Cameron Conference Bell

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “David Cameron’s tinpot Aspiration Nation” was written by Sarah Ditum, for theguardian.com on Thursday 11th October 2012 11.08 Europe/London

I went to bed last night in a different world. David Cameron’s conference speech had transformed the United Kingdom into a new country, a more ambitious country, a Torier country. For the first time, I slept in Aspiration Nation. And it was bloody rubbish. Cameron drivelled out the words “aspiration” and “aspirational” nine times yesterday. He was so pleased with “aspiration nation”, he said it twice.

What a desperately empty word to fix on. A word that means, if we’re being literal, a puff of air. Here’s the thing about aspiration: as a political ethos, it’s nothing but a Ponzi scheme. Everyone deposits their hopes and dreams to do better, fervently trusting that the sharp fellow in the nice suit will turn this portion of our faith into a better future.

A few will get their aspiration back with interest, and the sharp fellow in the nice suit can claim this as proof that his extra-special investment scheme works. According to the speech, he’s found a way to – wait for it – spread privilege. That is, he’s claiming to be able to give everyone equal shares in a condition that is defined by inequality. A privilege is something that other people don’t have. If you share it out, it ceases to be privilege. Like any dodgy banker, Cameron is promising the impossible.

Most of the people who put their savings in with Aspiration Nation will gain nothing; many will come out worse. That’s not a regrettable side effect of the aspiration economy, by the way: it’s a necessary part of its function, because aspiration is relative. For some to do better, others must fail. For academies to be centres of excellence, the rest of the education system must miss out on money and resources. And for one person to rise, others must stay in the same place – or fall lower.

It wouldn’t have to be like this if the aspirations Cameron was encouraging were actually, well, aspirational. Who does he praise in his speech? “The doers. The risk takers. The young people who dream of their first pay cheque, their first car, their first home – and are ready and willing to work hard to get those things.” That’s the big Tory dream? A job, a car and a house? Clearly, house prices and unemployment in this crocked economy mean those things are a tantalising mirage beyond the reach of many of us; but if they’re the dream, then I’d suggest there’s something seriously wrong with the reality.

What about aspiring to an education, an accessible public transport system and a social care system that means children don’t starve to death in the UK? Is that “aspirational”, or does aspiration only cover being a money-earning, money-spending economic unit, sucking cash in at one end and parping it out the other like a financial lugworm? Am I allowed to aspire to decent employment benefits, or do true aspirants sell themselves out for a bundle of shares?

If we’re supposed to aspire to a first pay cheque, it does make me wonder where workfare – sorry, “the Work Programme” that Cameron boasts about in the speech – fits in, given that it’s a means of getting young people to do menial jobs for nothing under the guise of giving them “training”. (I’m a trained checkout operator. It took three days and because this was in the wild big government days of 1997, the company I was working for paid me to train. Crazy.)

When you buy into the aspiration economy, you buy into the idea that you can make your own luck by just wishing hard enough. And then, when the house and the car and the pay cheque don’t show up, you’ll be too busy blaming yourself (“If only I’d been more aspirational!”) to remember that we’re in the middle of a recession contrived by the same sharp fellow in the nice suit huffing and puffing on stage.

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Comments
  • simmo October 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Please vist http://www.brokenbritainundertories and sign the petition against cuts

    • Vee StJohn-Byles October 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      The nazi thought police google wont let me find this!

  • ODIN October 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    The article written by Sarah Ditum just about sums up the stupidity of this current government and their fairy story policies. A wise man once told me there is a big difference between someone who is intelligent and someone who is intellectual.

    You see you do not have to be intelligent (or worldly wise if you like) to be an intellectual. This government see themselves as intellectuals, but they are not I’ll say that again they are not intelligent.

    Most of us plebs are not intellectuals but we are intelligent, see how it works? That’s why we intelligent people who are the backbone of this nation and have always been do not believe a single word of the complete B******s that that prat Cameron was excreting from his foul mouth. I rest my case your honour.

  • jeffery davies October 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    never in all of britains history have we been fooled by this man and his party wake up wake up and do some thing about it hes broken the nhs hes not jailed the bankers who still rob and fix rates to suit so would you please stand up and get rid of the shi— jeff3

  • Linda Nightingale October 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Quite right Odin. I once read that there is a difference between education and intellegence. Most people never ever realise their true potential, which is why we end up being ruled by idiots.

