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Tory Tax Cutter


We have not said we will reduce the overall burden of taxation over the Parliament. Even Michael Howard was unable to make this commitment.

Louise Bagshawe

Tory Tax Cutter:

George Osborne:

"But stability is not enough by itself to succeed in the global economy. We need to be more competitive.

That is why I would like to reduce taxes

The example of Ireland shows what a low corporation tax rate can do.

I could promise up-front tax cuts at the next election to win some cheap applause.

But even the Chancellor predicts we will be borrowing £24 billion by then and so those tax cuts would not be sustainable. Sound money matters.

I would rather offer you a long term approach to lower taxes.

As the economy grows, and money comes into the Treasury, we want to share the proceeds of that growth between the spending on public services like education which our country needs and lower taxes which our economy demands."


Tory Tax Cutter

That is an aspiration Louise - "I would like" not "I promise to". We all share that aspiration.

Unfortunately, there is no promise that the burden of tax will be lower over the full Parliament and you are factually incorrect to say there has been one. You won't find George Osborne saying it and Michael Howard didn't say it when he was leader.

It's really very important we get these kind of facts right or we are in danger of getting ourselves in a terrible pickle.

Yet Another Anon

We will demand a referendum on the EU Constitution
Why not just reject it outright? The UK could leave the EU without a referendum if a government had the will to do it! Parliament is supposed to have been elected to take decisions, if it is felt that a particular party is not fit to take decisions then it is simple, elect someone else, for decisions to be taken separate from the state - this is what the private sector, charities and trusts are for; to act independently of the public sector.

Louise Bagshawe

Tory Tax Cutter,

I think that is clear enough, and to suggest otherwise is wrong. Of course nobody can be absolutely sure what they will do in government. We could be attacked by Russia and find ourselves in the middle of world war three needing every penny to fight it! One could come up with all kinds of crazy scenarios. But since his election Cameron and Osborne have outlined the strategy - tax cuts as part of sharing the proceeds of growth with public spending over the course of the Parliament.

While no party can preclude cataclysmic events which would derail their plans, they can set out their policies. Ours on tax is to cut taxes over the course of our term as part of sharing the proceeds of growth.

"I would like to reduce taxes...lower taxes which our economy demands". That's clear enough.

Lindsay Jenkins

Oh dear Louise.

You write that there will be taxes on pollutants – airlines are being targeted, not consumers – and incentives for eco-friendly behaviour.

Well who on earth pays the airlines? If they don't get their money from consumers, good heavens, that would be a revolution in economics!

Think about it

It is really very simple Louise; do the Tories pledge to make tax freedom day earlier than 1st June?

Yes = lower overall tax burden.

No = same or higher overall tax burden.

It really is that simple. Cameron and Osborne have to date stated that the answer will be 'no'.

And you still haven't responded to those of us who have asked you how you know 100% that IHT will be scrapped. A fib or inside knowledge?


"what did those who didn't vote achieve?"

I do vote but know lots of none voters, their justification is that they don't want to give any party an overwhelming vote of confidence if they don't agree with their manifesto.

Too many people have no preference because they can't see any benefit for themselves and their families by any party's promise.

They may like one or two of the pledges but three or four others outweight the benefit so stick to the status quo.

Andrew Lilico

What we have said on spending/taxation is that as the economy grows we will share the proceeds of that growth between spending and tax cuts. So, suppose that we start on 45% of GDP being spent and GDP of £1,500bn. Then GDP rises to £1,600bn. Of the extra £100bn we have said that we would spend some and use some for tax cuts. Now if additional spending gets as its share more than £45bn of that extra spending, the effective tax burden will rise, since spending will rise as a proportion of GDP. If, on the other hand, the share of additional spending will be less than £45bn, the effective tax burden will fall.

I don't know precisely what Osborne or Cameron have said on this. I am aware only of the "sharing the proceeds of growth" formula. I wasn't aware that we have promised that the way that would be shared was committed to involving a reduction over time in spending as a proportion of GDP. I do know that was what Letwin used to claim that the formula amounted to, when we first came up with it, but I don't know what our latest position on that is. Perhaps Louse does? Do you (or anyone else) have a quote from Cameron or Osborne committing to the principle that the way the proceeds of growth would be shared is intended to reduce public spending as a proportion of GDP over time? I am confident that this is, in fact, the intention, but I am not aware that this is a policy commitment.

Think about it

Spot on Andrew - the phrase is currently meaningless because it could mean equally a higher or lower overall tax burden.

