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The EU embodies conservative principles. Can’t the Tory Party see that?

The single market is essential for the free enterprise Margaret Thatcher championed

By Oliver Kamm  

Margaret Thatcher wears a jumper covered with European flags in 1975. Photo: PA/PA Archive/PA Images

These are strange times in Tory politics. A rational conservatism would understand that, while the state has a crucial role in economic management and welfare provision, its knowledge is limited. Discretionary intervention has unanticipated costs and diverts scarce resources to uses that aren’t efficient. The primary role of government in economic management is thus to maintain a framework of rules within which consumers, businesses and investors have the confidence to take long-term decisions.

Fortunately,…

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