Solidarity in modern political parties

Those who use the word solidarity loosely to imply a politics based on the acceptance of mutual obligations where the rich contribute more to the common budget and the poor benefit from it can take comfort from modern democratic parties in the West.

In the UK as elsewhere all mainstream parties believe in three central tenets. They believe that the rich should pay more tax, and favour progressive tax systems. They believe that the poor should receive benefits from the state so no one need go without a roof over their head, food on their table and clothes on their back. They believe that all who can should work to provide for themselves and their families.

Although some on the left try to present the centre right and right as against any such system of social insurance, they are wrong. The debates are not about this central framework which all elected politicians of the main parties accept. The arguments are about the balance between the three tenets and  how you best implement them.

What rates of taxation maximise an appropriate   take from the rich ? Or do you wish to tax the rich so hard you drive them out of your country or they cease to be rich?

What level of benefits should you pass to the poor? All agree there has to be a ceiling but there are disagreements about how high it can  be, both on grounds of affordability and on grounds of incentive to work.

The third issue raises the same questions.  Should low income earners be exempt all tax? At what rate should in work benefit be removed? What are effective as incentives, and what is fair?

 

Small differences on these matters are often presented as fundamental disagreements, with centre right politicians presented as uncaring as if they wished to remove all support, and centre left politicians presented as wanting to bankrupt the country through inability to see there are limits to what the working population can afford by way of support to others. There is a general drift in democracies to more state spending and more state involvement, with more elected politicians campaigning for government to do things than campaigning  for more freedom.

 

26 Comments

  1. Ian Wragg
    February 1, 2021

    Paying no tax is wrong. The 10p level should be reintroduced. We are grossly overtaxed and there is collosal waste both nationaly and locally.
    Borrowing to give away in aid is unforgivable as the next generation will have to meet this liability. Lower taxes and less waste should be the governments mantra.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 2, 2021

      Almost half of households pay no net tax after immediate benefits.

  2. Narrow Shoulders
    February 1, 2021

    Solidarity within political parties – otherwise known as pay check government and help with campaigning – has given us many more career politicians than conviction politicians.

    Anyone who wishes to rule over us, probably should not be allowed to.

  3. DOM
    February 1, 2021

    There’s no such thing as ‘the rich’ or indeed ‘the poor’. Socialist nomenclature is designed to incite emotion not illuminate through reference to factual evidence. John’s use of such terms does reveal how far Tory MPs are seduced by the use of such politics to conceal their true beliefs, a belief that the world is composed not of social groups (which are indeed an academic contrivance) but of individual human beings. It is evidence of Socialist capture of both mind and party.

    Mr Redwood may not realise it but his own capture seduced by the political convenience that Socialist inspired State actions offer is one of the reasons we are here. Such ideas of increase State involvement will always lead to increases in State power and a consequent decrease in the liberties and freedoms of the individual

    I’m not naive and I do realise the need for a safety net of some form but this safety net that some call the welfare state is now used by Labour and the unions as a political weapon rather than any innate expression of humanity or concern for those with need at times of personal strife.

    Labour and their allies are a threat in the sense that it uses the State as a political weapon to consolidate and expand its influence. It therefore stands to reason that the more State spending equals more State involvement equals more union and Client state power for Labour. Mr Redwood appears to overlook this simple truism and for that we all pay a heavy price in higher taxes, massive waste and lost freedoms as Labour fight to expand and preserve its powers at our expense

    Let’s say both parties are not humanitarian but brutal political animals. They know it, we all know it. If a pressing human issue of some seriousness becomes a political inconvenience it will be swept into the dustbin of history using the criminal law and State sanctions

    Smash Labour’s power base across the State and stop funding their activities. We are here today on the verge of authoritarianism because your party refuses to confront Labour’s thirst for a huge expansion of State power. Indeed it now suits your party’s political prospects by jumping on the larger State bandwagon and that will only hasten the descent into State oppression.

    The Tories have betrayed their own values, this nation and our freedoms as an act of self preservation against Labour’s powerful political construct. Captured like a kipper

  4. Narrow Shoulders
    February 1, 2021

    Some interesting points that you raise here Sir John.

