Deputy Conservative Chairman Howard Flight has been forced to resign after a tape recording of remarks he made to a Conservative Way Forward Group on Wednesday was passed to The Times, implying that the Party's announced changes in public spending (and the taxation to fund them) were only the tip of the iceberg, but that it was necessary to be reticent about the true plans in order to assist in winning the election. This paraphrases the substance of his alleged 'crime' - letting the cat out of the bag.
Naturally Labour's 'attack dog' John Reid (Health Secretary and one of the biggest absorbers [wasters?] of public sector 'investment' [aka spending] in the country) was on the airwaves to denounce Flight's remarks. Parallels are of course being drawn with Oliver letsnotwin Letwin's remarks prior to the last General Election about supposed plans to cut spending more drastically than had been announced in the Conservative manifesto.
It has come to a strange, surreal world when the public can be convinced it is good to be taxed highly, when the evidence of the last eight years is that the significant increase in the overall tax-take, to fund increased spending [sorry 'investment'] spending in areas such as health and education has not produced commensurate perceptible improvements in public services. Until the Conservatives are prepared to go a great deal further than they have so far, and trumpet loudly plans to cut drastically taxation and public spending, then they may, perhaps, be going in the right direction - but so slowly as to make precious little difference. The British public have been fed on the soma of tax and spend for so long that they have forgotten that there is another way - by providing basic public services and by taxing at the minimum feasible level and allowing people the liberty to use their own efforts productively for their own benefit; this is how vibrant societies have pulled themselves and all their peoples into higher average standards of living. The socialist model of inadvertantly punishing the entrepreneurial innovators in our society has been proved, over many decades and in many countries, to be nothing more than an ersatz comfort blanket, and not a very effective one because all it does is stultify society by slowing necessary change and modernisation.
The country, quite apart from the Conservative Party, can ill-afford to cast aside people such as Howard Flight - he has exactly the right ideas. He should be praised, not pilloried.
UPDATE: (Friday 25MAR05 16.40) OK, so Flight spoke out of turn - and quite why he did it is still a maystery - but Howard is going completely over the top in his efforts to bar Flight from even standing as a Convervative at the next election. I may have vehement disagreements with the Conservative Party over its social policies, which remain pretty much in the dark ages, but to try and outlaw an obvious Conservative such as Flight is plain ridiculous. Howard really does need to get a grip and retain a sense of proportion. It must surely be a sign of true desperation.