Sunday, 8 January 2012

Cameron's Law; The Reverse-Savant

Savant Syndrome has a complicated and misunderstood relationship with the Autistic Spectrum. Some simple figures:

  1. 28% of 137 parents of Autistic children surveyed believed their child met the criteria for having a Savant skill at a level that would be exceptional even in non-Autistics with normal IQs.
  2. A researcher a decade ago in the US estimated those with any level of Savantism to be 1 in 10 among Autistics.
  3. Half of all Savants are on the Autistic Spectrum
  4. Prodigious Savants, those who have exceptional abilities in multiple skills are virtually the most significantly learning disabled and disadvantaged people imaginable
  5. It's a Fact: those most disadvantaged use their mental resources so much more efficiently than the Prime Minister David Cameron that it is a scale that is barely calculable. Perhaps 1:50³ยบ plus a Banana-Shark.
  6. David Cameron can not say he is the slightest bit disadvantaged though.

As I was writing this, the News broke that the Prime Minister has had to apologise for a remark he made during an interview with the Sunday Telegraph saying how annoying the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was and comparing it to "Having someone with Tourette's sat opposite you". There's a lot of sub-text to this I'd like to conjecture on. Well, real journalists and pundits conjecture on stuff like this all the time, so why shouldn't I? 

First, the obvious one: can you imagine him saying it but with any other socially identifiable group as a substitute for Tourette's? I think he would even think twice about saying 'chavs', let alone any ethnicity, religion, nationality or age, particularly the conservative-leaning elders. We know his sentiments about women in general, though he has the sense these days not to resurrect that by expressing his attitudes publicly.

Second, is less obvious: could you imagine him saying it in an interview for the Guardian, Mirror or Independent or any of the TV channels? Those papers try to avoid being Right-wing at least as much as some of them manage to avoid being Left-wing(snark) and the TV channels are generally not overtly political. David Cameron would not be comfortable expressing this 'between friends and family in the living room or at the pub' use of words in any of those. He was very comfortable it seems using it with a Telegraph journalist. Two possible conclusions can come from that, neither of which reflect well on Cameron; that he was being honest or that he was trying to do what he believed would ingratiate himself with an employee of a Right-wing broadsheet. This does not reflect on the journalist that did the interview; it was Cameron's assumption and we don't know what he based it on other than something that he could not take for granted with outlets that are not expressly of the Right. If YOU are a conservative, this is what David Cameron believes you are like.

It is probably both however, this was not the first time David Cameron used Tourette's disparagingly. He did it back in 2002 when the proposals for the ban on fox hunting with dogs was in Parliament. This could honestly be how he regards disabled people save for his own late son. Read that article though and remember: David Cameron was among the first of a new wave of Conservative MPs in the House which expanded a lot in the 2010 General Election, then you'll understand why the Speaker Jon Bercow rebukes Conservative MPs far more often than any others. He isn't biased; they actually are more vulgar, rude and break the rules like they were bubble-wrap. I'd almost say David Cameron treats those he sees as beneath him with equal contempt and that he isn't singling out neurologically disabled people, except...

Third, David Cameron did a whole series for the Guardian: 'David Cameron's diaries'. You can read through them and remember; this is before he had expressed any serious desire to be Prime Minister and thus he's almost completely off his guard. In these, we can see him almost as he really is: very dim but with a very high opinion of himself. Hell, in the one that caught my eye he was even naming a law after himself. He makes my megalomania look like a lifetime wish to be a sewage worker.

Well what is 'Cameron's Law'? He was on the committee that examined the bill that introduced Child Trust Funds and he tabled an amendment as he explains here:

"Sitting on the committee that examines the bill in detail, I tabled amendments to abolish the limit on contributions for baby bonds held in respect of disabled children. Under my plan, parents, friends, the local community, whoever, could pay as much into these children's trust funds as they liked."
"More importantly, under my plans, the parents of these children could dip into the baby bond before the child reached 18 to pay for some of the many things that disabled children need. My list included: night nursing and respite care; the hire or purchase of equipment; and the payment for specialist medical or palliative care."
That is what DLA was for Mr Cameron. I understand that for very wealthy households it can seem like your friends call 'chickenfeed', very wealthy households like yours. But it's very vital to those with less resources. But hold on a minute, your amendment seems much more generous to wealthy families with disabled children. You weren't even asking for a higher limit, but no limit. The benefits of DLA would be there but in sums proportionate to how much a family could put in in the first place.

I've not yet been able to find out why, but Cameron withdrew his proposed amendment(something he was so proud of he thought he would be most remembered for it) and it didn't go into the final bill. One of the first acts of his government was to scrap the Child Trust Fund and now only those born before January last year can apply but only in a limited time and even then those with accounts are having the contributions from the Treasury slashed.

David Cameron is not simply a slippery and shady character that pursues his own interest. He is the opposite of a Savant: a person of exceptional opportunities, advantages and education who has demonstrated multiple prodigious talents for astounding inability. David Cameron has a First Class degree in Politics, Economics and Philosophy and was highly praised by his tutors. In the Wikipedia entry, Professor Vernon Bogdanor says of his views that they were 'moderate and sensible' conservative ones. But when Bogdanor was asked to make a judgement on Cameron's 2006 speech calling for a British 'bill of rights' to replace the Human Rights Act, he was far less impressed and called Cameron confused and contradictory.

