Much amused to come across this alternative report of the Conservative Way Forward event at which Howard Flight admitted the Tory pledge to spend £35bn less than Labour in a couple of years, should read ‘at least £35bn less’, via Mathew Turner. In this alternative world, the gaff that got Flight sacked was heard as refusal, ‘to agree to more radical tax plans or even consider them’. Oh dear. As Mathew suggests, a career in real world journalism does not beckon for poor Andrew Iain Dodge.
Yet it’s an easy mistake to make if you’re a libertarian Conservative in libertarian Conservative company: you believe in a smaller state in principle and that any pledge to cut spending is a very good thing. But such people have failed to recognise their own minority position within the Conservative Party, the majority of whom are traditional social conservatives: some might even favour a theocratic junta. Tory house paper the Telegraph has warned Michael Howard of the dangers of opportunism in the past, but an opportunist he is. He’s happiest jumping on hate fuelled bandwagons.
The blue rinses may have been happy to let libertarians run the economy under Thatcher (looking down on them as mere technocrats) but those days are over. Traditional, pragmatic Tory fudge is all Michael Howard has to offer.