left

The Left Right Game

This week, I surprise Nic with a new jape: The Left Right Game!

I had the idea to state a number of different, collectivist policies and Nic had to tell me whether they were left or right wing, with evidence of course, to test my theory that many people associate all forms of statism with the left. Did Nic fall into my trap?

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Why is it now rare for a Tory to advocate low taxes?

I suppose I’d just got used to it.

Hearing big state, high-tax talk from Conservatives.

Theresa May with her interventionist, remainer views has always surrounded herself with advisers that think the same as her – see Olly Robbins, who has masterminded the circumvention of the Department for Exiting the EU, or basically anything written by Nick Timothy, her former co-Chief of Staff.

In fact, it was the Conservative manifesto itself for the 2017 snap election, written by Timothy, that is the best evidence to date that it’s no longer a mainstream Conservative view to believe in smaller government and lower taxes.

It was all bit Ed Miliband-lite.  What politicians and pundits like to call the centre-ground of British politics is now a very much lefty position.

Of course, nowadays, if you step one pace to the right you are deemed a fascist, whereas there are a seemingly infinite number of steps further and further left, never getting to the police state that the rest of us know lies in that direction too.

This was put brilliantly in this article by Douglas Murray in the Spectator.

Left and Right don’t really cut it any more – and I’m sure I can be accused of saying that because I don’t exist on the left of this crazy spectrum.  I believe, though that the new order is one of freedom versus totalitarianism.

And on the side of freedom are those of us who believe that people should be as free as they can possibly be to not have government run their lives for them.  As free as possible to spend their own money as they see fit.

What the politics of 2018 has lost (and it happened long before 2018), is a sense that small state, low tax economies work.  And not only work, but excel like no others.

Is it up to people like me with no following, no journalistic or political ambitions, to point out the success stories of Hong Kong under John Cowperthwaite or Germany under Ludwig Erhard?

There aren’t enough of us out there showing that when you lower tax and lower regulation and state intervention, that living standards improve, economies grow, and people get happier as a result.

So it was a surprise to me this morning to read that none other than Gavin Williamson, our young, hapless Defence Secretary, had in cabinet this week advocated lowering taxes in order to increase government revenue.

I wonder how well that went down.  Cabinet room lead balloon is what I’m thinking.

But it shouldn’t have been an unpopular idea.  It should be Conservative party policy.

And it should always be Conservative party policy.  It shouldn’t be floated occasionally by one of the cabinet, it should be a de-facto view.

Liz Truss has been making the right noises recently, and there is enough press chatter about Sajid Javid to indicate that he also could be on the right side of this.

But there aren’t enough of them.  Too many of the Conservative party are statists, just like on the left.

Without a Thatcher figure to slam Hayek’s Road to Serfdom on the table and say “This is what we believe in”, and actually sell the policies of low tax, low regulation, small state conservatism, I fear it will become more an more a minority view – deemed crack-pot even.

We have facts and evidence on our side – why is this Conservative government not using them?