unneccessary laws that have proliferated under Labour - the 3000 new crimes that the Lib Dems say have been invented since 1997.

Whether it's knife crime or dog fouling I'm all in favour of enforcement. But at the other end of the spectrum councils should not be trying to ensnare housholders if they accidentally have their bin lids too high - it may be that it's the fault of their poor service. I understand that you are a Conservative Councillor - all I would ask is that you and your colleagues always remember that you are your constituents' servants not masters. I'm sure that you personally do, but the general tone in the public service has become bossy and at times hectoring and threatening. Recent examples discussed here have been the threatening tone of TV ads for TV licensing and car tax. While I thoroughly disapprove of tax dodging I equally deplore the threatening tone adopted by these departments.

In all the cases that the press deride, what seems to have been lost is the traditional British sense of proportion. Rubbish out of place? Answer: send some one round to talk. Dodged car tax of £150? A suitable fine should do - not threats of crushing cars. But adopting a sensible and measured approach would deny the overzealous officials their jollies.

There is another area where the phrase 'is it fair' can be applied, at least that is my opinion, and I am sure that I won't win much agreement even from a few people on this website!!

I don't think it is 'fair' that film producers such as Quentin Tarantino, and video games makers (the one I am thinking of has just produced a No. 4, which is supposed to be THE most violent ever made, or some such blurb - on our local radio, on the day it was released, a commentator asked one of the producers if he wasn't worried about children watching it, the producers reply was 'I think its great that it has got an 18 rating, because MORE people will want to buy it'!!!!! - That says it all I think!!!), to continue my longwinded sentence, I don't think it is fair that these producers and directors, WILL NOT take any responsibility for encouraging the violent age that we now find ourselves in, indeed quite a few of said directors and producers actually win prizes for their productions.

At the very least they COULD use some of their 'illgotten gains' to perhaps educate children that what THEY produce does NOT really happen as they see it, its all a careful, SAFE construction in a studio, acted by people who are often not very brave at all, but are very vain. However, that would not be considered 'fair' on the producers and directors, to expect them to do something as philanthropic as that - which might cost them a little!

In the same context is it 'fair' of magazines and TV, to deliberately target younger and younger girls , encouraging them to believe that if they buy sparkles and baubles, and scanty clothes that it will somehow enable them to become part of an illusory world where they will be the centre of attention, and be treated like a princess!! And what happens when they find out that lilac powderpuff world doesn't exist, well, we have plenty of examples to tell us.

It is too late now to close Pandora's Box, but at some stage producers and directors need to be encouraged/pressured NOT to produce ever more gore etc: just in the pursuit of money (for themselves). Nobody wants wholesale censorship, and certainly not government directed, since a socialist government could only see censorship as a means of inhibiting free speech from the opposition.

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