Published on 18 May 2017

Theresa May attacks big business

We had been told to expect a 1979 style, lean Tory manifesto giving direction of travel and not too much else.

We got a bit more detail than that but something that defines itself against Thatcherite free market worship.

Instead, this manifesto bemoans repeatedly how big business doesn’t fulfil its social obligations.

House builders should stop putting up “poor quality homes” that “don’t enhance the lives of those living there,” often with “insufficient infrastructure.” Some top boss pay is an affront to decency. Some big energy companies abuse the trust customers put in their established brands and punish their loyal customers.

It is a litany of mickey taking by corporate Britain and although that is something you’ve heard or read from Theresa May’s closest team it’s of a kind I don’t think I’ve ever heard from any other senior Conservative figure.

That makes you wonder whether it is Mrs May’s equivalent of David Cameron’s social liberalism, his support for gay marriage and other changes which his party often sulkily followed. She could have a big majority to help her to convert Tories to her mission. But she could have more of a job on her hands than it might seem at this strange moment, as she stands towering over her minion ministers (today paraded mute and marched away with iron discipline), mistress of all she surveys.

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