On tax, Labour must remember: “It’s not our money stupid, it’s theirs”

by Peter Watt

So the battle of the speeches is over.  All three leaders made pretty good speeches.  Nick Clegg, who I have a soft spot for, probably had the toughest job of all but seemed to go down well in the hall at least.  But the real battle was Miliband versus Cameron.

Trying to be non-biased, I think that Ed Miliband just won the battle, although David Cameron   wasn’t far behind.  They were both very similar in that they were both very personal, focused on values and were policy light.  They were also both used as opportunities to attack the other; both with some force; and both speeches were passionate and effective.

But in truth, Ed Miliband managed to use his speech to build much needed confidence in him from his party.  Critically he also managed to persuade a sceptical press that he really could win an election.   It may or may not have been a game changer but it was certainly a very significant event in the slow run-up to the election in 2015.  For that reason I think that he won the battle.  But he has not yet won the war.

There were two very significant passages in the speeches.  The first from Ed:

“A tax cut for millionaires. Next April, David Cameron will be writing a cheque for £40,000 to each and every millionaire in Britain. Not just for one year. But each and every year.”

And the second is from David Cameron’s speech in response:

“I sometimes wonder if they know anything about the real economy at all.  Did you hear what Ed Miliband said last week about taxes?  He described a tax cut as the government writing people a cheque.  Ed… Let me explain to you how it works.  When people earn money, it’s their money.   Not the government’s money: their money.  Then, the government takes some of it away in tax.  So, if we cut taxes, we’re not giving them money – we’re taking less of it away.  OK?”

Put aside the silly looseness in language from Ed over the “each and every millionaire” line, these two passages hold the key to one of the central battles of the next election – Labour’s competence on the economy.

Unless and until Labour really does understand the tax point then they will struggle to convince people that they are not profligate “tax-and-spenders”.   The truth is that too many people in Labour really do think that taxation is an inherently good thing.  That somehow taxing people, the state taking peoples’ own money from them, is somehow morally right.

But taxation is not inherently good in itself, it is certainly necessary if the state is to undertake things that we decide it needs to.  Taxation pays for caring for the vulnerable, educating our young, treating our sick and defending our streets and borders.  It is these things that are the “good” things and not the act of taxation itself.

This is not a pedantic point.  The former view, that taxation is inherently good, means that the state is taking what it is entitled to.  It means that the government has a duty to tax people and that the government is therefore spending its own money.  As a result, the respect for, and the robustness of the stewardship of, the proceeds of taxation is lessened.

It means that if there is a social ill then we will see government spending as the obvious and indeed the right and proper response.  Outcomes are secondary to the fact that we must and can do something – after all it is the government’s money.

The latter view, that taxation is a necessary evil, means that the state reluctantly takes only what it absolutely has to.  It means that the government has a duty to keep levels of taxation to a minimum.  And it means that there will be a greater focus on the sound stewardship of the proceeds.

If a problem is identified then many options will be considered, with government intervention being a possible option but not a must.  The outcomes of the interventions are more likely to be the focus rather than a straight desire to act.

Labour has muddled up a desire to deal with social ills with a need to spend money. Of course some problems require taxpayers (not the government’s) money to help deal with them.  But plenty of others may benefit from more imaginative responses that require less or even no state aid.  All too often we have not allowed ourselves to even explore these as the “spend” option was easier, available and seen as the right response from a benevolent state.

Now of course Labour have to change their thinking whether they want to or not.  They can’t keep raising taxes indefinitely and they will need to reduce expenditure.  That requires them to think about problems differently and to challenge existing solutions to existing problems.  The voters expect them to do this.  They are worried as to whether Labour can really change the way it perceives taxation and can really see solutions to problems other than spending.

So Ed won the battle of the speeches.  But the war? That’s another matter because David Cameron is going to use the “tax and spend” attack again and again, and Ed’s: “Next April, David Cameron will be writing a cheque for £40,000 to each and every millionaire in Britain” line will come back and haunt him.

