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"Quality" of public services? Now there's a joke. Any quality service you get from a public provider is down to the occasional individual who hasn't yet been ground down by the shortsightedness, inefficiency, complexity and sheer bloody-mindedness of the public service system.

It's the taxpayer who is the public servant now, simply there to cough up the cash to pay for the inflation-proof pension, the part-time cushy membership of quangos, the councillors' salaries, the consultants' fees - need I go on?

The most interesting thing about this poll is the headline. Anthony King (former boyfriend of a certain leading LibDem female) normally loses no opportunity to bash the Tories.

Perhaps that rumoured Kameron trip to see the Barclay Bros is paying off.

If the genuine choice were between tax cuts and a stable economy then nobody in their right senses would choose tax cuts, but of course that is the BIG LIE which has been repeated relentlessly by the Cameron/Osborne mafia. Perhaps our resident YouGov pollster will comment on this ridiculous question?

What is even more more interesting is that the 30% of respondents at the time of the 2005 election who thought the Tories would handle tax best has now dropped to 25%, while Labour remains constant at 20%.

sjm, yes, you do need to go on! The "Bumper book of government waste" by the Taxpayers' Alliance should be compulsory reading for all voters!

A very helpful report.

Perhaps the tax cutting lobby can now raise their game i.e. by producing a positive case for tax cuts instead of bashing "the Cameron/Osborne mafia" for their astute electoral strategy.

To be fair, some tax cutters are on the case -- but the wingnuts really need to shut up and allow their saner co-belligerents to be heard.

"To be fair, some tax cutters are on the case -- but the wingnuts really need to shut up and allow their saner co-belligerents to be heard."

What's a "wingnut" Ian? I hope it's not just a cheap insult, because that would tell the rest of us more about you than anybody else?

Care to outline briefly your "sane" case for tax cuts?

Hmmmmmmm, how convenient for You.Gov to ride to the rescue ....again....

Since we are on promoting particular books to groups, could I recommend the "Road to Serfdom" by Hayek for Cameron and Osborne?

A wingnut is the rightwing equivalent of a moonbat -- that is the sort of person who applies inappropriate terms like 'mafia' to the democratically elected leadership of the Conservative Party.

Obviously you object to the term, but you invite its use when you throw out your own cheap insults -- especially those you put in bold all caps as if people aren't going to notice the words 'big lie' unaided.

In any case the leadership has never said that it is either tax cuts or a stable economy. They have said that they would put the latter before the former if they came into conflict -- which in some circumstances they can do. Even this is not to say that tax cuts can cause instability, rather it is to make the point that mistakes of the previous Conservative Government (which delivered tax cuts but which failed to stabilise the economy at the end of the 1980s) will not be repeated.

A sane case for tax cuts is one that would seek to reduce the need for taxation by reducing the demand for government. It would also look at which taxes inflict the greatest burden on the economic growth -- and prioritise those for action. It would not ignore the impact of taxation policy on the poor or the environment. Tactically, it would seek to make its case on a non-partisan basis and would never resort to intemperate language.

What "tax cuts"? Under the Forsyth proposals tax revenues would continue to rise, they would just not rise as quickly as they have in recent years, and they would not rise as quickly as GDP. I believe it was a mistake ever to talk about "tax cuts" or even "tax relief". The correct narrative is that, yes, there had been a period when public services had been significantly underfunded, and that needed to be corrected, but the tax take cannot continue to rise faster than the economy grows. If anybody argued with that, they should be asked directly if they thought that the tax take could continue to rise faster than economic growth indefinitely, until it actually exceeded the total production in the country? The real question is whether the tax burden has already reached the point where it is becoming a drag on the economy and slowing growth. Personally I believe that to be the case.

I suppose the main reason that the ordinary person in the street still doesn't grasp that damage that Brown has done to the Pension Funds, the devious muddle he is making of taxes - with more in the pipe-line, and the total fiasco of benefits, is because it is all too difficult to 'get ones head around'. Or at least it appears to be.

If you plough through an article like the one in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday, which described as clearly as they could with facts from reports, and figures, it was/is possible to comprehend at least superficially the utter callous 'balls-up' that this Chancellor has made both of private sector pensions and the economy in general - when compared with the one that he took over in '97. And he hasn't finished yet, what was being said over the weekend about more and more big enterprises taking their centres of operation out of this country to avoid the tax muddle.

Quite frankly it gave me a feeling of horror that this is the man that will shortly (probably) be given the job that will enable him to apply his devastating 'skills' to every other aspect of our lives in this country! Perhaps the man in the street needs to be asked whether they think that is a good idea. The question should not be 'would Brown make a good PM', but 'would they like the man who has introduced so many new taxes, to have a free reign over the rest of their lives to introduce new rules and regulations as he pleased???'

