The Editor of the Sunday Telegraph does not mince his words. Describing the Brexit white paper as “one of the most shameful economic documents ever produced by a Conservative government”, it won’t be Party-gate which does for the Prime Minister, but a broad alliance of voters, members and backbench MPs who feel even more angry at being duped into supporting a policy manifesto they never voted for.
“Its great policy relaunch is a tragic mush, proof that it no longer really believes in anything, not even its own self-preservation. Conservative supporters, keen to move on from Partygate, were desperate for a comprehensive package of conservative ideas to enrich the North, relaunch Brexit and pave the way for an electoral resurgence. It was not to be.
Michael Gove’s levelling-up blueprint is a grotesque disappointment, a list of buzzwords and targets masquerading as strategy, its pseudo-intellectual veneer and cod history intended to camouflage the fact that it essentially advocates the very same nostrums that ultimately destroyed Labour.”
A political disciple of Tony Blair, “Gove’s paper even bears a striking resemblance to a plan proposed by the Labour-leaning Institute for Public Policy Research in 2004. For those of us who argued against the wasteful, “ state knows best” nonsense of the Labour years, which needless to say failed or else we wouldn’t be in today’s mess, this is almost unbearably depressing.”
Instead, suggests the author:
“A proper conservative approach to levelling-up would focus on schooling, and the heart-breaking results of the white working class. It would investigate family policy and the values crisis. It would create dozens of libertarian pro-business areas, run by development corporations, with almost no taxes and regulation. It would target cheaper energy. It would liberate an extra one per cent of Britain’s landmass for house building. It would tackle the failed monolith that is the NHS. It would not see spending on public transport as a panacea. It would reject targets, subsidies and bureaucracies. It would break with socialism.
That wail you hear is the cry of Toryland: among the true believers, the long-marchers, the Eurosceptics and the free-marketeers, there is sorrow, anger and despair.”
With friends like these who needs enemies?
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