The Father of Conservatism

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Herein lies the Ghost in the political machine of the Rt. Hon. Edmund Burke. Much like Max Weber arguing with the Ghost of Marx, this blog seeks to make relevant and where appropriate support or reject Burke's 'Reflections' against the backdrop of the disastrous New Labour experiment.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

NHS Debate - In defense of Dan Hannan

A fully functioning NHS in an idealised world is an excellent project and a highly commendable act; however in our fallen world such an aspiration isn’t as clear cut. The American strategy on healthcare is proving to be a hotbed of political consternation on both sides of the Atlantic, not just the political divide!

I can see why the US do not want to see any form of socialised healthcare. It simply isn’t in their constitutional DNA. The view that the State should have any control on the very personal issue of health is a very persuasive philosophical standpoint. However there are always extremes that can be taken too far; the recent debate over the right to die highlights the ethical complications of a legal and political basis for state controlled medical treatment.

On the other hand, I fully agree that the premise that universal health care for all is one that is moral and true. To be able to walk into a hospital or a GPs office and receive treatment without handing over your cash is something everyone should have the right to do. The trickier questions rears its head when people who abuse these privileged - for instance people who are obese or drink too much, or even to an extent the growly population of elderly people placing an economic burden on the rest of the population.

My problem is with the abuse Daniel Hannan is getting, especially from that twat Andy Burnham, who said that Dan is unpatriotic; this is completely uncalled for and utter twaddle. To say Daniel isn’t pro-British is like saying Cricket isn’t a national pastime.

He has single-handedly stood up for the British people against the EU and it’s bureaucratic tentacles, while offering us an alternative vision of parliamentary affairs in his 12 Stage Plan. His patriotism is even reflected in his speeches and the literature he reads - he has a full grasp Shakespeare that he often quotes at lengths during all occasions.

To say that not supporting the NHS’s current state of disarray as unpatriotic implies that the NHS is to make it appear as a part of our British identity and woven into our social fabric. Yes, it is important, but it is hardly the 3 lions on the shirt or the Lord Nelson of the current era. It has become absurdly bureaucratic, while in turn completely unmanageable.

Touching on more personal matters for a moment, the basic human instinct to do whatever it takes to look after your children/spouse/parents when they're sick is hugely important to this debate as it highlights perfectly the lengths people are prepared to go private (or in essence pay over the odds) instead of using the NHS.

It's not immoral or wrong to want our own flesh and blood to live or to get better sooner, if that means paying to be on a shorter waiting list or better care at BUPA then so be it. Yes, the NHS should exist as universal care, but in an unequal life people will go to great depths to ensure personal and family safety it is in our genes to think so.

What we need is the social conditions to save for a rainy day when it comes to healthcare. From an early age if we were encouraged to put money into our own personal health fund knowing realistically that we will need it as we grow old, then when the time comes one has money to spare in order to go private.

The Government could even provide a pension style healthcare system where they pay for example 20% upon your retirement and throughout your own life you stump up the other 80%. If this money was ring-fenced solely for people's health it may well prove money well invested.

The thought now of having a fund for my healthcare, to use when I get older is a comforting idea and one that almost all could experience.

Again, focusing once more on Mr. Hannan's defense, it does appear that people on the Left are playing the man and not the ball or rather a bucket full of ad hominems directed squarely at Daniel. Just because the Left shut down every debate by labelling the smallest dissenter of the NHS as a neo-con bone head doesn't mean the view on offer shouldn't be weighed and viewed like any other argument.

Furthermore, his decision not to tow the party line should be noted as a positive thing (see Paul Goodman on this issue) and Cameron fell into the trap of going all lovie dovie on the NHS again. It needs reform in a drastic way and the only course of action is to tackle the NHS fat controllers head on like Maggie did with the miners. Why should they get paid more than the nurses or the doctors? The system is run like the USSR.

One final point that needs to be cleared up is the mythical gospel that the NHS is in the sole clutches of the Labour Party and they are the ones to defend it. Referring back to an old press cutting from the Telegraph last year I read that William Beveridge, the principle architect of the duly named Beveridge Report was adopted last by the Labour Party and that many on the hard Left showed vehement condemnation of anything resembling the NHS – some claimed it to be 'semi-fascist.

They saw universal welfare as standing in the way of class warfare and thus the end of capitalism. Other socialists derided as the social ambulance scheme – it appeared that they didn't actually care for the proletariat and not for the first time either!

What is also of note is how Beveridge himself wanted a welfare society not a welfare STATE, he sent a two page letter condemning such an idea. His view was that the State should be used as a last resort because it often spent irresponsible and acted to whatever voters demanded to stay in power.

I shall end the post with Beveridges own words: “While there are somethings the State should do, there are many more which should be done in other self-help and by voluntary helping of citizens by another.” Hmmm isn't that pragmatic conservatism?

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

This is what a Feminist looks like?!

Ah Ms Harperson - what will we do with you? Her latest rants on a woman’s place in the world has caused a stir in the papers and the most notable is the work of Janice Turner in the Times supplement.

My take on Harperson’s feminism is that it is retrograde, out-dated marxism. Her drive for egalitarianism, note not actual equality, is based on the foundation that gender parity will be reached through an economic and numeric putsch. A redistribution of wealth or control of the mode and forces of production to fall inline with this worn out socialist narrative. That is why she is wrong.

