Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Labour - Trust us, we know how to spend other people's money.

Yesterday, the British Labour Party launched its manifesto. The title "A Future Fair for All" reminded me of a witticism of Sir Bob Jones who once remarked on the use of the word "fair" using the school report meaning. "Fair" is less than good and only better than "Poor". It is apt in this case, as Gordon Brown and what was "New" Labour have mediocre ambitions for Britain, as is seen by their willingness to continue to pilfer so much from those who ARE ambitious and successful.

So what was promised? The Guardian sympathetically has reproduced the whole thing.
  • A significant expansion of the welfare state with a "National Care Service" taxing everyone so that the children of those who own their own homes don’t get their inheritance touched;
  • Allowing good schools and hospitals to take over poorly performing ones, decided by bureaucrats of course;
  • More powers for dour protestant local government to ban betting shops and lapdance bars;
  • "Create" jobs, guaranteeing jobs for everyone under 25 by taking from those who actually create jobs, banning more jobs by raising the minimum wage and forcing longer paternity leave on all employers (except the self employed of course);
  • Borrow from unborn taxpayers to create a "Green Investment Bank" (so the government has a set of all colours);
  • Borrow from unborn taxpayers to build a flash high speed rail line to Birmingham that can't be funded from those who would use it because the time savings aren't worth enough to them;
  • Tax all users of fixed phone lines to pay for people who choose to live in remote locations to get subsidised broadband (i.e. the elderly subsidising farmers);
  • Government able to intervene in poorly performing police forces, guaranteed 24 hour response to anti-social behaviour (useful if you're getting harassed on the spot!) and making rich criminals pay for their prison time;
  • A right of recall for "errant" MPs, a referendum on introducing the Australian style preferential voting system and for the voting age to be reduced to 16 to increase the size of Labour's demographic of people who like the government to spend other people's money.
Finally, there is a promise to not increase income tax or the scope of VAT, which of course leaves the point that:
- National Insurance is going up, which is income tax by another name;
- VAT could STILL go up, and at 17.5% it isn't low;
- Labour promised income tax wouldn't go up in its last manifesto, and created a new top tax rate of 50%;
- Labour increases fuel tax every year according to inflation and none of the extra money ever goes on transport.

So the promises are vacuous.

City AM calls it a "rejection of capitalism", because it proposes that corporate takeovers require a "TWO-THIRDS" majority of shareholders to approve them, effectively giving a veto of minority shareholders to any such takeovers. In addition it proposes a "public interest" test to allow political vetoing of takeovers of infrastructure and utility companies, bureaucrats naturally knowing best how to maximise wealth of businesses none of them own.

Labour has no strategy to cut the structural deficit and the monumental public debt accumulated on its watch. It has ever grown the size of the state with intrusive powers to regulate the internet and most recently require everyone who spends regular time with children to be vetted by a non-judicial bureaucracy which anyone can complain to if they think someone is "a bit funny". Most disturbing of all is its playing of Marxist envy politics - that it is moral to keep taxing those on middle and higher incomes more and more, borrow more from future taxpayers, and to keep those on lower incomes permanently dependent on the state for income, housing, retirement and to decide on their health and education.

It is fundamentally dishonest about economics, and immoral in its view of the relationship between subject and the state. It sees the public as subjects to be regulated and taxed and told what to do, and they better be grateful for it. Government as a percentage of GDP went from 38% in 1997 to 45% today and debt as a percentage of GDP from 42% to over 100%.

The Conservatives? Well that Manifesto was launched today.... I'm underwhelmed and more on that later.

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