Monday, November 24, 2008

Cameron and Osborne need to talk for the forgotten majority

Yesterday, I said that Cameron and Osborne have a difficult job on their hands today. They need to tread the thin line between opposiing the measure in the opre-budget report on the grounds that they are fiscally irresponsible, whilst maintaining that tax cuts in principle are good but should not be paid for by deferred rises.

The problem they have is making that case in a simple narrative. The "tax bombshell" works, but if, as expected, the Chancellor outlines his means for clawing his big giveaway back, then the "they're being sneaky bastards and you'll have to pay for this mess in the future but they won't admit it" line just becomes "they're being bastards".

At this point Brown can try and push his "I'm doing something and you're proposing to do nothing". Ideally what Osborne and Cameron need to be able to do is stand-up, respond to the Chancellor's speech by ripping it apart where it fails, but then proposing what he should be doing instead.

The key here I think - and this is based on the leaked information thus far and not the secret squirrel surprises that will be in there - is to highlight that Brown is hitting the top end to fund the bottom end but completely ignoring the majority in the middle.

Remember that Brown has made much of his "success" at raising incomes. This is actually one of his weaknesses because a great number of people have now moved into the forgotten middle section and are by no means "rich". If Cameron and Osborne this group that I suspect will be screwed over by the Chancellor, then the message will chime farther.

Having said all this, who knows what little con trick we might see in the speech. A cut of a penny in income tax perhaps but a freezing of thresholds? Giving with one hand and clawing it back through inflationary pay increases perhaps?


Anonymous said...

This is all made more ludicrous by the fact that fiscal drag has seen billions more be taken from taxpayers than was (in one sense at least) fair. Tax rates have not moved up as fast as earnings. Government has had a decade long spending spree and still needed to borrow loads. We have little of worth to show for it all.(In which case waste must be rampant in Government spending. Has it all gone on management level wages or something?) Now earnings will drop and tax revenues will probably fall through the floor. We have all been buggered by Brown.

I've tightened my belt. Why aren't they?

Ralph said...

The Tories have to do three things in my opinion, one present Labour's 'tax cuts' as a loan, that has to be paid back with interest, two suggest it isn't about helping the British people but helping Brown, and three find some real tax cuts of their own by cutting Government projects like ID Cards.

Whatever they do it has be be summarised in one easy soundbite that gets repeated regularly.

Lola said...

Whatever Darling says it will be all deceit. Dave / George can only fight this with the absolute truth. You just can't counter-spin spin. You can play it back by killing the spin. They need to take comfort that the truth will always out in the end and by keeping a consistent and honest narrative strongly critical of the governments spedthiftery and the trouble it has caused us will eventually strike home.

Any tax cut to 'boost the economy' should be a gift to the Tories as such a cut is an implied admission that taxation reduces the economy.

But they need to find a way to explain simply how cutting governemnt spending will make things better for everyone and not cause services like health and education to be 'cut'.

Anonymous said...

The idea that Osborne and Cameron could speak for the forgotten majority is frankly risible.

To do so, they would have to demonstrate that they could analyse the problem and interpret the results of the analysis. Then they would have to present it in a voter attractive style.

It won't happen.