Friday, 22 May 2015

Delusional Blairites and Kettle`s Tories

Seumas Milne`s evaluation cannot be faulted; the "delusional" Blairites blame Labour`s defeat on the abandonment of "aspiration and middle England", and its "spiteful" proposal to " tax the wealth creators" (The return of the Blairites is the last thing Labour needs,14/05/15). They clearly expect the party to believe that people on above average incomes, from around £30,000 to £60,000, could not bring themselves to vote Labour because, when their incomes miraculously treble, quadruple or more in the future, they would have to pay 5% extra tax on all the money earned over £150,000. Someone appears to be forgetting that the average income in the UK is £25,000 approximately, and that 44% of all adults do not earn sufficiently high wages to pay any income tax at all. 
     Perhaps small business owners, earning two, three or four times the average, did not think having to pay reduced business rates, as Miliband proposed, would benefit them sufficiently, or that Labour going after tax avoiding companies, which undercut smaller rivals` prices,and put many out of business, was sensible policy? There will always be those, of course, who feel having to pay an increased minimum wage is unfair, and that supplementing very low wages from the taxpayers is fine, but would such people vote anything other than Tory anyway? Only if the Labour party adopted such so-called "pro-business" policies like the Tories have done, as ignoring tax avoidance and cutting the staff meant to prevent it, ensuring firms paying less than the legal minimum get off with small fines, doing nothing to prevent the exploitation of tenants by Rachman-like private landlords, and awarding government contracts to firms best known for their inefficiency and dubious tax policies, rather than their competence and ethics, could it attract such votes away from the Tories.

 Labour did nor haemorrhage votes to Ukip, and the more radical SNP and Green parties, because its policies were too far to the left, and Labour clearly needs a leadership candidate with the bottle to say so.

Maybe I am one who fits Martin Kettle`s description, but is my view of the Tories really "naive"? (The Tories fooled us all. We must study how they did it,15/05/15) Tory voters may, indeed, see their party as "competent and reliable", but didn`t their incompetent economic policy of austerity not only delay any economic recovery by at least three years, but also fail to meet targets they set themselves on deficit reduction, whilst breaking electoral promises on VAT, and NHS topdown reorganisation? "Realistic" suggests knowing what is actually possible, but pledges to take government spending to levels last seen in the 1930s would entail returning, in effect, to a 19th century system of laissez-faire.
    "Prudent" would appear inaccurate, in view of the £375bn created by quantitative easing and given to the banks, whilst "generous" can only be viewed as precise when thinking of tax reductions for the very rich. "Tolerant" is certainly true when applied to tax avoidance and evasion, and "decent" is not the epithet that springs immediately to mind when thinking of the "bedroom tax" and welfare cuts for the most vulnerable. As for the Tories being "patriotic", many would consider this suitable but only as long as it applied to England rather than the UK.
     As Kettle says, none of these qualities are "objectionable"; the trouble is they do not accurately describe the Tory party. By all means ask "why the Tories succeeded", but answers might still go back to the opposition`s campaign.

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