One of the few traditional Conservatives to have served on the Tory front bench under Cameron, Paterson was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before being promoted to the more high profile role of Secretary of State for Defra.

Candidate of the day

Owen Paterson

One day to go and Sir John Major has weighed in. “Labour divides to rule. To win votes they will turn rich against poor; north against south; worker against boss." We hope we don't wake up with them on Friday.

Hero of the day

Sir John Major

Another awful Labour woman. The fact Ed Miliband’s carved his pledges in stone doesn't mean he might not break them, campaign chief Lucy Powell has said.

Villain of the day

Lucy Powell

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THE REAL CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO

Back marriage. Restore grammar schools. Leave the EU.

Laura Perrins: May should realise the State is the problem not the solution

Dear God, who is going to save us from this ‘shared society’ nonsense? As Tim Stanley points out, the idea of a ‘shared society’ is a tautology as ‘society is about living together, so it’s inherently shared.’ But there is more to worry about here than mere semantics. The idea that government is a solution to our now divided society is dangerous. The reality is – it is very much part of the problem.

When I hear the phrase, ‘shared society’ it immediately brings to mind those ‘quiet bat people’ Nicola Murray wanted to appeal to in The Thick of It. But the truth is the quiet bat people are as unattainable to Theresa May as they were to Malcolm Tucker.

So what is the definition of a ‘shared society?’ Mrs May explains that the ‘shared society’ is one that “doesn’t just value our individual rights but focuses rather more on the responsibilities we have to one another; a society that respects the bonds of family, community, citizenship and strong institutions that we share as a union of people and nations; a society with a commitment to fairness at its heart.”

For the love of God, (and I mean that literally), really do I have to explain this? Society is made up of the bonds of family, community, citizenship and strong (civil) institutions and it is Government and State that must respect those bonds and interfere with them as little as possible. I don’t know what PM May means by a society that respects the bonds etc, etc, but when I say it, I mean the State should keep its filthy, dirty hands off bonds of family and community.

Government cannot make these bonds stronger – it can only leave them alone and interfere as little as possible. It can stop penalising marriage and motherhood in the tax system, for instance. That would be a good start.

What we have seen instead it is the explosion of Government regulation and in particular the welfare state that has seen these bonds of family and community weakened.

The State has all but destroyed the married family for the working-class (the group that need marriage the most) and robbed hundreds of thousands of working class boys of responsible fathers in the home.

It is government regulation of housing and land that has stopped house building (another thing May mentions a lot) and it was the state takeover of the education that has it in its poor shape now. Resurrecting grammar schools is really just papering over the cracks of the whole rotten state system.

It is the disgraceful NHS – the most socialist healthcare system in the world – that is now condemned as a humanitarian crisis by the Red Cross. Now, although I think this is a political message from the Red Cross, if things are really that bad surely it shows us the State makes hideous health systems?

Just read James Bartholomew’s book The Welfare State We Are In to see what a mess the State has made of the family, health and education in particular.

But worse than that is the helplessness and dependence a large State generates among the citizenship. Every group has a new demand upon the public purse. They want the State look after their pre-school kids with more ‘free childcare,’ they want the State to look after the granny and granddad with more ‘free social care’, as well as state-provided education, health and housing. It never ends.

So thanks but no thanks, Theresa May. I’m not really up for your ‘shared society.’ I’d much prefer the little platoons every time.

(Image: Howard Lake)

Laura Perrins

  • Possil

    A brilliant dissection of government interference in the life of society, particularly the results of a mismanaged welfare state. Ronald Reagan had it right when he said, ‘The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help’.’

    • sfin

      Another Reagan quote – to government officials:

      “Don’t just do something – stand there!”

  • Craig Martin

    “…shared society’ is one that “doesn’t just value our individual rights
    but focuses rather more on the responsibilities we have to one another;..”

    Anyone who claims to put the needs of others before their own (outside of their own family) is someone who can’t be trusted!

    You have your interests and I have mine – we can work together to secure those interests. Win-win. Pretending otherwise is likely covering a deeper deception.

    • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

      As my dear grandfather said to me – `if anyone ever tells you it is the principle of the thing, never believe them, it is always the money’

      That truth has served me very well indeed.

    • Reborn

      A “shared society” is one where people have similar, not necessarily identical, values.
      It may well be multiracial, but it can never be multicultural.
      Additionally, any welfare benefits, including NHS, social housing, free education
      can only go to persons born & raised in that society & who have personally, or via their parents paid into the implicit insurance fund entitling them to welfare benefits.
      As late as the 1960s, people spoke of National Insurance contributions as National
      Health Stamps.
      They were wrong of course. In the reasonable society that they thought they lived in, they would have been right.
      Mrs May’s slogan is meaningless.
      Egregiously so, when we allow foreign powers to set up schools, and even pay
      for them through UK tax, where young minds are taught to hate & despise our
      fractured society, & plan for its destruction by demographic and/or violent means

      • TheRightToArmBears

        Can you, or anyone else, provide me with a profound and meaningful statement by Mrs May?

