Left Out Liberal

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

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Beware of The Sun

Trevor Kavanagh, the Sun's political editor, is no Labour supporter. There's no doubting in most people's minds that he's a keen Conservative voter, and you only need to read his articles to see this.

But of late, he's been getting more and more anti-Labour. There is a question in the works as to whether or not the Sun is on the verge of endorsing the Tories, and I think if it was left to Trevor there would be no doubt that they would. But Rupert Murdoch stands in the way, and he owes thanks for a lot of the media deregulation legislation to Tony Blair.

Today's editorial column in the Sun proclaims:
"The Tories have got to concentrate on tax CUTS. That isn’t rocket science, either, Mr Howard."
This is where I start to get suspicious...

A newspaper, claiming to represent the hard-working, oppressed and over-taxed working classes. The kind of people who don't pay that much tax in the first place. In fact, if they have families, it's likely they're also getting a lot of tax credits. Tax cuts are meaningless to them.

It's well documented that any tax cuts always benefit the richest. When Labour introduced the thin 10p tax band, the people who gained the most were those on higher incomes. It's why Gordon Brown refuses to move the tax allowances upwards, and instead uses targeted tax credits to bring the benefits to the lower earners. It may be confusing, and there might be less bureaucratic ways of doing it, but it is an attempt to redistribute via the back door. In other words, tax cuts should not really be the concern of those on incomes below £20-30,000.

So who is the Sun writing on behalf of when it demands tax cuts? It's certainly not its readership. They may get whipped up into a frenzy, pretending that they are being seriously strained by Labour's taxation policies, but in reality if they looked at their income it probably isn't much higher. People are easily influenced by the media.

Could it be, as before, that the Sun is demanding tax cuts on behalf of its hard-working, oppressed but high-earning journalists? The fat cats who feel the strain of any tax rise disproportionately? But what better way to get heard than to have all your naive readership eating out of the palm of your hand, chanting your editorial line, while you pocket the benefits.

It's the politics of the Back Pocket. And we've got to guard against it.


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