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)