Monday, 9 November 2009

Fiddling With Tax While Labour's Vote Burns

Tom Harris has been wringing his hands over Labour's tax policy today. What is particularly concerning him is the kneejerk stance of some in his party to call for envy-led taxes on the rich.

The logic seems to be this: Labour’s eschewing of traditional Labour tax-and-spend policies has led to the current disparity between the lowest and the highest paid; soaking the rich would therefore, of itself, make Labour popular enough to win a fourth general election as well as narrowing the incomes gap.

Tom quite rightly argues that this is a truly facile argument. His party are quite simply not going to stem the flooding dyke of escaping Labour voters by sticking their 'soak the rich' finger in the massive bus-sized hole. He also argues, correctly, that such a policy won't earn the exchequor any significant increase in funds.

However, he does seem to suggest that a sensible tax policy, targeted at reducing 'income inequality', would make the massive impact which is required to avoid electoral carnage in 2010.

To his credit, Tom is usually refreshingly different to many Labour MPs but, with this thinking, he is showing himself to be identical to 100% of the current crop in simply not understanding the average working man. Either that or Labour, in their mid-90s and beyond thrust for middle class votes, have completely forgotten how to court the working man, or don't believe such votes are relevant anymore.

Those who were formerly termed 'working class' see the fuss over the budget each year and wonder why it takes some guy in a suit over an hour to tell them their beer is going to cost 10p more and their fags 20p. If they drive, they might moan about an extra 2p on a litre of fuel for their van, too. When they buy their copy of The Sun the next day, they will see that a Labour government has made them £1.25 per week better off, and joke about what a waste of time it all is seeing as they earned £60 at Laddies on the 2:30 at Sandown the previous Saturday.

Middle classes worry about marginal levels of tax. Working men don't. They hate all tax, as they are proud of their toil (just tell one you work in an office and listen to the tales of early mornings for decades, and working fingers to the bone etc) and don't like having their wages reduced. However, although they can tell you the ins and outs, and expected returns, of an each way Yankee at various odds, they have no clue as to the machinations of the tax system - I know this as I pay a whole load of them.

What they do worry about is what they can do with the money they are proud of earning, and the state of the country in which they spend it. And the simple fact is that Labour have destroyed every aspect of that to a quite frightening degree. Working families that I know have been in the same house, same job, with the same friends, for decades. They eat the same food on weekends, they go to the same places on nights out, meeting the same people, and often have the same conversations they have had for years.

Labour have not only inveigled their way into every part of this meagre but happy lifestyle, they have significantly, and spitefully, ruined it.

They are told they are drinking too much, so they have to change or they will pay a lot more. Their early-evening couple of pints on the way home/karaoke nights haven't been fun since 2007 when the atmosphere was ripped away by the smoking ban, forcing everyone outside. As a result, people stopped going, and the pub/club where they felt they belonged has shut down. They are told that they are irresponsible for eating what they like to eat. They are told that they should be 'multi-cultural' when Labour have allowed hundreds of thousands of EU workers to devalue, or eradicate entirely, the work they do. So much so that whatever putative taxes they are charged pale into insignificance when compared with their loss of real, tangible income.

Labour did all this, and much, much more. Consider comments such as these on the BBC site today appended to an article about Greggs, a highly successful, and growing, brand on the back of mainly working class custom.

In my opinion the amount of saturated fat contained in these products goes no way to promoting 'healthy eating.' As is quoted it supplies "a huge chunk of blokes who want lots of food cheaply."
Norman Wint, Taunton/Gloucester

Greggs is the McDonald's of bakeries. Terrible food sold on the cheap to conquer the masses. This country really needs to improve quality of breads e.g. more sourdough etc and less of the high sugar breads on sale at moment.
David, London

Just another variant on the unhealthy fast-food fad. Their products are riddled with saturated fats, salt and sugar.
Dr Ian Sedwell, Weymouth, United Kingdom

Such condescending views are now commonplace since Labour re-badged the choices of working people as not just 'undesirable' but also, thanks to the incessant hectoring of Labour-paid fake charities and quangoes, abhorrent and a drain on society.

