On his website, Alistair Campbell recently announced his intention to take up the invitation from The New Statesman magazine to guest edit an edition some time in March. As part of this he intends to:
…hand over a page, more if the response merits it, which answers the question ‘if I could get one sentence into Labour’s manifesto for the next election, it would say this …’ For all that the Tories may be ahead in the polls, and swanning round like they’re in power already, I think the battle of policy ideas still has more energy on the left than the right, and I hope this reflects that.
So here goes with my own suggestion:
Introduce a ‘living’ wage over the existing ‘minimum’ wage; reinstate the lower 10p tax band; introduce a higher tax band of 60p for those earning above £100,000; and increase the National Insurance Upper Earning Limit and 40p tax band concurrently, so as to support those on the lowest incomes at the same time as increasing revenue to improve public services including the NHS and education.
The issue of raising taxes has become something of a political ‘no-go area’ since the Thatcher years. Only the Lib Dems have ever really mooted the possibility. So in the current economic climate, I’m guessing that raising taxes will be even less popular than it has been for the past few decades, especially those with The Daily Mail and Daily Express ‘middle England’/ ‘angry mob’ mindset.
However, I do think that given the recent press around Sir Fred Goodwin’s immoral pension, banker bonuses, and the unjustifiable wages given to those such as Premiership players, a move towards making taxation more beneficial for those less well off whilst taxing the most affluent might have some resonance with those at the lower end of the socio-economic scale in Britain as well as Labour’s traditional – but increasingly lost – electorate. It would also ensure greater investment into the public services that would have the greatest beneficial impact on those that are also the most disadvantaged.
Having said that, whilst it would send a clear message that the populist politics of Blair and the New Labour experiment had come to an end, it would also probably signal the end of a Labour Government too. So little chance of it ever making it into the next manifesto…
As for Campbell, he suggested the following:
Compulsory voting for general and local elections [and] An end to charitable status for private schools
To read mine and the other suggestions that have already been made to Campbell, click here and keep an eye out for the guest edited edition.