« Recessions kill (some) | Main | Arguing for co-ops I: growth »

October 02, 2008


Bob B

The implications of this quote from that piece by Oakshott seem pretty definitve to me:

"The disposition to be conservative is, then, warm and positive in respect of enjoyment, and correspondingly cool and critical in respect of change and innovation: these two inclinations support and elucidate one another."

If so, one thing is now very clear in retrospect: all those folks who insisted that Mrs T was no Conservative were absolutely correct. Think of it - the innovative policy of selling the family silver!


Well if character and judgement are what's required - some of the most horrid people in politics are to be found in their ranks. And some of the biggest lacks of judgement too (recent sackings due to racist comments of some of DCs shadow front bench). And they have tory councillors who are more anti-business than union leaders!

Remember Dame Shirley Porter eh - what character and judgement! kicking out council tenants and selling their homes to increase tory votes! that's the tories I remember. Scumbags.

Elton John supported the conservatives - need I say more?!

Maybe by character he means cold showers and being beaten by prefects at Eton!

Joe Otten

I thought Cameron was wearing a pretty vacant look when he talked about character and judgement. He knows there is nothing unusual about either his character or his judgement.


So this is where the last three lefties outside of the cabinet are hanging out...

Is there a point to all the Dave bashing? Do you think it will make one iota of difference. As soon as there is an election the Labour party are history. Get used to it guys!



I think the remark about appearing to do something particularly typifies the more recent Labour administrations. Except unfortunately they have also actually done some things. Like selling the gold, undoing our rebate to the EU,giving away our sovereignty, and destroying what remains of British Business with H&SE

Dr Dan H.

Previous behaviour is a good predictor of future behaviour. Gordon Brown got us into this nasty situation through his behavioural traits of over-regulation and over-spending. Whatever his experience may be, I do not think that retaining an individual with a proven record of economic imbecility and crap decisions is a good idea.

Bob B

I do so love all this stuff about character and judgement.

What do we make of a deputy prime minister who stuffs his hand up the skirt of his appointment's secretary.

And what do we make of this?

"David Blunkett's former lover Kimberly Quinn hails from Los Angeles but has been working in publishing in the UK since the 1980s. Her three-year affair with the former home secretary ended in acrimony, including allegations he abused his position to help her former nanny acquire two different visas. Mrs Quinn began a relationship with the minister, 57, less than three months into her second marriage, to millionaire Vogue publisher Stephen Quinn."

Btw when I next go to see a consultant at the local hospital on a personal healthcare issue, I must remember to ask whether he or she has the necessary character and judgement for the job.


I have some sympathy with the argument that good judgment is a primary qualification for senior ministers. Technical skills are useful, but not if they create a micro management culture. We need ministers with enough technical skills and enough judgment to pick subordinates to do the job; with enough judgment to determine whether a role is best performed by government, private enterprise or voluntarily.

David Cameron falls short of the mark on both attributes. His personal conduct at Carlton TV, "that nasty little secret", surely disqualifies him from public office.

Bob B

Well, Charlieman, that's all news to me.

What exactly is David Cameron's "nasty little secret"? Please, tell us all, do.

"We need ministers with enough technical skills and enough judgment to pick subordinates to do the job"

C'mon. It was Gordon who was bragging that he'd abolished "boom and bust".

The housing bubble in Britain was due to Gordon.

Back in 2002:

"CHARLES GOODHART, a former member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee, warned yesterday that the Bank is failing to take sufficient account of the house price boom in setting interest rates.

"His warning comes amid growing fears among economists that house prices, fuelled by the lowest interest rates for 38 years, are getting out of control. Yesterday, new figures showed that homeowners are borrowing record amounts against the rising value of their homes. . . "

And what did Gordon Brown do? As Chancellor in December 2003, he went and relaxed the inflation target remit to the Bank of England - against the advice of the Bank - by redefining the target in terms of the CPI instead of the RPIX, a more broadly based price index which included house prices when the CPI doesn't. The two price indices have diverged since, according to the ONS.

Gordon's just another phoney - on the evidence.


@Bob B: Who is Cameron? Try this article.

Quote: Mr Cameron spent seven years at Carlton, as head of corporate communications, travelling the world with the firm's boss Michael Green, who has described him as "board material".

"I tried to persuade him that he could have a really good career in industry, but he was completely resolute about going back to politics, and I respected him for that. He's good, he's the real McCoy," Mr Green told The Independent.

But Mr Cameron's period at Carlton is not remembered so fondly by some of the journalists who had to deal with him.

Jeff Randall, writing in The Daily Telegraph where he is a senior executive, said he would not trust Mr Cameron "with my daughter's pocket money".

"To describe Cameron's approach to corporate PR as unhelpful and evasive overstates by a widish margin the clarity and plain-speaking that he brought to the job of being Michael Green's mouthpiece," wrote the ex-BBC business editor.

"In my experience, Cameron never gave a straight answer when dissemblance was a plausible alternative, which probably makes him perfectly suited for the role he now seeks: the next Tony Blair," Mr Randall wrote.

Sun business editor Ian King, recalling the same era, described Mr Cameron as a "poisonous, slippery individual". [Ends]

Your criticism of Gordon Brown is fine by me. He is a centralist and a micro manager who displays poor judgment in his ministerial offices. John Prescott and David Blunkett have displayed poor judgment in their private lives, but that is independent of their poor judgment as ministers. When we seek character and judgment in politicians, we should only look at their public conduct in politics and at work.

Dr. Glenn

Gordon Brown spent too long chipping away at TB and his administration, not enough time learning how to by PM!


Congrats, Dillowbert, on the brilliant foresight of raising this topic in Mandleson week.

Bob B

Well, I'm still unclear about why exactly we should be downbeat about David Cameron.

OK, he went to Eton but as I've often posted here, the maintained grammar school down the road, which my son attended, got better A-level results in 2007 than Eton and there's another maintained boys school, also within walking distance of where I sit, which got even better A-level results. All true and verifiable. Both schools send steady streams of lads up to the best unis.

Compare that with Gordon Brown's masterstroke of incompetence. In 2007, in his last year as Chancellor, he abolished the lower 10p rate of income tax. So much for his supposed concern about the less well-off. Gordon Brown is a phoney.

Bob B

In case you miss this news item:

"Ministers are considering spending up to £12 billion on a database to monitor and store the internet browsing habits, e-mail and telephone records of everyone in Britain."

As Dr Gobbels used to say: Those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear.


The problem with voting for policies rather than personalities is that on almost any question of political policy you can always find many expert intelligent people arguing for both sides and reaching no conclusion. What this tells us is that almost no political questions are resolvable by itelligent debate or analysis. Once you recognise the hopelessness of deciding on a policy, all that is left to make your decision on is the character of the individual you are voting for.

Bob B

"What this tells us is that almost no political questions are resolvable by itelligent debate or analysis. . . Once you recognise the hopelessness of deciding on a policy, all that is left to make your decision on is the character of the individual you are voting for. "

I really cannot accept that claim with all that it entails.

On the notion that the (ignorant) masses are all motivated by irrational impulses and need to be led by an elite, try the BBC doc by Adam Curtis: The Century of the Self:

I believe that in the end, rational analysis and having regard to the research evidence pays off but, admittedly, we may take a long time getting there. As so often, Keynes had something illuminating to say about the issue:

"the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas. Not, indeed, immediately, but after a certain interval; for in the field of economic and political philosophy there are not many who are influenced by new theories after they are twenty-five or thirty years of age, so that the ideas which civil servants and politicians and even agitators apply to current events are not likely to be the newest. But, soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil."

The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Blog powered by Typepad