Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Life isn't just PR, is the real world beginning to get to the Tories?

One of the things that’s marked the ConDem time in office is their cool, calm assurance; it’s reassuring, ‘they know what they’re doing, we’re safe in their hands.’

But it’s easy for them to be calm and cool; their time, so far, has mostly been PR with few policies being outlined in detail or implemented. One Minister who hasn’t seemed sure-footed is Education Secretary, Gove, Cameron’s right hand man; look how Gove has been shoved out of the media spotlight after his spectacular encounters with a number of banana skins.

But now do we begin to see more things wobble?

Osborne has broken the link of child benefit with universality; the wisdom of this is open to debate. But he has make the break point the higher rate tax - c 44k gbp per year. However, if one person in a family earns above this figure child benefit is lost; if two people in a family are working and they individually earn less than this figure but their joint income is more (even quite a lot more0 .......................then they don’t lose it - even if, say, both earn 40k gbp (ie 80k per year). Anyone can see this is unfair. But Osborne says to the effect: ‘It’s tough, but we have to put up with it.’

Osborne can put up with it - he’s a millionaire, so what will he feel?

Conservative Children’s Minister, Tim Loughton, has already said the policy may need revising . . . It didn’t stand up to much scrutiny then.

Osborne has also capped a family’s benefits to the level of the average family income - around 500 gbp per week. This sounds quite a lot, but in London and areas of the SE housing costs alone could approach this. The policy effectively shoves people out of their homes in London and areas of the SE to areas with lower housing costs; sounds a bit like ghettos to me.

At the same time three local authorities are taking legal action against Gove cutting the funds for schools for rebuilding.

And now, Jim Gamble, Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre, has resigned, following a disagreement with the Government over the Government’s future plans for the agency.

I hope the new Labour Leadership notes these cracks. But it’s not enough to attack them . . . we have to be much cleverer. We have to have better policies. Let’s get our skates on.

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