Saving New Labour

It’s become the current political wisdom that Labour will lose the next election. The longer you wait the harder it gets, and there seems to be an agreement that if Brown calls the election this year he can lose with dignity and a decent number of seats. If he waits until ’10 – armageddon.

It has been disaster after disaster for this government and there seems no way to turn it around.

But wait… what’s this?

Two-thirds of Britons want the rich to face punitive tax rates not seen since the 1980s, according to a new poll which suggests that the recession has hardened attitudes towards the wealthy.

Bankers are now seen second only to footballers as being overpaid, while seven in 10 think that ordinary workers should sit on remuneration committees setting executives’ pay to ensure that high salaries are deserved.

The findings – in a poll for the think tank the Fabian Society, to be published this week – suggests that the credit crunch has provoked a backlash against the rich, with the public seeking retribution for alleged mistakes made by City figures.

The findings will encourage Labour MPs who want Gordon Brown to go further in next spring’s budget and rebalance the tax system in favour of more modest earners.

His gamble in pledging to introduce a top rate tax of 45 per cent for those earning more than £145,000 is backed by three-quarters of those polled, while 69 per cent would support Labour introducing a higher top rate of 50 per cent for those earning more than £250,000.

Tax has not been that high in the UK since 1988, when Margaret Thatcher brought the top rate down from 60 per cent. Neil Kinnock’s threat to introduce a 50p tax rate in the 1992 election is widely held in New Labour circles to have cost him Middle England’s support.

However, the Fabian report found new demand for forcing the wealthy to contribute more, with 70 per cent of those polled by YouGov agreeing that ‘those at the top are failing to pay their fair share towards investment in public services’.

(The survey also found that – surprise, surprise – the extent of benefit fraud is exaggerated in the public perception.)

Politicians display a lot of tubthumping condescension in claiming that we must ‘assuage’ concerns about immigration and multiculturalism – will they address these very real public concerns about distribution of wealth and power?

Because make no mistake, it is now common knowledge: voodoo economics does not work.

To be fair there is going to be a 45% rate for top earners. But the study shows support for a 50% rate. Come on Alistair – milk the fuckers dry!

The windfall could fund public services and maybe tax cuts for low and middle income workers. Good old-fashioned social democracy! Who’s for it?

And what the hell, even if we still lose the next election, at least we can say that we lost it as Labour and lost it on a high.


(Image copyright The Weblog)

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