Ed Miliband ran for the Labour leadership because he believed he could offer an alternative; an alternative not just to the coalition government but, more crucially at that time, an alternative vision for Britain to that which his brother David was offering. Two and a half years on, with David Miliband departing British politics to go and head up the charity International Rescue Committee, it’s worth considering whether Ed’s alternative is really proving to be radically different.
On the face of it, it seems a slightly stupid question; since the starting gun to the leadership election in 2010, the media have delighted in contrasting ‘Red Ed’ with his more centrist brother David, desperately seeking to extend the dividing lines of the Blair-Brown era. If we are to believe the political commentariat, Ed and David are the proverbial chalk and cheese of the modern Labour party. Their visions for Britain are supposedly almost irreconcilably different. Read the rest of this entry
In last year’s budget, George Osborne offered a cut in inheritance tax if people donated to charitable causes, a move aimed at stimulating the floundering idea of the Big Society; the move meant if you qualify to pay inheritance tax but you give 10% of your estate to charity, the rate of that tax is reduced from 40% to 36%.
Fast-forward a year to Osborne’s 2012 budget, in which it was announced that tax relief on charitable donations will be capped at 25% of one’s income or £50,000, whichever is higher. How are the two policies consistent? One encourages charitable donations with the promise of a reduced inheritance tax bill whilst the other is specifically aimed at warning individuals that such donations should not allow them to avoid paying tax. In keeping with most of the government’s fiscal measures, it’s a mess. Read the rest of this entry
Ed Miliband this morning made a bold intervention over funding for political parties, claiming that donations should be capped at £5,000 – a figure that is one tenth of the cap of £50,000 that David Cameron has previously put forward. The really headline-grabbing move though, is that Miliband signalled that trade unions will also be subjected to this cap, a move that he claims could deprive the Labour party of millions of pounds. Read the rest of this entry
‘If you can’t decide, you can’t lead’. That was the scathing assessment David Cameron handed out to Ed Miliband in the Commons on Monday over Ed’s apparent reluctance to inform the country what he would have done if he had been in Cameron’s seat in Brussels last Thursday. Unfortunately, on this rare occasion, I would have to agree with our Prime Minister. Read the rest of this entry