This is our truth, tell us yours
There’s a great post here, with excellent comments, both about the Labour leadership candidates and the less than helpful interventions from some of those, like Tony Blair, who thank that unions shouldn’t have a veto on Labour policies, but former leaders (like Tony Blair) should.
One such intervention came from Frank Field, a man who prizes unpopularity with something approaching glee. In a letter to The Times he defended his nomination of Jeremy Corbyn, and threw this hand grenade;
The other candidates have shied away from confronting the brutal political arithmetic that no government in recent times has been able to raise more than 37-38 per cent of GDP in taxation for more than a single year, and yet these governments spend at least 40 per cent of GDP fulfilling promises made to the electorate.
Corbyn has cobbled together a half decent leftist programme that many would approve of, but he isn’t asking the larger questions. Why must Britain spend less on government services and its health service than many of our European competitors? Why must Britain spend less on health than many of its European comparators?
The tax question is especially interesting. Why can’t government’s get in more than 37-38% of GDP? If we have to spend all of the money we intend to spend (on Trident, for instance) then we need a tax system that can finance those purchases. If the current one can’t deliver more than 37-38%, does it need fine tuning to raise collection rates, or does it need a radical re-think?
Field is right; no-one expressing a wish to lead Labour is asking these questions, let alone trying to answer them. Labour deserves better.