I like and admire Matthew Parris. He writes wonderfully, is genuinely self-deprecating and modest, and has a marvellous broadcasting voice. It’s a shame he’s a Tory, really.
Anyway, he has a very interesting piece in the Times Online about Cameron’s declaration for voluntary action and social enterprise as alternatives to the ‘big state’.
In just a few hundred words Parris manages to set this new philosophy in its wider context of Conservatism, Darwinism, social philanthropy, and Christianity.
It presents some practical difficulties, Parris acknowledges, “not least [that] of delivering state-sponsored help via non-state agencies” and goes on to warn: “The State has a terrible potency to kill the thing it loves: just look at the arts.”
I disagree with virtually everything else in the piece but he’s dead right on that point about the arts.