lördag 24 maj 2008

What does the by-election result tell us?

A lot, yet very little, I would suggest. The Conservatives did not win the Crewe by-election. Labour lost it. Gordon Brown should never have become Prime Minister, and the fact that he wanted the job so much and has performed so badly since he got it is an good illustration of the point made by Plato, that an essential qualification for the leaders of a country is not wanting to do the job.

It is also the case the Labour has got its tax policies in a mess, but nobody else's are any better. All the Conservatives seem to be proposing is to make cuts and savings. Whilst the idea of savings is good in principle, in practice it has tended to lead to more spending as extra staff are taken on to oversee the cuts. In any case, the scope for cuts is limited when the government has so many domestic and overseas committments. An important one of which is to attempt to put right the collateral damage caused by the tax system itself.

The really worrying aspect of the result is that nobody appears able to move out of the present conceptual straitjacket that holds taxation and economic policy in its grip and prevents movement in a useful direction. One might not expect fresh thinking from a party of government caught up with the day-to-day management of events, but the parties of oppositon have no such excuse.

It is shameful that neither the Liberal Democrats or the Conservatives have produced coherent policy options which offer the British people plausible alternatives to the present mess.

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