They are 'racist' if they complain about the influx of foreign workers affecting their income. They don't enjoy a cigarette anymore, they are filthy smokers. They don't enjoy a drink anymore, they are irresponsible drunks and a cost to the NHS. Their favoured food and lifestyle can be ridiculed at will by holier-than-thou types with the full backing of a Labour party who continue to actively encourage them.

So, not only have the unassuming lives of the Labour core vote been ripped apart in the past few years, but they are simultaneously being humiliated and insulted for simply going about their daily routine exactly as their families have for generations.

A massive tranche of the population, who have always been proud of being the backbone of the country, being told, in no uncertain terms, that their lives are a disgrace and their efforts unworthy because they live life in an unapproved manner, are not going to be seduced by a few quid back on tax. It just won't wash.

They will remember that this didn't happen under the Tories. Labour did it. And you can bet quite a tidy sum that they know who to blame (you know it's bad when even Tony Benn is coming out against Labour).

Labour MPs can agonise all they like about income inequality, and even try to adjust it via the tax system, but it won't make any inroads into their disastrous poll results until they rectify the problems that their assault on the working man and civil liberties, in the guise of tackling 'health inequalities', have caused.

And unless they do, Labour will be out of power for a generation or more, because working people will be doing the same jobs (if they still have one), visiting the same places (if they are still open), with the same friends, and telling the same stories about how Labour screwed up their way of life, for a very long time.

UPDATE: And if you do wield some power in appealing to the working man. Say, with a newspaper column or something, your article is pulled.

Sorry, Tom, but working people hate you and everything your party have done. They ain't going to be bought off that easily.


Anonymous said...

We have run out of money. They are desperately scrambling at schemes such as transaction tax, "equality" tax, etc, in a vain effort to get their hands on more, but to no avail. It's too late.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least to see Labour back in next May. Can't f***ing wait. However, when the middle and working classes are welded together in total penury and misery, with nothing left to lose, we may yet have riots, or worse, to look forward to. Bucket of rocks, anyone?

Anonymous said...

There are two types of typical
Labour voter, one who will always
vote Labour and one who cant be bothered.
The socio-economic group which flits around are the lower middles,
the mediocre, the non producers,
the pen pushers and crossword
fanatics,the type that brought
Empires to their knees.
Soft hands and aloof they still
buy Ben Elton Videos on E-Bay,
have relatives in Camra and have
pimply brats at red brick UNIS.
How loud they will scream when the CHAVS branch out. Cant wait

The educated poor

Anonymous said...

^^^Like you're so great. I doubt you have done anything of worth in your life and that sad, pathetic little tirade was the product of your feelings of self-resentment and frustration. Shame.

Corrugated Soundbite said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Corrugated Soundbite said...

Anonymous @ 01.08.

Yep, that's it. You hit the nail on the head. All posts that are not pro The Party are the product of an individual who has bagfuls of self-resentment and shame.

Back up your point, drone.

JuliaM said...

It appears 'anon' at 01:08 has three eyebrows. Personally, I'd have guessed just one. A big one...

"Sorry, Tom, but working people hate you and everything your party have done."

That's the key, though: 'working' people.

How many are there?

Unknown said...

^^^Like you're so great. I doubt you have done anything of worth in your life and that sad, pathetic little tirade was the product of your feelings of self-resentment and frustration. Shame."

Anonymous @ 01.08. You don't seem able to pick any holes in DP's post so you resort to insults in your "little tirade" above. Have you read any of DP's prior posts? Do you know that he is an employer of people and has indeed 'done something with his life of note', but I somehow doubt that you have.