Ed would do well to use an old Clinton trick and have signs made for Labour campaign HQ that frequently remind himself and his team:

“It’s not our money stupid, it’s theirs.”

Peter Watt was general secretary of the Labour party


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40 Responses to “On tax, Labour must remember: “It’s not our money stupid, it’s theirs””

  1. Felix says:

    The problem identified here is also to be found within the Tory party. Just this Monday they were announcing “tax gifts” to the taxpayer in all the papers that support them, as if that money already belonged to them. But Peter Watt wouldn’t want to bring your attention to that as it would distract from his central mission: to undermine the Labour party as it currently exists in order to get back his parasitic, political hanger-on job back.

  2. swatantra says:

    Can someone please tell EdM to stop prancing about on stage like a caged tiger when delivering his speeches. Its most disconcerting. Thats what the lectern is for EdM.
    And, there is one major problem about ‘One Nation’ and it is this: The Party cannot be seen to be in the pocket of the Unions, or Big Business, for that matter. As I’ve said before, the Party has to be more inclusive ie no longer the Party of the ‘Working Class’. In fact the Party has to become Classless and a Party of Working People and Small Businesses. Otherwise it cannot by definition be a One Nation Party.

  3. BenM says:

    Again this is simplistic nonsense lifted straight from the Sun. It is good politics but atrocious economics.

    Where does the money come from that people “earn”?

    How much do people owe to liberal democratic governments for giving them the space (education, health, security, infrastructure) to “earn” that money?

    At a time when much of the GDP of the nation is propped up by government borrowing, how much is being earned by people solely by the fruits of their labours?

    We live in a democracy where in return for some say in the destiny of our own lives we permit government to levy tax on income and gains to ensure we live in a peaceful and secure modern country.

    That is a great bargain in anyone’s book. You have to be ideologically blinkered not to see it.

    What the government spends is no more “taxpayers’ money” than what Tesco spends on jingles and adverts somehow mystically belongs to people who buy their groceries there.

  4. Nick says:

    You’re slowly getting there.

    However
    ========
    But taxation is not inherently good in itself, it is certainly necessary if the state is to undertake things that we decide it needs to. Taxation pays for caring for the vulnerable, educating our young, treating our sick and defending our streets and borders. It is these things that are the “good” things and not the act of taxation itself.
    ========

    And when taxes don’t pay for those things, there is a problem.

    You’ve run up 7,000 bn of debts. Most of which is hidden off the books.

    That means lots of taxes won’t be going on services, but on servicing the debts.

    ie. All the tax, none of the services

    Next, yep, I want an Aston Martin because its a great car. Those “car services” will be satisfied. Hmm, spot the problem. The cost. You’ve ignored it. You think that if the services are provided the cost doesn’t matter.

    It’s back to the debt. We’re paying 1,900 a year for the NHS, each. Except we aren’t. You’ve hidden the true cost by hiding the pensions off the books. We’re going to be paying through the roof for the next 80 years. Well almost. You aren’t going to pay those pensions because we can’t afford to pay them.

    How about being honest about the debts? Send everyone a bill for their share. Hmmm, 250,000 plus interest?

    What about allowing the electorate once a year a veto on taxes? If you believe in democracy, then let the electorate consent to being taxed.

  5. Barry says:

    The other point, which you should have mentioned, is that even after the reduction of the top rate to 45p in the pound, the Coalition will still be taxing the better-off at 5p in the pound more than did Labour almost throughout its thirteen years in office.

  6. Snurgling says:

    “It’s not our money stupid, it’s theirs.”

    A fact that cannot be repeated enough.