        As far as those young minds go, the sooner the better.

    • TheRightToArmBears

      The same goes for governments and parties putting the needs of other countries before their own.

  • Stuart Fairney

    I read James Bartholomew’s book “The Welfare State We Are In” some years ago, it’s absolutely brilliant in its evisceration of state provision. As I believe Milton Friedman once remarked “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand”

    He’s not wrong.

  • Bik Byro

    Statists seem to think that the state should act as captain, coach, physio, kitman, ballboy, PR department, groundsman, ticketing department, FIFA representative, the guy with the half time oranges, agent, translator, WAG, turnstile operator, matchday police, the guy selling the big flags outside the ground and the guy confiscating the big flags on the way into the ground.

    Libertarians just want a guy with a whistle

    (courtesy of Mr Eugenides)

    • weirdvisions

      Is Mr E still around? I used to be a regular reader of his blog.

  • Take Back The Streets

    May wants more Government intervention to create equality and fairness. If she wasn’t so stupid and self serving (as are her ministers, advisors and civil servants) she would realise that most unfairness is created by Government institutions, intervention and regulations.

    The state sector organisations treat their customers/taxpayers very badly. The worst examples of private sector organisations treating their customers badly are in heavily regulated sectors such as banks, public transport and energy. Generally, it’s fair and open competition that promote fairness.

    Government regulation and intervention to make universities more open have left students crippled with massive debts.

    Here’s another example of unfairness; pensions. Most public sector workers are on hugely generous pension plans which are paid for by the taxes of the private sector. Those in the private sector can only dream of such generous pensions because their own schemes have been taxed and regulated almost to destruction by civil servants and politicians.

    • launcher

      There is the beginning of huge resentment of public sector pensions; this will be divisive both between the retired (public – private sector) and the younger who will have to pay for it while not enjoying anything approaching the same benefits. Retired police officers, for example, are treated with hostility in my peer group.

      • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

        Interestingly, to me at least, most public sector pensions are unfunded, having no underlying investments and are paid directly by the tax payer,

        The only exceptions that I can recall, are most local authorities, the BBC and the Universities pension schemes – all of which are in deficit.

      • Titus_L_Carus

        I agree, but some of this resentment is unfounded. I moved to a public sector job because it had a better pension scheme. If it had been the same as the private sector pension I would not have changed jobs because I actually took home less money. That is why I believe existing pensions should be honoured.

        Incidentally, the pension is quite modest, not the 100s of thousands of pounds you sometimes hear.

        • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

          It depends upon your length of service and final salary usually accruing on the eightieths basis.

          It is extremely generous and almost unsustainable in the private sector now.

      • TheRightToArmBears

        I think there is a case for limiting public service pensions to £30k p.a.
        Most of those above that, certainly in the BBC and local government, were cranked up as leaving gifts by the scratch-my-back-chum brigade which saw CEOs leaving with 500k gratuities, pensions and then on to new CEO jobs.

        • Lagopus scotica

          Hear, hear!

  • MrVeryAngry

    How to cure this? Step one. get out of the EU – completely – single market especially. Step two. Attack the quango state – everywhere. Step three – elect a ‘classical liberal’ Parliament. This is going to take time. No wonder the State wants to take ages to effect Brexit.

    • Alan Llandrindod Wells

      Oh yes.
      Remember the “Bonfire of the Quangoes” Cameron moron.

      • ReefKnot

        I remember that as well. What a joke. Just a handful, most of which were transferred into other Quangos and left to carry on their “work” with the same staff, same culture and ethos but with a different letterhead. Will any politician take on the Quango and Fake Charity sector ?

  • Bogbrush

    The State will always be a value destroying entity because it misdirects capital. It does this because it only exists to force capital to places people don’t want to put it (otherwise it would go there anyway).

    Expecting a professional politician to hold any other viewpoint is crazy; they are in that position because they believe in the value of the State. Sure, you get some outliers but even the best increase the size of the State – they just can’t help themselves.

    This PM is pretty cynical in her calculation and I suspect this reflects both her Statist instincts and an objective to destroy the Labour Party. Neither of these aims are much good for the strategic planning of the country.

    Personally, I think the way the country is run is an appalling mess of restriction of trade, corporatist protection (enshrined in examples like limited liability and intellectual property laws), and monopoly capture of critical means of production, resulting in virtual enslavement of people – but the cause of all this is the State.

    • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

      Yes indeed but it should be mentioned that partnerships, accepting the ultimate liability, are treated a bit less brutally by HMRC.

    • weirdvisions

      She certainly seems to think that to destroy the Labour Party the Tories must become the Labour Party.

      Here lies madness.

    • TheRightToArmBears

      May does not do any calculations.
      Do you see leadership when you look at her?
      She is a manager, processing the instructions she gets from Brussels via Tory HQ.

