While their MPs and cheerleaders talk of securing an overall majority in next May’s General Election, the Tories’ actions suggest they expect Mil The Younger and “Auguste” Balls to be Downing Street neighbours after the votes have been counted. Nowhere can this be seen to better effect than their reaction at both national and local level to the proposed Mansion Tax.
Across London, the panic button has been well and truly struck as occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has lent his name to a letter asking the party faithful to donate to help him – and Dave, natch – hold the Red Menace at bay. The suggested level of donation, as Laurence Durnan at Political Scrapbook has noted, starts at the kind of level the Mansion Tax would start – then gets a lot higher.
So the idea is that all these poor people who can’t afford to pay should pay anyway – on the off-chance that Bozza and his pals can keep Labour out. Then, if they fail in their endeavour, they have to pay again. Sounds like the kind of value for money for which Bozza has become infamous. But over in Kensington and Chelsea, there is a yet more blatant sob story being spun.
As London Weekly News has told, council leader Nick Paget-Brown “is calling on residents to join a ‘peoples’ movement’ to stop the retired and elderly being forced from their homes over the threatened ‘Mansion tax’”. And he’s got a petition to sign: “if we are going to stop the tax, the campaign has to be less about the politics of the Mansion Tax and more about the real people who will end up paying it”.
So another meaningless soundbite, then. But Paget-Brown is serious: “Many residents of Kensington and Chelsea are now in a state of very great fear and worry about the Mansion Tax proposals. They are just ordinary people who have paid rather a lot of tax already; many of them are now retired and on fixed incomes. The Mansion Tax will destroy their well-earned retirements”.
And to which I call bullshit: as the LWN goes on to say, the Mansion Tax proposals provide for “those on incomes below £42,000 [to be] allowed to defer until they sell their homes or die”. If retirees defer a £250 a month tax for 25 years, that takes £75,000 off the value of a £2 million property, or less than 4%. Nobody would have their retirement “destroyed”, and nor would they be “forced from their homes”.
Paget-Brown’s blatant and obvious scaremongering just underscores that there is a real belief that not only will the Tories lose next May, but also that whatever Government takes over, it will introduce the Mansion Tax, with the intention of using the funds raised to help the NHS. This idea is popular enough not only to frighten Tories, but also make more voters choose Labour.
From Bozza to Nick Paget-Brown, that’s one hell of an admission. Thanks chaps!