Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's Not Tax Cuts, It's Labour's Client State the Tories Should be Worried About

Francis Maude has given an interview to the Telegraph this morning in which he makes some very important points, especially on the Tories' preparedness for government. However, the top line of the interview is again on tax cuts. This is unfortunate, and it was also needless. In the interview Francis says...
"There are those who think that if you commit to massive tax cuts then people will automatically vote for us, but people are not impressed these days with politicians promising tax cuts that look like us serving our electoral self interest by appealing to their self interest."
I can't think of anyone who wants the Tories to commit to "massive" tax cuts. I certainly don't. It would indeed be madness in the current economic climate. What people do want to know is that David Cameron and his team are philosophical tax cutters, a point which Francis does indeed make. It's not in the interview but this appears in the front page news story...
He stresses that the desire to cut taxes is "deep in our blood"...

Good. Some of us had been wondering. Let me say it again. No one expects up front tax cuts. What we do expect to know is that the Party is still committed to the principle of the lowest rate of taxation possible.

The debate now needs to be shifted onto the unsustainable levels of public spending. This is not a subject on which the Conservatives need to be defensive. The 1979 election was won in part because people realised the government was spending more than it could afford, and Margaret Thatcher promised to do something about it. People are beginning to realise the extent to which government spending has grown and they feel uncomfortable with it. A 'client state' has grown which must be eliminated. Simon Heffer takes the view that the members of this 'client state' are never going to vote Tory in a month of Sundays so it doesn't matter if the Tories upset them. The trouble is, that this 'client state' has grown so large that in marginal Labour seats they do indeed matter. But even those who have benefited from it realise that it is not sustainable in the long term. I think this is the Tories' main challenge - to develop a radical, coherent and marketable policy to deal with Labour's 'client state'.

Donal Blaney has an altogether more, ahem, robust view on Mr Maude's interview. Sits on the fence, does Donal. :)

14 comments:

Little Black Sambo said...

When is Tax Freedom Day this year?Presumably it is later than ever.

curly15 said...

I question whether Labour's "client state" matter too much at all, even in the most marginal seats.

So long as they are picking up the benefits they are happy to remain economically inactive, but from my door to door experience getting them to walk to a polling station is as difficult as getting them to go to a job interview!

Anonymous said...

The client state extends way beyond people on benefits. What about all those cushy political class types working for quangos - on fabulous salaries and expenses that nobody scrutinises. What the RDAs get away with, for instance, is incredible. They are a bedrock of nulab support.

judith said...

A close friend postulates the theory that if the Tories offered 'no taxes until your income reaches £20k' and an immediate £100 billion cut in public expenditure (yes, billion), they'd walk the next election.

I don't think the promises would be believed. What do you think?

neil craig said...

If you rob Peter to pay Paul you are almost guaranteed Paul's vote. Nonetheless, except in a state with income inequality far greater than ours, there must be many more Peters.

However Paul is usually more motivated to lobby public opinion & his social worker or quango representative always is, which is why the Tories have to take on the debate rather than hiding in a corner & hoping people will decide they are nice. I am with Anonymous on this - as a society we are so wealthy that we can afford to subsidise the really poor, whether deserving or otherwise, what we cannot afford bucause there is no limit to it is the quangocracy who, for example, redefine poverty as anything under 605 of average income, thus guaranteeing themselves there will always be a problem to employ them.

Anonymous said...

If the tory's aren't about reducing the size of the state (ideally, massively) then what's the point of their existence?

It’s not good just to be an alternative set of socialist bosses waiting in the wings for a chance to get a different set of snouts in the trough.

Anonymous said...

We have to get away from the idea that socialism represents the interests of the lower and working classes. It never has and never will. One way to do this is to close down the establishments BBC, but thats a different issue.

Socialism in government under any name causes poverty repression wars and control as a deliberate policy. If this is not completely obvious again after 11 years of Labour, then perfectly nothing will ever be.

Poverty caused by constructed inflation, and elitist authoritarianism is the enemy of the common man. Which is almost everyone, except the likes of terminally brainwashed idiots like Chris Paul and Polly Toynbee.

Socialism is an invention of The Ruling Class. Which is why it is promoted in our establishments university's using countless millions of Establishment New World Order Corporate fascist finance.

Conservatism is a populist, reactionary movement with its foundation in libertarianism free market capitalism and sound not so common these days, common sense.