      • David

        About right I’d say.

  • MrVeryAngry

    Apropos the ‘House Price problem’, this is worth a read…
    http://www.if.org.uk/archives/5393/housing-crisis-what-housing-crisis

  • Peter Gardner

    Laura Perrins is spot on. Mrs May clearly has no idea what Brexit means. For those who voted for it, it meant they want the state to butt out because they are quite capable of running their lives themselves. It is state interference and oppression from Brussels and Westminster that they rejected. Ditto Trump. You elites have done the damage. We want rid of you. Just do nothing except getting rid of your masters in Brussels and then we can get rid of you.

    • TheRightToArmBears

      May knows only too well what Brexit means and she isn’t going to go anywhere near it.

  • Polly Radical

    I’m very relieved that so many social conservatives have immediately reacted with suspicion to this Shared Society nonsense.

    Can Theresa May explain how this is any different to the Blair/Brown/Harman agenda?

    • Andrew Tekle-Cadman

      It isn’t, of course.

      Like a lot of others I was an Conservative Party member and voter but reluctantly came to the conclusion that the party as a whole simply doesn’t act out of conviction – instead it always responds to whatever it perceives is the worst threat to entitlement to hold high office. Socialist after the war, then Thatcherite, then achingly right-on Metropolitan Liberal under Call Me Dave and now May. It is a total Vicar of Bray – or Vicar of May in this case.

      The tories will reluctantly carry out Brexit because they fear the wrath of the electorate, but don’t expect them to use this golden opportunity for any kind of recognisably socially conservative policies. Looking for any kind of principle or conviction politics from the party is futile and doomed to end in disappointment – it has to be bullied by external forces every step of the way.

      • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

        I left the West Oxfordshire Conservative Association after being invited to the cocktail parties introducing Cameron. I spotted what he was and presumably still is, immediately and told the chairman so.

        He agreed later that Cameron had chosen an `unusual path’.

        The constituency party continues to send me its self-congratulatory patronising emails which always seem to assume that I ride horses and shoot things. I did attend a few meetings and `events’ at first but the titled gentry surrounding me avoided me like the plague, me being a self-made bloke from Brixton.

        I now have no party for whom to vote for the first time in my life. Cameron’s successor is a clone. How they managed that I really don’t know – some kind of voodoo I suppose.

      • TheRightToArmBears

        The Tory party, let alone May, will not get us out of the EU.
        They took us in by deceit and have grown very wealthy from that.
        Why would they now throw away the golden key to wealth?

      • David

        Your analysis of the allegedly Conservative Party is spot on !
        I came to the same conclusion myself after decades of being duped. That sham of a conservative party is simply motivated by the anxiety that it’s leading lights may lose power, office and money.
        They will only improve if they are bullied, threatened and pushed by electoral pressures into doing what is best for the country. There is nothing philosophically conservative about it at all !

        • James60498 .

          I was a member of the Conservative Party for twenty years.

          But I have to say that I think that the only reason that I could ever come up with was that I wanted to stop the Labour Party.

          So when Blair was leader of one and his self proclaimed heir was leader of the other I left.

          • David

            I was a member in my youth and continued supporting them for decades afterwards. Like you dislike of Labour kept me loyal to the Conservative Party.
            But once Cameron arrived, and I saw right through his paper thin skin to see what a shallow liar he was, I was off.
            Then after a while, I joined Ukip, purely on the EU question, which allowed me to play my full part in the campaign locally.

          • TheRightToArmBears

            I’m glad to hear that you joined UKIP.
            The leadership is a problem and will probably continue to be so until Carswell, O’Flynn, Evans and the Hamiltons go.
            But the local association membership is still there and we need them even more to resist despite the rickety leadership.

          • David

            I agree with that.

        • Andrew Tekle-Cadman

          I have written many times for TCW that I think the Left cottoned onto this fact a very long time ago and realised there was virtually no correlation concerning who was in office and who was in power: as long as you could convince the Tories to be more electorally scared of you than anyone else, politics would move in your direction.

          Happily UKIP learned this lesson and intimidated the Tories into granting the EU referendum: I only wish more on the Right would realise the truth that you have to operate outside the Tory party to get anywhere. If they did, we might finally hold the initiative again.

          • David

            You are absolutely correct. I’ll admit that it took me too a while to realise that Ukip could achieve what it has achieved, all from outside. The Conservatives weakness is that, as you say, if you threaten what they see, as their special position in society, you can steer them !

  • North Angle

    The State has all but destroyed the married family for the working-class (the group that need marriage the most) and robbed hundreds of thousands of working class boys of responsible fathers in the home.

    It’s got nothing to do with government. The state hasn’t done this. You must call it out for what it is: cultural marxism, a.k.a. the Frankfurt School of Marxism.

    The state is totally guilty of looking to one side as feminism (an arm of cultural marxism) destroys the family, however. It needs to step in so that marriage is not penalised financially. It needs to step in to ensure that the divorce courts / social workers do not automatically favour the mother over the father in all things. It needs to end the discrimination against fathers in all areas of government.

