Sunday, 20 July 2014

Regaining trust the easy way

Andrew Rawnsley wrote in last week`s Observer that no-one in modern society can be trusted, from bankers to politicians. He even quoted a Labour politician saying that people still trust the queen, but many of us remember how back in 2010, she requested a poverty grant to help heat her palaces, as the £15m government grant to maintain them was inadequate!
       However, the situation is not necessarily a permanent one; as Rawnsley concludes, "there is a great prize here for someone in politics to win". Ed Miliband  was right to mention in his speech about the "Tory lie machine" and could win that "prize", and the election with it, but it would require more of the courage he showed in standing up to the Murdoch press, and the energy companies.
       Before the election, he could insist that all Labour MPs and candidates make public their tax details, so that the electorate can be quite clear that there is at least one party willing to be transparent on this very important, and ethical, issue. The coalition government has done so little to discourage the practice, and as Cameron failed to carry out his promise back in 2012, that the tax details of the leading lights of the cabinet would go public, failing also to answer a question about in in the last PMQs of this session, only Labour is left of the main parties.
        If Miliband wants our trust, and without it, election success is unlikely, he has to deserve it before May, 2015. Other methods will be more accessible only after he has won, like putting his money where his mouth is on the energy price freeze, and introducing legislation to reduce inequality, but until then, some tax transparency will suffice. Rawnsley is right to say that the British public "yearns to see some restoration" of trust, and this is certainly  an easy way to achieve it. 

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