Thursday, 15 October 2009

Benedict Brogan's sobering take on Cameron's 'Localism'

There is an irresistible veracity about Benedict Brogan's piece in the Telegraph this morning. Wellington, pitted against Napoleon for the first time at Waterloo, remarked in disappointment 'So he's nothing but a slogger after all'; the same old French tactics of attack by infantry column seen off by the same old British line. Today we have to anticipate saying of Cameron 'So he's nothing but a party hack after all'.

For every high-profile and well publicised open primary, there seem to be five seats reserved for Cameron's patronage alone. The Buggin's Turn system of highly rewarded Quango appointments looks ready to replace Labour placemen with Conservative placemen. Third rate Labour peers in the Lords can look forward to being augmented by third rate Conservative peers.

Whilst it's quite right that Labour apparatchiks such as Suzi Leather are sacked, it's clearly not right that they should be immediately replaced with Conservative apparatchiks - yet the temptation for Cameron to do so appears irresistible.

Perhaps between now and next May Mr Cameron can tell me why I, who will gain nothing from Conservative patronage, should vote to enable him to dispense it to others.


Nick Drew said...

of Cameron 'So he's nothing but a party hack after all'

or: a man approaching power with only so many levers to pull and the most monumental task ahead

when Wellington approached any field of battle, he held the reins tightly and delegated few major decisions

localism can contribute to diversification, innovation, encouragement of engagement, the gaiety of the nation, and arguably, ultimately, a certain kind of stability, resilience and (for some people) psychological satisfaction

perhaps in the long run it even compensates for some fairly gross inefficiencies and injustices which will often result, at least initially

but when confronted with urgent mega-tasks, it offers as much as would forming company-level committees on the battlefield

a happy and well-led platoon is a wonderful thing, and exactly what every regiment wants: but it isn't usually expected to decide its own disposition - or grow its own rations - in a fast-moving campaign

Blue Eyes said...

ND, that is exactly the kind of argument that Heath and Thatch used to justify every flavour of centralisation which has got us into exactly the mess that Cam now has to get us out of.

Ultimately, having all the levers at the centre means that the person pulling the levers has to know more than everyone else in the country. And look what happens when they don't.