What I object to is not so much the size of the state as the reach of the state. I am happy to see any amount spent on education, but I reject the Labour assumption that progress consists in more and more areas of life being managed or supervised by the state. That is why I have written so many columns critical of New Labour annexation of the family, for instance.
Why be spooked by social democrat squawking? The coalition should shrug its shoulders and confess: the charge its enemies lay at its door is broadly correct. This is an ideological government with a plan for a smaller, less centralised and more liberal state.
The left dreads the obvious fact that spending cuts are central to this plan – and they are. The left senses that the government is staging a cultural revolution against social democracy – and it is. The coalition does not want to make mild adjustments to the old order. It intends to smash it.
Glover was on BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight debating the issues he raised with Sunder Katwala from the Fabian Society. Katwala argued that we must maintain the size of the state in order to ensure fairness, but the position is more complicated than he allowed.
As the last 13 years have shown, a growth in the size of the state is not necessarily accompanied by a more equal distribution of wealth.
Anyway, this is the issue that Liberal Democrats should be debating.