Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Rehashed Thatcherism

I was a bit surprised by Glyn Davies’ post today on Cameron’s big speech. Surprised for two reasons actually.

Firstly, because I really didn’t think that Glyn did sycophancy. Secondly, and more importantly, because it looks as though Cameron is starting to do what he’s steadfastly refused to do to date – by which I mean define what he stands for. And purely from reading Glyn’s account of the speech, I can certainly see why he’s been avoiding it to date.

Glyn says that the basic premise was that "We need to start living within our means". Now where have I heard that before? Oh yes, I remember. That was the homely way in which Maggie Thatcher introduced us all to the ‘pleasures’ of monetarism. That, of course, was the creed which led to the demise of much of Wales’ heavy industry.

They are also going to attack the ‘bloated’ state, apparently. Reducing the size of the state means one (or both) of two things; cuts in services and cuts in jobs. During the Assembly election, the Tories locally were keen to show their support for the workers at HMRC threatened by job losses as a result of Gordon Brown's Civil Service cuts. A little dishonest from a party which is planning even larger cuts, isn't it? Mind you, in all fairness, I have to say that it sounded less than sincere at the time.

It seems that Mr Cameron also wants more ‘choice’ in public services. Another message with echoes from the past. Wasn’t it ‘choice’ which gave us the internal market in the health service? And the idea of opt-out schools?

As I always suspected would be the case, it’s going to be difficult to tell the new Tories from the old ones. And it underlines the case for an early referendum on a parliament, so that Wales, like Scotland, will be able to opt out of the re-hashed Thatcherism which Cameron is promising us.

I said earlier that I could see why Cameron had avoided defining any sort of position to date; what I can’t understand is why he’s starting to let the cat out of the bag now. Does he really think victory is that certain that even revealing the truth about the Tories can’t stop him?


Anonymous said...

maybe its too early to tell but these Tax proposals don't seem to be concerning voters who would normally vote Labour or Lib Dem nationally, is this down to the positive press coverage the Tories are getting i wonder?

John Dixon said...

Welsh Lobbyist,

It may just be that some people are so utterly fed up of Labour that they've concluded that almost anything would be better. The challenge for Plaid in particular is to persuade people that if they want a real change they should look to the future, rather than looking back to another party which proved so disastrous in the past.