“Cartoonish” Cameron the “confused social democrat”

David Cameron has been described as "cartoonish" and a "confused social democrat" by the men who plucked his "philosopher-king" Philip Blond from obscurity.

The men who plucked Cameron’s “philosopher-king“, Philip Blond, from obscurity have rounded on the Tory leader for the “cartoonish depiction of the state” in his party conference speech and for being a “confused social democrat”.

Demos Director Richard Reeves and Chair of Trustees Philip Collins have used their sharp pens in Prospect to criticise David Cameron’s approach to tackling inequality. In the current edition, out today, they write:

“Cameron’s new ‘egalitarian’ platform is full of holes…

“He is signing himself up to Labour-style poverty and inequality measures, even as he rejects Labour-style redistribution. In other words, he is setting his own big trap, and trotting gamely towards it.”

Reeves took over at Demos in September 2008 and quickly launched their Progressive Conservatism project at an event which featured speeches from both David Cameron and Philip Blond. Blond left Demos in June citing “political and philosophical differences” to set up his own think tank ResPublica but the programme continued under the leadership of former Conservative party policy advisor Jonty Olliff-Cooper. Philip Collins is a former speech writer to Tony Blair who fell out of favour with the Government after the publication of a June 2008 article for Prospect titled ‘Liberalise or die‘.

The article in the current edition of Prospect goes on to say:

“the best counter to Cameron did come from Labour’s Liam Byrne, whose speech on the ‘smarter state’ to the Institute for Government in November argued that countries with ‘big’ civil societies almost never had smaller states. Even within the US, liberal Minnesota has higher spending, and more civic engagement, than conservative Mississippi.”

This blog has previously outlined the problems with David Cameron’s selective approach to poverty and inequality.

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25 Responses to ““Cartoonish” Cameron the “confused social democrat””

  1. Swagata

    No one seems to know who Cameron is. An old-school patrician one-nation Tory, a free-market Thatcherite or a clone of New Labour’s Blair who says different things to different audiences?

    But the piece above in Prospect rings loud with the sound of axe-grinding from Demos, they seem upset that Blond left them and is now getting all the attention from the Conservatives. Maybe Respublica will get some juicy “research” contracts under a Cameron government instead of Demos?

    The sad fact is that whilst Cameron has a “selective approach to poverty and inequality”, so does the government. It slashed capital gains tax to boost the private equity industry, as the TUC famously pointed out an asset stripper pays less in income tax than his cleaner thanks to Gordon Brown (bankrolled in his leadership bid by Sir Ronald Cohen, the head of one of the UK’s largest takeover houses). Income inequality in Britain is at an all-time high since records began in 1961.

  2. Anon E Mouse

    Cameron is too much like Blair for my liking. Both public school educated people who have never done a single days real work in their lives. Same with Brown and Co.

    When will the public in this country stop supporting these career politicians from all sides of politics?

    When will they elect people who have actually done some work outside the Westminster bubble?

  3. Liz

    Anon – if I recall correctly from previous posts, you admitted that you voted for Blair each time – did you have a different view of him them?

  4. Roger

    Unlike the Tories I have not seen any analysis of how many Labour cabinet members were privately educated.

    Certainly Darling (Loreto), Harman (St Pauls) and Balls (Nottingham High – a mere day school) were.

    The lack of any other examples cited in the Tory press suggests that there are not that many more.

    A new report from Plymouth University academics (AFAICS not available online) suggests that in 2010 the percentage of successful new Labour entrants to Parliament from private schools will be 14% – which is not exactly a majority – and I suspect that if there is a Tory landslide it will be rather less.

    As for the Tories I actually find the state school contingent in the shadow cabinet (Grant Shapps for instance) even more terrifying than the Old Etonians – who as children of privilege might prove marginally less ideologically fixated on free markets.

  5. Anon E Mouse

    Roger – The top list is privately educated Labour MP’s and below are Grammar educated – the schools Labour hate so much.

