Conservative Diary

« The invidious nature of Labour's equality legislation becomes all the more apparent | Main | The Party needs private money. But it should raise smaller donations from many more people »

The Coalition cannot win on 'fairness' if the Left sets the terms of the debate

By Tim Montgomerie

6a00d83451b31c69e20134861a2cc9970c-500wiBy not spelling out its own clear understanding of fairness the Coalition left itself open to this morning's attack from the IFS and Guardian. The Treasury should critique the IFS analysis but we won't win the overall fairness debate if we allow ourselves to be defined by the extent to which we redistribute from the rich to the poor. Conservatives should protect the income and public services of low income households but that should not be our definition of a good life.

Screen shot 2010-08-25 at 13.53.21 We should say that we want to help people overcome poverty and not make it more comfortable. In an article for The Guardian's Comment is free I make the case that the Coalition's key message should be that the route out of poverty is (1) a good education, (2) paid-work and a (3) strong family AND crucially we are not laissez-faire but believe that government has a role in helping people achieve those things. Common sense, perhaps, but as I write in my piece, Britain went backwards on each of those pathways under Labour:

"Discipline broke down in Britain's schools during the Brown-Blair years and we slid down international league tables for educational attainment. On the family, Gordon Brown actually crafted a benefits system that discouraged low-income couples from living together. On work, he created a benefits maze that generated fraud and disincentives to take a job."

Here's the full piece.


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.