Thursday, November 23, 2006

What Greg Clark Actually Said

If you want to know what Greg Clark really said about Polly Toynbee read THIS. I'll have more to say about this when I am awakzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


Gavin said...

An interesting article there, Iain. Greg Clark's words really do mark a profound reversal of traditional Conservative Party thinking, don't they? I'll be interested to read your further thoughts on this, but I completely disagree that it should be the role of the state to lift people out of "relative poverty" by means of 'redistribution of wealth' policies. Here's why I think so:

It's hard to pinpoint the moment when it happens, but as an individual slides from 'wealth' into penury (for whatever reason), there comes a point which, once crossed, that individual will find it impossible to re-achieve their former economic status. If you've lost your job, your home, and any means of support from family/friends, and you're down to begging on the street, it's nigh on impossible to pull yourself out of that situation without some form of charitable assistance. To create wealth, you need a little bit to start with. This is where the state can, and ought, to provide for the neediest.

However, let's take the example of this person who is in "relative poverty" - say, a person living in a small flat in a "rough" area, holding down a low-paid job, perhaps they have only a bicycle for transport, no computer or DVD player, they can't afford to eat out or shop at Next, but they can make ends meet, with a bit of effort.
That person may be "poor" relative to many, but the crucial factor is that they possess the means to further themselves by their own efforts. And surely that has always been what Conservative principles are about - not hand-outs, not snatching taxes from the richer, but simply levelling the playing field, providing the best possible opportunities for people to help themselves?

It's truly sad to see the Conservatives embracing the socialist mentality of equality by enforced redistribution. It's wrong, and it overlooks a very basic fact of human nature: People are proud. People don't like relying on charity (state-sanctioned or otherwise); people want to better themselves, to make something of their own lives and to say "I did it my way", so to speak.

Anonymous said...


Clark is wrong about poverty, wrong about Churchill and wrong about Toynbee.

Saachi is right.

The Consertvative Party has completely lost the plot.

I used to love reading your posts but now find them increasingly tame, predictable and on-message. I wonder why?

I keep on getting requests from my local constituency party to renew my membership. My attitude, to paraphrase Clinton, is, it's the leader(ship) stupid.

The A list is a joke. As I am not convinced by UKIP, I may well stand against the A list candidate as a real Tory. I am with Towcesterian in that we need a new party. It is a shame all Labour's fellow travellers in the CONservative Party did not shove off when the last lot of defectors went.

Anonymous said...

If the word 'poverty' is used to mean relative 'poverty', what word can we now use to express the notion of absolute 'poverty'?

The problem is not one of lack of compassion, but it is one of confusion caused by the Left's change in the use of the word 'poverty' to go from absolute to relative. When people are told that 3 million children live in 'poverty', it makes them complacent as it seems that such a situation is not believable.

Had it been explained that poverty was not absolute - but meant that 3 million children were relatively less wealthy than the rest of society, and that it mattered because of the identified consequences, that would have been a responsible way to communicate what was being said.

No one would deny the point that relative wealth levels have consequences, and that these are politically important. But calling the lower level of wealth and income, 'poverty' has devalued the term, made people complacent and prevented people from considering the relevance of relative wealth.

If the Conservatives can get hold of this problem of perception created by Left Wing propagandists, who have confused an important issue, it will be most helpful. The IDS programme as expounded by Greg Clark seems to be doing that.

It seems that the best way to get attention from Conservative bloggers is to say her name without a curse attached!

Johnny Norfolk said...


I still think the best way for children and reducing poverty is through proper families.

What is the Tory party going to do to try and encourage, or perhaps they now think the state should do it.

Anonymous said...

Am I missing something here? Why so much fuss about Polly Toynbee? JUST IGNORE HER.

Anonymous said...

What irritates me about Greg Clark's Toynbee quote is that it's quite clearly gratuitous. He knew that mentioning the name "Toynbee" would be a red rag to a bull for many traditional Conservatives. He could equally well have used the imagery of a convoy (rather than a desert caravan), which would have been uncontroversially Churchillian whilst making precisely the same point.

In any case, I thought caravans were more the preserve of that dreadful Beckett woman.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I am confused, but doesn't the concept of relative poverty means that there ALWAYS will be poverty, no matter how much you raise the lower incomes ?

At least not until everybody earns the same amount.

towcestarian said...

Thanks for the link to Mr Clark's article. It is even worse than I had imagined from the shock-horror headlines. If this socialist nonsense is now official Conservative "policy", then I for one want to have no part of it. Goodbye.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that George Galloway is advising the Tories on Homeland Security?

Anonymous said...

"doesn't the concept of relative poverty means that there ALWAYS will be poverty, no matter how much you raise the lower incomes ?"

Of course it does, Pascal. That's why those with a vested interest in 'poverty' being eternal invented the concept. "The poor you have always with you."

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the Conservatives have dumped everything that Margaret Thatcher believed.

Relative poverty is pure socialism. That there is a fixed size to the economy, that somehow, the rich are only rich because they've taken from the poor.

I find myself unable to support the Conservatives any longer.