Simon Jenkins is his usual ascerbic self in his column today - tackling the sharp-elbowed middle classes and their lobbyists for their special pleading against budget cuts; in particular Nicholas Serota, bankers, the armed forces, the security industry, scientists, academics, etc.
When the ship sinks, the elite grab all the lifeboatshttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/05/quango-lobby-cuts-welfare-state
Gilded professionals mobilise friends in the media to lobby against cuts – if only the poor could do the same
We all defend the thing we love. But the glaring exceptionalism of cuts lobbying paralyses sensible argument and distorts it against the poor and inarticulate. They cannot sidle up to ministers at parties and throw insults about civilisation on chatshows. They must endure the jibe that "the only real savings are in benefits", and see their entitlements drain away to protect elite subsidies.
He should have gone on to say that all of these lobbyists should only have a right to state their case AFTER they have made a case for the poor and the inarticulate to be protected from cuts. Let them all say why the least well-off should have their wellbeing and their incomes ring-fenced before they make out a case for themselves.
Leadership and the Tao
As promised - advice for our new political leaders.
Strength is not the same as force.
A true leader concentrates on the accomplishment of tasks and is minimally visible.
Leaders must be creative but also receptive - devoted, moderate and correct.
A leader must be open, calm, sincere, and serious. S/he proceeds along the path of non-contrivance.
Darkness is a confusion which moves the leader on to subsequent enlightenment.
A leader is known by his associates. Union with ignorant and foolish people will reflect poorly.
A leader who walks with and among his people knows greatness and is humble. A leader grows through humility.
[nb Cameron insisting on walking around Whitehall, from Downing Street to Parliament, etc?]
The leader develops himself inwardly while at the same time developing others outwardly.
Lacking humility, a leader and his organisation become empty, disrespectful and lazy.
Fame and profit are not your targets. Spiritual values and virtues allow for no degeneration.
The true leader avoids negligence and eagerness. Do not look for "quick fixes". Moving ahead too quickly results in sudden regression.
A true leader always seeks guidance and help.
Sincerity will gain the leader acceptance and success. Inward truthfulness dissipates acquired influences.
There is a time for a leader to examine his own growth and the growth of others. Build upon strength.
The leader disregards falsehood and keeps truth. Decisiveness requires and demands true understanding. The quality of actions is based on understanding. Decisiveness is acting with unfailing clarity and clear understanding.
The leader chooses and holds fast to the good. Inwardly observing truth and falsehood, the leader nourishes the right and is rid of the wrong.
The leader must move with true naturalness and spontaneity, and ignore outside influence and human desires. Failure to achieve a condition of sensitivity results in humiliation.
Clever words and external artificialities do not represent true sensitivity.
Great power must be kept in balance. Self-mastery allows the leader to have inwardly enough strength, and to be powerful without being excessively so.
Following the path of Tao . . . virtue and correctness lead to the achievement of great power.
Worth a read:
Conservative conference: 10 things I've learned
Andrew Sparrow lists the most important things this year's event in Birmingham has taught him
Conservative party conference: 12 things we learned about Iain Duncan Smith.
Here are some of the things we discovered when Andrew Rawnsley interviewed the work and pensions secretary last night