Cutting the fat


David Cameron has decided to drop his pledge to match the government's spending plans for 2010/11. Good call. By committing the Party to Labour’s big spending approach to government, Cameron’s policy looked almost as ridiculous as that of Gordon Brown. In following the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives now have a cohesive and sensible intellectual position with which to attack the UK's failing government.

Cameron rightly demands public spending to be cut to tie in with tax cuts. He stated: "Gordon Brown is talking about borrowing an extra £30 billion. That’s a £30 billion Borrowing Bombshell – and let me tell you what it would mean. An eight per cent rise in income tax. Or a six per cent rise in VAT. Spending priorities shifting from new schools to educate our children and more police officers to keep our streets safe to servicing the growing interest on our debt. Gordon Brown knows that borrowing today means higher taxes tomorrow. If he doesn’t tell you that, he is deliberately misleading you."

Mr Cameron is quite right that “Labour's economic mismanagement makes it vital for the long-term health of our economy that we set a new path for restraining the growth of spending". Restraining the growth of government spending is surely a euphemism for cutting government waste. The Conservative Party should call for a national debate on the waste and role of government. They do not even need to argue for anything too extreme. For example, I would be very surprised if the vast majority of this country failed to agree with the £101 billion pounds of government waste identified by Matthew Elliott and Lee Rotherham in The Bumper Book of Government Waste.

To any right thinking person, Gordon Brown’s economic policies must surely look ridiculous against those of the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives (it's not that either of their plans are perfect, mind you, just that the government's are fast becoming other-worldly). By the 2010 election, parliament, the media and the public at large should be discussing the need to expunge the scourge of government waste. For this to happen it is essential that Conservative Party does not shy away from confrontation, but goes on the attack. We will see.