Left Watch

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"The vicious Tory determination to make the poor suffer"

By Tim Montgomerie

Yesterday morning I noted Tristram Hunt MP's belief that David Cameron wanted to take Britain back to the ethos of the Victorian workhouse.

Last night I blogged Polly Toynbee's argument that the Conservatives were planning a "final solution" for the poor.

In today's Mirror, Labour MP Jon Cruddas accuses the Tories of "social and economic cleansing".

It does appear - to use the words of Unite's Len McCluskey - that large sections of the Left really do believe in “the vicious Tory determination to make the poor suffer.”

I've written for Comment is free about this rhetorical overkill and invited the Left to join Conservatives in a sensible debate about poverty reduction:

"My motivation for being in politics is because I believe in the Conservative Party’s one nation traditions.  My political heroes are Wilberforce, Shaftesbury and Disraeli. I believe the Left has lost the war on poverty by putting too much faith in the power of the state to deliver social justice. The Left neglected the importance of incentives to work, traditional schooling and, most significantly, the two parent family. A large number of the new generation of Conservative MPs think the same. They, too, are in politics to spread wealth, opportunity and ownership. Britain's poor will benefit if public policymakers engage in a grown up argument about competing approaches to social justice. They'll lose if debate is conducted at the level of the school playground. Conservatives may be wrong about work, family and school being the best underpinnings of a compassionate society but don’t accuse us of being a cross between Fagin and Goebbels."

The full piece is here.