Monday, 28 June 2010

VAT Man

If their rather hysterical reaction to the emergency budget is anything to go by, Labour have gone straight to a position of opposition with no responsibilty from a position of power with no responsibility.

As they shed their crocodile tears it should be remembered that Labour know all about hitting the poor.
  • Removed the 10% tax band, then compensated the middle classes
  • Lowered capital gains tax as a tax break for the rich
  • Froze personal allowances
  • Stole council rent calling it 'negative subsidy'
  • Renaged on manifesto commitment to restore the link between pensions and earnings
  • Destroyed the occupational pensions schemes millions relied on
You can see that penalising the poor is a very nuLabour thing to do.

A few Labour comentators do seem to genuinely understand the real issues at hand but by luck they are being drowned out by the tribal response. Labour promised to cut the deficit on half. They now refuse to tell anyone how they'd have done it. That is almost certainly because they'd have done exactly the same, with the only difference being when.

Unless Labour are willing to tell everyone where their axe would fall they simply have no credibility.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

In the Loophole

I have to say that I've been quite astonished to see the BBC joining in the attacks on Danny Alexander that have been initiated by two right wing non-doms.

Let's be quite clear here. Danny Alexander has done nothing wrong, so any mileage given to the story is clearly in the territory of smears. To see the BBC jump so enthusiastically on the Telegraph bandwagon leaves a bad taste in the mouth and is yet another example of what seems to be a growing trend on the BBC's part to make the news rather than just report it.

For the last decade I received tax relief at 40% on my personal pension contributions. I personally think it disgraceful that a 40% tax payer gets a bigger rebate than a person struggling on minimum wage. It is a loophole that needs to be stopped and Lib Dem policy to close it. So as a Lib Dem did I claim my rebate? Of course I did. Am I a hypocrite? No.

I may disagree with the rules and want to change them, but those are the rules. Using the same logic to apply to other tax rules should see me refusing to pay the extra tax which became liable when the 10% lower tax rate was abolished. I think council tax is morally bankrupt tax with no link to the ability to pay it and yet despite that I claim a 25% discount because those are the rules.

The simple truth is that they are called loopholes because they are legal otherwise it would be called evasion and it is not hypocritical to seek to change them whilst also claiming. If the media want to accuse people of evasion that's one thing, but a personal attack for doing something perfectly legal is quite another. How many journalists' tax affairs would stand up to these vindictive attacks?

I have no idea what the BBC are doing here other than trying to suck up to those who accuse them of being too left wing. It makes absolutely no journalistic sense for them to add any weight to this right wing vendetta. I can choose not to buy the Barclay brothers' squalid little rag. I have no such choice when it comes to boycotting the BBC.

Shame on them.