Conservative Government of the Talents

By DeusExMacintosh

UK conservative party conference 2011

David Cameron has promised up to 200,000 extra affordable homes and 400,000 new jobs in an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

The PM ruled out a U-turn on spending cuts but denied he was “sitting back” in the face of economic stagnation.

He cited plans to boost the “right-to-buy” in England and release government land as examples of action being taken.

But Labour said the economy was “flatlining” thanks to his policies and he had run out of ideas.

Mr Cameron dismissed calls for “a few billions” of extra spending – suggesting it would be a dangerous gamble to “deviate” from the government’s tight deficit-reduction plans, as the Conservatives gathered in Manchester for their annual conference.

His comments came as police said an estimated 30,000 people were marching through the centre of the city in protest at the coalition’s spending cuts.

Asked about claims by a senior Tory backbencher that the government lacked a coherent strategy for growth, Mr Cameron said: “We are firing up the engines of the British economy.

BBC News

Thus is the Parable of the Talents according to wikipedia

He also who had received the one talent came and said, “Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter. I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the earth. Behold, you have what is yours.”

But his lord answered him, “You wicked and slothful servant. You knew that I reap where I didn’t sow, and gather where I didn’t scatter. You ought therefore to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back my own with interest. Take away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who doesn’t have, even that which he has will be taken away. Throw out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

— Matthew 25:24–30, World English Bible


  1. kvd
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Umm, so… You’re saying it doesn’t pay to be talentless? That can’t be right 😉

  2. Posted October 3, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    As a former (minor) econocrat, I note that this letter from a former Treasurer of NSW points to why UK public policy is in such a condition.

    For example, I could never discover how the UK, under Gordon Brown’s financial stewardship, accounted for the liabilities which the British taxpayer assumed for public infrastructure projects which although initially financed by the private sector were ultimately paid for by taxpayers.
    This simply meant, as far as I could work out, that PFI projects in the UK were embraced because they hid the real level of public liabilities. In Australia, on the other hand, they were accounted for in the same way as publicly financed investments and were only entered into if it was believed that they provided some additional value, such as transfer of risk.

  3. Posted October 3, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Maybe we only have a recent history of quarter-decent government because we’re measuring ourselves against the standard of what we imagine foreigners do?

  4. Posted October 3, 2011 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    [email protected] That is so gnomic I am not at all sure what you are trying to say. On the evidence (unemployment, economic growth, macroeconomic stability, public debt) we simply are a better-governed country than most places.

    The UN thinks so, according to its Human Development Index (HDI) rankings.

  5. Posted October 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I did rewrite it a few times, to no avail.

    In Australia we tend to look to the UK and US for inspiration in our politics and policies.

    But are we looking to these countries as they actually are, or are we imagining that being the UK and US, they’re simply better at everything?

    If the latter, perhaps we’ve held ourselves to an imaginary higher standard than the actual US and UK have held themselves to.

  6. Posted October 3, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] Yes, there may be something in that. This used to be expressed as “they do things better overseas”, which means you end up trying to compare yourself to the best of the rest of the globe (or what you regard as the best). That may push effort upwards.

    For myself, I wish we would stop using British examples (our land control regulations come to mind).

    Left policy-wonks have a bit of a tendency to look to Scandinavia (particularly Sweden), which is silly in a different way–what works in a small monocultural country may well not in a large polygeneric one.

  7. Posted October 3, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Lorenzo @2: you’re spot on. Nu Labour used “off balance sheet” accounting worthy of Enron to keep PFI projects out of the public liability figures. Currently Labour under Ed Miliband are running the dangerous line “schools and hospitals didn’t cause the deficit”, to which the logical response is “No, but the PFI to pay for them, did!”.

    This week the papers started to notice that the hospital trusts currently in worst financial straits are those with significant PFI liabilities. We’re looking at another round of bailouts….

  8. Adrien
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    But Labour said the economy was “flatlining” thanks to his policies and he had run out of ideas.

    Y’know there’s this dude Harry Dent and he said that the economy would be flatlining about now after seeming to recover in in ’09.

    According to him it has nothing to do with govt policies.

    I’m beginning to suspect that the Earth has been taken over by evil robots from another planet. David Cameron, Kevin Rudd, there’s something a bit Nexus-5 about them.

    And how else do you explain Phil Collins?

  9. Posted October 3, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Honestly Adrien, everyone (and David Icke) knows they’re evil lizards from another planet…

  10. Adrien
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Don’t blame lizards DEM. It’s not their fault their is cold. At least they have some. 🙂

  11. Adrien
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    That’s ‘their blood’ I think I’ve finally for Alzheimer’s.

  12. Posted October 3, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] There is never a good reason to hide economic costs or financial liabilities. There are only bad reasons.

  13. Patrick
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    To be honest I’m not entirely sure I follow the link to the parable of talents?

  14. kvd
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I actually agree with [email protected] on this. Perhaps it’s because my mind refused to leave the wicked virgins of the previous parable – but I hope not. Now I’m more thinking I got lost at the point where the money should have been handed into the care of the bankers. I mean, is this guy Jesus prescient, or what?

  15. Posted October 4, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    The original “government of all the talents” was a Brown-ian notion of bringing together politicians of talent from all sides of politics to advise government (which didn’t work because a Labour government wanted what’s best for Labour rather than what’s best for government, essentially. Besides which, impartial advice is what the civil service is for). I felt that a Conservative approach to a government of (all) the talents would be a less generous from the outset… the welfare ‘reforms’ certainly seem more like taking the little from those with least whilst giving the bankers even more than they already have. British joke, sorry.

  16. Posted October 4, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    The original Ministry ofAll the Talents was formed by Baron Greville after the death of Pitt the Younger. It was a Coalition government that did not last all that long, from 11 February 1806 – 31 March 1807.

  17. Posted October 4, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Of course any use of the term ‘talent’ when referring to an organisation wholly staffed by politicians…

  18. Posted October 5, 2011 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    Okay something a little more local for the lads…

  19. Patrick
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    [email protected] yes but as kvd and I suggests that story (with which most of us probably are familiar, too) has nothing to do with the parable explicitly referenced – talents, in that, are basically gold cups (i.e. money) iirc.

  20. Posted October 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    As I said Patrick, it seems that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer under a conservative-led government (and I say that as a despairing right winger!).

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