Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What Tories say, and what they do

What Tories say:

"The voluntary sector should be neither poor relation nor a cut-price alternative to government. lt is absolutely central to the life of the nation, but with a character and contribution all of its own...I have great ambitions for the social sector in this country, and I make no apology for that. I simply do not believe that we will make serious progress in tackling relative poverty and deprivation, in creating communities fit for the 21st century, unless we inspire a revolution in social provision." - David Cameron

What Tories do:

"A financial crisis is theatening the Scrine Foundation charity for the homeless in Canterbury.

More than 100 people living in properties managed by the charity could be forced back onto the streets and nearly 70 full and part-time staff could lose their jobs.

It follows a decision by the [Conservative-run] city council’s housing benefits office to drastically cut payments to the charity’s clients."

Via here


At 8:21 am , Anonymous Brian Hughes said...

Cuts were made by the Tories in Cheltenham to three housing aid charities (and not reinstated by the Lib Dems who took over in May in spite of a near-promise that they would - too difficult allegedly).

But why is Labour so poor at exposing such stuff? We're in opposition in local government in most of the country yet we're generally hopeless at taking advantage of being an opposition...

At 11:25 am , Blogger Cassilis said...

There's a subtlety here some Labour supporters are missing - Conservative support for some traditionally centre-left AIMS (social justice, inequality etc.) doesn't amount to support for the MEANS usually favoured by the left.

Tory enthusiasm for the voluntary sector for example doesn't amount to agreement with Labour on how the state should work with it or how it's managed and funded.

For example, it's perfectly consistent to proclaim an interst in addressing poverty and then cut funding to some groups attempting to address poverty because the conservative view may be that those groups aren't actually succeeding or are in fact making the issue worse (the dependency issue etc.)

By all means the left / Labour should take the Tories to task on this and question their judgements about what will & won't work but questioning the motives is an entirely different (and if the polls are to be believed dangerous) thing for Labour supporters to do.

On that basis this certainly isn't an example of saying one thing and doing another....

At 2:23 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

Cassilis - the post didn't actually say there was necessarily a conflict between what the Tories say and do, it just left the reader to draw their own assumptions ;p

At 3:19 pm , Blogger Cassilis said...

...an assumption that's implicit in the title and most of our gracious hosts posting over the last few months....

...and, as my original comment demonstrates, a flawed one.

At 10:04 pm , Blogger donpaskini said...

cassilis - there are indeed examples of what you are saying. For example, Ealing Council's decision to take funding away from Southall Black Sisters was based on the view that they didn't think that the way SBS delivered their services was the most effective. Of course, turned out that the way they made the decision was illegal, but ho hum.

But in this particular case, I can't see how what the council has been doing is consistent with Tory rhetoric.

Here we have a local voluntary sector organisation which doesn't just leave people languishing on benefit, but instead actively helps them get a hand up and become less dependent.

A local government officer/bureaucrat wants to save a bit of money, so cuts their funding - exactly the sort of thing which Cameron and Duncan Smith say needs to change. Except that the Tories locally side with the bureaucrats and against the charity.

Sunny put this post up on Liberal Conspiracy, and there have been a couple of Visigoths leave comments about how delivering more support than the bare minimum to homeless people is fraud, and that charities aren't really part of the voluntary sector if they accept 'handouts' from government.

Cameron's been doing some fairly successful outreach to the voluntary sector, but actions speak louder than words and all that.

At 10:12 pm , Blogger donpaskini said...

Anyway, never mind the Tories, what's happened to your blog?

At 3:47 am , Blogger Cassilis said...

Sorry Don but again that doesn't stack up and amounts to a Labour claim that sharing their aims means you MUST share their means - it's nonsense.

In the SBS case many people (me included) find social support based directly on identity politics deeply offensive. It demeans and brands those it aims to help and simply amplifies the social divisions that might, in fact, be part of the problem - so once again a reasonable & valid objection and one consistent with Tory rhetoric. The fact you disagree doesn't prop up the inconsistency charge...

p.s. In the case of the Scrine foundation this action is the result of an investigation launched 2 years ago when they substantially increased the rents they charged people for living in their properties - by as much as 90%! Leaving that sort of detail out is quite illustrative...


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