True equality is something more akin to respect, not figures on a spreadsheet. A man should be able to look at a woman and think of her as an equal, not as something to be used or to be thought less of. It is thus about morality and justice.

Most of my female friends (20 somethings) are no doubt cleverer, more outgoing, more confident and have a greater drive than my male peer group, myself included. So speaking for my generation - Generation Y - girls far outperform boys.

Is there a reason why? Well, the sad thing is the push to equality has led to a severe lack of male role models for boys at school as well as at home. Most recently, the numbers of male primary schools teachers is 1 in 10 and 4 in 10 in secondary schools. Not to mention the surge in absentee fathers. In addition, coursework is favoured over exams , which is shown to suit more girls than it is boys. I do not wish these to sound like excuses, merely that they reflect a skewed gender balance more in line with female strengths.

Turner’s article notes at length the pornification of our culture, which she claims subjugates women further. She is correct.

The cause of such plight is again my bete noir - Liberalism. First allow me to say the idea of female equality is noble and just; however the pursuit of this through Liberal means has proved a disaster, it’s conclusion is the ‘24/7 pleasure-dome of modern youth culture’, as Turner puts it. Women, by seeking to be like men is not equality. The pursuit of drinking way in excess and the poisoned chalice of sexual conquest through one night promiscuity isn’t the glass ceiling women should be looking to break and enter.

Equality should be women having an equal voice to stand up and argue the virtues social decorum, civility, sobriety and fidelity. These traits should be used to make men more equal to women rather than women striving out of a contorted sense of marxist-feminist equality to be more like the stereotyped oppressive all conquering Man.

Turner is right in saying that women of the 00’s have replaced the goal of feminism with narcissism. Debates over enfranchisement have been stifled over talk of shoes, accessories, sex in the city and the latest fake tan. As a man committed to female justice, I love it when I’m on the tube and a woman is reading the Economist or a broadsheet. It makes me want to talk to them about politics, economics, science and social policy as equals.

The problem lies in Liberalism allowing women to think equality means they can do whatever the hell they want, supposedly just like men can. Take the curse of the Nuts and Zoo magazines, they are nothing compared to Hello, OK and Heat - the female counterparts.

The content in them is drivel and doesn’t enhance female freedoms, it compounds them. How is a women meant to find self-worth when she is constantly being told by another woman with an exceedingly low IQ that being skinny is the must have look, or the right fake tan will increase your self confidence. The men in the magazine are barely clothed and offer nothing more than titillation to rival the objectification from the male gaze that women have come to so deplore on Page 3.

Here, so called freedom is just a veil of subjugation - it is a masquerade, nothing more. It is not a woman’s right to act like men, when more often than not male actions are the objectionable acts that true feminism wanted to do away with in the first place. This couldn’t be better conveyed by Turner’s phrase: “Sex used to be something men did to women, today it is perceived as something women perform for men.” Is that the reversal of gender roles that feminists desired?!

Again, the philosophical view of women has clearly not changed, in essence that men use their brains and women use their bodies - logos versus eros. The example used is that lap-dancing clubs are perceived by many young women as being a legitimate source of income and no moral judgement enters the equation. Women as objects is hit home by the borderline unbelievable statistic that more than 25,000 users of Bebo use slut in their users names, or crudely spell out what sort of instantaneous sexual gratification they crave.

Furthermore, Harperson is wrongheaded by using our soundbite-saturated society, by claiming to want a Gender 20 summit to run along aside the ‘male dominated G20’. One, this is completely sexist and divisive. Two, it is the old us and them argument, it causes more struggles than it solves. Three, her utterance that men can’t be left on their own is just plain sexist; if a man said those things about a women he would be socially hung, drawn and quartered. Thus, if women want to be taken seriously then don’t listen to her, she is a relic of marxist thinking, she has nothing new to bring to the table, just like the New Labour facade.

Couple with this, centralised frogmarching of girls into traditional male jobs, isn’t going to breed equality, as it removes freedom of choice. If she doesn’t want to be a builder, don’t force her. So is the EU plan to remove all gendered language from european languages as it is perceived as sexism. This is a waste of our taxes!

As the Conservative knows too well society moves organically and shouldn’t be tampered with by either those who tinker at the centre, or who shout the loudest - as these people are not the defenders of liberty.

Therefore, I propose another word other than equality and that word is balance. Crude equality isn’t some quantitative quest for the same pay or the same hours a man must spend with his child. Realistically, if a woman decided to have children, over time she will earn less than a man, that is not oppression that is just a simple fact. But this does not stop men campaigning for greater paternal leave or fatherhood rights - something I champion to the hilt.

For example, the family chores shouldn’t be divvied up to strict codes, such as equal time changing the nappies or running a bath, but a balance of roles taking on more or less as and when required. If the man is better at disciplining his children then let him get on with the job, if the woman is better at comforting her children, let her - don’t force them to be people they are not.

Traditional values are something not to be sneered at - the nanny shouldn’t be brought in to deal with the trials and tribulations of family life, note nanny refers as much to the State as it does to the child-minder.

Finally, Turner refrains from calling this era retro-sexism, well I challenge her to call it retro-feminism as the ways and means of Ms Harriet Harperson are not the tools to be fighting a woman’s corner in the 21st Century.