@RColvile scolds the Tories. Political Reporter comments.

There can be no doubt who and what Robert Colvile represents, and the Think Tank that he heads, it presents themselves as unapologetic Thatcherites: 

The Centre for Policy Studies is Britain’s leading centre-right think tank. Its mission is to develop a new generation of conservative thinking, built around promoting enterprise, ownership and prosperity. 

The CPS does this both by producing its own policy papers – in particular on its core areas of tax and cost of living, business and enterprise, housing, and welfare. It also works with prominent policy thinkers to bring their ideas to a wider audience, including many Conservative MPs, as well as hosting events, debates and conferences. 

The CPS was founded in 1974 by Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret  Thatcher, and was responsible for developing the bulk of the policy agenda that became known as Thatcherism. The CPS, Thatcher said, “was where our conservative revolution began”. And it was by implementing its policies “that we gradually restored the confidence and reputation of our country”.  


The reader need be in no doubt as to Mr. Colvile’s political ideology. ‘The Left’ in his febrile political imagination, is not the Left-Wing Social Democrats represented by Jeremy Corbyn, but instead is the political nihilism of the Bolsheviks. Or are these two representation, of ‘The Left’, in Mr.  Colvile’s fevered imagination somehow equal? Mrs. Thatcher, steeped in ideological fixation, like J. Edgar Hoover saw ‘Reds’ everywhere, except in the Mt. Pelerin Society.

For what might be a biography, of the Colville greed ridden mentality, the reader need only look to ‘Liberalism at Large:The World According to the Economist’ by Alexander Zevin


The above is just the preamble to Colvile’s essay that points to the Tories as the abbetors of ‘The Left’ :

Headline: While the left plays a smart game to widen the welfare state, the Tories keep leaving the field

In sum, the Tories lack the will, determination or the balls to challenge that ‘Left’! Mr. Colvile confects a potted history of this crime against the old stand-by Austerity, the fools-gold of the Neo-Liberal Swindle.

Does Colvile express actual ‘concern’ for the welfare of others who are in need?

As my colleagues at the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) think tank show in a briefing note today, the flat £20 increase has plenty of flaws. For example, it did more proportionately for those claimants who needed it least — rather than providing more help for those with children or those most affected by the pandemic. The same amount would go a long way towards fixing social care, the most obviously broken part of the welfare system.


He is more interested in the politics of the situation, rather that the actuality, or possibility of human suffering. What the reader gets is more bloodless Oxbridger Policy Chatter, from someone who never experienced want! A Technocracy steeped in the second hand Political Theology of Mises/Hayek/Friedman, can best be expressed in the notion of ‘I can look with equanimity on the suffering of others’ . The rest is mere self-apologetic in the guise of an utterly unconvincing attempt at ‘concern’.

These last two paragraphs demonstrate that ‘The Left’ is going to be permanently reshaping of the State, it already is ,to the consternation of Mr. Colvile. This reader is surprised at the complete absence of Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer from this essay. The political maneuvering described takes place outside the Leadership ? Stamer is New Labour, so Neo-Liberal political bromides are not beyond his ken! As the Labour Party hemorrhages membership, a ploy to address that crisis?

The left is skilfully using the pandemic to campaign for a permanent reshaping of the state, and has become expert at assembling coalitions of the outraged to that end. The government either seems not to see these problems coming, or cannot decide between fight and flight — and so tries the first before falling back on the second. In the process, it cedes not just the argument but the moral high ground. And it contributes to the ratchet effect by which it is always easier to say yes than no to extra spending. The constituency for fiscal discipline on the Tory benches is already at its smallest for decades.

With every jab, the end of the pandemic’s acute phase comes closer. The key thing, at that point, will be to ensure a rapid and robust economic recovery.

Note Mr. Colvile’s use of catch phrases:

assembling coalitions of the outraged

cannot decide between fight and flight

it cedes not just the argument but the moral high ground.

the ratchet effect

fiscal discipline

With every jab

a rapid and robust economic recovery

The final sentence follows suit :

The more the state swells, and the more the debt grows, the harder that will be to sustain.

Mr. Colvile has not read Keynes, nor his epigones, the time for Fiscal Discipline is when an Economy is well into its recovery phase.

Political Writer

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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