Just a few days ago, I wrote a caustic piece about “Harriet Lansley”, attacking the plethora of intrusive and nannying measures which Harriet (sorry, Andrew!) Lansley is pursuing, on cigarette packaging, on alcohol pricing, on arrangements at work for breast-feeding mothers, on vouchers for children who walk to school, and for people who want to use gyms and swimming pools. I lamented his inability to see the proper limits of government action, and the excellent conservative principle that governments should restrict themselves to the things that only they can do, rather than interfering in every detail of our lives.
As if on cue, up pops Lynne Featherstone, described as the Lib-Dem Equalities Minister, pressing ahead with relish on Labour’s Equalities Bill, which includes positive discrimination in the workplace. This looks set to create a field-day for aggrieved employees, troublesome union officials, and no-win-no-fee lawyers, as employers’ organisations have pointed out: http://is.gd/ibX6z.
Lansley and the coalition are wrong to interfere in the market by setting a minimum price for alcohol. Featherstone and the Coalition are wrong to interfere in the market with detailed and intrusive employment regulation. This is not what we expected when we voted Conservative, and campaigned for the Party. The Coalition could, and should, have moved urgently to abolish or at least amend Labour’s bill, and to draw its teeth.
Harriet Harman must be hooting with laughter on the opposition benches as she sees her monstrous vision being nurtured and tended and brought to reality by a Party that still describes itself, against all the evidence, as “Conservative”.