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19 April 2010

Icelandic volcanoes and Cameron’s “big society“

State vs society, part 94.

By Mehdi Hasan

Surprise, surprise. The airline industry is on its knees, in the wake of the volcanic eruptions in Iceland which have grounded flights across Europe, and bosses are already calling for “state intervention” – code, methinks, for “bailout“. Isn’t it ironic (hypocritical?) how private companies demand an end to “intrusive” and “statist” regulation and intervention in the good times, but demand “state intervention” in the form of cash bailouts from the taxpayer in the bad times? Privatize the gains, socialise the losses, eh?

So it’s Labour’s “big state” to the rescue. What else would you expect? I mean, how many of Edmund Burke’s “little platoons” would it take to get stranded British holidaymakers back from Spain?

In fact, speaking to blogger Sadie Smith this morning, I was amused to hear her compare TV presenter Dan Snow’s failed attempt to rescue Brits stuck in Calais with five dinghies – which was followed by the government’s announcement to deploy three Royal Navy ships – to the debate over the big society versus the big state. On this issue, like so many others, the latter trumps the former.

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