Thursday, 25 September 2014

A bad week for Labour

The antics of Labour Party leaders over the last few days must be causing their party workers to despair. Firstly we had the bizarre refusal by Messrs Miliband and Balls to acknowledge that the principle of English votes for English laws was fair. On Sunday Mr Miliband repeated ducked the question when it was posed to him by Andrew Marr in a performance which bordered on embarrassing. It is patently obvious that the West Lothian problem needs to be addressed as the situation becomes even more unfair increased devolution to Scotland and to refuse to accept the obvious and suggest batting the issue of to the long grass (aka some kind of constitutional committee) is like a script from Yes Minister. We then have Mr Miliband’s speech to conference in which he managed to forget the sections on the deficit and immigration thereby only serving to highlight 2 of the many areas where Labour is clueless. We then have the ill thought out announcement of a mansion tax. This is a policy which attempts to build on envy and create division. What is the intellectual justification for this policy? If it is intended to bash the rich then why this arbitrary and ineffective approach? The reality is that the better off pay a growing percentage of the overall tax burden. Whilst many may have benefited from property rises the Government already gets its share through stamp duty and inheritance tax. The policy also misses the point that many older occupiers bought their properties many years ago for modest sums and have simply seen prices escalate in their areas. They are frequently income poor and will struggle to pay a large surcharge payment. There is not even a sensible explanation as to how the valuation system could work – in other words a complete dogs dinner! It is interesting that even senior Labour members are starting to show their dissatisfaction with the leadership on these matters and I struggle to believe that even Labour rank and file see Mr Miliband as a credible PM in waiting.

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