Margaret Thatcher with Ronald Reagan at Camp David

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The Conservatives have been claiming that their cuts are a necessity, mandatory because of the legacy left to them by the previous Labour government. While I’m no defendant of Labour’s track-record, it isn’t this simple. Many of us on the left of the traditional political spectrum have long argued that these cuts are too fast and too deep, motivated not by necessity but by ideology. Thatcher’s dream of small-state Britain is, unfortunately, one the Tories have never awoken from.

Tory Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, in a lecture at the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, has claimed that the Conservative Party are making cuts that “Margaret Thatcher, back in the 1980s, could only have dreamt of.”

In the speech, and since, he has tried to put the blame on Labour’s legacy – still claiming that the cuts are necessary. His defence lies on the idea that the phrase  “could only have dreamt of” is not aspirational.

It is.

It is clear from the video Barker doesn’t think that these cuts are regrettable – he’s glad of them. Barker claims that this is an “unprecedented piece of good housekeeping in British history” and boasted that “getting government off the backs of business is the core mission.” He talks of slashing corporation tax and regulation – this is Thatcherism at its core.

I know that Cameron isn’t a Thatcherite – he’s far too aristocratic. But the Middle-Class Tory-led 1922 Committee are proud of their Thatcherite inheritance. We just now have proof that this has become government policy.

The cuts are a necessity. But the Tories are being led by back-benchers and men like Barker who believe in cuts that are causing misery to millions. We are led by men totally unconcerned by the suffering of average families, dedicated solely to an economic vision of Britain that we can all remember from the last time it was tried…

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