Is the revolution finally with us?
The world is upside down. Conservative David Cameron attacks the middle classes, Labour’s Ed Milliband fights for them. The Coalition Government that wants to shrink government is expanding it to take in the activities of unaccountable quangos.
It was Denis Healey who as Chancellor set about squeezing the rich until the “pips squeaked”. Now we hear that George Osborne is to savage the generous tax breaks enjoyed by higher earners investing in private pensions. The pension industry won’t be putting much money into the party coffers in the near future. Four billion pounds a year is to be taken out of their coffers by this measure.
We are living in interesting times. Yet one could also ask how we ever got into a situation where any of this was done in he first place. Why did anyone allow the establishment of these quangos that appear to have absolutely no relationship with the either the voter or the tax payer? The amalgamation of the Competition Commission (that questions whether a take over is fair in the context of the industrial, economic, and commercial activity of the nation) with the Office of Fair Trading seems not only logical, but actually fair. The full list quangos to be abolished or absorbed will be published today.
The pensions landscape at least will change for ever. No one is ever again going to allow the head of Barclays, or the deputy head of the BBC, to walk away with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pounds of tax payers money to fund a pension that is able to pay out far more annually than the average Brit earns in a year.
The coalition talks of wanting to achieve “transparency”, and “accountability”. Will it ever extend that desire to include the way our political system works, the way Parliament functions, and the antediluvian conduct of Lords and Commons?
In short, are we in the midst of the first proper UK revolution? Or is politics only briefly on its head?