“... in some parts of the UK the "state accounts for a bigger share of the economy than it did in the communist countries of the old eastern bloc - it is clearly unsustainable".
Asked which part of the UK he was referring to, Cameron said: "I think the first one I would pick out is Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland it is quite clear, almost every party, I think, accepts that the size of the state has got too big, we need a bigger private sector".
He added that "almost any party leader sitting in this chair" would say that over the next parliament there needed to be a "faster growing private sector" and a "rebalancing of the economy".
This will come as an embarrassment to UCUNF, and particularly the UUP wing of that flightless bird. How will UCUNF candidates explain on the doorsteps that ‘their leader’ intends to ‘rebalance the economy’ – especially since the only way to do that is to shrink the public sector and reduce the incentive for people to seek their jobs and their future there?
Those who questioned whether UCUNF could really satisfy the broad base of the UUP, which has traditionally included many working class voters, now have their answer – it cannot. The low-paid public sector workers who make up a significant share of the northern electorate will be less than enthused by Cameron’s comments, and may chose to take their votes elsewhere.
In one sense this is a pity, because a smaller public sector and a larger private sector is actually in the interests of all, working class as well as middle class. But for those who have no intention of providing for themselves, and who really think that ‘society’ (i.e. other people) ‘owe’ them something, the Tory position is less than attractive. No doubt, despite the fundamental error of the dependency-junkies, there will be others more than willing to promise them something for nothing in return for their votes. The DUP in particular will certainly jump in to promise all sorts of state-funded goodies that they know they have no way of delivering - and even if they could, it would not be Northern Irish taxpayers who would foot the bill:
[Map taken from Conservative Manifesto 2010, p. 22]A long time ago this blog asked whether unionism was a cargo cult. The current obsession with trying to extract unearned 'cargo' out of nowhere tends towards the conclusion that unionists do not really see themselves as 'British', but just see Britain (mostly London, as shown above) as a source of material wealth beyond what they can provide for themselves.
David Cameron may well stop the 'cargo' - and that may kill the cult.