DP could have mounted a 'tirade' against Tom Harris but instead gave credit to him many times during his critique above, I, and many bloggers, would not have. I value DP's post above as a now ex labour voter who used to cheer when labour shouted from the rooftops "soak the rich to help the poor" (and please enlighten me as to what 'rich' means) since I was first able to vote many, many years ago.

As a "working class" man who has been unemployed for a few years now posts like this make me think what have I done to 'earn' the taxpayers hard earned money?

I value DP's post, amongst others, so much that I have entered it for The Orwell Prize:

Anonymous said...

Was anon 1.08 responding to anon 22.09?


Sam Duncan said...

Absoulutely dead on the money, Dick.

But what worries me is that Harris might have something of a point. A surprising number of “ordinary people” (for want of a better term for what used to be called the working class) still, despite everything, think Labour is, at heart, on “their side” and the Tories would be even worse. And frankly, when you look at Cameron's Blue Labour mob blithering on about “climate change”, who can honestly say they're wrong?

Mark Wadsworth said...

That is a very interesting way of looking at things.

I for one would allow smoking, eating, drinking and stop all the nannying anyway on basic principles. Now you're telling me this would be popular with normal people?


BTS said...

Jay - That was the impression I got.

As they got a mention I thought everyone might like to know that I had a Greggs pasty yesterday. A vegetable one. It was lovely.

Or maybe nobody cares.

I think I'll have another drink.

Mr A said...

I've been thinking along the same lines for a long time now, but as always you've put it much better than I could, Dick. It really hits home when you see them interview people on the TV and they say, "I'm voting Labour. Our family always has" or even worse (and one that gets me kicking the TV in frustration) "I'm voting Labour because they're for the working man." I saw some idiot saying this the other day and actually ended up ranting at the TV. Labour have done nothing but kick the working man in the nuts for the last twelve years! Social lives shattered because of the smoking ban, pubs that have lasted for centuries closed in months; a massive influx of EU Nationals taking their jobs and undercutting their rates of pay; they masterminded a recession which has probably closed their employers' firms and put them on the scrap heap whilst simultaneously encouraging them to max out on credit cards and buy property they can't afford; they got rid of the 10% tax band and increased National Insurance so if you're working hard to get by you're now in real trouble. In fact, the only people Labour are "for" are bankers (who they can't seem to give enough money to), fake charities and quangos (who are awash with OUR money) and themselves. Hardly surprising that report the other day said that the majority of people on benefits are Labour voters. Labour like to keep their pets on a short leash...

BTS said...

Funnily I enough I was discussing something similar with a customer earlier. Essentially, Labour can fuck up the economy and leave people out of work and on benefits, then warn those same people that every other party (well, okay, it's basically the Tories..) that if they aren't voted back in then their benefits will be cut.

It's win-win: fuck the people while you can and then threaten them with the bogeyman of 'they won't help you'.

I don't know why I even bother any more. Does anyone know if Greggs is still open 'cause I'm starvin'..?

Dick Puddlecote said...

Sam Duncan: You may very well be right about that. Something has to explain the 25% Labour are still polling. Those I know, though, are fully aware of which party have caused all this.

Mr A: I dunno. You put that extremely well, IMO. :-)

Anonymous said...

The run up to the next election began months ago, it's going to get even dirtier with even more name-calling, but people are realising what's going on and can see through it, but it doesn't mean people aren't scared.

Things like the Brown letter catch the attention of those who don't read newsblogs, and become the talking point in shops – try listening to people in a supermarket queue sometimes.

As for their attitude towards the BNP, I think AlJalom got it about right when he said “If voting BNP makes you a racist, will the Labour party be prepared to welcome back voters who abandoned then for the BNP? ”

(Mrs R)

Junican said...


Why don't you do away with the word 'Anonymous' (If you can)? The 'Name/Url' choice of identity allows one to pick any 'name' one wishes. At least, for the purposes of the blog, it would much facilitate the reference back to other people's earlier comments.

