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Outflanking Labour on the left

Being an ideologue of purity in the purist mould of teetotaller George Best, I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that the once politically invincible British Conservative Party is rapidly becoming untenable even to me, yes to me, a proud member of the intellectually lightweight jellyfish club. Witness this quote from today’s Daily Telegraph:

But there is also speculation that he [Oliver Letwin] will offer to spend more on health and education than Labour to rebut claims that the Tories will starve the public services of extra cash


8 comments to Outflanking Labour on the left

  • Euan

    Of course he’s going to have to offer to spend more on the NHS, etc.

    The British electorate will not vote for a party which adovcates reducing the role of the state, especially once they figure out that reducing the role of the state means increasing the role of personal self-reliance. Politicians know this perfectly well, which is why none of them seriously suggest abolishing or radically slimming down the welfare state.

    People are, taken as an average, pretty lazy, selfish and of unimpressive intellect. They generally do not understand that welfare = high taxation = low social mobility = they stay in their place like good little socialist citizens. They rarely see a link between dole and tax. And they fall so easily for the statist propaganda that private business is less caring and more ruthless than the state.

    So, given the chance (illusory though it may be, but they don’t see through it) to live off the sweat of others and not bother exercising much responsibility because “the rich” pay for it, three guesses what they’re going to do.

    I did once take the time to explain to a friend of mine how he’d be better off without the welfare state, because if he wasn’t paying tax he could get out of the crap he’s in right now and move on. Took half an hour, and he’s not stupid – and he actually wants to work to improve his family. Such is the effect of 60 years of socialist propaganda.

    Another man I know, quite intelligent, told me in all seriousness that I could not criticise the welfare state because I was a product of it, being born in 1965.

    I fear we’re stuck with the welfare state until it forces the economy into collapse. Still, people do tend to get the sort of government they deserve.

  • Michael

    I have come to a pretty similar conclusion as you Euan. However we had the post-war concensus and now at least we have the post-Thatcher concensus where the previous nationalised industries will remain privatised for the forseeable future.

    I can see other countries possibly in the East (India maybe?) following the example of Hong Kong and having low-tax economies which will grow at an extremely quick rate. Britain will have to change further or be left behind with the Euro countries.

  • “The British electorate will not vote for a party which adovcates reducing the role of the state, especially once they figure out that reducing the role of the state means increasing the role of personal self-reliance.”

    They ahve done once, I dont see why they wont do it again.

  • Euan

    Giles – why they won’t do it again? Because now they know that the reality of it is personal sacrifice and a degree of effort, that’s why.

    Surely the first time they did it they didn’t realise that was going to happen, and when they re-elected MT it was for no better reason than that there was no credible opposition?

  • Oliver Letwin is the best weapon New Labour have in their growing arsenal. He single-handedly scuppered William Hague’s 2001 election campaign in the opening stages by making a ludicrous tax cut pledge followed by a clever press distraction campaign to find him in hiding.

    Letwin, presently seems to exist to ensure Michael Howard will remain similarly unelectable, almost certain proof being his stubborn determination to remain a Merchant Banker with the ‘financial prototype european-federalists’ in spite of ostensibly being next in line as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

    Oliver knows where the power lies (whither Howard and Blair tomorrow?), and for him it is certainly not at Westminster, nor ever will be it would seem: [Try and read his recent speech on the EU given in deepest Dorsetshire…..creepy!] !

  • Euan

    Michael – here’s a third alternative, somewhat but not completely tongue in cheek:

    A free society sometimes needs to be imposed via diktat. One thinks of Cromwell, who, although basically a military dictator, nevertheless laid the foundations for a free and prosperous nation which otherwise would probably not have developed. Or even, on a far lesser scale, Thatcher, who was not renowned for her inclusive approach to transforming society.

    I do not believe that the British people would ever knowingly elect a libertarian or even minarchist platform. Not, however, that I am suggesting a civil war is the only way, rather that a somewhat forceful government would be needed to “impose” freedom.

    I think people in general do not have any overwhleming desire to be free, but that they do prefer just to be left alone. The two aren’t the same. However, the average personal cost-benefit calculus probably yields tolerance of a degree of intervention/regulation/control in return for an easy life. As the life gets easier (i.e. less effort or responsibility needed), so the acceptable level of control increases.

  • Andrew Duffin

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again now – Letwin must go. He is no more than a Statist flack.

  • Guy Herbert

    A truly political Tory Party might not only promise to spend more on the totemic skoolzenospittles, but keep that promise, and still cut taxes and spending by attacking the bloated public payroll and benefits systems. (Gordon has shown the way by doing much the same thing in reverse: headline income tax and borrowing static, together with exploding real tax rates and spending.)

    I wish I believed that was the plan.