Saturday, 20 May 2017

What is General Election 2017 about?

What  is this election is about?

The below is by Richard Murphy accountant and anti-poverty campaigner.

'Interviewed by Robert Peston this morning Theresa May said the Conservatives have no plans to increase taxes, and claimed Labour had. However, when asked to reiterate the tax triple lock brought in by David Cameron, covering national insurance, income tax and VAT May only ruled out increasing VAT. The ambiguities are obvious, not least because Labour has already committed to no VAT or NIC increases.

But what’s really bizarre is the claim, which may well haunt her. The country is running a deficit, which she says she is committed to removing (even if that is a meaningless and harmful target). And the deficit will get worse after Brexit, if that is not already happening. Having a worse trade deal with our biggest trading partner pretty much guarantees that, and that is what we’ll get on top of having to pay a lot to secure that outcome.

What is more the tax system is far from perfect and is in need of reform: rates can be in that mix. But what is being said is that despite all this taxes are off the agenda. The single biggest tool the government has to shape the society we live in is apparently ruled out of consideration, come what may. What that means is four things.

Government won’t be shaping society.

The gross imbalances in favour of a few will continue.
And austerity is guaranteed.
Social division follows, naturally.

That’s what May said this morning. And she wants to be Prime Minister. Give her five years with a big majority and May thinks she can ride out these storms. She may only be a single term prime minister: the possibility of political realignment in what may be a reduced UK by 2022 is already becoming apparent. But that does not worry her, I suspect. Like all neoliberals her one goal is to push back the state and increase inequality. And that is what she has the chance to do.

The so-called Great Repeal Bill, with its Henry VIII clauses that will deny accountability, will reduce employee and environmental rights, harm the protection for those with disabilities (as if that could still be imagined), diminish universal rights to health care, harm security in old age, damagingly bias markets in favour of big business  and foreign owned companies, remove legal protections, probably claw back against LGBT rights, undermine social stability and encourage the break up of the Union. But none if this will matter to May. She will have fostered the self interest of the few, increased their access to the state as a means for appropriating its common wealth for private  gain and will have put  in place mechanisms that will be contractually hard for successors to unwind. That is the goal.

Under the smokescreen of Brexit Theresa May is pursuing class warfare against most of us. And with a mass propaganda machine behind her she is getting away with it, aided and abetted by an official opposition that is seemingly dedicated to trivia. This is the general election of 2017. And it’s not pretty.'

Richard Murphy


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