Depending which paper you read Nick Clegg is out to fleece the middle classes or the rich. The top 10% are sited in one paper at least which suggests it's the rich more than the middle classes, but when oh when will politicians learn they are elected to serve not to dictate.
It seems from what Mr Clegg has been saying
that he likes people to work hard, so long as they are only modestly
rewarded and anyone who has managed to make a little time to enjoy the
world will be off his Christmas card list!
It all sounds like the old soviet style
communism to me, you work I govern. That system has been discredited
albeit that recent crises and abuses by the banking fraternity seem to
discredit capitalism and western democracy I'd still sooner live in the
UK than the Moscow of twenty years ago.
In tribal societies one can ask the wisest
to be head man in our system we can only vote for those who put
themselves forward and so often they are a woeful bunch - no wonder
politicians are so poorly respected.
The middle classes are the motor of the
economy. A middle class is not possible without an upper class, though
in the modern world one would hope this class would be a meritocracy,
not an accident of birth. The wealth creators and investors are
necessary and not necessarily be the enemy of a caring society.
The likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett
have made huge donations to worthy causes and encourage many of their
peers to do likewise. Nor is it a new thing, viz Andrew Carnegie and
many other successful men of the 1930s (see my book Hill's Heroes).
If the Liberal Party is to be the new Communist Party it is a sad day.
other stories it is said that the Inland Revenue are to be tasked to
look at everyone with assets of over £1 million to see if they are
avoiding tax with a presumption of guilt not innocence. It isn't
possible sadly to believe everything one reads in the papers, but if
this is coalition policy it really is distinctly Stalinesque and will
drive a further wedge between people and politicians to say nothing of
the implications for British justice.
Given house prices in many parts of the
country they should have a field day. There are people who've made tax
avoidance an art, but the majority of people in this bracket will pay
copious tax and pay an accountant to make sure they do not overpay which
is entirely moral, many in this bracket will also donate to causes
which help the less well off, such people are not the government's
enemies and should not be treated as such.
As someone who has travelled widely in
recent years I can tell you British prices are a shock, food, fuel,
transport, many museums and activities cost a fortune here compared with
other countries. We are becoming Switzerland without the wealth.
As a pacifist I would like to see the
billions spent fighting wars that are not our responsibility, any more
than they are the responsibility of all those countries who have kept
out, spent on investing in Britain's future and that primarily means
education - Nick Clegg's biggest political tripping stone to date.
He was warned, we are told, not to make
such a strong pledge on tuition fees by none other than Liberal leader
in waiting Vince Cable. Personally I'm tempted to wonder whether the
pledge itself was really the problem, unaffordability being Mr Cable's
reasoning apparently. Not being privy to government accounting and
costing I cannot say exactly what the costs of university tuition are
nor the size of the savings which might be made by getting out of
Afghanistan and all other foreign adventures.
I'm not advocating disarmament which is a
something we dare not do as yet, nor do I condemn self defence, however
we have no more right or duty to be the world's policeman than any other
state, only direct threats to the safety of our independence and our
people are our concern militarily, which is quite different from
abrogating diplomacy or foreign policy.
However, even if pulling our horns back in
will not fill the hole in the education budget there are still many
things to consider. For one we are told of the desire to get more people
into further education, which in and of itself sounds laudable. Again however, not everyone is cut out for university, we need plumbers,
electricians and other tradesmen, we also need young entrepreneurs in
this increasingly changing world of technology, communication and social
Increased government funding combined with
fewer university students and new apprenticeships and on the job
training, new incentives for young entrepreneurs, such things might be a
better way forward than simply saying we have to put tuition fees up
and up and up.
Of course the cynic in me believes that
having the young, particularly the young intelligentsia in hock to the
government is just another way for those who yearn for power, primarily
politicians, to increase their control over ordinary people.
The Liberal Party as it stands would appear
to be anything but liberal with a lower case l, sadly. Worse still it
is punching above its weight, largely due to the boundary changes
introduced by New labour which mean it is necessary for the Tories to
have a much larger majority of the popular vote than the Labour party in
order to form a one party majority. Let it not be forgotten that the
Liberal Party lost seats at the last election.
Look at Israeli politics to see the dangers
of coalition governments and small fanatical parties punching above
their weight - possibly the biggest single reason for the lack of
progress in the Middle East peace process. I am not accusing the Liberal
Party of being extremists, merely of having lost their way, which is a
great shame, a very great shame indeed.