Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The comfort zone

Cameron has announced a BIG shift in the disgraceful threshold of the 40% taxation band. From the current catch-all £41,000 to the better £50,000. AND an increase in the personal tax-free allowance from £10,500 to £12,500. 
The Tory conference has also promised to punish those feckless benefits cheats by having a sort of food stamps cash card. And stopping benefits for young people under 21 too lazy to go to work or too stupid to go to university.
That may not be exactly correct as I read it in the Mirror. But its appealing to the Tory activists sweet spot, comfort zone, all the way to the election.

Or it would be if he had actually promised any of that, which he hasn't. It was a sort of a Blair promise. An aspiration promise.for.  "You know...for know...things {long pause}....have only got better..."

Well, at least he mentioned the economy. Unlike someone else who retreated even further into the comfort zone than Dave.

'Minimum Wage' Ed also promised to deliver something that is probably going to happen anyway. Miliband was in a slightly worse position, going to bat first and not wanting to have the Tories tearing his unfunded fantasies to pieces. He gave himself plenty of maneuvering room by promising to do things within "10 years time!"

He shouldn't have been so worried. Poor forgetful lamb.
The Tories just "Did a Labour" and  ignored the difficult payment bit with Brownian fantasy growth forecasts and gobbledegook.

Both sides have decided that its not worth worrying about the usual marginal men and women, and just preach to their respective choirs. Things are so bad politically that neither can even guarantee the 30% support of their core voters and have decided to just try and persuade those they already have to give them another chance.

No Blairite consensus,middle ground, middle class, vote grab
No Thatcherite aspirational ideology for the workers.
No real attempt to reach out to floating voters

Quite astonishing really. Miliband's decision to just bank on his 35% in the bag, and Cameron's indecision on exactly how to tackle UKIP have forced both into their corners. Neither side look like they want or even expect, victory.

Older readers may recall the episode of Porridge where Godber and another inmate go into the boxing ring, both determined to lose. They exchange a couple of feather powered half swings, make the slightest contact  and both fall flat onto the canvas glad to be knocked out..Both lose.

The only one delighted with the result was Fletcher. He had bet on a draw.

We shall see if 'Norman Stanley' Clegg's promises are any more believable.


Anonymous said...

It appears both are just hoping UKIP will fizzle out so they can get back to the usual squabbling couple arrangement they've had for so long.

It's going to be a godawful election, with only UKIP looking positive about things which will likely earn them a seat or two, and the party with the most seats (but no majority) doing its level best to sucker everyone in for 12 months before going to the polls again for an attempt at a majority.

2015 will be the year Ed Milibrain asks not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you to secure a vote for him. A bit like Santa. But crap. And unfortunately real.

On the technology front, I'm quite optimistic for the UK's future (not necessarily invented in the UK, but improving life and work), on the political very pessimistic.

Just so long as UKIP don't decide to rebrand as Norsefire that is!

MyWorriedName said...

I thought Cameron looked very wooden on stage. At one point he looked almost doped up - reading from a teleprompter and hardly blinking.
His gestures were very contrived and unsure too. The 'arms aloft' and the zero percent 'ok' gesture with the fingers... very odd.

Hes not any sort of medication, is he? I mean cold/flu remedy stuff.

I actually felt sorry for him.

AndrewZ said...

Britain has a number of serious problems. There's the deficit, uncontrolled immigration without assimilation, lunatic energy policy, a collapse of public confidence in virtually all public institutions and more besides. It's all building up to a crisis, or several at once. So perhaps all short-term political decisions are meaningless. Perhaps we're just marking time before some great upheaval that will change everything.

Anonymous said...

Andrewz .. Dave's promise to raise the personal allowance will be greeted with an almighty cheer in Eastern Europe. Those minimum wagers won't have to pay hardly any tax towards their use of schools and hospitals. And If Cameron doesn't get in, then nice mr Ed is going to give them a pay rise instead.

Unless this free movement circus is stopped we are just making our situation ever more impossible.

dearieme said...

Ed Moribund may well feel that with the absurd constituency boundaries, and the corruption-friendly postal voting system, he's going to win fairly easily. If not, he might envisage a coalition with the LibDems. I'm sure we'll enjoy a few more years of The Clegg.

john miller said...

Ahh, Cameron and his tax cuts.

He's going to raise the IHT threshold to £1 million y'know.

Well, that's what he said he'd do back in 2009 when he wanted to get elected.

Deja vu all over again, innit?

Gerry Mandering said...

"Britain has a number of serious problems. There's the deficit, uncontrolled immigration without assimilation, lunatic energy policy, a collapse of public confidence in virtually all public institutions and more besides. It's all building up to a crisis, or several at once."

An apt summary of the shit we find ourselves in. However sit at the mirror and ask - did you vote for the clowns that led to this?

We always get the politicians we vote for. There is no-one to blame but ourselves.

Bill Quango MP said...

It is going to be a poor election. Tough times and little cheer. Pity the poor politicians. They have been handing out freebies to favoured voters for 40 years, with barely a pause.
Now, for the second election in a row, there are very few sweets in the jar to offer.

Myworriedname I thought Dave looked alright. Some sectors saying it was a brilliant speech. I wouldn't go that far. It a was fine.. Better than the other bloke anyway.

Andrews / gerrymandering and anon : it's tough times. No EU country has managed to find a solution. Even the USA and China are not overly bouyant.
What to do..what to do ..?

