David Cameron’s Weird Definition Of ‘Fairness’

The English language is odd isn’t it?  People learning it for the first time often refer to its pit-falls, the fact that the spelling of words is not intuitive and even that the meanings of them can be different depending on their context.  Even though I have lived in the UK all of my life, I can often find the English language confusing.

For instance, I often wonder if people who attend public schools use different dictionaries to the rest of us.  Is there such a thing as an Etonian Dictionary, for example?  The reason I’ve begun to think there might be is that I became utterly dumbfounded by David Cameron’s definition of the word ‘fair’ this week.  It is certainly not a definition that I am aware of, and everybody I have asked about it doesn’t seem to recognise it either.

Right-wing people often do this.  They go out of their way to alter the meanings of words without due consultation with the rest of us.  People have written a great deal of academic work about neo-con Donald Rumsfeld doing that with his use of terminology like ‘collateral damage’ and ‘friendly fire’, but you’d expect an egregious monster like him to behave in that way.  David Cameron – a self-proclaimed patriot standing in front of a union-jack – should have more respect for the English language.

Cameron seems to be trying to convince us that ‘fairness’ means that only those who are hard-working deserve any standard of living at all.  His belief is that ‘the poor’ can be split into two definable groups; those who work for little money and those who are unwilling to work but receive a little bit more money from benefits.  The problem with this half-baked concept – if indeed it has ever been baked at all – is that it doesn’t really stand up to any close scrutiny.

There are large communities throughout the UK where unemployment has become the norm over three generations.  The origins of this began during the Thatcher years when those communities were deindustrialised.  Ask any Conservative supporter about this and they’ll tell you their heroine did this because those industries were running at a loss and had to be swept away to make the UK more competitive.  Even if one accepts this argument (and I certainly don’t) those industries were not replaced with anything economically viable and therefore there are no employment opportunities in those communities.

If Conservative MPs made some effort to understand the challenges that one faces in such communities I might have some respect for their opinions on the matter but they don’t (and if anybody mentions the Iain Duncan Smith paper I’ll get annoyed).  Imagine if your grand-parents were made redundant and have spent the rest of his/her demoralised life on benefits.  Then imagine that your parents, too, have been unable to find employment – when they have it has been on government training schemes. Consequently, you have spent your entire life in a household where there was never enough money and never any hope of the situation improving.  Imagine the pressure in such a home.  On top of all of this, you then leave school and find yourself in precisely the same situation as your grandparents and your parents.  There are no employment prospects anywhere in your local area.  Firstly, would you feel there was any point in learning anything in school?  Would you feel there was any point in looking for employment if everybody you know is unemployed and living their lives on benefits?  Is any of this ‘fair’?

Are you then expected to put a hold on your life?  Are you expected to carry on living with your parents, never having a home of your own, never settling down with anybody and having children?  Is that ‘fair’?

Areas where this is the case have many social problems because of it.  Traditional socialisation models don’t happen because young people continue to hang around with the same peer group as they did during their time at school. The workplace fulfilled a vital role, one would learn from adults who become role-models and in the absence of such a workplace, the behaviour of the school-yard is unchecked and it can often spill over into the community.

After eighteen years of Conservative rule the problems became deeply ingrained in such communities.  Despite New Labour’s thirteen year tenure in office the administration never quite managed to undo the damage done during those years.  Is it any wonder when one examines the scale of the damage?  Industries that had taken scores of years to grow were allowed to wither and die during ten years or less.  As a direct consequence of this, the UK became over-reliant on the financial sector and look where that has led us…

Cameron’s attitude is disturbing for many reasons.  He has reawakened the phrase ‘the undeserving poor’ with all its dangerous connotations.  It certainly pleases the likes of The Daily Mail, and the coalition seem to delight in using the same language as such papers; benefit scroungers, etc.  An example of this is the government’s new proposal to cap benefits, to allegedly make sure that those on benefits aren’t receiving more money than those who are working.  It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the government that wages may be too low rather than benefits being too high. 

Not only that, but there is an even stranger component to Cameron’s argument.  To illustrate this he has used the standard media-cartoon of families with something like fifteen children.  This evokes images of the kinds of unfortunate people Jeremy Kyle undoubtedly trawls council-estates to find (Kyle even hosted a fringe-event, which speaks volumes about this government).  Cameron’s argument seems to be that people shouldn’t have children if they can’t afford it.  This is a typically rather stupid thing to say since it avoids issues like divorce, bereavement, redundancy and domestic violence – all of which can happen to anybody without much warning.  This is particularly insulting in light of the Camerons’ own flaunting of their new-born baby before the conference started.  Who are the government to tell people how many children the public can and can’t have?  Aren’t the Tories supposed to be the supporters of ‘the family’ (as long as it conforms to the ‘traditional’ model of course) and don’t they talk about individual freedom all the time?  There isn’t much ‘fairness’ going on here.

Even if one accepts Cameron’s argument and agrees that people shouldn’t have children if they can’t afford them, it is difficult to defend capping the benefits of those that do.  A policy like this would punish only children, and it’s not as if they had any say in the matter.  The Conservatives have been critical of Labour’s actually rather good record on child-poverty – surely even they should realise that capping benefits would make matters infinitely worse.  Again, is that fair?

