Friday, September 29, 2006

The Tories have no policies, Maude announces

Francis Maude, chairman of the Tory party, has admitted they have practically no policies other than destroying their 170 year-old ideology for the sake of looking nice on TV. In one of the most bizarre and unfortunate comparisons of all time he compared their four-page document of "aims" and "values" to firstly (and ironically), the Lord's Prayer, and secondly, to the Ten Commandments.

Why is it ironic? The Lord's Prayer is, with minor alterations, Matthew 6:9-13, which is preceded by:

And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words (Matthew, 6:5-7, emphasis mine).
The Lord's Prayer was given in the Bible as a model prayer to praise God due to the vanity of some men who "competed" for public adoration and respect by worshipping God in public with what we now call sound bites. It extols the importance of praising God because he is God. That the Tories compare their hollow sound bite "values" to verses of the Bible which denounce PR spin is laughable.

Maude's comparison to the Ten Commandments (Exodus, 20:2-17) is also entirely specious, as while both documents are a list of imperative values, the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God himself and as such are not open to question, debate or discussion. They are given as self-evident statements, as if they were given reasons it would give them imperfection. Like the Ten Commandments, the Tory "aims" and "values" document is presented in a series of self-evident statements with no justification. Perhaps this is because some of their aims and values are so vague that they would be shared by practically every rational human. "We believe there is more to life than money", "[we] will be hard-nosed defenders of freedom", "[we] will represent all our country in all its diversity". Who objects to these three statements? But there are others which are also given without justification which many would object to, such as the encouragement of the creation of wealth for wealth's sake, which would sit uncomfortably with many socialists, or state provision of financial backing for art, music, and sport, which many members of the Tory party would object to as a waste of tax money.

Policy needs justification. It is the reasons behind a decision which lead to public support. Policy by central office diktat is always worse than policy formed by democratic decision-making following discussion and debate. That the chairman of the Tory party would defend their "aims" and "values" manifesto with its complete lack of reasoning or justification (perhaps explaining why only 27% of Tory party members bothered to vote on adopting it), and also compare it to the Lord's Prayer, which condemns PR exercises, and the Ten Commandments, which is the divine word of an infallible God, just goes to show how the Tories can never be trusted in government.

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