Conservatives and public spending: it’s pretty weak stuff
I don’t deny that the Tories seem to be on to a political winner with their very tough line on public spending (it’s hard not to be when the country’s media has lined up behind you). But a read of David Cameron’s much hyped “age of austerity” speech at the Conservative Spring Conference makes one wonder at their general policy direction and messaging. It’s astoundingly thin stuff not least because it stretches credulity to breaking point.
The overall message is “yes, we will make deep cuts in spending but we can also deliver better service quality because wikipedia, the Swedish education system and a small social care scheme in Southwark manage to”. I’m not kidding – that’s it. Don’t believe me? Here’s a direct quote:
Sweden’s education department. Southwark Circle. Wikipedia. They’re all delivering more for less. If they can do it, why can’t our government?
With stuff this weak, Cameron is at risk of becoming Thatcher without brains. Thatcherism may have been wrong but at least she had monetarist theory to explain why she was cutting and she had a clear vision of the type of economy she wanted to create. Cameron has neither of those things just a desire to cut because it strikes a chord with the focus groups and plays well with the right wing press. It may win votes but where it goes after that is anyone’s guess.