Speaking at the World Economics Forum on Friday, Cameron gave a clear sign that any Conservative government deficit-reduction would be far from radical. While emphasizing that the party would act soon after their election, he also noted that any steps would not be particularly ‘extensive
.’ He further entrenched his intentions on Sunday’s BBC Politics Show, insisting
that the party is “not talking about swingeing cuts. We’re talking about making a start in reducing our deficit.”
Cameron is well aware of Britain’s gloomy credit rating outlook, and knows the danger of following Greece into a world of higher interest rates. He should be keen to keep the rating agencies’ day of reckoning at bay (shouldn’t he?). When Cameron speaks there is a noticeable lack of drive to transform Britain’s economy. He has demonstrated no passion to remove the government’s stifling hand from the economy, to reform public services, significantly lower the tax burden or slash regulation for small businesses. Similarly, Osborne seems much happier waxing lyrical about micro social-engineering through behavioral economics than tackling heavy issues and leaving a mark on Britain for the better.
If this type of rhetoric continues, we are likely to see a Conservative government overseeing ‘business as usual’. They will tinker at the peripheries of systems and pass reforms to prevent major economic disasters, but do very little else. It seems like Britain will continue to trundle along with a huge public debt, bloated, inefficient bureaucracy, an unreformed political system and mediocre to poor public services. A political elite that feels they know better than the people will continue to make lifestyle choices for us, while Britain’s international reputation and competitiveness will continue to slide.
The Conservative’s middle of the road and unadventurous economic plans may all be part of a scheme to attract wavering floating voters set to become a vessel for radical and effective change if they make it to power. However, seeing the direction that the front bench is leading the party, this is almost certainly wishful thinking.