Sunday, November 19, 2006

The party of over-regulation

When the Guardian complements a Conservative Party proposal something must be terribly wrong. Either a right-leaning journalist has sneaked into Guardian HQ and slipped some of his own musings into the final draft of the morning’s paper, or the Conservative Party is on the wrong track. No prizes for guessing which is more likely.

It will come as no surprise therefore that Jill Insley’s praise for Conservative Party proposals to deal with personal debt, financial illiteracy, and financial exclusion were immediately met with warning bells on my part. Sadly, rather than promoting individual responsibility the Conservative Party wants an increase in regulation (a ‘cooling-off period’ for credit cards for example). In the words of George Osborne the proposals are "...about achieving the right balance between giving people freedom to manage their money while at the same time having a check against irresponsible borrowing. " Aside from anything else, I would point out that freedom has never been something you can give, only something you can take away from. With that said we should ponder the following questions. When did we become the party of interference? When did we become the party that doesn’t trust people to make their own decisions, and to take responsibility for their own actions?

When we start receiving praise from someone who believes in the forcible redistribution of wealth, we should start to question whether what we are proposing is really in keeping with our philosophy.

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