Old Labour Is New Again

by Mike on November 25, 2008

in Economy,UK Politics

Gordon Brown’s Labour Government threw a political Hail Mary yesterday when it proposed raising taxes in a slew of areas, including a 60 percent rate on top earners, coupled with borrowing levels Britain has never seen before. With his party badly trailing the Conservatives in the polls, the idea was to copy Barack Obama’s playbook which was recently successful here in America. The trouble is, Labour forgot that copying Obama means NOT TELLING the voters what you’re up to.

Perhaps realizing that unlike Obama, his party has been in power for 10 years, Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling tried to sell his plan by playing up the financial crisis and blaming the US for it. Thankfully, Conservative George Osborne jumped all over him for it.

Today’s economic climate was partially caused by the business cycle. It was partially caused by overregulation in the sense that government controlled companies provided mortgages to people who could not afford them. It was partially caused by runaway spending. In the UK, it was partially caused by a decade of stealth taxation. It’s interesting that Gordon Brown would would attempt to solve his country’s woes by expanding the policies that helped cause them. Then again, I think Brown is more concerned with the politics than the policy.

Its difficult to see how this plan is going to bail out Labour from their electoral fortunes. Although the UK is not a center-right country in an American sense, it has always been more financially sound than the continent, especially since Margaret Thatcher. The fact that Tony Blair realized this ten years ago and moderated his party’s platform is is one of the reasons Labour has been successful for so long. Today, Brown abandoned the Blair approach that led Labour out of the wilderness. Old Labour is new again.

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