Polly Toynbee may think Labour`s "dilemma" is whether to copy "Osborne`s incredible" policies to gain "economic credibility" but there is another, and probably more serious, one.(It was Iron Balls` best shot, but are the voters listening?24/09/13) "No extra spending in the first year" may calm City nerves, but it leaves Labour open to the criticism from an already cynical electorate that there is too little difference between them and the Tories.
Toynbee in the past has correctly written that the reasonably well-off, like her, have unfairly escaped most of the government`s austerity measures, and dealing with this could provide Labour with the headline policy it needs to win people`s confidence in its ability to combine balancing the books with the element of justice seen to be lacking in coalition remedies. Taxing those earning between £65K and £149K at 45% can be justified on the basis of fairness; how can it be right that people earning just over £40K , and struggling to make ends meet, are taxed at the same level as the rich? In fact, as a temporary measure, a sliding scale of tax rates could be introduced, starting at, say, 60% for those earning over £200K and working downwards.
The risk that the support of high earners, needed to win the marginal seats, may be lost has to be countered with arguments based on social justice, the fundamental justification for the party`s existence, and an essential ingredient of any country thinking itself civilised. The nonsense that it cannot be afforded has to be refuted; if the wealthy don`t agree with the concept, let them come forward and admit it!