Who’d have thought it, says Sarah Vine in the Daily Mail: “after years spent searching for the legendary magic money tree”, the Conservatives have finally found it. “And lo! It turns out to be the British taxpayer.” As the nation’s workers “wearily roll up their sleeves” to offer up “yet another vein for HMRC to bleed dry”, the public sector waits for its latest cash transfusion. As ever, it’s the “squeezed middle” who will be bearing the heaviest burden, which is no bad thing in itself – “many of us are willing to chip in more in times of need”. But the Tories are digging themselves into a “tax-and-spend hole” they show no sign of even wanting to get out of. What happened to their “bold, reforming agenda” of 2019, to growing the economy and rewarding an industrious workforce? If you want people to “bust a gut to get the economy going”, you have to give them something in return, not “claw back” any gains and chuck them into a giant public sector black hole. That’s what Labour are for. But these days, what’s the difference?
It’s become so hard to work out what the Conservative Party really believes in, says Allister Heath in The Daily Telegraph, “it’s easier to enumerate the principles it has jettisoned”. Public sector reform is out the window: NHS spending is up 12% compared to 2019, but it’s treating 5% fewer people. Yet it’s Labour who are sounding more reformist – or “more right-wing” – on the NHS than the government dares to be. Worse, the Tories no longer agree that taxes “discourage economic activity, work and investment”. They’re happy to jack up corporation tax and drag millions into the highest rates of income tax. The view that such rates of taxation are “disgusting”, “unethical” and “inefficient”, once dominant in the party, is now confined to a “defeated minority”. And that’s to say nothing of the failure to build houses, fund the armed forces, reduce migration, support families, curb wokeism or reverse nationalisation. Why would anyone vote for a “Labour-lite” Conservative Party? Staggeringly, I haven’t found a single Tory MP who can answer that question.
🫖🤯 Outgoing Tory MP Charles Walker wasn’t happy with the Autumn Statement, describing it in the I newspaper as “featherbedding the retired at the expense of the young, who made such a sacrifice” to keep pensioners safe during Covid. He says that when he raised this point in the Commons Tea Room, he was told: “But Charles, pensioners are the only people left who vote for us.”