We've blogged Labour's vote buying strategy before (see here and here). To recap, over half the electorate are now state beneficiaries, with 5.8 million employed directly. All of which ought to secure socialism in perpetuity.
But of course, voters are also consumers, increasingly angered by Labour's failure to deliver dependable services. And having exhausted every other excuse, Labour has now fallen back on bashing its public servants. Or in John Reid's case, kissing them Glaswegianally.
Now there's a bit of a problem here, isn't there.
Yeeees. That's right. Those public servants don't like it very much . They're thinking they've tried their very best to implement Labour's arsehead policies, just like they've been employed to do. Why should they take the rap when it eventually becomes obvious to everyone the policies themselves are unworkable? (see this blog)
Now that nice Mr Cameron has seen an opening and rushed into it:
"Instead of using public servants as scapegoats we should acknowledge their successes. The truth is that public servants are privately dedicated to what they do. To them, it's not just work - it's their vocation. Often it's not just their job - it's their life".
Quite right too. We all know dedicated public servants, from Doc Crippen to PC Copper. And although they're on the public payroll, we can see they're Sick to Death of living the Nu Labour Lie.
So Labour may well find a lot of those bought votes don't actually stay bought.
Unfortunately for us taxpayers, that doesn't mean our Big Government is about to be trimmed. Dave C knows even disillusioned turkeys don't vote for Xmas, and goes on to say:
"Too often these days, there seems to be an automatic and lazy assumption that you get terrible service in the public sector and fantastic service in the private sector."
On one level, nobody could disagree with that. But the danger is that Dave means more. Hemmed in by all those state dependent votes, he may actually have convinced himself that Tory managerialism would be better than Labour manageralism.
But the superiority of the private sector does not rest on the simple fact that it's private. It rests on real choice and competition, things that are impossible to replicate in the public sector- as the bureaucratic horror of Labour's hospital and school choice policies so amply demonstrates.
The extent of state dependency clearly makes it much more difficult for Westminster parties to trim Big Government. But let's not kid ourselves it doesn't matter. It does.