Just to interpolate...............those who oppose tax cuts...........do you favour fiscal drag whereby more and more people are brought into the high rate tax band and more and more houses become eligible for IHT ?

Or do you view reversing fiscal drag as a "tax cut" and therefore a cause of economic instability ?

The problem is that when most people go into their local nhs hospital or school and see buildings that looks neglected, or go into their GP and be told that they can't get an appointment for days, they feel that something needs to be done.

NuLab have managed to to take advantage of this feeling and have promised to fix things by spending more. The fact that things haven't improved much since 97 isn't yet regestering.

Promising billions of pounds worth of tax cuts just scares a lot of people, who see it as billions of pounds worth of spending cuts.

Yet, the reality is that low taxation economies can actually bring in more income as it encourages people to generate more wealth, which results in greater income from taxation. Nobody has yet managed to communicate this way in a manner that can be included in a soundbite on a news broadcast.

We can either try to communicate the case for lower taxes, without scaring people with commitements to cut taxes by billions, or we can let this lot keep increasing taxes until our eceonomy becomes so uncompetitive that people finally realise something needs to be done.

(excuse the spelling mistakes ... must learn to type more accurately!)

hen most people go into their local nhs hospital or school and see buildings that looks neglected, or go into their GP

Do they understand that their GP is FORBIDDEN from investing more than £100.000 in his surgery to force him to go LIFT and use Norwich Union PFI so the surgery passes out of the GP's hands and into ownership of financiers ?

Do they know that ALL new schools and hospitals are built on PFI and that the hospital has to pay the bidding costs, and then pay to lease the hospital from the same budgets that pay for health care and wages ?

Do patients know that Brown has deferred tax increases by using PFI but when the lease expires these hospitals/schools etc have to be bought back from investors ?

Hey Stuart Raven, I rather fear that - as an American would put it - Ian Sider handed you your arse on that one!

Hardly, although I think you left the 'n' out of his name.

The sane case for tax cuts has been put repeatedly by respected Tory politicians from Norman Tebbit through John Redwood to Michael Forsyth. They are repeating endlessly the proven truth that by putting hard-earned cash back in the pockets of consumers and businessmen we will actually increase overall tax revenue.

In reply we get the same mindless mantra from the Cameron/Osborne mafia, aided by Mr Snider (CCHQ?) that it's either tax cuts or economic stability. Even Portillo has clearly implied that they don't believe a word of it.

I called it a Big Lie, and I will continue to call it a Big Lie because that is exactly what it is.

The party demands tax cuts and the country needs them. If the Cameron/Osborne mafia believe that they are incapaple of putting a coherent case to the electorate perhaps they should make way for Conservatives who are.

Let's just suppose, subjecting ourselves to a really nasty headache in the process, that there really is a case for spending huge, vast, unimaginable sums on public services.

Is there anybody out there who could really convince me that politicians (of any colour) know how to spend my money better than I do?

Hmm, let's have a quick think - Airbus, Dome, tower blocks, means-testing, welfare state, Kosovo, Iraq - you'll all add to the list, I've got to go and put the shopping away and make tea.

You can add the Scottish Parliament to that list sjm.

They didn't even choose a Scotsman to design the monstrosity and to add insult to injury the guy died before the full extent of the scandal was known.

The confrontation we're witnessing - within our party - comes down to this.

Conservatism v Socialism

"The problem is that when most people go into their local nhs hospital or school and see buildings that looks neglected, or go into their GP and be told that they can't get an appointment for days, they feel that something needs to be done."

Unfortunately it doesn't occur to them to do something themselves. Instead it must be the omnipotent and omniscient state that provides all the answers and solutions.

"They are repeating endlessly the proven truth that by putting hard-earned cash back in the pockets of consumers and businessmen we will actually increase overall tax revenue."

One reason tax cutters have not persuded the public is they don't stick with reality. The Forsyth report made two points - tax cuts do not create the same amount of income as the cuts and any increase in income is impossible to calculate in advance. I would also remind people that Margaret Thatcher was famous for wanting spending/tax books balanced.

I,m sorry Stuart Raven you'r the one with the "Big Lie" and voters see people like you in the party and, however much they like Cameron, they are put off voting Tory - as a Mr Hattersley has observed.

I guess this poll really shows how we as a party have to raise our game to persuade the electorate of both the economic and moral case for a reduction in tax take. As with the EU debate I think adopting a moderate and carefully thought out tone will be a much more successful strategy than the name calling demonstrated by some of the bloggers on this site.

Unfortunately it doesn't occur to them to do something themselves. Instead it must be the omnipotent and omniscient state that provides all the answers and solutions.

Yes Richard - I cannot afford to build an Oncology Department nor to fund Cardio-Thoracic Surgeons, and I know of very few people in Britain who can afford to fund their own medical care; and there is no insurance company bigger than one with 100% membership of a nation of 61.5 million.

