19 May

A canting fraud

The dictionary defines “trammel” as “a hindrance or impediment to free action.”

Kindly bear that in mind for a moment.

Publishing the Conservative party’s election manifesto yesterday, Theresa May said, “We do not believe in untrammelled free markets.”

We should be grateful when any politician offers us such a plain, unequivocal statement. It follows from her words that she believes in trammelling or hindering free markets. We can express this in fewer words. Mrs May might have spared herself the bother of uttering the long word “untrammelled.” What she said yesterday means simply, “We do not believe in free markets.”

In fact the phrase “untrammelled free” is a tautology.

So there you have it from the mouth of a Conservative prime minister: the Conservative party does not believe in free markets.

Then it has ceased to be the Conservative party.

Mrs May’s speech was full of interesting phrases: “”We reject the cult of selfish individualism.”

This is meaningless. It’s like saying, “We’re against sin.” Of course we are. But individualism doesn’t have to be selfish. As Adam Smith and scores of others have pointed out, by pursuing his individual interests, a man often benefits many others. Make a £million by designing a better mousetrap and you will not only have enriched yourself but  made a huge contribution to the entire community.

That speech of Mrs May’s is crammed full of philosophy – but it isn’t Tory philosophy. She concluded lyrically: “True Conservatism means a commitment to country and community and to the good that government can do.”

There are indeed two good things that government can and should do: defend us from foreign enemies and keep the peace in our streets. Then it should get out of our lives.

The wretched woman Theresa May is a canting fraud: a socialist fraud at that.

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