    I can accept that these people had no choice where they were educated but if they themselves also send their own kids it’s true double standards.

    Ed Balls (Morley and Outwood)
    Hugh Bayley (City of York)
    Hilary Benn (Leeds Central)
    Bob Blizzard (Waveney)
    Chris Bryant (Rhondda)
    Stephen Byers (North Tyneside)
    Charles Clarke (Norwich South)
    Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley)
    Jim Cousins (Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central)
    Alistair Darling (Edinburgh South West)
    Quentin Davies (Grantham and Stamford)
    Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside)
    Natascha Engel (North East Derbyshire)
    Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent Central)
    Barry Gardiner (Brent North)
    Linda Gilroy (Plymouth Sutton)
    Paul Goggins (Wythenshawe and Sale East)
    Peter Hain (Neath)
    Patrick Hall (Bedford and Kempston)
    Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East)
    Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham)
    John Healey (Wentworth)
    Margaret Hodge (Barking)
    Geoff Hoon (Ashfield)
    Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley)
    Tessa Jowell (Dulwich and West Norwood)
    Sally Keeble (Northampton North)
    Ruth Kelly (Bolton West)
    Jim Knight (South Dorset)
    Ivan Lewis (South Bury)
    Martin Linton (Battersea)
    Ian Lucas (Wrexham)
    Denis MacShane (Rotherham)
    Fiona Mactaggart (Slough)
    Judy Mallaber (Amber Valley)
    John Mann (Bassetlaw)
    Rob Marris (Wolverhampton South West)
    Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South)
    Bob Marshall-Andrews (Medway)
    Michael Meacher (Oldham West and Royton)
    Chris Mole (Ipswich)
    Julie Morgan (Cardiff North)
    Doug Naysmith (Bristol North West)
    Nick Palmer (Broxtowe)
    Gordon Prentice (Pendle)
    James Purnell (Stalybridge and Hyde)
    Nick Raynsford (Greenwich and Woolwich)
    Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West)
    Andrew Slaughter (Ealing, Acton and Shepherd’s Bush)
    John Spellar (Warley)
    Phyllis Starkey (Milton Keynes South West)
    Howard Stoate (Dartford)
    Gavin Strang (Edinburgh East)
    Mark Todd (South Derbyshire)
    Kitty Ussher (Burnley)
    Keith Vaz (Leicester East)
    Malcolm Wicks (Croydon North)
    Michael Wills (Swindon North)
    Rosie Winterton (Doncaster Central)
    Shaun Woodward (St Helens South)

    And Grammar school educated – the schools Labour hate so much:

    Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington)
    Nick Ainger (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire)
    Graham Allen (Nottingham North)
    David Anderson (Blaydon)
    Janet Anderson (Rossendale and Darwen)
    Hilary Armstrong (North West Durham)
    Charlotte Atkins (Staffordshire Moorlands)
    John Austin (Erith and Thamesmead)
    Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West)
    Vera Baird (Redcar)
    Margaret Beckett (Derby South)
    Stuart Bell (Middlesbrough)
    Roger Berry (Kingswood)
    Liz Blackman (Erewash)
    Hazel Blears (Salford)
    David Borrow (South Ribble)
    Karen Buck (Regent’s Park and Kensington North)
    Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield)
    Colin Burgon (Elmet)
    Alan Campbell (Tynemouth)
    Martin Caton (Gower)
    Colin Challen (Morley and Rothwell)
    Ben Chapman (Wirral South)
    David Chaytor (Bury North)
    Paul Clark (Gillingham)
    Vernon Coaker (Gedling)
    Ann Coffey (Stockport)
    Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire)
    Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North)
    David Crausby (Bolton North East)
    Tony Cunningham (Workington)
    Janet Dean (Burton)
    Andrew Dismore (Hendon)
    Frank Dobson (Holborn and St. Pancras)
    Jeffrey Ennis (Barnsley East and Mexborough)
    Bill Etherington (Sunderland North)
    Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
    Frank Field (Birkenhead)
    Michael Foster (Hastings and Rye)
    Hywel Francis (Aberavon)
    Bruce George (Walsall South)
    Neil Gerrard (Walthamstow)
    Mark Hendrick (Preston)
    John Heppell (Nottingham East)
    Stephen Hesford (Wirral West)
    Patricia Hewitt (Leicester West)
    Keith Hill (Streatham)
    Kate Hoey (Vauxhall)
    Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North)
    Kim Howells (Pontypridd)
    Beverley Hughes (Stretford and Urmston)
    John Hutton (Barrow and Furness)
    Eric Illsley (Barnsley Central)
    Glenda Jackson (Hampstead and Highgate)
    Alan Johnson (Hull West and Hessle)
    Diana Johnson (Hull North)
    Martyn Jones (Clwyd South)
    Gerald Kaufman (Manchester Gorton)
    Barbara Keeley (Worsley)
    Alan Keen (Feltham and Heston)
    Stephen Ladyman (South Thanet)
    Tony Lloyd (Manchester Central)
    Andrew MacKinlay (Thurrock)
    Christine McCafferty (Calder Valley)
    Sarah McCarthy-Fry (Portsmouth North)
    John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington)
    Tony McNulty (Harrow East)
    Alun Michael (Cardiff South and Penarth)
    Austin Mitchell (Great Grimsby)
    Madeleine Moon (Bridgend)
    Kali Mountford (Colne Valley)
    Denis Murphy (Wansbeck)
    Edward O’Hara (Knowsley South)
    James Plaskitt (Warwick and Leamington)
    Greg Pope (Hyndburn)
    Stephen Pound (Ealing North)
    Joan Ruddock (Lewisham Deptford)
    Christine Russell (City of Chester)
    Martin Salter (Reading West)
    Alison Seabeck (Plymouth Devonport)
    Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)
    Siôn Simon (Birmingham Erdington)
    Alan Simpson (Nottingham South)
    Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)
    Andrew Smith (Oxford East)
    John Smith (Vale of Glamorgan)
    Peter Soulsby (Leicester South)
    Helen Southworth (Warrington South)
    Jack Straw (Blackburn)
    Gerry Sutcliffe (Bradford South)
    David Taylor (North West Leicestershire)
    Stephen Timms (East Ham)
    Paddy Tipping (Sherwood)
    Jon Trickett (Hemsworth)
    Des Turner (Brighton Kemptown)
    Neil Turner (Wigan)
    Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent North)
    Alan Whitehead (Southampton Test)
    Alan Williams (Swansea West)
    Mike Wood (Batley and Spen)
    Phil Woolas (Oldham East and Saddleworth)
    Tony Wright (Cannock Chase)
    Derek Wyatt (Sittingbourne and Sheppey)

    And people wonder why Labour are despised so much in the country…

  6. Liz

    Anon – not that list again… what does it prove?

  7. Henry

    Who cares where politicians were educated? Roosevelt & Kennedy had an elite education & came from wealthy families, as did Atlee – & they were some of the best progressive leaders of the last century.

    What matters is what politicans do. Do they just look after the interests of their own sort or genuinely try to improve the lot of ordinary people?

  8. Liz

    Henry – I couldn’t agree with you more! Music to my ears!!

    Tony Benn is quite a bit of an old leftie and look at his background and it works the other way too – just because you go to state school (especially ones that are deemed by media as underperforming inner city schools) etc doesn’t guarantee that pupils become flag waving socialists!

  9. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – Roger asked for a list – that’s why I posted it.

    What it proves is that it is crass and dishonest for this government to launch a class attack on the Tory Party when they themselves are exactly the same. No one should be judged on their class.

    I agree whole heartedly with Henry and since you say it is “Music to your ears!!” it does appear, much as I didn’t think it was possible, that you and I are in agreement on something.

