Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Saving the labour government

I can't help but feel Gordon Brown's political suicide is mostly of his own making. Yes, events have caught up with him, but his inability to deal with them really outlines how weak he is. Politics is often broadly about creating the narrative, and inexplicably the government have been responding to the conservatives narritive, rather than creating their own.

This has not been helped by uninspired policies, and a general feeling that GB has been wussing out. Take the windfall tax on energy policies recently. It's certainly not something that the tories would do, and would have won GB support from his core voters, which the party NEEDS right now- they did not lose glasgow E to the tories.... Maybe there were good long term reasons not to go with this policy, but the argument was not made, and it felt weak.

I was also disappointed about the inheritance tax. This was well back in the day, when the conservatives had yet to gain the ground they did. GB seemed to cave in on the argument, and basically introduced a watered down version of the tax which cost the public finance a fair amount. Generally speaking, a stupid thing to do- there were better ways to go about it, more progressive ones, and the route chosen probably didn't win any votes. For example, an alternative would have been to raise the threshold for the tax, but also raise the tax, a very sensible and progressive move, which would have taken the ground from under the tories feet.

There seems an obvious way, to me, for labour to win back some ground. Ban, or control, city bonuses. It is very, very clear that the market cannot regulate itself. Time and time again we see CEO's getting massive bonuses for marginal successes. It makes no sense in this time of economic crisis, and the reward is rarely proportional to the risk. Doing this, and also ensuring that the rich bastards actually pay tax would be, I suspect, extremely popular, and would also be the right thing to do. GB needs to create eye catching policies, and needs them to make headlines, or he's going to wander labour back into the wilderness which certain members look like they really want to head too...

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