Sunday, August 12, 2007

Crunchtime for the Tories

Really big week coming up for Cameron's Conservative Party. On Friday John Redwood publishes his economic competitiveness policy review. It will be the basis for major debate in the Party. We always knew that this particular policy review would be based on clear, precise and powerful logic- being the way Redwood thinks. Its a debate about fundamental philosophy and about what we stand for. We also knew it would inevitably lead to mindless, knee jerk accusations that the Tories are 'tacking to the Right'. It seems that the BBC have started already and are lining up Labour spokespersons to run 'the Government rebuttal' even before the report is published. In fact, the BBC will probably give Labour criticism of the report more prominence that the report itself.

I'm looking forward to reading Redwood's conclusions - and I expect to agree with them. Leaks seem to be suggesting that the proposed scrapping of regulations on business will lead to savings of £14 billion per year by the end of one full term of Conservative government. The £14 billions is described as "a tax cut in all but name". This sounds pretty good stuff to me. But its no wonder the BBC are trying to undermine it, because Redwood is reported to be going after the licence fee, which he is reported to describe as a "poll tax". Not the best way to get the Beeb on side I'd have thought!

This is the area of policy that has always established me in my own mind as a Tory. I believe that, generally, the private sector usually does it better - and the State's role, where possible should be facilitate and regulate. It follows that, in principle, I support lower taxation and a smaller state. For example at the recent Assembly election, I was much taken by the Plaid proposals to cut business taxes - even if the Assembly didn't have the power to cut them! After 10 years of Labour, the State has become suffocatingly dominant, and taxation is too high. This week, this issue is going to dominate my party's thinking. I hope it will become an election issue if the Prime Minister goes for an early General Election. It is difficult territory for us - but I'm looking forward to walking on it.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

How can anyone who lived in Wales during Redwood's disastrous term as SoS Wales support him?

Glyn Davies said...

But they can support what he says - which is rather a different thing

Anonymous said...

you are right about redwood. he was disliked by most people in wales, including you i understand glyn, and he did a lot of harm to the tory reputation. but he is a clever politician. cant he be persuaded to take a behind the scenes job for your party. even if his report is good, you wont be able to sell it in wales because its redwood.

Daran said...

The above short discourse between you and some anonymous commentators (they are clearly different people) makes me think of all that polling which shows that people often agree with policies your party espouses until they are told they are Conservative policies. I understand there has been some shift on that general polling/perception position in the last six months, which I'm sure is something you will welcome.

If your party can successfully extend the George Michael "Listen Without Prejudice" principle to John Redwood then you really will have slain a dragon!

Very much looking forward to read his report in full, though, not just how it's reported.

Glyn Davies said...

Well put Daran. But dragons do take a lot of slaying.

hafod said...

Privatised railways, PFI schemes over-running, private pension scandals, gangmasters (the ultimate in private businesses) ripping of migrant workers without hindrance, water companies still leaking and profiteering, fat cats on bonuses... and private still does better than public?
Glyn, you can say it all you want but private business is often a disgrace.

penlan said...

Hafod,I worked in a nationalised industry for four years and have now worked in the private sector for over twenty years.If the state sector ran the economy we would ground to a halt years ago.I find it difficult to believe that there are still people holding such views.I thought Clause 4 had been consigned to the dustbin of history where it belonged even by the left.

Glyn Davies said...

Hafod - massive increase in the traffic on the railways (though I admit that I was not a supporter of privatising them. PFI schemes and Public/Private partnerships that have delivered hundreds of new projects (which would not otherwise have happened. Private pensions, which were the envy of Europe until Gordon Brown totally screwed the system 10 years ago, to raise more money for the government to spend. Gangmasters, which were a complete failure of the regulation authorities, which is Government's job, etc. etc. What you see depends on where you stand.

Anonymous said...

John Redwood can sometimes have sensible ideas, but they are greatly outweighed by the bad, mad and silly ones. I will not be persuaded that the Conservative party has changed its ways while John Redwood and others of his ilk continue to have influential roles.

Only when the party has made them irrelevant in the way that Labour made Tony Benn and Militant irrelevant almost 20 years ago will I begin to believe it has changed. Until then David Cameron is a political pygmy compared with the widely respected and universally admired Neil Kinnock.

Praguetory said...

I think that John has been a very loyal back-bencher and has developed some excellent ideas. His blog is splendid.

Anons can carp all they like, but John's talents should be put to use. The idea of marginalising him is ridiculous.

johnny foreigner said...

Glyn Davies said...

Well put Daran. But dragons do take a lot of slaying.

Mon Aug 13, 10:41:00 AM

johnny says....

I don't know about that Glyn.

St. George didn't do too badly.

Maybe this a portent of things to come.

Your pondering pal.

johnny.

Dr. Christopher Wood (avatar: "Farscape") said...

Frankly, I don't much like John Redwood, but I agree with Glyn, we don't have to like him to like some of his ideas and suggestions. I am fully behind John Redwood on matters "BBC". Since moving to the USA I have noted the filth that the BBC exports to BBC America (the soap/sex/rude shows), the BBC is no longer an asset, it has become a filthy liability. There are many good things put out by the BBC, but the sheer weight of bad stuff coming from the BBC is astonishing. It is high time we stopped thinking the BBC represents all that is good about being British. The BBC no longer deserves "British" in its name. The BBC, imho, should be cut off from public funding and should be cut loose. The BBC no longer deserves our universal support, it has become a liability and dare I say it, a national embarrassment.

Glyn Davies said...

Praguetory - Redwood has a brilliant mind and he believes in what he says - which is more than you can say for many politicians today. I agree that it would be daft to waste his talent.

Johnny foreigner - St George accepted. Maybe even he would have found it difficult to slay the prejudice against the Tories.

Christopher - the BBC has been forced to apologise for the disgraceful way they pilloried Redwood with THAT clip of film. I read that the BBC now intends to portray Margaret Thatcher as foul mouthed. It is time we saw some resignations. Its the only way the nonsense will stop.