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Sunday, October 05, 2003

A taxing decision

Just when we thought that the Tories couldn't get any more confused with their economic policies their leader and their Shadow Chancellor come up with a classic. Firstly, we have Iain Duncan Smith advocating tax cuts, not through economic growth but by cutting "bureaucracy and waste in public services". The problem is that he does not say what exactly will be cut, nor how he defines waste and bureaucracy. For example, are the extra civilians taken on to help police with essential paperwork and enable them to get back onto the beat classed as bureaucrats and if so will they be targetted for cuts? These sort of vague utterances are unworthy of an opposition leader, which could explain why Iain Duncan Smith is an unworthy opposition leader. For me it brings back memories of the decimation of public services during the Tory years of Government. Nothing it seems has changed, these services are not safe in Tory hands, their leader has confirmed this. As if sensing that this might be the interpretation of his leader's remarks the Shadow Chancellor wades in by saying that he could not guarantee tax cuts after all. Presumably, he has realised that promises to abolish top-up fees and increase pensions substantially have a cost which will have to be met from somewhere and that it is not good politics to run with the fox and with the hounds. What this illustrates above all else is that the Tories are no longer a serious party of Government. Their most senior politicians cannot agree what the main planks of their policy are and when they do come up with an idea it is invariably borrowed from somebody else (usually the Liberal Democrats), uncosted and completely contrary to everything they did when they were in Government and had the chance to put these things right. They are a party of opportunism at every level.

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