Friday, July 18, 2008

In my first year as Prime Minister .....

... I will reduce public expenditure by a half, cut income tax to a 5p base rate and a 33p top rate, halve fuel duty and, having withdrawn Britain from the EU, replace VAT with a Purchase Tax of not more than 7%.

Sound good?

Want more? OK - crime. I will ensure that all towns and villages have manned police stations, the police will patrol the streets on foot at all times of the day and night, I'll abolish PACE, reform the criminal justice system, strengthen the penal code, build more prisons and reinstate the death penalty for serious crimes such as child murder, killing a police officer and terrorism.

More?

Well, I could go on, but I'm not going to get to be Prime Minister so there is little point. Which brings me to this by Iain Dale in today's Telegraph comment section.

At last there is a political party in Britain that will campaign unashamedly for lower taxes at the next election. Finally, a party is willing to embrace the merits of smaller government. Astonishingly, a party leader has had the guts to say the unsayable: public spending is too high and should be cut. Sadly, that party leader is Nick Clegg, not David Cameron.

Yeah - that's because Cleggy the sex bomb knows damn well he's never going to get into Number 10 Downing Street so he can make all the promises he wants. What he does need to do, however, is try and win back some of the support for his party that has drained away so dramatically since he became leader.

And this has come at a time when support for the Labour party is also draining away even more substantially and Labour is where the LIb Dems would naturally assume to win the disaffected voters from.

Clegg has only one aim and that is to keep himself secure as the head of the Lib Dems. He knows that the falling popularity of his party will soon bring calls for his replacement. So he needs to find a way of bolstering that fading support - and with aggrieved New Labour voters switching to the Conservatives and the abandoned Old Labour voters switching to the BNP he's finding it hard to figure where that support is going to come from.

The answer? Traditional Tory voters who realise that Cameron is just Blair with a posher accent. It's a gamble, but not an unreasonable one. My guess is it will fail as traditional Tory voters, despite their concerns over Cameron, just will not vote for the Lib Dems - but all that matters to Clegg right now is that some say they might consider it in the polls. Anything that will push up his rating by a percent or two is worth a punt.

What bothers me, though, is that Iain Dale seems to think this is clever rather than an act of desperation.

Clegg has tapped into the Zeitgeist and may reap the electoral rewards. His political opponents, within and without his party, will pour scorn on him and accuse him of populism and worse. The truth is somewhat different. He hasn't just pledged a reduction in taxes; he has promised a cut in public spending, too. Admittedly, it is only £20 billion, a mere three per cent of total government spending, but it's a start. And it's a damn sight more than any other politician has had the guts to do.

Well, as I've just pointed out, it is easy to promise cuts in taxation and public spending when you know damn well that you're not going to ever get the opportunity to put them into practice. It doesn't take guts - it just requires a certain amount of bare faced cheek. I don't think a man who openly admits to bedding "no more than thirty" women is going to be short of that.

1 comment:

Zenobia said...

In my first year as Prime Minister I will ...

set up a devolved English Parliament which will be responsible for the domestic policies for England.

Want more? .... I will ensure that fiscal autonomy is granted to other devolved parliaments and assemblies.

I am now waiting for the pigs to start flying!