Saturday, 17 April 2010

Attacking Labour’s ‘Brilliant Britain’ advert

I was shocked when I saw my sister's status update on Facebook declaring that "Eddie Izzard talks a lot of sense." Knowing that he's a Labour supporter, I commented, hoping that she had seen him performing Cake or Death or some other stand up act, but no, it turned out that it was the video below:

I then commented this upsetting status update, and have posted my comment below, but have fleshed it out a bit more for the purposes of making it into quick blog post.

1. It's hypocritical for them to pipe on about Ashcroft being a Tory donor when Labour are funded by union bosses. Whilst it may not be appealing for us that the Conservatives received big donations from the tax-evading aristocrat, it was legal. Labour cannot take the moral high ground here - all parties have been involved in underhand funding, either recently or a while ago. Remember Cash for Honours? Loans were given to the party so they didn't have to be declared (they would have been found out much faster if given as donations) in return for a seat in the Lords.

Moreover, these tax cuts and concessions the video mentions are designed to promote businesses, allowing them to grow and employ more people. In particular, a lot of the Conservative policies are aimed at helping small businesses, such as making it so new businesses don't have to pay National Insurance on the first 10 people they employ. That's a stark contrast to raising NI, which will discourage businesses from taking on more staff. If Labour really were against big business - which they're not anymore because they only socialist things about them is their party subtitle - they wouldn't have cut the rate of corporation tax, whilst raising it on small businesses.

2. The video attempts to present Labour as the party of the people, saying they haven't got as much money as the Conservatives. That's because they're incapable of running their party's finances, and are massively in debt. If they lose the election, there's a chance the party would go bankrupt. Let's hope so.

3. Saying the Tories are Thatcher-worshippers is grossly hypocritical. The past 13 years of Labour government have been Thatcher-based. More private investment and competition was brought in under Blair, and it's continued ever since. For example, foundation hospitals and academy schools. And they now want to go even further by having bad services taken over by good ones. Socially, it's clear that Cameron's Conservative party is different to Thatcher's in many ways - they are now committed to the NHS and social justice, and he often speaks of the need for Big Society, which directly contrasts against Thatcher's infamous quote of "There's no such thing as society." I'm currently writing an essay comparing Thatcher and Blair, and I assure you that it's incredibly easy to find similarities, and much more difficult to find differences.

4. Britain is broken... a bit. I don't subscribe to the Conservatives' sensationalist statements about everything having gone to pot, but there are many, many things that suggest something isn't quite right in the UK. We seem to have a teenage stabbing at least once a week, and growing antisocial behaviour that sometimes just gets left because police don't care. You only have to look at Fiona Pilkington as a tragic example. Labour's ASBOs and early-release schemes have exasperated this situation, with many young offenders coming straight back out and committing more crimes.

5. Izzard mentions the unemployment of the 1980s. However, the video neglects to mention the chaos of the 1970s, where rubbish and bodies piled up and the lights went out, and a 3 day week was introduced to save electricity. Whilst she may not have been popular, Britain needed Thatcher's bitter medicine to drag it out of its self-pitying state. Yes, there was unemployment - she stopped bailing out companies that couldn't survive without handouts, and she refused to give into the miners who refused to compromise - but it was the price paid for a more dynamic and modern economy. On the subject, you'll see unemployment rise  if Labour's National Insurance rise goes ahead. Even Alaister Darling said the jobs lost from it would be "manageable". If even he says that, you know it could be very, very bad.

6. "Tax cuts for the rich". This refers to inheritance tax. I don't take very kindly to taxing people who don't have much money and want to leave it to their children. Currently, it applies to anything over £325,000, which isn't that much of a large sum when you take into consideration how wealthy some people are. I have a fundamental aversion to taxing money that parents want to leave onto their children - it just strikes me as being wrong. However, I will agree that raising it to £1 million does seem a big jump to make, particularly in a time when services are going to be cut back.

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