I suggest that David Cameron should invest in a new dictionary and throw that Old Etonian one away.  It really isn’t doing him any favours and is simply making him sound like a retired colonel during Dickens’ most prolific of periods.  The only one who is ‘undeserving’ is him, to be honest.  He doesn’t deserve to be Prime Minister.

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9 thoughts on “David Cameron’s Weird Definition Of ‘Fairness’

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention David Cameron’s Weird Definition Of ‘Fairness’ « Liverpool Lefty -- Topsy.com

  2. “Public school” itself relies on a very strange definition of “public” 🙂

  3. Let’s indulge in a little redefining of our own, shall we? Instead of child benefit (good!) let’s call them tax credits, or rebates (bad!). Cameron removing a tax cut for the middle class (good?) and Labour opposing it in the interest in fairness (bad?).

    Tribal insanity.

  4. If you don’t have any money and live on benefits it is ridiculous to think that others should have to pay for your children!

  5. I doubt Cameron would ever take the time to even consider what fair means. In fact David Cameron has a weird definition of “fairness” I must digress a little here to point out that with his head obviously in the sand of late he has failed to notice that while he makes “CUT’s” one of his own team: one Nadine Dorries up to the recent election while in opposition took great delight in letting readers know that she spent five hundred pounds on shoes and in the past has treated us to endless stories of what she will wear for a”night out”
    Born in Liverpool I had hoped to be proud of this MP instead I am digusted and unless David Cameron puts a zipper on her lips many Liverpool people and Mid Beds will be sending letters of complaint against this particular MP.

  6. Have just read that Nadine Dorries MP told the commissioner Mr Lyons re her expenses claim that on her blog she wrote 70% fiction and lied to her constituents. She was let off on this and the moment she was free of any further action then said she really meant she only wrote 30% fiction. Where does Cameron stand in this as “Fairness” to the Mid Beds constituents’.
    Does she think we are all stupid. Looking back at her blogs in particular 2007 and her somewhere other HOMES why would you drive a daughter to school each day then return back to Chiping Campden ? Her blog is FULL of holes from 2007 to 2009 and she is now once again ( to draw attention ) onto the Abortion issue. well boy did she tell some lies re the Baby that punched it’s way out of the womb to grab the Surgeons finger ( he refuted this strongly )
    Supposed to be a Christian, well that’s NEWS she went to Church in Chipping Campden to be seen and because it was expected. Folk in Mid Beds are calling for Cameron to have her step down.
    He it appears doesn’t care about the lies Dorries tells and as for fairness she is now very Vindictive about a chap who had the guts to look into her blog stories and SPOT where she had made huge whoppers in the telling of stories which read more like Novels.
    If Cameron was fair to the people of Mid Beds he would make her step down immediately.
    Disgusted, this MP is not being made to produce so called emails that she says this chap stalks her. The Police would have approached him if he had. She becomes hysterical when asked to prove her case.
    This MP is an embarrassment to Liverpool and those who know her from her teenage days know she has not been up front with the truth.

  7. On Fairness ! it has been brought to my attention. Nadine Dorries MP ( Mid Beds ) has made very serious accusations against one Tim Ireland ( was not aware of this until recently)
    She has reported him to HP Police and Mid Beds Chief Police. He has demanded she produce the relevent report number she would have been given by both HP Plice and Mid Beds. She keeps saying she can and will give the reference complaint num. Up to this week she has not.
    She has made accusations that have hurt his family and children. I looked at the Flitwick Video of the “meeting” prior to elections and she completely lost control when she knew he was present filming the meeting. He was given permission, it was a public meeting.
    He took the opportunity to ask her for proof and that is when she lost control.
    When Bercow was elected Speaker she tried to bring him down.
    Are there any other folk in Liverpool following this particular MP. It is a fact that she has written a heck of a lot of “fiction” on her blog since 2005. I know people who knew her family and have been amazed at some of her blog stories. She should have been a novelist !!!
    I think Cameron should now be approached over this issue as she certainly has let Liverpool people down.

  8. Cameron is going too far with “cut’s in fact he doesn’t seem to care either what his MPs get up to. Like the comments above I read a lot of Dorries blogs from day one when she was Elected and right away saw something about this MP that worried me. As a tax payer I don’t like to read what she pays for clothes when I see my Mother trying to make ends meet.
    I knew she was NOT born on a Council Estate, she decided to come clean only 2009 I think.
    Seems to me all the news on her is about daughters and Romance which we don’t expect from an MP . This lastet saga is a disgrace Re the new man in her lifr ( heard that one before too)
    She may not live in Liverpool anymore but she sure is an embarrassement.
    Wonder if any other readers have found her to be obsessed with her own image and doing nothing to help her party ?

  9. Yes its’ all about ‘image’ where Dorries is concerned. Disgusted at affair with her bst friends husband and boasted about a romance with Tim Montgomerie in the Guardian. Yet talks about the sanctity of marriage
    She once owned 3 homes in the high street in Chiippaing Campden yet pretends she cares about people who have little. Her Christmas will be full of good cheer, of Turkey, drink, and expensive presents no doubt one could suspect “claimed for on expenses” as she tells so stories that are not as they really seem.
    It will be a sad 2012 for her constituent’s if she remains an MP.
    Some liverpool people would willingly write about the REAL Dorries but are too decent to do so.
    Liverpool Lass

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