...a blog by Richard Flowers

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Day 2420: Enemies of Reason, part deux


The The Today Programme appears to be experimenting with a new way to raise Daddies' blood pressures to EXPLODING point.

On a day when the most important news OUGHT to have been that German physicists claim to have broken the SPEED OF LIGHT[*] – potentially the most significant breakthrough since Quantum Mechanics reduced to "but WHY can't we travel backwards in time?" – instead they devoted a large part of the show to ANOTHER form of Time Travel: Mr John Deadwood's re-issue of the Conservatories' 1987 manifesto: "Why we're right and staying that way".

Having Mr Deadwood on at ten-past-seven and THEN having Mr Gideon Oboe (or to give him his full title, Mr Giddy Moron Oboe) on a ten-past-eight to explain just how WONDERFUL were Mr Deadwood's proposals.

This COULD have been an excuse to let Mr Humpy or Mr Naughty really try to pin down the Shadow Preparatory-School Chipmunk for Tuck Shop Money with hard questions along the lines of: "are there or are there not Conservatory policies?"

Because if these are NOT Conservatory Policy then this ISN'T NEWS, and Mr Deadwood is just BLOGGING!

Instead it was Ms Sarah Montague – or rather Ms Sarah Won't-Argue – getting her "facts" from Mr Deadwood himself and trying to get Mr Oboe to agree that obviously they were self-evident sense. It is not like they hadn't had loveable economic brainiac Mr Evan Davis on the show in the intervening half hour. He could have pointed out that Mr Deadwood was talking GIBBERISH in two seconds flat.

"We can cut taxes with the proceeds of growth," said Mr Deadwood. "If the economy grows by just 1% - and it usually grows by 2% or 3% - then the Treasury gets half-a-billion pounds extra for nothing, and we can use that to abolish Inheritance Tax."

The treasure only gets "money for nothing" if the economy grows ABOVE INFLATION! If inflation is 2% then that means the economy has to grow at 3% as anyone who was not an ECONOMICALLY ILLITERATE the The Today Programme presenter would have spotted instantly.

(In fact it is even more complicated that that because the government's spending tends to be more tied to WAGE inflation rather than PRICE inflation and so their spending benefits less from cheap prices on, say, imported toys from China.)

Mr Deadwood is basing his tax cut on money that SIMPLY DOES NOT EXIST. Though to be fair to him, this has been Mr Balloon's formula for some time.

And to be fair to Ms Won't-Argue, she did get some of her statistics from people to the LEFT of Mr Deadwood: UKIP, the UKPnuts Party, provided her "facts" on Europe"!


In fact, half way through the interview, Mr Oboe did SLIP IN that he, should he ever grow up to be Chancellor, would not introduce any tax cuts that were not paid for by tax rises elsewhere. At that point Ms Won't-Argue FAILED TO SPOT that the Shadow Junior Milk Monitor had just reject Mr Deadwood's ENTIRE PROPOSAL.

The centrepieces of Mr Deadwood's proposal, then, are to ABOLISH Inheritance Tax and to REDUCE Corporation Tax for big businesses from 30p to 25p.

Yes, it is CUT TAXES FOR THE RICH time back in Conservatory Fantasy Land.

This – explained Mr Deadwood – would be better for all of us, since the rich businessmen would kindly create more wealth for us, while we work for them seventeen hours a day collating data on each other in their unheated call centres.

In the 1980s this theory was called TRICKLE DOWN, and involved the rich standing on the backs of the rest of us and TRICKLING on us!

Even back then people knew that this was UTTER NONSENSE, but the Conservatories could GET AWAY WITH IT so long as the Labour were proposing policies like COMPULSORY CUCUMBERS and the abolition of TUESDAYS. Nowadays, Mr Frown makes breakfast out of this sort of idiocy.

Just you wait: "The Conservatories proposals are nothing new, and… uhh… we've seen where this leads: a return to the BOOM and… uhh… BUST economy that ruined so many lives in the… uhh… recessions of the 1980s and… uhh… 1990s. This is… uhh… exactly the sort of thing I have spent the last TEN YEARS… uhh… ten PROSPEROUS year… striving to protect the country from."

It's difficult to think of anything more OLD Conservatory without resorting to proposing a WAR with EUROPE. Oh, hang on, we're back to Master Gideon again.

"Aren’t these wonderful polices a little bit aimed at the rich?" Ms Won't-Argue would later ask Mr Oboe.

"Why yes, Sarah," he replied, "but remember only last week Mr Iain Drunken-Swerve was presenting tax proposals to help the very worst off!"

Er, is Master Gideon talking about the Bribes for Marriages proposal contained in "Back to Basics, the revenge"? Because Conservatory policies for the "worst off" appear to be "your parents should have got married!"

Speaking of parents, Mr Deadwood described Inheritance Tax as a "tax on aspiration", which is really only true if your aspiration is for your parents to DIE.

Mr Oboe later went on to repeat the old canard that "this is double taxation, that inherited money has already been taxed when it was earned".

Well yes, when it was earned back in the sixteenth century in some cases.

But what about Income Tax then, Mr Oboe? Are you proposing to abolish the Income Tax because after all the companies that pay people's salaries have already paid Corporation Tax on their profits? Isn't Income Tax "double taxation" in EXACTLY THE SAME way as Inheritance Tax? i.e. in the way that one person (a company is a legal person, did you know – and Mrs the Queen is a legal company; isn't life WEIRD!) one person earns the money and is taxed and then passes it on to another.

Actually Income Tax is MORE unfair than Inheritance Tax: the difference is that the company pays you IN RETURN for something that you do, whereas you don't need to do ANYTHING to get an inheritance. (In fact, if you DO do anything, you might end up in GAOL!)

But that's not all. As previously reported, Mr Deadwood's plans extend into abolishing workers' protections too.

He explained it in terms of the Data Protection Act. "Well, it's just the BUREAUCRACY that we want to get rid of. People will still be able to demand to know what information is being held on them by Big Brother Inc."

It's just that there will be no penalties for Big Brother if they tell the people asking impertinent questions that they can go and stick it.

After all the "BUREAUCRATS" here are just the people whose job it is to enforce the rules.

Think of it this way, what if Mr Deadwood proposed abolishing the POLICE.

"Well, it's just the BUREAUCRACY that we want to get rid of. People will still be able to demand that the mugger who beat them up be sent to prison."

So, Conservatory Policy (ish): give money to the rich, free them from the "burden" of looking after the people who work for them, abolish the people who police the laws that fat cats might break.

Which means that Mr Balloon has an INTERESTING choice this summer: accept this ridiculous reactionary right-wing return to the reign of Queen Maggie… or admit that two years later he STILL doesn't have any policies at all.

[*]apparently not. Which just goes to show that nothing travels faster than a good DEBUNKING.

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