Alex Massie

David Cameron’s Immodest Belief in Government

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David Cameron's response to the Queen's Speech was, of course, dictated by both convention and political nit-picking. Nonetheless, I agree with Sunder Katwala that it's rum to see a Conservative leader complaining that the government isn't proposing enough legislation. A useful reminder that whatever else they may be, Dave's Conservatives do not take an especially modest or reatrained view of government. On the contrary: if there is a problem there must be a bill and damn the consequences.

So Cameron, correctly, identified Labour's approach as believing that "The answer to every problem is more big government and spending" at the same time as he demanded that the government do more, not less on a range of issues. Now, sure, this is rhetorical prancing and all the rest of it since there isn't time for much new legislation, mercifully, to be passed before this parliament is put out of its misery. But still...

It was especially amusing to see Cameron criticise the absence of (yet another) NHS bill. Amusing because, of course, Conservative health policy is to hand control of the NHS over to the BMA and assorted other producer interests and hope that no-one will notice the fundamental philosophical contradiction betweent the Tories plans for schools and their health policy (if it can be so dignified). In its way, then, these contrasting approaches to fundamental services will provide a useful public policy experiment. A shame, perhaps, that the unreformed NHS act as a kind of control group but there you have it. You can't have everything even though Mr Cameron seems to think more government is actually the answer. And if he doesn't believe this is the case, then perhaps he should cease pretending that it is.