I have to prepare for my event talking with Vince tonight on the subject of Britain, what next for the State and the Economy. To this end I was greatly helped by chairing an event with Matt from Microsoft and Jeremy Browne MP on Innovation out of the Recession. All the more so because 30 minutes before the event I was sweatily woken by a phone call reminding me of my duties there . . .
I won’t post all the thoughts of this event here: but the thread that sticks in my mind is one about a ‘tax on smallness’ – how dealing with government is almost impossible for SME’s.
I like the spin that Liberal Conspiracy puts on the Mansion tax – compare and contrast with Tory attitudes to millionaires – but its launch has definitely been botched. And this poll (LC again) indicates that Vince has to be careful in offering encouragement to the tax-friendly activists. A hell of a lot more needs to be done. I think Anthony Painter’s view that the Lib Dems may have damaged the wealth tax idea by going off half-cock may have more than a little truth in it. There are definite concerns about Vince acting on his own. See the FT for example:
Not only did Mr Cable suggest freezing overall public sector pay levels – not deeply popular in a party packed with social workers, teachers and doctors – he also floated a range of other cuts in areas like health, defence and education. This ambitious plan turned out to be Mr Cable thinking aloud. Members of the Lib Dem “shadow cabinet” expressed their fury this week that the Treasury spokesman should make such audacious suggestions without any proper consultation. “The shadow cabinet hasn’t met since July,” said one senior Lib Dem MP. “Of course people are pissed off when they read that Vince is planning to cut spending in their own policy areas.”