Magazine article The Spectator

Tax, Spend, Elect

Magazine article The Spectator

Tax, Spend, Elect

Article excerpt

THE DEPARTMENTS have been here before. They will start from where they have been told to finish. If necessary they will use the Beggar's Sore technique, putting on a show of poverty and misery to shame the Treasury into loosening up. Over and over again, chancellors have had to fall for it. This Chancellor must think that he knows better. Until further notice he proposes to keep two-fifths of the British economy away from the forces of the market, treating it as a command economy, the plans to be approved by him and the finance provided by the rest of us. That mind-set helped to make the National Health Service what it is, which is why he will now treat its sores with a more lavish anointment of money. He has made the great leap backwards into the economics of an earlier day, and left New Labour looking like the old Democratic party of America: `We'll tax and tax and spend and spend and elect and elect. …

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