Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Tory view of Ethics - it is just north of London

I have a died in the wool Scottish Tory as an acquaintance. A man who believes he conducts himself with moral probity, is heavily involved in the local church (which helps operate a local food bank), a Rotarian involved in international charity projects and yet believes the poorest in the UK have brought poverty upon themselves by their slackness, we already have too many immigrants which 'we can not afford' and we should bomb the bejesus out of the Middle East.

He does not like being reminded that his party opposed the UK Union Parliament and the Whigs paying out massive bribes to key Jacobites in the run up to 1707 nor that his loyalty to the Saxe-Coburgs would not be shared with Scottish Tories of the 18th Century who were mainly Jacobites. This is all past history to him, meaningless in the longer term, the Tories are the only champions of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations which has created greater freedoms and wealth for all - except the 20th Century Tory version has not and has actually created the biggest division between the wealthy and the rest in the UK, since the 19th century.

On the 14th Lallands Peat Worrier printed a section of the precursor book to Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, Theory of Moral Sentiments, where Smith argues the ethical and social underpinning for his more famous second book, which challenges the standard Thatcherite view of capitalism, simplified as:
  • Those with the biggest cheque books get in the life boat first and sod the women and children
 Yet what does the 'father' of modern capitalism and the bedrock on which Thatcherism claims to be laid actually have to say on the moral issue of wealth and our fellow man?

"But what makes this difference? When our passive feelings are almost always so sordid and so selfish, how comes it that our active principles should often be so generous and so noble? When we are always so much more deeply affected by whatever concerns ourselves, than by whatever concerns other men; what is it which prompts the generous, upon all occasions, and the mean upon many, to sacrifice their own interests to the greater interests of others? 

It is not the soft power of humanity, it is not that feeble spark of benevolence which Nature has lighted up in the human heart, that is thus capable of counteracting the strongest impulses of self-love. It is a stronger power, a more forcible motive, which exerts itself upon such occasions. It is reason, principle, conscience, the inhabitant of the breast, the man within, the great judge and arbiter of our conduct."

This is not a message of unadulterated greed for greed's sake or a statement that greed is good, on which much of modern capitalism uses as its raison d'etre, but a message that wealth brings with it the responsibilities of empathy and compassion for others. It was Smith in  'The Wealth of Nations' who argues that in a 'modern manufactury' there must be a fair days pay for a fair days work and not Marx, Engels or Lenin. Further Smith argues that by paying a fair wage you will gain your workers respect and greater productivity as a result. A far cry from today's minimal wages and zero hours contracts. There are many examples from SMEs to major corporates, operating in the 21st Century, whose balance sheets prove the truth of Adam Smith's wise words. The problems arise for most businesses when they no longer retain their employees respect or value their work, as accurately reflected in Scott Adams famous 'Dilbert' series of cartoons whose characters take great delight in putting one over their pointy headed boss.

Dilbert's pointy headed boss can be replaced by David Cameron and you would not notice the difference, the cartoon strips would still hold true and still work, as he and his Tory Party are only interested in looking after 'Number 1'.

The reality is capitalism is no longer operating in the UK, what we have operating are the economics of fascism. There is no democracy in the UK state, we are run by an 'elected' kleptocracy of self interested parties, a kleptocracy delivering policies which are increasingly at odds with the views of an ever larger majority of people in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland; a kleptocracy which knows with out the daily cash flow through the UK Treasury from Scottish oil and gas fields, they are deep in the mire and will happily ignore the wishes of the Scottish people to save their own scrawny necks.

The reason why the UK State is teetering towards collapse is simple, most normal folk in the UK still conduct themselves in the manner Adam Smith has highlighted in his 'Theory of Moral Sentiments'. The evidence?

Foodbanks, refugees, homeless shelters, Food Train and every other social welfare project run by ordinary people who simply care and thus  highlight UK Government indifference towards its own citizens needs and expectations, a callous indifference which is at the heart of the growing anger against the UK State across these lands.

So the next time a Tory argues that their party are the only party of capitalism and thus defenders of Western democracy just point out they do not have the slightest clue about what they are talking about in terms of democracy or capitalism as our government is a kleptocracy and our economic system fascist in its truest nature.


  1. Thanks, well said. Inhave yet to read A Smiths WoNs but I do know of some of his ideas re the people working fo the good of all, somehow that seems lost on the people supposedly representing the people.
    A friend told me recently that she was chatting to a worker at Scotmid, who was livid as their hours of overtime, if I have that correct, have been stopped. Apparently they will all lose £300 a year in wages. I have noticed the staff there are not so quick to smile, or even speak to customers and I wonder if that is why. I must email Grotmid but had thought they would just take it out on the staff. It is very sad that people are working cor less, and it shows, I might just have to stop using Scotmid, it's a bit depressing.

    1. Hetty - who would ever have thought that doctors would vote to strike and in doing so would have been backed by not just the BMA but a large proportion of the English public?

      These young doctors, who are the future of UK health care, are demotivated to the extent that many are already heading off elsewhere in the world and if Hunt does not back down many more will follow.

      To some extent NHS Scotland is not as badly effected but there will come a point where the SNP will have no Peters left to pay Paul as a direct impact of Barnett consequentials and the continuing real time year on year cuts to the Holyrood budget. There are already financial pressures on NHS Scotland's budget in terms of provision of young doctors and dentists vocational training places. For Scottish Medical and Dental Graduates there is now competition from English graduates for these places who are seeking to escape the madness of NHS England where there are not enough training places to go around and no guarantee the placement will last beyond six months as the next round also have to be competed for.

      The 20% who voted 'NO' because they were 'not sure' must surely now be waking up to the impact their 'NO' vote is having across Scotland or simply burying their heads in the Record or Daily Mail, saying it wisnae me ....