Posts Tagged ‘David Cameron’
March 10th, 2011 at 7:51 pm
Obama, Clinton Dither While Cameron, Sarkozy Act

Somebody better tell Team Obama that world crises abhor leadership vacuums.  With Secretary of State Hillary Clinton incapable of acting without a UN permission slip, American allies are taking matters into their own hands.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is pressing for a no-fly zone.  French President Nicolas Sarkozy granted diplomatic recognition to Libya’s opposition, and will open an embassy in the rebel capitol of Benghazi.

It’s clear Britain and France aren’t waiting for Belize and Lichtenstein to approve sensible responses to the Libyan crisis.  Is President Barack Obama so contemptuous of America’s superpower status that he’s willing to cede its leadership role to countries whose foreign policy significance ended with the demise of their colonial empires?

February 6th, 2011 at 12:58 am
British PM Cameron Takes Aim at Multiculturalism

In a bold speech at Saturday’s Munich Security Conference, British Prime Minister David Cameron lashed the rise in Islamist extremism to the permissive multicultural attitude of state bureaucracy.  Announcing a dramatic shift in policy, Cameron called for “making sure that immigrants speak the language of their new home and ensuring that people are educated in the elements of a common culture and curriculum.”

Kudos to the British Prime Minister for delivering a stirring alternative to the bureaucratic-enabled formula of claiming a grievance against the government, getting public funding, and still working to violently attack the hands that coddle.  Care to wager how long it will be to get a similar statement of national principle from the American President?

August 23rd, 2010 at 5:59 pm
Britain’s ‘Big Society’ Gamble May Be the Best Hope of Shrinking Big Government

Unless you’re looking for it there isn’t much stateside coverage of the political revolution going on in Britain under the country’s Coalition Government.  The stories that to poke through, however, are well worth the read, as is this article in today’s Christian Science Monitor.  A sample:

The final sight – and this is the most difficult to see – is the coalition’s attempt to create a “big society,” or a bolstering of social groups, charities, and entrepreneurs to step in as government withdraws from much of its role. The best example of this altering of Britain’s social fabric are preparations to enlist 16-year-olds into national volunteer service.

The big society is Cameron’s vision, one that assumes people are ready to shed decades of dependency on London and step in to help others.

The concept could be almost as difficult as the biggest of the budget cuts, due in October, which will test the coalition’s finely woven political compromises. And will the private sector be ready to fill the holes left by the cuts.

So, the biggest gamble in the Coalition Government’s plan to reduce the size of England’s central bureaucracy isn’t the “austere” budget reductions or even the controversial referendum to change a century’s worth of election law.  It’s whether Prime Minister David Cameron’s “Big Society” program can inspire enough of the private sector to step into the social services breach created by the receding government.

American conservatives and libertarians have long said that private charity and other civil society institutions are much better at creating a social safety net.  With Britain’s budget forcing policy makers into decisions they would never dream of implementing in good economic times, now is the moment for limited government types to seize the opportunity to deliver a better, more efficient version of the social safety net.  Otherwise, liberals and socialists will be quick to remind voters of all the needs that went unaddressed when government grew “too small.”

July 24th, 2010 at 9:39 pm
Britain’s Coalition Government Plans to Decentralize Country’s National Health Service

I wonder if new British Prime Minister David Cameron offered any words of fiscal wisdom to President Barack Obama during the two leaders’ first meet-and-greet since assuming power.  If he did, Cameron should have pointed out that adopting an “austerity” budget program need not be code for lack of creativity.

Under a recently announced plan to decentralize much of the National Health Service (NHS), Cameron’s Coalition Government of Conservative and Liberal Democrats plans to “shift control of England’s $160 billion annual health care budget from a centralized bureaucracy to doctors at the local level,” reports the New York Times.  “Under the plan, $100 billion to $125 billion a year would be meted out to general practitioners, who would use the money to buy services from hospitals and other health care providers.”

