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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 1999): Welfare State - UK

HAGUE BACKS LILLEY AS TORY REVOLT ERUPTS

P. Webster
Times, April 21st 1999, p. 16.

Reports that Mr Hague has thrown his weight behind a move by Peter Lilley to shift the Tories away from the quest for free-market solutions to the problems of health, education and benefits. This rejection of free-market principles has sparked angry dissent in the Shadow cabinet.

(See also, Guardian, Apr. 21st 1999, p. 11; Independent, April 21st, 1999, p. 8; Guardian, Apr. 22nd, 1999, p. 20; Daily Telegraph, Apr. 22nd 1999, p. 16.

HOUDINI HAGUE IN BIG PUSH TO ESCAPE THATCHER'S STRAITJACKET

R. Bennett
Financial Times, April 26th 1999, p. 8.

Traces the dramatic shift in Tory thinking away from plans to introduce more private funding and market practices into schools and hospitals to 'Listening to Britain' a long public consultation exercise in which people were asked why they deserted the party in 1997. Responses showed that the electorate trusted Labour more on health and education. To stand a chance of regaining power, the Tory Leadership believes the party must reassure people that public services will remain state funded. William Hague has pledged to continue his efforts to reposition the party as a supporter of public services in spite of criticism from his own right wing.

(See also Daily Telegraph, April 26th 1999, p. 2; Independent, April 26th, 1999, p. 2; Times, April 26th 1999, p. 2).

THE NHS IS SAFER IN OUR HANDS

W. Hague
Times, April 23rd 1999, p. 24.

Reaffirms his commitment to provision of first-class schools and hospitals paid for by all taxpayers and available to everyone. Accepts the need to improve standards in schools and hospitals, and proposes to achieve this through decentralisation, more voluntary sector involvement and injection of additional funding from the private sector.

RIGHT WING SETS UP LILLEY AS FALL GUY FOR PARTY TROUBLES

R. Shrimsley
Daily Telegraph, April 30th 1999, p. 4.

Reports that friends have begun to distance themselves from Peter Lilley, claiming that his speech turning the Conservative Party away from its Thatcherite roots was a 'solo operation'. Mr Lilley's speech was meant to have been part of a strategy to create a continual message that the Tories would not privatise the NHS or state schools , and was to have been reinforced by Mr Maude the following week. However his speech went too far and Mr Hague and Mr Maude, who had backed the broad strategy, were forced to wade in behind Mr Lilley.

(See also the Times, April 30th 1999, p. 15).

A STRIPTEASE THAT COSTS TOO MUCH

M. Gove
Times, April 27th 1999, p. 20.

Strongly criticises the Conservative Party's attempt to move towards the centre ground of politics and abandonment of its Thatcherite principles in order to appear caring. The Tories won the respect of the electorate during the Thatcher years by adhering to a belief that small government and low taxes were morally superior to big government and higher taxes. They are now abandoning their belief in the application of free market discipline to the public services in a quest for short term popularity.

WHY I AM STARTING TO LOSE FAITH IN WILLIAM HAGUE

J. Daley
Daily Telegraph, April 27th 1999, p. 22.

Argues that William Hague's repudiation of the Conservative Party's commitment to use of private capital and free market solutions in the delivery of public services is mistaken because:

  • the policy was highly successful in raising standards;
  • it is supported by the brightest of the party members;
  • it is accepted as a necessary evil by the electorate.
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