Friday, October 20, 2006

Time for a Polly Kicking Again!

Polly's getting scared again by those evil Tories:

The government must make the social justice case if it is to succeed in repairing the damage wrought by Thatcher

The damage wrought by Thatcher eh Pol? Baroness Thatcher resigned her role as Prime Minister on 22 November 1990. Now really Pol was there that much damage done to the system by good old Lady T that it requires 16 years to put it right? 16 years? If you have a look at say the mortgage rate tables since then you’ll find that while yes we did have 15% mortgage rates in the late 80s but they were down to about 9% in 1992 and by the time Blair and his wankerfest came in they were down at 7.58% only about 2% higher than they are now. I would rate that as a quick turnaround of what you might refer to as Thatcherite damage.

The Conservatives' tax commission is no tactical blunder or political embarrassment. It is an important political marker, an IOU to their voters even if Cameron will sign no precise sum or date for its redemption.

Of course not, you see Cameron knows full well that to promise anything regarding the economy has to be based on sound money, that being that the money will be there to deliver that which he says he is going to do. This contrasts neatly with your one eyed Norse sex beast who says “I’ll hose your fecking money down a state funded toilet. I can afford this because I can just screw more money out of you… HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

Of course the Tories would cut taxes. Why not? There is nothing shocking or surprising about that, since many agree that low taxes and a small state is the way to go. George Osborne and Alan Duncan commenting on their tax reform commission both said this is their direction of travel: they don't need to spell out details because everyone knows cutting tax is what the right is for.

Whereas we all know that the left is about destroying any idea of liberty or being British, about making all the people slaves to the state while the politicos live the fucking high life they believe that nobody else has a right to regardless of how well they work. After all Pol…. Hitler and Stalin were both socialists weren’t they?

Just look what is happening in Sweden, where the right toppled the social democrats from power last month. Fredrik Reinfeldt's New Moderate party, to the left of Cameron, has set about cutting taxes and benefits more sharply than it suggested during the election, where it posed as almost indistinguishable from the social democrats.

And now they’ve set about screwing the system that they’ve inherited haven’t they Pol? Oh the Swedish dream being torn down in front of your very eyes… curse those crazy Swedes for going out and voting against what you believe in, curse them all. Oh you must be heartbroken and if you are then good! Please don’t take it out on us, we don’t believe in your statist Scottish utopia any more than the Swedes do.

Since unemployment was the major election battleground, he has wisely cut payroll taxes for all employers taking on the long-term unemployed. But the quid pro quo is that employees have to pay more towards their own unemployment insurance. All his other tax changes benefit the better off.

Look Polly, I’m assuming that you’re talking about tax cuts here, well yes a tax cut will benefit the better off, but it will also benefit the worse off as well. This is what you blinkered wankers on the left never seem to get. Sometimes you have a good idea that genuinely benefits the worse off, the unfortunate, the people who want a better life and are prepared to do something about it. Then some twat on the back benches says “hang on this will give the rich an extra £15 a week” and it gets thrown in the bin. You all seem to have this attitude that anything that makes the rich richer is bad irrespective of whether it makes the poor richer as well.

He has cut property taxes by 50%, which may trigger an unhealthy house price boom, also abolishing the equivalent of stamp duty.

Would that be like the unhealthy house price boom we have here when interest rates went dramatically down? Is it? Why not think about it like this… cut the tax, encourage the market, values rise therefore tax takes increase and you’re left with more tax being collected from a lower rate.

To help pay for these cuts he is selling off 5bn euros-worth of state-owned companies, relatively uncontroversial in the UK.

Good… state owned companies are useless monopolies that do not make profits. Turn them into private sector profit making organisations and you collect on a whole raft of business taxation that you didn’t collect on before, plus you’re no longer using tax payers money to fund these monstrosities so your income goes up and expenditure down. This is a basic business principle.

But he is also cutting benefits for the unemployed by 15%, with a 15% cut in sickness and parental leave benefits as well. The unemployed now face tough new rules: after a fixed time, they must take jobs paying 10% below benefit levels, a remarkably tough policy.

