I am going to make reference to a specific set of policies and then make a broader point.
There used to be a type of pension called a "defined benefit" scheme. These paid out according to how long you had worked, not how much you had saved.
The crypto-marxists in the Labour government decided that this was too important to be left to individual companies to organise. So they regulated....
- Any deficit in the fund must appear on the company's balance sheet.
- If there is a deficit in the fund, then dividend payments and aquisitions can only be made with the approval of the Pension fund trustees (sometimes Union trots rather than sensible Human Beings).
This is not just bad legislation, it typifies the law of unintended consequences. It represents all that is wrong with this government. Companies which try to do the right thing by their employees will be punished by a massively higher cost of capital, and a hugely constrained freedom of action. The result, according to one pension consultant is that "any company continuing to run a defined benefit scheme is risking Corporate Suicide". A couple of years ago, when pension funds were in their worst shape, I remember describing British Airways as "an insolvent Pension fund with a troubled subsidiary concerned with passenger air transport". This was a direct result of a piece of legislation designed to force companies to put more money into funds. It has backfired horribly (and predictably) on those who it was supposed to help.
So why does the Labour Party continue to regulate without thought to the consequences? They believe, as all socialist believe, that they are well motivated. They believe that they can do good. They believe they can make the world better. Worse, they believe they know how to do this.
The Conservative on the other hand knows that he doesn't have the answers (known unknowns?!). He knows that legislation should be a last resort. He understands the market represents the sum of all knowledge and therefore will be better informed than any controlling intelligence will ever be.
The Lefty world view represents a vast range of opinions from the Union Hack through the Islington polenta eater to the anarcho-syndicalist green-hair G8 rock chucker, has one central concept. That there is an ideal to be achieved. Be it European intergration, world peace, socialist utopia, anyone who does not share the vision needs to be "educated".
The Conservative, on the other hand sees the world in terms of "problems to be solved". He has no destination in mind (though I accept he often has a hankering for lost certainties). Because he has no ideal in mind, there is no suggestion in the conservative mind that the end ever justifies the means.
That is not to say the conservative is not capable of principle. He is, and it is usually the cause of freedom on which the conservative stands, somthing the left, in general, only supports when it suits them. Hitler was most resolutely opposed by an arch conservative and appeased (and at times supported) from the left. The Communist party of GB was chalking "End this imperialist war" on roads just days before Barbarossa, and "Second Front Now" just days after. Hardly a principled position.
So in the absence of these great issues today, what now for the conservative viewpoint?
We believe that economic freedom, the freedom for individuals and companies to invest and spend the fruits of their labours as they see fit with minimum interference from the state, is a cornerstone of liberty. We believe that Government intervention is counterproductive more often than not. We believe that the ancient liberties of the Englishman (and the freedoms of the Welsh and Scots which have different, but equally venerable roots) which have been a fundamental part of the constitution since the coronation oath of the kings of Wessex in the 7th century, should not be swept aside lightly.
We believe that Legislation like that governing Pensions discussed above, like that tying people to the munificence of the state via a byzantine benefits system, like the fox-hunting ban, like the Incitement to Religious hatred bill, like ID cards, like the Handgun ban, the Dangerous Dogs act (Tory I know!), like the Human Rights act and countless others, all actually serve to limit freedom and have no place on our statute books. None of them have sucessfully adressed the issue they were brought into deal with.
We need a government who respects the right of people and businesses to make decisions, even if they get it wrong. There is no freedom at all if there is no freedom to fail. We need a government who respects tradition as representing accumulated wisdom, not ancient flummery. We need a goverment with the courage to say "that is not government business" when confronted by calls to "do something".
In short, this country desperately needs a Tory* administration.
*In an update on my opinions on the Conservative leadership... I am swinging round to David Cameron. Though David Davis concurs with my views more accurately, DC will present the conservative viewpoint more palatably to an electorate who are not ready to be told the truth bluntly.