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The Cameron Delusion - Peter Hitchens

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Few of us are wise enough to recognise the truth the first time we see it. The cleverest of us are often wrong. Argument with an opponent is the best form of education known to man. And in debates about the ordering of society two rival ideas of goodness, loved by their adherents, as much as they are loathed by their opponents, have contended for centuries. One is based on a belief in Original Sin, the other on a belief in the perfectibility of man. Out of this battle have come many civilised and unsatisfactory compromises — which for all their grubbiness have been hugely preferable to the bloody, world- reforming zeal unleashed on less happy lands. It is not an accident that a country with a Gold State Coach, Erskine May, a Lord Chancellor and a Black Rod is also a country without a secret police force or torture chambers, where the police cannot stop you and demand your papers. Or so it was.

I do not know whether this contest had its roots in the ancient hostility between Norman and Saxon, or in the English Civil War; or in the British class system. It does not much matter. What is certain is that in the last thirty years it has almost completely ceased. Parliamentary politics have come to revolve almost entirely round personality and petty scandal. The formerly sedate House of Lords has become the more interesting chamber, partly because the Commons has grown so dull, partly because the House of Peers, in its role as eventide home for politicians, contains so many survivors of a more adversarial era. If the end of these mental and verbal hostilities could be shown to be a good thing, then this would not matter. But it seems clear to me that our country is worse governed than it used to be, and also more governed. Bad decisions are constantly made, and increasingly hard to escape in a nation where private life is rapidly retreating into remote corners.

Worst of all, a powerful political class are united on several controversial issues — from national independence to the nature of criminal justice — where their views are quite different from much of the population. Political parties have become devices for representing the views of the establishment

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