Monday, June 27, 2005

Howard Tax Swipe?

Michael Howard's speech today is being seen by some as a swipe at DD.

This is because he says offering tax cuts is not 'a silver bullet' which will sweep (or should that be fire?) the party back to power. And some people apparently think that's 'I'm-a-low-tax-Tory' Davis's main platform.

But on closer inspection, Mikey actually says:

'I do not believe that tax cuts are the silver bullet - the panacea to the party's problems. They cannot be all that we stand for - all that defines us. We need to reach out - we need a broad appeal, a programme that meets the many different challenges we face in modern Britain.

I am a Conservative. I believe in lower taxes. But I believe there is more to Conservatism than just tax cuts: an intense pride in nationhood; an understanding of the fundamental importance of personal responsibility in a civilised society; a sense of duty to others and to one's community; an overwhelming optimism about man's ability to improve the human condition; and a belief in free enterprise as the engine of progress.'

Well, I'm quite sure that DD would go along with that. Nobody- not even Lord Saatchi- believes tax cuts are the be-all and end-all of Conservatism.

Tax cuts are just one element of a much bigger programme that, among other things, will extend choice and consumer power into our Stalinist public services.

Howard was too timid to spell this out prior to the election (although in fairness, he only had 18 months), and ended up with those derisory and effectively disembodied £4 billion tax 'cuts'. Unrelated to the sidelined and barely mentioned pupil and patient passports.

Our Man will be much bolder and more radical. Tax cuts will be but one element of a platform aimed at giving us back the essential power to make our own choices.


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