Guess the policy
After all, as both Hannan and Carswell have pointed out, his proposals might have come directly from The Plan—a book that I wholeheartedly endorse as being practical, informative and a very good start towards a libertarian state.
Indeed, if Cameron promised specifically, and unequivocably, to adopt The Plan in his first year of government, I would vote Conservative (barring the presence of an LPUK candidate).
There are, however, some problems. Like Wat Tyler, I notice that there is no mention of the crucial relinquishing of fiscal control.
Well, it seems there are a couple of details still to sort out.
Like, how specifically is Mr C going to downsize government? He mentions some of things we've praised before, like school vouchers and elected sheriffs, and that's good. But he says nothing about some of the even thornier issues that would make a real difference in weakening the grip of the state.
For example, there's nothing on fiscal decentralisation - ie re-energising local government by making councils responsible for raising the bulk of their own money themselves, through local taxes on local electors.
And there's nothing about breaking up the massive top-down quangocracy that is the NHS. Where's that bold initiative on social health insurance, the system that removes funding power from the hands of ministers?
In fact, come to think of it, he says pretty well nothing about the driving principle of all modern power relationships, which as BOM readers will know, is follow the money. Reform without sorting the money is no reform at all.
Quite. If local governments have no fiscal control, then there seems little point in devolving power to them.
Plus, it must be pointed out that—admirable as Dave's position is—there is a bit, fat problem. Because this particular problem makes the vast majority of our laws: it is, in fact, the greatest power in this land. And its name is "the European Union".
And, unfortunately, Dave's position on that is rather far from clear, as this video shows (a tip of the horns to Trixy). Watch Dave try to wriggle as Andrew Marr points out the flaw in Dave's Lisbon Treaty promise...
Dave may not "let things rest" if it gets to that point whereat the Lisbon Treaty has been ratified by all countries, but there really is not much that he can do—unless withdrawal is on the cards. If that's the case, then great.
But one suspects that Dave has absolutely no intention of withdrawing or, indeed, of changing our relationship with the EU by one iota. (And don't forget that the Lisbon Treaty has already been ratified by our Parliament.)
Which means, I'm afraid, that all of his exciting proposals are just so much hokum or, as EUReferendum puts it, just Elastoplast over the fundamental wounds to our Parliament.
We ourselves take the view that, in response to Mr Cameron's soaring rhetoric, people are entitled to be suspicious and, after ten years of Blair, even cynical. Any politician needs to recognise that, and should not be surprised if their rhetoric is treated with a certain amount of reserve.
Not least, when Mr Cameron tells us: "I believe the central objective of the new politics we need should be a massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power ... from the EU to Britain ...", we need to be conscious of the fact that, in order to deliver on this – should it ever become a firm commitment rather than rhetoric – the government would have to abrogate the EU treaties and, effectively, leave the EU.
This would be a highly desirable outcome and it may be what Mr Cameron has in mind. The problem one has with this, however, it that nothing he has said previously has ever suggested that this is his aim, or that he has any intention seriously to engage with the EU with a view to securing a "massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power." In the context, we would assert that suspicion is an entirely sensible response.
Quite so; and it appears, from PoliticsHome's latest poll, that the cynicism is not confined to we EUnihilists...
From a nationwide poll of 1,178 adults on whether a Cameron as prime minister would be as radical as he is promising on devolution of power, it finds that an overwhelming majority of the public are sceptical, predicting that he would be more cautious in office. In figures, a full 70 percent think Cameron would be more cautious and only 23 percent think he would deliver.
Cameron needs to convince people of his resolve and sincerity—something that is bound to be somewhat tricky in the current climate. And this humble Devil has yet to be convinced of either.
I'd love to be pleasantly surprised but, for the moment, we libertarians and EUnihilists should keep up the pressure on Cameron, to convince him that there really is support for both EU withdrawal and a smaller, more libertarian state.