Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Where is the Conservative Party?

I cautiously welcomed David Cameron as leader of the British Conservative Party. I thought he might bring some energy, ditch the old-fashioned fuddy duddy school prefect type “tell you what you do” nonsense that IS conservative, and provide an electable alternative to New Labour. Britain is one helluva nanny state, you seriously cannot believe how much the media and politicians regard government as the solution to almost anything. There are regulators for just about every sector, deregulation means reregulation, and the state is there to hand hold them all so people don’t do anything that might harm themselves – while taxing ever more and more.
Cameron might have sold a Conservative Party that wanted to reduce nanny state, and start to wind back the nauseating bureaucracy that is UK central and local government. Well maybe, there is a little bit of that, but the latest policy takes the cake on outflanking New Labour on the left. It is a tax on aviation. The purpose is to cut the number of flights and tax more polluting aircraft (which is ridiculous since most airlines optimise fuel efficiency with their fleets for obvious reasons, traded off against capital availability).
The Tories want to tax domestic flights, and to tax international flights on the basis of everyone being permitted one shorthaul (European) international flight a year (return), beyond that you pay. Consider first the bureaucracy of a ration book system for flying, but mostly consider why this is to happen – to combat climate change.
Reason has gone out the door on climate change policy in the UK, the two main parties believe in unilateralism with absolutely no evidence of any benefits from their climate change policies. Taxing aviation will do nothing besides give David Cameron a new source of income, though he says he will cut other taxes in exchange – which is shuffling money around. Especially as it is another tinkering of tax in the form of "a new transferable tax allowance for couples with young children". Typical politician, wont cut basic taxes - just hand out little lollies - like Dr Cullen.
Taxing aviation will do absolutely nothing to change temperature around the world, it wont change behaviour (airfares are too high relative to the taxes talked about for it to matter or be factored into travel decisions) and at worst will see a shift in airport hubbing away to other countries in Europe. Heathrow is the best airport hub in the world, and this may reduce its competitiveness.
However, besides all that, it is absolutely galling to see the Tories propose a ration card type tax on aviation as if to say “you’ve flown once, now go off and sit in your flat and think of England – you’re not allowed to fly more unless you can pay – and we all can, rah rah rah”.
UKIP is a hopelessly incompetent alternative protest vote, and I want rid of New Labour, primarily because of ID cards, but also because I don’t believe Gordon Brown can bring anything essentially new and exciting to free up Britain – quite the contrary. However, vote Tory and pay aviation taxes makes me go cold. Where has the party of Thatcher gone?


Peter Cresswell said...

Looks like the basis of a good TFR article, perhaps as a companion piece to a similar one on the New Pink Tories here at home. How bout it?

darren said...

Yes, I agree. dave cameron is an absolute dick. I have read where Maggie is not happy with him.
You would think after Blair's corruption and brown's high taxation starting to cripple the UK economy that some 'sound' Tory policy would win support from the UK voters.
I bet cameron's latest wheeze will cost the Tories much support and Liarbour UK will be smiling to see such stupidity.
I grew up in England and if I were still there, i would be flirting with UKIP.
I consider myself a thatcherite but what does a Tory do when your party leaves you?
I guess the same applies to right-wing Gnats in NZ National?