Review of “The Joy of Tax” by Richard Murphy

Last year Richard Murphy, well-known through his involvement with the Tax Justice Network, expanded his ideas into a paperback book The Joy of Tax. His association with Jeremy Corbyn may cause Liberal Democrats to reject his ideas, but I argue here that even if we reject his solutions, which include both Basic Income and local Land Value Tax, we should take seriously his criticism of the existing tax system and his analysis of the purpose of taxation.

After a short historical introduction in which he develops the idea of tax as being the band that holds together the Social Contract between a people and their government, he examines how the Government raises its revenue. We are all familiar with the three big taxes: income tax, National Insurance and VAT, which together raise just under 65% of all taxation, national and local, but Murphy also looks at the large number of taxes that raise the remainder and the justification for them.

He covers six reasons why Governments should tax:

Posted in Books | Tagged and | 4 Comments
Advert

Topping up your suntan – and your favourite soap

 

I’ve just got back from a holiday, replenishing my Vitamin D in the Canaries. Although I had a wonderfully relaxing time I didn’t want to cut myself off completely from things happening back in the UK.

Like most hotels across the world, we were offered just two English language TVchannels – BBC World and Sky News – which was a bit limiting. Unlike business hotels, holiday hotels  took a while to realise that their customers would value free Wi-Fi anywhere on site, but that is now pretty standard. So I could also listen online to the radio live and on catch-up whenever I wanted through the BBC and other channels. But that did not apply to TV programmes.

Whenever I tried to access www.bbc.co.uk, I was redirected to www.bbc.com, so I wasn’t able to watch UK based BBC television programmes live or on catch-up. This didn’t exactly spoil my holiday but I was rather keen to see the final two episodes of Apple Tree Yard, which had left us with a cliffhanger. No doubt other holidaymakers would have appreciated a chance to follow their own favourite soaps and series, as well as news from their home towns.

Posted in News | Tagged | 3 Comments

William Wallace writes a letter to a new member….

 

Dear New Member,

It’s been exhilarating to meet you and so many of your friends and fellows at meetings over the past few months.

After years of talking to small numbers of Liberal Democrat members in the corners of pubs or the living rooms of houses, packed meetings of interested and well-informed people warm the soul.  Some of the questions thrown at me display levels of expertise on specific policies well above what I’ve acquired; the only answer I could offer to the new member who asked what I thought we could learn from the Finnish school system was, “You tell me”.   I was invited to a meeting for new members in Yorkshire, some months ago, to talk about our party’s approach to foreign policy, to discover from the first three people I met that each of them had years of experience of working in countries that I had never visited.

The party organization is struggling with its limited resources to make good use of the expertise which many new recruits have brought us.  Some are already serving on policy working groups, some helpfully advising different parliamentary spokesmen, others are feeding in to shaping policies at regional level.  I look forward to meeting more new members at the Spring conference in York, including in the consultation sessions on Friday which provide the easiest opportunities for members to feed in ideas.

Many of your friends and fellow enthusiasts have piled in to Witney and Richmond, and some also to Sleaford, Copeland and Stoke – and found election campaigning a wonderful collective activity.  But can I say to you what I’ve said to the several university professors who have come to talk to me about helping the party they have just joined?  “Get out there and walk the streets, outside active election campaigns.  Deliver leaflets, and knock on doors.  You will learn a huge amount about the state of British politics and society; and it starts to make a difference to people who feel cut off from politics and political elites and will respond to activists who take an interest in their own concerns.”

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 4 Comments

Speedy leaflet delivery

 

The last two Sundays I have been helping with our campaign in Stoke-on-Trent by delivering leaflets. The first visit I set off on a blustery, drizzly day with an armful of slippery leaflets. Within five minutes the leaflets had cascaded to the ground buffeted by the strong  gusts of wind. I suppose this is one way of distributing leaflets!

Helped by my leafleting companion we managed to retrieve most of the leaflets which now formed a rather soggy jumbled pile. I went on to deliver them but this having happened didn’t help the process especially with awkward letterboxes. Being a person who believes in learning from our mistakes, and who in general takes a problem solving approach to life, my next visit I equipped myself with a suitable delivery bag and an extra long spatula.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 4 Comments

So how is our vote share shaping up?

