Community Activists Network
In her party conference speech Theresa May promised to transform the Conservatives into the ‘party of the workers, the party of public servants, the party of the NHS’. She declared: ‘it’s time to remember the good that government can do’.
Journalists on both right and left have been queuing up to announce a new era in British politics.
Allister Heath has written in The Telegraph of May’s ‘repudiation of the Thatcher-Reagan economic world-view’ and her apparent recognition that government is ‘the solution, not the problem’.
Meanwhile, John Gray in the New Statesman has claimed that May ‘has broken with the neoliberal model that has ruled British politics since the 1980s’.
So where’s the evidence for all this? Gray finds it in May’s tax reform pledges, her plans for a national industrial strategy and her promise to reassert the role of the state as the final guarantor of social cohesion.
But let’s be clear. Cameron also put tax reform at the top of his agenda; he also developed industrial strategies to promote growth; and he was also committed to bolstering the Conservatives “compassionate” credentials — for instance with Starter Homes.
So none of these policy pledges are new.
It might be that May differs from her predecessors because unlike Cameron she actually intends to deliver on these promises.
But I’m sceptical. For one simple reason: whilst promising to increase the role of the state, May is quietly insisting that ‘the government continues with its intention to reduce public spending and cut the budget deficit’. READ MORE
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