The cut and thrust of politics is so painfully predictable that when a Tory, in this case David Cameron, notes that social background is only one part of the cause for low outcome (and that we cannot ignore the choices some people take on their road to, for example poverty) that the same old arguments are trotted out from the other parties in response.
Thus, Nick Clegg suggests that Cameron has 'debased' the argument, which is not actually a counter-argument and actually debases the concept of argument. Meanwhile, Denis Macshane rolls up saying its reactionary. Putting aside the reactionary nature of that instant reaction, what is interesting in the criticism is the complete failure to get to grips with the point being argued and instead to argue past it.
So, when Cameron says that we spend too much time looking for external factors for obesity rather than telling the fat brigade that they're eating too much, he is lambasted for his pure evilness. What surprises me most is that when a popular comedian makes exactly the same point no one appears to give a toss. In fact they laugh at the funny joke, and were you to prompt them the phrase "it's funny because it's true" would not be far from their lips.
I know it's just politics, but this tendency toward extrapolating and decontextualising speeches is a little bit tedious and even more so intellectually bankrupt. Instead of engaging with the arguments the response is to assume the electorate is stupid and misrepresent what is being said in as best way possible. This actually has a role to play in stoking the anti-politics that is rife in Britain today.
What Cameron chose to say about obesity, poverty and more crucially right/wrong, good/bad, was actually bang on the money, and his argument is one that, in my personal experience, transcends this Left versus Right stuff. We do have a culture today where judgement is frowned upon, where the phrase "who are you tell me what is right and wrong" is commonplace, and it has come about, dialectically, between competing forces of the Left and Right.
On the Right you have the indvidualism of the 80s (which although generally assumed to be economic was also cultural) , whilst on the Left there has been the pushing of ever greater respect for 'the Other'. So we now have the bizzarre situation where someone expresses their individuality whilst simultaneously never judging others because what is right and wrong for them may not be for others. Thus the glue that has held society together becomes unstuck.
As the glue has melted away 'society', if you can call it that, has gone from believing in something collectively to simply believing in nothing collectively, and so, 'society' becomes broken. Individualism in the 80s and moral relativism in the 90s has brought about nihilism in the 00s. Until we challenge that 'intellectual' underpinning - which is exactly what Cameron was doing yesterday - society will not be fixed.