Chairman Mao and the Coalition's Lunatic Fixation with Change

Daily Mail (London), December 23, 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Chairman Mao and the Coalition's Lunatic Fixation with Change


Byline: Stephen Glover

According to Vince cable, the disgraced Business Secretary, we are governed by Maoists. during his newspaper sting he confided to two winsome female reporters that 'there is a kind of Maoist revolution happening in a lot of areas' across government.

Presumably Mr cable is not completely ser ious. Mao Zedong was responsible in various purges for killing up to 70 million people. in Maoist china, the Business Secretary would have been packed off as a result of his indiscretions to some paddy field where he would have harvested rice until the end of his days -- if he were lucky.

There is nonetheless more than a grain of truth in what he says. The Tory-led coalition sees itself in revolutionary terms. Steve Hilton, who is david cameron's political guru, is supposed to have declared: 'Everything must be changed by 2015. Everything.' An odd thing, perhaps, for an alleged conservative to have said.

Then there is nick Boles, the staunchly cameroon Tory MP for grantham, who at a conference last week said that david cameron and nick clegg want their 'people power' revolution to unleash 'chaotic' effects across the community. That sounds like Mao Zedong on a wild night.

during the election campaign nick clegg often said that he plans to 'change Britain for good', a call to arms he repeated at the Lib dem party conference in September. i don't know about you, but there is quite a lot about Britain which i like, and i am by no means sure that Mr clegg's transformed version would be preferable.

There is a good deal of this Maoist-type talk. And if you look at the coalition's proposals in various areas, there is a lot of frenetic activity of which Mao, as the creator of 'permanent revolution', would have warmly approved.

Andrew Lansley is turning the nHS inside out, though in opposition the Tories said another bureaucratic shake-up was the last thing it needed. Michael gove is trying to create as many 'free schools' as possible. Ken clarke is overhauling the judicial and prison systems. iain duncan Smith is embarking on the most sweeping welfare reforms for a generation.

Eric Pickles wants to transfer powers from councils which think they know best to local communities.

THE sheer speed and multiplicity of these reforms, combined with all the revolutionary rhetoric, has led some commentators to suggest that the coalition is more radical even than Margaret Thatcher who, for all her zeal, actually proceeded quite cautiously, particularly during her first term of office.

Let me put forward a slightly different interpretation. That we have a government obsessed with the idea of change there can be no doubt. But do all these reforms actually constitute a coherent radical agenda, or are they often somewhat disconnected examples of change for change's sake, generating more heat than light? Some people suggest that the theme uniting these bold plans is a smaller State. i doubt whether this is true. When all the cuts announced by the chancellor have taken effect in 2015 -- and this assumes, possibly wrongly, that they will be rigorously applied -- government spending as a proportion of gross national product will have merely returned to the levels of 2007. That does not sound like a dramatically smaller State to me.

others say that localism is another common theme. When Mr Boles enthused about the advantages of chaos he was trying to point out the vices of central planning. We can most of us agree with that. But i remain sceptical as to whether the reforms already announced will substantially shift power to local communities.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Chairman Mao and the Coalition's Lunatic Fixation with Change
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?