Boris Johnson is less accurate than a stopped clock Corbyn, but sometimes Labour …
I agree with the thrust of Johnson’s comment there. I would, though, point out to him that catering to sloth and a culture of easy gratification underpin major UK industry sectors and, as a consequence, many jobs, particularly in London.
And, as we have learnt since his appointment as Foreign Secretary, Johnson embodies much of what he critiqued back in May 2013.
Why is Labour’s leadership, especially Seamus Milne, incapable of putting the point over in the manner of a Jess Phillips?
Too middle class?
Too fond of calling tax fraud, tax evasion?
Too out of touch with the concerns and prejudices of average voters?
Too distracted by thoughts of Ikea kitchens when planning a Party Political Broadcast?
Tax being the price we pay to live in a civilised society is a nice homily, but most of us, most of the time, want to live in one at the cheapest possible price. We are only human, after all.
However, we also resent people benefiting at our expense. Tell us that, if others, like Cameron, paid more tax then we could pay less then you will get our attention!
Tell us that the smartly dressed guy in the expensive suit, next to us in the queue at A&E, pays next to no tax and that we are paying for his treatment then you will get our attention!
Appealing to people’s self interest, to get their attention, may be distasteful to some now in the Labour Party, but it is a way of starting conversations that will result in winning votes. It is, in part, why the Tory Party has been in power for much of the last 300 years or so.
Incidentally, I do say, could pay less …
Get the voters’ attention and we might persuade them to forego the temptations of a tax cut in favour of an increase in public spending.
Update from Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley
“To fend off a Brazilian rival, Tata had to pay a 70% premium over the stock price. This was hefty for a company already in financial trouble with a large debt burden. And Tatapaid only $4bn (£2.8bn) of the estimated $14bn final price out of its own funds – the rest was borrowed, mainly from Indian public sector banks.”
“Why were taxpayer-funded banks so willing to lend to a big conglomerate to buy up an overpriced European company, even as they denied loans to Indian farmers and small-scale producers? The sense of reversal of colonial roles might well have played a role. The deal was lauded by politicians as a sign that Indian industry had come of age as a global player, and so prudent considerations were simply cast aside.
Repayment of those loans was supposed to be made out of the profits of Tata Steel Europe. But those profits never came.”
“In 2014 the UK imported 687,000 tonnes of steel from China, up from 303,000 tonnes in 2013.
It is true that the UK’s steel imports from the rest of the EU are much higher than this, they were 4.7 million tonnes in 2014, but crucially China is selling its steel at much lower prices.
Steel imports into the UK from the rest of the EU cost on average 897 euros a tonne in 2014, while Chinese steel imports were just 583 euros a tonne, says the EU’s statistics agency, Eurostat. This has led to accusations that China is selling at unfairly low prices.”
As for the business rates, it looks like Tata has a lot of underutilised space at places like Port Talbot. Land that might be redeveloped, if one were in it for the long haul:
“Tata Steel has rightly decided to put a stop to investing in these loss-making assets, as structural issues such as high labour, energy and regulatory costs make them unviable even over the longer term”.
“He was doubtful about Gupta’s proposal to scrap Port Talbot’s blast furnace in favour of arc furnaces to recycle scrap steel. He said the blast furnace was technologically advanced and its energy could be reused for other purposes.”
“The Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, whose constituency covers Port Talbot, welcomed Gupta’s interest but questioned the credibility of his plan. Kinnock told the BBC’s Today programme that the blast furnaces at Port Talbot are technologically advanced and replacing them would lead to job losses.”
“Gupta has put forward a plan to revitalise Port Talbot. This involves converting its blast furnaces into electric arc furnaces that use scrap steel. However, this would lower production capacity and the government and unions are keen to preserve the blast furnaces.”
One might be drawn to the conclusion, from the above quotes, that Stephen Kinnock finds the idea of recycling steel in some way unmanly in contrast with smelting steel. A hark back to the days when men were men and drank many pints of beer a day to stay hydrated whilst working in the presence of fiery furnaces.
Labour’s, understandable, response to the problems of the steel industry, has harked back to the party’s past. Compare and contrast with the party leadership’s relatively lacklustre reaction to the impact of the UK Government’s changes in support for renewable energy. Changes that endangered at least as many jobs in the renewable energy sector as are currently under threat in the steel industry.
The renewable energy sector is a growing part of the UK economy and it consumes steel products. However, steel is currently only ever going to maintain its current contribution to the UK economy. Whereas promoting energy efficiency, reducing energy usage and switching to greater generation of energy from renewable sources promise so much more (and more business for the steel industry):
Promoting energy efficiency and reducing energy usage cuts energy bills for individuals and businesses whilst also creating jobs
Promoting energy efficiency, reducing energy usage and switching to greater generation of energy from renewable sources increases energy security, leaving us less at the mercy of Johnny Foreigner, whether Canadian or Saudi Arabian, as we reduce energy imports and in doing so create jobs
Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy will create a home market for companies linked to the industrial sector and create the capacity so that they may export renewable energy and energy efficiency knowledge, semi-manufactured and manufactured products, whilst creating jobs
Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy may well allow us to export energy to Europe thereby improving our balance of payments
Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency will help reduce pollution.
All the Labour leadership candidates spoke of the opportunities posed by the Green Industrial Revolution. However, the response by the current leadership to problems with a smokestack industry suggests that more thinking needs to be done as to how to grasp those opportunities, whilst, at the same time, seeking to preserve jobs in mature sectors of the economy.
Moreover, a leader, heavily reliant on support within his party’s membership from former Green Party voters, members and candidates, needs to quickly work out how to balance the concerns of that group, which he has personally attracted to the party, with those of Labour’s core voters who are well to the right of the membership.
Free tip for the Corbyn Boys, a Government that implements policies that will cut energy bills; reduce pollution; create businesses, jobs and exports; will, sotto voce, be helping to reduce carbon emissions.
I think the voters will buy tackling Man Made Global Warming, if we talk less about the fact that we are doing it and more about what doing it will do for them. In that way, the expectations of Labour’s membership may be reconciled with the concerns of those whose votes Labour is seeking.