While I’ve been busy calling Osborne Piers Fletcher-Dervish and Cameron a Tefal-headed twat, more level headed sorts have been scrutinising and arguing the issues.
In this case it is Danny Finkelstein (Times leader writer) and Tim Montgomerie (ConservativeHome).
Mr F, writes, in an extraordinarily pusillanimous open letter to Mr M:
If the Conservative Party announced that reversing the 45p would be a priority, they would be running in the election saying the following:
We’ve looked at the books. We can see that there is no money. Gordon Brown has left us with unimaginable debt and his forward plans are unaffordable. We have hard decisions for years to come. We have abandoned many of our plans for public spending. We are going to cut Labour’s plans down and services will feel the pinch.
We’re sorry, but we can’t help it. We’ll get things going when we can.
Oh, but just as a start we don’t need the £2bn that Gordon Brown was going to raise from people who earn more than £150k. We will find that by cutting spending even more. Vote Conservative.
Can’t you see Tim that this isn’t an election winning position? I believe you can. You may not, ideally, want this new rate. And you have, understandably expressed your frustration and anger.
But the politics are surely compelling.
I don’t think the politics are compelling – I think the presentation put on it would be significantly different from that Mr Fink offers, but I think it’s time the British Public hears it loud and clear. It seems Mr M agrees:
It wasn’t until twenty minutes into a conversation with a member of Team Cameron at the weekend that we got into the economic arguments for 45p. For twenty minutes all I got was the politics of why the position had been changed. Last week I was briefed that the party was backing away from forcing the BBC to share the licence fee because we needed broadcasters on side. A month ago a frontbencher told me that we couldn’t upset Muslim opinion by questioning the ban on Geert Wilders coming into Britain. Of course, of course, of course politicians have to make tactical political decisions but I worry that tactics are now too dominant. Voters may actually vote for some authentic truth telling!
The 45p tax won’t raise much or any money. It may damage the recovery. It won’t stop Labour attacking us as the party of the rich. I’m sorry, Danny, my mind is unchanged.
Read the whole thing – I have to say I agree pretty squarely with Mr M, but perhaps I’m just not being as pragmatic (cynical?) as Mr F.