    • Ben Bow

      For those who know little about the Frankfurt School –

      The Frankfurt School has 11 objectives to destroy society :

      The creation of racism offences.
      Continual change to create confusion
      The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children
      The undermining of schools’ and teachers’ authority
      Huge immigration to destroy identity.
      The promotion of excessive drinking
      Emptying of churches
      An unreliable legal system with bias against victims of crime
      Dependency on the state or state benefits
      Control and dumbing down of media
      Encouraging the breakdown of the family ..

      . . and that is what is now taking place all around us.

      • North Angle

        1,000 upticks. EVERYBODY should know about this. It should be taught in schools and warned against.

        • James60498 .

          It is taught in schools. It’s the target

          • North Angle

            Not explicitly. The teachers don’t even know they’re promoting it.

          • James60498 .

            Some, possibly many, don’t, I agree.

            But nevertheless, they are.

            And those instructing the teachers do know.

          • North Angle

            Which is why we need to explicitly state that’s what they’re doing to our children. It’s the only way they’ll understand because the teachers won’t tell them, even if they do know.

          • James60498 .

            I agree. The problem is though that those in charge of schools want it and they are not going to allow teachers to warn against it. Completely the opposite.

            Perhaps I misunderstood your original post. Certainly good people and good websites need to warn against it.

          • North Angle

            Teachers will do nothing – even if they know what they’re pushing, and don’t want to, they can’t. I know a couple of teachers and one of them was surprised at a Brexit post I made on Twitter; his entire argument against Brexit was based around the Pound being weak against the euro because he was going to France this year. They know nothing.

            You didn’t misunderstand my post – I do want schools to teach about it, it *should* be taught about as I said, but I also know they won’t/can’t. So that leaves the parents.

          • James60498 .

            I agree “they know nothing”

            I had to send a letter back to school this morning stating that my son was “interesting” in attending an exam course. Every letter we get has an error in it.

          • North Angle

            Gah. That kind of thing annoys me no end!

          • Ravenscar

            I had this comment pulled on another thread, disgust or Breitbart who knows?

            Absolutely vital, the Marxist pedagoguery are the enemies of western civilization, kids need to be taught facts, not Marxist abstracts and the mush of Multikulti therein Critical Theory as nailed on truths.
            It’s ‘Post modernism’ which is total BS.

            Schools, primarily should focus on teaching critical thinking, logic and with Maths, all the pure sciences, English, their own history and Geography specific to these islands, a narrative of the British Isles and Britain’s historical interaction with saving Europe from itself. Indubitably we need to halt ‘our’ children leaving school hating the nation of their birth.

            When they’ve fashioned their critical senses, for all the other poo, they can read the Guardian and scoff in ridicule.

  • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

    We have another social democrat Prime Minister, firmly based upon the German model – the third out of the last four. actually.

  • weirdvisions

    Do we need any other proof that CINO evil May is an out of the closet, not so democratic, socialist?

    • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

      I’ve just returned from Canada and Mrs May does sound remarkably like Justin Trudeau, Ottawa’s Liberal left Prime Minister.

    • Alan Llandrindod Wells

      To be fair Conservative leaders have stuffed safe seats with Liberals such as Soubry.
      So her party has been dragged to sloppy left.
      Hobby politician and PR Spiv Dave was the worst.

  • screwtape013

    Theresa May? Theresa Cameron, more like.

  • CheshireRed

    Very good piece, well done.
    Would it also be unreasonable to observe that we’re where we are as a direct result of 20+ years of liberal politics? From Blair’s 97 New Labour to the current government, 18 of those years had either a Labour or Liberal party in office to some extent. (Even calling today’s government ‘Tory’ is still a stretch despite Cameron’s departure.) Liberalism plus left-leaning over-government. What a clusterfck it’s been.

    • Under-the-weather

      20+ years of progressive policies…

  • David

    An excellent article here. Thank you for it, Laura.
    Mrs Maybe is a statist, a liberal Tory do gooder, who will merely add to the harm already done by our over-mighty interfering state.

    • Under-the-weather

      I would add a modern liberal do-gooder, the classical liberals of the right are against big brother.
      There’s nothing wrong with supporting institutions, the church is one, independent charities are another (and better if not dependent on the state) they’re not all public sector entities supported by tax payers.
      The issue I think is that moving the the centre to attract labour voters creates a situation, e.g when a mistake is made and voters just feel like a change, Corbyn is the alternative. The policies of the far right are just not healthy.

  • Excellent piece, Laura.

    I guess one problem that is endemic to all systems of Government is that practically all politicians are in politics because they want power for themselves. The exceptions are very rare, and they are usually the ones who languish on the backbenches.

