When it feels like we are all at sea…

I am struggling to contain my feelings about the new government and its first budget. Coming as it does after a mandate so limited in their numbers, from an electorate so isolated in their awareness, it is hard to take. Coming as it does, after the loss of the Queen, a great figure of real stability and decency at home, and amidst more threats from an appalling tyrant of mental instability and indecency abroad, I am personally and politically angry and worried. My natural tendency to see the best in people and situations is being tested. I cannot see two sides to this, and accept them easily as viable and explainable. I am being one sided and openly so. This is, in my opinion the worst government and budget I have ever seen and heard, in forty years of personal interest and or involvement in politics.

The school boy in his early teens joining a political party, who became the politics and history graduate able to understand the issues in depth, all throughout the era of Thatcherism, never felt the personal anger as much mingled with political despair, I feel today.

Now we feel all at sea! Thatcher had a mandate. Where is that for Truss?! I said it before, to those who yearned for the early demise of Boris Johnson, he was and is personally a man unfit to be Prime Minister, but he was and is politically a moderate fitted to politics. He sought a popular mandate and by fair means or foul, got it, and sustained it, because he is a populist who understands people he needs to target. The new government seemingly understands only its own ideology and vested interests. If It is to be described accurately as a result of its first budget, this government are in my view, fiscally irresponsible and morally reprehensible.

To cut taxes massively only for the richest, whether individuals or businesses, is politically narrow and inept at all times. To do so without any significant measures for those poor and struggling, is wanton and profligate. To do so in a cost of living crisis that is only a crisis for the poorest and struggling, is wretched and perverse. Then actively taking steps to penalise the poorest of part times workers, while happily giving handouts to aggrandise the richest of city based bankers, defies belief, other than the belief in right wing ideology. The government reveals itself morally bankrupt, as it risks the country becoming fiscally so!

When they announced a cap on energy prices, there was hope that this government might be in touch with reality. Then this budget added to the hopelessness so prevalent today. Those of us who care, often care too much.  Our political masters are so careless with their actions that they make those who already feel powerless, feel even more helpless.

The sea is troubled, but the call of the political winds make it essential that those who care set out on a voyage to victory for a values based politics beyond vested interests.

We do so, not because we are brow beaten or press ganged, but because we believe in and demand something better. We must let nobody tell us that we are not clear in what we believe. If we know what it is not, then we know a lot. It is not what we see enacted in government at present!  We already know that much! That in itself feels good and makes me at least feel a little better.

* Lorenzo Cherin is an actor, writer, and regular contributor to politics as a member of the Liberal Democrats. He is based in Nottingham.

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15 Comments

  • Neil Fawcett 27th Sep '22 - 11:33am

    Maybe my comments two months ago weren’t so far off the mark, after all.

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/did-liz-truss-jump-parties-to-advance-in-politics-71076.html

  • Neil Fawcett 27th Sep '22 - 11:34am
  • Excellent article my dear friend and I agree entirely

    I just cannot get my head around this government, what they are thinking.

    They are not even trying to hide what they are up to, which astounds me.

    Problem is, what is the way out?

    The economy is about to be trashed (even more) on the backs of the poor and least well off

    We need an early election.

    Truss needs to be forced to seek a mandate from the people.

    How do we get that?

    Is it even possible for opposition parties to go on strike and refuse to take their seats in the house of commons unless the Government calls an election?
    In the Public interest, due to the damage that is being caused by the Current Government.

    Can opposition parties do that and grab enough media attention worldwide to somehow humiliate the government into going to the polls?

  • To massively cut taxes only for the richest,…

    The principal tax cut is the 1% off basic rate which benefits all Income Tax payers. Other ’tax cuts’ are either cancellations of planned rises (Corporation Tax) or roll-backs of previous rises (National Insurance). The cut in top rate Income Tax restores it to the level it was throughout almost all the last three Labour governments. It’s only worth £2 billion, so not ’massive’.

    To do so without any significant measures for those poor and struggling,…

    By far the largest measure in the budget is the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, potentially costing £150bn. It’s the enormous size of this which has raised concerns about future levels of government borrowing.

    …while happily giving handouts to aggrandise the richest of city based bankers…

    What “handouts”? If scrapping the cap on banker’s bonuses results in them being paid more, they will pay more tax, not less. It’s not the government’s roll to limit how much businesses pay their staff. They don’t do it for footballers, actors, or musicians, so why single out bankers? In any case, it’s largely performative, as bank’s circumvented the bonus cap by raising base salaries to compensate.

    …the belief in right wing ideology.

    Theres nothing notably “right-wing“ about reducing the tax burden to help lift economic growth – a larger economy benefits everybody. The Truss government’s plan is to squeeze inflation down by tightening monetary policy while protecting incomes as far as possible through fiscal loosening.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Sep '22 - 1:51pm

    Neil

    I think my natural tendency to see the best, gets the better of me on judgement based on youthful inexperience, in that case, on Truss, when a teen. You are of course correct in your view, based on now.

    Matt

    Good to read, thanks my friend. Like the ideas that you refer to. The opposition though needs a unity Starmer does not seeminly like.

    Jeff

    No problem with a disection. But the points can each be responded to with disagreement.

    The forty five pence was tolerated by the previous three Conservative governments. Its so unneccessary to remove it at this time.

