Saturday, July 09, 2005

"Noisy But Not Yet Deep"

The Economist's Bagehot (sub required) returns to the leadership contest.

We've already posted on Bagehot's last comment three weeks ago, which comprehensively dissed Our Man for seeing Blairism as an 'ebbing tide', thereby failing to grasp that 'Mr Blair's synthesis of economic efficiency and social justice is something that Tories should seek to improve on, not oppose.'

Consensus Third Way mush from an organ that was once so dependably and radically in favour of lassez-faire.

They also said that the Tories needed to '...set a direction that they stick to even when it is uncomfortable to do so. What is worrying about Mr Davis is that he has not yet given any indication that he understands this. Perhaps that is because he feels that as the man to beat, the safest course is to stick to platitudes and give away as little as possible. On the basis of two recent interviews of numbing banality, that certainly appears to be his favoured course. But it may also be because he really doesn't understand it.'

Maybe they hadn't taken the time to examine DD's beliefs, or maybe they just didn't get it.

Well, it seems that three weeks is a long time in the world of the Economist, because at least it now has some inkling of what DD is about:

'His remedy [for failing public services] is to take spending power from central government and put it firmly in the hands of patients and parents, who will be free to buy whatever health care and schooling they want from a variety of eagerly competing providers. By cutting marginal rates of tax, the resulting economic dynamism would generate the additional revenues needed to pay for it all.

Mr Davis has a compass and it is pointing him out into clear blue water.'

Naturally, the statist Economist still prefers managerialist David Cameron, characterising our man's passionate beliefs and clearly articulated policy framework as "a positioning exercise".

And of course, Davis has a much broader set of beliefs than the Economist has yet grasped.

And of course, his support is much stronger than their dismissive 'noisy but not yet deep'.

But at least it's a start.

PS Next time I go to the LSE library, I'm going to look up what the Economist had to say about the 1975 leadership contest.


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