I agree with Ed — May 1, 2012

I agree with Ed

Yes, believe it or not – I agree with Ed Miliband. Trust me, I was as surprised as you are. You are in the right place I promise you. A Conservative is openly agreeing with Ed Miliband. Worse yet, its yet another Tory policy I disagree with. Maybe I am in the wrong Party after all

This week’s horror show policy idea (baring in mind its only Tuesday!) is the idea to give married couples a tax break. To many, on the face of it this doesn’t seem like such a bad policy, but trust me – it is.

“A High Court judge is launching a campaign to champion the institution of marriage as “the most stable family structure” for raising children.” What a load of garbage. I don’t know what reality this judge is living in, but there are plenty of people who are brought up by single parents, step-parents and same-sex parents. The idea that children are better off simply because their parents remain married is bogus, its a sweeping generalisation. Children are individuals, whose cases will differ from child to child.

As Ed Miliband so succinctly put it (never thought I’d write that here!)

“But in the end what matters most is the strength of your commitment and whether you provide a good and loving home to your children. That comes in different forms. It’s really important to say that.”

But there is a more philosophical point behind this policy idea. To give married couples any form of tax break suggests to the public that being married is better than cohabiting. The Government is encouraging people to get married with a tax incentive, it is clearly stating that marriage is the better option for couples and that people should be rewarded for remaining married. It is social engineering in its most blatant form.

The state should remain neutral in social issues such as this, it shouldn’t be showing a preference to one party over another.

Beyond the sorry mess of the idea, how would they go about implementing the policy? Would it be for all married couples? Couples married after the tax break is introduced? How much would it cost? How would they cut it off? Would it be a flat tax break, or progressive? Would it encourage more “sham” marriages? Would same-sex couples receive it? (I highly doubt this by the way, this is a policy being pushed by the Right of the Party, who are against “marriage” for same-sex couples – making the policy even more repugnant).

Overall, tax breaks are a shambolic idea being suggested by the Right wing of a Party who wants less state intervention, but is paradoxically suggesting the complete opposite.

Ed Miliband is completely right to oppose the policy and for that, I congratulate him.

Tories on… — March 8, 2012

Tories on…

Day 3 of focusing on where the UK’s political parties are going wrong, brings us to the Conservatives. You can read about Labour and UKIP on here and here!

Now I won’t re-hash a lot of old posts on Minimum Alcohol Pricing, or how the Government should drop the NHS bill to replace it with a National Health Insurance Scheme. Please read their respective links! But I’ll chalk that up as two major points. In fact, I’ve talked a lot about where the Conservatives have been going wrong lately, even partly criticising the benefit cap.

So, guess what. I’m going to change the game. Lets see where the Tories are doing well!

Tories on Education

You could be forgiven for thinking we were still living under Tony Blair’s Premiership, the early days of the Government was dominated by one word. “Education, education and education.” And education has been one of the great successes of Conservative Policy so far. Academies and free-schools have taken off, and are often over subscribed. We should be proud to want to the most out of brightest pupils and Michael Gove’s new specialist schools are doing just that. GSCE rates are improving in some academies at twice the rate as state-ran schools. The academies have been a resounding success, and long may they continue to prosper.

Add to this, the fact Apprenticeships have increased by 177,000 and you can see how well the Conservatives have done in this area!

Tories on Benefits

Despite criticising the benefit cap in an earlier post, the overall cap is a good idea, it just needs tinkering with, or an improvement in housing! But one thing the Conservatives have really succeeded with is their idea of Universal Credit. The Universal Credit is set to replace the myriad of benefits we have now and be one streamlined system. It will make benefits easier to claim, but MOST crucially it will make working beneficial from the first pound. Gone will be the days of 95% tapering.

“Universal Credit: welfare that works marks the beginning of a new contract between people who have and people who have not. At its heart, Universal Credit is very simple and will ensure that work always pays and is seen to pay.”

Tories on same-sex marriage

At their 2011 Conference, David Cameron announced that he supported same-sex marriage and that he would begin legislating for it as soon as possible.

“Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other.

“So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.”

