Give people more control of their lives, CPS urges

The Centre for Policy Studies has argued that politicians should embrace a domestic agenda built around offering people greater control of their lives.

Popular Capitalism, published by the think tank, explains how an updated version of the popular capitalism pioneered by Margaret Thatcher can show people how the free market can work in their best interests and argues that voters have not been shown how both capitalism and conservatism work in their best interest.

Robert Colvile, director of the Centre for Policy Studies, says that, following the ‘Take Back Control’ Brexit slogan, politicians should make giving back control the focal point of their efforts – via a policy agenda built around spreading ownership and opportunity.

He argues that it is capitalism which genuinely acts in the interests of the many not the few, by generating and spreading wealth – but warns that concerns about inequality and corporate concentration need to be met with a policy agenda that gives people more control of their own lives, and more of a stake in the economy.

The report also highlights alarming polling to illustrate why any new policy agenda must include delivering on the Brexit vote. Between 2018 and 2019, the number of English voters saying they would have ‘no trust at all’ in MPs if they had a reason to contact them with a problem rose from 40 per cent to 54 per cent.

However, among Leave voters the figure rose from 43 per cent to 69 per cent - a hugely alarming sign of corroding faith in democracy. There were similar but slightly smaller rises in the proportion saying they would not trust their parish or district councils (or equivalent), showing that voters are increasingly distrusting not just of MPs individually but of every layer of government. The polling was carried out in the wake of the original extension to the Brexit process.

Colvile said: “Many on the Left appear to believe – and are eager to tell the world – that they have a monopoly not just on compassion, but basic humanity. To be a capitalist, in their view, is to hate the poor and love the rich. This report argues that a popular capitalist agenda is not just rational, but deeply moral – not just because it generates and shares prosperity, but because it is about trusting people as well as helping them, by giving them more control of their lives.”