TAX FAIRNESS IS A WINNER.
Labour have had a good week in the General Election campaign. A bold commitment to our European Union membership by Tony Blair followed by the pledge to scrap the tax privileges of most non doms roots Labour as a party of fairness and internationalism.
The Defence Secretary’s highly personal attack on Miliband suggests that the Conservatives are getting worried that the expected surge in their support hasn’t happened. They have been criticised for the negative message of their campaign which can be summarised as “don’t let Ed and his Scottish Nationalist mates wreck our long term recovery plan”.
I still think the Tories will be the largest party after the votes are counted but think that Ed Miliband is making as good a fist of it that he can given his limitations. The non dom initiative was a good move. It plays to people’s sense of fairness. The counter attack has suggested that it might lose the exchequer money rather than bring in extra revenues. We are told many of the non doms will flee abroad. I think that fear is overblown. Most of these people have lived in Britain for ten or twenty years. They love living here and can easily afford the extra tax they should be paying. E£d should call their bluff if, by chance, he gets into power and the Conservatives should consi9der doing the same if they want to shake off the image of being the friends of the rich.
THE NUCLEAR OPTION.
At last the General Election campaign has recognised there is a world out there with issues that matter. The total focus on the economy and the NHS was becoming a bore.
We need to hear about the parties policies for dealing with an increasingly dangerous world. We have a dangerously assertive Russia, widespread terrorist threats and across Europe there are political parties campaigning to fragment the European Union.
On the issue of nuclear deterrence, I actually agree with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon that we need to retain our four boat fleet. Whatever he says that is also the formal stated position of the Labour opposition. As I said in a blog a few weeks ago I doubt that view represents the real feeling of grass root Labour party members who could think of better ways to spend the £100bn through life costs of renewing Trident. However the leadership feel they can’t risk seeming weak on defence so the chances are there will be enough Labour and Tory votes to pass the “main gate” decision early in the new parliament.
For the Scottish Nationalists scrapping Trident is a “red line” issue in any talks to support a Labour minority government. Labour need to rule out any deals with the Scots to end the speculation that a nuclear deal can be done.
CONSTITUENCY FOCUS: WARRINGTON SOUTH.
This is a real test of Labour’s ability to win back the middle class vote won by Tony Blair and lost by Gordon Brown.
The Labour leaning town wards are balanced by Tory support in the more rural communities of Stockton Heath and Lymm. The result could be influenced by what happens to the sizeable Lib Dem vote. In 2010 they got 15,000 votes to Labour’s 18,000 with the Tories just 1500 votes in front.
The Conservative MP David Mowat has been helped with government promises to invest in the transport infrastructure at this pinch point on the North West’s communications map. Labour are working hard to unseat him with their champion Nick Bent, an aide to former Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell.