February 13, 2005

Thoughts of a Labour supporter

OK, so I've decided to start blogging after all. I doubt that the thoughts of a Union hack, staunch Labourite and visciously classist student will be of interest to many, but nor do I really care.

The BBC today: "On Saturday, Chancellor Gordon Brown warned a victory for the Conservatives would put Britain's economic stability and growth at risk and inflict deep cuts in public services including the NHS, which he said was "not safe" in Tory hands.

The Tories dismissed Mr Brown's speech as "more talk". "

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't most speeches "talk"? The point is, the Tories hate Brown. He is, without a doubt, the most successful Chancellor this country has had in living memory, and contrasted with the incompetence of the Tories (new papers released under the Freedom of Information Act this week show the ERM debacle and Black Wednesday to have cost £4bn), we've won the argument that you can manage an economy responsibly whislt also investing in public services. Obviously, I'd like to see more investment and reform of the taxation system, but we're on the right path.

Compare this with a tax-cutting plan that refuses to specify where the spending cuts are going to come from. With a party and a leader that claimed 3 million unemployed people in the 80's was 'a price worth paying'. For what? For an unstable economy and a destroyed manufacturing sector? For the extension of VAT from a negligible inconvenience to 17.5% of almost everything we buy? For massive corporation tax hikes? I love to hear Gordon Brown speak about our economic successes; but not as much as I love to hear idiot Tories pretend that they ever did something worthwhile for this Country. They're a bunch of wasters who wouldn't know a succesful economic plan if it jumped up and bit them. This is all by way of saying I was greatly impressed by both Brown and Blair's speeches to our Spring Conference, and amused by the 'responses' from the other parties.

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  1. With the exception of church repairs, what has been done about the 17.5% VAT rate?

    13 Feb 2005, 14:23

  2. Yep, the Tories are almost comical sometimes, but the Blessed Tony is little better I'm afraid. The hypocrisy is just as monumental and the policies almost as right-wing. Still, good luck persuading students to vote Labour; I suspect it'll be an uphill struggle, especially given the record of the MPs in this area on things like top-up fees. Actually, come to think of it, maybe I should suggest to Simon that as part of the anti-fees campaign, the records of our local MPs should be publicised on the website and in the Word.

    13 Feb 2005, 14:49

  3. "With a party and a leader that claimed 3 million unemployed people in the 80's was 'a price worth paying'. For what?"

    You don't know much about the 70s, do you?

    13 Feb 2005, 16:16

  4. OK, Edward; yes, there was enormous unemployment in the 1970s. My point was that the Labour Government never claimed it was a price worth paying. There's a difference between a recession and malicious mass-firing. Still, I agree there's no excuse for incompetence.

    No, VAT hasn't been cut. And I don't pretend to know how it could be without wrecking one of the foundation of current economics; that transactions are inextricably linked to tax revenues.

    Top-up fees; no, I don't agree with the policy, but in the big scheme, neither do I care. It isn't a major policy area. With the new scheme, post-graduation payment will be the norm, which doesn't disadvantage working class kids any more than the current system. What's far more important is that every child is given a decent education at primary and secondary level in top-class state schools. Under this Labour Government, we've seen record investment in schools and huge rises in teaching staff numbers. Of course, this has led onto huge improvements in numeracy and literacy standards.

    Did anyone else go to school in mobile classrooms, where you had to walk to a different building to get to a toilet? I did. And that doesn't happen any more. We had 2 computers at my school that kids could use. Now there are thousands. And that didn't happen until 1997. Its about priorities…

    Of course, we could have had even more computers in classrooms if we hadn't illegally started a disastrous war against the Iraqi people…

    17 Feb 2005, 02:04

  5. Oh, and yes it is an uphill struggle persuading anyone to vote, let alone vote Labour. Still, I think its a fight worth winning…

    17 Feb 2005, 02:05

  6. Mike, don't you think that the thing with more computers in schools had more to do with Labour's term in office coinciding with a proliferation in computers in general as they became cheaper and more user-friendly?

    17 Feb 2005, 12:08

  7. The VAT question is a complex one, to which there is no easy answer at the moment. The advantages of VAT are that it is non-distortive in so far as the same rate is applied to all products (with some exceptions), and may well be less distrotive than other taxes such as income tax. Also, European Union law would not permit us to cut VAT to zero, as there is a certain amount of tax harmonisation as a result of being part of the European Union. This is to prevent European Governments getting into a VAT cutting competition which would distort the single market.

    On the other hand, it should be recognised that VAT is ultimately a tax on the poor, as poor people tend to spend a much higher proporition of their income than rich people do. Many people who would be zero rated for income tax are infact paying substantial sums of hidden tax.

    As to whether it is a foundation of current economics that transactions should be inextricably linked to tax revenues, I'm not sure how much this is the case. Why is the transactions link so important?


    17 Feb 2005, 14:29

  8. Arrgh!!

    Just because computers are cheaper and faster doesn't mean that schools can afford hundreds of them! Plus networking! plus broadband (and faster) installation!!

    The labout govt has put LOADS of money into new technology schemes, not just for schools, but for LANs for small businesses, money for e-learning at HE institutions (yes at warwick too), as well as finance to increase the money for science and technology education (because science is more expensive to teach)

    Not only that but you get extra money as a teacher if you teach IT skills.

    Remember that the Conservative philosophy is NOT to nurture the best, it is to nurture a particular class – to give artificial advantage to an elite (not 'the best' but 'the already most priviliged')

    The Labour ideal is that specialists or elites should be 'the best' drawn not from the top 5% in terms of resources, but the top 5% in terms of intelligence and ability. This is something which is fundamental to economic and social success. You don't get economic and social success by continually putting dullards from public school in positions of responsibility in preference to whizz kids from other backgrounds.

    The ideal solution for team, business, social management is to use the best for each role. That is what Labour values have become.

    The typical Conservative voter is someone who hopes that by voting the same way as he/she percieves the aristocrat does, somehow he/she will become similarly regarded. How naive!

    19 Apr 2005, 09:57

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