British Politics’s Blog

The ravings of an individual, UK voter frustrated with our politicians

Posts Tagged ‘manifesto commitment

New Labour lies and contempt for the public

with 2 comments

No matter which way you try and paint it, New Labour have lied to the public. This, by virtue of the fact that they gave a commitment in their Manifesto not to raise income tax and then reneged on that promise, without a hint of embarrassment or self-doubt. So, if there was anyone out there that still believed New Labour was a party of honesty and integrity, then they only need to look at the fact that they have deliberately broken a contractual commitment with the public. A business would pay the price in the courts, this discredited government must pay the price at the ballot box, because we can never believe them again.

Alistair Darling is reported to have said, “I want to ensure that people inside this country can aspire to do as well as they can for themselves and their families – people want to ensure that if they do a hard day’s work, they get a reward for it.” Surely the irony of this statement is not lost on Mr Darling, given it was he that introduced a penal rate of tax for those that strive to do better for themselves and succeed. This is a tax on hard work, achievement, success, enterprise and entrepreneurship.

Darling went on to say that those with the “broadest shoulders” should pay more. By this he means anyone earning over £100k who will have been told they will lose their personal allowance incrementally to the point where it was vanish by the time they have earned £113,000 and, those earning over £150k, who will be charged 50% tax on all earnings over that threshold. But, as one commentator has already pointed out and, as Chancellor Mr Darling should know, these people already pay nearly 7 times more tax  (in cash terms) than the average British worker. Surely that means they are already shouldering a larger, if not disproportionate, slice of the £150bn income tax take? If our Chancellor cannot even count, then why on earth is he in such an important position?

No further evidence in need, New Labour now stands for broken promises and it is clear that the party no longer values effort, success or enterprise, instead New Labour see these aspects of human endeavour as something to be punished. New Labour don’t deserve to even be on the ballot box, much less governing this country. If they had any self-respect left, they would call an election now!

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Could smoking ban be extended to homes and private cars?

with 5 comments

It is hard to believe in a free and democratic country that I am even asking this question, unless of course, you look at the backdrop to the recent National Health Service consultation on such a ban. But, before that, I would just like to ask who the hell they think they are, the NHS are care providers, a public service paid for by taxes, not a political party. According to their own figures, which are always exaggerated to include fixed, rather that just variable costs, smoking related illnesses cost the NHS £1.7bn a year.

So lets put that in perspective. Under the guise of attempting to protect smokers from themselves, successive governments have introduced duties and tax on all tobacco related products. So, much so, that they now rake in £10.5bn a year, so even excluding the so called ‘cost’ to the NHS, the smoking pimps, sorry, the government still profit to the tune of nearly £9bn every year. Or to put it another way, if every smoker was to give up tomorrow, the NHS would not hand back the £1.7bnand the basic rate of income tax would have to rise by 3% to cover the loss of tobacco taxes. Just for the readers own edification, duties and VAT on alcohol products, raises another £9bn a year..or if you prefer a figure equal to 3% on our basic rate of tax.

There are an estimated 9.5m smokers in the UK, equivalent to approximately 20% of the adult population. By no means a minority. However, imagine any other group of people being subjected to such draconian legislation? I agree, that a ban on smoking in the workplace was an excellent idea, but equally, many organisations had already introduced this without the need for ‘nanny state’ legislation. But, to extend this legislation to include all public places, company owned vehicles, pubs, clubs and restaurants was a step too far. Any government that were to offer support to the consultation process currently under discussion at the National Health Service, (to ban smoking in private cars and homes) would be committing political suicide.

This Labour government was so short-sighted, that it did not take account of, or it was so arrogant, that it chose to ignore the effects of their legislation. It is estimated by the BBPA that some 36 pubs a week are closing, for the most part, as a direct result of the smoking ban. Each closure has real people affected, families, people wanting to try and do their own thing (tenants), real living and breathing individuals! But it is not just pubs, it is companies that supply services to pubs, soft drinks, food suppliers, beermat printers, caterers, the list goes on. This government could have allowed pubs to opt out, or become ‘smoking clubs’, as they have in Germany, instead, they insisted on a one-size fits all strategy. Clubs, entertainment centres and restaurants across the country are suffering and closing as a direct consequence of this ill considered legislation. This Labour government, once again, pandered to the PC brigade, another crusade, one day, coming to the rescue of foxes, the next day targeting smokers.

As I have already stated, I believe that non-smokers have a right to enjoy a meal, or a pint in a smoke-free environment. In fact, in my personal experience, most smokers, were always cognisant of the feelings of non-smokers and refrained from smoking in their presence. But the adult population make their choices, some may choose to drink in a club, others at a wine bar and another group may prefer a public house. Similarly, given the choice, the same adult population could, given the choice, opted to decide whether they wanted to go to a pub, club, bar or restaurant that permitted smoking or one that did not. There was no need to treat all of us like children and no justification in taking the law so far, as to turn 9.5m people into a colony of lepers. It was and remains an appalling piece of legislation, the New Labour government got so caught up in their own sense of power and invincibility that they went ahead and drove through legislation that far, far exceeded their election manifesto commitment.

I am a smoker and I know as many smokers as non-smokers. I have run businesses in this country and abroad. If I received complaints about smoking in the workplace, I always allowed the matter to go to a secret vote, with the only proviso, that there must be a majority in favour a change. On each occasion I did this, without exception, there was a vote in favour of a ban (with smokers catered for) and a good proportion, perhaps, up to 50%, of the smokers voted for the ban…yes for! In other words, left to their own devices, the adult population can and will act responsibly, decisively and collectively. These groups did not need, nor did they seek a Big Brother approach from a nanny state.

Treating adults like children is likely to lead to a temper tantrum and no government, particularly one that is prone to look down its nose at the very people that are paying the bills, can afford to ignore the affects of such draconian legislation. This government needs to tell those pampered, isolated, busybodies at the National Health Service to wind their collective necks in and keep out of politics. Then I would suggest this governent looks at some exemptions to this smoking ban, before it is too late and they end up killing the golden goose.

Before I get the anti-smoking lobby knocking at my door with the usual rhetoric, I want to make the following points. Smoking maybe a choice, but it is also a habit. I do not advocate smoking in the workplace, nor do I believe it is right to smoke where non-smokers congregate, if the non-smokers have no choice but to inhabit the same space. My argument is that the legislation went too far and in particular, much further than was proposed in the manifesto. 

9.5m smokers also have rights, to go out and enjoy themselves in a smoke-filled environment, if they so choose. Businesses, should have the right to apply and receive exemption, leaving non-smokers the choice of whether or not they will provide said businesses with their patronage. Our freedom and civil liberties were hard-fought for and won, but we are also supposed to have a tolerant society. If any government had targeted 9.5m ethnic or other minority groups in the same way as they have the smokers in this country, there would be worldwide condemnation. It would not be a retrograde step to allow exemptions, it would show political maturity and demonstrate that non-smokers can show the same level of maturity and good grace that the smokers offered them, when I asked them to vote on whether to smoke in the workplace, before the legislation was imposed.