Let the best man Win

by David Moss

May 2009


Cast your mind back two years to Oliver Letwin's article in the Times, 'Cameron raises his standard in the battle of ideas'. Mr Letwin said that Cameron Conservatism relies on a framework theory of the modern state, according to which one job of the government is "to establish a framework of support and incentive that enables and induces individuals and organisations to act in ways that fulfil not merely their own self-interested ambitions but also their wider social responsibilities".

There is an obvious problem here. Who is to decide what our "wider social responsibilities" are? Mr Letwin clearly thinks that it's a job for the government. The MPs' expenses scandal puts paid to that notion. Why should we follow the dictates of a Conservative policy director who charges the public to mend a leak under his tennis court?

There is equally no reason why we should take a moral lead from a Labour Home Secretary who pretends that a rented room is her primary home so that she can claim tens of thousands of pounds on her real primary home.

The correct answer to Mr Letwin's question is that society decides, not the government. Society obviously decided that it had no insurmountable objections to abortion or to homosexuality and so David Steel's laws have worked. By contrast, society decided that it was jolly well going to smoke dope and go hunting, never mind how many pointless laws the government drafts banning these pursuits. When it comes to a contest, society wins and the government is powerless – just ask Beverley Hughes how she got on with her struggle against teenage hormones.

It is presumably a socialist belief that governments are responsible for our morals and it is understandable, therefore, that the Labour party should make that mistake. It is incomprehensible what the Conservative party is doing embracing this nonsense. Mr Cameron had better call in the plumbers. There's something dicky with his framework.

David Moss has spent six years campaigning against the Home Office's ID card scheme.

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