Friday, October 06, 2006


Worth a look:
Is anyone running a spread on when Dave's honeymoon will be over exactly? I fancy a little flutter.

Ivan in the comments thinks I'm on the same page as Simon Jenkins on David Cameron and decentralisation here. Worrying news. Thankfully, a quick squint highlights a difference between us. Jenkins says:
"At the Commons dispatch box will he stop banging on about postcode lotteries and demanding ministers "do something" all the time? Does he really mean to leave people to vote locally rather than whinge nationally? Blair said much the same about devolution when he was in opposition, and did not mean it. Such respect for social responsibility - the empowerment of individuals within their communities - requires politicians to deny what they most crave, power."
Cameron's problem is not that we can question his sincerity in seeking power in order to disperse it. We already know that he doesn't mean it because the real question is not what he does if he's returned as PM, it is about whether it is at all possible to credibly advocate decentralisation when the media's coverage of politics (surely a significant electoral factor?) focusses largely on personality issues, gossip, recycled briefings, leaks and gaffes.

For the avoidance of doubt, it isn't possible to sincerely advocate decentralisation and win elections. Because every issue is now served up to us as a national totemic issue requiring a strong populist response, sincere decentralisers can't win elections. Jenkins omits to mention that is own dispicable profession is largely responsible for this state of affairs. And he can't really, because he spends a good deal of his time arguing for more referendums and other populist and demagogic forms of government.

Only a new leader, during a mid-term, can take the kind of steps that would offer the genuine possibility of decentralisation in the current climate. Cometh the hour, cometh The Son of the Manse?

I doubt it.

1 comment:

Tim Almond said...

Cameron's speech was bad for his future. He gave almost nothing to the right, except for a vague "Deregulate our employers and wealth-creators".

With Blair, the left understood that they'd get something. Not all they wanted, but better than the tories. They knew it was a compromise that they had to take. And it stopped them from drifting off to various socialist parties.

I think that Cameron has made a blunder, and UKIP will be the beneficiaries of it.

It's just not enough to say "we're not nasty anymore, we now believe in economic stability, oh, and we're better than the other lot". You have to offer something that captures people's imagination.

My guess at the next election: hung parliament.