Iain’s blog is an invaluable source of information on UK politics, and a lot of fun.
My friends on the Left will insist that the correct Labour response is to raise taxes and break away from what they call neo-liberal economic policies. But when the state Hoovers up nearly two thirds of a trillion pounds from national income, describing such economics as neo-liberal is to mock language.
I love it how people use that term as some sort of nasty insult they almost spit out. You neo-liberal you.
When trade unions and the Fabians invented what became the 20th-century Labour Party, no working man or woman paid any tax. It was easy to call for higher taxes because only the Tory-voting bourgeoisie paid them. Now working people are faced with massive deductions from their pay. There is some compensation for those on low incomes with young children, but a third of the voters in the London mayoral elections were single or childless people. The tired references to “hard-working families” upset all the voters who live by themselves, do not have children at home and are denied tax credits.
A massive amount of tax is paid by people and churned back to them, and this is very wasteful – it is money just flushed down the drain due to the cost of that churn.
And as in NZ, the Government there seems to regard tax credits as the same thing as tax cuts. There is a big difference between what is effectively a welfare payment and letting people keep more of their own money.
I do not know of a single minister who privately does not despair at the waste of money on pointless projects, publications, or legions of press officers that add no value. The taxpayer has given more than £1 billion of aid to India, even though that great country has more billionaires and millionaires than Britain and runs its own well-financed development aid programme.
I wonder how much we give to India?
The notion that cost-cutting is something the Right does is nonsense. The great firms of Britain, such as Marks and Spencer, BP, Corus and BA, have had their fortunes turned round by ruthless pruning of costs, thus forcing managers to think differently as they are told to cut budgets if they want to save their jobs. And in doing so they not only keep their jobs but find the companies they run are walking tall again.
I don’t think Labour has ever met a cost it didn’t increase! Cost cutting is not something nasty or slash and burn. It is what one should be doing every year. The problem is when someone else is funding those costs, your incentive to keep them low is minimal.