Over at Samizdata, Perry de Havilland writes of his scepticism about David Cameron's commitment to a smaller state.
The fact the regulatory state is incredibly corrosive to civil society (in every sense of the phrase) should be self-evident to anyone claiming to be a conservative, but as Dave Cameron is not a conservative, in spite of leading a party called the Conservatives, I would not automatically assume he actually believes that. So you would think I would be pleased to finally see him saying something along these lines. In truth I burst out laughing when I read that article, not because I do not agree but because I do not believe him.He's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't promise a smaller state. I don't take the view that he's being dishonest - in fact he's risked schism in the conservative movement to avoid making promises he cannot keep. He's finally got the commies in the broadcast media to like and trust him to the point they don't question his more liberal assertions and no longer equate tax cuts with the slaughter of the innocents. He even got away with being posh.
He has previously spent so much time telling us he can be trusted not to 'do a Thatcher' and how he intends to regulate our lives just as much as Blair's Labour party, only 'better', why should his sudden enthusiasm for less regulation be believable? Simply put, he is not actually promising any such thing, not really.
It's just that, having been in opposition for so long, libertarians/liberals/Conservatives have got used to it. This causes people to throw off the responsibility of Government and so, for the first time since the corn laws and we are indulging in arguments about idealogical purity rather than getting things done. That is why the Labour party are such cunts. Their activists grew up using words like "Dialectic" at university, whilst starting every sentence with "Actually" and working out which branch of Marxism would lead quickest to the proletarian revolution as they squeezed their spots.
Tories have always represented a broad church of essentially practical people. Let's not get idealogical. Politics is the Art of the possible, people. The art of the possible. Dave is doing a good job.