  7. Selohesra says:

    Until Labour learn the difference between income & capital they cant be trusted with the economy again – there are many millionaires in the country thanks to house prices etc – but not all millionaires pay any 50% tax let alone enough to save £40K by reducing top rate to 45% (still more than Labour had for majority of their years of misrule)

  8. Peter,
    In general I agree with your point that “It’s not our money stupid, it’s theirs.” and that a govt has an obligation to to ensure that any spending is efficacious. However I think it is disingenuous to suggest that a Labour govt “can’t keep raising taxes indefinitely and they will need to reduce expenditure”. Firstly because the current coalition have raised taxes; an important point often missed (see http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Documents/FAQ2GovtIncome.pdf), furthermore the tax that has been increased is VAT a regressive tax that effects the poorest the most. And secondly because balancing the budget is a purely political construct, it is possible to have more money to spend but only by increasing the total revenue from taxes. This doesn’t necessarily mean increasing the level of income tax; income tax only makes up about 25% of total yield. The most obvious route is to reduce the tax gap, which is currently estimated at £125bn – the same as the deficit. Unfortunately the coalition has taken the short-sighted view that reducing the cost of HMRC to the govt is more important than reducng the tax gap; cuts to the funding of HMRC have resulted in a loss of 30,000 staff (about a third) with more cuts to come.
    My final point is that although you at least shy away from the accusation that tax is theft, the notion that tax is a necessary evil is only slightly less pejorative. I agree that tax is not in itself a good thing but it is the legitimate role of government to raise revenue to support the administration of a nation-state. This arises from precisely the same legitimacy as property law. I don’t expect that you would find any Tories suggesting that property is theft? Why would they therefore suggest that tax is evil, necessary or otherwise? The wisdom of setting rates of taxation is another discussion entirely.

  9. Alan Douglas says:

    Amazing that I even have to say this, but THANK YOU for putting this obvious point so eloquently. One G. Brown even said that a tax cut was “taking money OUT of the economy”, was he insane ?

    Alan Douglas

  10. Vacant Possession says:

    I can’t see how a man who a/ stands up and lies repeatedly and b/ misrepresents himself could be seen as winning anything except well earned distrust. The acolytes in the front row seemed to be lapping it up, able to believe and support absolutely anything; I don’t believe the public are that stupid.

    a/ The lie? that every ‘millionaire’ will receive a ~£40,000 cheque from Cameron next year. No, anyone who *earns £1,000,000 a year* will receive the equivalent benefit. It is disingenuous to suggest they are the same.

    b/ The misrepresentation? That Ed is one of us. No, he is not. He is a career politician and his primary residence alone is worth in excess of £2,000,000. Harping on about Cameron being rich has a distinct odour of hypocrisy.

    Still, don’t let the facts get in the way.

  11. Dave B says:

    Since the 2010 election, the government have increased both spending and taxes, so I think Mr Cameron’s credentials for a ‘tax and spend’ attack are pretty weak.

  12. DaveL says:

    Dear Mr Watt,
    I’m currently a right leaning voter. Your article above is greatly encouraging, and if I heard your leaders talking similarly I would be significantly open to changing my voting habits. Your understanding is a very fresh view from your party.

  13. Ex-Labour says:

    As an ex-labour voter (never to return whilst the Red Ed’s are in charge) I astounded at some of the rubbish coming from Labour and their supporters. The blog is absolutely correct in that until Labour realise that money earned belongs to the person earning it and is not a private bank for Labour to dip into whenever they feel like it, they will never be trusted. Whatever the faults of Blair, he at least knew this.
    Its a sad situation for me that Labour are retreating back to their core support who know a Labour government will mean the return of the entitlement culture where the workshy, feckless and feral have everything to gain and the majority of hard working people have everything to fear.
    Note to Robin: The credibility of anyone quoting economics from the Taxresearch site says it all. Yet another lefty who thinks – and has actually gone into print – that there is no such concept as personal property ( I paraphrase his nonsense book).

  14. Rallan says:

    “Put aside the silly looseness in language from Ed over the “each and every millionaire” line”

    Put aside the silly looseness? You mean ignore the deliberate lie that was broadcast nationwide, told by the Labour Leader at the showcase televised Labour event this year?