    A good day all round then. (I’m not being sarcastic Liz).

  10. Liz McShane

    Anon- I still don’t see the point of publishing a list of grammar & private schools attended by some Labour MPs when it was their parents who made the decision re choice of schools and not some 11 year old. Obviously it is a totally different matter when Labour MPs make a controversial choice and send their kids to fee-paying/private/public schools when they say they are passionate and committed to state education. Bust as I said before controversial as the decision is – The Daily Mail etc al will be the first to condemn them whatever they do – if they send their kids to what is seen as an underperforming school they will be condemned for sacrificing their kid’s for eduction political motives/ideology.

  11. Henry

    Hey, an outbreak of consensus (almost). Must be Christmas or something.

  12. Anon E Mouse

    Henry – You may have spoke too soon I fear…

    Liz – I don’t want to see under performing schools, by whatever measure it is decreed they are. I want school standards raised to educate our children properly.

    The reason for the list is simple. That useless PM, Gordon Brown, makes reference to the educational backgrounds of members of the Tory party as a slight on their characters.

    That is hypocritical when the list of Labour MP’s in the same position are studied. The point is that if class is bad for Tory MP’s, why is it not bad for Labour MP’s?

    It’s either bad or it’s not – it can’t be both…

  13. Liz McShane

    Anon- i think it is still valid to touch on the whole issue of class and privilege and values. I might not be working class technically but i still espouse the values of it and the values and motives for the emergence of the labour party in the first place.

    Also i am truly intrigued by your relationship/ attitude to the labour party. In some of your posts you talk about it with some posts you talk about it in a rather detached manner as well as vitriolic and in others you refer to it in a more inclusive way ( even sounding as if you are embracing it) by using the first person plural ie ‘us’.

  14. Liz McShane

    Apologies for repeating part of a sentence. I haven’t quite mastered the art of writing on an iphone on the bus!

  15. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – Glad to see you’re taking the bus woman and not polluting the planet in a car.

    My problem is I still think of “us” as in I am a Labour voter traditionally but I cannot vote for them at the moment, not since Brown bullied his way into the PM’s job.

    I always voted Blair although I am now hyper critical of his privileged background since Labour has gone onto a silly class attack.

    Personally I would consider myself middle class now, although I was born working class and although I could afford a private education for them and as a single father it would have been easier, I sent my daughters to the local comprehensive.

    Certainly my lifestyle would now be described as middle class although I have an inbuilt affinity with people less fortunate than myself and that’s why I feel the Labour Party have really let people down.

    You said previously that Labour had done a lot but to me that was all in the first term. You also (as I remember) used the word timidity as well (and on that I fully agree) yet I don’t know why they were.

    Basically we blew it. Lisbon I would have voted against but the case should have been made and I know a lot of Tories who like Matthew Paris, would have voted “Yes”. Labour should have gone for it – it was in the manifesto, it was a pledge and promises should be kept. There is no excuse.

    You mention some of my posts as being vitriolic but that’s my exasperation at the lack of activity from the activists on this site who sit back waiting for opposition.

    My comments prickle you because you are (imo) an idealist and the criticism hurts you (I get that Liz and no offence is intended). Your loyality, although misguided (imo)is something admirable though and I feel you should grit your teeth next year and prepare for opposition.

    Cameron is going to drift into office with no pledges or anything promised to break I’m afraid and it will be Labours fault he wins.

  16. Will Straw

    Hey Anon,

    How do you know how much activity the activists for Labour, Lib Dem or Green who write on this blog are putting in? My guess is more than you think.

    All the best,


  17. Anon E Mouse

    Will – My point is you’re not doing it properly and you’re going to lose the next election big time by being active in the wrong places.

    You need to be inclusive like Blair but you’re not being and I don’t know why – especially you personally Will. The reason Blair was so successful was Mondeo Man / Worcester Woman – whatever, he just got it and Labour no longer does.

