Tory softies blow it again…

George Osborne. Pic from The Conservative Party web site

The Tories are looking pretty pleased with their shadow chancellor’s inheritance tax plan but Brown’s on his way back to town – and he’s going to wipe the smile off their smug faces.

Osborne may be… er… uncharismatic but he’s a useful politician. The inheritance tax announcement was about the only thing that stood a chance of digging the Tories’ out of their present electoral hole – and his method of funding the cut is clever and politically cost-free. The fact that it’ll affect hardly anyone (despite the shameless lies about the number of households affected in the announcement) and that it would be the least progressive change to taxation in generations hardly matters. Inheritance tax is a dead duck.

Death tax is anachronistic (it’s got more to do with the exigencies of mediaeval warmaking than with funding modern public services) and it’s socially indefensible (don’t talk to me about the inefficiencies of intergenerational capital transfer. There’s an unarguable emotional logic to leaving your money to your kids: we’re programmed to do it).

The problem for Osborne and the Tories, though, is that in Gordon Brown’s muscular, Tony Soprano-style world his death tax policy is fair game. Absolutely nothing – not courtesy, not scruple, not Westminster clubbishness – will stop Brown from simply copying this policy. In Brown’s political New Jersey opponents are dumb resources, unworthy of respect.

Beating up the Tories and stealing their shiny new death tax idea would be a casual, pre-breakfast flick of the wrist for bullyboy Brown. I wouldn’t be surprised if he even nicked the non-dom funding wheeze along with it. And you know what, I think I like this kind of disrespectful, butch, smash-and-grab politics. Death tax is finished anyway (only an idiot – or a Liberal – would go into an election campaign with the current thresholds in place) so Brown might as well get on with it. I can almost see him lacing up his shit kicking boots on the plane back from Iraq.

Here we go. Here we go. Here we go…


  1. You said it Steve (and do I detect a some grudging admiration?). Your description of Brown as a Tony Soprano figure is spot on. The amazing thing is that New Labour’s theft of Tory polices looked slightly slimy under Blair – as if he actually *wanted* to be a Tory. Under Brown the raid just looks expedient, smart and even relished by Old Labour – as they stand by in dimly lit alleyway, gleely watching their ‘made man’ do some serious Waste Management…

  2. Socialism is a cancer, Brown is the Tumor and it seems you are one of the cancer cells.

    Hope you enjoy living in Brown’s Stalinist state.

  3. Do we want politics that is merely expedient? Surely the point of ‘death taxes’ is to break down the building of unassailable and dominant wealthy families. Of course, thresholds should rise sensibly, year on year. Of course they don’t. Personally, I don’t have a problem with a million pound threshold – it will of course break the filthy rich, maybe. As for the non-dom tax: what would we rather? Not tax your wealth at all or tax it a little bit so it doesn’t hurt? By god, we are frightened and beaten down by extreme wealth these days (and by extreme corporate lobbying, which is the same thing with a different mask on).
    As for Ferris – you what?

Comments are closed.