    The class-war lie intended to provoke resentment among the ignorant, so that Labour can keep them on side through deceit? That lie? The one that EdM has neither acknowledged or corrected?

    And then you wonder why people don’t trust politicians…

  15. Matt says:

    @robinthorpe

    > The most obvious route is to reduce the tax gap, which is currently estimated at £125bn – the same as the deficit.

    I’m sure you are aware that that is from the Tax Research, who are – to be kind – highly imaginative. It is also the upper bound their estimates.

    The HMRC estimate is 70% lower.

    Fix a real world £125bn or so annual black hole gap by a assuming the top of an exaggerated range of figures while any ‘closing the tax gap’ will only close a small % of any gap anyway.

    It does not add up, Professor Moriarty.

  16. “Unless and until Labour really does understand the tax point then they will struggle to convince people that they are not profligate “tax-and-spenders”.”

    But you won’t will you? It has always been like that, in the same way that Labour believes – wrongly – that the “state” and “society” are one and the same. These are reasons why I will never vote Labour again, the essence being that Labour believes that we the working people work for the government. Not the other way round.

  17. For example – an actuary quoted me what I should expect from my pension pot, before NL got into power. When next year’s further slicing of one sixth off my annuity takes place, what I will be getting will be less than half of what the actuary forecast – which was of course, before Brown decided to grab as much of it as he could.

    Another reason why no person of sound mind could vote Labour is that for Labour, the party is more important than the country. Straw confirmed this in his recent admission that he and others KNEW Brown was not up to the job of PM, but did nothing about it – as if he did, he felt the Labour party would be damaged. I.E. Bugger the country (which is what Brown did), Labour first.

    No thanks.

  18. blingmun says:

    @ BenM

    “What the government spends is no more “taxpayers’ money” than what Tesco spends on jingles and adverts somehow mystically belongs to people who buy their groceries there.”

    No, what Tesco spends on jingles and adverts belongs to its shareholders.

  19. aragon says:

    Don’t mention socialism in the context of the Labour party. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

    And don’t expect any comprehension of economics from the alumni of PPE at Oxford University.

    Of course profit and pay can be divorced from the social context of production, can’t it.

    And don’t mention wealth distribution and Gini co-efficient or you will be labeled a communist.

    No complex arguments or ideas here please.

  20. @Ex-Labour – I didn’t quote economics from TaxResearch, I included a link that presents data issued by the HMRC. This data was used to reinforce my point that the coalition has raised taxes and clearly shows that although revenue from income tax has declined since 2009, revenue from VAT has increased. Whatever you may think of Richard Murphy he uses data and evidence to present his arguments.
    I don’t see why you are questioning my credibility when I stated that I agreed with the premise that “It’s not our money stupid, it’s theirs.” and that the state has an obligation to ensure that this money is spent well. Perhaps you disagree with my comment that it is possible to raise more revenue by ensuring that HMRC are capable of reducing the £70bn of tax evasion (even if you use the HMRC figures the tax gap is £35bn)? The majority of people have everything to gain from reducing the tax gap and nothing to fear. The majority of people would benefit from a cut in VAT that could be paid for by ensuring all individuals and companies are tax compliant. Perhaps you disagree that VAT is a regressive tax?
    If you accept the notion of private property then you have to accept the notion of a government enforcing the protection of this property by the legislation of statutes. If you accept that the government has the right to create these statutes then it also has the right to legislate for taxation to support its activities. In this country we get to vote on which group of people gets the power to wield this right and by extension to implement their social policies. I don’t think it’s ever been Labour policy to increase unemployment although it does appear to be the policy of this coalition.

  21. BenM says:

    Ex Labour notionally supports a Party that cannot admit its economic incompetence is running up £150bn more in borrowing (due to go up in December) more than Labour would have done over the lifetime of this parliament because George Osborne spiked the recovery with these ideological cuts.

    This week’s IMF report has cooked the austerity goose and the Tories’ economic ideology with it.

