Part 10 of our Pre-Election guide is about the Tories and their biggest chance in almost twenty years. Today, Jackart explains why you should vote Conservative.
Every Labour government leaves an almighty mess for the Conservatives to clean up. The UK’s recession was the deepest and longest of any major economy because Labour was spending more than was taken in taxes long before the crash, which may have “started in America”, but predictably took deepest root in Brown’s profligate UK.
Despite the greatest rise in peacetime taxation in British history, during the country’s longest ever boom, the deficit is one of the largest in the developed world. The Labour line that to cut spending now would “jeopardise the recovery” is an outrageous lie. Public borrowing ‘crowds out’ private investment, sending viable business to the wall for want of credit. Conservatives understand this, and propose cutting the deficit as fast as possible, in order that the economy can grow.
Despite the rhetoric, much of Brown’s spending spree has missed nurses or teachers, funding instead a vast Labour client-state of quangocrats and box-tickers. Service users have seen little benefit, even on Labour’s own terms. Tories aim to cut the wasteful non-jobs which have ballooned under Labour, freeing front line professionals to do theirs.
The armed forces are nearly broken after a decade of fighting wars on a peace-time budget. The Navy and RAF have too few ships and planes, the Army is lacking helicopters. The TA (8% of forces in Afghanistan) are being told to stop training, and nearly a third of the infantry is undeployable. Defence spending has not been reviewed systematically since 1998 – this would be a Conservative priority.
Labour has been the most savagely illiberal regime in British history. Tories propose a ‘Bill of Rights’ which would guarantee liberties like Jury trials and Habeas Corpus, and a “Great repeal bill” to scrap many of the 3,000 new offences invented by this government; many of them thought-crimes of which you’re guilty until proven innocent. The Tories are not Libertarians but they understand the danger of too much power in police hands.
Conservative education policy is especially radical in allowing new schools to be set up funded by, but not run by the state. This has been shown to work in Sweden and the USA. It delivers more money directly to schools by cutting out the middle-men in LEAs. This will drive up standards in existing schools too: in US experience, the poorest areas benefit most from increased choice.
“They’re all as bad as each other” is merely Labour’s most pernicious lie. Conservatives have a coherent plan to devolve power – from Brussels to Westminster, Westminster to Councils and Councils to individuals.
Localisation means removing many of the counter-productive targets which have distorted priorities in policing, the NHS and local Government, allowing local people to see what is being done by publishing the details of spending and contracts online.
It means letting local people set priorities by electing Sheriffs to run policing. It means altering the benefits system to remove disincentives to work; simplifying the absurdly complicated tax-code; scrapping regulations hamstringing business and (eventually) taking less tax from people. It means, in short, guaranteeing people’s liberty from a bullying, nosy and rapacious state.
It is only possible to scratch the surface in 500 words of Labour’s catastrophic failure and Conservative plans for smaller, better-run and less intrusive Government, but things have to change, and the Conservatives have a plan.
Jackart is a Libertarian blogger and Conservative Party member. He blogs at A Very British Dude.