Tuesday, November 25, 2008

If we really had a 'Socialist' government in Britain.....

It's been quite hilarious reading the completely OTT response of various media commentators to the incredibly timid economic measures announced by the British government yesterday.

The government said that they would raise the top rate of income tax to 45% on income over £150,000 in 2010- hardly a revolutionary measure considering that most other countries in Europe have a top rate of tax for high earners (often cutting in at a much lower rate than the one proposed by Alistair Darling) but apparently it means that 'socialism' has returned to Britain and we are back to the 1970s.

If only!

If we really did have a Socialist government in Britain here's some of the things they'd be doing:

* Renationalising public transport, the energy companies, utilities and Britain's infrastructure.

*Reintroducing a staunchly progressive income tax system.

* Abolishing VAT on fuel altogether.

* Abolishing prescription charges in England.

* Reintroducing free dental care on the NHS.

* Pulling Britain out of the EU, NATO, and the World Trade Organisation.

* Pulling British troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan (funny isn't it, that despite the billions of pounds of public money this would save, the opposition Conservatives, who are calling for government cuts, never even mention this particular economy?)

* Introducing free personal care for the elderly.

* Re-establishing the link between pensions and average earnings, not in 2012 as the government has promised, but now.

* Establishing the very important principle that not a penny of taxpayers money should be given to a private company without the taxpayer acquiring equity in that company.

* Making all 'short-selling' illegal- not just of bank shares.

* Closing the loopholes which mean that billionaires whose money is largely made in Britain, pay little, or no tax whatsoever.

When we do get a government doing all or most of those things, then I think we can accurately call it 'socialist'. In the meantime we can only smile at the attempts to portray Gordon Brown (above) as the George Lansbury of the 21st century.


David Lindsay said...

European federalism, American military-industrial hegemony and global capitalism are all on their collective death bed.

They are not going without a fight, though.

But they are going.

Roland Hulme said...

Rubbish piling in the streets, poverty, total sinking of British industry, general misery and inevitable election of a reactionary capitalist party.

If it was the 70's all over again.

DBC Reed said...

Introduce a Land Value Tax to stop property bubbles developing.There was a stinker in the 70's after they got rid of the old Schedule A and then drastically increased the money supply (in Tony Barber's giveaway budget).
The disaster of the 70's all followed this episode and got blamed on the unions ( though Enoch Powell said they were "pure as the driven snow")

Anonymous said...

I've just started reading The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek, dedicated "To the socialists in all parties."

I've only read the introduction so far, but it mentioned that Lord Beveridge was the father of NHS and the current British system...

One thing that's very nice about your blog is your coverage of historical topics. But I've been reading your blog for a year now, and I haven't seen a post about Lord Beveridge, whom I believe you would greatly admire.

Neil Clark said...

david: let's hope so.

roland: in the 70s we were in a far better economic position in Britain than we are today. don't forget back then we had North Sea oil revenues yet to come and we still had a manufacturing base.

DBC Reed: agreed.

Douglas: thanks for your kind words. I hope to post on Beveridge some time. I'm no fan of Hayek- he failed to appreciate the threat that capital can pose to freedom and democracy.