Sunday, September 17, 2006

Brighton here we come

Every year it's the same. The large bundle of conference papers arrive sometime in August. I promise myself I'll make time to read them properly before conference. But other, more pressing matters always present themselves and I end up scanning crucial policy documents before or during debates.

So I haven't pondered much the tax question. I am reduced to feeling that since the people I normally agree with tend to be supporting the tax commission's proposals, and those I frequently disagree with are opposing them, I should probably support it.

There are other reasons too. I am confident that the tax proposals are intended to be redistributive, to benefit the poor disproportionately, without making us appear a party of envy. The rearguard action to defend the 50p upper rate smacks to be of tokenism.

While I agree with Alex Wilcock that no one should present the 50p rate as unreconstructed socialism, defending the 50p rate paints us into the position of having an old-fashioned left/right debate that says nothing about what it really means to be liberal.

Would that people were a little more exercised about the utter feebleness of the local government policy paper.

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