The Tax Bribe – Can it Work?

Posted on November 22, 2023

The UK government is having a hard time at the moment. As it frantically tries to make an impact in the opinion polls, nothing appears to be working for them. In metaphorical terms they are like a football team embarking on a series of shots from 40 yards that are hitting the corner flag. 

The Rwandan policy was too racist even for racists, and the pathetic attempt to ban peace marches was ridiculed by the Met Police, who so often in the past, have been accused of being Tory boot boys. Seeing them wading into the morons at the cenotaph was great TV. Then there is the Covid inquiry that is showing the Tory Party up as a personification of ineptitude. It demonstrates them as having zero political nous or compassion. It should have the blood of an apathetic public at boiling point.

As Sure as Slade at Christmas

So, what next will they try next? Why, it’s tax cuts of course. As sure as hearing Slade at Christmas, you can guarantee that when all hope is lost, tax cuts will be on the Tory bribery list. This means banking on the “I’m alright Jack” vote who look at their pay packet first, public services last. Its classic populism, aimed at the Thatcher generation who ‘got the foreman’s job at last’, allowing them the ability to buy their council house.

The problem the Tories have is that these bunch of wannabe elites are getting older. The ones still alive, will probably still vote Tory in large numbers but they have seen friends and relatives croak it with Covid in miserable conditions. They can only blame foreigners for so long, especially when they see that nice African nurse comforting a relative drawing their final breath. They may even ask if it really is people in plastic dinghies ruining their NHS? Many of these fervent Tories are either dying or seeing the light and not voting. They long for Thatcher, but she’s dead and they have a brown man instead (some great poetry there).

The Younger Generation

Then there is the younger population. If anyone reading this has a child living in fear of poor people, foreigners, or homosexuals, I’d be very surprised (and saddened). I don’t know anyone from my children’s peer groups who are like that. The government might think it’s critical to appeal to the barstool fascist vote, but that appears somewhat misguided to me. The bigot numbers are loud and proud but probably not as large as the right-wing Tories think. 

Then there is the small issue of young people needing to earn £100k a year to own a house. Unless the government formulate a plan to enforce the selling off of housing association properties on the cheap, there isn’t a 80’s style property bribe available. Respect where respect is due, the council house sell-off was a political masterstroke. Much of working class have voted Tory on the back of that policy for decades. “I vote Tory because Thatcher allowed me to buy my house”, is a sentence we have all heard, in my case, far too many times. Thatcher could have been caught boiling kittens by the BBC’s ‘That’s Life’ team and been forgiven. It would have been that bitch Esther Rantzen’s fault.

Low Tax Obsession

Lower taxation seems to be a British obsession pummelled into us by Thatcher’s Tories. Yet, when I went to Finland earlier this year, I saw a fine example of how an operating tax system is supposed to work. Now, I am not saying Finland is Utopia. I am sure, like any nation, it has its issues (it’s freezing cold for starters). However, the public services are absolutely outstanding. The City of Helsinki is sparkling, and the transport system is green, clean, and impeccable. The ‘free’ public library is a stunning building priding itself on educating people. 

How does Finland achieve that level? Well, high taxation invested in public services, of course. That’s what British people don’t see to be able to grasp. If you want great public services, you have to pay a fair amount of tax on your earnings. The problem is that under this government, taxes have been high but public services have been decimated. As a consequence, belief that tax makes for better public services has dissipated. Low taxation and shit services are only beneficial if you have a helicopter, a mansion with a massive swimming pool, and private health. It’s no coincide the Prime Minister has all that and more.

From Government to Public Service Contractors

In our current state, money comes from our taxes and goes to the government. They then give it to contractors like Serco who pay it to themselves and politicians. As a consequence, public services don’t see the cash and deteriorate. That’s the problem with privatisation. There is a high risk our money doesn’t go to where it should do. Privatisation was supposed to make utilities and transport systems more efficient. I will allow you to be the judge of that. 

In summary, tax cuts are a con trick and only benefit the rich. It’s just the government trying to convince wavering voters that they have the economy on track. I guess some might fall for it and the government has to give the tax cuts trick a go. They’re not going to just roll over and say, “hey folks, we fucked it all up”. However, they have fucked it all up. Austerity strangled the economy and Brexit was ruinous. A few last-minute tax bribes seem desperate to me. I just can’t see enough people buying into it enough to dent the opinion polls. 

More Potholes Less Swimming Pools

A chap on the radio this morning said that he used to pay tax knowing that it went towards a smooth drive to the public swimming pool twice a week without smacking into a pothole. So, after 13 years of Tory taxation he now has a fucked local road network, no swimming pool, and a doctor suggesting he goes private for a knee operation.

A fine example of a government for the few but not the many.

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