    How many politicians are truly happy with the idea of genuinely giving power back to individuals? Very few, I fear. Even Mrs Thatcher sometimes fell prey to the cries of “something must be done”. (I was about to cite the Dangerous Dogs Act as an example, but see it was passed in 1991, after she left office. Was it thought up under her leadership?)

    And, of course, there are many people – by no means all Left-wingers – who believe that it’s the Government’s “duty” to interfere in our lives, on certain matters. (I plead guilty, too – I am by no means convinced, for instance, that legalising recreational drugs is a good idea. Is that inconsistent of me? Perhaps. But my mind could be changed if the evidence was strong enough, I like to think.)

    How can we on the Right restrain ourselves from joining in with the cries for “something to be done” – for repressive laws to be passed, when we disapprove of something? Because that is the essential first – though by no means sufficient – step towards a more responsible society, with a less overbearing State.

    • Bogbrush

      To it’s not a left/right thing. In fact I no longer even understand what these terms mean.

      The only thing I can work on is where you lie on the scale from libertarian to Statist. Almost all politicians sit close up to the Statist end – that’s why they’re in the job they are.

      • Under-the-weather

        Could be an argument against career politicians,
        Either for those in employment elsewhere and reducing the term of office, or just retirees on pensions.

        • Bogbrush

          Indeed. The trick is to make it possible for a person without means to contribute, but generally I start from a zero-base of not really wanting them.

  • Whilst I feel that it is important that people focus on their responsibilities towards others rather than their rights which is the current fashion, I can’t see how the state can get involved in this issue and do anything constructive. They can’t force our daughters to come and visit us more frequently or to go and do the shopping if we don’t feel too well. You can’t force anyone to keep an eye on his neighbour if they don’t want to.
    All governments seem to feel that they need ‘to do something’; personally I’d be content if they first fixed the thing that they’re not doing properly rather than embarking on new projects.

    • Mez

      “They can’t force our daughters to come and visit us more frequently or to go and do the shopping if we don’t feel too well. ” They can’t force our sons either which is more to the point, and especially for those ethnics who value sons above daughters.

      • Under-the-weather

        There are actually numerous services which are available either free, small cost or full charge in the private sector. Even the local GP surgery may offer a free or petrol only pick up service for desperate pensioners,
        Some big supermarkets offer a free pick up and drop off from certain local collection points, but people need to be changing their outlook to independent, as far as possible, otherwise nobody bothers looking and everyone reacts to somebody on the TV who’s looking for the counsel to take over private sector services and of course add it to taxes along with pension funding. The counsel generally keep a list of services and so do Age Concern.

      • True, but I only have two daughters! However my 7 year old grandson is a help, he complains if has not seen grandma at least once a week!

    • Nockian

      That’s not what May intended. She is regurgitating ‘the big society’ message. This has nothing to do with a practical application of policies to restore the family and individual rights, but simply a flag waving exercise to get the great unwashed back onboard and gladly pay, or accept anything mother May wants to achieve. It’s a duck tidying move, just follow mother May and she will lead us all to duck heaven.

    • english_pensioner wrote:

      Whilst I feel that it is important that people focus on their responsibilities towards others rather than their rights … ‘

      The problem is that people don’t focus on their natural rights but what they believe to be their material rights, which too often seem to be little more than the right to be a nuisance without suffering censure or opprobrium.

  • John Smith

    The family is the core of society, it is its most important part
    Easy to destroy, difficult to get back

    • TheRightToArmBears

      What is the state for these days except to break up Britain and replace us with their enrichment?

  • J.L.W

    The Home Office is still suppressing reports into the complete lack of a strain of incoming violent Islamists to integrate (I know a Bangladeshi Muslim who is not violent, but has lived here 32 years and barely speaks a word of English). If she solved immigration then these things, family, community, society would happen naturally. Where there are large amount of immigrants there is less employment for British people, and who really wants to go on a date without having a job? certainly not most men, and where will unemployed girls, even attractive ones meet men without having money to socialise? Especially when there are less compatible men around.

    Unless the immigrants speak good English and are strong personalities, very few of them speak good English, (Less than 20% in my experience). All hint of subtlety is gone from conversation with them and there will only be babies with the occasional one night stand or rare integrated immigrant; and marriage is difficult to maintain even amongst homogenous groups with lots of family support.

    So, perhaps she will take us out of the single market but her previous record is hardly inspiring! We are all just observing her at the moment but I, in my cynical view of the government, imagine increased effort to mental health means increased powers to institutionalise those that don’t share the governments viewpoints. Sharing society means dysfunctional government programs that waste loads of money by setting up programs the patronise those they pruport to help (but in fact the bureaucrats writing these programs have a belief in the inferiority of the working class).

    It’s a brave new world!

  • ratcatcher11

    If I remember it was the state in the guise of Local Authorities that facilitated the removal of young teenagers 12 and thirteen year olds from their homes to local authority accommodation to enable them to have sexual relations with men much older than themselves. Little is mentioned about this scandal that started in the late 1960’s and has gone on ever since. I haven’t seen many Local authority chief executives in the dock for facilitating the rape of under age girls, this seems to have been all but forgotten.