    • Vee StJohn-Byles October 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      They want to believe we are dyumb stupid and too ill to care, that would make us less of a threat to them as they sip their champagne in their country seat, while the people who really matter are being destroyed systematically by evil design.

      That is also why they want those who can think, not to think – so work them hard so they are tired out to do anything else, then be with their families and shove ’em in front of the telly. Shut up, be quiet, do as you are told.

      The outsiders – everyone else (those who are ill, disabled, homesless, marginalised etc are just rats – vermin to be ‘dealt with’ so long as the intellectuals do not have to SEE it it does not exist. Out of sight out of ‘their’ minds, out of the minds of the ruling elites who feel they are the deserving and who protest everyone else outside of their ‘contacts’ are to be swept away, hidden and sucked dry prior to disposal.

  • Vee StJohn-Byles October 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Don’t ya just love the way all the companies raking it in slide out ot tax? Just how many ARE there that the HMRC have a blind eye about…..how IS it there are loopholes…? YET claim a paltry benefit and get mauled by the government, the media and all the other ‘intellectuals’ who believe that is the right thing to do, and therefore, we ought to jolly well know better!

    We ought to feel jolly pleased we are in a country that does not abuse human rights; that does not abuse our children and disabled people, that does not allow its elderly to die in filthy beds alone unseen, or in hospitals where their pleas for water is ignored; that doesn’t deny sick people treatment, poor people right to legal counsel, and doesnt create policies that deliberately create homelessness, poverty and promote fear, oh yes, and does not punish poor people, or homeless people, or immigrants, travellers, and others who are just ‘different from these upstanding intellectuals!

    Are you not PLEASED to be BRITISH?

  • jed goodright October 11, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    You must remember that this man has lost his father and his son in recent times. It must be awful for him to recite in public, again, at no extra cost to the taxpayer, how this impacts on him. The effort he must make everyday to get up and go to work. To face the issues of a nation sliding into obscurity cannot be easy to deal with. There is no wonder he appeals to the nation to work harder, to strive toward that distant goal. The pity is he is bullsitting again. He couldn’t care less what happens to anyone or anything. His bank balance overflows with the cash from dirty dealings. His only problem in life is which is his better side to photograph!.

    Cameron is a vacuous, venal, tiresome, boring, unintelligent little shit. I would never get tired of slapping his face. His head would change for the better with a large plank nailed into it. He is also a murderer. He flippantly kills disabled people, for laughs. He is human excrement. He is a nazi. He is a traitor to the people of this country. He should be in court at the Hague on breaches of Human Rights charges.

    That will do for now.

  • jed goodright October 12, 2012 at 7:06 am

    found this great letter in todays independent:

    Welcome to Toryland, as portrayed in the Conservative Party conference coverage: you arise aspirationally “at the crack of dawn” to go to work and spend three hours intently scrutinising each house for drawn curtains, a sure sign that a family of 45 claiming £75,000 a week in benefits lies within; you reach work and promptly sign away your rights against unfair dismissal and redundancy in return for 10p in shares; you go home to your “hard-working family” (you are not single) and sit, armed with howitzer and cudgel, in the strenuous hope that somebody will burgle your house so you can brutally murder them.

    Richard Woodward

    Nottingham

  • Andrew Healey October 12, 2012 at 8:06 am

    What would be really aspirational would be to drag all the lying, two faced, corrupt, murdering, thieving, traitorous, shit for brains, scum sucking, NAZIS out of the house of privileged, drag them down to Tyburn, string them all up, lop off their heads and put them on pikes at traitors gate, along with the ultra corrupt bankers, as a warning to any other aspirational scum sucking NAZIS who are out to destroy this country for their own financial gain.Now where is the aspirin? or is that aspiration? what with all this, we are all in this together and the big society and little teds drivel the other day, the asses in power have my head in a spin..

  • Dissabled dave October 12, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    People keep referring to this Government as Nazis, but I think the Nazis were morally superior to this lot. At least the Nazis had the decency to pay for the transport and the gas when they wanted to get rid of the disabled. This lot expects us to commit suicide at our own expense.

  • Humanity2012 October 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Indeed the Tories are Proving Worse than the National Socialists because they are
    in Office

    Eugenics and Euthanasia were Wrong under the National Socialists and they are
    Un Acceptable Now

    We NEED Better Government Now

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