The David Cameron of the splendid upbringing is not the David Cameron running this country. The man running this country is a clod. A buffoon. An imbecile. Even the KGB wanted to recruit Cameron the student; now he wouldn't make it into a trainspotters club. I have said before that he is not interested in the details of policy, he much prefers party politics(and complains about Ed Balls because he must make it a lot less enjoyable). This might actually not be entirely true; it could be that he is interested in his Cabinet's policies, it's just that he's not able to understand them. In my look at the Leader of The Opposition Edward Miliband, the key thing was how easily this unimpressive leader exposed Cameron just by sticking with the Facts rather than pandering to cliches about Welfare. Five times Miliband asked the Prime Minister if he knew the Welfare Reforms concerning ESA would hit thousands of recovering Cancer patients and five times the Prime Minister ran with this response:
"We are using precisely the same test as the last Government supported. All we see here is a Labour party desperate not to support welfare reform, and trying to find an excuse to get off supporting welfare reform. Anyone who is terminally ill gets immediate access to the higher level of support, and we will provide that to all people who are unable to work. That is the guarantee we make, but the right hon. Gentleman has to stop wriggling off his responsibilities and back the welfare reform he talks about."
During the whole exchange, Cameron acted with the arrogance of ignorance and refused to be corrected. This encouraged his backbenches to start screaming abuse at the opposite benches, who returned in kinds. The Speaker Jon Bercow was forced to intervene because David Cameron would not accept he was wrong and that he was misleading the House:
"Order. I think it is a disgrace that Members on both sides of the House are shouting their heads off when matters of the most serious concern are being debated. I repeat what I have said before: the public despise this sort of behaviour. Let us have a bit of order."

The media coverage of this exchange was extremely inadequate and focused more on Miliband's victory than Cameron's failure. That was a mistake: whilst this was Miliband's greatest triumph as Labour leader, all it required of him was to stick to the Evidence available because David Cameron is a prolifically and transparently dishonest person who gets away with far too much. Shining a light on his level of understanding is not difficult: you simply need to take something he says that contains a claim of fact and check for yourself if it's true. A week before The Hardest Hit march he was asked at Prime Minister's Questions by Kerry McCarthy(Lab, Bristol East) if he would meet with the campaigners. His reply had nothing to do with it:
"I make two points to the honourable Lady. First, the most important line of defence to help people with severe disabilities and severe need is the national health service and it is this Government who are putting more money into the national health service-£11.5 billion extra. That money would not have been available if we had a Labour Government; we know that because we can see Labour cutting £1 billion off the NHS in Wales. In terms of reforming benefits, I thought we had the support of the Labour party to reform benefits to make sure they are helping those who need the help most."
He simply avoided it and changed the subject. But that response exposed the limits of Cameron's understanding of disability; his own experience was constrained to just his late son Ivan. Cameron had spoken of how much his family relied on the NHS for Ivan's needs. Most people do not; most disabled people do not get any help from the NHS. The service provision just isn't there but Cameron acts as if it is. He seems to think he can cut anything from social security because there is a lot of overlap with NHS and social services. There isn't; the social security awards are all there is for some people. It appears to be behind the more bizarre and ill-considered of reforms, particularly the plan to cut the Mobility DLA from care home residents, something which I have warned is still a danger from this government.

It would be nice to think that David Cameron is more hands-off with policy and leaves it to the Cabinet and so we don't need to worry: he doesn't need to know the details as long as they do. He surely doesn't control everything. Except...that is precisely what he has been reported as being; a control freak. Gordon Brown was famous for his temper; David Cameron is famous for the iron fist he wields over the Cabinet. It's why despite scandal after scandal he's barely been touched; a minister is always designated to take the flak.

So whilst we may moan about Iain Duncan-Smith, Chris Grayling, Maria Miller and David Freud, they are at the heart of it merely doing what David Cameron has told them. The Universal Credit is the one thing Iain Duncan-Smith himself wanted, everything else is what David Cameron ordered with some suggestions from the Chancellor George Osbourne. If I had Tourette's I wouldn't want to sit opposite David Cameron any more than he would want to sit opposite me and he'd be a fool to put my swearing in his direction down to neurology: I'd be swearing because of what he is, not what I am. So I could be doing that anyway if I were ever in that position. Never has someone with such high expectations achieved so little, done nothing good and felt no shame about it.


  1. This suggestion is not a joke: I postulate that a significant number of Oxbridge Firsts peak at 21 and then it's downhill all the way.

    A rationalist, scientific approach to studying religion often proves futile - it is simply the wrong mode of inquiry.

    A rationalist, scientific approach to studying this government's behaviour is similarly doomed, I feel, due to its genesis in all of the most base and venal motives that infest their privileged minds.

    The remaining space is taken up with (largely) fictional recollections of British history highlighted with the pride and majesty of the impending Olympics and Jubilee.

  2. I've been unable to find a case where David Cameron has demonstrated that he is an expert on any single topic. Yes he has skills, but no expertise; no knowledge and ability to apply that knowledge. I would have thought his degree would make him an expert in at least one of the subjects it covered but his under-popularised diary series on the Guardian website reads like it came from a pub bore.

    Irony, his boasting about twisting and breaking the rules of Parliament to get his way sounds so much like the stereotype of a benefit cheat: confident and obnoxious, feeling they are untouchable.

  3. This is brilliant.

    That is all I have to say.

    1. I think it's brilliant too. I can't remember how I got here, but so glad I did.

  4. I saw this on facebook(apologies if already heard)

    Testiculating: What Cameron does when he's on T.V. or addressing the 'people', it is the art of waving your hands about and talking bollocks at the same time

  5. I am Spartacus and I am knackered,good work today MD,A.