MacShane outflanks the Conservatives


by Rumbold
27th May, 2008 at 11:30 am    

Labour MP and former Europe minister Dennis MacShane has called for tax and spending cuts in order to benefit the lowest paid in society. He has also set out a compelling vision for why this should be so:

“Any prime minister in office today would feel the voters’ anger as they see their cherished plans to spend their own money as they see fit destroyed by rising prices combined with the insatiable greed of the state in all its manifestations to take the people’s money for its own, often incompetent and counter-productive ends…

When trade unions and the Fabians invented what became the 20th-century Labour Party, no working man or woman paid any tax. It was easy to call for higher taxes because only the Tory-voting bourgeoisie paid them. Now working people are faced with massive deductions from their pay. There is some compensation for those on low incomes with young children, but a third of the voters in the London mayoral elections were single or childless people. The tired references to “hard-working families” upset all the voters who live by themselves, do not have children at home and are denied tax credits.

Can the Left be tax-cutters? Why not? The Attlee government cut income tax levels by 20 per cent (admittedly from high wartime levels). In 1960 a worker on average unskilled manual earnings paid only eight per cent of his income in tax. By 1970 that had risen to 20 per cent, and it has stayed high ever since. Labour should seek to help its own natural constituency by allowing more money to stay in people’s pockets. Modern socialists should worship neither the state nor the market – the individual human being should be at the centre of our concerns. Granting more autonomy and control over individual lives is best done by providing the material means to achieve this emancipation.”

This is likely to cause the Conservatives some discomfort, as they risk being left as the party of big and expensive government if the Labour party follows Dennis MacShane’s advice and re-positions itself as the party of the working class (i.e. those that work). This could prove David Cameron’s toughest challenge yet.


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6 Comments below   |  

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  1. Bishop Hill — on 27th May, 2008 at 12:42 pm  

    Come off it! He is saying that everything the party has stood for is wrong! He’s right of course, but nobody is going to be believe it’s a genuine conversion.

  2. Hermes123 — on 27th May, 2008 at 2:14 pm  

    He is right, but he is forgetting that New Labour has moved on too far from being the party of Attlee’s government. It is now riddled with Eton-educated professionals, career politicians and politics graduates who see it all as an intellectual game. The party no longer has a base, unlike the Tories. That is why they will lose, no matter who the leader is next time.

  3. Gege — on 27th May, 2008 at 5:39 pm  

    I’m not sure that he has ‘outflanked’ the Tories. The tories have been pointing out for years that spending was too high and they were shouted down by labour.

    Anyhow, there is no evidence that the government will adopt his plans. He is just a back bencher.

  4. cjcjc — on 27th May, 2008 at 6:27 pm  

    I read his article this morning with amazement.
    Where was he when taxes and spending were being ramped up?
    And what on earth, exactly, is he up to?
    Desperately trying to prevent the (inevitable?) post-Brown lurch to the left?
    What?
    Still, very very entertaining…
    Conservative Home covering it, of course.
    Labour Home more or less dead, as far as one can tell.

  5. Rumbold — on 27th May, 2008 at 7:51 pm  

    Bishop Hill:

    “Come off it! He is saying that everything the party has stood for is wrong! He’s right of course, but nobody is going to be believe it’s a genuine conversion.”

    Dennis MacShane is too much of a EUphile for my liking, but he has always come across as a bit of an charming oddball. Therefore if he doesn’t believe this, there must be a reason for saying it.

    Hermes123:

    “The party no longer has a base, unlike the Tories.”

    But the Conservatives base is also shrinking, as its members die off.

    Gege:

    “I’m not sure that he has ‘outflanked’ the Tories.”

    The Conservatives used to be committed to the principle of giving our money back, but now they are not. They want to keep tax levels as high as they are now, which means that any talk of an overall tax cut by other parties outflanks their current position.

    Cjcjc:

    “I read his article this morning with amazement.”

    So did I- I even spluttered.

  6. Praguetory — on 28th May, 2008 at 8:05 pm  

    ‘This could prove David Cameron’s toughest challenge yet.’

    Labour exploding into a million pieces is a challenge!?!!

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