Saturday 23 September 2023

One Year On

One year today since the mini-Budget, when the mere suggestions of two City failures did so much damage that we are all going to be paying for it for the rest of our lives. Yet Liz Truss was this week given a live feed on every news channel to spout her self-justificatory drivel. Installed supposedly to restore sanity, Rishi Sunak is instead planning to abolish inheritance tax, exactly as Truss advocates, and to the benefit of fewer than four per cent of the population, though including himself in the unlikely event that any part of his estate were registered in the United Kingdom for tax purposes.

A Government that understood the money supply could solve these problems a great deal sooner, but none is on offer. On the contrary, Labour opposed only one of the mini-Budget measures, the only one that had not been in Truss's prospectus to Conservative Party members. Had Kwasi Kwarteng's loony list ever been put to a Commons vote, then the Labour whip would have been to abstain. The Official Opposition will probably not vote to save inheritance tax, and would certainly not restore anything remotely like it.

Labour is also now even less supportive of democratic political control of the economy than are the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, whose Coalition sought to institutionalise austerity permanently by creating that Office for Budget Responsibility to which Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves want to subject the Government entirely. For some years, the Treasury has not made its own predictions, relying instead on the OBR's. Those have proved far from reliable.

With over 300,000 excess deaths to his name, George Osborne is of course delighted, and has come close to the endorsement of Starmer and Reeves that they have already received from Jeremy Clarkson, Anna Soubry, Claire Perry O'Neill, and pretty much Ken Clarke, who was a frontbencher on every day of Margaret Thatcher's Leadership, and whose receipt of the Conservative whip in the House of Lords is apparently unaffected by his latest stance.

Likewise, Osborne's long-time Chief of Staff and then Evening Standard employee, Rupert Harrison, is on the Economic Advisory Council and has been selected as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Bicester and Woodstock, with no suggestion that a Labour Government would remove him from the EAC while he was a sitting Conservative MP, nor that his party would find anything amiss. After all, Labour did contest the 2010 General Election on a more pro-austerity programme than did the Conservatives, who adopted the scorched earth approach under the direction of the heirs of Whiggery, Gladstonianism, and the Labour Budget of December 1976.

But when I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair's Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.


  1. The chumminess with Osborne makes me sick, it makes my blood boil.

    1. If you would not vote for George Osborne, then do not vote Labour.