Left Out Liberal

A left-wing/liberal look at the UK's General Election of 2005.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Budget Reflection

As I listened to the Budget yesterday, I couldn't help but agree with everything that Gordon Brown said. I don't know whether this is because I was genuinely being fooled by his wizardry, or if the words were registering in my head as being something I could support.

It was a good Budget. I liked the sound of his redistributive efforts with tax credits, his big idea that we should be in education of some form until 18 at the least, and despite the shameless attempts at getting the grey vote on side, it was quite a restrained piece of economics. It has once more reconfirmed to me that Brown is a pretty good guy in most of this. I'm not sure if he's the most charismatic man around, but his policies seem to be in the right place. I'm pretty sure, as long as he doesn't have a copy of Blair's authoritarian rashness hidden somewhere, I would be happy to return to a muted-Labour party supporter if if Brown were in charge.

Of course, the Lib Dems came back with the points on local income tax that do need stressing. It would be a much fairer system, and I support this over official Labour policy. There are many liberal (both with a big L and a small l) policies that I support over and above some of the traditional socialist ones.

I am a little concerned about the numbers. I have a feeling some form of major tax is going to rise at the post-election budget. Will it be National Insurance? Probably. But Brown has managed to get through these eight years with a near perfect record of growth and stability. He might not be the Chancellor after the election, which will ensure his image remains strong for a future leadership battle. But if things start taking a turn for the worse, his credibility will be on the line. Brown is not the certain next leader of Labour any more.

The coming few years will be interesting in that respect.


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