Heresy is the theme for Burke’s Corner’s coverage of the Tory conference, and today the shibboleth BC chooses to transgress is the notion that Conservatives should always advocate tax cuts. Yesterday George Osborne gave a speech which offered a defence of progressive taxation, as a justifiable obligation, levied to the end of a fair and functioning society. As far as Brian is concerned, free market liberalism is not the only, or even the main strand, which comprises modern conservatism, and although the shadow chancellor ‘genuflected in the direction of the tabernacle of low taxes’ he is edging towards a more authentic vision, acknowledging that slashing taxes is not always a free standing virtue.
This blog has previously stressed the importance of the Conservative party keeping distance between its modern incarnation and its Thatcherite past. Although Burke’s Corner argues persuasively that combating budget deficit now represents ‘the great cause of conservatism’, it is vital the Tories persuade the nation that they will approach this task responsibly, with minds unclouded by ideological zealotry. Osborne’s speech, with its appeals for solidarity, chimes resonantly with the emphasis on social justice Cameron Conservatism has maintained. Despite straightened economic times it marries fiscal conservatism to a ‘One Nation’ sensibility.