Sky High Taxes and a return to the Seventies - by Fraser Nelson and Douglas Murray for the Telegraph
The whiff of decay hangs over this administration according to Fraser Nelson and Douglas Murray in two parallel articles we enclose below. The worst of it is we've been here before. Older readers will recall the merry-go-round of ever higher taxes funding ever higher expenditure leading to ever higher deficits. Welcome to Big State Toryism 1970's style.
So why does the cabinet allow the Prime Minister to get away with it when to a man and woman they are pledged to do the very opposite?
"...because they recognise that, without him personally, there would be no 80-seat Tory majority," according to Fraser Nelson.
"So whatever he wants, he gets. It’s not quite right to call it a “philosophical shift” because there is no philosophy, no discussion, no debate. Just a succession of faits accomplis.
Much of it is instinct: Johnson likes to splurge his way out of any problem. He pressed ahead with HS2, for example, when most of his Cabinet colleagues think its costs far exceed any likely benefit (especially given the post-Covid boom in homeworking). His approach to the NHS has been to prove that he cares by shoving more cash towards it at regular intervals – rather than, for example, asking it to cut bureaucracy (one in five trusts are still paper-based). When CO2 plants were in trouble during the energy crisis, his approach was simple: if in doubt, bail it out."
Parallels with the Heath government are ominous. Where they threw subsidies at British industry, Johnson is doing the same with public services:
“The NHS is just a black hole that we keep shovelling money into,” says one of those involved in the Budget, “but we can’t say that.”
So one of the fastest-rising costs in Britain is the cost of Boris Johnson – a cost that no one in the Cabinet has been able to control. Sunak tried, telling the Prime Minister that any extra spending would need a tax rise. But his bluff was called."
And that's before the cost of net-zero has been included. The full article can be read below with a link to the original article beneath:
In an accompanying article, Douglas Murray amplifies many of the points above, bewailing the government's return to past mistakes:
"The Conservatives of the 1980s got Britain out of that mire of a high-tax, low-innovation society. Yet it is the Conservative Government of today that seems to be returning us to it.
The Chancellor has been adept at hiding some of the bad news. Not least by adding complexity to an already complex tax system. But the bottom line is that those who do the most for the economy will be taxed even more. Tax-payers in the highest bracket – that is those earning over £150,000 a year – will be taxed at a figure very nearly nudging 50 per cent. At 45 per cent the Conservatives are getting perilously close to the point at which they make top-rate taxpayers spend more time working for the state than for themselves. They already are, if you include national insurance.
Such taxpayers are not a popular group of people to stand up for. More demagoguery can be achieved by lambasting higher earners than by expressing any sympathy for them. But we have been here before. The politics that thought that higher earners were both the problem and the piggy-bank was the politics that brought us to the economic slump of the 1970s.
Worse is that a Conservative Government should be instituting these tax hikes while all the time showering money on an entirely unreformed public sector. Every part of it exemplifies the lazy big-state problem. On matters grand and pedestrian the behemoth asserts itself in the old familiar way.
This article can be read below with a link to the original beneath it: