All 6 entries tagged Conservatives

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March 22, 2008

Cameron breaks law while riding bike.

From the BBC website:

Conservative leader David Cameron has apologised after being photographed ignoring red lights and cycling the wrong way up a one-way street. Pictures in the Daily Mirror newspaper showed the politician breaching traffic rules as he cycled to work.

“I know it is important to obey traffic laws – but I have obviously made mistakes on this occasion and I am sorry,” Mr Cameron said in a statement.

October 31, 2007

Project for New American Century.

Today in the ICA meeting a member told us about the Project for a New American Century. It’s a think tank (set up in 1997) that aims to significantly increase US military spending and intervention in the world so to ensure US interests are promoted. On its foundation a statement of principles was a collection of signed supporters, below are a few of its signatories:

Jeb Bush: Governor of Florida (1999-2007) and George Bush’s brother.
Donald Rumsfeld: Secretary of Defense (1975-1977, 2001-2006).
Paul Wolfewitz: Deputy Secretary of Defence (2001-2005), President of World Bank (2005-2007).
Dick Chaney: Vice President (2001-).
Dan Quayle: Vice President (1989-1993).
Zalmay Khalilzad: Ambassador; Afghanistan (2003-2005), Iraq (2005-2007), UN (2007-).
Steve Forbes: CEO Forbes Inc (publishes Forbes magazine).

October 29, 2007

Two Americas?

The two maps here shows which states would have voted which way in the 2004 presidential elections. The first shows if only the votes of poor voters were counted, and the second if only rich people were counted; with blue signifying democrats. What we see is one of class warfare, the poor votes democrats and the rich votes republicans. However reading the newspapers gives the impression that America is fundamentally divided, since the 1960s, between liberal Vs Conservative line, such as in: Abortion, Gay marriages, War on terror, etc. Short term policies designed to divide the working classes so that the elite can control the economic agenda.

October 12, 2007

Inheritance tax (again)

Follow-up to Conservative conference – Inheritence Tax from The International Current Affairs Society

Good article in the G2 today that supports my point of view.

There is the assumption, contrary to economic history and most current predictions, that house prices will just keep on booming and therefore make even the most modest of homes liable for inheritance tax. There is the allegation that the levy is a form of “double taxation” – well, so is VAT, and anyway, money earned on property is untaxed. There is the unlikely assumption that people will not downshift to a smaller place, or see their savings swallowed up paying for their own care in their old age – as Carl Emmerson, deputy director of the thinktank the Institute for Fiscal Studies, says: “Your wealth at 50 or 60, when it’s at its peak, will not be the same as your wealth when you’re 80 or 90.” You could even question the notion that inheritance tax can be called a “death tax” at all, when it is not paid by the unfortunate dead but by the fortunate living. Emmerson, who is studiedly neutral on the question of inheritance tax, runs through these arguments and counter-arguments and then pauses a little wearily. “Maybe it’s just a badly understood tax,” he says.

October 01, 2007

Conservative conference – Inheritence Tax

The Conservatives tried to grab headlines today to support their flagging pre-election campaign through, primarily ‘aspiration taxes’ (inheritance tax to you and me).

It is very easy to get into arguments about the moral standing of taxing the estates of the deceased, and one that isn’t easily finished. To me, it’s the prime example of where taxes should be used, but that’s beside my main point.

Instead of waffling on about how the government is taking advantage of the hard-working ‘middle englander’ and how the Conservative will come to the rescue, we should tell it how it is. This would be a tax cut for the top 6% most priveleged members of our society.

It is no good talking of how increasing house prices will mean Joe Public will now be facing a charge, since this is simply not the case. The housing boom has near enough peaked, in some areas starting to reverse, and still only 6% of estates pay the taxes.

If the people to whom inheritance tax is a travesty against hard work accepts this reality, I am very willing to have a discussion, but otherwise there is not much point.

October 19, 2006

Tax cutting tories

For all the rhetoric of the past few months, that public services are safe under the Tories, the future of the welfare state is garenteed under a Cameron premiership, we finally see the true blue members of the Tory party coming up for air. Today, one of Cameron’s policy think tanks has unveiled recommendations to reduce tax by £21bn. How nice!

[Edit: I realise this is a bit misleading. The Tax Reform Commission in fact only contained one member directly associated with the party. However, as I said in the comments, it wasn’t exactly a well balanced team of people. All bar one or two have specific interests in a lower tax regime, or had previously showed a great inclination toward lower taxes. These people were picked by George Osbourne. The only conclusion is that he wanted this outcome. The result: “want tax cuts? no problem, vote for us! Don’t want tax cuts? well that’s just an ‘idea’, we won’t do it really” ]

Unfortunately, the plans are incredibly regressive. The claim, obviously being touted by the Labour party at the moment, is backed up my the independant Institue of Fiscal Studies (IFS). It will be interesting to see how the Conservatives respond to this after years of using the IFS’s reports in their accusations against Gordon Brown.

Indeed, they are out in force doing damage limitation already. Deputy Cameron-in-chief George Osbourne is doing the rounds saying that he wants “this report to start a major political debate in this country about how we can make our taxes simple, fair and competitive.” Read: flat tax. Does he realise why our tax system in so complex? It is industry’s commitment to piling more and more resources into tax avoidance. Of course it has to be complex, otherwise billions of the revenue rightly due to the state simply wouldn’t get paid. The perception by the public that the taxman is needlessly causing companies so much strife over tax will only be further strengthened by comments from Lord Forsyth who led the commision that wrote this report saying, “it is clear that Britain needs a less complex and more competitive tax system” as if it’s some sort of self-evident tautology. Less complex means easier to fiddle, and more competitive means lower, even though we still are still behind the EU average for percetage of GDP being paid in tax. Even though we are actually ahead of the low tax haven the US in terms of levels of business freedom (I did read this somewhere, but can’t find the link, you’re going to have to trust me).

Let’s look at those IFS comments in more detail:

“It’s quite clear that these proposals would benefit the rich. Inheritance tax cuts, income tax cuts are going to benefit people in the top half of income distribution.” Carl Emmerson, Deputy Director of IFS

Pretty damning if you care in the slightest about social justice, and furthermore if you realise the fact that the top percentiles in terms of income already pay less as a proportion of their income in tax than the lowest earners in society.

So £21 billion (although some say £30 billion is a closer estimate of the extend of the cuts). How will this be funded? Cameron’s answer: green taxes, which will plug the gap and allow spending on public services to continue.. A tax which in principle I completely agree with. Aside from at best being income neutral, at worst even more regressive, the problem is that the income from green taxes, if implemented properly, should fall dramatically as they are designed to alter our behaviour. Final result: less money in the Government coffers, less investment in our public services. I must hand it to our ‘Dave’. Stealth tax cuts… impressive.

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