The Cowardly State: government, Cameron style

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As I've mentioned here, more than once and not for the last time, I'm currently writing a book called The Courageous State.

The core contention is that neoliberalism has incapacitated our politicians by telling them that all they do is suboptimal compared to anything the market can achieve because it has the insights that they lack. As a result we have seen the political right work to undermine the whole process of government to the point that it has been incapacitated by a lack of self confidence in its capacity to deliver what is really needed by society.

When I started writing, just a few weeks ago, I had no idea that David Cameron would prove quite so convincingly in such a short space of time just how  much we are suffering rule by the exact opposite of what I desire: what he is delivering is the Cowardly State.

Less than two weeks ago he did, against all logic, against all popular opinion and in defiance of all democratic logic allow one of his ministers to say that he was 'minded' to let Murdoch take over BSkyB. His reasoning was very obvious: if the market wanted to deliver the deal then the market mist be right and everyone else must be wrong. So the market must get what the market wanted. That's what politicians in the Cowardly State, who have suspended their judgement in the belief that money is always right, do.

But he was wrong, of course. The market had been corrupted as it is, unfortunately, too often. The market was loaded in favour of the person who had undertaken the corruption in this case. And the result was that the market was set to deliver a result that sound judgement - sound political judgement - should have clearly indicated to be wrong.

Time and again we see this with Cameron: he argues for the market and yet what's very clear is that there is so much that the market can't deliver (as it won't on health, social care, schools and so much more, including pensions). It does some things really well - I never want a return to BR catering - but just because it's great doesn't mean it needs to be universal or that it's always right. After all, as is very, very clear one of the things it's really bad at is making up its mind and one of the things it's really good at is short termism.

That's Cameron all over.

And he's a disaster as a result.

We've had enough of his Cowardly State. It really is time for a Courageous State lead by courageous politicians who are up to making decisions, who know what the state is for and who as a result can deliver the strong foundations on which a vibrant private sector can be built.

I'll be writing about it all day today.

The book should be out in September.