Britain, Politics

David ‘oxymoron’ Cameron

The Tories’ slogan reads: “We are a modern, compassionate Conservative Party”. Two oxymorons in just one sentence, quite a lot even for a text-message politician. That’s the way to go Dave, you have understood an important distinction: what matters is winning the next election, not that the Conservative Party wins the next election. So if it will take killing the Tories to win the election, death to the Tories! Eh, Dave?


6 thoughts on “David ‘oxymoron’ Cameron

  1. the idea is that a modern compassionate party is no longer a conservative party, and that Cameron, new leader of the Conservative Party in Britain, has actually chose to change the party alltogether as the only way to win the next election

  2. Yucca,

    You haven’t explained where the oxymorons are in that statement. It may be the case that in your view they are incompatible but you haven’t even expanded on that.

    How about this for an oxymoron:
    Labour leadership



  3. Hello James,

    the first oxymoron is quite obvious: modern and conservative. if one wants to conserve things as they were in the past, how can they possibly be modern?

    the second oxymoron, conservative and compassionate, you are right, needs more of an explanation. the idea is that what still distinguishes the left from the right is the left’s commitment to welfare and to redistributing resources, and the right’s commitment to freedom of entrerprise. compassionate (at the political level) is compatible with the former, but not with the latter.

  4. Yucca a few thoughts on your oxymorons:

    “Modern Conservatism”
    Conservatism as an actual political movement was born out of two major ideological revolutions – one in the 1950’s (when basic groundwork was laid by Russel Kirk and WF Buckley) and another in the 1980’s (under Reagan and Thatcher). The roots of conservatism may hail back centuries but the present movement is only about 50 years old. It’s pretty new.

    The Greeks were an ancient people, but the ones running around Athens today are “Modern Greeks” correct? The same is true for Conservatives.

    Contrast, if you will, the state of the Liberals. How many hundreds of years does a political movement get to exist before it’s considered old fashioned? One would hardly consider good old fashioned 19th century socialism and its institutionalized byproducts – like the trade Unionist movement of the early 20th century, or the Hippie social revolution of the 1960’s as “Modern”. Quaint perhaps, as relics of a distant, bygone past. But hardly cutting-edge anymore.

    Marx and Engels claimed the future for Socialism/Communism, so of course lefties consider Liberalism the party of the future – they’ve been claiming it for over 100 years. What has really changed in the meantime? The Liberal social agenda could be chipped out of political strata and displayed in a musem, it is so fossilized.

    As for your second Oxymoron, Liberalism can be unimaginably brutal – redistribution of wealth means somebody GETS but only when the wealth is redistributed away from somebody else who LOSES. History’s graveyards are stuffed with the bodies people who became the objects of such compassion. Welfare destroys initiative and removes the incentive to better oneself, forcing generations of people into a desperate cycle of mean existence, poverty and ignorance. Such dependency on the state benefits the politicians who dispense the goodies, keeping them in power so long as they dole out the pork. Corruption, despair and economic collapse ensues.

  5. Hello Beast,

    Whenever Conservativism was born, and re-born, Cameron’s ‘modern’ refers to the fact that they are supposed to be newer than Thatcher; so the relative youth of Conservatism of which you speak isn’t what ‘modern’ stands for. But I accept that even a movement that is called Conservativism can re-new itself, be newer, and also more modern than its previous versions.

    The reason why I think that still using ‘modern’ represents an oxymoron is that, first of all, if a movement still deserves the name ‘conservativism’ then it must look to the past for inspiration. If they don’t want to do that anymore, they are no longer conservatives; and not only look to the past, but also have a tendency for not renewing or modernising; otherwise, again, it is unclear what is conservative about them. But there is more: using the word ‘modern’ alongside conservative is a way of trying to appeal to generations that became adult after Thatcher, and it is a way of getting rid of the old-fashioned (and maybe even a bit aristocratic) look that the Conservative Party has in Britain. But if those are instrinsic to the party, then the oxymoron remains.

    as for the second oxymoron, the question is not whether the left can be brutal too; certainly it has been, and certainly redistribution, as you say, has a brutal face in that it takes away from someone. but still, compassionate refers to things like redistribution, state-paternalism, soviet-like over-burocracy. things to which conservatives all over the world should not want to connect; things from which they should, proudly, distinguish themselves.

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