Was suggested by an interesting recent Guardian (or perhaps it was Observer?) article – anyway it is here, by Nick Cohen. It encompasses public health, obesity and diet – about which he is at one with ProgressivePulse – by way of the Dimbleby Food report.
Henry Dimbleby is apparently another Old Etonian, who seemed to treat food poverty as a distinct condition but, as the article makes clear:
Jay Rayner, the Robespierre of radical restaurant critics, roared there is no such thing as food poverty, there’s only poverty.
And yet, even with a fairly softly spoken and ‘one of us’ Dimbleby report recommendations, offering:
[The] Tories the chance to modify rather than overthrow their beliefs.
They have actually sat on the report for six months at least.
The article points out:
Throughout its history, the Conservative party has survived by making concessions to shifting times the better to ensure that it stayed in control of change. “Tory men, Whig measures”, as Disraeli put it.
Now it cannot adapt or concede.
So they current lot have such Thatcherite religious fervour that they witter on about the horrors of the ‘Nanny State’ when at least one of their number still has an actual nanny!
Whilst Nick Cohen may be right to suggest that:
there is a long tradition of leftwingers worrying about the middle classes telling the working classes what to do.
I have to ask who or where is the working class now? (As, even John Prescott quipped how he was now middle class like everyone else – because he kept his coal not in the bath but the bidet.) These days, with the enormous price of even ordinary housing and the inadequate social safety net, almost anyone can actually end up on the streets.
Conservatives can see the world Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan created collapsing.
I’d say it has already collapsed, but Conservatives either refuse to or cannot bring themselves to acknowledge it.
When, as reported in today’s Times, the National Audit Office says:
What we have found by auditing government’s work is that many of the interventions carried out by government are either not evaluated robustly or not evaluated at all. This means government is not learning from its successes or failures, and has little information in most policy areas on what difference is made by the billions of pounds being spent.
We know that the national debt or its servicing is not really the thing keeping the Chancellor up at night, it is, rather, flailing around trying to keep the Tory given world view in tact.
This encourages me to think that they well realise where money comes from – if it were so limited as they are always telling us, why would they not be keeping better controls – even if only to find out what works best?
Apart from a healthy dose of corruption and self-interest, they are rather I think, simply trying to find the correct narrative for their neoliberal view.
At best, Conservatives will the ends but not the means.
They seem to know that they want to prevent climate heating and that people should probably be properly fed but not how to reconcile that with the neoliberal narratives which suggest, keeping the cost of debt servicing down is vital, budgets should balance, markets reign supreme, the state should get out of our lives and all the other discredited mumbo-jumbo that has been proved inoperable for more than a decade now.
It is upsetting to Conservatives and they just cannot understand it – it is simply a threat to their world.
Or as Nick Cohen puts it:
The 21st century baffles them.