Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

The last eight weeks have been somewhat mixed:

The Good:
There was much in the Budget to inspire optimism.  24 million people will be £220 per year better off with the rise in personal pensions next year, people on the minimum wage will have their tax bill halved and the 1% cut (to be repeated in 2013 and 2014) in corporation tax will help businesses no end.  We can also take encouragement from the fact that the deficit has come down from £140 billion in 2010/11 to £120 billion in 2012/13.

The Bad:
Unfortunately, many of the better parts of the budget were overshadowed by the headlines about the ‘Pasty Tax’ and the ‘Granny Tax’.  There was a real failure of communication and, more worryingly, a lack of judgment displayed by the Treasury.  George Osborne must recognise that there is no such thing as a perfect tax system.  When he tries to tweak and twist it he only ends up exposing its weaknesses.  It was not the right time to introduce such measures.  When it comes to bad judgment, though, the Chancellor isn’t the only one with questions to answer; the Prime Minister’s proximity to the News Corp debacle remains a serious concern and tars the whole party by association.

The Ugly:
A few bad headlines are one thing but there are also matters which are of long-term concern.  Firstly, the Government is still struggling to communicate any sort of narrative.  The party seems to stagger from opinion poll to focus group with no sense of purpose or direction.  Voters don’t know what we stand for any more.  Then we’ve also got the Joint Chairman of the Party equating UKIP voters with the BNP.  That, quite simply, is self-destructive lunacy.  UKIP’s rise in popularity is a result of disaffected Conservatives looking elsewhere.  We should be moving heaven and earth to win them back, not alienating them further with ill-considered insults.  Many of our former voters will have turned their backs because of the widely held belief that the Lib Dems have too much influence on Government.  They make up only a sixth of the Coalition but, for example, the budget planning meeting had an equal split of two Conservatives and two Liberals.  And now the Prime Minister has even admitted to the Daily Mail that his Conservative principles are being stifled by Nick Clegg!

So what can David Cameron and the Conservatives do to regain the trust of the British?  Firstly, he must concentrate on the things that actually matter – jobs, deficit reduction and growth.  It’s wonderful that the Government has dropped the Same-sex marriage bill and I’d urge them to do the same with the Lords reform.  These may be issues that need addressing in the future but we need to get our priorities in order.  Voters are more concerned with making sure they can pay the bills than pondering the constitutional relevance of the House of Lords.  We should be putting money in people’s pockets by cutting carbon taxes and getting the housing market moving.  In that regard, we would save vast amounts of money if we stopped throwing it at the Euro.  Surely by now even the most devout Europhile must recognise that the Euro is a bust flush.  We’re applying sticking plasters to a gaping wound.  It’s time we re-negotiated our position and financial commitments.

The Queen’s Speech was reassuring and there is now a real opportunity to build on the commitments that were set out.  The Government just needs to make sure that it keeps listening.

7 comments:

  1. What a relief someone with some plain common sense is speaking. I think it was Bill Clinton who said "It's the economy, stupid". The is the ONLY thing voters are really concerned about. Pretty much any other aspect of policy is irrelevent, except possibly to a few fringe pressure groups (LibDems, gay rights or whatever).

    I happen to be one of those UKIPppers as I believe the EU to be a serious threat to the health of both our economy AND democracy. It's a real shame that successive governments have never been prepared to take this issue seriously, including this one sadly. Now we have a divided "conservative" vote as a result.

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  2. The government hasn't dropped the "same-sex marriage bill" as no such bill exists.

    There is currently a Home Office consultation on Equal Civil Marriage (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/consultations/equal-civil-marriage/) and until that consultation has concluded, and the government has had time to respond, there is no proposed bill.

    It is expected that any marriage legislation would form part of the 2013 Queen's speech. Nothing has been dropped!

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  3. Eris Robertson10 May 2012 10:47

    Mr Binley.
    Firstly how dare you describe equality in your Ugly section! The rights of human beings are not something to be taken lightly, and yet you seem to brush them aside with dare I say it, ironically gay abandon. The world around you is changing, for the better, I suggest you open your eyes and wake up to modern times.....

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  4. Eris has the right idea. How can you even put same sex marriage in your ulgy section? If one person loves another why shouldn't they marry? Equal rights is an important issue and not something to be pushed aside.

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  5. Rumours are rife that at least 2 tory MPs will defect to UKIP. Are you one of them? If not is your money on Nadine Dorries and Philip Hollowbone?

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  6. defect brian! defect!

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  7. @Anonymous - same sex marriage isnt in the ugly section, it is in a sepparate summing-up section.

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