Conservative Diary

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Conservatives should celebrate Tesco, Sky, Glaxo and Ryanair

Tim Montgomerie

I don't know if anyone has tried to quantify the effect of innovation and competition but millions of Britons now have access to a much richer quality of life for the same income.

The drivers of this improvement are the entertainment companies such as Sky which have brought multi-channel TV and infinitely improved sports coverage into every living room.

The telecommunications and internet entrepreneurs who provide the social networking and access to information that has revolutionised our friendships and understanding of the world.

Then there's 'Big Pharma' - the drug companies that every year are finding remedies for illnesses that once caused such pain and anxiety. Britain is home to many of the world's most innovative life science companies.

There's Ryanair, EasyJet and the other budget airlines that mean low income families can have guaranteed sun for their annual break.

And, of course, there are the supermarkets that, in this time of rising prices, are working overtime to ensure they - not their rivals in this intensely competitive sector - offer families the most appetising trolley of food, drinks and other goodies. I've explained my Tesco Toryism before.

It's why today, despite the problems we have, there's never been a better time to be alive. The best Conservatism relishes and celebrates this. The improvements in the quality of living are the product of competitive capitalism and we are that system's principal defenders. I emphasise competitive today of all days because we must use the banking reform moment to increase competition for bank customers. I love Andrea Leadsom's idea that our bank account number should be as portable across suppliers as a mobile number. Please take note Mr Osborne.

What I hope the Chancellor and his Cabinet colleagues will ignore are the nonsense calls from the likes of Philip Blond for new taxes on supermarkets. Or for those, like Oliver Letwin, who are sniffy about Ryanair. Our only job is to ensure competition, basic protections for workers and let capitalism do its magical best. Declaring war on supermarkets - used by 97% of the population - is the politics of the madhouse (otherwise known as Red Toryism).


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