Thursday, April 29, 2010

Letter to Nick Clegg

Hours away from the final Leaders' Debate, here's a plea to the Lib Dem leader. Your plan to scrap tax on the low paid is your winning card. Use it.

Dear Mr Clegg,

I know you're never going to read this letter but, as the clock is ticking towards the third and final Leaders' Debate, there is one thing in particular I'd like to ask you.

You're probably aware of this already, but did you know you have a real trick up your sleeve that you didn't quite use up in the previous debates?

There is in fact one of the Lib Dems' manifesto policies that chimes with voters more than any other. I read last week that over 80 per cent of the electorate agree with it.

I'm talking about your excellent plan to lift the low-paid out of taxation altogether. Around 4m workers in Britain earn under £10,000 a year and pay a precious 20% of that sum to Inland Revenue.

Your proposal will mean £700 in extra cash available to all of them. This is a true vote-winner and you need to spell it out loud and clear tonight on the BBC and maybe even repeat it a couple of times.

While the other two can waffle about with words like "challenge", "big society" and "tough times ahead", the Lib Dems' tax plan would definitely stand out.

And that's because it is factual, fair and progressive. It would have the same impact the minimum wage had. It would show whose side you and your party are on. It would strike a chord with people - the millions of voters who know far too well what it feels like to struggle with bills and trips to Poundland in a quest to make ends meet.

£700 a year may be spare change to a City gambler, a Tory donor, or a Premier League football player, but to most ordinary people it can really make a difference.

It could mean less chances of slipping down the circle of depression. It could help most families torn apart by poverty-related rows and assorted dramas. It could mean an end to red letters, final demands and defaulting on repayments. It could mean treating kids to better clothes or a small holiday. It would allow a lot of people to afford better and healthier food or, who knows, it could even be put aside for savings, the kids' future education or whatever.

Not only that. The Lib Dems' tax plan would ruthlessly expose Labour's ineptitude (they had the time and the numbers to come up with something similar in the last 13 years but never did).

It would also humiliate David Cameron. What better chance for the viewers to compare the Tories' inheritance tax cuts in favour of millionaire's kids with your proposal in favour of millions of ordinary workers and pensioners? Have you noticed how embarrassed Cameron looks each time their inheritance tax plan is mentioned on TV? The guy knows this is deeply unpopular, especially in the middle of a massive downturn.

In short, your plan to scrap tax under £10,000 is a serious vote winner. Please Mr Clegg, use it.

Wishing you all the best for tonight,

A potential Lib Dem voter.


Jackart said...

This is of course, a Tory aspiration. It is Labour who've most egregiously shafted the poor.

Inheritance tax is only liked by leftists. To most people it is the unfairest tax of them all, and the promise to cut it kick-started the Tory revival.

Take the anti-Tory blinkers off.

'Humiliate'? Cameron talked warmly of this very proposal to raise the poor out of tax in not one, but two conference speeches, but has concluded it is unaffordable at present. Meanwhile Brown raises tax on the poor by removing the 10p rate and raising NI.

Clegg and Cammo agree on all but timing. If anyone's going to be humiliated tonight, It's McDoom.

claude said...

I think you picked the wrong party.

"Inheritance tax is only liked by leftists.
Eh? Are you alright? What else is liked by "leftists", monarchy? Bank de-regulation? Slavery? The abolition of the minimum wage?
World seen upside down, right?

You find that the loony rightists have been hysterical in their opposition to:

1) the minimum wage,
2) raising the minimum wage;
3) extensions to maternity leave;
4) basic rights for agency workers.

I havent got much time now, but I'll tell you one thing.
In 1979-80 the Thatcher government seriously proposed the abolition of statutory maternity leave. They wanted it to be at the discretion of the employer. If proved too costly, the woman could basically lose her job simply for being pregnant. That's textbook loony rightist policy. It was so obnoxious that in the end the Tory party decided to shelve it. But it was famously brought forward at the first Question Time ever broadcast on the BBC.

"Cameron talked warmly of this very proposal to raise the poor out of tax in not one, but two conference speeches, but has concluded it is unaffordable at present.
I note they can afford inheritance tax cuts however.

Paul said...

Raising the tax threshold in this way is a good idea. It's also UKIP policy interestingly enough and is Libertarianism at its best in this instance.

Paul said...

My comment seems to have disappeared. Anyway this raising of the tax threshold is a good idea.

claude said...

APOLOGIES we had big technical problems...!

asquith said...

Definitely the right thing to do. I am more a liberal than a socialist so I much preferred this suggestion over Brown's praise for his means-testing empire & repeated assertions of how good it is, backed up with no evidence. As I keep saying, he should do what I did a while back & try to actually administer the utter shite he puts through, I was a volunteer at a CAB a bit ago & that really made me become more anti-statist, my concern for the welfare of the worst off if anything increased but I got an impression of what does & doesn't work effectively & these tax credits Brown praises so fulsomely aren't helping anything like as much as he thinks.

I applauded his statements & deplored what Brown says. Don't suppose you heard a broadcast of voters' responses from Stoke on Radio 4? I was there, the place it was held is only a 5-minute walk from where my mum lives. The journalists were all right people & I met some types like Gary Elsby & them.

Good to see you in agreement Paul, I suspect you & I wouldn't often be in accord but I like issues like civil liberties where people can form weird alliances over issues. I find that preferable to party politics as I don't especially feel at home in any party.

I've made up my mind who to vote for- but I like to keep people guessing as to who it is :)

I'm a bit snowed under working & doing other stuff (none of which is much fun- but then it never is) & I'd welcome some more posts to have a look at if you're able!

I was on a cycling trip & found myself in Shropshire. Imagine my surprise when I saw a sign encouraging passers-by to vote for Owen Paterson becuse we should "vote for change". How the fuck is it change to re-elect him for the millionth time?