November 25, 2006


Cameron invites Toynbee to join conference (Toby Helm, 25/11/2006, Daily Telegraph)

In a speech on social policy yesterday, the Conservative leader ditched the Thatcherite idea that poverty was best tackled through free market policies that made society richer as a whole, enabling wealth to "trickle down" to the most needy.

His daring in endorsing traditional Left-wing thinking is reminiscent of Tony Blair's willingness to praise aspects of Margaret Thatcher's legacy after he entered No 10.

He argued that it was time to move on from promoting "economic liberalism" to a new phase of Conservatism where government and the voluntary sector was freed, via tax reform and deregulation, to help the poorest in society.

His move is designed to take the Tories directly on to ground traditionally regarded as Labour's preserve and rid it of its uncaring image.

"Economic liberalism is necessary – but it is not sufficient," he said in an address to mark the 25th anniversary of the Scarman Report into the Brixton riots. "State welfare is also necessary – but it is not efficient. 'Trickle-down' economics is not working."

Mr Cameron, who has already angered the Right by refusing to promise tax cuts before the next election, said John Moore, a social security minister under Margaret Thatcher, had been "wrong to declare the end of poverty", in the late 1980s.

"Even if material want did disappear, that would not be the 'end of the line for poverty'. Because as well as absolute poverty, there is relative poverty."

Here's who he should invite instead.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 25, 2006 9:58 AM
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