Already one of the chief criticisms is that eliminating several layers of bureaucracy will cause several layers of bureaucrats to lose their jobs.

To which the Coalition responds, “And…?”   Britons realize that it’s time to make government spending fit within government budgets.  If the NHS is about health care for all – and not bureaucratic full employment – then it’s time to give patients and taxpayers the most value (and discretion) for their money.

If President Obama really wants to impose a stateside version of the NHS on Americans the least he could do is give the soon-to-be nationalized doctors the ultimate say in how they treat their patients.  Doing that would not only give doctors an incentive to stay in the profession, it would also drive up demand for entrepreneurs to fill in their business knowledge gaps with services to manage their new workload.

That sounds like a job-creating business opportunity to me; even if it is born more from government regulations rather than a purely free market need.  In the current political climate, though, it would be an improvement.

June 21st, 2010 at 6:05 pm
UK’s Conservative Party Gets Cheeky with Budget Woes

No one beats the Brits for being able to find the funny in any circumstance; especially when it comes to politics.  For a bit of gallows humor, David Cameron’s Conservative Party released this three-page document framing the recently deceased Labour government’s legacy as a last will and testament.  Here’s the cover:

The Last Will and Testament of Labour 1997 – 2010

To my successors, I leave no money, only waste,

debt and the deepest cuts of modern times.

To the young people of Britain, I leave one in five of you

without work.

To pensioners, I bequeath you lower pensions. I reduced the value of

pension funds by billions. I leave you working longer for less.

In 13 years, I have wasted the inheritance left to me.

Of the gold bullion my predecessors bequeathed me,

I sold over 350 tonnes at the worst possible price.

I have spent and spent and spent again – and every man, woman and

child will have £22,400 to pay for my profligacy.

I have taken your hard-earned money and wasted it. I lost £3 billion

in benefit overpayments and paid the dead £10 million in tax credits.

I leave Britain a bigger deficit than France, Germany and Japan,

greater than Greece, Italy and Portugal.

I leave 2.47 million of you without a job.

With more time I could have done more.

I leave no apology, no regret, no comfort, and not an ounce of


I leave you years of painful and difficult decisions.

This is my legacy to you.

May 20th, 2010 at 5:16 pm
“A Coalition in the National Interest”

It’s turning into quite a week for the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government in Britain.  After Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s sterling speech yesterday for more freedom and less centralized government, he and Prime Minister David Cameron released at 30+ page document called their “programme for government.”  (pdf)  In it, they tackle thirty one issues where they aim to put Clegg’s speech into practice.  They cover just about everything.

Importantly, the duo sees their work as an historic opportunity to govern as “a coalition in the national interest” – a paradigm they use to combine the Conservatives’ support for free markets with the Liberal Democrats calls for devolving political power away from London towards local governments and individuals.  (Or, as our Tenth Amendment puts it “to the States respectively, or to the people.”)

So far, the combination is resulting in an agenda that would make Margaret Thatcher smile.  From the forward:

We both want a Britain where social mobility is unlocked; where everyone, regardless of background, has the chance to rise as high as their talents and ambition allow them. To pave the way, we have both agreed to sweeping reform of welfare, taxes and, most of all, our schools – with a breaking open of the state monopoly and extra money following the poorest pupils so that they, at last, get to go to the best schools, not the worst.

We both want a Britain where our political system is looked at with admiration, not anger. We have a shared ambition to clean up Westminster and a determination to oversee a radical redistribution of power away from Westminster and Whitehall to councils, communities and homes across the nation. Wherever possible, we want people to call the shots over the decisions that affect their lives.

May 19th, 2010 at 3:15 pm
The Best Political Speech This Year Comes from a Liberal Democrat

Too bad Nick Clegg lives in England.  This morning, the United Kingdom’s new Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrat Party made a powerful speech every American Tea Party patriot will instantly recognize as the words of a kindred spirit.

