I make no apology for not avoiding a similar post-heading to Guido's; Cameron's speech in Wales is possibly the clearest indication yet that not a gulf but a whole silver sea is now opening up between Brown's bankrupt Statism and the possibility of a real democratic recovery in Britain with the Conservatives. Recent posts below, 'Redwood gets it' and 'Even Heffer gets it', were the latest in a growing number of observations that the Tories are starting to recall their pre-1979 roots.
Cameron's speech is well worth reading in full, HERE. He outlines the problem:
Public faith in our political institutions is draining away.And outlines the solution:
According to MORI, the proportion of people trusting politicians to put the needs of the country before the needs of party halved between 1974 and 1999.
Trust in Parliament fell from 54 per cent in 1983 to 14 per cent in 2000.
Since then it's got even worse.
Our Parliament is scorned.
Our parties are shrinking.
Our membership is ageing.
It's getting harder to find candidates willing to stand in council elections.
As far as the public is concerned, politicians are all the same.
Not because they all say the same thing, but because they all do the same thing.
Let's be clear what they think of us: "you lie and you spin, you fiddle your expenses and you break your promises."
To describe this disengagement and cynicism as a 'mood' is to underestimate both the depth and the intensity of the breakdown in relations between the government and the governed.
Everything we do will be different.And that, in a nutshell, was where Ralph Harris saw the Conservatives starting from in 1979. It didn't work out that way, then; faced with powerful and rich unions, and town halls run by Dave Sparts, Thatcher had no choice but to massively increase central control, not just in government but in the party itself. The Conservative party's loss of over a million members between 1979 and 1997 was mute testament to the 'atomisation', in Cameron's words, that was the direct consequence of this.
Instead of remote control by a central state, schools, hospitals, police forces and councils will be free to set their own priorities, in consultation with the communities they serve.
This isn't so much an ideological shift as a recognition that the culture which justified the old way of running things has changed.
In our private lives and in business we are living in the post-bureaucratic age but the government hasn't caught up.
It's no longer true that the state has all the information and all the capability.
Technology has done the most amazing thing: it has put the facts, and the power to use them, at the disposal of everyone.
People don't have to accept a top-down offer anymore: they can drive their own choices.
I want to see us move from an age of bureaucratic control to an age of individual choice, local control and democratic accountability.
That's the real difference between us and Labour.
They believe in the State. We believe in society.
As Brown also launched his next Five Year Plan to a half-empty hall unappreciative of his exhortations to class war and the joyless New Labour Soviet, even the choreographed spin couldn't disguise whose was empty rhetoric and whose was a real promise of change.