    • Andy

      Aye, and it was the State (Local Authorities and Police) that couldn’t be bothered to investigate rampant child abuse because the perpetrators were a favoured ethnic group.

  • Malcolm

    Politics in the UK, and it really doesn’t matter which party you are talking about, has never recovered from the decision to start paying MPs a salary in the 1950’s. Ever since then politicians have considered it a career rather than a vocation. They used to serve their country; now they mostly serve themselves or their party (which for many is the same thing). Principles have been jettisoned in favour of ambition, power is an end in itself, and anything which is considered too controversial, however much it may be in the interests of the country, never sees the light of day lest it costs votes and therefore power. There is a chasm between the political class and the public and talk of a shared society cannot mask the fact that very little is shared between them and us. We lead separate lives from those who govern us and we seem to have very little in common. Brexit could have been the wake up call that they need to understand the level of discontent that is widely felt by those whom they are supposed to represent, but the signs that the message has been received are not good. Politics should be about choice, but it is starting to resemble the old saw about Ford cars: you can have any colour you like as long as it is black.

    • Bonedagger

      Nailed it. MPs should never been paid a penny.

    • Nockthesheeple

      I thought that paying MPs a salary went back to the Osborne Case in 1911 or something (from memory here).

  • Yes, and I’ll simply remind you that Ronald Reagan once said (and we have never forgotten it, neither should you):

    “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

  • Major Tom

    Anyone expecting a low tax small state Thatcheresque form of government under Theresa May are in for a nasty shock – she has already made it quite clear that she will use the power of the state to ‘build a fairer Britain’ – so expect a resurgence of the big intrusive state with endless amounts of PR spin, political gimmicks and repetitive cringe-worthy sound bites – it will be business as usual as if nothing ever happened on June 23rd 2016.

    Superb article Laura – I absolutely agree with you.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Nockthesheeple

      Though Thatcher did many very fine things she did not shrink the state. Public spending was higher at the end of her term than the start. Lower as a percentage of GDP though I admit.

      • Tethys

        Remember how Thatcher worked for Tobacco company in retirement. Not a fine thing.

  • Nockian

    “For the love of God, (and I mean that literally), really do I have to explain this? Society is made up of the bonds of family, community, citizenship and strong (civil) institutions and it is Government and State that must respect those bonds and interfere with them as little as possible.”

    Excellent observation.

    It’s social engineering. It’s interesting that a new paradigm is beginning to form within the global political establishment-a return to protectionist new dealism. It’s as those who had been pushing to knit the garment of global government have realised in their hubris, that they had dropped several stitches which could loosely be referred to ‘as the people’. There has been a sudden reversal of their planned course and an effort to massage the dropped loops back onto the needle-at least in the short term.

    Perhaps I’m feeling in a bit of a conspiracy mood today, but the apparent closeness of the referendum result, mirrors that of Trump win in the USA. I wonder- did we really win, or has this been a constructed reaction to the mood of the people ?

    • Bugle

      The only hope at the moment is Trump – I’m serious.

      • Nockian

        He’s for the same kind of ‘big society’ thinking that blights all governments that are focused on social management. Anyone professing to the ideology of ‘making things better’ or ‘making America great’ is stuck in an altruistic thought field.

        Until we grasp that we are ALL naturally selfish and no amount of social manipulation will improve on the basic design of an individual engaged in their desire to achieve happiness by gaining/keeping value, then we are doomed to repeat an endless cycle of insanity.

        Laura made an excellent observation, that it is our desire about family structures, but we should see that it isn’t ‘per se’ about families, that no well meaning institution is capable of creating families through policy-that is the thinking of King Canute.

        Society is a network of individuals following their lives as an end in itself. We need a certain number of basic rules to create a civilised society by guarding against those who would try to gain values which they have not earned and that’s all we need. Government needs to be delimited to the function of providing law, defence and justice towards those ends and only those ends, it should have no place in anything beyond that function.

        • Bugle

          I agree with your main points, but I don’t think Donald Trump is an interventionist or a social engineer. I think he intends to make America great through capitalism and patriotism. I hope he succeeds, but even if he doesn’t his anti-globalism is a healthy challenge to the left.

          • Nockian

            The central plank in Trumps policies are ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ which is one of those totemic incantations that few ever question. Capitalism isn’t about ‘jobs’ but a march towards ever increasing productivity through the profit motive and not government policies of threat, subsidy or tarrifs.

            Trump is not for laissez faire capitalism, he wants to make deals which benefit the USA, but inevitably this will create stagnation in the long term even if it improves things in the long term. He is for expansion of public spending for infrastructure which is continuity Keynesianism that even Obama carefully avoided by quietly instituting fiscal limits whilst promoting crony corporatism.

