Friday, July 25, 2008

Life Under Fag-End Government


Time for the sunlit uplands

Shattered. Yet we've still got them for another two years. How much more damage can they do in their desperate attempts to save their reptilian skins?

It looks grim. Staggering out of the ruins of Glasgow East, they're already meeting with the unions. You and I understand the bruvvers are now Labour's only source of funds, yet one shell-shocked Brown adviser says of the Glasgow result "If we're lucky it could focus minds and weaken [sic] the trade unions. Which would be good for Gordon."

Back in the real world, the unions know the game's up and are intent on looting as much as they can before the final day of reckoning. They've drawn up 100 demands for new "workers rights", including an entitlement to six months paternity leave and a right to secondary picketing as per Arfer Scargill. The public sector unions - ie most of the unions - are also demanding an end to the 2% pay policy. Oh, and a new 50% tax rate for the undeserving rich.

Beyond that, we should expect more tax bribery all round. We've already had U-turns on the 10p tax rate and fuel duty, and a flip-flop on Vehicle Excise Duty isn't far away. We could see more. A US style income tax cut in the face of unprecedented global wossnames? Action on stamp duty to help first time buyers? We can all put together a list.

Clearly we're strongly in favour of lower taxes, but not like this. Not a random series of panicky retreats in response to the latest dire headlines, which will balloon the fiscal deficit and we'll have to repay after the election. What we want is a clear and sustainable strategy for smaller government.

But even more concerning than our looming fiscal Götterdämmerung are the decisions that will be delayed even further: the new power stations urgently needed to handle our fast approaching energy gap, fundamental welfare reform, more prison places so we can stop releasing dangerous thugs onto our streets, etc etc. None of that will even start to happen until May 2010.

The Major's friend Mr Gomulka can't stand any more. He reckons he's joining the rush to Canada, which is apparently the new bolt-hole of choice, Oz having gone communist. The air in Alberta (pic above) is clean, living costs are low, they'll welcome you with open arms, and the whole place is floating on the second largest proven oil reserves in the world. Which is nice. You just need to wrap up warm in winter (like, -81.4F warm).

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