How to get elected without promising a huge tax-cut.
March 7, 2001 11:21 AM   Subscribe

How to get elected without promising a huge tax-cut. In short, don't have an opposition. Gordon Brown gives the "we're going to win anyway" Budget, promising the kind of fiscal policy Gore claimed to offer the US. The language is even the same: "pay off the debt, reward working families". And since we're more or less guaranteed a Labour government till 2005 (barring the intervention of "events"), it'll a good time for the crudest of comparisons. (more inside...)
posted by holgate (4 comments total)
Proving that the US supplies both main UK parties with its rhetoric, Michael Portillo's using the same language as the Bush administration: tax cuts are a "refund" for earlier overcharging.

What's bizarre is that it doesn't really suit the national mood, which seems more amenable to the LibDem's policy of hypothecated taxation -- "you want money spent on schools, we'll allocate a penny of income tax to education" -- than the right-libertarian one more prevalent in the US in which any grand spending plans smack of big government and its inefficiencies.

Anyway, I like the expert opinion that describes it as a cappuccino budget: " a deal of froth... a few sprinklings of something sweet on top and, to be fair, a shot of something reassuring and solid underneath."
posted by holgate at 11:30 AM on March 7, 2001

You make many comparisons, but Michael Portillio couldn't really say anything else in response to the budget, aside from that "redistribution of taxes collected three years ago" etc. There are not many other counters to that really.

But I see what you mean, the situation is looking like Labour for a further term. ( I mean William Hague isn't the most charismatic leader ever, is he?!)
posted by williamtry at 12:03 PM on March 7, 2001

It has to be Labour, but I do feel that for a lot of people they're a bit of a default option. The Tories just do not have any credibility as a political party, let alone as proponents of a coherent set of views and policies.

As for the Liberal Democrats, if they had a vote for everyone who thought 'I'd vote for the Lib Dems if they had any chance of getting in', who knows where they'd be by now?
posted by Caffa at 2:16 AM on March 8, 2001

I have a strong feeling we're going to see a low turnout for the next election anyway, no-one was particularly hurt by the budget statement and we got a few small crumbs from the huge surplus Gordon's keeping by for a rainy day. I think this was a deliberate ploy, the polls still put Labour well ahead so as long as they don't upset too many people they're home and dry. All the potentially damaging descisions have been swept back until after the election (Europe springs to mind) and all the 'deserving' members of society have been promised a windfall - as long as Labour stays in power (notice how many of his 'initiatives' begin sometime in the future).
I also think the Tories have pretty much resigned themselves to losing this time round which is why we seem to see and hear more of Portillo than Hague these days, Portillo can see the top job becoming vacant soon.

Of course, the Tories also have a problem in some of their traditional stroghold too. I live in one of the safest Tory seats in the country, in rural Wiltshire. Until recently Ann Widdecombe, being a member of the shadow cabinet was to be put forward as our Conservative candidate replacing our current MP. However she publicly supported the ban on foxhunting to the chagrin of the Countryside Alliance. The Alliance have publicly stated that if she were to be put forward as Conservative candidate they would advise their members not to vote for her. It seems her name has now been withdrawn. So there are problems for the Tories in places they could previously count on for support too
posted by Markb at 4:58 AM on March 8, 2001

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