Over on Compass the far left , in the person of David Baines are ,as usual , telling us we ought be Swedish , Danish or at any rate Scandinavian. ......
World Values Survey conducted by the University of Michigan ....Happiness relies on freedom from constraint and access to choice. Denmark comes out top in the survey in a grouping with the rest of Scandinavia. Social Democratic societies of Scandinavia enjoy ...‘increasing emphasis on subjective well-being, self-expression and quality of life' populations are not only simply surviving but living freer lives as active-participants in their countries (Inglehart 2006)..
I have been offering some helpful advice about importing alien species into an old country
In Kieron O'Hara’s excellent “After Blair” . the author teases out the sceptical roots of what might be termed c-onservatsim , often in creative tension with Libertarianism in the Conservative Party . One of the threads picked from the weave is the principle of limited knowledge . .The Conservative may follow an old winding path. The socialist or latterly New Labour managerialist cannot bear this insult to his Promethean ambition and immediately sets about the construction of a new shiny road .On each occasion such highways sink without trace in the forgotten swamp the Conservative sagely nods and pulls on his pipe. Muttering contentedly .. “Will they never learn” . This is why he is so deeply satisfied when the splendidly logical plans ( like tax credits) fall into comic chaos when they meet the real world .
The failure of galloping intervention under Brown has convinced many of the enduring wisdom of the sceptic. From public sector professionals to over regulated business to politicised police the cry is , “Just for gods sake , leave it alone for a second will you..”. So despite its antiquity such instincts have a currency today. Conceive then of the disdain with which silly essays by would be Guardian columnists picking aspects of country as if they could be poured undiluted into ours are regarded. They are ‘conceits’ both in the metaphysical and modern usage .Bourgeois entertainments with amore than wiff of the parochial.
The aforementioned tax credits show the good and bad of New Labour . It was conceived to vault what Keith Joseph called ‘The poverty trap’ , now the “underclass”. This is very much a live issue as 90% marginal disincentives and life expectancies of 54 in Glasgow East ,after ten years of redistribution ,attest. The Labour Party were well aware that means tested benefits would have distorting effects but instead of reducing tax at low-levels they increased “Targeted” hand outs at ever higher levels In principle , if you accept the Marxist derived preference for state intervention , this was a good idea . In practice however it has been calamitous
The overpayment fiasco (comprehensively predicted by the newly despised civil service ) ,sprung from the ignorance New Labour appeared to have about the American shrub from which their cutting was taken . There, deep individualist roots and the practice of personal tax returns had developed an acceptance and competence at handling personal finance at low levels of income. Here the crazed and hubristic notion that those involved would learn to fill in the sixty pages requited promptly and correctly inevitably lead to misunderstanding . ( This is not the only problem but the only one that concerns me here) The left’s charming infatuation with Scandinavia (now we have overtaken Germany as a tax and spend country) is founded on a fundamental error about the limits of knowledge. Its very form is an admission of defeat.
Polls are showing that Glasgow East may well fall to the SNP despite Harriet Harperon`s belated appeasement of Catholics over the embryology bill . If it does then Brown may well have to go. After Brown the challenge for the left is to start talking about what the state should ‘not’ do here .Each Compass essay advising this or that twiddle of the knobs tell me that a period in opposition if not a reformed Party political geography will be required .Be brave oh miserable lefties .The first instinct of we Tories having been cast from heaven was to cling to comforting fundamentalism. It will , I assure you , sink without trace carrying the Labour Party with it .