Friday, 23 April 2010

It's Good To Talk

I've been sent a Labour election leaflet! Me! Someone is either very stupid or very optimistic, I think.

I'm actually quite pleased - you see, it has an email address. So I thought I'd contact the candidate to see if he could help me understand Labour's policies better. Here's my email:
Thanks for the leaflet

I have a quick question, though. I wonder if you could clarify something.

Gordon Brown says that if David Cameron doesn't raise NI as Gordon plans to, that will mean that £6 billion will be "taken out of the economy". I'm confused. Where will it have gone? Won't it still be in our pockets for us to spend in the economy on what we would like to spend it on?

Look forward to hearing from you.
If I get a reply, you'll be the second to know.

Update 25/04, 0900:

His reply:
Thanks for the email- the question surrounding taxation at the moment can be summed up by the paradox of thrift. Currently, the government through a variety of spending measures is maintaining the overall level of demand in the economy- in order to do this in a fiscally responsible way, it is necessary to raise this cash from somewhere. So of course, without the rise in NI money will still be in your pocket, but the collapse in private demand demonstrates that people are not spending it (hence the government needing to sustain demand). NI is being raised as it is a fair tax- noone on less than £20k will pay any more in NI contributions, and it requires employers to contribute as well. To put this last point in perspective, the bill for higher NI to M&S will be £10m- they've just given their new Chief Exec a £15 golden hello.
Nice bit of envy politics at the end, there. And I think he means either £15M or £15k, not £15 (which would probably be a bit of a disappointment). But I would never hold a typo agianst someoone.

My response:
Thank you, Andrew.
Well, it answers my question in that you accept that the money will not be taken out of the economy, contrary to Gordon's claim.

Of course, if people choose of their own free will to repair their personal balance sheets by saving the money, but Labour choose to force them to give up the money so that it can be spent on their behalf, is that not strikingly illiberal and undemocratic?

If the money was left in people's own hands, they could choose to spend it or to save it - if they chose the latter, then we would not have had to inject such huge funds into the banking system. Our banks would then have funds to invest or to lend - can Labour prove that this (the route of free choice) would not be a more efficient way of allocating the money?


  1. I keep hearing MPs talking about what they are hearing "on the doorsteps". I'm in a three way marginal, and yet, I haven't had any party appear on my doorstep (the Jehovah's Witnesses called round, but I unfortunately wasn't in, and they weren't standing anyway).

    Has anyone been visited by a politician this election?

  2. The Tory election leaflet says the incumbent Lib Dem MP has been abusing his expenses.
    He bought a hoover! And spent £203.78 on soft furnishings. Hardly excessive. This Liberal MP, in the shadow-shadow cabinet, has one of the lowest expenses in Westminster. It seems very lazy and wasteful to attack an opponents strength.
    The Tory should see some of BQ's expenses. £203.78 is loose change.

    However the Lib Dem candidate's leaflet is a}defending his exemplary expenses record. b}attacking the Tory for living some 100 miles away in London. This is a typical Lib leaflet.
    The local Tory MP opposition candidate has decided not to stand. The new candidate can hardly be expected to move down in the hope of winning. Naturally he is renting during the campaign. The leaflet implies that the Tory will commute daily from 'that London.'

    The Lib Dem also makes a mistake by publishing the figures of the expense claims on the leaflet in contrast to other MPs in the region. £23,500 say.
    The average wage is less than that. It still looks greedy. Use a pie or bar chart. Not numbers.

    Is anyone fooled by these amateurish attacks? Don't the parties have proper Mad Men to to direct these local campaigns.

    Both leaflets look exactly what they are. Professionally produced campaign messages pulled from the parties PDF templates on leaflet messages and attack strategies.

    Does it convince anyone?

    {No Labour leaflet. Haven't even seen a poster. Not even in an office where 1/2 the people are union members. Saw a UKIP one in there though.}