    Anything you give, even if your own money not taken, has the metaphorical effect of being a “handout.” I used that word purposley as both Baraverman and Truss use it for those in need.

    The energy cap is mentioned as good in my article. But it raises the bills for all, and caps at a higher rate for all. It does nothing for the really in need, specifically. As the poorest do not pay tax, they do not feel the one pence cut.

    All the measures could be accepted better if the govt raised universal credit, it did the reverse in effect for part time workers, or raised current tax credits and other in work or out of work support.

  • Barry Lofty 27th Sep '22 - 4:07pm

    Very good article Lorenzo but I would not be giving Boris Johnson any plus points at all for his performance as PM just as I have also no time for the present ” Clever Dicky” politicians who wish to play poker with mine and others lives and it is a shame that the latest polls do not show any increase in the Lib Dems share of the vote although Labour,s increase seems to reflect the disquiet felt by the voters about this present government.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Sep '22 - 5:06pm

    Cheers Barry. I did say he personally wasn’t fit to be Prime Minister, but do feel, and more so now with the present politics, he is politically a moderate, as far as is possible today in that party, obviously not in the comparison with olden days One Nation Conservatism though. Agree on Liberal Democrat support, deserves higher levels, perhaps it is in the key areas the targets seats.

  • George Thomas 27th Sep '22 - 8:03pm

    Didn’t the Tories (as part of coalition) cut top rate of tax from 50% to 45% during middle of need to raise money/in wider world of economic crisis? Coalition of course (led by Lib Dems but not a foreign idea to Tories) did raise tax allowance for poorest, but even so the actions taken changed it from “haves and have nots to have nots and have yachts.” These actions would appear to be an exaggeration of what’s already happened over course of past decade.

    Believe it was Tom Peck (columnist in Independent, political sketch writer) who said that his friends working in banking circles reminded him that they’re paid in US Dollars. If this is true, then in fact it was a pay rise x3 for bankers: top rate of tax cut, weakening pound compared to dollar and tanking the economy so anyone able to bet against the pound was quids in.

    Boris Johnson said no one stuck up for bankers as much as him (after being quoted as saying “f**k business”) but Liz Truss is trying to outdo him with these measures.

    Increasing UK debt might have a place if what’s being spent on is worthwhile but it was Stella Creasy MP who pointed out that cut to top tax rate was costed as same as providing 15 hours childcare for everyone child aged 6 months to 3 years. Are bankers really going to do more with the financial support than young parents who want to get back to work but currently can’t afford to?

  • James Fowler 28th Sep '22 - 7:33am

    The real fall out from this budget is the incipient ‘mortgage crisis’. Coming on the heels of energy, inflation, lockdown and Brexit crises we’re getting punch drunk, but the rise in interest rates is just as expensive as all the others. The question is, what will happen? If the government allows mortgagees to go the wall and repossessions rise it will be devastating for their popularity. On the other hand, helping them means (yet) another hand out. A decade or more ago I would have been certain of a hand out, but now that mortgage free owners outnumber mortgagees I’m not so sure. Watch this space.

  • Chris Moore 28th Sep '22 - 9:45am

    Bankers are grossly over-paid worldwide.

    Paying someone huge amounts gives them the idea that they are worth this money and leads to over-confident and reckless decision-making.

    If it’s a matter of footballers and pop stars and so in, the resultant inflated and god-like egos do relatively little harm, but with bankers, it’s potentially lethal. We saw this during the build up to the 2008 crash.

    Likewise, lavish performance bonuses produce perverse incentives to game the system and likewise can produce highly undesirable consequences.

    Good article, Lorenzo!

  • Chris Moore 28th Sep '22 - 9:53am

    BTW Cutting the top rate of tax from 45% to 40% puts a few billion extra in the pockets of the altready well-off.

    Unfortunately, as they have a much higher savings rate than lesser mortals, this is an extremely inefficient way to provide an economic stimulus.

    Any tax cut intended as a stimulus should be focussed on the poorest, as they tend to spend a much higher percentage of any extra income.

    Even more efficient would be to give a few billion rise in overall universal credit.

    Unfortunately, one can only assume the Tory party don’t give a flute for the struggling poor. There is no economic justification for cutting tax for high earners.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 28th Sep '22 - 12:17pm

    Thanks Chris, and George, James, for constructive engagement.

    A very worrying economic result, of not only the awful war,but the added Truss/Kwarteng measures. And no amount of thankful improvement in the positions of Labour, can alter the trajectory longer haul, without the sort of cooperation the Liberal Democrats believe in and Labour do not yet or enough.

  • It was a ridiculous budget. The weakening of the pound and higher government bond prices are no coincidence and are the markets prediction aboit our future economic prospects.

    Basic rate taxpayers are unlikely to be better off because the further increases in the cost of living caused by this budget will offset any gains. Only currency speculators and hedge funds will benefit.

  • Jenny Barnes 28th Sep '22 - 6:22pm

    It was a “special fiscal operation “ not a budget

  • @George Thomas
    Didn’t the Tories (as part of coalition) cut top rate of tax from 50% to 45% during middle of need to raise money/in wider world of economic crisis?

    Yes they did, but for sound reasons. Specifically, it massively reduced the benefits of setting up off-shore tax avoidance/borderline evasion arrangements for those in the sub £1m bracket and so had the effect of both securing revenues and increasing revenues from this tax band.

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