Oh come on!
So, what was this epic political miscalculation that demonstrates the Tories' swivel-eyed advocacy of minarchism and permanent austerity?
It means building a leaner, more efficient state. We need to do more with less. Not just now, but permanently.A good rule of thumb when determining how epoch-shakingly radical a speech or policy is, is to reverse the adjectives and see if it looks like a speech an opponent might make. In this case that gives us:
It means building a flabbier, less efficient state. We need to do less with more. Not permanently, but just for now.
Admittedly, in my more cynical moments I can imagine Ed Miliband thinking this, but even he wouldn't say it. It's as unremarkable a re-iteration of "we will cut waste and run a more efficient government" as I can think of, off-hand. And the examples he then produced to illustrate this drive for leaner government go to show that:
There are 40 per cent fewer people working in the Department for Education - but over 3,000 more free schools and academies, with more children doing tougher subjects than ever before. There are 23,000 fewer administrative roles in the NHS - but 5,000 more doctors, with shorter waiting times. So you can have a leaner, more efficient, more affordable state that actually delivers better results for the taxpayer.This wasn't about welfare cuts, or cuts to the NHS, or education - it was about making the process of government more efficient. You'd have to be an idiot or a shill to interpret it any other way. Sadly, political life is apparently full to bursting with both.