Earlier in the week, on a whim, I collated figures for every vote cast so far this year,* by party, expecting either the Tories or Labour to lead by a decent margin.  The actual result surprised me – prior to this week’s by-elections, the Lib Dems were leading Labour by over 800 votes despite standing in barely over half the contests.  Even after those by-elections, which were decidedly mixed for the Lib Dems (1 hold, 1 gain, 2 losses, 1 no-show), we’re still leading the pack, 500 or so votes ahead of Labour.

I hadn’t planned to share this graph again for a while – it’s nice, but doesn’t really compare to the cumulative by-election changes graphs myself Brian and I have been preparing since the summer.  But, next week we have six by-elections – one on Tuesday (!) in Basingstoke and five on Thursday.  Two of those are Parliamentary, in Stoke-on-Trent and Copeland.  You may have heard of them.  Both are in “Labour heartlands” where we “can’t win”.

Here’s the thing, though: we are.  We’ve stood in five fewer elections than Labour this year, and we’re still beating them.  Labour’s largest win so far is smaller than our second-largest, their second-largest is only 5 votes more than our third-largest – and our third-largest win was Sunderland/Sandhill, which made jaws drop up and down the country.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 12 Comments

Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #469

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 469th weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere … Featuring the five most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (12-18 February, 2017), together with a hand-picked seven you might otherwise have missed.

Don’t forget: you can sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox — just click here — ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging.

As ever, let’s start with the most popular post, and work our way down:

Posted in Best of the blogs and Op-eds | Leave a comment

Dear Lords – please attach a parachute to the Brexit Bill

This week the House of Lords starts its 5 days of deliberation on the Article 50 Bill. The Brexiteers in Government have basically told them not to muck about with it or else. David Davis has even told them that it’s their patriotic duty to simply vote in favour of it.

Actually, there’s a very strong argument that it is their patriotic duty to put a brake on this Government’s relentless pursuit of the most damaging Brexit possible – Tony Blair’s “Brexit at all costs.” Hard Brexit doesn’t quite capture how relentlessly difficult the lives of many of the poorest people in our society are going to become if the Government gets its way.

It’s actually quite shocking to think that a Bill of this significance should pass through all its parliamentary stages in less than a month. Invoking Article 50 will be the biggest and most major change of direction in decades and it deserves much more careful consideration. It’s not being done in a vacuum. We have Theresa May’s statement of intent to pull us out of the single market and customs union. If that had been on the ballot paper, I doubt Leave would have won their majority. The people did not vote for this and so their consent must be sought.

There is every reason for the Lords to say to the Government something along the lines of: “We will vote for Article 50 to be invoked but only when certain conditions are met.”  One of those conditions,  given that they are unelected, would have to be one which brought the people into the equation – giving them a final say on the terms of Brexit, with an option to Remain which, entirely coincidentally, just happens to be Lib Dem policy. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 59 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarCatherine Jane Crosland 22nd Feb - 7:58am
    Lorenzo, you ask "where do moderate but radical centre and centre left people go if we become unilateralist?" But in fact there are many people...
  • User AvatarGeoff Reid 22nd Feb - 7:55am
    Much of the above argument worries me. While I will cheerfully line up with Tony Greaves, David Raw and Mick Taylor, I note the absence...
  • User AvatarMick Taylor 22nd Feb - 5:00am
    I agree with Tony Greaves and David Raw. This proposed policy is the result of largely talking to ourselves and not allowing the unilateralist position...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 22nd Feb - 1:43am
    If I honestly thought those advocating unilateral disarmament were more like the one or two outstanding members on here , such as Catherine Jane Crosland,...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 22nd Feb - 1:17am
    Peter Watson A yes and no ! I want policies, but if you read my comments , I do believe that many in politics like...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 22nd Feb - 1:04am
    @expats "TRident is not a ‘strategic strike weapon’ it is a ‘dead man’s vengeance weapon’…." Which might have made sense when it was obvious who...