The 2017 Conservative Manifesto opens with the statement that “now more than ever, Britain needs a clear plan”. In the spirit of due diligence, Abby Innes offers the first in a short series of articles on the political economy of the manifesto. Here she considers how the party’s strategy towards the state compares with reality.
“We need a state that is strong and strategic, nimble and responsive to the needs of people”. (p.8)
The 2017 Conservative Manifesto speaks highly of the state, and it speaks highly of the market. But even by the standards of enthusiasm in a political manifesto, this text operates in a fiction of archetypes. The juxtaposition of the manifesto’s celebration of a high-functioning state with the reality of its current institutional crisis verges on the hallucinatory. And yet we need to know how the political parties intend to approach the UK state because the next incumbents will remake it to an unprecedented degree.