    You need to be smarter – not in a Clinton third way thing though – this blog is beginning to buzz now – try to get more people onside rather than alienate them.

    The blogs getting good though dude – I always used to start with Guido then Iain Dale then here. I start here first now and I’m not alone.

    I’ve said it before – if this post seems too personal to you Will just delete it, I won’t be offended.

    Take care fella.

  18. Liz McShane

    Anon – thanks for being candid and understanding. I am quite realistic about the outcome at the next general election although still an optimistic at hear. Just hope it’s not 3 terms of Tory government though.

    p.s I always take the bus (never got to pass my driving test – probably for the best although I will be joining Peter Mandelson soon as I am awaiting the delivery of a Brompton bike!

  19. Liz McShane

    Anon – why don’t you give it one more go if you really don’t want a Tory government. The Labour Party is still a very broad church and maybe your views and activity might be very timely and well received and the spur that it needs!

  20. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – I just want a government that represents what people want and sticks to it’s pledges regardless of the popularity hit they will take.

    I just cannot stand Cameron – too smooth for me, not blunt enough.

    Just retake your driving test Liz – those electric cars will be the rage in London soon and you can avoid the congestion charge if you drive one.

    I have to drive 16 miles to work and once the prices on electrics are down I will get one myself – I hate the pollution from petrol, it’s nothing to do with that Global Warming religion.

    The Labour Party is a broad church I agree. On Tuesday I was having a drink with a guy who had worked with Derek Hatton many years ago and he now votes Lib Dem (not Deggsy!) so the church is indeed broad.

    In the meantime I have another six days,(twelve hour minimum a day) straight at work so have to head off. Don’t be self employed!

    Have a good day woman and if anything I say offends you it isn’t intentional.

  21. Liz McShane

    Anon – don’t worry – no offence is ever taken. I just truly believe that The Labour Party (forget individuals) still is the best bet for ensuring a more socially just, equal and fair society and I believe in collectivist (ie there is such a thing as society…)style of politics not the I am alright Jack approach).

    Re driving test… not sure.. I grew up in a car-free household (not for any Green reasons) just we didn’t need one and thought could be spent better elsewhere (eg holidays in The South of Ireland) but I think I will stay car-free and carefree!

  22. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – Holidays in the South sound good although currently unemployment is rife over there I’m told.

    My parents are there at the minute for a wedding so I’m sure “drink will be taken” in the way it normally is at those sorts of things.

    A car free household is rare but it must have been a nice childhood I would expect.

    Got to get back to work I’m afraid – on a deadline and it’s freezing here!

  23. Liz McShane

    Anon – family holidays in The South were sometime ago… but when it did start to get expensive The Continent became more of an attractive option not least because of the weather!

    Car free household – yes lots of walking, although I did feel embarrassed when we walked to parents’ evenings at my grammar school as i think we were the only family that didn’t have a car – stupi I know but that’s the kind of place North Down is.

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  25. CrankCase

    The history of the Labour Party is a history of betrayal. They promised socialism, but despite seven post-war Labour governments we are still a backward class-ridden society with not a bit of socialism to show for it. They promised a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty but reneged on that promise after the General Election, even contesting a court case that an individual took in order to attempt to compel them to honour its promise. They’ve encouraged mass immigration, which increases competition for jobs and therefore depresses the wages of the working people they purport to represent; they launch an illegal war in the Middle East – the overall main casualties are working class soldiers; they’ve abused the expenses system, voted to keep details secret, and allowed its MPs to become wealthy at our expense. Even Gordon Brown has been allowed to get away with double flipping his private flat and house, while living grace-and-favour at 10 Downing Street, but even his supposed enemy David Cameron hasn’t made a fuss of this – because Labour and Tories are all part of the same massive con on the British public.

    If anyone had any intelligence they would not vote for any of the two main (corrupt) parties.

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