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14 November 2008updated 04 Oct 2023 12:13pm

Ginger beer for George?

Paul Evans runs through his pick of the best of the politics blogs...

By Paul Evans

Taxing times

Red meat and political debate in rude health. That’s what we want. And we want it now! Westminster often fails to deliver, and so the bloggers stepped in. Anti-blog whingers in parliament, some of them apparently intelligent people, complain that blogs are the vulgar solipsistic tools of partisans, bent on subverting true debate.

They are profoundly wrong – as this week’s online tax debate between Nick Clegg and Danny Finkelstein demonstrates. Fink’s needling at the Lib Dem tax plan prompted a response from Clegg on his Comment Central blog, which was in turn ”fisked”.

Guido was in his element, unsurprisingly siding with the “punk tax cutter,” and asserting with characteristically Randian certainty that:

“Growth is the only way out of recession. Stimulus has to be more than just about monetary policy”.

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It wasn’t just taxes future that were up for debate – as taxes past exercised Alix Mortimer, who launched a stinging broadside at the prime minister’s claims to have improved the fiscal lot of basic rate taxpayers. Furious, she wrote:

“It’s a technocrat lying to people who don’t have the specialist knowledge to check the facts, and it is thoroughly sickening.”

Going on to explain precisely why, she was outraged at the branding of ill-considered and regressive measures as a “tax cut,” she asked:

“How did it happen? It still staggers me. The party of the working man, doubling the tax on some of the lowest paid people in the country, and then even when their mistake was pointed out to them, failing to make up for it.”

Elsewhere, Tory tax announcements attracted attention. “A scam,” thought Chris Dillow, who meticulously detailed the “enormous deadweight cost of the plan”. Hopi Sen noted the Conservative party’s fear of pursuing a more radical “starve the beast” tax-cutting agenda, instead choosing marginal tinkering around the edges, concluding, “I genuinely don’t understand what they are trying to do…”.

What have we learned this Week?

The absurdity of the BNP’s “white history” project was highlighted two weeks ago on this blog. Harry’s Place now carries a thorough examination of the abhorrent contents of its touring exhibition.

Around the World

In South Africa, Michael Trapido’s ‘Traps’ blog gave some historical context to the ongoing chaos in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Proposing a series of measures necessary to restore order, he explained:

“Unless all foreign and rebel militias are disarmed and sanctions imposed on those who illegally profit from the vast resources of the DRC, thereby removing the reason and the wherewithal to rearm time and again, the situation will remain highly volatile”.

There seems scant evidence that this is possible at present.

Videos of the Week

He might have recycled the joke, but it’s the well delivered self-deprecation that means the presidential race loser will be embraced warmly in defeat – this week’s video is John McCain on Jay Leno’s Tonight show.

Quote of the Week

“He didn’t make the jam while the rug needed a stitch in time and now the house is on fire. Quick, open the ginger beer!”

Alix Mortimer pokes fun at Osborne’s antiquated economic metaphors.

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