Good… they’ll get into work and will quickly rise above the benefit level, engendering a level of pride in themselves and social responsibility that they did not have before. They will stick to that once they realise that they are in fact better off out of the state handouts.

Tax breaks for trade union subscriptions are abolished but there are, however, new tax breaks for families hiring cleaners.

Also good… why should you get a tax break for being a member of a union. If you want the apparent protection a union gives (i.e. you are a bad worker and don’t want to get fired) then why should I subsidise it? And before you start on the cleaners thing, good! They are providing a job to someone who did not have one, that newly employed person then probably pays more tax than you give back to the employer and tax take has increased without everyone having to pay more. Good call Sweden!

These Swedish cuts are not shocking - they are what the right is there to do. It is happening here when Conservatives win local councils. In Croydon the new Tory council is cutting £16m: £10m from social services, £1m from education, £2.5m from environment, sports and culture, losing 100 staff and aiming to cut £37m by next year.

What were they spending it on before though eh? I’ll bet it was Diversity Awareness Days and Management Workshops and Health and Safety lawyers and so forth. The constituents don’t need these things so why should they pay for them?

However at Westminster, Labour's triple victory has tugged the centre-ground over far enough for the Tories not to dare offer immediate cuts. William Hague promised £8bn in 2001 and lost, Michael Howard promised £4bn in 2005 and lost - and now Cameron will offer nothing but yesterday's undated IOU "up-front" (their current expression implying plenty in the back office later).

Polly, go and read Burning Our Money. You’ll get a regular catalogue of how our tax payers money is being wasted on fucking art to hang in parliament, pointless investigations, just a mountain of money that as the title suggests is just being thrown into the cellars and torched.

So has Labour won the argument then? No. It has hardly begun to make the real case yet and that makes it dangerously vulnerable to charges that the extra taxes it raised have been wasted.

Labour has not won the argument because it has never and I mean NEVER backed up its claim that all the Tories want to do is close your schools and hospitals. When the government recently hit financial difficulties they’ve started getting rid of teachers and nurses and the like. They haven’t started getting rid of managers, management consultants, diversity officers and all that bollocks. They have perpetuated this myth that tax cuts lead to cutting back on nurses, doctors, teachers, street sweepers and so on. It doesn’t. In any business or large organisation you get rid of the people who cost you money and deliver nothing towards your company’s goal. They’re not, the conspiratorial side of me thinks that they’re going to back up their argument by firing a shitload of nurses and saying “look.. that’s what a lack of public spending gets you now hand over some more money!”

Blair never spelled out that extra spending was mainly to be spent on social justice. The implication that all the money would buy tangible middle-class services - schools, hospitals and transport - left taxpayers expecting to get it all paid back penny for penny.

Not an unreasonable request is it Polly? We pay our money and we expect services that benefit us in return. When did you last go into a supermarket, reach the checkout and say “there’s my money, please use it to buy that man’s shopping behind me, he clearly doesn’t earn £140,000 like I do”?

If tax is sold politically as shopping, then the Tories can stir discontent about bad value for money in middle-class shopping baskets.

And if Labour hadn’t promised these things to the middle classes and then pissed it all up the wall on gratuitous wastes of money like Sure Start, the Big Conversation and er… Prescott, then they might not be that concerned, you know if you had actually delivered what you promised them. Education Education Education? Fucking spend spend spend.

Labour never spelled out how NHS and school spending would be shunted mainly towards the poorest areas, or that tax credits, benefits and help for the poorest would be the priority. So the Tory shopping trolley piled high with income tax cuts may look full of good things to many at first glance.

Yeah, especially those who pay tax.

But abolition of inheritance tax only paid by the top 15%, and cutting taxes on capital gains and shares, along with future promises to cut the top tax rates - all these, says the Institute of Fiscal Studies, make this package largely a benefit for the already well-off. And just consider how unimaginably well the wealthy and the City have prospered under Labour.