This debate is almost coming to fruition. Yes there are archaic relics who remained bigoted in the Conservative Party, some in fact who were involved in politics during the horrendous Section 28 days, something that any modern Tory should be ashamed of. But they are in the minority, the new, shiny Conservatives led by David Cameron believe in equal rights, and I hope this bill is passed. Then it will be up to couples and ministers/priests to choose if they want to marry.

Tories on Tough Decisions

Tough decisions are unpopular decisions, that is a matter of fact. Cameron comfortably polls ahead of Ed Miliband in leadership characteristics, such as “decisive”, “sticks to what he believes in” and “likely to make tough decisions.” The Tories have made tough decisions on the economy, and where to wield the axe on public spending. Now the Conservatives have two very tough decisions to make in the next couple of weeks in the run up to the Budget.

Firstly, we should continue on the road to scrap Child Benefit for the top 15% of society, there is no justice in people on £14k p.a. paying towards footballers and politicians (as extremes) benefits. Yes, we would be breaking a pre-election pledge. But it is a tough, pragmatic decision, and one we need to stick to. I think the bill does need some tinkering with, as a single parents are handicapped by the current wording.

Secondly, we NEED to scrap the 50p tax band. It will be unpopular, because it will be seen as “same old Tories, only looking after the rich and screwing over the poor.” But what George Osborne has to make PERFECTLY clear is that the current 50p tax rate is hurting the poor. People are avoiding the 50p tax band, and the Government is actually losing revenue, if they continue to do so, the country will suffer, there will be less taxes to redistribute.

At the same time he should stick to his guns, bring in the £10,000 threshold, a Liberal Democrat policy and avoid a Mansion Tax (another LD policy!)

Dismantling UKIP Policies — March 7, 2012

Dismantling UKIP Policies

UKIP are often seen by many in Britain as “BNP-Lite” or “Racists in suits”. This is both a gross misrepresentation and in reality a bit of a slur. Yes, there are xenophobes in UKIP, not helped by the perception that they are a one issue party – namely the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. But, there are bad eggs in every group.

But this post isn’t a defence of UKIP. I want to expose some of the problems with their other official policies. In fact, I won’t even talk about Europe.

UKIP on Same-Sex Marriage

UKIP members on Twitter at least are proud to claim that UKIP is the home of the “natural conservative” – well today they’ve proved that. If you are in fact socially conservative and you are against same-sex marriage, then yes, UKIP is for you.  And yet, UKIP claims to be a libertarian party. Libertarians’ response to same-sex marriage would be that it is no business of the state, and people can do as they please. UKIP’s stance is totally illiberal and socially conservative. Sadly for UKIP this is an outdated, archaic argument only really being proposed by people who miss the bigoted days of the 1970s. Read a great piece on why they are wrong to do so here.

UKIP on Taxation

UKIP want to merge Income Tax and National Insurance. This is actually a great idea. Its an idea supported by the Tax Payers Association.

The next bit though, not so much. They want a flat tax of 31% on any income over £11,500. Whilst taking people out of tax all together is admirable, it is already being done by the Coalition to £10,000. The problem is that a flat tax is disproportionally harsh on lower income earners. It doesn’t take a lot to tweak this policy. Raise the threshold even further and implement a smaller progressive tax breaks.

UKIP on Immigration

They want to “end mass, uncontrolled unemployment”. Well sadly for them, they can’t. EU law allows freedom of movement, that wouldn’t be a problem for when they leave the EU. (Okay one mention of the EU) Immigration is good for the UK economy. Don’t believe all the bile that people come out with that claims otherwise. It’s false. One UKIPer comments underneath their policy that “Brits are losing they’re ‘Britishness” – Face and palm! Jesus Christ. There’s a brief critique of UKIP’s Conference’s talks on immigration here.

UKIP on Health

Definitely one of UKIPs strong points. They want to reduce bureaucracy and make no front line cuts to the NHS. This SHOULD be the Coalition’s policy. I don’t understand why it is isn’t. They want to “improve patient choice by introducing ‘Health Credit Vouchers’, which will enable people to opt out of the NHS public healthcare system entirely if they so wish. UK citizens will apply to their GP for vouchers that can be paid to the private health insurer of their choice.” Another good policy, its almost a piece-meal move to David Laws’ National Health Insurance Scheme. 

Of course this is just a few points on UKIP policies, sadly I don’t have time to continue. Maybe soon I’ll edit and repost this!