    Conservative economics is bunk, it damages families, damages communities, damages nations and now it can be seen it damages the entire world economy.

  22. Bob says:

    Ed Miiliband, and the leftwing pundits whom he copied the line off, does not understand the difference between a Millionaire and someone who has an annual salary of £1m.

    There are a lot more of the former than the latter.

    Just like they don’t understand the difference between “debt”, and “deficit” despite having it repeatedly explained to them.

    And they expect the electorate to let them back in charge of the economy?

  23. libertarian says:

    Dear Ben M

    How deluded are you? Try answering your own question first.

    The cost of education, defence blah blah that people use to then contribute to society came from the previous generation of workers and taxpayers.

    You are right that most government spending is now borrowed rather than taxed but who the hell do you think is going to pay that back ( refer to your own Tesco point) that’s right MORE taxation from the workers.

    You’d be better off firstly finding out what money actually is ( clue its a voucher system to make the exchange of labour, products and resources easier) and you also need to remove the quotation marks from earn, unless of course you are refereing solely to Ed Milliband and David Camerons fortunes, in which case yes they were inherited

  24. Fraser says:

    It’s not our money stupid, it’s theirs. Well it is if you are part of the top 20 percent of taxpayers, then yes it is your money that is being taken and redistributed. That is what is so short sighted in this debate, when tax rates were 85% in the 1970s did the rich pay their fair share, no, they left, or avoided because the benefits of doing so far outweighed the costs.

    When tax rates fell to 40% did the rich pay their fair share, yes and with a greater degree of honesty than before. Like it or not the top 20% pay for the rest of the country, you can argue that income inequality is unfair, but sadly you lot have tried a managed economy and it doesn’t work.

    I agree that the rich should be taxed to an optimal amount to pay for the society which offers them a safe framework in which to accumulate private wealth. But the optimal amount doesn’t equate to the highest nominal amount. The top 20% create most of the jobs, culture, design, charity and public funding in this country, they should be encouraged to give more by taxing them less.

  25. Amber Star says:

    @ Peter Watt

    You can be relied on to always be first up with a populist & ill-informed position on every issue.

    Wealth does not trickle down in a capitalist economy; it ends up in the hands of the people who control the resources & technology which people need & want.

    If that money is not taxed & redistributed, the outcome is simply that the economy grinds to a halt. More & more wealth is directed towards fewer & fewer scarce resources until using currency is no longer acceptable & traders are bartering oil for food, land for water, water for fuel etc. in an ever decreasing circle.

    Tax is what breaks the death spiral economics. Tax is essential to sustain any capitalism; even more so to sustainable, responsible capitalism. Tax as an essential component of capitalism may be one of the most difficult points which Ed Miliband is required to make convincingly. He may not manage to persuade people within the available time-frame & have to adopt a populist view like yours, Peter. Nevertheless, I am glad that he is trying the correct approach initially, even if he does have to u-turn further down the road.

  26. Ex-Labour says:

    @Robin Thorpe

    My apologies if I misconstrued your comment. Unfortuntely Murphy raises my hackles. His usual MO of using government data where it suits him and his home spun nonsense when it does not does the Labour movement no service. The tax gap is not merely evasion its also avoidance and deferred payments etc. As other recognised economists point out government estimates and calculations are based on the tax gap assessment. Its worth noting that evidence based on years of observation say the optimal tax take is in the high thirties (percent) but Labour pushed it to the low forties.
    The government has a right to legislate and raise taxation as you point out. However the point of the blog is that the Conservatives see your money as yours and Labour see it as the states. Therefore they have little conscience in taking it to give to someone who has not earned it.
    I believe in society per se, but I also believe a member of society should contribute something to it before they get any benefit from it. Welfare spending under Labour rocketed beyond anyones wildest expectations and their largesse to the feckless, feral and workshy will never cease.

  27. GSilver says:

    sat down and calculated all the tax I pay as a basic tax level paying person.

