A tale of two Johns: Redwood good, Gummer less good

After John Redwood’s excellent report on the economy, we move on to John Gummer’s “Quality of Life” report.  It threatens to undo all Redwood’s good work and tax reductions, by adding new “green” taxes.  Let’s leave aside the growing doubts on the alarmist climate scenario.  Even if you buy the CO2/climate story, a few green taxes will have a trivial effect on global CO2 emissions, while doing significant economic damage.  As a recent letter-writer to the press put it: the Tories must decide whether they’re low-tax free market economists, or high-tax socio-environmental meddlers.

George Osborne recently said on the Today programme that he “is not a supply-sider”.  Well if he paid a moment’s attention to the evidence from a dozen countries, he would be, and he ought to be.  And it is no good David Cameron insisting that “We will put economic stability ahead of tax cuts”.  In the medium term, low taxes are a pre-condition for stability, not an alternative to it.  High taxes will undermine stability.  If you’re in a runaway train, you don’t achieve stability by doing nothing.  You need to take urgent action.

Of course it would be wise to reduce government spending as we reduce taxes.  Two suggestions.  Recent reports suggest that the cost of quangoes in the UK is an extraordinary £130 billion a year.  Finding £20 billion savings there should be a doddle.

Then there’s welfare.  David Cameron says that family breakdown is the cause of our broken society, and he’s partly right.  But welfare dependency is as big a problem, or bigger.  Leaving aside those genuinely unable to work, it’s better for both the individual and society that the individual should work.  Welfare is there to tide people over temporary illness or misfortune, and to help them back into work.  It is not there to fund and maintain a permanent, work-shy, feral underclass, many of whom plague the streets carrying knives or guns.  We should do as the US has done, and put a lifetime limit of say five years on welfare eligibility.  When that’s gone, you’ll have to rely on family or charity.  Yes of course, there would be a few hard cases.  But the great majority would get back to work, and find a better life, a decent income, and some self-respect.

This entry was posted in Environment, Gummer, Redwood, Tax. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A tale of two Johns: Redwood good, Gummer less good

  1. Praguetory says:

    Well, we’re certainly in agreement on this. The only black spot on last year’s wonderful party conference was Osborne equating low taxes with economic instability, when as you rightly argue the opposite is true. By the way, belated and sincere thanks for organising my attendance at the Prague conference.

  2. Paul Biggs says:

    I voted Tory for 30 years – that ended when Cameron became leader – your phrase “high-tax socio-environmental meddlers” is a good description of Cameron and his Etonian eco-freak friends. I’ll be spoiling my ballot paper from now on, while Cameron is busy trying to double New Labour’s parliamentary majority.

  3. best conservative writing on the web.

  4. Jorgen says:

    I have only just found this blog. Well said! I’ll sign up to every word. Cameron has had his chance and must be kicked out now.

  5. Roger Helmer says:

    I am grateful for Jorgen’s support, but hang on a minute there! I should certainly like to see David Cameron take a stronger tax-cutting line, and I’d like to see him talk about welfare reform alongside the “broken society” message. But I supported his election as Leader and continue to support him. We’ll win the next general election with Cameron, or not at all.

  6. Jorgen says:

    But Cameron will not cut taxes, not go for small government, not curb immigration or for that matter support any other Conservative policies. The nearest to a tax cut I have heard so far, is that Osborne might look into dropping inheritance tax, funding it with green taxes! Ridiculous! That “welfare reform” you mention, is that Cameron’s “redistribution of wealth”?

    I for one will not vote for “Dave Cameron’s Conservatives” and deemed from the comments in the Conservative newspapers, I am not alone. The next election is lost with or without Cameron, but I understand that the MPs and MEPs feel they have to stand by their leader. I will with greatest interest follow the next election and who knows, with time, maybe a real Conservative Party can be reborn from the smoking ashes like the bird Phoenix. However, I wish *you* personally the best of luck in the election as I can see in your blog you are a Conservative with capital ‘C’.

    Since you mention it: The society that is broken is the society created by the House of Commons. Most parents (and schools) have a good idea of what has gone wrong, but are powerless to do anything about it. Start by removing all traces of political correctness, then remove most of the rights children have today and replace them with duties and discipline. Yeah, I know; it is not going to happen. We will talk about “absent fathers”, “broken society” and hoodies that need more love instead as this implies that the blame is to be put elsewhere.

    Sorry about the rant, but you asked for it.

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