Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Conservative Leftists

My , Oh , My , aren't the Tories changing .

David Cameron plans to create the Conservative Co-operative Movement , to steal the clothes of Robert Owen, founder of the Co-operative movement and since dubbed the father of English socialism.

Mr Cameron's argument is that the Co-operative movement is not necessarily socialist and, by using the title Pioneer Schools - after the Rochdale Pioneers - for his first proposals under this new co-operative approach, he is harking back to the very early days of the movement before it was irrevocably aligned with socialism.

"The co-operative principle captures precisely the vision of social progress that we on the centre-right believe in - the idea of social responsibility, that we're all in this together, that there is such a thing as society, it's just not the same thing as the state," he said. Similarly, his statement that the movement will campaign for "public ownership of public services and public facilities", does not mean he believes in state ownership of those services.

Out-doing the Co-operative Party and those nostalgic adherents to guild socialism within the Labour Party , and perhaps even out-doing the anarcho-capitalists of the libertarian right with his apparent anti-statism

"All over Britain, all over the world, something is happening which I find really exciting. People are coming together in new forms of collective activity - bespoke organisations designed to tackle entrenched social and economic problems...We need to break that centralised control...

...Manchester became great in the 19th century when the words 'Manchester liberalism' stood for free trade and capitalism.

And of course the city also inspired another idea - Friedrich Engels lived here for many years and he wrote about the dark side of the industrial revolution.

But capitalism and communism weren't the only ideas to take their inspiration from Manchester.

In 1844, a few miles up the road from here, a group of 28 weavers and other artisans formed the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers - a local store, selling household necessities and owned by members of the local community. The Rochdale Pioneers created the first successful co-operative in the world. And for me the co-operative model represents an enormously exciting possibility for public service reform and the fight against poverty and social breakdown.
A co-op has a flexibility and dynamism that a central state agency lacks.
Like the Rochdale Pioneers, a co-op is part of the community it serves. Its interests are their interests. And it is able to respond to the needs of the community immediately and directly...

...I've asked Greg Clark, the shadow minister for charities and social enterprise, to make mutualisation a core part of our policy framework for the voluntary sector...

...Social justice really means neighbourhoods acting collectively and voluntarily. It means people fulfilling their duties to each other through the natural networks, the institutions and associations of a community.
Social justice means social responsibility: the idea that we're all in this together, that there is such a thing as society - it's just not the same thing as the state.

That is my political philosophy in a nutshell "-
David Cameron , Leader of the Conservative Party

What next ? - Che Guevara in a business suit ?

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