Likewise I cannot afford a Eurofighter at £60 million each, nor a pilot - I have to pool resources with the rest of you

These findings point to the fact that the majority of voters equate tax cuts with service cuts. My feeling is that proposals for big cuts in taxes will lose us votes. I accept that done properly tax cuts can increase tax revenue but so far we have not suceeded in getting that message across. I am not sure that more loudly calling for tax cuts will persuade the public. People primarily just want a good local school and hospital, well maintained roads and safe streets. Somehow we seem to keep approaching the debate from the wrong angle. Generally I have liked the approach of DC as he tries to find a new way of tackling this. I think he has hit on something with "social responsibility" but somehow we need to focus on that and explain it. It is going to be a bumpy ride until we settle on a concensus about what we stand for and how we get it across,


I think it is a challenge. I saw Portillo on TV last week agreeing that we are massively over-taxed, and saying that a reduction in tax rates would stimulate economic growth and actually increase tax revenues, but also saying that the public did not understand or believe that and he had found it far too difficult to convince them. In fact he had found it far too difficult to convince even John Sergeant, the BBC's chief political correspondent, and had given up trying.

However such a capitulation would mean that the admittedly counter-intuitive argument that lower tax rates would produce higher, not lower, tax revenues would be lost, and the UK economy would be condemned to slow growth.

Personally I believe that it's a huge PR mistake to use the term "tax cuts", and it's a pity that the Forsyth report does so. The word "cuts" immediately summons up the vision of less money being available for the public services that the voters rely on and rightly or wrongly regard as being vital to their well-being and that of their families. They won't vote for their local NHS hospital to be shut down, or for their children's school to be allowed to crumble away, and so on.

Nor do I think that the term "tax relief" is that much better than "tax cuts" - that can prompt the idea that the Tories want to relieve their wealthy friends of paying tax, at the expense of everybody else.

Maybe it would be better to talk about "slowing the growth of the tax burden".

Which would in fact be the effect of the Forsyth proposals, in terms of percentage of GDP taken as tax, but while the word "cuts" has deeply negative connotations the word "growth" is far more likely to evoke a positive emotional response, and it does honestly reflect the reality that tax revenues would still continue to rise and so each year there would be more money available to spend on public services.

At the same time, the word "burden" helps to convey a more complicated reality - that beyond a certain point taxation starts to become a drag on the economy.

Matt @ 23.55 - I entirely agree with you that it SEEMS as if 'we' are approaching the subject of 'tax' from the wrong angle.

I got VERY angry on Sunday watching Catherwood interviewing Andrew Lansley, because she had obviously been instructed to 'nail' the MP on lowering taxes. She thinks that being aggressive and rude will do the job, in fact it achieved something that neither Catherwood or her editor would have wanted! it showed Mr. Lansley to be a patient and tolerant man, doing his best to explain to someone who didn't want to listen.

Most people seem to agree that the media - terrestrial TV, is biased or HAVE THEIR OWN AGENDA. At the moment their agenda is taxation and making whoever they can nobble admit to a policy of lowering taxes. It seems to me that when a Conservative MP or Shadow Cabinet Minister allows himself to be interviewed, and therefore subjects himself to whatever the biased editors decide to throw at him, if he conducts himself in a reasonable manner he can come across as mild (of course I am sure he doesn't feel it), and maybe even somewhat ineffectual! THAT is what will come across to the viewer at home!

So you have the downright hostility of the media, to consider before an interview and then the determination to endlessly stick to the subject on their particular agenda. The result of this is that the voters get totally turned off!! Maybe this is what the media wants!!, because they want a Labour government for ever. But I suspect they don't actually think that coherently!

So I think that maybe CCHQ advisors should somehow address the probable hostility of the media, when considering an interview, rather then hoping to actually manage to explain a policy or non-policy to the audience, becuase they won't get the chance anyway.

Headline in yesterday's Mail 'Brown haas landed us with the world's highest property taxes'.

The article starts - 'Britain has the highest property taxes in the world according to an international survey that lays bare Gordon Brown's assault on the middle classes.'

'Soaring council taxes have sent the UK to the top of the league table compiled by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.'

'The figures show British households pay 64 per cent more in property duties than the French and seven times more than the German homeowners.'

'As a percentage of income, the cost of living in a British property was almost 70% higher than the international average.'

I think a lot more should be done (by CCHQ?) to inform the public as to WHO these sort of statistics (and there are many more - even more shocking in the article!), actually apply to. I am quite sure that very many of the inhabitants of all the thousands of neat, new housing estates that are springing up all over the country do NOT consider themselves 'middle class' in the context that the media usually use that term (in other words derogatively), but actually in terms of TAXATION on their nice new privately owned houses, THEY ARE MIDDLE CLASS, and paying more taxes for being law-abiding and tax-paying, than ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD!!

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