Labour just out-Toried the Tories on the windfall tax

Labour leader Keir Starmer biting his lip
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The Labour Party has just managed to out-Tory the Tories over the so-called cost of living crisis. It has called for the government’s spending to be independently checked. And in doing so, Keir Starmer’s party has just exposed itself as an absolute nonsense.

Windfall tax = little support

As The Canary previously reported, the government has announced a windfall tax to pay for measures to ease the cost of living crisis. Think tank the Resolution Foundation noted that parts of this included:

  • Payments of £650, made over two lump-sum grants, to over 8 million households on means-tested benefits;
  • An additional £300 on top of the usual Winter Fuel Payment this winter, going to all pensioner households;
  • An additional £150 to around 6 million people who receive a disability benefit;
  • Doubling the discount on all households’ electricity bills due this autumn to £400, and:
  • An additional £500 million for the Household Support Fund from October 2022.

It said this was on top of:

  • A £200 rebate on electricity bills, due to take effect this autumn, and a £150 Council Tax rebate for households in Bands A to D, both announced in February 2022, and:
  • An increase in the National Insurance threshold from £9,880 to £12,570 in July and a 5p cut to Fuel Duty rates announced in the Spring Statement.

But in reality, none of this makes up for the huge increases in energy bills and massive rise in overall inflation. For example, The Canary calculated that the poorest families will still be around £300 a year worse off. Plus, support for chronically ill and disabled people, and families with children who are reliant on social security, is still dire.

Not that Labour seemed to notice any of this.

Labour: not happy for the wrong reasons

Firstly, the party was pleased with the government’s plan. As the Guardian reported, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Pat McFadden said Labour “welcomes these announcements”. But at the same time it wants the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to analyse the government’s plan. The Guardian reported that McFadden:

said that, although the sums were “of the order of magnitude that would normally be announced within a budget”, the UK’s tax and spend watchdog should “provide authoritative and independent economic and fiscal projections”.

Read on...

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Labour wanting the OBR to check the government’s figures may be in part due to some people claiming the windfall tax could make inflation even worse. But in reality, all Labour has done is make the Tories look better.

What a mess

A windfall tax this year was originally Labour’s idea – which the government then improved on; win number one for the Tories. Now, by effectively questioning the economic sense of the Tories’ plans, Labour has headed further to the right-wing. It has also given the Tories an immediate stick to beat it with – because they’ll be able to claim that Labour’s not on the side of ordinary people.

Moreover, Labour’s actions seem typical of the centre-right of the party’s obsession with appearing economically credible. But all it is achieving is appearing completely out-of-touch. Labour could have come at the windfall tax by saying it’s not good enough. If it was concerned about inflation, it could have argued that it’s the Bank of England’s job to control this. Instead, it’s veered to the right wing and now left itself exposed to Tory criticism.

At a time when people’s lives are in freefall, Labour should be at least resembling a robust opposition. Instead, it’s an absolute mess.

Featured image via Sky News – YouTube

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  • Show Comments

      Politics is ‘the art of compromise’
      politics at its moral peak,
      though this moral peak
      indeed lies below a dead sea’s level;
      but the compromise of ethics
      and integrity is politics at
      its moral natural state
      —a state in which the media beast
      must be fed, will feast from
      the politicians’ tin can
      filled with naught but the spin man
      of the political animal.

      1. @Frank Sterle Jr.: your comment expresses the cynical conservatism of Edmund Burke and it offers nothing for the working class. Politics is for everyone and it is the only means for us to live together. Every human group, from a couple through a family to a town to a nation to the international community, must find ways to create a liveable society. That is always by political means and your claiming that the compromise of ethics and integrity is inherent to politics is to offer only nihilism. Was Martin Luther King, Jr or Eugene Debs a corrupted politician? Socialism offers the working class a political means to join together across boundaries, and individual politicians become less important than the internationalist solidarity of all.

    2. BRAVO! Steve! The Canary started to look like The Neo-Labour Party’ dodgers. The Neo-Labour Party do not Out-Tory the Tories, they ARE The TORIES! The UK Labour Party is dead and until every one of The Neo-Labour Party TORIES are removed/voted out, will there be no UK Labour Party or any Party for The PEOPLE!
      Those Reagan/Thatcherite Neoliberals will destroy any attempt of a Party FOR the PEOPLE, They are 100% for The Elites/Establishment and 0% for The PEOPLE, Pure TORY! Like the USA/Canada/France, etc their mission is to occupy and destroy parties for the people, Obama, Biden, Macron, Blair, Trudeau all Out-‘TORIED’ The ‘TORIES’. Better people realise now that there are two TORY Parties at play, and frankly The Neo-Labour Party TORIES are the most frightening of the two! Buckle up and chin another 43 Years of Reagan/Thatcherite Neoliberalism, voting optional but quite possibly pointless.

