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April 10, 2015



The Daily Mail might have a thing or two to say about support to trade unions and greater civil liberties.


Spot on about the increase in the number of criminal offences created by Labour.


The trouble is The Tories are not a 'one nation' party anymore. We know the origins of that go back to a certain woman. But now Osborne is an inheritor of that social divisiveness which the Tory party and their nasty Tory press love to promulgate.

So I think the most haunting comments of this election campaign come from within the cabinet - the deputy prime minister who told the Independent the other day: Osbourne is " a very dangerous man with a dangerous plan" He mentions Osbourne's 'lurch to the right' and wanting to balance the books on the working poor." No matter what your views are of Nick he is giving it to us straight - the bitter truth of a Conservative party heading for government until 2020.


Capitalism is not conservative, it is progressive.

Simon Cooke

Very interesting - for all my liberalism, I am absolutely convinced that the Conservatives need to break with it and make the case for government having a role in people's lives. And the real essence of this lies in localism and the Big Society stuff - Cameron's belief in social action. The problem is that the voluntary sector (or rather paid professionals in the voluntary sector) are absolutely set against real voluntary action. Volunteers are folk who either sit on boards and agree with us or else the lady who makes tea or stuffs envelopes.


@ Simon Cooke

For all my liberalism I have never doubted governments’ ongoing role in people’s lives. Currently the great heights of Conservative liberalism (have you met ID Smith?), to all intents and purposes, commands total ownership over the lives of distressed (unemployed) people. Beyond which, there’s the long term plan to similarly extend controls over the lives of underemployed or underpaid (distressed) people.

But perhaps I’m missing something profound here; perhaps for some governments, personhood is a conditional status – dependent upon wealth – being a lucky inheritor for example?

gastro george

"And the real essence of this lies in localism and the Big Society stuff - Cameron's belief in social action."

This is satire, right?

I seriously doubt that Cameron believes anything.


Gastro george is wrong. call me Dave believes in making his rich friends richer and the rest poorer. It is rather obvious.

As for Capitalism being progressive there is nothing about a dictatorship of Capital that is progressive.

As for a small state policy Conservatives have never opposed the state advancing their interests only other peoples. Why Chris gives credence to this meaningless slogan I do not know. The only rational policy for the left is to defend the social democratic achievements which the rich tax dogers' party is working to destroy.

The big failure of New Labour has been the inability to effectively defend this social democratic legacy. They need to do considerably better; or find new leaders who can.

gastro george

Keith is, of course, correct, I was too imprecise. Cameron has (underlying) beliefs, it's just that he will say anything, so you can't trust what comes out of his mouth.


The defence of modern macro you link to really underlies this issue.

The key difficulty is not the DGE model (at least not inherently, I have the mathematic knowledge to make critiques of Andolfatto's approach, but that stuff in potentially fixable), but the uses the model is put to and the interpretations and assumptions made when transferring from the model back to reality.

Economists don't know enough about building and maintaining systems to be making recommendations from their modelling. So they easily fall into traps (like "small state") that promote efficiency at the expense of resilience, without ever analysing the tradeoff.


Cameron's already tried playing that double game re. 'austerity': one moment arguing that the cuts were about eradicating the deficit; the next, claiming that it's policy to shrink the state rather than financial prudence. Moreover, too many people are going to hear the idea as 'more massive cuts'. Plus, it won't happen because of the Tories' desire to be the 'law 'n' order' party.

The second won't happen because Cameron keeps digging up the corpse of the 'Big Society' in the belief that it's still fresh (and besides, the CBI and IoD have conformed to type by whingeing about the impact on profits - sorry, on 'business').

The third won't happen because trades unions are the 'wrong' kind of 'little platoons' compared to shareholders (which was Thatcher's idea of a 'little platoon').

In the end, it's probably easier for the Tories to shout about how Ed Miliband is a ruthless serial back-stabbing shagger who eats quiche (or something).


«Many of us resent the increase in criminal offences under New Labour. Rather than reverse this, however, the government has continued the trend.»

Both parties are/have been targeting "middle (southern) England" swing voters in marginal seats.

These tend to be middle aged or older women mostly with property, with a significant minority of middle aged or older men, some with property.

These people are afraid of anybody and anything and just want to deport or lock up for good everybody else who looks even remotely "nasty".

Thus ASBOs, a deluge of new crimes created, constant banging on law and ORDER, ORDER, ORDER, especially against "nasty" looking men. The watchwords are "better safe than sorry", "you can never be too safe", "safety at any cost to someone else", "take the gloves off with the nasty people".

Conversely some proposals have been made to exempt women from the oppression of criminal law more or less entirely, for example my N Clegg:

«Abused and vulnerable women…crammed like sardines into crowded prisons. [ ... ] Too often, for too many offenders, prison is not the answer. It is not the answer for every mother left sobbing in her cell.»

It is all about the votes, and who swings them in the right marginals.

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