I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE
Clairvoyance is not a skill normally associated with Charles
Kennedy, but it seems he has been able to foresee the conclusions of the party’s
tax commission nine months before it is due to report.
His sudden announcement of a change in Liberal Democrat tax policy makes it
puzzling why tax commission members bother to continue to sit.
Whatever they conclude will either be the same as Kennedy’s pronouncement, in
which case their work will be superfluous, or contrary to Kennedy’s view, in
which case it will be ignored.
Indeed, why set up the commission in the first place if tax policy is to be the
subject of a sudden pronouncement from Kennedy instead of the result of detailed
Kennedy said the Liberal Democrats now stood for “fairer tax, not higher tax”,
with an overall tax take similar to that at present prevailing.
This leaves the three main parties disputing minute differences in the level of
public spending, allowing no political space to those who think it should be
either significantly higher or lower.
He also argued that tax reforms should target the wealthy, and those who cause
pollution, so that the poor and old can pay less. This ignores arguments about
whether the old are necessarily poor, especially given there is now an effective
10p extra marginal tax rate on graduates of student loan repayments, plus
largely generational barriers to entering the property market.
Shadow chief secretary Chris Huhne has been sent away to find £15bn of money
that the Liberal Democrats would spend differently, to allow for an end to
student tuition fees among other things.
This exercise proved to be news to both the tax commission and the Federal
Speaking of which, the launch of the party’s new pension policy, of a higher
pension made payable by people working until the age of 67, also took place with
no consultation of the FPC whatever. Its officers were told a motion to
conference would be impossible because “not enough research had been done”, only
to have this policy sprung on them a few months later.
Those who recently stood for election to the FPC must be wondering why they
bothered, since Kennedy is cutting it out of any input on policy.
Also in Radical Bulletin 307:
- MORE JUMBLE SALES NEEDED
- A DOSE OF DEMOCRACY
- A LORD FROM THE SIDELINES
- SIMPLE SIMON’S FINGERS IN THE PIES
- WHAT’S IN A NAME?
- BAY WATCH
- LAWKS A’MERCY, IT’S A FAIR COP GUV
- BACK FROM THE EDGE
- ANNUS HORRIBILIS
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