Media round-up: Taxing times for “Incapability Brown”

April 21, 2008

brownportrait.jpg******Gordon Brown returns to Westminster today facing a host of negative headlines describing him as a ditherer who has failed to make his mark as prime minister.******The Telegraph reckons Brown’s “failure to define what he stands for is provoking despair even among his loyal supporters” and charts his evolution from a dominant figure in politics under Tony Blair to “Incapability Gordon Brown”.******While Foreign Secretary David Miliband asserts that Brown has “strong values and convictions”, bets are already on for who would be odds-on favourite to take over.******Brown’s cut in the basic tax rate, announced in the 2007 budget, was to be paid for, at least in part, by the abolition of the 10 percent tax rate, but the plan has now turned into a “calculated tax ploy that mutated into a monster”, according to the Independent.******The olive branch offered by Chancellor Alistair Darling to quell the rebellion has prompted outrage, the paper says. It quotes Frank Field, the former minister leading demands for a package of social help for the poorest earners, as saying the measures offered were insufficient. “The talk about bringing forward a package this year or maybe next year just will not do,” Field said.******“If the rebels prevail, Brown could be ousted in days” is The Guardian’s take on Brown’s woes. “For Labour to have scheduled the vote on the 10p tax rate days ahead of the local elections, and with London on a knife edge, seems an act of incompetence so breathtaking that I’m left wondering whether it’s a Baldrick-like cunning plan,” columnist Jackie Ashley writes.******But there is some caution against rushing into finding a new leader. Tribune’s Joan Smith draws parallels to hapless former Prime Minister Anthony Eden: “As the Tories discovered in 1955, some people are not temperamentally suited to the top job and that will almost certainly be posterity’s verdict on Gordon Brown,” she writes. “And while it’s amusing to watch all the people who used to talk up the PM-in-waiting as they scramble to explain their man’s failures, it does leave Labour with a very big problem” — who would be best to replace him?


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Labour are fast becoming dead in the water. Their best hope to cling onto power is for them to oust Brown, and a new leader call an election as soon as they are in office.Although, surely even the tories couldn’t throw this one away.

Posted by Grant | Report as abusive

The tragedy of Brown and his entourge, that thier colapse is taking the rest of the country with it. The lack of vision, compounded with arrogance and sheer crass ignorance is costing the taxpayers billions.

Posted by Loris | Report as abusive

This piece of political nonsense speaks volumes about the people involved.First: Brown became so used to fiddling the tax system to maximise his take while hiding the fact behind a wall ofdoubletalk and obscure detail (witness the biggest fraud of all, the theft of £5 billion per year from private pension funds, presented in a single brief sentence during his 1997 budget speech as “a change to the payment of advance corporation tax”) that he completely lost touch with the real world. It is glaringly obvious to anyone with more than one brain cell that replacing a 10% tax rate with a 20% tax rate means that the people whose income fell largely within the 10% band will have to pay more tax. If they don’t, why bother to change it?Second: advance notice of the change was announced by Brown in 2007 (as part of his routine policy of announcing everything he does at least twice). I’m not an accountant or numbers man by any stretch, but saw the result immediately. But our self-styled guardians of the public interest in parliament and the media didn’t spot it until it actually happened. Brain dead, couldn’t give a toss, or cynically waiting to use it as ammunition against Brown and bollocks to those who would have to pay it?A pox on all their houses, is the only adequate response to their current hypocritical posturing.

Posted by Mike T | Report as abusive

The Rich and Powerful are running away with all the money.

Posted by William Fowler | Report as abusive

its all a clever plot by the scottish MPs to bring down the English. I can only hope for Scottish independance asap, so they can all go back and fend for themselves, rather than relying on English taxes to bail them out.

Posted by bs carter | Report as abusive

I think Mr Gordon Brown is doing a very good job given the circumstances. Oil prices are too high and that’s what’s really hurting the economy world wide. Nobody has the answer in thier pocket. Maybe invade Iran, or Venezuela?

Posted by henry | Report as abusive