Sunday, 31 July 2011
Lord Lamont, Chancellor when Britain came out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in September 1992, is reported to be campaigning for the 50% tax rate to be scrapped. The old argument about inhibiting growth & stifling initiative is being trotted out as an unchallengeable truth. But it is NOT true. Quite the reverse. I have met hundreds of businessmen running small start ups over the last ten yrs or so and not one has cited income tax as a disincentive simply because very few actually get anywhere near the £150000 a year needed for the 50% to kick in. To quote just one example two founder directors of a manufacturing company that is successful and created some ten jobs took a cut in salary of at least 50% each in order to follow the dream. The current MD doesn't even get half of the £150k. If he went back from whence he came - into finance - then he would be paying 50p in the pound. Far from cutting the tax there should be another level of 85% on all income, however defined, ( I won't call it earnings because in a lot of cases it is not actually earned - especially in financial services) in excess of half a million a year. The second false claim is that such a move would drive out talent. What talent? The talent for wrecking the economy? The talent for smart financial manipulation that causes massive grief for elderly, infirm, learning difficulty people? We can surely do without such talent.
Yesterdays Financial Times [30th July] ran a big feature about private luxury yachts. Some of these can cost up to one billion USDollars and indeed provide highly skilled work for people. But some folk are never content. According to the article one such yacht remains anchored in Cap d'Antibes with just a skipper on board because, due to the price of fuel, it would cost some £300000 to fill it up with diesel. My eyes welled up with tears at the thought of the deprivation suffered by the poor owner.
Friday, 29 July 2011
It is all very well and praiseworthy for the LibDems to support the Prime Minister when the issue is one of policy to which we have agreed,(more or less & probably reluctantly). However when the issue is his personal competence, judgment & style, typified by the Andy Coulson affair, the LibDems - even the Deputy Prime Minister - OWE CAMERON ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. He completely, unashamedly & ruthlessly shafted us over the AV vote. The NewsCorp scandal, & Camerons closeness to those in charge, should be payback time & LibDems should be going for him hammer & tongs & not let Miliband steal the show & the credit
Wednesday, 20 July 2011
Those of us who are old enough to remember Rupert buying the News of the World and have noted the comparison between the way his media treated his own divorce in contrast to the way it treated the matrimonial problems of other celebrities (and not such celebrities), and watched the ruthlessness with which his media has exposed wrongdoing (even though some of those exposed were innocent - tough on them) and have witnessed the virulence of Fox News anchormen,and much much else besides, watched the outpourings of sorry, regret etc etc from the 'clan' yesterday with a certain cynicism. You might think that what they are REALLY sorry about is being found out - I couldn't possibly comment.
Monday, 18 July 2011
The arrest of Rebekah Brooks has seriously hampered the ability of MPs to question her. Was it 'blundering incompetence' on the part of the Police, as Geoffrey Robinson QC has suggested just a few minutes ago on the News? Or could it possibly have actually been a rather clever move?
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
The 38degrees Group conducted a survey in which 78.8% of respondents pushed for the banks to pay their fair share of taxes & clamp down on bonuses. Week after week even papers like the Financial Times warn repeatedly of the dangers of failure to effectively reform the system. So what do we get? Sir John Vickers has issued an initial report which talks about 'ringfencing' retail from investment banking. George Osborne has indicated he can accept this although the banks are howling with rage about it. But even Nigel Lawson thinks that that proposal doesn't go far enough to deal with the situaton. There's something for the Tory right wing to ponder. According to the Observer [Demand to curb casino banking threatens split in coalition 3rd July 2011] at long last the LibDems have realised that patching up Tory policies in the National Interest is electorally disastrous because the voters, correctly, do not necessarily see the said National Interest being properly served by such patches. By contrast the voters are deeply upset because everyone is suffering pain EXCEPT the very people who created the meltdown. The government seems to be living in terror of the financial market. Parliament should be there to protect the people from the abuse of such power.That's why it was created several centuries ago. Otherwise why bother with it.
On 15th April this year I wrote about the Murdoch press & how the 'phone tapping scandal was, it was being argued by senior politicians, no reason to deny the expansion of his empire. Now the scandal has got infinitely worse but I don't suppose it will make much difference. The Telegraph is upset about it. Boo hoo. What a pity it didn't think about this when it allowed its visceral hatred of the LibDems to overcome its judgment & destroy the one member of the Government who was not in Murdoch's pocket. Still we can draw comfort from the fact that another organ of the great British print media, the Daily Express, re-assures us that all Britain's problems are the fault of the EU. How fatuous can you get. The EU is as impotent as our government when confronted by the overwhelming power of money & media.