Fraser Nelson

A paean to the people

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There's so much junk on the box at Christmas that yesterday I tweeted a link to a seven-minute video that I thought would be much more memorable: an American's film on England in Christmas 1940. The film is above, and speaks best for itself.

The great thing about Twitter is the response: positive and negative. And while many people retweeted the link (one guy said he'd forced his kids to watch it), it provoked fury from one David Walker. His words:

"@frasernels - this Tory dares extol this film - a paean of praise to the state and common sacrifice. What hypocrisy."

various books on the Blair years

Guido readers

It's about what David Cameron might call the Big Society. It's a shame that the phrase has become so widely derided, because it contains a very powerful message. There is a difference between state and society – and this film was about the latter, not the former. It is a faith in people that drives the Conservative desire for small government and low taxes. It's about passing power into the hands of these people, and a major part of this is letting workers keep more of the money they earn. The greatest act of faith in the British people is to empower them: and this is the aim of this coalition government.

P.S. Some disclaimers. Many on the left – the Blairite wing – agree with the empowerment agenda, as does Nick Clegg. Empowerment vs state control is a dividing line which cuts across all parties. And, yes, the film was of course produced at a time when many Americans wanted to believe that Britain would be okay fighting Hitler by herself. And to my fellow Scots: yes, he means Britain in the film but says England.