Junican said...

Ref Anon Mrs R 23.41 10-11-09.

Mrs R mentioned a word which we have not heard very often. That word is 'scared'.

I have read Mrs R's comment several times, but I am at a loss to understand what she means. Does she mean that the name-calling (presumably in the newpapers and among politicians), which has been going on for so long, is irrelevent to people's REAL fears? Are the REAL fears unemployment, loss of home, destitution of family? Is that what 'scared' refers to?

It would be nice if Mrs R could come back and explain what she means.

'Scared' is actually a good word for how people feel at the moment. 'Scared' is a sudden fright. It describes something that goes 'bump' in the night. Two years ago, the horror in politics was Iraq and Afganistan, suddenly, because of the banking crisis, the horror is your job or your investments. Yes, 'scared' is precisely the right word.

And yet I am not convinced that this financial crisis is a real crisis. I cannot help but feel that it is a BOOK-KEEPING crisis. Let's put it simply in this way. If a building society lend a million people £200,000 each to buy houses valued at £200,000 each, then, provided that the houses maintain their value, the building societies cannot lose because they can repossess any PARTICULAR house on which it has lent money and sell it, and thus recover its capital. The total value of all the houses that it has lent money on is an ASSET in its books. If there then occurs a general fall in the value of houses, then, in its books, the Building Society will seem to have, at that moment in time, a MASSIVE difference between its total amount out on loan and its total amount of assets. It will thus SEEM to have suffered a massive loss. In actual fact, provided that people with mortgages continue to pay their installment, the Building Society has not suffered any 'loss' at all.

The clue to our realisation that this is so is in the BILLIONS that the government is supposedly providing to support the Banks. These billions ARE NOT REAL MONEY. they are entries in ledgers. Just figures in balance sheets. Real figures are the actual cost of aircraft for our armed forces, payments for the destitute, building sports arenas for the olympics. Those are real costs.

Almost certainly, in the fairly near future (say, three years), house values will come back to so,ething like what whey were before the crisis. At which point, at which point, the need to support the banks will majically disappear.

In the meantime, what I fear is that ALL the polital parties will conspire to use this artificial crisis in order to MASSIVELY INCREASE TAXES to replace the money that they have lost as a result of the imposition of smoking bans, aircraft taxes, etc. Politicians will say, and be supported by ecomomists etc, that increased taxes are necessary because of the banking crisis. In reality, that is not true.

Politicians rely on the ignorance (lack of knowledge) of the people as a whole. Not only that, but they ensure that the people are kept in ignorance by their education policies (Kids must not be taught anything about politics! Good gracious, no! Such a topic is far beyond them! Teach them about the evils of global warming, smoking, alcohol and fatty foods).

I saw an edition of Countyfile on BBC on Sunday, 9th Nov 09. John Craven, whom I very much admire, interviewed the few remaining pub landlords with pubs in small country villages. The demise of the country pub was put down to various reasons - second homes, youths leaving villages, lack of house-building for the less well off. AT NO TIME IN THE PROGRAMME WAS THE SMOKING BAN MENTIONED. Not a word. At no time was the fact that pubs were also closing in towns and cities mentioned. Instead, the talk was about providing things 'that people want' - as thought the pubs that had closed had not tried that.

No wonder people are 'scared'. Only a very few high-ups really know what is going on. The PM is very knowledgeable, but he too is being taken for a ride.

Simon Fawthrop said...

Great post.

Labour has always been the working man's biggest problem. In the early days it was because their politicians were well meaning but but ineffectual. Largely because they didn't understand the game of politics.

Then they had a phase just after the war when they got some real power but in their haste badly implemented many of the policies. Nobody can say that health and welfare reform wasn't needed and it isn't just hindsight to say they made some bad decisions. Even Bevan was against turning National Insurance into a Ponzi scheme by paying exitsing pensioners from it.

