Monday, June 18, 2007

Make your mind up

A little while ago, Call-Me-Dave wanted to be the heir to Blair and even Gideon reckoned that this was good idea. As the electorate seem to have tired of Tony, it seems a dubious sales proposition to offer the electorate more of what they don't want. So this week, the New Tories are the spiritual home of the progressive. Yeah. 'Course you are Dave.
Conservative: disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.

Progressive: favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, esp. in political matters

You see my point? It takes more than a few nice words to make yourself into a progressive, Dave. A thin veneer of family-friendly policy doesn't cut it.

Meanwhile, the old-fashioned Tories opposed to any sort of change are making noises. Hugo Swire brought out the magnificent policy of restoring charges for our national museums, but it was dressed up as giving the museums the freedom to charge. And us no option but to pay.
'We do not want to ban free admissions, but we believe museums and galleries should have the right to charge if they wish... They could use the money to make their facilities even better and could have special arrangements allowing continued free access for children, students and others.'

Hugo, I am certain that if you give museums the opportunity to charge (and doubtless make some 'efficiency savings' in their grants), they will do so. But, hey, if you can't afford to pay, why should you be allowed access to our national collections? Why should 42 million visitors -up 80% since 1997 - get to see all this stuff for free? Why shouldn't they be forced to pay £25-£40 to visit? If you aren't foresighted enough to be born into privilege, why should you be allowed access?

And then, once they realised that this plan was, well, unpopular with the middle-class who have made most use of it and have a habit of making use of their votes as well, the Tories u-turned in record time. Within hours, Hugo Swire was being disowned and forced to issue a new statement.
'It is not our policy to bring back admission fees for museums and galleries," he said. "We are committed to the principle of free admission.'

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