            Trump has already claimed the massive financial bubble that has put 20 trillion of debt onto US tax payers as his own creation. At first he condemned the bubble, but now he sees it as a sign his policies are a positive. I see the same mistake being made by Brexiteers in the UK who proclaim any positive thing as the result of Brexit and will then find themselves hanging from a noose of their own making.

            I think Trump will be a short term party aboard a sinking ship. For a while their will be great hope of change and even some signs of things improving, but, ultimately, like Brexit, it is not a panacea, the problems can’t be overcome simply by imagining they can be. Wishing something is so, or having a positive belief won’t get a penny earned.

  • The simple, stark and shocking truth is that the political and government machines have failed. Few outside of the M25 were surprised by the Brexit result – disappointed perhaps but, given the preponderance of out placards, not surprised.

    And yet we keep voting for politicians to solve the problems that the political process has created – in the same parties that have all failed for at least three decades.

    Mrs May is simply another lacklustre politician who has confused activity with achievement, sound bites with reality and popularity with respect – and Johnson is no better; Cameron was probably no worse.

    It will end in tears…

  • wisestreligion

    With the first majority Conservative government in 19 years and a collapse in Labour’s poll ratings are we seeing a decisive move to the right in British government policy? Is the overbearing State backing out of areas where it has over-interfered with us? Of course not! Putting aside the one-off instruction from the electorate to government in the Brexit Referendum, that is.

    For some time now the choice for British electors has been between Labour polices implemented by the Labour party or Labour policies implemented by the Conservative party. Cameron and Osborne delighted in political gaming through outflanking Labour. The odds appear to be on Theresa May being heir to Cameron rather than heir to Thatcher.

    So even in office the Conservative party is in effect only the 3rd most powerful institution in the country, behind the opposition Labour party. Top position goes of course to our most powerful institution, the unelected BBC, whose relentless cultural Marxist propaganda sets the long term political landscape which few politicians dare to question.

    • TheRightToArmBears

      The country may have moved to the right, but the Tory party continues to slide to the left.

      • iml2

        The entire political landscape is sliding to the Left, to the point that those of us who endorse the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of Dec 1948 in the aftermath of the worst war in human history, which sets out in simple terms the minimums that every human being on planet Earth should be entitled are insulted and vilified as “far right”. The Conservatives have sold out.

  • Jethro Asquith

    Is it not time for a new conservative party? And no, I do not mean UKIP…

    • getahead

      Who then?

      • Jethro Asquith

        Well I did say ‘is it time for a new party’ so obviously the question is pointless as they have not been formed yet

        • iml2

          Well any new party which is formed will suffer the same abuse and character assassination that UKIP and Farage have suffered, so what’s the point?
          The entire apparatus of a defective Democracy will pull al the stops to destroy it.
          There is no point in another Party apart from UKIP, they will simply suffer thae same fate and divide any opinion which does not conform to the required belief.
          This is a farm and we are the livestock./

        • getahead

          So we’ll settle for ‘don’t know’ then.

    • Jethro Asquith wrote:

      Is it not time for a new conservative party?

      No. It is time to stop thinking as a party animal and start thinking independently. Start looking for, or even better creating or joining, much smaller parties, groups and networks, and get in touch with anyone intending to stand as an independent in your constituency. If you have no choice, vote but spoil your ballot paper.

      The system will collapse when we stop voting for it and start voting for the alternatives we want.

    • David Marchesi

      What do you mean then ?

  • Mojo

    Fantastic article. I have said for years that Theresa May is a closet socialist and should be honest enough to to join the labour ranks. Her whole background and family are of a strong socialist make up. The Referendum was an instruction from a fundamentally conservative country. I use a small c for conservative because we have something we wish to conserve. For many years we have been a sensible voice in the wilderness. Still we have to fight to conserve our values and democracy because no one in Westminster has understood what the referendum was truly about. Mrs May is now advocating more state interference which means more bureaucracy. So we will have EU socialism carried in UK by a British government!!!!! That is not what our Brexit was about. We want freedom of choice. Freedom to trade. Freedom to live our lives away from bureaucracy. I know she is not the person who will deliver for us. Someone else will come through eventually. I am now wondering though if the Conservatives are the wrong party. We need a completely different outlook and a different way of politics, the civil service and the establishment. A very tall order indeed.

    • Great comment! I was very disturbed by her draconian proposals regarding Counter-Extremism-Legislation as Home Secretary and my fears were confirmed when she used her first speech as PM to say she planned to use her new role to combat inequality. “Inequality” is a socialist euphemism for increasing the size and scope of government to force everyone to be the kind of person progressives like Mrs May wish we all were!

      • iml2

        Ah yes “inequality”, the entire male gender now lives as hostage to the mental health of every woman or child we have ever known. 97% of prison suicides are male, I wonder why? The Left is an infectious disease which can wreck an entire civilization if unchecked.
        Our Government is a travesty and the EU an even worse one

  • Tom B

    It’s classic government spin , they create the problem then offer the solution , I bet they won’t support separated fathers groups .

