The Odd Blog

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Cue embarrassing climb-down in 3, 2, 1…

Posted by That Other Mike on 30/04/2008

After a backbench rebellion not seen since the last time someone said something about Europe, Gordon Brown’s Premiership has taken another hit:

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has admitted making “mistakes” in abolishing the 10p rate of income tax.

He told the BBC the government “didn’t cover as well as we should have” losses to low earners without children and pensioners aged 60 to 64.

But Mr Brown said he was “listening” and “learning” as prime minister and that problems were “being dealt with”.

The government announced last week it would compensate those affected by the change, amid pressure from Labour MPs.

Well, good. This change in the tax rate was an astonishing development: it was the first time that a nominally Labour PM had actually and explicitly changed the tax rates to the detriment of the lower income working public.

That the government plans to compensate these people (myself among them, if I’m honest) is a welcome change.

Aside from that, it points to the ongoing decline of the Labour administration. I blogged some time ago about how the end is, if not near, at least on the horizon for Labour; events like this, coming on the heels of the Northern Rock disaster and subsequent unpopular bail-out, serve only to accelerate the process.

And while the entire Labour government since 1997 cannot be called a failure per se, it certainly seems to be taking on an aura of failure and incompetence. Indeed, it seems increasingly difficult to point to anything about the Blair and Brown Premierships which might be looked on as a success by future generations; this may be unfair, but then again, politics often is. The public is not happy with the current government, for various reasons – the Iraq War, which has remained deeply unpopular with a skeptical public, the percieved excesses and uncontrollability of the Scottish Parliament without a corresponding English counterpart, the continuing failure of the NHS and so on.

In light of this, I think it’s becoming increasingly likely that the next election will see a government made up of the Conservative Party, and that their victory will be fairly decisive. Although not, I would imagine, to the same margin of it that Labour achieved in 1997. David Cameron has been posturing towards the middle for a while now, in an attempt to wipe away the stains of Michael Howard and Ian Duncan Smith, but it’s not really working, for a couple of reasons – for one, it’s been a decade since the last Tory government, and political memories run very deep in the UK. People will be wary of going over so wholesale to the Tories as they did for Labour in 1997, when an entire generation of voters who had known virtually nothing but Conservative rule for their entire lives revolted against it the first chance they got. The other reason is that all too many Conservatives are, well, conservative – they speak for a segment of the populace (and in truth, mostly a segment of the English populace) and don’t care overmuch to try to reach beyond that, which is in stark contrast to David Cameron’s Blairesque attempts to repackage the Tories in modern clothing.

In short, I think we’re starting to see the end. The Brown regime, still in its cradle, is starting to resemble the last days of the Major government, which were marked not by the injustices or near malevolence of the Thatcher years but by a kind of sheepish incompetence, obvious and avoidable disasters slowly chipping away at the Government’s credibility until it became a laughingstock.

Laughingstocks may float interesting ideas sometimes, but they don’t get to form governments. Just ask Screaming Lord Sutch.


6 Responses to “Cue embarrassing climb-down in 3, 2, 1…”

  1. hutuli said

  2. Nice piece, mate.

    I think the Bush/Brown(nose) press conference during Brown’s recent visit really made it glaringly obvious that he most certainly is not the conviction politician he claims to be, and this only serves to underscore that — with a big red Magic Marker!

    I’d have almost have admired him more if he’d have had a like-it-or-lump-it attitude to the abolition of the 10p tax rate.


  3. Mike said

    Absolutely. It also highlights the moral vacuity of the modern Labour party; say what you like about Ramsay Campbell or Michael Foot, they were men of conviction and courage. Not that blindly sticking to a principle is a good thing, but sticking with your principles even in adversity because you honestly think they are true can be.

    Not to mention that anyone with even a smidgen of understanding about taxes will know that this is deeply unprogressive move. Frankly, even with the old bands, our taxation system was an embarrassment to progressive ideals.

  4. sfcmac said

    To quote Ace of Spades: “How much of a fucking asshole do you have to be to deliver Londonistan to the fucking Tories?”

  5. Mike said

    You ought to be happy, Sfcmac; the Tories are your ideological brethren.

  6. sfcmac said

    I am happy….for the Tories. It’s the Londistan simps who are the assholes.

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