Monday, April 28, 2008

10 Pence And Gordon Brown

Jack Straw, stuttering anxiously through a Radio Five interview this morning, said the consequences of the abolition of the 10 pence rate of income tax on the childless poor in this country were "unforeseen".

Perhaps readers will help me, because I can't figure out what's worse: the very likely possibility that that is a flagrant lie, or the idea that the previous Chancellor, now our amazingly ineffective and accident-prone Prime Minister, should have been preparing budgets in the manner of a Jackson Pollock wannabe throwing paint at a wall to see what patterns the drips made.

I never thought I'd say it, but I'm becoming a little bit nostalgic for the days of Tony Blair. I disagreed with him on almost everything, but he did keep Labour in government for a long, long time. Gordon Brown seems set to gift David Cameron the next election on a silver platter.

But here's another unpalatable thought. Perhaps that's what Labour needs. A Tory Government will be appalling in every way, make no mistake. But what use are Labour at the moment, to those who need them? Maybe a little time in the wilderness will help them to realign, find their focus and their conscience again so they can relearn who their real friends are. Those fickle selfish middle Englanders whom the abolition of the 10 pence rate was designed to attract?

If they are the constituency the party cares about now, I would have to question my own continued alliegance to Labour.

Oh, and by the way, despite what I have written above, I will still vote Labour the next time I have the chance to do so. But I'll be putting my cross in their box with no confidence at all that I'm using my vote in the most responsible way.


Ralph Murre said...

Sounds like the quandary we've found ourselves in over on the west side of the pond -- the Democrats' shaky platform now seems to lean a lot farther to the right than did the Republicans' of my youth -- the so-called left just running along after the big shit-wagon of the right, hoping to catch a few turds that fall off.

Meanwhile, they dare us to vote for third party candidates or none at all. I nurture a faint hope for Obama to change this situation in some small way.

Bruce Hodder said...

Yes, my vote would be with Obama too. A lot of the American poets have castigated me for calling it that way--saying I don't get the American system, Obama is just a corporate puppet etc etc--but I like him, even with all of his little gaffes and what have you. To me he seems sincere, or as sincere as a politician can be when they're trying to sell themselves to the electorate. Hillary Clinton leaves me cold. Is that sexism? Some would have you believe so, especially since I hated Margaret Thatcher as well.