Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The most right-wing, ideological government?

Seen on LabourList:
The Liberal Democrats could have left the Conservatives to govern alone, but instead they are supporting the most right-wing, ideological government in the post-war era, making cuts that even Thatcher would have flinched from.
It would be interesting to consider the arguments for and against this assertion.

Of course, I don't see anything wrong with being ideological. What are the alternatives? Government by focus group? Pandering to special interests? Backroom deals for political expediency? Consideration of personal advantage? Legislation on a whim? On balance, I quite like the idea of our parliamentary representatives operating according to a coherent set of principles, clearly articulated and consistently applied. I don't see much evidence of that happening, though, in the Conservative Party or any other.

As for right-wing, I've remarked many times that the conventional left-right political spectrum is pretty worthless. Nowhere is this more obvious than at the 'far-right', which is supposedly a bit further to the right than Thatcher, and yet occupied by the the BNP, whose 2010 manifesto supports
the National Health Service, "free university education to deserving students", reversal of rail privatization, nationalization of telecommunications infrastructure, and "an active protectionist policy" for British industry.
Do Labour and Lib Dem supporters even know what they mean when they say 'right-wing', or do they just see it as a generic term of derision?

In any case, those like Norman Tebbit who self-identify as traditional, right-wing conservatives, don't think very much of the modern Conservative Party under Cameron, and despite the odd bit of promising talk, I haven't seen many decisive actions from this government that are worth celebrating. The centrist, high-taxing, deficit-spending, inflationist, politically-correct, liberal interventionist, CO2-obsessed, nannying, bureaucratic, Europhile mush of Party X seems alive and well to me.

I'd be delighted to be proved wrong.

And "cuts that even Thatcher would have flinched from"? So far, overall, there haven't been any cuts. Much depends on the extent to which we are robbed by inflation, but these projections show real-terms spending settling by 2015 at a level higher than 2009.

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