Matthew Elliot of the TPA pointed out how the phrase is meaningless until such a split or committment to lowering the 'tax freedom day' is made.

Will the Cameroons therefore stop hiding behind this meaningless phrase and provide us with either the split or a commitment to make the TFD before 1st June?

Yes, yes we are used to the Blairite deception/ambiguous use of words - you publicly claim to support 'lower taxes' but that *actually* means certain specific taxes not a pledge to lower the overall burden.

Stephen Tolkinghorne


Looking at this little list of politically correct rubbish, there is no reason whatsoever to vote Conservative.

Would the last member to leave, please turn out the lights ?

It's just more weak, limp and irrelevant twaddle.


"I would rather tax pollution than enterprise or already-taxed family wealth."

Let's be realistic here. You can no more tax pollution than you can tax a pencil sharpener. What this really means is, "I would rather tax normal families who have two cars, drive to work and fly to Spain for their holidays."

I agree about not taxing "already-taxed family wealth" but implementing green taxes could result in us taking with one hand and giving back with the other. The Conservatives need to be very careful and specific with their 'green tax' agenda.

Stephen Tolkinghorne

"Of course nobody can be absolutely sure what they will do in government."

Oh for goodness sake. In that case, Margaret Thatcher could have played the same card, bearing in mind she was PM during the Cold War. She could have said that whilst she'd like to cut tax and roll back the frontiers of the state, she couldn't promise to as the Russians might attack any day.

She didn't, she said what she was going to do, and she jolly well did it !

Just goes to show that the present Tories really are entirely weak and spineless, without policy, principle or patriotism.

Oberon Houston

Good list Louise, however the bear factual actions leave me a little cold. Whilst I whole heartedly agree with the bones of your list, I think the real meat is in our attitude in government compared to the social engineering of Labour.

We believe in localising power (well we do now, which is a major departure from Thatcherism and NuLab). This means that there WILL be post-code lotteries for all sorts of things. It means that communities WILL have differing levels of service, but it will be up to the community to decide how to improve their amenities and services. The press say this is bad, but they don’t understand that when things are forced into equality, it is the lowest common denominator that rules, and this holds back progress.

We believe in elected police chiefs and policing tailored to the preferences and needs of the community they serve. We don't believe in central arrest targets which mean juveniles are arrested for throwing a cocktail sausage, placed on a database and DNA’d to meet their targets. We want to improve the community by helping the police do their job in the most effective manner.

We believe that the NHS needs to provide better patient care, that local health authorities should be able to manage their own affairs and that people should be able to choose where they are treated. We believe that under Labour the NHS is not healthy, but that we are committed to improving it using policies Labour simply will not consider, like the internal market Frank Dobson tore down just as it was starting to work and reforming the NHS to improve it’s effectiveness.

We believe that ID cards are not the way to improve security and that reducing individual liberty to levels we have fought wars in the past to protect is not the right way forward, but by installing better border protection, more appropriate immigration and visa restrictions we more effectively combat this.

Etc. etc. etc…. you get the gist.

Justin Hinchcliffe

"I never thought Id consider either abstaining or spoiling my ballot, but under Cameron's leadership that has become a very plausible option"

Posted by: James Maskell | August 23, 2007 at 09:12 AM

What an idiot! You telling me, James, that you're not going to vote for Roger Gale? Have you told Suzy?

I understand you're on the Exec of Thanet North. You ought to be kicked off !


I have to say that point three - "enough said" almost treats the Human Rights Act like its meaningless, and politically simple to repeal. Whilst there is an understandable backlash in light of recent events, the HRA is a very important national implementation of a Human Rights commitments that Britain signed up to decades ago under the ECHR. Its of course easy to offer "you couldn't make it up" anecdotes, but the Human Rights Act has, since 2000, offered real benefits, and is legisation of constitutional importance.

michael m

Today with this terrible shooting in Liverpool should have given the Conservatives the firing power to attack Blair/Brown for what has happened to Society during the past 10 years and they should have " Tough on crime..etc" thrown back at them. This is a time for every Conservative front bench member and MP to get on the media and be angry(YES ANGRY) at the sort of country we have become. We should now be seizing the law and order agenda. Instead we hear that Brown is having yet another Forum in Downing Street and in all seriousness and playing statesmanship telling us he is going to do something abou it

But what have I heard to date from the Conservatives? Nothing. Another example of the Parliamentary Party having virtually given up any hope of winning and preferring their Board rooms etc than to getting out their and storming the country

This is a gross betryal of their supporters and unless we can be elected, more years of this sort of terrible news hitting the headlines

Can someone please tell me where the Front Bench is at the moment?

