Healthy economies mean full piggy-banksTony Blair has lost the confidence of the country. What is suspiciously unclear, however, is just how Cameron plans to reconcile the strong government intervention necessary to mitigate climate change with the key Conservative chakras of free enterprise, consumer choice and market liberty.

Cameron has turned green faster than the Incredible Hulk. For the first five years of his political adulthood, he barely mentioned the environment. Notoriously, he even voted against Gordon Brown‘s proposed climate change levy, on the grounds of it being a stealth tax on business. And then, on the November 1 2005, during the final weeks of the Tory leadership election, he suddenly went bright green. He called for an overhaul of public and private life:

“Change our political system and our lifestyles: the effects of climate change are being felt right here, right now”.

Nevertheless, it seems that Camerons bid for the centre ground is paying off. Middle England is no longer embarrassed about voting Conservative. But the modernising message has not penetrated the great cities of the north, hence the reason why Labour is still in power. When Labour became a weak government, from the economy’s point of view, that was great news. All the largest economies now have weak leaders. Bush is in trouble and close election results in Germany and Italy produced governments that are unable to do anything radical. And that’s what is so welcome. Prosperous economics require competent, predictable government, rather than idealists who think they can change the world. It’s no coincidence that Britain’s long boom started soon after John Majors administration was ejected from the ERM, forcing it to become more disciplined and cautious. When Gordon Brown became Chancellor, he too was cautious. It was only as Labour became overconfident that we began to see waste of public money and incompetent administration. Calmer periods of government make it easier for the rest of us to plan. If that’s what weak government means in practice, let’s have more of it.

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