But David Cameron's Tories aren't looking to their Harper Conservative cousins for advice on dealing with debt and deficit. No, they're looking to the Liberal Party of Canada:
As a younger Gordon Brown was bolting the New in front of Labour in the mid-Nineties, he made frequent schoolboyish field trips across the Atlantic to study the slick campaign and policy lessons from Bill Clinton's victories in the US. This is the stuff of opposition, to learn from those who have blazed a trail you want to follow – and also to lodge in the public consciousness back home the idea that, yes, you are destined to follow them.Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers
So it is that the Tories are obsessing about another North American political success story, that of the Canadian Liberal Party, which swept to power in 1993 and proceeded to implement the biggest reduction in government spending in the country's history, eliminating a crippling C$42bn (£22bn) budget deficit in just four years. The international acclaim was raucous: The Wall Street Journal had proclaimed Canada "an honorary member of the Third World" in 1993, when its national debt was heading towards a peak of 72 per cent of the size of the economy; in 1998, Paul Martin, the finance minister, was heralded by Business Week magazine for having produced "a maple leaf miracle". The centrist Liberal Party went on to further electoral success – and Mr Martin inherited the prime minister's office. No wonder the Conservatives are salivating.