Monday, December 20, 2010

Carrying pictures of Chairman Mao

I think this was one of those concepts that sounded great to a commissioning editor, but didn’t quite stack up when the word processor was fired up and the page was empty.
Chairman Cameron's regime is not a million miles from Mao
Um, really? 
To be fair to the coalition, it is not their ambition to replicate the body count heaped up by the Communist party of China during Mao's lethal reign. Nor does this government share many of the late tyrant's political ends. Yet in its methods, I am increasingly struck by the strange similarities between the regime of Chairman Mao and that of Chairman Cameron.
Now, to back this up Andrew Rawnsley has someone who mentioned a ‘Cultural Revolution’ in the public services, and someone else who said ‘let a thousand flowers bloom’. But he presumably doesn’t feel that two throwaway comments are quite sufficient to justify a comparison between the greatest murderer of the twentieth century and the current Prime Minister, so he delves into what might be called the political meat.  And these are the examples he uses:
The MP for Grantham [Nick Boles] celebrates as "a good thing" the "chaos" that will ensue from ripping up central planning…Ken Clarke challenges two decades of orthodoxy about the criminal justice system. Michael Gove battles the educational establishment to create his "free schools". Iain Duncan Smith has ambitions to be the man who definitively reformed welfare. Chris Huhne is dramatically recasting energy pricing. Nick Clegg wants to rewrite large parts of the constitution. Over at health, Andrew Lansley proposes the greatest upheaval in the NHS since its foundation.
There is a theme running through all these policies (except for energy pricing) and that is the decentralisation of power – the diminution of state control.  Further, they are all very much the creatures of their ministers – another aspect of Cameron’s Government is that he is not an omnipresent leader, seeking to cast his imprint on every feature of it.  Rawnsley’s article paints an interesting picture of a Government determined to devolve power away from the centre wherever possible, and of a Government that is far less dependent on the form of its leader than either of its predecessors.
And so, in the most surprising discovery about this coalition, we find we are governed by Maoists.
Rawnsley has managed to write a proposition and a rebuttal of this argument within the same article.


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