I wrote about the 'Tory revolution' this morning. That's the process I described in The Courageous State where this government (and to some extent the New Labour one that preceded it, but with this one being much worse) has sought to create what I call a cowardly state:
This is.... a state that sees responsibility and runs away from it. This is a state that now exists solely to facilitate the looting of its power to tax for the benefit of an elite who want to own its assets through the PFI scheme, and be guaranteed a high and risk-free income for doing so. It is a state that wants to privatise its education system through ‘free schools’ — free only because yet more tax goes to the private sector in the process. And it is a state that wants to hand control of one of the UK’s greatest achievements — the National Health Service — to the market so that we can copy the US healthcare model and double the cost of provision in exchange for worse healthcare outcomes — all so that a few can cream off from the tax revenues a wholly undeserved and excessive risk-free return for being in the right place at the right time, somewhere near their old school friends who might now be in power in Westminster.
I am not alone in thinking so. Ivan Horrocks put it another way in a comment this morning:
I’m not surprised at all by this news. It’s the inevitable conclusion of a strategy and process that was undoubtedly conceived while the Tories were in opposition and in concert with many of those who stand to benefit.
As I and others who read this blog have commented before, it’s all part of the UK equivalent of the ‘shock doctrine’: in this case the use of the banking crisis and subsequent deficit as cover to dismantle the state — while arguing that it’s about paying off our debt and rebalancing our economy. That economic goal has always been a secondary concern — the primary objective was political and social — to finish the work that Thatcher began in the 1980s. This is a crucial distinction far too many economic commentators miss, thus providing further cover for the primary objective.
Now the Tories are aware they’ll only be in power for one term completing the demolition of the state, the fire sale of public assests and services, and the engineering of the corporate control of as many regulatory and governmental institutions as is possible will gain pace drastically. As will the tempo and harshness of the attack on the poor and less fortunate in our society. This is absolutely inevitable because one of the deep seated beliefs of modern day Tories is that Thatcher wasted her first term in office (as did Blair as they see it) and thus they are not about to make the same mistake. Expect the Lib Dems — as weak and lacking in strategic vision as they have shown themselves to be so far — to simply be swept aside.
Make absolutely no mistake as to what the desired result of this Tory ‘revolution’ is: a managed, corporately controlled, and deeply unequal ‘democracy’ of the type that would make Putin envious.