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Cameron's Anniversary interview

Link: Telegraph | News| The full transcript of Cameron's interview.

There is no point in voting while the Conservatives are in a political cartel with New Labour and the (not very)LibDems. If we must have a mega-state of social workers, it is probably better run by a man who believes in it, rather than a man who pretends to do so just to get a Prime Ministerial Jaguar and a portrait on the Downing Street staircase.

However, I am not as angry as some Conservative ex-voters about Cameron. As a libertarian, I am not really a Conservative, at least not with a capital "C" It's hard for me to vote for the party of Michael Howard or David Davis, let alone the assorted blue-rinsed busybodies behind them.

Margaret Thatcher was no libertarian either (as witness her suppression of free speech by Sinn Fein politicians), but she genuinely trusted ordinary people and took serious steps to get the State out of their hair. Cameron is no new Margaret, but I have stopped hoping for that. Painfully, over many years, I have come to understand that Margaret was a delightful aberration; she was hardly a Tory at all. That's why she was perhaps even more despised by patronising, paternalist Tories than by patronising, paternalist Socialists.

Thatcher apart, to the extent the Tories have ever been for less State interference, it has not been on principle. They are usually more in favour (and no bad thing) of less tax. Less government is, for them, just the practical consequence. If they could get soldiers, policemen, social workers, teachers and NHS staff on the cheap, I suspect they would have just as many of them as would Labour. Cameron's "our NHS" meme is designed to plant in the subconscious the idea that the Tories are just as fond as its patrician inventor of perhaps the most inefficient, filthy and deadly public organisation on the planet.

As a libertarian, I would have as few public employees as practicable even if they came for free. To the precise extent that they perform a superfluous function, they do harm - regardless of their good intentions or those of their employers. Democracy itself becomes unstable when public servants are numerous enough to swing elections; turkeys will alway vote for more turkey food, rather than for Christmas. Generally, the more people divorced from wealth-creation, the more dangerous the position of wealth-creators becomes; and the more fragile the liberty essential both for wealth creation and (even more importantly) for true civilisation.

No-one sane, on Left or Right, is proposing a return to the old Clause 4 model of Socialism, with large scale economic production by State Enterprises. It was only slightly more efficient than slavery, and (in countries where it was the sole means of production) was a not entirely dissimilar experience for the workers.

Yet Labour is currently transferring jobs from the private to the public sector at the rate of about 100,000 people a year. The Camerloons propose no change in that respect. I can't imagine where they think it will end. Some public sector jobs are useful. Some are valuable. Some are even essential, but they are all, under our current model, costs. They generate no wealth and must be paid for by taxes from people in private sector jobs (taxes paid by public sector workers being, for this purpose, meaningless fiscal churn).

How long can post-Clause 4 Socialists count on the existence of a willing corps of private sector workers endlessly sacrificing themselves and their families to pay for a massive, and growing, State machine? When the last person in the private sector runs his own whelk stall and everyone else is some kind of social worker, his turnover will have to be sufficient to pay for £554 billion of public expenditure. Of course, if everyone but him is in the public sector, £554 billion won't even begin to cover it.

I hope you all like whelks. They are going to be expensive.