Saturday, February 16, 2008

Darling's U-turns show Labour's lack of self-belief

It's been open season on Alistair Darling at Westminster this week and my Saturday Column published today duly focuses on the Chancellor's performance.

Like Polly Toynbee, I am dismayed by the U-turns on capital gains tax and the taxation of non-domiciles, which provide further proof as it it were needed that this government is adrift without a philosophical anchor.

"As things stand, the Tories will be going into the next election pledged to tax “non-doms” at five times the rate now proposed by Labour – although there has to be a question mark over whether their plans are any more workable than Mr Darling’s.

"Once again, it poses the question whether voters of a leftish inclination are now better off supporting a right-wing party that leans to the left over a centrist one that leans increasingly to the right....what this week’s moves by Mr Darling really demonstrate is a catastrophic loss of confidence by the government in their own values of social justice and fairness."

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Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that Alistair Darling was ever in control of the economy, but if he was then he certainly isn't now. I cannot imagine what business leaders think when they look at him.

MorrisOx said...

The change of mind about non-doms may betray a lack of self-belief, but the limited concessions on CGT are nothing of the sort.

Polly Toynbee may inhabit a universe populated only by Big Bad Fatcats, but out here in the ordinary world businesses are mostly small and don't make big profits.

They are simply a means by which ordinary people who want to run their own show earn a living. In a world where pensions routinely under-perform, the ability to sell your business on without the proceeds being soaked by HMRC is an important encouragement to the sole traders of this world.

Labour is in trouble with business not necessarily because of what it has done since Brown took over (though some of it hasn';t helped), but because it suddenly stopped discussing things with them.

The reality of the CGT change is that may well have made life more difficult for some not very prosperous people. Why would that make sense for Labour?

Anonymous said...

Darling's U turns have more to do with Brown than anyone else.

Unbelievably if Northern Rock had been allowed to fail in the first place it would have been cheaper to regenerated the North East economy than to throw a £100bn at the Wreck.