Monday, 12 December 2011


As soon as I heard that David Cameron had faced off 26 European leaders and vetoed their agreement last week, I felt that this was indeed blogworthy. You have to hand it to him, it takes some degree of courage to face a whole roomful of people, particularly when they are heads of governments, and stand your ground and disagree with them to the point of becoming isolated from them. His cool acknowledgment of Sarkozy as he brushed past him in the meeting room spoke volumes. I was reminded of one of my favourite verses in the Bible by all this: Exodus 23.2 "Do not follow the crowd to do wrong". Now, please do not take this as a ringing endorsement of Cameron's politics in all this. It might well be that in following this crowd, he would have been doing right. I am only expressing my admiration for one act of boldness, which is not admiration of the matter about which he was being bold, nor is it even agreement about the correctness of his stance, and to be even more brutal, I shall shortly take away some of the praise I have just lavished upon him. But, to hold my theme for a moment more, I have always thought that people put more weight on what the majority do, than whether what they do is right or not. Indeed for some people, the principle of democratic decision making is so strong, that for them, the rightness of a decision almost depends on how that decision has been made. If by democratic means, then it is right. Peer pressure is a powerful thing. I had a parishoner write me on the subject of inviting the congregation to decide matters pertaining to church policy, on the grounds that democracy was self evidently the right way to do this. If this were the case, the government would hold referenda on every law change they were proposing. But within church circles, the argument which runs, "People say", or, "A lot of people are saying..." is a powerful tool.
Anyway, back to Cameron. The man vetoed the move to tighten up banking regulations because he was concerned about safeguarding the English financial and banking institutions, many of which do their main business from within the City of London. The Tory party receives over 50% of its income from the City Institutions. A moment ago I said peer pressure is a powerful thing. One might also reflect that, money talks. 

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