    Tax and benefits are not mutually exclusive when talking about middle income earners trying to get by. Those on benefits who pay little tax can easily out earn those middle earners who do pay tax. Universal credit plus minimum wage will give a shelf stacker (or fruit picker or indeed care worker) in London with three children ¬£36K take home or the equivalent of ¬£50K per year before tax. ¬£50K per year is deemed “rich” enough to start losing child benefit so the level is evidently too high as benefits should not be making claimants “rich”. I recall there was little pity for ¬£50K+ earners from all sides when child benefit was stolen from them, so why the pity for these rich benefit claimants (who keep getting more added to their package- free school meals?).

    The taxation and benefits system needs to provides incentives to work. No one on benefits should be better off than anyone in work unless they genuinely can not work. The truly rich should be taxed fairly, at the same rates as the rest of us without loop holes and avoidance schemes. A tax code of one hundred pages of so maximum should permit this.

    And give £100K+ earners back their tax free allowance Рthese allowances should be universal to breed solidarity in the population.

    1. a-tracy
      February 2, 2021

      I agree with you NS. I know women who made benefits their career. There was no way they could earn anything like the ¬£24,000 gross they obtain in net benefits. You can’t own anything until the youngest hits 18/19 then the boyfriend you’ve never had can help you buy your council house for buttons.

  5. Newmania
    February 1, 2021

    Yes we hear little ‚Äú There is no such thing as society‚ÄĚ now. The Conservative Party has drifted into Social Democrat territory on spending and the reason lies in the abandonment by both Parties of Fiscal prudence and the acceptance of Modern Monetary Theory. The Magic Money Tree has been discovered alive and well and so we live in an era in which we can have high spending an low taxes merely by allowing debt to grow.
    Obviously this is a preposterous lie and there will be consequences .The fact we have no choice outside this dream world is on of the many malign consequences of a closed shop political system in the final stages of collapse .

  6. Fred.H
    February 1, 2021

    Is there an argument for Minimum wage being paid at a level that ought, sensibly used, to enable an acceptable level of housing, food, clothing? Does that also mean basic taxation should still be levied, NI, Income tax, Council tax etc? The Government ought always to seek employment for all, thus avoiding the problems of the level of support funding of the poor. Policies can seem bizarre when ‘subsidised’ projects appear to exist for maintaining jobs for a certain class of worker, but not others. Massive numbers of state employees exist to operate the required functions of the State, yet have to be paid for private enterprise taxes.

  7. JayGee
    February 1, 2021

    You write of ‘the rich’ and ‘the poor’. Will you please give your own definitions of ‘the rich’ and ‘the poor’ so that we can see your starting points. Otherwise discussion may be compromised and hampered.

    1. Mark B
      February 2, 2021

      A good place to start is disposable income.

  8. Bryan Harris
    February 1, 2021

    Yes – Far too much Solidarity in modern politics, too much dogma and not enough passion for what is truly beneficial and decent.

    The word ‘MODERN’ is often used to imply something better than what went before, but I’d say that concept does not belong to the majority of what our new age politicians do, in fact, generally, totally the opposite. How often do top politicians make a statement on policy which are later shown to be a complete misdirection of the truth. Somehow this is acceptable in this modern age.

    The majority of politicians have mostly forgotten their purpose, giving Solidarity to their parties over voters. They seem to see themselves as managers rather than servers. It could be because so many are bereft of original ideas on how to make life better for the country. They would rather compromise than risk the power of the media turning against them.

    Modern politics is about concessions rather than standing up for a cause to the very end – while doing what everyone else is doing, having the same ideas and bitterly attacking opposing and usually attractive views. If this is modern then it is no longer what it should be.

    Leadership and inspiration is what we need of top politicians, not green dogma and covert agendas.

  9. ian@Barkham
    February 1, 2021

    Isn’t the problem itself the modern interpretation of democracy and the so-called political party.

    Surely a democracy is where the people do the choosing, they choose who should represent them, the people via that avenue then choose the laws and how they are administered that govern their life. It is not something those in power should be permitted to interpret. Particularly as there is a tendency once in power through seemingly well-meaning guises to start setting out to consolidate their position as the ‘only-best-way’ for everyone when they mean in reality for them to retain power. The ideology of those in power is continuously ‘how do we win the next election’, never how do we best serve the People.

