Last week, I wrote that David Cameron, on being made Prime Minister, spoke about the beginning of a new era in British social life, one which focussed on:
Nurturing the mindset that seeks not ‘my entitlements’ but ‘my responsibilities’ and considers not ‘what am I owed?’ but ‘what can I give?’
Just a few hours later, at the first joint press-conference with his Lib-Dem Deputy Prime Minister, Cameron had to listen as Nick Clegg made a statement which highlighted, despite the buddy-buddy front the two leaders were putting up, just how diametrically opposed their conceptions of the good for this country really are.
“Liberalism,” said Nick, “is all about ensuring that everybody has a chance…to be the person they want to be, to live the life they want to live. What ever words you use [to label this] the change it will make to your life is the same – you will have the opportunities you crave.”
Cameron’s philosophy is ‘A successful society is one in which we each seek the good of the other.’ Clegg’s is ‘A successful society is one where we each get what we want.’
They’re both about ‘looking after Number One’; the difference comes when you ask each ‘who is Number One?’
Jesus exhorts us to make God Number One; your neighbour (ie even your enemy), Number Two; and yourself, not somewhere at the bottom of the barrel, but jointly Number Two:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength and love your neighbour as yourself.
David Cameron’s discourse misses the first part, which will make it difficult to successfully carry out the second part (and we naturally do the third part), but it’s a start, and will create a society which at least moves towards the kind of selflessness we need to survive and flourish.
If Clegg really thinks that his ideology can make Britain a successful and pleasant place in which to live, then I’m sorry, but, I don’t agree with Nick.