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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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Former minister: Tories are ‘flirting with anti-capitalism’ and becoming ‘hostile’ to business

Agnes Chambre

2 min read

The Conservative party is “flirting with anti-capitalism” and is becoming “hostile” to business, a former minister has said. 

George Freeman, former head of the No 10 policy unit, also attacked the party over its “woeful” general election campaign for focusing on a hard Brexit and failing to champion British enterprise.

Mr Freeman, who helped to write Conservatives' general election manifesto, called for his party to “stop blaming others “ for its failings  and “confront them honestly”.

"Of all the distortions of Conservatism which this year's weirdly dissonant Conservative campaign perpetrated, focusing instead on a hard Brexit message which worries business, the lack of championing of British enterprise was the most woeful,” he wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

“Thirty years after unleashing a renaissance of enterprise which reversed this country's economic prospects in the space of just seven years (1979-1986), a Conservative government confronted by a growing anti-globalisation backlash seems to be flirting with anti-capitalism. 

"Of course we need to be tenacious guardians against fat cattery, cosy cartel capitalism, rip-off merchants, money launderers and the international criminals who pose as businesses or exploit our laws (we aren't nearly tough enough), but we must always promote real entrepreneurship: the fresh, insurgent, empowering, disruptive, transformational sort that is the oil that makes the engine of capitalism hum."

The former minister said there is “creeping sense of hostility to business in British politics generally – and the Conservative Party since the Brexit referendum.”

He also said a generation felt “locked out” of London and the South East because it had “become a playground for the super-rich”.

"The truth is that a whole generation has lived through a period in which the benefits of capitalism have not been obvious to them," he said.

"Is it any wonder that the virtues and benefits of capitalism are not apparent to them? Why would you support capitalism if you have no prospect of owning any capital?"

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