Tuesday, 25 November 2008
New Labour is dead. It won power by promising to never raise the rate of income tax. Its last central tenet is now gone since the banks were nationalised (although i confess that was necessary to avoid a Depression). Now i suspect, Brown is going to discover a radical streak. Expect more and more 'old labour' policies over the coming months. It may actually make him popular, you never know.
I apologise-was out of contact for a few days and must now catch up on the world.
The Devil's in the small print. On the face of it a 45% tax rate for those earning more than 150000 pounds a year (the bankers that got us into the mess people say) look relatively fair if it were to be temporary. The problem is that it is a clear act of class war by Labour. The amount raised is a miniscule 2 bn, wiped out by the cost of a 2.5% cut in VAT. The devil is in the small print, there is a national insurance rise for those earning over 40K. It's ridiculous, as Iain Martin says, Labour is punishing aspiration.
Huge numbers of not very rich people fall into that bracket. They already pay 40% and now there is an even higher national insurance contribution. These are people who scrimp and save to pay massive mortgages for humble houses. Who have several hour long daily commutes because they want to live near a decent school. They are the powerhouse of what is left of Britain's economy. Why cant Labour just identify 30 billion pounds of cuts and use the money to borrow less and raise the tax threshold to take the poorest (who suffer most from recessions) out of the tax threshold, rather than taxing moderately well off and hardworking people so you can cut taxes on Nintendo Wiis and Harrods goods by 2.5%.
Saturday, 22 November 2008
An Indian Navy ship this week blew a Somali pirate ship out of the water. This is wonderful news. Where however, is the British navy? This is our job, we should be sending the fleet to destroy pirate ships and protect trade vessels through the time tested convoy system. There are also British Subjects being held hostage by these pirates. Where is the SAS when you need them? It cant be that difficult to land a helicopter on an oil tanker.
Friday, 21 November 2008
The issue of lobby passes for bloggers has come up. I believe that some blogs, like
Coffee House or Guido Fawkes should be allowed to have lobby passes to report from inside parliament, it might be a useful insight, there must, however, be a limit, perhaps 3, on the number of blog lobby passes. Many bloggers would probably refuse a lobby pass but i think that in terms of opening up parliament, bloggers with lobby passes would be able to provide a more gossipy, sometimes more interesting insight into parliament than newsprint and tv lobby correspondents.
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Everyone must have read about the BNP member's list leak. There has been a raft of quotes from people on the list saying how they worried for their jobs but were not racist. You should have thought about that before you joined a well known racist organisation I say. Why shouldn't you be exposed for the dangerous little inner skinheads that you are? I am happy to freely admit that I am from the John Hutton brand of politics. Lose your job for being a BNP member? You will get another...Then you might notice they haven't all been stolen by pakis as you think!
Interesting point being chatted about on many blogs (and an interesting video on the daily telegraph website of Rod Liddle and Simon Heffer) is Boris Johnson's (although they don't always give him the credit for pointing this out) pointing out that the government spends vast amounts advertising for bureaucrats in the Guardian, diversity officers that sort of thing. Sounds outrageous and like many other bloggers I hope it is soon stopped.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Just came through on the wires that David Cameron says the Tories are no longer going to match Labour's public spending plans. This is good news to all who care about the budget deficit. It indicates that spending freezes and cuts in all non-key institutions may be brought about under a Tory administration. Obviously I am opposed to any reduction in the quality of service provided by Transport, Health, Education etc (we should be helping people at least the same in a downturn) but there are serious efficiencies to be made which can start with targets for the reduction of spending. Then heath managers will look to cut the number of unnecessary consultant and councillors may look closely at the taxi bills run up by social services.
The only problem with this announcement is that those on the Tory right who favour unfunded tax cuts may smell blood and demand immediate pledges on tax with no references to how to fund them. Here 'Boy George' (as Peter Hain referred to him yesterday) must stand his ground with his admirable policy of no unfunded tax cuts.
Monday, 17 November 2008
Prince Charles turned 60 last week amidst much speculation over whether he would ever actually be King. A poll in 2005 suggested that many thought he should renounce his claim to the throne in favour of William.
This would be a deep mistake.
What is the point of having a monarchy if it is not hereditary? If only those popular with the whim of the youth of today are the only ones to rise to throne. What is the point? If that is the case then let us just abolish the monarchy altogether.
I am not serious, the monarchy should stay (I will doubtless explain reasons why in a later blogpost, today let me keep to the issue of the day). But it would be a precursor to the abolishment of that noble institution, an institution which does so much work, charitable and political, that attracts so much tourism. How can we deny a man the throne on accounts that he is older than his son? King Charles III should one day sit on that throne in Westminster Abbey and have the crown put on his head. King William V will just have to wait his turn......
Osborne and Cameron face a choice. If Osborne were to go it would be better for the country, the next Tory Chancellor would be a heavyweight such as Ken Clarke or William Hague. His departure, however, would be a disaster for the Tory Party and would seriously cause a crisis of confidence in the Leader of the Opposition. Osborne is out of touch, he made a serious error of judgement and should probably have resigned straight away to limit the damage of yachtgate. As it is he should stay and prove himself over the next few months, announcing changes to tax policy etc and correctly challenging the Pre-Budget report.
Osborne has not made himself popular, he does not want unfunded tax cuts. There is, however, no reason that there should not be funded tax cuts. Prove yourself George, pledge to get rid of waste and pork barrelling. Identify the useless services you would cut (such as the regional development agencies or a freeze on new spending for holyrood). "Share the proceeds of spending cuts" between a moderate tax cut for the lower paid and reducing the deficit. You may not become popular with your party once more but you can still be popular with future generations.