  • Guardian’s Quitter

    A true Conservative would not need to be reminded that small government is the way forward. It’s one of many reasons why I despise the EU.

  • Andy

    Great article, and you hit the nail on the head. It is the State that has messed up most things particularly health and education. We need to destroy the states monopoly in these areas. We can make a start in changing public attitudes by destroying the BBC.

    • iml2

      A good start

    • Tethys

      The BBC is a vital bulwark against commercial/ proprietorial TV which will lead to a godawful American style landsape, and is not, no not as systematically biased as you need to believe.

      • Bugle

        The BBC is a fountain of wickedness.

        • Tethys

          No, I heard that ‘Fountain of Wickedness’ is actually a new Sky Atlantic fantasty series….starring Trump & Bannon.

  • Superb article! I particularly liked: “Society is made up of the bonds of family, community, citizenship…”. We do not need politicians to tell us about right and wrong or what political and religious convictions we should hold.

    The vast majority of us know that it is wrong to steal, lie or kill and that to get along in a civilised society we should “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”. When considered in light of these universal moral principles government is a shining example of how not to behave – yet most politicians believe they must dictate and enforce morality upon the populace from “on high”.

    • iml2

      Our Criminal Justice system operates in violation of:
      The 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights.
      The EU charter of Human Rights (but so does the EU Court of Human Rights)
      and the 1998 Human Rights Act.
      So no problem really

  • iml2

    Of course one thing our laughable Government is big on, is the wimins victimhood cult. Failure to endorse and believe in the WVC is of course “misogyny” Failure to believe the doctored “statistics” is ignorance, etc. Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it. A simple dictum beyond the intelligence it seems of our leaders.

  • wisestreligion

    Margaret Thatcher: “The basic ties of the family are at the heart of our society and are the very nursery of civic virtue”. The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, thus quoted her in his address at her funeral at St Pauls and he added wisely “Such moral and spiritual capital is accumulated over generations but can be easily eroded.” We are indeed eroding our Christian inheritance, thanks in part to the policies of successive governments as well as to the propaganda of the Liberal media. The time lag in moral and spiritual capital, or the lack of it, showing up in a healthy culture ensures that we have further social decline on its way in the pipeline.

    One would like to imagine that a Conservative government would have the sense to repair the eroded Christian foundations of our culture. Unfortunately it is more likely that Theresa May will follow the Progressive agenda of increasing state interference in pursuit of the new compulsory deity, “Equality”, resulting in further decline in the self-respect and self-reliance of the least well-off and a more multi-cultural, multi-divided society.

  • Nockthesheeple

    Well said.

    But who will save us?

    • It’s very well said.

      Who will save you? You will, or you will not be saved.

      • Nockthesheeple

        I think I was asking who we can vote for.

        Not UKIP. They seem just to be “socialism in one country” types since Farage resigned.

  • Under-the-weather

    An example in the voluntary mental health sector, the MHPF which is already offering short term accommodation to the mentally ill in the community, (but a lot of people don’t even know they exist), maybe that’s because they look for state provision first of all?….http://www.mhpf.org.uk/node/1215

    • Many, perhaps most, NHS GPs, who are the first point of contact for perhaps 99% of the population, are actively hostile to any source of treatment access to which they do not control and while they will happily dole out reams of entirely useless leaflets that state, in terms a retarded five year old could understand, what most of us already know as basic common sense, and dispense with alacrity the often useless products of big pharma, they will react angrily to any suggestion that one can sort oneself out with just a little useful information.

      Remember the responses from medicos when this site took a contrary stance on the issue of doctors’ contractors (why are they allowed to call themselves doctors when few of them are capable of earning a doctorate?)

  • But worse than that is the helplessness and dependence a large State generates among the citizenship.

    Wrong. Worse than that is the active prevention of self-help in those who have not allowed themselves to become dependent upon an overweening and malevolent nanny state.

  • Under-the-weather

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZN7Jv-3uvk
    From Stefan Molyneux blog… worth a listen

  • Tethys

    Close the roads! Empty the Libraries! Disconnect the water!! Eat household rubbish, sleep outside, Farm your window box, sell tickets for doctors, pull your own teeth, barter for education.

    Just don’t tax the tories.

  • Bugle

    Less Europe but more State: we won’t be much further forward.

  • alecto

    We have a female version of Cameron in No. 10. Didnt he promise less government instead he gave us more! She is just as useless as I predicted she would be but I was prepared to give her a chance – 6 months on what has she done?

    • Nockthesheeple

      She has done nothing at all.

  • Dustybookwyrm

    I think that Mrs May is trying to find a way of saying that government’s role, to her, is to actively promote a society made of people who actually value society, rather than being filled with conniving gits who are out to stuff you at the earliest opportunity.

    Which isn’t a bad thing at all (the devil, as always, will be lurking in the detail).

    • Nockthesheeple

      Again, leftist attempts to reform human nature. Never works.