    3. Of course the windfall tax is welcome in the short term and, let us be clear, the terminology used by the Chancellor makes this crystal clear. There are many other sectors of the economy which have also made shockingly high profits and they, too, ought to have been taxed.

      However, this is only a one-off. It does nothing for the long term structural inequities which have been built-in to the UK economy since the days of Mrs Thatcher and reinforced by the actions of Blair and Bodger Broon. Starmer and McFadden are from that neoliberal faction of Labour – the dominant faction now that anyone with vaguely left wing ideas has been purged. Poverty will continue to grow unless wages rise significantly, workers have employment protections restored, the money-laundering property and rentier market is lanced, public housing is increased, taxes are levied on land and property (especially unused land and property), investment earnings are taxed at similar levels to income tax, tax loopholes are closed (all they do is legitimise tax evasion), non-doms are taxed, tax ‘havens’ are shut down, a financial transactions tax is introduced. These are the kinds of things Labour ought to be doing.

      But their target voters are not the poor and the working poor – which extends pretty far into the well-educated middle-classes – it is ‘dsiaffected Tory voters!’. Labour is seeking to reassure these people that their privileges are safe, that they will continue to do as the Tories have been doing, but that they are nicer people than Johnson et al. Auld Nick, the De’il himself, is a better person that any in the Tory cabinet.

      Following the recent Council elections in Scotland, in which the SNP and Greens (especially) increased their vote share and seats won, Labour made gains relative to its previous worst ever result in 2017, to attain its second worst ever result. The Labour gains were at the expense of the Tories and were the result of tactical voting by unionists. The Tories actually made gains in Aberdeenshire and in the Borders area, largely because of tactical voting by former Labour and LibDem voters. Prior to the election, the millionaire, privately educated Leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, announced that Labour would not enter any deals with any other party. And, what happened, Labour duly entered deals with Tories and Lib Dems to run minority administrations in some Councils or assisted the Tories in forming some minority administrations. In a couple of Council areas, Labour and SNP formed administrations. The STV system in Scotland means that it is very rare for any party to have a majority of seats and so, deals have to be done – thus the Labour position is mendacious. There are two 9out of 33 Councils where there is a single party majority – Dundee (SNP) and West Dunbartonshire (Labour). West Dunbartonshire is the area of the Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party – also privately educated – and who is the only non-Tory MSP in Scotland to support Trident. Trident is based in West Dunbartonshire and so, many MoD employees and Tories and Lib Dems vote tactically to maximise the unionist vote in the area.

      So, in various parts of Scotland, Labour is in cahoots with the Tories as it has been since the SNP won a majority in the Scottish Parliament in 2012. A substantial proportion (not a majority) of Labour’s substantially dwindled vote (excluding the tactical voters) favour independence for Scotland, or at least a second referendum. Any Council candidates who stated this were purged. However, in one area, an active member of the Orange Lodge was adopted as a candidate and elected. In another Council area a very right wing independent was elected, whose views are anathema to most traditional Labour voters and, within an hour of him being elected, Labour was in contact to ask ‘what he wanted’ so that he would support a minority Labour administration. No deals?????????

      A few current Labour MSPs and former ones have come out publicly to condemn such deals with the Tories. Indeed, in one Council, which is run by a Labour minority with the support of ‘Orange Book’ LibDems, Labour was unable to whip all of its elected Councillors to support them forming the minority administration. It was formed because the LibDems voted unanimously for it.

      Labour in Wales is successful because it has adopted overtly ‘Welsh’ positions and has made deals with Plaid Cymru. Labour has never organised in Northern Ireland, and its historic ally SDLP (which was always for a united Ireland) is losing support to Sinn Fein and the Alliance Party.

      So Labour is, in effect, a British/English nationalist party, as evidenced by Starmer’s two union jacks! However, when it comes to xenophobic jingoism the Tories do that better.

      With Blair and the ‘progressive’ London media flirting with ‘talented Tory’ (Martin Kettle, The Guardian) Baroness Ruth Davidson, Labour is heading for a split and a Macron style right of centre neoliberal party along with LibDems and some Tories.

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