Sunday, October 14, 2007


Polly Toynbee has for some time been the Brownest of Brown-nosers, and she permits herself an indulgent and foolish note of optimism at the end, but this is a surprisingly good critique of this country's abysmal Prime Minister.

To give the children of the well-off a £1.4bn inheritance bonus while the children of the poor only got another 48p a week in tax credits is symbolically far worse than that notorious 75p for pensioners. The halfway mark to abolish child poverty by 2010 will be missed by miles. Holding down public sector pay rises to 2% for three years, only half next year's expected private sector increase, will increase inequality. To cut capital gains tax on buy-to-let property, antiques, paintings and jewellery is as shameless as it is dysfunctional.

That the social democratic left ever held out a shred of hope for Gordon Brown is the greatest symptom of their intellectual decline.


Blogger Newfred said...

Oh dear, Polly Filla's at it again! I don't understand this attitude to Gordon Brown. In my view, he's a sincere, sensible politician with a proven record of successfully balancing the demands of economic competence with redistribution and social change.

For a start, the inheritance tax dodge in the pre-Budget report was a complete red herring. Couples are actually already able to combine their inheritance tax allowances (totalling £600,000) by consulting a solicitor. In fact, therefore, there has been no change in inheritance tax entitlements as a result of this move, and even though the combined allowance will rise to £700,000 in future years, that remains below the rate of house price inflation of the last ten years and is therefore a real terms reduction in the inheritance tax threshold. What else is the government supposed to do here? To be seen to have been cutting the headline threshold of inheritance tax over the past decade would have been a suicidal blunder for Labour, yet they have effectively achieved this by other means.

As for child poverty, it is Brownite economic policy which has done more than any government in recent times. So what if targets are missed? Do you think the government is *aiming* to miss its own targets? I don't think so. Problems like child poverty are long-term and highly complex, and people like Polly Filla wittering on about how terrible it is that the whole world's not happy and sorted and sitting around sipping Martinis by 2010 is a classic piece of left-wing self-indulgence.

Why would public sector pay vs private sector pay rises raise inequality? There are some exceptionally well paid jobs in the public sector and some exceptionally poorly paid jobs in the private sector.

Cutting capital gains tax on buy-to-let property is very sensible, and likely to benefit the poorest and especially those trying to move out of council housing and into some form of private rented accommodation. Britain has some of the lowest levels of property rental in the West; reducing taxes on those willing to let property is a sound move in the interests of improving social mobility.

So... what's wrong with Gordon Brown? Ok, he's not the consummate public performer that Blair was, he loses his temper, he may indeed have severe character flaws. But he obviously believes fiercely in what he is doing; I have no reason to doubt him, he is hugely preferable to all other alternatives currently being offered electorally, so I am very happy to support him wholeheartedly.

3:13 PM  

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