Cameron steals Co-op ideals

David Cameron today launched the Conservative Co-operative Movement, stealing policies on co-operative run schools launched by Ed Balls (a Labour Co-op MP) in September. It is an insult to Labour Co-op members and the broader co-operative movement for Cameron to suggest that the Conservative philosophy of "freeing the individual" and private profit is in any way compatible with the mutual philosophy that underpins co-operation.

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Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#1)

I was horrified when I read this today, as I'm sure most of Cameron's party were as well: the whole ethos of     co-operatives is completely against Tory ideals. I pray for a general election, which Dave will lose and then be kicked out by his party, after which this whole farce will end.

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#2)

As someone who is also a member of the Co-op Party (and I feel that more Labour members should be), I was absolutely outraged by this. What next - Cameron trying to "reclaim" socialism from the centre-left?

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#3)

Equally horrified! As a member of the Cooperative Party, Tory ideology is the exact antithesis of everything the Cooperative movement stands for. We are for co-operation, not selfish greed; we are for sharing profits amongst the members and workers, not into the pockets of  shareholders; we are for benefiting the whole community, and not for squeezing customers and producers for the maximum profit. 

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#13)

For anyone who isn't - join here:

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#4)

Oh the irony! After Gordon Brown goes stealing Conservative plans on inheritance tax and non-doms, and "British jobs for British workers" from the BNP; Labour is hardly in a position to complain about others stealing their policies.

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#5)

Cameron/The Tories aren't stealing "policies". They are claiming that a very important (yet often ignored) part of the Labour tradition is actually theirs, which is far, far worse.

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#6)

IHT? The fact is Labour were already thinking about bringing this in in Sept, as the latest FOI revelations show. The Tories must have got wind of this and came up with a back of the envelope suggestion. As for the comment, remember that nearly 10% of the population are BME and thevast majority of them are British, and also affected by this sudden surge in East European migrants. 

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#7)

'There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.'

 Isn't that the Conservative Ideology at the heart of their Co-operative announcement?

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#8)

Conservatism is about handouts to those less fortunate; socialism and co-operativeism is about hand-ups, ie empowerment and working together.

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#9)

Well it depends on your definition of socialism; I would argue that the limited democratically socialist policies pursued in this country engenders a culture where it is seen as the State's responisibility to look after its citizens, rather than engendering a culture of empowerment, where it is the individual who has a responisibility to look after their fellow wo/man.

Then it also depends on your definition of Conservativism - which is almost impossible to define. Above you caricature Conservativism as being about selfish greed, lining the pockets of shareholders, squeezing customers for profit etc. The OP does better, asking how Co-operatives are coherent with 'freeing the individual', but then again mentions profit, which I think misses the point.

If the Cons are about 'freeing' or empowering the individual, do not Co-operatives fit into this ideology? Surely they lead to greater voluntary responisibility, and are agreed by both parties as better than state coercion as a means to reach the desired ends of a Just, Fair, and Free society? Isn't there a marked distinction between traditionally socialist policies - where all, by virtue of their birth, are forced into a system where all are forced to unite to meet common aspirations - and a traditionally co-operative system, as defined by the ICA consisting of "autonomous association(s) of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise"?

Indeed, I might go as far as claiming that if the Conservatives are about freeing the individual, the most natural way to do this is through engendering a culture of co-operation, in the words of Thatcher, 'a living tapestry' of men and women who freely associate for the common good, rather than sit back and pay their taxes expecting the state to look after them.

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#10)

You put quite a strong argument, but you forget that concervatism is all about power and decision making being concentrated in the hands of the few, ie the 5%, mostly inherited wealth. Whereas the ICA definition says 'jointly owned and demcratically controlled'. Little desire or evidence of democracy in industrial relations at the moment, where decisions are taken by the 'Board' and not a single worker representative on it, in most cases. Co-ops are foreign to conservative philosophy; the other issue of putting ethical trading above profit, I will deal with another time.

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#16)

And labour is different in which way.

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#11)

"where all, by virtue of their birth, are forced into a system where all are forced to unite to meet common aspirations - and a traditionally co-operative system, as defined by the ICA consisting of "autonomous association(s) of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise"?"