Then Labour was run by a bunch of bitter Grammar School educated politicians with pseudo working class backgrounds whose only aim was shafting the rich and pulling up the ladder (Crossman, Healy, Wilson et al. In their bitterness they didn't care that the working man lost his one hope of improving himself and social mobility.

Finally, as you point out, it has been hijacked by the Righteous who have appointed themselves to look after the working man as if they are some species that is incapable of independent thought. I'm not saying they are racist but they remind me of the whites I met in South Africa and Zimbabwe who genuinely believed that blacks were incapable of supporting their families and communities and needed the benevolence of the whites to provide their daily bread.

Dick the Prick said...

@ Junican 'I cannot help but feel that it is a BOOK-KEEPING crisis' - honestly, it's a complete clusterfuck of a crisis - unemployment is my biggest fear, much more so than inflation but we're at the unemployment phase and Merv the Swerve has already signalled inflation - over the next 3 years, well... it's pretty ferking bad is all.

And why the fuck take the piss out of Greggs instead of the fat fuckers who get scared by brocolli? I love their pasties and the Bavarian slices are lush.

Junican said...

"The Great Simpleton" has made a very important point, possibly intuitively, but none the less real. And that is the equivalence of the 'Smoking Ban' with 'Racism'.

No one in their right mind would DIRECTLY equate the two, but the demonisation of smoking is akin the the demonisation of racism.

I think that most people in this country are not racist (that is, not bothered about skin colour or origin), but are antipathetic to foreigners coming into this country and taking jobs which render our own indigenous young people jobless. It is a fallacy that our young people are lazy good-for-nothings. The reality is that there are no jobs for them to get.

We must always bear in mind that employers only employ as many people as they need. EXACTLY only as many as they need.

Past Government errors regarding unrestricted immigration are obvious. Why did politicians in the recent past not observe? It can only be that they were ADVISED.
The advice that they received was short term and employer orientated.

The connection between alleged Racism and the Smoking Ban is the 'we know better than you' syndrome. We know what is good for your health. We do not care what you WANT. You may just want to enjoy your lives, no matter how short or long they may be, but that is not good enough for us. We must INSIST that that you do as we say. You must understand that your dislike of foreigners taking your jobs is RACIST.

My thinking is a bit jumbled up. If I put my mind to it, I am sure that I could 'unjumble' my thoughts. And maybe that is the reason that we find it so difficult to make our politicians explain to us why they vote in the way they do for a particular proposition. The vast majority of citizens of this country rely on their politicians NOT to be 'jumbled up' in their minds.

Perhaps the future of politics, particularly after the expenses scandal, is going to be that politicians will have to go on-line and say that they have ACTUALLY read the bill that they intend to vote for or against, and have ACTUALLY READ the regulations which are INTENDED TO BE APPENDED to the bill, and explain why they intend to vote for or against the bill. I would not go so far as to say that they should HOLD A REFERENDUM in their constituencies as to how they should vote - that is possible, but is perhaps a step too far.

Perhaps the new politics, post expenses scandal, has to be that MPs concentrate their attention on the NATIONAL GOOD, and not on constituent issues. I, personally, am sick and tired of hearing how hard MPs work on their constituents' problems. One only needs to think of what politicians would do if they had queues of hundreds of constituents waiting to be seen in order to explain and get the support of their MP for their particular problem. The idea is nonsensical.

In the new politics, MPs will each have a dedicated website. On their website, they will say why they INTEND to vote for this or that, and not say after they have voted why the voted that way.

Everything I say is so bloody obvious.

Junican said...

Further, "Dick the Prick"'s observation that he likes Gregg's products illustrates exactly what we all want.

All sensible people know that if you eat too much, you will get fat. However, the decision as to whether or not to eat too much is the prerogative of each individual person.

What we all want is to be left alone to pursue our lives as we wish. If we want to eat too much and get fat, we can do. We are ADULTS. We can decide for ourselves.