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1% of me would like to see Ed Miliband's hands on the spending axe after the next election

By Tim Montgomerie
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In The Times (£) I make a case for some sort of mansion tax (my preferred model is higher council tax banding) but I end the piece by noting that however justified new property taxes might be they do not add up to an economic policy fit for today's challenges. I admit that 1% of me would quite like to see Ed Miliband in power after the next election - if only to rebalance the reputation of Britain's two big parties:

"There has been a Tory hand on the surgeon’s knife during each of our country’s last economic contractions. It was Margaret Thatcher who was chief nurse when Britain was ailing at the end of the 1970s. John Major dispensed the medicine in the 1990s, when the cross-party consensus in favour of ERM membership had come to grief. And it has been another Tory, David Cameron, who has had to preside over the worst of all three episodes — today’s debt-fuelled crisis.

The result is that politics has become unbalanced. The Tory brand has become associated with pain while Labour has loftily cruised above it all. The IFS, like every independent forecaster, suggests that the age of austerity will last at least a decade. I’d take some partisan delight at Ed Miliband presiding over its second half. He hasn’t begun to be honest about the pain that, mansion tax or no mansion tax, still has to be borne."

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