Unlike this country’s “hope” and “change” president, Clegg is very explicit on how he and Prime Minister David Cameron plan to pass Britain’s next “Great Reform Act.”

There are three main objectives of the Act.

First, repeal all of the intrusive and unnecessary laws that inhibit a British citizen’s freedom by ending the government “culture of spying on its citizens;” prohibiting an “ID card scheme;” regulating the pervasive use of CCTV cameras; and asking citizens which laws should be abolished.

Second, reform the political system to make it open, transparent, and decent by making the House of Lords an elected chamber accountable to the people, and presenting a referendum on adopting a fixed term parliament and equally balanced electoral districts.

Third, radically redistribute power away from the center, into local into citizens’ local communities, homes, and hands by loosening “the centralized grip of the Whitehall bureaucracy” and dispersing “power downwards” to citizens instead.

There isn’t enough space to elaborate on all of Clegg’s proposals, but suffice it to say that he understands that political authority comes from the bottom up, not the top down.  To wit:

I’m a liberal.

My starting point is always optimism about people.

The view that most people, most of the time, will make the right decisions for themselves and their families.

That you know better than I do about how to run your life, your community, the services you use.

So this government is going to trust people.

We know that, when people see a real opportunity to shape the world they live in, they take it.

Every American angry at the state of our politics should read Clegg’s speech in its entirety.  Print it out if you have to; fix it to the refrigerator door so your family can read it too.  The second most powerful man in Britain’s new coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats is calling for more power to the people.  As we prepare for the November midterm elections, and the next presidential contest, it would do we the people well to take Clegg’s challenge and make it a litmus test for candidates seeking our support.

This is a sterling way forward.  Three cheers for Nick Clegg!

March 31st, 2010 at 2:16 pm
Getting to Know David Cameron’s Inner Edmund Burke

In the next six weeks Britain will go the polls and most likely pry Gordon Brown’s fingers off the levers of power.  The Economist thinks his successor will be the Tory leader, David Cameron.  The magazine offers a closer look at the Conservative Party’s answer to Tony Blair.  Though Cameron takes many positions that suggest a taste for government intervention, he also seems to possess a subtle debt to Edmund Burke, the philosopher-politician who argued for tradition, order, and the importance of the family.

British society, so his critique goes, is broken. The cause is the erosion of responsibility (his favourite word) by a hyperactive state. He is at his most animated when justifying his (arguably overstated) social pessimism, pointing to “our records against the rest of Europe on things like teenage pregnancy and drug abuse, alcohol, family worklessness, educational problems”. The analysis is open to criticism: the societies he sees as unbroken, including many in continental Europe, spend more on welfare than he would want to or can afford to.

The cure, he says, is giving power away, strengthening local government and empowering people directly by, for example, letting them set up their own schools. He is undogmatic about the precise size of the state, deploring instead its over-centralisation; he prefers a big society to a big state. It remains to be seen whether that will bring relief to the overburdened public finances.

If he becomes the next British Prime Minister, David Cameron could do much to counter President Barack Obama’s juvenile treatment of America’s most important European ally.  If he expands his cultural critique into a governing philosophy that returns power to citizens, he’ll outshine The One on style and substance.

March 6th, 2010 at 2:24 pm
Pale Pastels: David Cameron and Nicholas Sarkozy

Presumptive British Tory Prime Minister, David Cameron and French “conservative” President Nicholas Sarkozy are scheduled to meet when the latter comes to London.  Both are cut from the John McCain (R-AZ) “progressive” cloth when it comes to climate change, taxes, and civil liberties.  If the GOP wants to make good on its promising electoral campaigns this year, it should steer clear of Cameron and Sarkozy versions of conservatives and go for the real thing: substantive limits on spending and taxing, coupled with the comprehensive deregulation of government’s intrusion into civil society.  Like Ronald Reagan once said, we need bold colors, not pale pastels.