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What's the Big Idea?

26 July 2010

We live in interesting times. That is of course an ancient Chinese curse – may you live in interesting times means may you have plagues, disasters, political upheavals, warlords, murrains, unsightly warts on the nose and, of course, coalitions. But one of the most unexpected aspects of our new government is how very moderate they appear. Those of us who lived through Thatcher and the stridency of the righteous right look a tad warily at a Tory government which suggests it is going to “roll back” the state, “restore our eroded liberties”, and “deregulate government”.

One is bemused, a little, by Ministry of Justice announcements that Britain has way too many people locked up. One is positively startled by suggestions that the government intends to repeal legislation rather than loading us up with more of the same: and the surprise turns into gratification when one understands that the Identity Cards Bill is not more repressive nonsense about the social benefits a...

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