Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rolling Back The State

Yes, well, Cam's version is perhaps a tad more 2010

So after 5 years of angst, it turns out Cam may be a real Tory after all:

"We believe in responsibility: government responsibility with public finances, personal responsibility for our actions, and social responsibility towards each other. We believe in enterprise and aspiration. We believe there is such a thing as society, it’s just not the same thing as the state. Our fundamental tenet is that power should be devolved from politicians to people, from the central to the local. Personal ambition should be set as high as is humanly possible, with no barriers put in its way by the state."
Hurrah. Government is not responsible for running your life - its responsibilities centre on keeping the public finances under control. All of us as individuals are responsible for our own lives - which is precisely what we've always thought (yes, OK, by individuals we actually mean individual families, but that's what Cam means as well).

Individual responsibility, decentralisation of state power, and trusting us to run our own lives. Rolling back the state in favour of real people power. Sounds spot on.

Of course, when you read the manifesto, there's an awful lot of vital detail missing. For example, there's no hint of decentralising tax raising powers to local authorities, although without that change, local authorities will remain the puppets of Whitehall. And despite the proposals for allowing worker cooperatives to run hospitals, the plans for the NHS basically sound like business as is - the critical role of customer power remains unclear.

But let's not carp. It's one step at a time, and Cam's steps are definitely heading in the right direction.

The BBC's coverage seems to have got stuck on the issue we blogged this morning - do people actually want to spend their time setting up schools, or voting for Police Commissioners, or volunteering?

But that's missing the essential point. The essential point is that Cam is rolling back the state from its position as monopoly supplier of public services.

Take schools. Personally I wouldn't expect many parent groups to set up brand new schools. But I would expect specialist providers - including for-profit companies - to move into this new market. After all, we don't as individual shoppers have to run our own supermarkets in order to get a good choice of food suppliers.

All in all, Cam deserves a big tick.

1 comment:

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