Demands for people and companies to pay their fair share of tax, and for company chief executives pay and bonuses to be capped is being led by the grass roots not their leaders.
It’s all very well for David Cameron to jump on the bandwagon and pick on comedian Jimmy Carr’s tax avoidance scheme, but the Prime Minister joins most politicians in failing to address this issue for years.
The Labour Party should have taken a lead while it was in office for 13 years but Tony Blair was so focussed on being “business friendly” that there was little pretence that the party was going to be true to its socialist grass roots and narrow the gap between rich and poor through the tax system. Indeed Lord Mandelson said he was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich.”
It’s unlikely the public was relaxed, even during the economic good times. They certainly aren’t now as the recession bites hard.
It should now be clear to politicians that there are votes in fairness. There is nothing incompatible between fair taxes, bonuses and salaries and a competitive society. There’s a lot of nonsense talked about our top entrepreneurs being poised with their passports ready to flee Britain for some low tax foreign paradise.
There are a few who are prepared to endure boredom in boiling Qatar or humid Hong Kong. Good luck to them. We must have fairness in Britain and politicians of all parties with the guts to outsmart the clever accountants and their tax loopholes.
THE SECRET POLICE ELECTIONS
It seems as if the government is hell bent on ensuring a low turnout in the elections for Police and Crime Commissioners.
These are entirely new posts that the public have no experience of. Voting will take place in November when the weather is likely to be even worse than it is at the moment. Finally there will be no freepost for the parties to communicate with the public.
If you are tempted to run as an independent in say Merseyside, you will need £60,000 to contact every elector.
At the moment we only know the Labour candidates in the North West. I went along to their launch this week and encountered two familiar faces, Tony Lloyd and Jane Kennedy.
Tony was returned unopposed by the Greater Manchester Labour Party and will shortly stand down as MP for Central Manchester.
Jane Kennedy, a former MP, won a bruising contest with another ex Liverpool MP, Peter Kilfoyle, and the chair of the Merseyside Police Authority Cllr Bill Weightman. Bill opined that the Commissioner role should not be a bolt hole for former MPs.
That was a mild comment compared to Jane Kennedy’s criticism of Peter Kilfoyle for suggesting that being born in Liverpool was a key qualification for the job. She described that to me as the “little Liverpool campaign” and was glad Labour members had rejected it.
Mayor Joe was at the photo call having surprisingly intervened in the selection process to back Kennedy. He justified his decision with a rambling analogy related to choosing cakes. I wondered whether he’d have been present if Kilfoyle had won to which his response was “We’ll never know now.”
Anderson is clearly happy to continue mixing it in the political field. Earlier in the campaign he’d told the Leigh MP Andy Burnham not to interfere in a Merseyside election when the Shadow Health Secretary had given his support to Kilfoyle.
Labour made its choice in Lancashire in a more seemly manner. Lancashire County councillor Clive Grunshaw from Fleetwood is a member of the current Lancashire Police Authority. He may be up against Geoff Driver if the current Conservative leader of Lancashire County Council decides to go for the Tory nomination.
In Cheshire Labour has chosen Halton councillor John Stockton. He may face Baroness Helen Newlove for the Tories. Her husband was murdered by three youth in Warrington in 2007.
There are a number of issues to return to about these new posts as we run up to November including their effectiveness, their relationships with the Chief Constables and what it tells us about the attitude of the the Tories (the traditional party of law and order) and the police.