No one knows. But if you believe Krugman it's time to stop austerity! (Well he would say that, wouldn't he)

Dearime - Miliband does appear to be heading for number .10. Lucky, lucky us.

John miller. Ahh yes , promises. Whatever happened to that 1 million pound inheritance tax threshold? Or the referendum? Or no to tuition fees? Or no vat increase, no top down NHS reforms? Nationalisation back of the coal mines and the railways?

Not to say the coalition haven't done things..they have done quite a lot. Just different things.

You can't trust 'em.

Have you had your free laptop yet?

The one you were promised in 1999 ?
And promised again in 2001
And 2002
And 2005
And 2007
And finally again in 2010?

Maybe it will come with the British jobs for British workers amendment to the EU constriction on equality of citizenship?

Anonymous said...

"Maybe it will come with the British jobs for British workers amendment to the EU constriction on equality of citizenship?"

Wouldn't that be great? A law, EU-wide, that no job can be offered to non-nationals unless there are no suitably qualified national applicants? Probably a nightmare to enforce though, with many jobs only advertised word-of-mouth. You'd need hefty fines pour encourager les autres. No way TPTB would allow it.

Anon has it right - the tax cuts are going to mean Pyotr and Katerina pay even less to fund the services they (and we) use. Have you noticed, we're going back in time to the days when income tax didn't affect the average wage earner? Bad news for the tax base I'd have thought. All part of the 'diversity will end welfare state' strategy so ably outlined by libertarians like Bryan Caplan.

Read an interesting blog by a charming HMO landlady blogger. Most of her rooms are let to non-Brits. As we go irreversibly down the tubes there's money to be had.


andrew said...

We dont need to control immigration.

We need to control emigration!

A bit like GE - the bottom 10% are weeded out every year.

More seriously, I started to ask myself why someone who is born in a certain place is assumed to have more right to be there than someone who was not.

I sort of agree with the concept, but have trouble explaining it.

Do those who have posted on this site for a long time have a greater right to post than newcomers - if so - why?

AndrewZ said...

“No EU country has managed to find a solution”

That’s why I suspect we are drifting towards a crisis (or two or three), and when the crash comes all the short-term political decisions that are being discussed at the moment will suddenly become irrelevant. That could be a strong argument for voting Conservative to keep Labour out, because Miliband really isn’t up to dealing with any kind of crisis. Alternatively, it could be an argument for hoping that Labour win and get totally discredited. Either way, it’s going to be “interesting times” for the rest of us.

hovis said...

Bill - "Even the USA and China are not overly bouyant."

Both of them are only just about afloat due to the a raft of printed funny money they produced. In teh case of the US because they are the worlds de facto reserve currency (for how much longer?) and for China because the RNB doesnt float yet and the Party can force the figures.

Laban - back to a time when income tax didn't affect the average wage earner - as you no doubt know atax on the middle class to fund the Napoleonic wars, I therfore look forward to the Captain Swing Riots, Peterloo style Massacres and a Great Reform Bill .. somehow the latter seem far fetched ...

Electro-Kevin said...

Andrew said "More seriously, I started to ask myself why someone who is born in a certain place is assumed to have more right to be there than someone who was not."

A question which should be put in a referendum, surely ? Not accepted in a "Oh well - there never really was such a thing as country" sort of way.

If you're right then no need of passports, armies, politicians or government.

Suffragent said...

"More seriously, I started to ask myself why someone who is born in a certain place is assumed to have more right to be there than someone who was not"
Because your Parents and grandparents paid there taxes that paid for the schools, roads, hospitals etc. that would ease their time in later years and allow you all the best opportunities to make a life for yourself. I'm not having a rant about taxes but people went through general hardships and invested time and energy to build communities.
If you expand your question further. Should you get upset if you come home to find some stranger in your kitchen eating your dinner after he's finished fiddling with your missis.

Anonymous said...

What suffragent said ! + 1000

andrew said...

I am all for property rights, but did not know i was a shareholder in the UK rather than a citizen of the UK.

Saying that you have more rights than someone else just because your parents were here implies a number of unwelcome logical consequences

- it is a good argument for a feudal aristocracy - If you were here first, it seems you have more rights building up going down the generations over and above what you got left in the will, definitely more rights than someone born here to immigrants fresh off the boat.

- if you and your parents didn't work for most of their lives (and so did not contribute) do you have less rights than someone who did? Back in the time when only a minority paid taxes, most of the time only a minority got to vote.

- the west bank was annexed in '68 (?) so around 2068 where will have been 4 generations of israeli settlers on that land and not one palestinian refugee born there will still be alive.
Does that mean the palestinians claims are exhausted?

I do - at a gut level - sort of agree with you - but when I try to say why, it stops sounding reasonable (to me)
and I have a feeling I am wrong.

rwendland said...

The allowance rise from £10,500 to £12,500 by 2020 is just a little above RPI inflation, so not really worth much. £325 over inflation in fact, @20% tax is worth £65/year in 2020.

And the £41,900 to £50,000 is a £1400 rise above RPI inflation, so is real but not that huge.

So a bit of a spin doctors play to big up the effect of inflation.

(RPI inflation is about 2.5% now, or 16% over 6 years if sustained. 12500/10500 = 19% rise, and 50000/41900 = 19.3% rise.)

SumoKing said...