    55%

    duty, income tax, NI, VAT, council tax, tv, airline tax … the list seems endless. I am allowed to keep just 45% of the money I work pretty long hours for and I get little in return – I dont get any benefits, the street light outside my flat has been broken for 18 months (complained 6 times), the road is in a state, the graffiti never removed (complaint 4 times), trash in the street cleaned about once a month … labour needs to remember the taxpayers money IS NOT THEIRS to spend on whim and patronage!

  28. Elliot Kane says:

    An excellent article, Peter! I agree with every word.

  29. Robert says:

    The top rate of tax has been controversial for most of my life. It was over 80% in the late 1970s, 60% for most of the 1980s and 40% from 1988 to 2010. Darling brought in a tax rate of 50% from 2010 on very high incomes because the Government needed the money. That rate will fall to 45% next April.

    My view is that 50% on very high incomes is about right and by 2015 Labour will be able to decide whether this view is correct by looking at the figures. It will be clear how much money was raised from 2010-13 and how much was lost after April 2013.

  30. uglyfatbloke says:

    If we need a 50% rate – and I think we do – it has to kick in at a level where it will produce real income and only affect people who can afford it – I’d say 50,000 per annum would be fair, but I think that that would be a burden on MPs and others who get paid too much – doctors for example – so it’s not going to happen.

  31. Ex-Labour says:

    Robert – studies have show what effect increasing and decreasing taxation does to the tax take and the optimal level to maximise the take was around 39%. We are way over this figure at present.

    Uglyfatbloke, are you serious – 50 K ???? You would put millions into extra tax and ensure your beloved Labour party a millenium of opposition. The average GP probably earns 100K plus – much more than the vast majority of people. If your going to bandy figures around at least do some thinking about it.

    As an aside the top 1% of earners in this country account for 28% of our income tax take. For all you on the left – just think what would have to happen to your benefit handouts if the 1% said OK I’m off to pasture new !!

  32. BenM says:

    @Ex Labour

    “As an aside the top 1% of earners in this country account for 28% of our income tax take”

    Irrelevant.

    In an unequal society you would expect precisely this.

    It says nothing about the effective tax rate paid by higher earners which is the crucial statistic.

  33. uglyfatbloke says:

    Ex-Labour…a £50,000 tax point would only affect about 10-15% of taxpayers, most of who were never going to vote Labour anyway. Of that slice, most would fall in the category of 50-60,000 and would end up with their ‘take home’ reduced from 800 per week to 750 per week…do you think they can’t afford that?
    Doctors…100,000 is the bottom end of GP salaries, not the top. Doctors salaries have swollen considerably compared to those of most people and I think they can manage to put a little more into the kitty…even if it means my own GP won’t get his new boat (a snip at only only 40,000 quid so he tells me) until next year. Really I was thinking more about MPs. If ‘we all need to tighten our belts’ then something that had an impact on MPs would be highly desirable.
    At a minimum gross of 1300 per week (2,600 per week for Ed incidentally) plus some very interesting allowances, I think they can afford to put their hands in their pockets, don’t you? As a group they can hardly claim to have been very effective this last 100 yeas and more.

  34. Ex-Labour says:

    @ uglyfatbloke

    “Ex-Labour…a £50,000 tax point would only affect about 10-15% of taxpayers, most of who were never going to vote Labour anyway”

    Thats the point of the blog ….. Its NOT YOUR MONEY ! Any government should recognise this. Also any government should govern honestly and without penalising any sector. You assume that everyone should be equal. So the feckless and workshy should be entitled to the 50″ flat screen TV because their hardwaorking neighbour has one?

    “Doctors salaries have swollen considerably compared to those of most people ”

    Agreed…by a deal with the Labour party !

    As many people have pointed out over the course of history…..the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples money.

    Before Ed 1% Millliband points fingers at Cameron and Co he should take a look inward. Physician heal thyself.

  35. Henrik says:

    Here we go. Looking upthread, the jealousy and bad feeling is hilarious.

