Arthurian Legend

"Once back here I got to thinking - 'how do I get out of this?' Perhaps the really haunting spectre is that I would have to turn my back on the lake, and the prospect of the sword." Alan Clark, Diaries - 19th May 1999

Saturday, 31 March 2007

Gabb gets Medieval on Kruger's Ass

The Director of the Libertarian Alliance, Sean Gabb, takes Danny Kruger to task in this article here.

Kruger is a one-time leader writer in the Telegraph, a fellow old Etonian of David Cameron and now one of Cameron's two leading speechwriters.

Kruger has, though the think tank Civitas, published a short book which seeks to provide the intellectual underpinning of the Cameron project. As I pretty much worked out one and a half years ago, there is not much of an intellectual underpinning to the project.

Gabb's article is well worth reading, not least because he (as a secondary school-educated lad like me) picked up on several errors of attribution Kruger makes concerning quotations from the ancients. I also sympathise a lot with Gabb's exasperation of much of the long-windedness and obtuseness in Kruger's book, since I had to wade through massives of similar verbiage when studying theology and philosophy at Nottingham.

There is much to commend Gabb's dissection of Kruger, although I do take exception to the way in which Gabb expresses a couple of points.

Kruger talks about "a return to market liberty under Margaret Thatcher". However, Gabb on the other hand simply refers to those same economic policies as "big business privilege".

Well, there may have been some privilege accorded to big business, but what about the liberalisation of the telecom market? In the late 1970s, phone lines were installed by the post office 3-6 months after being ordered. In the early 21st century it can take simply a matter of days, with 20-30 competing providers of the service (and 2-3 competitors on the infrastructure side, depending on where you live).

And many other areas of the economy, such as credit and City trading, were also opened up.

Gabb also says: "Government under Tony Blair became more politically correct than it would have been under the Conservatives. But this was balanced by a greater caution in matters of European harmonisation."

Excuse me? Blair has been just as eager to indulge in Euro harmonisation. Defence acquistion with Chirac at St. Malo in 1998? Surrender of the social chapter provisions? Surrender of part of the UK rebate? Come off it, Blair and his crew have been far more eager about EU-harmonisation than most of the Tories were in the 1990s.

Finally, I would highlight this sentence of Gabb's:

"The project common to both Labour and Conservative Parties is the transformation of this country into a place where the upper reaches of the ruling class can enjoy a status and relative wealth not known since early Stuart times - and in which there can be no challenge from below."
Well, I seem to recall recently that the head of the largest UK private equity company was revealed to be a black guy from South East London who grew up on a council estate; a former constituent of Diane Abbott, if I recall correctly. Worth more financially now than the entire Blair cabinet combined, I should imagine.

Still, I shall end with one enjoyable flick of Gabb's devilish tail:

"German philosophy is notoriously a learned gibberish. For nearly two centuries, it has been used to justify every imaginable lapse from humanity and common sense."

Hat tip: Samizdata.


Newmania said...

This is interesting AL but meanders a little considered in its own right IMHO. Like the last quote and its introduction is tremendous..." a flick o Gabb`s devilsish tail. BTW Somehting that is alcking in my life is a detailed poltical and economic history of the last twenty years . During much of this time my mind was on working and recreation

Any suggestions ?

Newmania said...

The gabb article which I have now read is superb but typically you/he are thinking in static and legalsitic terms about fluid political situations . The intelectual underpinning of anyhthing in usually illusory and in any case a nasty continenetal sort of thing in the first place