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22 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

How coronavirus is causing a Conservative identity crisis

By Rohan Banerjee

This government, Paul Mason writes, is yet to fully grasp the scale of state intervention necessary to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Free market economics and messages about self-responsibility, rote-learned and readily peddled by a production line of Oxbridge graduates, have had their frailties exposed by Covid-19. A small state, that has been made even smaller by over a decade of austerity, is not equipped to manage a public health emergency.

With the world on course for the biggest economic slump since 1921, combined with the pressure to decarbonise energy, the Tories must modernise their thinking as a matter of urgency. While there may be resistance from some Tory grandees and firebrand thinkers, if the party wants to stay in power, it would do well to disassociate from the ideology on which it was built.

Defeating coronavirus means borrowing, it means spending, it means state-controlled healthcare, the monetisation of debt by central banks, and the creation and maintenance of an effective welfare state.

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