Thursday, October 19, 2006


Cameron's 'Clause Four Moment' is now at Hand if he Wants it

We all remember Tony Blair's audacious attack on his party's constitution back in 1995(see picture if you've forgotten); it enabled him to demonstrate that his rhetoric was not the empty mouthings of a 'Bambi' as his critics alleged, but the serious objectives of a serious politician. Poor Dave has had no such opportunity. His party has no much criticised constitution or even an organisational structure which applies a dead hand to progress- elements which Blair turned brilliantly to his own advantage. When members endorsed it, his bland policy statement which offended no-one(called 'Built to Last' or something similar I seem to recall)was nowhere near a sufficient test. But now one hoves into view: the tax cutting report from his policy commission led by the Thatcherite, Lord Forsyth(remember hating him? I do).

This commission's recommendations were leaked yesterday; they comprise proposals that cuts worth £21 billion should be made including a 2p cut off the standard rate of income tax, abolition of inheritance tax and the 10 per cent tax rate and various cuts of business taxes. George Osborne did his best to spin the report into a mere 'menu of options'. He also sought to suggest such cuts(could be bad) will be off-set by green taxes(must be good) though Forsyth's report, it seems, does not mention any such a thing. The Deputy Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, usually sympathetic to Conservative economic policy, commented that, 'It's quite clear that these proposals would benefit the rich.'

So, there we have it. I'm not the only left of centre blogger to sense a moment of truth for Cameron here. At his conference he made it absolutely clear that there would be no tax cuts until they could be afforded and 'stability' preserved. Now an influential body- commissioned by no less a person than himself- has come up with the very proposals upon which he pronounced anathema. Now Dave, is the time to show your metal, to unhorse those hoary old knights of the 'Nasty Party', to slay your dragons and convince us your 'Compassionate Conservatism' is more than just the usual old Tory sleight of hand, or, as we often say up here, 'load of bollocks'.

A key difference is though that the astute Tony Blair chose a populist topic about which to battle - there was a widespread loathing for nationalised industries even amongst much of Labour's core vote.

I don't sense much enthusiasm for not cutting tax anywhere in the land! No wonder the cheers from his own benches are getting ever more muted as hapless Dave stands up for his weekly demolition by Mr B at PMQs...
Which PMQ'S are you watching?! God get the glasses off, I don't like Cameron much but it is pretty clear he gives Bliar a booting every week.
You pays your money and you chooses your tinted glasses. But it doen't really matter who wins their bouts at PMQs. Neither will be leading their party come the next but one general election!
Surely we need radical tax reform after the complicated, inefficient shambles Brown has made of it. Someone's going to have to have the guts to do it one day otherwise we'll become as inefficient as the Soviet states of old, and......... welfare dependency never solved anything.
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