My comments on the Tories efficiency claims have clearly hit a nerve. The Conservative fundamentalist commentator Charles Moore lashed out in the Daily Telegraph:
“The BBC quickly found a man called Professor Colin Talbot, represented as an impartial expert but, in fact, a critic of the Conservatives (study his own website attacks on free markets, if you don’t believe me), to pass judgment. Naturally, he didn’t like the “cut”.”
It was, to quote Dennis Healey on Geoffrey Howe, rather like being “savaged by a dead sheep.” Here’s the response I sent to the Daily Telegraph, which I publish here because I doubt they will publish it there.
Charles Moore (12th April) states that “the BBC quickly found a man called Professor Colin Talbot, represented as an impartial expert but, in fact, a critic of the Conservatives.”
This is of course nonsense, as Mr. Moore would know if he did the least research before opining, and he should apologise.
In my Whitehall Watch blog (which he refers to but clearly hasn’t read) he will find that criticisms of the current Government outnumber criticisms of the Conservatives by about ten to one. This is not political bias either, it is just that they are the Government and I view my duty as an academic to “speak truth unto power”. He would also know, if he’d bothered to check the record, that I have for some years advised the cross-party Treasury Select Committee. He probably wouldn’t know however that I have been asked privately for advice from cabinet or shadow cabinet-level members of the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats.
As for being an enemy of markets, as he also claims, I wrote a whole book (The Paradoxical Primate) defending the idea that contradictory human nature means that neither state socialism nor market fundamentalism will ever suit our species, so he’s sort of half right and but also wholly wrong. But clearly facts are not Mr Moore’s strong point.