Saturday, May 13, 2006


The Vacuousness Of Politicians' Moral Leadership

Sorry for the absence, and the political content of the following - I'll try and have something a bit more fun up tomorrow.

In the meantime, consider the following news story.

BBC News: 'BHS Boss In Cameron Clothes Row'

'One of Britain's best-known businessmen has attacked David Cameron after the Tory leader accused him of selling a "creepy" line of children's clothes.'

'BHS boss Philip Green told the BBC News website it was "bizarre" Mr Cameron had chosen to criticise the products as they were withdrawn three years ago.'

'Mr Cameron mentioned the Little Miss Naughty underwear line as an example of the way sex was used to sell products.'

'But Mr Green said the line had been dropped as inappropriate and "burnt".'

On one level, it would be nice if I could just dismiss this as irrelevant political bombast, and an attempt to connect with the 'Middle England' voters the Conservatives lost years ago. However, as is pointed out here, in an extremely sensible post, it is impossible to separate the views of Cameron the man and Cameron the politician, and in the guise of the latter, he is expressing not just disapproval but official disapproval of parents choosing to buy 'sexy' clothes for primary-school age children. As it happens, I personally wouldn't buy clothes like that for my daughter (if I had one), but crucially, I don't believe it should be a matter to be decided by the state.

This is fundamentally the problem with the Conservative party - that, deep down, they pander in more or less the same way to the same moralising, and indeed controlling, instinct that the Labour party do. It is a tired and formulaic observation to make that Britain is as far as it ever was from having a truly libertarian party, and the Conservatives under Cameron show no signs of changing. They're always seen as the party in favour of the free market, yet whenever they smell the chance to take a 'moral' stand, they are as against it as anybody else. Consider. Or. Just for starters.

The truth of the matter is that, in cases like this, the market will simply produce the 'right' result. The handful of parents who want to dress their daughters like hookers will be able to, and everyone else will form pressure groups, write to bosses, suggest boycotts, and eventually the clothes will either be withdrawn or not, based upon the commercial evaluation the company will make - and, crucially - all without the intervention of the state.

i suggest you watch South Park 812 "stupid spoiled whore video playset"
in fact I'll show it to you at some point.
It is about this sort of thing and is far more incisive than I can ever hope to be.
it doesn't have anything to do with Dave though.
or Phillip Green.
In fact, it's about Paris Hilton.
I'll come around yours and watch it on Tuesday then, after squash.
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