Magazine article The Spectator

Keep Abandoning Your Guns

Magazine article The Spectator

Keep Abandoning Your Guns

Article excerpt

Voices to the left of centre say it is now all right for Mr Brown to raise taxes quite a lot in next week's budget. Opinion polls, before and during the election campaign, showed a majority willing to pay higher taxes provided the money was spent on good causes such as health and education. Anyway, the very fact that Labour won so hugely is proof that Tory scares about taxes did not work. So Mr Brown can proceed to tax and spend. Shorn of the subtleties and qualifications which people always put in to cover themselves, that is the argument. Labour's election promises, then, should be treated as the letter and not the spirit of the law. Having rightly condemned the Major government for breaking its election promise not to raise taxes, should the government take its election plurality of 44 per cent on a low turnout with massive abstention as a national cry to be taxed?

But the abstainers could just have easily have abstained more through disillusion over a range of matters than through a desire to be punished by higher taxes. Some Labour voters may have hoped that the rich would be taxed, the more so when many pay little in taxes themselves; others will have taken Mr Brown at his word. Only Liberal Democrat voters can be thought to have voted en masse for higher taxes; but it is worth noting that the Liberal Democrats' share of the poll actually shrank while their extra seats resulted from the workings of an electoral system they had hitherto condemned.

A better question would be: will the nation gain or lose by tax-and-spend policies? Much was made in the campaign of low educational standards. Labour and the Liberal Democrats claimed that more money was the solution. But state educational expenditure per head is over four times higher than before the war. It increased by over 50 per cent since 1979 alone. Standards fell since the Fifties because of the faddism of education authorities committed to `child-centred teaching' and other amusements. Local education officialdom absorbs up to a third of the education budget when full figures are shown. Some schools have vast numbers of 'counsellors', more accurately called commissars, quite highly paid, dealing with race relations and teaching English as a second language, at the expense of classroom teaching. Many leftwing teachers, with their union's backing, act as though their main task was not to prepare children for the society in which they will have to live but to revolt against it. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.