Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Osborne's Speech

"To do things and not just to say things" - Osborne (this will download a .wmv file) has an uncomfortable speaking style.

I think he did well to make explicit that stability over tax cuts is a call for fiscal conservatism rather than socialism, as many have bizarrely painted it. In particular the Thatcher quote is clearly aimed at critics who claim to be Thatcherite while finding fiscal discipline passé:

"I am not prepared ever to go on with tax reductions if it means unsound finance"

Sound.

However, the big issue this speech did not deal with to my satisfaction was the philosophy that will guide the ordering of priorities when it comes time to decide the shares of growth going to spending or taxation. Clues on a few of the following would be nice: Would an Osborne treasury view public service quality as largely a function of money spent? How important would it see the medium term revenue returns of tax cuts which are costly in the short term as being?

There were hints in discussions of Ireland's low tax economy but this never translated into answers to questions like these and others which are so crucial to the decisions the Shadow Chancellor will face when finally setting out Conservative economic policy in detail.

1 comment:

John East said...

Very reluctantly, being on the right of the party, I can see the wisdom of Osborne's approach. In fact on reflection, pledging tax cuts before clearing up the mess left by socialism is a bit like putting the cart before the horse.

The only strategic reason to headline with tax cut promises is if it gets more votes, and certainly not just if it pleases those who vote Conservative already.

I am amazed that so many Conservatives cannot see that Labour will have a field day if Osborne backs down. Have they no imagination or foresight?

If the coditions are right, and Osborne is a true Conservative he can still start cutting taxes in his second budget, and the socialists can then squeal as much as they like.