    I was particularly struck by “take all their money from the rich, they’re not going to vote for us, anyway”. Way to go, comrades. Equality of outcome is far more important than equality of opportunity, right?

    The better-off generally either work in professions with a high bar to entry – and remember that thought, we’re coming back to it – or take significant risks with their resources. The number of well-off folk who live lives of quiet affluence (outside the public, charitable, media and political classes, obviously) is pretty small, as a rule they work hard for their wedge. I’m lucky, I’ve done OK and as a result I pay a big chunk of cash in tax. Obviously, I don’t enjoy that, particularly, but the law says I have to, so I do. 40% off the top plus national insurance, I can just about live with, much more than that and I’m off to Abu Dhabi or Qatar, where I can work just as easily and keep my money.

    I muse on the fact that the 1945 Education Act, the best thing Labour ever did and a key component in the social mobility we saw in the 50s and 60s, was dismantled by Crossland, may wild dogs grub up his bones and was replaced by the appalling educational culture of low expectation we see today.

    It’s saddening that the response to a catastrophically failing public educational system is to insist that the schools which still deliver a quality education – i.e. feepaying, academies, free schools and the praiseworthy minority of decent comprehensives – should be pilloried for being good and that the call should be that, rather than making the worse ones better, the good ones should be made worse. It is thus much, much harder for a smart working class lad or lass to get a decent education to A-Level, never mind get to a proper university, than it was in the 60s and 70s.

    I always wondered why it was the British Left, uniquely, saw no advantage in the brutally selective and elitist educational systems in the old socialist world.

    Ah well, we stray off the topic. Tax regimes. I guess a quiet and reflective study of the Laffer curve is too much to hope for, but just for sh*ts and giggles, how about this – if taxation is compulsory, there can be no moral component. Neither paying tax nor governmental spending is automatically virtuous and having good intent does not excuse poor performance. Adam Smith got this one a couple of hundred years ago.

    As always, of course, feel free not to read this. I’m not going to vote for you, anyway, but I would very much welcome there being a coherent HM Loyal Opposition with, you know, policies and stuff.

  36. Vern says:

    I like a lot of what you say here UFB and i would like the UK to be a nation that encourages and breeds success
    My own thoughts is that public sector management, heads, gp’s, civil servants, mp’s and execs have all gotten incredibly wealthy with very significant salaries and bonusses.
    Someone in the public sector earning over £40k to £45k per annum does not need Joe Public to pay intotheir fabulous pension schemes as well.
    No problem with hard working, lower paid members who contribute and deserve to be looked after following a life on lower income.
    The VC of Bham Uni earned £350k last year. My reckoning is that we threw £50k in to his pension plan that year (double the average annual salary level in UK)

  37. Henrik says:

    Damn. Crossman, of course, not Cross*land*.

  38. Ex-Labour says:

    @ Henrik

    “taxation is compulsory, there can be no moral component. Neither paying tax nor governmental spending is automatically virtuous and having good intent does not excuse poor performance”

    Good point fella.

    Unfortunately there is a real whiff of the politics of envy. I dont care how much anyone earns whether its 50K or 500K (or even 5 Million) the state has no automatic right to this, let alone assume its the states anyway. The central point of the original blog is that Miliband and Labour miust realise this.
    The Conservatives have deided to cut benefits (which have ballooned under Labour) cue hoots of derision from the left. But what Labour are missing again is that polling shows that this policy is very popular amongst the public.

  39. Robert says:

    Ex-Labour, by 2015 it should be pretty clear whether you or I are correct on the top rates of 39% or 50%.

    Regarding benefits, it is not surprising that the public favour benefit cuts after years of negative comments from New Labour politicians. New Labour was so right-wing that it shifted politics as a whole to the right.

  40. john p Reid says:

    Amberstar, judguing by the half baked ill informed criticisms of Peter article I wouldn’t say he’sd tried to be popularist, and being Popular is what wins elections

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