The Tories want to interfere at home, but not with business

12:30 pm - April 11th 2010

by Paul Cotterill    

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Spot the key difference in these recent Tory election announcements and policy directions, which have been coming thick and fast since the election really got going…

Group A

1) Tax breaks for marrieds

2) A neighbourhood army

3) National Service

4) Not too fussed about the digital economy bill (only 9 Tories turned up to vote)

Group B

5) Against increased NICs for employers

6) Against governmental oversight of takeovers by overseas corporations

7) Against telling B&B owners they have to accept gay people under their roof

8) Legislation modelled on the Human Rights Act to allow local government to do whatever it wants, even where it conflicts with existing law.

9) Not too fussed about the digital economy bill (only 9 Tories turned up to vote) – again

Yup, you’ve got it.

All the ones aimed at individuals are based on the state intervening in the way people live their lives so that they conform.

Meanwhile, all the ones aimed at businesses and the state itself are aimed at allowing them to do exactly as they choose.

Freedom means something different if you’re a Tory.

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About the author
Paul Cotterill is a regular contributor, and blogs more regularly at Though Cowards Flinch, an established leftwing blog and emergent think-tank. He currently has fingers in more pies than he has fingers, including disability caselaw, childcare social enterprise, and cricket.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Economy ,Our democracy ,Westminster

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Reader comments

All good points, but mostly I enjoyed how “8 + )” makes that geezer with the shades (:)) heh

I find the marriage tax break proposals quite insulting. I really don’t think the Conservatives thought it through.

Particularly bad is the fact that, in effect, a single mother on the minimum wage will be subsidising a person earning £43,999 just because the other person is (still?) married.

The right always go on about Labour doing “social engineering”, but what on earth is this then?

Here I explain a number of reasons why the latest Tory proposal is insulting, useless and just crap.

@2, remember class war is OK when *they* do it, because that’s traditional, the-way-it’s-always-been The Rich Screwing The Poor class war. It’s only the radical, revolutionary concept of Doing It The Other Way Round they don’t like…



The difference is that 1 – 3 do not contain any compulsion, but are all voluntary, whereas 5 – 7 would all contain state compulsion. All are entirely consistent with traditional liberal conservatism.

Of course, you did forget to mention the proposal to erase consensual homosexual convictions. Rather selective list really.

Re: 5

While I don’t disagree with your point, consent is a terrible paradigm to use. For example, I wouldn’t consent to married people having an easier financial time – they arguably already have it better than single people – so why does their consent overrule mine?

edit: How am I not going to be compelled to pay for married people under tory plans? Does compulsion not matter for certain people in certain situations?

Wouldn’t it be more consistent with liberal conservative values to sub-contract out the management of a voluntary levy which concerned individuals who wanted to “recognise marriage within the tax system” could of their own volition pay, and distribute the proceeds to married people?

I fail to see the relevance of the Digital Economy Act (not Bill) in this list.

1. It was a Labour proposal. It wrapped up some daft ideas about protecting content creators (a good thing in theory) with some practical legal measures. This act will be observed in the same fashion as the Dangerous Dogs Act.

2. The Orphan Works clause, which would have affected commercial photographers, was thankfully dropped. According to the proposed classification, the DEA could have been in either Group using this criterium.

3. The Blocking Sites that Infringe Copyright clauses were amended but remain incoherent. They are unenforceable and will be ignored.

10. RIchard johnson

The Tory boot boys will be even more controlling in our lives than new Labour, there is little doubt about that.

As I have been saying it is just a copy of the American Right wing.

Freedom for the rich but not for thee.

Cameron is the New Bush, and if Labour had any sense about them that would be the message they should put out.

If you want GW Bush vote for call me Dave and his band of wingnut brothers.

We really should be told what the Conservative position is on the reform of financial markets and institutions. With the severity and reach of the international financial crisis, this is rather an important issue.

I can’t recall that we have heard from the Conservatives on the analysis and proposals of Lord Turner, chairman of the FSA:

The Tories will be findamentally split on business, as are Labour of course.

The right of the party will, at the extreme, be for a complete seperation of state and business. The same people, if they are being consistent, will also be commitedly libertarian for personal issues (a la Guido Falkes). The left wing are now moving towards a Red Tory position of limiting global and even national business in favour of local. This same group would also be in favour of (non-profit or for-profit) cooperativism for both private and public services. However, there would be a some groups who would support ‘encouraging’ marriage etc, but others on this wing who would be libertarian.

I don’t think the dividing line is as simple as election tribalism would make it.

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Claire French

    RT @libcon: The Tories want to interfere at home, but not with business

  2. Star Sparkle

    RT @libcon: The Tories want to interfere at home, but not with business

  3. Paul Cotterill

    Oh look, I've turned up unexpectedly at Liberal Conspiracy talking about Tories' bizarre conception of freedom

  4. Liberal Conspiracy

    The Tories want to interfere at home, but not with business

  5. Paul Nolan

    RT @libcon The Tories want to interfere at home, but not with business – Who'da thunk?

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    […] C’s selective reading of Conservative policies is nevertheless an interestingway of organising the question: do a party’s policies restrict […]

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