"Back in December, a major plank of the Conservative party’s general election strategy was to portray Jeremy Corbyn as a Marxist throwback, committed to all sorts of dangerous 1970s lefty ideas such as state ownership and higher public spending.
Six months later, Boris Johnson felt the need, when announcing plans to bring forward £5bn of investment in Britain’s clapped-out public infrastructure, to reassure voters that he was "not a communist" and still believed in capitalism..."
"The Tory party might well wonder, what is this cuckoo in our nest? It means colossal public spending, stupefying debt, subsidies doled out on all sides, and a private sector strangled by whimsical regulation. Perhaps a truth is emerging. Old-fashioned Toryism was always the free market’s fair-weather friend. At the first sign of trouble, it runs pleading to the state."
""The Tories talk a good game on this issue but their record of turning their backs on the North speaks for itself.""
"All of which creates a glorious opportunity for the Labour party. It is in the happy position of being able to say that no matter how much the government is spending it should be spending more. It can pick and choose from all the once taboo ideas – such as a basic income, a wealth tax or printing money to pay for higher public spending – that have become fashionable."
A word of caution, though. Even assuming that Labour embraces the need for more radical action on global heating, it is not actually in power and won’t be for some time. The government has four years to patch up a dysfunctional economy which, despite all the rhetoric, is what Johnson’s strategy is really all about.
"Undaunted, Johnson is now to take his pathological centralism a step further. His aide Dominic Cummings reportedly wants to dismantle the last three public sector functions still subject to local democracy. They are town planning, social care of the sick and elderly and policing. Planning offices are to be replaced by regional “zoning” commissions and inspectors, committed to development and emanating from London. Under such a scheme, local control over the character and appearance of urban and rural Britain would end...
"While Sunak takes responsibility for a large chunk of the private sector, however “temporarily”, his colleagues are seeking the final dismantling of devolved government, at least in England. This was begun by Thatcher’s rate-capping in the 1980s and continued by the stripping out of education and transport in the 1990s. Services that in every other world democracy are subject to the pride and participation of local community leadership, are in Britain to be run from London. The prime minister wants to be mayor of England."