Hold on, that’s thumb war, isn’t it?
I always lose at thumb war. Short, stubby fingers, y’see.
Here’s what I don’t get.
When I talk to serious people in badly cut suits, they are unanimous in their opinions. “Oooh, the deficit is troubling”. They say, grimacing in fiscal sympathy. “It’s all very serious” they add, stroking their chins in deficit based peturbation. “Sacrifices must be made” all concur, gazing steely eyed towards a future of budget balances and restraint.
You know what? I agree with them.
I sit alongside, in my own badly cut suit, grimacing and chin stroking and gazing sternly at the dissolute world with the best of them. I nod along solemnly when, to quote Benedict Brogan, we hear the regular call for a “politics, not of them and us, but of “we” “.
But to indirectly quote Tonto, I have to respond, “Who exactly is this “we” Kemosabe?”
Because when it comes to asking people who have done very well out of prosperity and asset growth to contribute towards last and this years current economic rescue operation, I’m all for it. Go right ahead, I say.
But apparently this is infra dig. It is class war and would negatively impact the entrepeneurial spirit.
To which I have to ask- What, do only the asset rich or people on over £100,000 a year people have an enterprising spirit then?
(£100,000 a year, I note, represents the top 1 percent of the population, but only the top 50 per cent of Telegraph columnists. Some regard two and a half times that as chicken feed. Now that’s the spirit of enterprise our country needs. )
Further, that top 1% has enjoyed income growth 50% higher than the average over the last decade. If there’s been a class war going on, only one side has been winning, and it’s not the poorest.
To get the economy growing, I think we need to see businesses started by parents on middle incomes - people on twenty or thirty thousand a year-, and help given to families who need tax credits to help them if they find work, and support given to those who have young children.
I think it’s their prosperity that is going to help us drive growth, and I don’t quite see what reducing corporation tax for companies that earn over £1.5 million in profit each year will do for them, or why the assets of the very rich are more sacrosanct than the VAT rates paid by the poorest.
On the other hand, I think good schools that help people to get the qualifications that lead to better jobs, support for childcare so more people can start businesses, and a ultra-low rate of tax for ultra small companies, combined with a capital allowance that encourages small business start ups, are pretty good ideas for encouraging entrepeneurship and enterprise.
Equally, on the personal tax front, I’d rather see unearned inheritences of over £600,000 and multi million pound bonuses taxed than VAT put up which woud hurt small business margins, or a fiddle with the allowances, which would radically reduce the incentives for lower and middle income families.
Yet apparently this is class war.
Gosh. We’re setting the bar a bit low for that, now aren’t we?
So I want to ask my comrades in the single colour ties a question.
If we’re all in this together, how come it’s only the poor and middle incomes who get told they have to pay the price – whether through worse public services, higher taxes or an attack on their ability to create wealth?
How come the “unspoken consensus” of our media is that the bonus millionaires, the big companies and the children of wealthy parents represent a higher priority for our countries limited resources than anyone else?
You know, I might look like just another centrist wonk, but underneath this M&S suit apparently lurks the heart of a class warrior.
It’s oddly thrilling. Like suddenly discovering you’re spiderman. My friends. I pass, like night, from think-tank to tank, and have acquired, like the mariner, a strange power of speech.
Let the fight begin.