Like a First World War veteran of the trenches, Fink is so traumatised by the destruction meted out by New Labour to the Hague-led Conservatives in 2001 that he suffers a policy version of post-traumatic stress syndrome. As soon as he hears the phrase “tax cut” he has flashbacks to New Labour’s old line of attack on “cutting public services”. The conditions are very different today, voters attitudes have changed, they know that tax and spend policies can’t be afforded now. Voters realise, as Clegg rightly says, that the public sector is bloated after a decade of big government policies. Voters want, poll after poll confirms, a tax relief agenda – tax cutting was once the Tory Unique Selling Point. The LibDems are the weather vanes of politics, the Tories should not allow them to take the wind out of their sails.
After a bad start Guido is beginning to warm to Clegg. He is clearly one of us right-wing “punk tax cutters” that Danny Finkelstein warns his readers about. He is advocating a “socially just” income tax cut of 2p and the LibDems also back substantially raising tax thresholds as well. This would really help millions of people on lower incomes and give them a greater disposable income. We need economic growth and boosting private spending is the best way of doing it.
The Cameroons are being out-flanked here, listening too much to the Fink re-fighting the 2001 election campaign in his column every week. (Did you know he used to work in CCHQ? No? He did, really.)