David Cameron's conversion to "popular capitalism" is part cosmetic and part smoke and mirrors.
He knows that the current economic crisis, which was sparked by the madcap excesses of the banking industry, means that Tories can no longer get away with laissez-faire lectures about government having to get out of the way and allowing business to have its head.
So he pretends that "no true Conservative has a naive belief that all politics has to do is step back and let capitalism rip."
Well, not any more perhaps, but his spin doctors have spun a yarn that, whereas it's OK to criticise Labour and Gordon Brown for failing to regulate the banks, it's time to plump for "less but better regulation."
The Prime Minister has already given us an inkling of what he means when he declared 2012 as the year to wage "war on the excessive health and safety culture."
This is presumably the culture of impunity that businesses already enjoy as their quest for profits dictates that dozens of workers die at the workplace every year because health and safety is treated as an unwelcome bureaucratic headache instead of a vital safeguard to ensure their survival.
Cameron speaks with a traditional Tory forked tongue in claiming to champion small businesses, "busting open the cosy collusion between big business and big government that locks small businesses out of public-sector contracts."
He knows that the business-government collusion he criticises lies at the heart of the privatisation process that both Tories and Labour eulogise as more efficient than public ownership.
The privateers who have grown fat as a result of their parasitic feasting on assets developed in the public sector - railways, water, energy, telecoms, air transport, the NHS, state education and the prisons network - are not small or medium enterprises.
The same conglomerate names surface time and again, offering a variety of services once delivered by public-service professionals.
Nor could it be otherwise. The conglomerates have developed out of the plethora of competing companies of an earlier age, constantly centralising and concentrating their operations. It is the logic of capitalism.
Profit dictates business strategy, which is why slavery was abandoned in favour of wage labour in the British empire.
Cameron's contention that the Tories' "spirit of responsibility helped drive a moral campaign against the slave traders" is laughable.
Wage labour was adjudged more efficient, it had fewer overheads and, in any case, the slaveowners were compensated handsomely for renouncing ownership of other human beings.
There are historical parallels with today's bankers, who are as reviled by decent folk for their abhorrent behaviour as human traffickers were two centuries ago.
Just as the slaveowners received huge payments from the public purse so have the banks, using our largess to rebuild balances and pay themselves massive bonuses once more.
Cameron's claim to have learnt from the unregulated capitalism sanctioned by Labour in government and to be committed now to "a fairer and more worthwhile economy" is gainsaid by every policy operated by his multimillionaire ministers.
The coalition is intent on fleecing the working class and forcing it to pay off the debts run up in bailing out the banks.
Unfortunately, the government is aided in its efforts to apply lipstick to the capitalist pig by the inability of Labour to present a viable and distinctive alternative.
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