Andrew Lilico

A nice article. Plenty to agree with and to disagree with. Let's see:

"1. We will stop Brown’s NHS cuts."

Our policy on this has predictably turned into a populist shambles. I'm all for highlighting weaknesses in the NHS when they are genuine, but our attack makes it seems as if we're claiming that the NHS is under-funded! I think that, once they reflect upon this, people will just think our approach here is populist nonsense.

"2. We will demand a referendum on the EU Constitution"

I don't believe in referendums. But then I also disagree with the new Treaty. And if we can force the government to promise not to ratify without a referendum then there won't be a Treaty (since Brown won't hold a referendum he'll lose), so that's a Good Thing. And Louise is right to think that it might even move some votes.

"3. We will scrap the Human Rights Act"

Good. Probably no votes in it, but worth mentioning anyway.

"4. We will abolish inheritance tax and look hard at cutting CGT, stamp duty on shares, and business taxation"

If only it were so!

"5. We will end early release schemes, build more prisons, increase magistrates’ powers to imprison for more than six months, eliminate police form-filling and targets, and make the police accountable to their local communities"

Authoritarian and populist Democrat claptrap. What we *ought* to be doing is promising to restore greater sentencing discretion to judges - not that there'd be any votes in that.

"6. We will deliver on Blair’s failed promise to be tough on the causes of crime"

Will we? Will we *really*? Do you think that anyone will believe us?

"7. If you Vote Blue, we will Go Green"

I generally disagree with the approach from a policy point of view, but I agree that it's good politics. Good.

"8. We will repatriate powers from Europe, and manage immigration properly"

The first of these is good. I don't believe we will really do anything about the latter - and nor should we. Do we *really* want to object to lots of Italians and Poles and Germans coming to live here?

"9. Only the Conservatives have a quality of life agenda"

Nice if you can make it mean something...

"10. An end to grade inflation and one size fits all teaching. Power to expel bullies. Syllabus reform"

We may be getting somewhere on this one, though I'd have thought a commitment to change the exam grades basis from a competency threshold principle (comparison ppossible across time) to a relative performance principle (comparison only possible within year) was really the way to go. Who cares, really, whether my grade A is better or worse than that of someone who took the exam five years ago? Isn't it much more important to be able to tell who are the 10% best performers this year?

So, a mixed bag. But, vitally, I see no "killer" reason. I don't believe that exams are won on these kinds of policy bases. I believe that they are won on political positioning - "Thatcherism with a human face" (Labour 1997), "The proceeds of prudence to improve the public services" (Labour 2001), "Market methods to deliver social justice solutions" (Conservatives 2012?) - that kind of thing is what we really need.

Andrew Lilico

"exams"!! I obviously meant "elections". Point 10 still so fresh in my mind...


Andrew - I like "Market methods to deliver social justice solutions". Though something a little catchier perhaps?!

Andrew Lilico

Iain - I'd meant it as a positioning rather than a slogan, but I'm sure a slogan version could be devised...


Just a bit of silliness on my part.

michael m

With all respect to your logical essay, ordinary people are just not interested in academic arguments

They are concerned about gun/knife/gang crime/their pocket/immigration/health service that they can relate to etc etc

You and all of us should be telling the Front Bench and the MPs to get out there campaigning, showing their anger and making people believe there is an alternative.

We can talk amongst ourselves on these issues until the cows come home, but the only people who can achieve anything are those representing us in Parliament.

I ask again, where are they? Have they given up?


What about repairing the lives of those who have suffered as a result of the Blair-Brown partnership? Many people have not done well out of the Labour years. Give them hope and the votes will follow.

A commitment to hold a public inquiry into Labour corruption would be a big vote winner too. If it was made clear that the inquiry would look deeply into the affairs of Labour donors would end their funding too.

Andrew Lilico

[email protected]:32

?? I'm a bit confused. Did you mean me? Which "academic arguments"? And which of these had you thought I suggested "ordinary people" are interested in?

I'm sure you are right to think that "They are concerned about gun/knife/gang crime/their pocket/immigration/health service that they can relate to etc etc". But we don't just want them to be concerned. We want them to vote for *us*! And in my opinion it is not policies that win elections. It is political positioning. Labour has been vastly better than us at political positioning since 1994.

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