    While we seem to have accepted political groupings(Party’s). We allow them to use taxpayer funding to ensure their positions are not challenged. Do any of these gangs have a monopoly of what is right and what should be done? The doctrine of this method in itself becomes a religion, a religious divide forever defined by their religious leader. The order of the Gang/Party System is candidates are chosen by their leader on the basis of their loyalty to them first and foremost. The People and the country are well down the list. They then must serve their leader, their party before their constituents or their country. In a Democracy a representative is selected, chosen by the community they wish to represent. From their they go on to represents their community, the country in their Parliament.

    The real issue is Political leaders just don’t trust the People. The point they miss as with religion the biggest non aligned section in the world is the atheist. The Politician as with Religious Leaders do not at any time celebrate difference they seek to polarise, categorise and divide members of society as a way of manipulation an rule. As a result they do lead or improve society the just impede it from achieving greatness.

  10. MiC
    February 1, 2021

    So, John, it seems to me that you implicitly accept that societies like the UK, where the radical neoliberal model has been imposed, and the populations propagandised to accept this as somehow nature’s way are in a moral crisis.

    Well, none of that stuff eh, Sherlock?

  11. ian@Barkham
    February 1, 2021

    ‘They believe that the rich should pay more tax, and favour progressive tax systems.’

    That is a polarising political belief, by simply earning more you pay more. Although its not quite like that. Does some one earning 2K a week pay 4 times the tax of someone earning 400. No, more like 6 times more yet still only consume the same amount of UK resources.

    The MsM is a buzz with prediction in Corporation an CGT rises. All those that trade in the UK get to consume the same taxpayer funded resource, the UK Welfare System, Health, Schooling and General Infrastructure an so on. The imbalance is that you can earn income from the benefits the UK affords Business and Industry but only contribute to the structures in far away domains. In essence that means that UK Plc is the primary funding source to their own foreign competition. The Biggest players and earners in the UK by far all depend a society they never contribute the same share as other do. An organization earning 100’s of millions in the UK contributes less than a company earning 1 million. That is not just unfair that is shooting ones self in the foot.
    Remove wealth form one domain and not contributing ensure the death of that domain. That’s not fair and equal competition – that’s punishment

  12. Ed M
    February 1, 2021

    Great article.

    I often think that political leaders are a bit like Prospero in The Tempest.

    Prospero wields great power (over the natural elements) – and power (like sex and money) can be an excellent thing – a real blessing. But exercise power wrongly (and sex and money) and it can be a dangerous – terrible thing – a real curse. And that includes tweaking things here and there in the wrong way – it can have a devastating impact. Politics is a GREAT HONOUR – but with honour comes responsibility.

    So, for example, if politicians tax too much, then this can kill industry which then means left potential wealth to pay for services for the poor. But if politicians tax to little, then this can lead to all kinds of social problems (poor physical health leading to great cost in health service, poor mental health leading to lower productivity and more crime) that then cost the tax-payer more in the long-term.

    Also, political leaders need to bear in mind that private enterprise requires some element of clever, capitalist, government investment (which is NOT the same spending) and help in general – for example, the US government played an important role in helping to establish Silicon Valley, bringing huge revenues to California and the USA in the High Tech industry. Then you have the Israeli government Yozma venture capital programme, helping to establish Tel Aviv as a world-class hub for in the High Tech industry. And more.

    1. Ed M
      February 1, 2021

      Also, political leaders need to appreciate more, they only have so much power (even though power can have powerful results – for good or bad). Taxation, for example, would tumble if people had more healthy personal values – values of Work Ethic (like the Quakers in Business- to take extreme example), Patriotism (like Joan of Arc – to take extreme example) and public duty, Strong Family Life (depending on Family not State – like people did to a large extent before the days of Socialism). And so on. But these are values the politicians only have a limited sway over. These values are really strengthened or weakened by the culture we live – which is influenced by institutions, depending on how weak or strong they are at a particular time, such as Education, Media, The Arts, Religion etc. If politicians try and wield too much power, then this too, in itself, can have a devastating impact.

