Monday, December 04, 2006

Cameron can see into future

The Tory leader is indeed a man of remarkable vision:

“A child born into poverty in 1970 was more likely to escape poverty in adulthood than a child born into poverty in 1990.”

Ten points to anyone who can tell me in what year a child born in 1990 will enter adulthood. And five bonus points if you can guess how many poverty surveys covering that year have been conducted.

(It may be that he’s taken the standard media misunderstanding of a study comparing social mobility of children born in 1958 with those born in 1970 – which I discussed under point (2) here – and then piled his own extra misunderstanding on top by getting the dates confused. But may Oliver Letwin strike me down if I am wrong.)

Interestingly, though, Cameron seems unable to see into the past:

“Does anyone think that our economy with the highest tax burden in its history is better equipped to compete now than it would be if we could lower taxes? Of course not.”

The tax ‘burden’ now (as well as forecasted levels for the next few years) is lower than during the 1980s. Even the Tory Tax Reform Commission report [PDF] admits this: “In 2007 it is forecast to rise to 42.6 per cent – the highest level since 1986.” Back in those days, mass unemployment meant mushrooming dole payments, financed through tax. Now that really was a burden, as opposed to a popular decision to spend more on improving schools and hospitals and reducing poverty.

Also, it’s noteworthy that this remark of Cameron’s blows the gaff on his whole “economic stability before tax cuts” blather. He believes, as deeply and passionately as John Redwood, that tax cuts are the route to a stronger economy. But he’s too frit to say so.


Hughes Views said...

Good point about how much 1980s tax was used to pay dole because the economic policies weren't working. For all his nice smile, scratch Mr Cameron's surface and you'll find Norman Tebbit underneath - at least he had the decency to be openly nasty. The Tories will always lean towards being the party of shortsighted, small-minded petty-greed which peddles an every man for himself and devil take the rest simplistic approach to life's complexities...

Ps thanks for your comment over at AWH - you haven't heard the last of Hughes's Views...

Liam Murray said...

Tom / Brian - You're perpetuating the distorted characterisation of of the Tories as greedy and self-serving which is completely at odds with the most basic understanding of their history. As I mentioned today on my own blog Cameron is simply trying to reconnect his party with a strand of conservatism which existed long before the Labour party was formed:

"It's about time someone rescued the party (with 400+ years of history) from the coterie of selfish, homophobic, xenophobic and narrow-minded idiots who have risen to prominence in the party and friendly media circles over the last 30 years. Thatcherism had its place (largely borne of economic necessity) but it was no more 'true' as a conservative creed than anything Cameron is proposing now (or Heath, Macmillan etc.)...The Conservatives have long been a broad church and the party's ability to switch between different strands of ideas is not simply the product of electoral calculation - it reflects genuine tensions within conservatism as a body of thought and has actually been critical to the electoral success the party has enjoyed over the last few hundred years.

Conservatives were legislating for trade union rights a generation before the Labour party was founded, establishing public health projects before Aneurin Bevan was born. The 'middle way' ethos of Macmillan's government was expanding the welfare state in the late 50's / early 60's before Blair was out of short trousers. Against this background the fact that a throwaway reference to a left-wing commentator (Polly Toynbee) should create such histrionics from some in the Tory party is deeply embarrassing and simply confirms the fears among the wider electorate that we're not fit to govern. No-one suggested everything Ms Toynbee has ever written is correct or her solutions are the only options but to cite her convictions about the importance of cohesion in society and the potentially corrosive effects inequality can have is perfectly reasonable and totally consistent with Conservatism"

snowflake5 said...

It's hard to know what Camereon believes. He's been busy making all sorts of expensive pledges - eg he opposes holding NHS trusts to budget (does this mean he would find extra money for the over-spenders?), wants more occupational therapists, police, border guards and so on. It all costs money.

Either he's not thought about the cost implications (in which case he's a dunce), or he believes that he can say all these things as mood music and no one will notice if he reneges (in which case he's a charlatan).