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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

UK Conservatives and 'People Power'

The British Conservative Party is talking a good talk. They are claiming that the prime difference between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party is that Labour believes in ‘state power’ and the Tories believe in ‘people power.’ As someone who strongly defends the principles of personal responsibility and individual liberty, I like this kind of language. The question is: does the Conservative manifesto live up to the Tory leader David Cameron’s rhetoric?

Recently the Hayekian influenced Institute for Economic Affairs has said that neither the Conservatives nor the Labour Party have promised to do enough. The IEA is calling for a fundamental change in the way public finances operate to deal with the dire condition of the public debt. The Conservatives and Labour Party are debating how much to nibble while large bites are needed to save the public purse.

So what does that have to do with ‘people power’? It raises the question of what we can expect the government to be able to do and what do we need it to do. Mr. Cameron seems to be suggesting that we don’t need the government for much, because it is we the people that can best run our lives. It is we the people that can best direct us towards prosperity. Yet if this is so, why nibble? Why not take a bite?

The Labour Party response is pretty predictable. According to the Telegraph article that was linked above:

Last night Lord Mandelson, who is running Labour’s election campaign, said: “When the Tories say 'we’re all in this together’, what they really mean is 'you’re on your own’.’’

Which really tells you how much the Labour Party trusts people to live their lives without a civil servant telling you what you need to do. Yet are the Conservatives really that much better? Do they really think that we still need this disastrously large government spending?

As Publius here at the Western Standard recently said:

The difference between David Cameron's Conservatives, and Gordon Brown's Labour, is the speed at which they would drive Britain off the cliff.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on April 14, 2010 in International Politics | Permalink

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