Business needs to get the message, ordinary people are angry.


I was at the meeting in London on Saturday when Ed Balls committed Labour to a 50p income tax rate for those earning over £150,000 a year. Before I could get the train dear old Digby Jones and Curry King Gulam Noon were spluttering about Labour lurching to the loony left.


Two days later RBS reveal the latest £3bn bill that we have to pick up for bankers disgraceful behaviour .


Now I know business and banking are different activities, but the continuing banking scandals are eroding people’s confidence in capitalism and certainly putting them in the mood to soak the rich.


What is so disturbing about the continuing banking scandal is that the mentality that led to the crash in 2008 has not fundamentally changed. Investigations are on going about the Libor scandal which continued way beyond 2008. In relation to RBS, 80% owned by us, they announced no bonuses this year BUT their chairman Sir Philip Hampton wants a shareholder vote on paying 200% of salary bonuses next year!


So it should be no surprise that Labour Leader Ed Miliband isn’t on the prawn cocktail circuit wooing business and he may have nudged a more reluctant Balls into making the 50p announcement early. Miliband sees the way the political wind is blowing and is keen to capture the fairness argument.


The first test of whether he’s right or not will come in the Wythenshawe and Sale East by election. Launching the campaign Labour had their Deputy Leader Harriet Harman having a game of indoor bowls at a lifestyle centre and risking headlines about missing the target. In the event the launch went reasonably smoothly for local man Mike Kane who is the party’s standard bearer.




The main point of interest will be the performance of UKIP. They’ve achieved second place in a string of recent northern by elections and will want to repeat the feat in Wythenshawe.


I’m told they are denying my claim that they opened nominations for the by election before the late MP Paul Goggins was dead.


Well I have seen an email from Party Director Lisa Duffy saying “Paul Goggins is seriously ill and there may be a potential for a by election, whilst we wish him well we need to plan for eventualities!”


People have a laugh with pint swigging Nigel Farage and find his anti establishment rhetoric refreshing. They should also bear in mind the party’s darker side and the fact that their policy of withdrawing from the European Union could wreck our economy.


Labour are clearly keeping an eye on UKIP. Their Wythenshawe Voice leaflet gives five reasons why they aren’t the answer, and at a Fabian conference I attended in London last weekend the point was repeatedly made that some working class Labour voters, as well as Tories, were attracted to UKIP’s policy on immigration.



I see the Chelsea boss wants to end replays in the FA Cup because of fixture congestion.


Excuse me. Teams like mine, Plymouth Argyle, don’t suffer from fixture congestion. As our ex boss Ian Holloway said once, that’s because we’re like a tea bag, not in the Cup very long.


Lower division clubs make some badly needed cash from replays and Premier League clubs with their budgets can afford big squads precisely to deal with lots of fixtures.


I yearn for the days when teams went to third and fourth replays. That would make yours eyes water Jose!


The FA must stand up for the minnows.




I thought the process of the Tories and Lib Dems going their separate ways ahead of the 2015 General Election would start about a year out. Now it looks as if the Coalition Government is going to grind to a halt much sooner as the Tories and Lib Dems bid for votes.

David Cameron has risked this happening with the launch of his idea to scrap housing benefit for under 25s. He made no secret of this being a true Tory policy free from the coalition agreement that so irritates his right wing backbenchers. Its effect is to begin a process that can only weaken the forward movement of the government.

Apart from the fact that most of the key legislation was rammed into the first two years of the parliament, Tory and Lib Dem MPs will now be focused on shaping up for the next election rather than making the concept of coalition government work.

It is true that Cameron has been true to his word to introduce a bill for Lords reform this week. But few Tories have any commitment to it, most are indifferent or are actively plotting to defeat it. They don’t want the measure and they don’t want to put any feathers in the cap of the Lib Dems. So the next election is underway.


By and large the old vote and youngsters don’t. Therefore politicians meddle with elderly people’s allowances with the greatest care. Tuition fees of £9000 a year fine but free TV licences and winter fuel allowances for the grey brigade….untouchable, until now.

Although the government is committed to the concessions in this parliament, there are indications that after 2015 the better off elderly are going to start feeing the pain of the younger generation.

And so we should! I was born under the National Health Service in 1948. I did not do national service or fight in a war. University education was free. There were plenty of jobs afterwards and, for some, good pensions to retire on.

Compare that to the stressed generation of youngsters now. Big debts, no jobs and the prospect of paying for our profligate public spending throughout their lives.

The Chancellor made the first move when he chopped the age related tax relief I was expecting next year, but this could only be the start of a seismic move by politicians to be more even handed between the generations.

It will be fascinating to see how the electorate reacts. Will young people start to vote in large numbers to influence politicians or will the 1940s baby boomers mobilise to insist that the good times must continue to roll for them?


There won’t be a long inquest into our latest failure to land the European Nations Cup. (I prefer the old titles, League Cup, European Cup, and Division 1).

We have made our choice. We are happy to pay Sky high subscriptions to watch the world’s best footballers in the First Division (ok, Premier League).

Even more foreign stars will be attracted to our shores with the latest extraordinary hike in television rights. Even fewer talented English players will get a chance to perform at the highest club level, so there will be even fewer able to pass and hold the ball in international tournaments.

The new FA youth centre will help a bit, but as my late father said to me as we watched England winning in 1966, “It could be a long time before you see this happen again.”