There is a fundamental divide between those who believe that a larger state can do more to make our lives better and those who believe that a limited state is the only way to combine freedom and prosperity. We may now be at the point where a failure of government to deliver better public services will create a willingness to welcome alternative policy solutions. But to do this we must build support – now – for policies which will reclaim and entrench the smaller state.
The public services – particularly health and education – will be at the core of the agenda. More government expenditure on these services without changing the way they are delivered is unlikely to work. Indeed, the only practical way to solve the problems in the public sector is to remove government from its role in delivering health care and education.
International comparisons show that the greater role for private providers will lead to higher standards. And such a step can be popular: given the opportunity, a majority of people would opt for independent schools and private healthcare.
It is the responsibility of those who believe in smaller government to give the people that opportunity – and as a result, a far higher quality of service. And rolling back big government in all aspects of our lives will be crucial to preserve a free democracy.