Impossible promises: supply and demand
I exempt David Aaronovitch from the strictures I applied to journalists, including me, for ignoring the UK Independence Party, when it has eight-ninths as much support as the Liberal Democrats.
He took UKIP seriously enough in a column last month to look up its most recent policy document. His commentary is behind The Times pay wall, to which my usual attitude is: it is good stuff, so pay up. But here is the relevant bit, quoted for the purposes of criticising, review and reporting current events:
What is UKIP’s economic stance? First it regards even the Osborne target debt level as “unacceptable”. “The coalition’s cuts do not scratch the surface of Labour’s deficit. We must cut down government if we are to return to a sound economy.”
So where will the cuts fall? Some will come from quangos. Not sure which, not clear how, but “bring them under Parliament’s control and cut the cost substantially”. Some will come from foreign aid where there will be “real and rigorous cuts”. Waste will be reduced and bureaucracy slashed, naturally.
Thoughtful readers can see that, with the exception of foreign aid, these vague intentions hardly add up to a deficit reduction revolution. Especially when you realise that UKIP wants to tax everyone much less. The employer’s national insurance payment goes altogether, 4.5 million people are taken out of tax, a new flat tax is levied, which must mean higher earners paying a much lower rate than at present, and, of course, business taxes would be reduced.
At the same time UKIP has an interesting list of areas where public spending would rise. It would spend an extra 40 per cent on defence. Prison places would be doubled …
Britain will renounce the European Convention on Human Rights (nothing to do with the EU), drop policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions (“global warming is not proven”), close wind farms, build grammar schools and stop children being taught to be ashamed of our past (whatever this means — though a clue may be found in the party campaign for Richard III to be buried in York Minster).
Now that the Liberal Democrats are no longer able to stand as the protest party of impossible promises, how depressing that this gap in the market should be so quickly and implausibly filled.Tagged in: media bias, ukip
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