Oh for fuck’s sake Polly, read the report.
“This £21bn of relief includes a reduction in the basic income tax rate from 22% to 20% and the lifting of 2.5 million low earners from paying any income tax.”

See the words? LOW EARNERS… can you explain to me how low earners getting no tax bills is benefiting the already well off? Unless you’re counting yourself as a low earner.

Meanwhile, unheralded, Labour's most admirable annual document was published to resounding press silence this week. Opportunity for All monitors progress across the 59 original goals towards improving the life chances for the left-behind. It makes encouraging reading with 40 graphs moving in the right direction, the others unchanged and a few moving backwards. It's good to be reminded there are a million fewer poor pensioners, 700,000 fewer poor children and that all poor families get an average £3,350 more a year. This long list of steady improvements includes more social housing in good repair, better school results at 11 and 16 and better life expectancy.

Lots of pretty graphs eh Pol? We in the rest of the country, you know the ones who actually have to live in Blair and Brown’s utopia, just see that as more Labour spin after all according to them crime is at a record low. The only way these graphs would be going in the right direction is if they were shoved up Brown’s arse.

Yet this last also tells another story. Life expectancy is rising - but averages are meaningless: the rich-and-poor gap is growing, so men in Bethnal Green now die 16 years before men in Kensington's Courtfield ward. London, the great powerhouse of the economy, is the one area where child poverty is no better than nine years ago - 52% of children in inner London live on less than 60% of the median, the OECD official poverty line.

I don’t really think we can claim life expectancy as a Labour achievement can we? I mean life expectancy has been increasing since the Stone Age. Although the way that these jokers present the figures I imagine that they will put that down to Blair. After all it would be one achievement for his legacy, “look people, you’re not living in caves any more… you’ve never had it so good”. But I highlight one part of this ..

"men in Bethnal Green now die 16 years before men in Kensington's Courtfield ward"

No doubt blowing themselves up for Galloway

So Opportunity for All also makes dispiriting reading. It is a reminder of the 1997 sunny uplands when every problem seemed soluble with a bit more money, political determination and honest monitoring.

And it might have been if it had something other than money. The only political determination determination these rampant cock warts had was to con honest joe public into voting for them again and as for honest monitoring come on! You expect honesty from the likes of Blair, Prescott, Jowell, Levy?

Now the progress seems sluggish and the journey hard. Tony Travers of the LSE, in a speech this week, talked of how badly everyone underestimated the social catastrophe of 1980s deindustrialisation, made worse under Thatcherite policy. Those whose livelihoods were devastated were given no time to adapt, leaving well-paid working-class men with no jobs or chances for their children or for their communities to adapt gradually to new skills.

Now this always got me…. The textile industry in the north collapsed spectacularly, much more spectacularly than the mines did and do you know what? The textile workers all went and got other jobs. The miners on the other hand have always said “I’m a miner, me dad was a miner as was his dad” and so on. Count Guttersnipe was an engineer but that doesn’t mean I should be one. Get off your arse and get out to work!

We should really substitute the words “well paid working class men” with “overpaid working class men”. The Unions demanded such pay raises from the weaker than gnat piss Callaghan government that the mines became unsustainable. We recognised this and voted in Lady T. As usual the Tories get the blame for cleaning up a mess that you fecking soviets left behind.

That social shock we live with still, worsened by years of undertaxing and underspending.

Undertaxing? Underspending? Where are you living Polly?

Social repair is proving more difficult than anyone thought. It will take more time, more effort - and yes, much more money. Spending cuts now would be a calamity.

Jesus not more money… I think we’re all in agreement that more more money is just bollocks. Well all in agreement apart from you.

This is the social justice case Labour has to put to the voters to challenge the Tory shopping trolley. It may not be as hard as Blair always feared: yesterday YouGov said time and again polls show a large majority emphatically reject tax cuts and, if asked who should benefit, they choose pensioners and the lowest paid first, not themselves. Three elections told the same story, but when will Labour dare believe it?

Three elections did not tell that particularsame story, it told the story of the public saying “Oi Tories, come back when you’ve changed your tune”. I believe they have and I think so does Polly.

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