Political Luddites

The Labour/SNP coalition has announced that income tax will be charged on a simple band reflecting a percentage of income starting at 30% for anyone earning £30,000 per year, 40% for those earning £40,000 per year and rising to a maximum of 90% for those earning £90,000 and above. Anyone vandalising a vehicle worth more than £60,000 will not face charges under the “Deterrence Against Earning Enough Money to be Classed as Rich” law, introduced in the wake of the Mansion Tax to target any person deemed to have financial means that puts them in the TTB (Top Ten percent Bracket). The price of Champagne is to quadruple under VAT tax supplement laws targeting any types of food or drink costing more than £25 for a single item to include such items as lobsters above a certain weight, crab and other “exotic” foods. Clothes costing more than £500 at point of purchase for a single item, such as suits and women’s dresses, will be taxed at 50%.

Well, obviously, I’m kidding – for the time being at least – but you take my point, I hope. There really is no actual limit to number of populist laws Labour can dream up during the course of a five-year tenure. I spent much of my life working in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union where, during the 60-odd years of Soviet-inspired Communism, I regularly took taxis driven by surgeons and doctors from the local hospital who earned more per diem behind the wheel than they did performing brain operations and curing the sick. Had they not believed their medical-related job to be a vocation, they’d have taxi-ed full-time. Stalin was all about populism and attacking the rich and privileged. It’s the wave of envy and hatred on which he rose to power. Communism remained popular for a few years while the rich were dying out but its legacy was in creating societies where the only people with money were politicians, their appointees and criminals while the rest spent their lives doing as little as possible in their jobs while milking a system in which everyone, whatever their skills, was effectively paid the same.

The Labour party under Ed Miliband is espousing the values of the failed Labour governments of Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan where the top rate of tax was 90%, Trades Unions dictated government policy, there was mass unemployment and you were not allowed to take more than £50 out of the country in a single year to spend on holidays. Almost every day we hear Miliband announce another populist measure – non-doms to pay tax, scrap Trident (only a matter of time), tax expensive homes, raise corporation tax – etc. etc. while none of it takes account of the actual financial cost to the nation. The “rich” will pay for everything. Labour under Miliband has become a party of political Luddites yearning for a past that never existed and waging what in economic terms will become a pyric victory if they ever got close to power.

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