  13. Hope
    February 1, 2021

    Cambridge debate last week led by Graham Brady covered all issues. Brady and the anti lockdown argument won. No mention in MSM!

    Taxpayers Alliance report Highest taxation in 70 years! Higher under three Fake Tory PMs than Churchill! The poorest deliberately hurt the most by Johnson and his wicked govt. there is no justification for keeping children out of school, none.

    Suggest you read articles in Con Woman, please note the strong language to condemn Johnson and Govt. over its baseless lockdown policy without any cost benefit analysis repeatedly asked for by many over the last year. The govt. has not carried out any analysis whether its policies helped or made the situation worse, even stating in its legislation there is no analysis! Unbelievable.

    Support for Desmond Swayne in articles because the govt figures were and are useless and manipulated. May stated in parliament it appeared policy was made and figures used to justify it. Why no outcry then? PCR test failings beyond belief.

  14. London Nick
    February 1, 2021

    The main problem when discussing how to alleviate poverty is defining poverty in the first place. I am astonished at the stupidity of the government in adopting a definition that refers to “relative poverty”. If you define poverty as being a relative measure, then you can NEVER abolish it. That, of course, is the whole point as far as the Left and the parasitical ‘poverty industry’ is concerned, but why would a Conservative government go along with this? It is madness.

    First fix this. Only then can we have a sensible debate about this issue.

    1. Mark B
      February 2, 2021

      Government needs an excuse to interfere. Poverty is a good one as you can not define or solve it.

    2. SM
      February 2, 2021

      I agree with your point about ‘relative poverty’, Nick.

      Relative to Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Vladimir Putin or HM The Queen, I am a pauper. Relative to the jobless S African communities I know of, living in wildly overcrowded shacks without sanitation, dependable electricity or adequate food supplies, I am King Midas.

  15. ian@Barkham
    February 1, 2021

    From the MsM the UK spent £25.00 per person on early Covid vaccine research, the US spent £24.02 while the EU Commission, spent just £3.51. Then again if you can just commandeer what others fund and create does it matter?

    1. Mark B
      February 2, 2021

      This is what has happened. They’ve sat back and let us do it then demand it for themselves. The simple solution would be to demand that they pay a very high fee for access.

    2. dixie
      February 2, 2021

      I’m not sure that is a correct summary as the EU and constituent countries have supported R&D, it would be helpful to know what data the “msm” used.
      The bmj has published an article on Jan 29, 2021 – “Covid-19: Countries are learning what others paid for vaccines”
      It doesn’t talk about R&D funding levels but does describe where UK, USA and EU have supported R&D.
      It also highlights that whereas AstraZeneca (UK) and Johnson&Johnson (USA) have committed to non-profit distribution, Moderna (USA) and Pfizer (EU) have not.
      It appears the UK and USA are paying more for the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine than the EU but that is offset by an earlier availability and immunisation and so economic recovery. You could view this as a reasonable gamble compared to the EU attitude of wanting to eat someone else’s cake and keep it.

  16. Margaret
    February 1, 2021

    As with most arguments in a framework it is degrees of one thing or another.This may seem an easy type of analysis but when you add individual perception, individual understanding and by what means persons have in their case making abilities it becomes difficult and convoluted.

  17. Mark B
    February 2, 2021

    Switzerland has one of the lowest tax regimes there are. On average the Swiss are far wealthier than their fellow EU counterparts.

    Enough said.

  18. a-tracy
    February 2, 2021

    Solidarity is just a con. Where is the solidarity or unity if you prefer on locking up Brits closing pubs, restaurants and small shops but then keeping holidaymakers and airlines moving people around from highly infected areas like South Africa because ‘warnings by the travel industry that a blanket approach would be catastrophic’!

    Catastrophic – allowing this to continue is catastrophic to all those businesses that remain closed – catastrophic is to the NHS dealing with all these holidaymakers that then returned either with covid or super-spreading it. People returning should be tagged and ordered to stay indoors and not able to travel on public transport during their return trips home or put in hotels at their expense as NZ and Australia do. We allow Madonna and her entire family to flit through London on her way to and from Africa – Boris is taking us for mugs now.

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