Voting in general elections is pretty voluntary, as is adherance to our social contract. If tories don't like governments being elected with 'coercive' policies, they are free to a) not vote and b) even better, leave the country.

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#12)

I would be grateful if you could explain your comment further - I can't quite see what you are grasping at.

Voting in elections is voluntary - which I think is a good thing. Adherance to our social contract however, is not, since unless I adhere to it, I am not free to live or work in this country. Not voting would not change that, and I find your suggestion that someone should just leave the country if they don't like the way things are run rather worrying. I am sure you don't mean it as such, but I get images of the BNP, UKIP and Christian Voice loony-right complaining about the establishment of bodies which don't adhere to what they consider to be the country's values. The 'get on the boat' mentality worries me. 

The Tories don't wish to abolish a society which maintains an element of coercion for the common good. However, they recognise that it would be better if one could engender a society where people by their own volition to be involved with public services, rather than simply taking a slice of income. I have respect for arguments that such a system would be unworkable, but this constant caricature of the Tories as hating society does nothing for the Labour Party apart from maybe winning votes. It is intellectually dishonest and shouldn't be a tactic that any party engages in.

I also find it odd that the co-operative party, rather than welcoming that another party is going to put it's capital
behind the co-operative movement, to rabbit on about how a party of the individual cannot have anything to do with co-operatives, and going on about the Tories concern for profit. Do they support the Co-operative movement or not? Would their efforts not be better spent working with the Tories through the legislative process in order to ensure that the Co-operative movement is strengthened? Or is it all about what wins votes these days?

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#14)

The replies above show that Tories do not understand what society is about. Conservatism under Thatcher in practice acually led to more government control than before. The Thatcher idea of society is hierarchical and patrician, or matrician if you prefer; there is very little room for discussion, more 'do as you are told'. Co-opertiaves depend on co-operation and that is foreign to capitalism where money is rampant and social responsibility is nil. 

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#15)

"Conservatism under Thatcher in practice acually led to more government control than before."

Perhaps, though could you expand, if you see the Conservatives to be about this, in order for it to do any good for the Labour Party we need some evidence.

Concerning the pa/martirarchal view the Conservatives may promote, would one prefer that money is just ripped away from the rich and given to the poor, rather than the rich voluntarily giving their money to poor out of concern for social welfare. It seems to me that in the long term the Mainstream Labour Party and the Mainstream Conservative Party want the same things - for all people to live in peace, to live in happiness, with noone to starve, or to be doomed to a life of coal-mining or working cotton unless their skills demand it.

Most importantly however shouldn't the state encourage ethical behaviour - that is a consideration for your fellow man etc - rather than just forcing people to adhere to it? It seems to me this ma/patriarchal behaviour you condemn is actually one which engenders exactly the type of behaviour needed in the modern world!

Further to this, it seems to me that the Mainstream Conservative Party and the Mainstream Labour Party both want a capitalist socially-democratic state, the holy trinity being Democracy, Capitalism and an extensive Welfare State, and that regardless of ideological disputes, especially if unfounded, we should work together to acheive them. Instead I see the co-operative movement condemning the Conservative announcements. Why is this? Can't we accept that Conservative proposals might occasionally support our cause? If they should chuck an arrow a hundred times in the dark, shouldn't they eventually hit the target? If we have a billion monkeys, won't they write Shakespeare?

It seems to me that the modern Labour Party, rather than being concerned with the common good, are obsessed with trashing the Conservative Party. Can't we get over this infantile obsession and instead concentrate on more policies which will win an election?

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#17)

I think thats has to be the best drivel I read for a while, the Conservatives have stated they will go further to forcing people back to work, mothers disabled sick will work, they state the benefits system is wrong, so how do you get ten million disabled people into 600,000 jobs well you do not what you do is open a few more soup kitchens paid for by the Conservatives charity.

Re: Cameron steals Co-op ideals (#18)

Just to give you some food for thought, when Cameron stood for Stafford in 1997 my father was chairman of Stafford Conservative Association. My father, a life-long conservative, has been involved in what you would term a co-operative organisation since the early 1980s, namely Stafford Railway Building Society, of which he has been the Chief Executive since about 1993. So you see us  Conservatives aren't totally alien to the Co-operative idea...