Post on tax - 10/01/2011
Posted by Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for North East Somerset, at 10:45, Thu 10 February 2011:
Many people celebrating the New Year spent a little bit extra in the knowledge that prices were about to rise because of the VAT hike. Motorists were further hit as fuel duty increased. As a Conservative, tax rises are always unwelcome. At the core of our beliefs is the view that individuals spend their own money better than governments can and, therefore, tax rates ought to be as low as possible. Many Conservatives also welcome the freedom that people gain through the use of the car and are reluctant to plunder the motorist further. Yet, I support these tax increases and feel that they show that the Government is on the right track.
Government depends on popular support but tends to fail if it is populist. This is the dilemma faced by democratic politicians. It is sometimes in the national interest to take unpopular decisions which dent opinion poll standings in the short-run. It shows leadership to be able to do this and confidence in the intelligence of the electorate who know that the land flowing with milk and honey has never yet been found. The Coalition is showing both leadership and confidence which is helping to restore people’s faith in politics after the expenses scandal.
David Cameron has been reported as saying that he would rather lose the next election having done the right thing rather than win it on populism and spin. This shows Gladstonian high-mindedness which is possibly why it is possible to work so effectively with the Lib-Dems. It is a refreshing change from the headline-grabbing approach of New Labour.