Monday, April 21, 2008

Gordon Brown fails the Campbell-Bannerman test

In 1898 Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, who went on to become the first Liberal prime minister of the 20th century, gave his definition of Liberalism. Note in particular the phrase I have put in bold type:
"I should say it means the acknowledgment in practical life of the truth that men are best governed who govern themselves; that the general sense of mankind, if left alone, will make for righteousness; that artificial privileges and restraints upon freedom, so far as they are not required in the interests of the community, are hurtful; and that the laws, while, of course, they cannot equalise conditions, can at least avoid aggravating inequalities, and ought to have for their object the securing to every man the best chance he can have of a good and useful life."
Gordon Brown's decision, in his last budget, to scrap the 10p tax band is a prime example of a policy that fails the Campbell-Bannerman test. Never mind rolling out benchmarked programmes in more and more areas of national life: just stop taxing the poor.

1 comment:

David Heigham said...

Thank you. The cogency of Campbell-Bannerman is under-rated.

Gordon Brown¡s long and tortuous record in creating high tax rates for the poor is also under-rated.
"Just stop taxing the poor." is a message with a much wider application than the 10p tax band row.