Gordon Brown’s misery deepens. On Wednesday, he was prancing around with a sharp knife, pretending to be a taxcutter. The ploy backfired, and he ended up slitting his own throat instead. Almost everybody saw through his illusory tax cut, and by his own actions, he has now freed the timid Conservative Party to start talking about tax cuts.
Today brings even worse news for him. A Yougov poll for the Daily Telegraph conducted after the Budget gives the Conservatives an eight-point lead. In addition:
- 36 per cent of respondents are not looking forward at all to Gordon Brown as Prime Minister, with a further 18 per cent not much looking forward to that happy day;
- 46 per cent think there is a black hole in the public finances, or there soon will be;
- 33 per cent think Gordon Brown should have cut income tax more, and announced smaller spending increases; and
- 75 per cent do not think that the next Labour Government will cut taxes.
So what next? Will Labour panic and start looking seriously for an alternative candidate? Most likely not. Most Labour backbenchers are as cowardly as Gordon Brown. They lack the courage to take their political destiny into their hands, despairing quietly and floating supinely towards their own doom.
And what about David Cameron? He should not rejoice too loudly. He should take another look at the Yougov poll. Only 23 per cent think his Government would cut taxes. What is he going to do about that? Taxpayers are labouring under the heaviest tax burden for many years, and he cannot continue to pretend that he is unaware of this.
If David Cameron wants to be taken seriously as a potential Prime Minister, he must begin to address this issue. I would like to hear about proper tax cuts, not cuts that are ‘offset’ by abolishing tax reliefs elsewhere, as George Osborne promised us earlier this week when he talked about a corporation tax cut. And no more mealy-mouthed talk of ‘sharing the proceeds of growth’. Let us instead hear talk of ‘relieving the burden of taxation’.