Cameron’s ten pledges: the pretense is over, Thatcherism is back!
David Cameron has made ten pledges to the British people today (in The Sun, of course). Here are some notable points:
1. None of the pledges include anything on dealing with the current unemployment crisis. In the wider interview with The Sun, he does talk passionately of the need to introduce bold measures to deal with the scourge of unemployment but I guess he wasn’t quite passionate enough to make reducing it one of his “key pledges”. Nicola has noted already how little the Tories have had to say on dealing with unemployment.
2. In fact, the boldest thing Cameron does say on jobs is a restatement of his plans to cut the public deficit. As we have pointed out in detail on this site, a rush to cut spending would only create more unemployment. He also pledges to freeze council tax for two years – another measure which would risk accelerating the already rising number of job losses in local government.
3. Alongside this, Cameron makes commitments to cut taxes which benefit the wealthy just at the time when tax revenues are falling and he is planning spending cuts which could throw thousands of public servants and others onto the dole. In The Sun he mentions cutting corporation tax, restates his commitment to cut inheritance tax and (in another interview with The Spectator) he pledges to reverse the 50p tax rate that was introduced in the Budget.
4. He says that a Tory Government would reassess everyone on Incapacity Benefit to see if they are fit for work and will expect all benefit claimants to either work or prepare for work. I wonder where he got those ideas: maybe the fact that they are already Government policy is a clue.
5. And despite the fact that he says the Conservative Party has changed and is now “paying attention to the big issues of the future”, there is not a single mention in his pledges of the environment.
This is all astonishing stuff. If you needed to sum up these pledges, the following wouldn’t be an unfair precis: deep spending cuts, tax cuts for the rich, tough on long-term benefit claimants, not much to offer the newly unemployed.
Good to see that Cameron’s progressive and compassionate conservatives have finally made that break with their Thatcherite past.