Can't and will not answer for the Conservative Party however. Many in it have been on the take from multi-national fascist corporations like for example B.A.T., for many many years.

Which is why, the only proof of a Conservative Government pudding, comes in the eating of it.

Also why one only gets into power when the large banking and industrial corporations want there loans back with interest and there usual mega tons of dead human flesh.

Atlas shrugged

Chris Goodman said...

If the Conservatives do not promise tax cuts there is no point in voting for them.

By that I do not mean that people will vote for Lib-Lab cretins, they will simply forgo the opportunity to legitimate the greed of politicians.

The time will come when almost the entire country will want tax cuts, but because politicians agree amongst themselves how vital it is that they extract money from tax serfs (on the grounds that they know better how to spend it) nothing will change.

The political classes are abusing their power in a conspiracy against the laity, why legitimate that?

The only people who fear tax cuts most are politicians.

Geoff said...

Anonymous 2:29 is right and curly15 12:45 (the Corner Shop?) misses the elephant in the room.

ZaNuLabour have created millions of Black Welsh Disabled Lesbian Outreach Workers With Special Responsibility For Left-Handed Multiple Amputees via the Gruaniad.

(I exaggerate with the job title for effect but not with the 'millions')

Labour have thrown down the gauntlet (face it, the amputee couldn't!) and are challenging us either to commit to sacking millions of unneeded taxpayer-funded civil servant voters (and lose millions of taxpayer-employed votes) or accept Broon's spending plans: probably not getting any of their votes anyway but looking slightly more cuddly as a Party to soft-left voters.

There are too many people on the public payroll. My personal view involves nooses and lampposts but we need their vote and turkeys don't vote for Christmas. That's why Labour have built such a huge extended public sector.

Anonymous said...

Time we did something about the feckless workshy underclass who are able to claim tens of thousands of pounds in benefit and have never worked,good article in todays Daily Mail made my blood boil people saying its there right to claim benefit and do nothing if they want.SCUM

strapworld said...

I despair that Maude is still in the Shadow Cabinet. I despair that Maude is still in the Conservative Party. He is a pygmy compared to his father and he has shown that he has no idea of what true conservatism means.

He is devoid of any good idea.

The Tory party would be better if he was consigned to the backwaters of political history.

He is a nothing!

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

How I hate that politician's trick of slipping a crafty little adjective into the argument. For example, 'We cannot promise MASSIVE tax cuts.' Translation: 'We cannot promise tax cuts.'

Andrew Zalotocky said...

The best way to detach the public sector payroll vote from Labour is to point out how many of those gold-plated public sector pensions are unfunded.

Ask them to consider where the money is going to come from to pay them, especially with all the other huge debts the government has run up. Raising tax rates won't do it, because a sufficiently large increase would kill economic growth and cause overall tax revenues to fall again, and the government can't increase its borrowing forever either. The money just isn't going to be there.

So keep mentioning the word "unfunded" until public sector workers are having nightmares about their pensions disappearing and everyone else is (even more) furious about the government's reckless spending.

Then point out that the only way to avoid a really painful spending crunch in future is through a gradual winding-down of public spending to a sustainable level. Argue that if you're in the public sector you're not on the gravy train but on the Titanic, and the iceberg is getting very close. Argue that voting for the status quo means full steam ahead until there's a terrible crash while voting for the necessary reforms is the sophisticated, responsible thing to do, and also the best chance of saving their jobs and/or pensions.

The case to make to public sector workers is that voting for a slow and orderly reduction in public spending now will save them an awful lot of pain later. Voting for Labour won't protect them, because whichever party is in power when the money runs out it will still have to make sudden and drastic cuts. But voting for Labour will be rewarding the party that got them into this mess in the first place.

Anonymous said...

One big supporter of Labour's Client State is no other than Labour Councillor Antonia Bance, who is also deputy director and policy manager of Oxfam's UK Poverty Programme (UKPP). This is what she writes, somewhat naively, on her blog: "Getting more people into work isn’t the key to the 2010 target - putting more money in the pockets of families living below the poverty line whether in work or not through tax credits and benefits is.... If you’ll forgive me badly paraphrasing a credit card ad - more money in tax credits for poor families: £2.8bn. Halving (then a shot at ending) child poverty: priceless."