Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cameron's New Policy.

WARNING - This is a partisan post - born of anger. Lets go back to the beginning. I'm one of those politicians who had to think about which political party I was most aligned with philosophically before becoming actively involved. No family tradition or politically motivated friends. Throughout my Local Government and Quango careers I was 'Independent'. When I was young, my inherent pride in being a Welshman led me to vote Plaid Cymru - instinctive rather than based on any judgement. But when I did think about which political party to join, I concluded that I was and always had been an instinctive Conservative.

Amongst the reasons that I consider myself 'Conservative' is a belief that the private sector delivers services more cost effectively than the state. In my opinion, it follows that I also believe in the state as a strong regulator. Private sector provision of social services with light regulation will not deliver social justice. I was in conversation with Wales Older People's Commissioner last night about provision of care for the elderly, the senile and other dependent people. The issue was how to provide best care. My opinion, (and I emphasise it was my opinion) was that when the public sector delivers the care itself (and also regulates the delivery) abuse, inefficiency and a terrible waste of money are likely to follow close behind. You see, my opinion is based not on some ideology, but on good service delivery.

Anyway, all of this is by way of introduction to my comments on David Cameron's hugely important statement yesterday that a future Conservative Government will not be tied to Labour's future spending plans. The Labour response has been predictable. Jeremy Paxman's sneering last night was verging on the repugnant. I've no idea what this will do to our popular support - but personally, I'm extremely pleased. My background as a small businessman instilled into me a suspicion of entering into debts that I wasn't sure how I would repay. The depth of my personal contempt for the financial systems that have wreaked such havoc with our economy is unmeasurable. My disbelief that so many people believe that Gordon Brown, the main architect of this havoc in Britain (also the individual who b*****ed up the regulatory system) should be thought by many to be the man to sort it out is equally unmeasurable - but it is the case. A good friend, (not political but aware) told me yesterday how she thought Brown was doing a good job. It was a genuine opinion from someone neither Labour nor Conservative. And the opinion polls seem to moving in Labour's direction.

But I wonder what will be the position after Xmas. A good friend of mine in financial services has been made redundant today, which has inspired this post. Others close to me are also expecting to lose their jobs - young able people whose dreams are going to be drowned in a sea of worry. I'm suspicious of the proposed £30 billion reduction in the tax burden that we expect on Monday, but my real worry about this is that there will be no route map outlining how and when it's going to be repaid. I'm not just pleased by David Cameron's announcement yesterday. I'm proud that my party leader has decided to face down the gamblers, the spinners and the spendthrifts, and stand up to the bullies that govern us in order to save our economy from disaster.


Activist said...


The Global economy is not a small business and you can't manage the sharpest down turn in economic history by reference to such simplistic Thatacheresque analogies. Such thinking almost ruined the UK in the 80's and created such injustices and divisions that the political base of the Conservative party in Wales was destroyed for a generation.

Cameron's plan, with an inadequate stimulus and future public spending cuts, will further deflate the economy accepting as Tory's have before, that high unemployment is 'a price worth paying'. Any economist will tell you that tax cuts are always the weaker element in an anti slump strategy. The money is often spent on imports or put into savings greatly reducing any beneficial impact. Public investment on the otherhand, particulary in infrastructure is a much more efficient reflationary tool and much less risky in causing subsequent inflationary pressures. It leaves a legacy of much needed public assetts and enhanced national productivity.

Politically I am delighted Cameron has reversed his policy. We on the left can now hammer him for putting consumer consumption before decent public services and allowing unemployment to rise as a consequence in a way that is now unacceptable in the post Thatcher World. Given all this has been caused in the first place by the reckless actions of your selfish mates in the financial sector, whose money your party has been happy to accept , there will be little difficulty proving whose side the Tory's are really on. Cameron has blown it both economically and politically. We on the left can barely believe our luck.

Frank H Little said...

But even Conservative voters must be wishing that your man could be consistent. The circumstances have hardly changed since he appeared to be supporting a massive increase in borrowing.

Glyn Davies said...

activist - my memory is that Britain was saved from being a basket case taking instuction from the IMF in the 1980s. In the early 80s the Conservative Party did exceptionally well in Wales. In 1983, we took 14 seats and were within 1,000 in another five. You are correct that from the Mid 80s on we somehow lost our ability to connect with the people of Wales. Hopefully we are recovering now.

Now I don't pretend to be an economist, but there are universal principles. I've accepted in my post that a finacial stimulus through tax cuts would be acceptable, as long as there is some plan to rebalance within a reasonable timescale. This is dramatic stuff, but infinitely more so because of the massive borrowing levels that are already in train.

The problem with investment in infrastructure projects is that it will take a long tim eto have any effect. I have preciously supported the idea of bringing forward plans that are ready to go. Where I don't agree with you(and this is a difference consequent on our respective political standpoints) is that I believe letting people keep and spend their own money is a more effective way of providing an immediate boost to demand.

Frank - are you really saying that the circumstances have not changed. This seems to me a truly incredible thing to say. We are going into a scale of public borrowing that is beyond anything I have ever dreamt possible - and you say nothing has changed!!