Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

The Panic Button’s Getting Worn Out, Alistair

So we had the Inheritance Tax changes, a panic measure in response to George Osborne’s proposals at Conference last October. Then it was the overcomplicated Entrepreneurs’ Relief to head off criticism over the changes to Capital Gains Tax, now it’s an increase in personal allowances to try to fix the damage done by the (partial) abolition of the 10p tax rate. All these were perfectly avoidable messes. What is notable is that the time between the situation being created and the sudden scrambling around for a response is getting longer – in the case of the 10p debacle, some 14 months.

What Alistair Darling definitely cannot undo is the clear evidence that Labour, once a carefully run politically savvy organisation, is now lurching from one political miscalculation to the next, via the inevitable u-turn.

Of course, only days away from a by-election drubbing, Darling hasn’t had time to deal with the niggling details, such as where to find the £2.7bn, so its going on the plastic. Who says the government is affected by the credit crunch? However, a tax cut funded by borrowing is merely a deferral of the inevitable cut in public spending … using the logic that Labour have to attack Conservative desires to see tax reduced, that would be a £2.7m cut in public services, then – all for the sake of trying to avoid a few days of bad headlines next week.

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