[T]he concept of the social contract was used to demonstrate that the state had betrayed its side of the bargain, not that the people owed more to the state.
Of course, a written social contract could work fine, were - say - the state to agree that if it failed to provide adequate policing, schooling etc. then the citizens affected would no longer have any obligation to pay taxes. But the Blair version of the social contract is a complex and inconsistent beast that seems merely to heap yet more obligations on to the citizen, while removing responsibilities from the state based on the actions of individual citizens.
This is not about reducing the size and scope of state/governmental control, but increasing it - because nowhere is mention made of us mere citizens (well, subjects, actually) gaining anything new out of this proposed contract system.
In the original concept of the social contract, the benefits were obvious - peace and security rather than anarchy and chaos. The suggestions of what these new contracts could be made to do include conditions on access to the NHS, to education and even (implicity) to the police's protection. Blair's cunning concept of the contract is to reduce the state's own obligations while increasing those of the people, so that it will be the people to blame when everything comes crashing down - for not upholding their end of the deal.
To an extent, this is a logical offshoot of Blair's constant efforts to shift the blame throughout his time in office ... Tony has rarely been directly responsible for the failures of the last nine years - he's always made sure there's a slight buffer between him and having to take responsibility for his decisions.
Do go and read the whole thing, if you have not already done so. Nosemonkey is a wordsmith and, though I don't always agree with his politics, he is always a joy to read.
Meanwhile—having thrown off the shackles of an entirely unsuitable job—Right For Scotland has returned with a vengeance, laying into the idiotic Councillor Terry (whose banal whittering are worth a squirt if only to demonstrate the sheer stupidity, ignorance and arrogance of those who presume to rule us. I bet he happily sends his levy in).
Basically what he is saying that it was not the disastrous pedestrian-isation of the town centre that caused the failure of local businesses. Nor was it the sometimes open way in which certain councillors waged war on local businesses. Certainly not to the point where my best mate was told that the jumped up twat he had been sharp with was now going to use traffic wardens to chase away his customers (eventually the shop closed because of the massive drop in custom).
No, it was the out-of-town retail park stealing business.
I know that Braehead is a great centre but I did not realise that it was responsible for the pre-emptive destruction of Paisley a good five years before the first ground breaking was carried out.
So the Council have run the town centre into the ground but now hide behind the Braehead centre (a centre that they now tax to heaven and back). But now they have announced that to clear up their shithole mess they are going to spend £50m of our money to save their face.
Again, peruse the whole thing. RFS is that rare thing: a Scottish conservative, and well worth reading.
Actually, talking of Councillor Terry (who signed those papers letting him out of the loony bin, by the way? Because you really fucked up), this piece is absolutely priceless.
The infamous libertarian economist Milton Friedman has passed away, is the planet better or worse off without him ? I go for the latter. I'm sure that a great many people would concur, In Chile the murderous regime of Pinochet embraced his economic philosophy while murdering and torturing thousands as they did so. The brutal Thatcher and Reagan regimes also loved him, what a legacy, I think that if the Chilean people thought about him at all, it would only be to wish him a lingering, miserable painful end.
Let's leave aside the absolutely fucking appalling syntax (what do you expect from a state education) and point out that—since one must assume that Councillor Terry does not approve of these massacres (did you know that they were personally ordered by Friedman? Gosh, you learn something new everyday!)—I think that the good Councillor means "the former", i.e. that the world is better off for Friedman's death, rather than "the latter". Learn to use your own bloody language, would you, Councillor?
If you want a really good laugh, look at the poor, embittered dope's responses to RFS (and others) in the comments. It is enough to make you weep: I really hadn't realised that there were people this stupid still alive in modern Britain, let alone in positions of responsibility.
It's not even (necessarily) just that he is catastrophically wrong about everything: it is that he simply cannot string an argument together. I've heard better political reasoning from my 16 year old brother, for fuck's sake.