I have noted before that our local Tory leadership does not score highly on policy. In contrast some of those on what they call the 'naughty step' are conspicuous for the grasp of the current debates and the implications for local authorities.
I was pondering this today sitting on a train. Someone had discarded an unread copy of the Daily Telegraph. I don't know whether this was out of disgust or forgetfulness. One of the comment pieces asserted that 50yrs ago we opted to be a high tax country and that now we have an opportunity to reverse that and become a Texas like low tax country.
Clearly Cameron's speeches in recent months have a similar theme and philosophically many Tories have never had much truck with the post 1945 settlement. In recent years Labour too has ditched the idea of a redistribution of wealth often leaving Vince Cable as the lonely advocate of that policy objective.
Now how does all this play out locally. We were sat in the public session of cabinet the other week with the Trade Unions in the public seats. They had presented a series of suggestions designed to achieve budget reductions without compulsory redundancies. That is a perfectly proper line for a Trade Union to take. What was interesting was the Tory response. No talk of dramatically reducing the state instead the now familiar line. Nobody wants redundancies, we all agree it would be best if we could avoid them. The line was not as blatant as in the debate on the post office privatisation/modernisation debate we had when the Tory PPC explicitly announced that there should be NO redundancies. I'm sure that would be news to George Osbourne. As usual we go an out pouring of empathy. The strategy seems to be that the softer and fluffier they are the better. It is as if a decree has be sent out: don't mention politics or policy but hug and stroke as many people as you can meet, don't use you blog to explain policy -publish recipes instead!