Sunday, 24 May 2015

"Politics of envy"

Andy Burnham, currently the "frontrunner according to the bookies" in the race for the leadership of the Labour party, made some very valid points regarding the party`s problems and future, but let himself down with comments on the "mansion tax" (Andy Burnham: My campaign is "heart of Labour". I was loyal to Blair, Brown and Miliband. I am not into factional politics,17/05/15). If taxing owners of houses worth £2m and over symbolises "the politics of envy", as he suggests, presumably he is also against raising the top rate of income tax to 50%, and a bonus tax on bankers? In fact, his comment indicates his opposition to all methods of wealth redistribution, something which is central to the creation of a more equal and fair society. Under Thatcher, the top rate of income tax was 60% between 1979 and 1988!  
      Does Burnham not want to improve the UK`s shameful 28th position out of 34 so-called developed nations in the equality league table? The fact is that the "mansion tax", itself an extension of the council tax, would have cost the owners of these homes, most of them in London, around £3-5,000 annually, an amount almost certainly exceeded by the increase every year in the house`s price. If these well-off people think that such a tax is unfair, and that money is better raised by "efficiency savings" in the public sector, they are never likely to vote Labour anyway!
    If  Labour is to recover from its devastating defeat, it has to develop transformational policies, which will undoubtedly cost billions. If there is no willingness to fund public services by taxing those most able to pay, not only will Labour`s ability to balance the books again be questioned, its raison d`etre will be too.

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