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Why I am voting Conservative at the General Election and you should too

By Andrew Bell | Monday 5 June 2017


Shareprophets reader Jonathan Price has already put the case for voting Lib Dem. Crackpot lefty Darren Atwater has put the case for voting for the terrorist's friends in Labour. Now it is over to Andrew Bell, the son of a Tory MP, who puts the case for voting for the Conservatives. Over to Mr Bell:

The voting decision in 2017 should be one of the easiest you have ever made. The Lib Dems have talked themselves into irrelevance, while the other two Parties are as far apart as they have ever been. The Labour leadership has a socialist and internationalist vision, respecting Marx, admiring Chavez, and determined to bring the trade unions into a dominant role in society. The Conservative leadership has moved to occupy the abandoned ground, edging towards a more centrist and populist position, and to attracting the patriotic working men and women abandoned by a London-dominated Labour.

That there even appears to be a contest is a tribute to those who have managed to sugar-coat the Labour manifesto with enough superficially attractive elements to disguise the radicalism that lurks within. The £50 billion a year giveaway includes no tuition fees (for the youth vote), triple pension lock and more social care funding (for the pensioner vote), more childcare cash (for the parent vote), more cash for the NHS and Education to ‘end austerity’, renationalisation and control of utility bills to offer the prospect of lower bills through the door, and all (except the renationalisation which apparently costs nothing) paid for by companies and ‘the rich’. And as an afterthought £25 billion+ a year of borrowing for infrastructure investment.

All credit to them for the presentation. It makes it all seem so easy. It is perhaps no surprise that 18 year olds, offered a release from tuition fees and confronted daily on television with heart-rending stories about schools forced to consider laying off teachers and nurses eating from food banks, are particularly impressed by the kind-hearted solutions Labour offers.

But they were only 9 years old at the time of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. They do not know that all parties stood for austerity in 2010 because there was no alternative. They do not know that it is only as a result of Coalition and Conservative policies since then that anyone can even contemplate increased spending today. They do not know that Gordon Brown, obsessed with his desire for an uncontested ascent to the Labour leadership, had ignored all warnings of an overheated economy and as a result we had been very badly hit by the GFC, with National Debt rising from £0.5 trillion, or 38% of GDP, in 2005 to £1 trillion in 2011 just after the Conservatives took over. They do not know that the deficit – the annual amount by which the Debt was increasing – hit £154 billion in 2009 and £144 billion in 2010, and that a panicked Labour in its 2010 promised to reduce that number (the annual increase) by half within four years by austerity and restricted spending, with no guarantee even to match inflation for education funding. In the same year the Conservative promise was to eliminate ‘the bulk’ of the annual deficit within 5 years: in the event the Coalition Government achieved the Labour promise (though not their own), reducing the annual deficit to £80bn by 2015.

And they do not know that as a result of the policies carried out since 2010, although the National Debt continues to creep up, reaching £1.5 trillion in 2015-16 and over 85% of GDP, and now , the rate of annual increase has in fact slowed to a likely £52bn deficit in 2017, so that it has been brought down from 9.9% of GDP to 2.6%, and there is at least the prospect that our National Debt to GDP ratio will start to sink towards 80% as a first step to restoring long-term solvency.

This was done while increasing foreign aid, energy and climate change, and health budgets in real terms in the 2010-17 period, while only marginally cutting education (mainly through freezing most capital spending), so that all other budgets suffered significant real term cuts. It was thus done without the dramatic surgery of, for example, Ireland during the same period, where in 2008-2014 public sector staffing was cut by 10% and health spending by 27%, and public sector capital investment by 60%. What we had, backed essentially by all political parties both in 2010 and even in 2015, was at worst Austerity Lite, and the current £52 billion annual deficit is not now scheduled to be eliminated until the mid-2020s, allowing the Conservatives to promise an increase of £12 billion in health and school spending in the next parliament.

The Labour Manifesto in 2017 is the first crack in the wall of a hitherto united consensus for reducing our still dangerous debt to GDP ratio. Labour plans to tax and spend about an extra £50 billion each year. Their numbers are flawed, and a careful reading of the IFS analysis shows that the shortfall in that equation must be £12 billion or more each year. That number must be added to the annual £52 billion deficit. So must the cost of the submarine wish list that most of us suspect Labour is hiding and will add to costs should they come to Government. So must some or all of the up to £25 billion a year that will be sourced for ‘investment’. So, surely, must the direct and indirect costs of nationalisation, which will rise over time (water and rail were denationalised partly because decades of underinvestment under State control had created so acute a crisis).

The notion that all Labour’s plans can be funded by taxing companies and the richest 4% (who already provide 40% of income tax revenues) is of course absurd. Companies will react to a change from a 19% actual (and 17% planned) tax rate to 26% under Labour by behavioural changes. Individuals will do the same. When we are leaving the EU and Single Market, and when the US is planning to reduce its corporate taxes from 35% to 15%, a move to make the UK so much less attractive as a tax jurisdiction seems spectacularly ill-timed.

The last time Labour had the illusion the rich could pay for everything was in the pre-Blair late 1970s, with a 83% top rate of income tax and then an investment income (ie dividends, interest and rents) surcharge of 15% on top, making 98%. We all know where that ended up: cap in hand to the IMF, and then the Winter of Discontent, when the dead were stored unburied in factories and warehouses.

So far we have only considered the Labour Manifesto. When one looks at the top team that would implement it, the true gravity of the danger a 2017 Corbyn Administration would pose appears. None of Corbyn, McDonnell and Abbott, or their key advisers, have any economic background better than a loose Marxism, instincts other than free spending on favoured causes, or disciplines inculcated by any previous responsibilities or training. In the case of McDonnell, it is considerably worse. He is a hardline Marxist who has written on economics sufficiently to show that he conceives of capital allowances, North Sea ring fences, R&D allowances, small company rates and other corporation tax reliefs, and naturally any personal tax concessions, as unjustified subsidies to the capitalist class. The damage he would do to industry is incalculable, even before one starts to consider the powers he would give the unions.

In other areas, Labour is equally unreliable. Corbyn now presents his standing in silence for the killed IRA terrorists on their way to murder policemen as him mourning all victims. What he said at the time was “I’m happy to commemorate all those who died fighting for an independent Ireland”. Fighting? And him such a pacifist, too! But he is not as red in tooth and claw as McDonnell, who has always made clear he revels in insurrection and struggle.

Those praying for a Labour defeat include many Labour politicians. Most MPs voted against Corbyn becoming leader, and most voted more recently to remove him. They know how incompetent, dangerous, and disastrous he would be, and hope for a result that will unseat him (though one where they personally retain their seats). They know his true policy positions, and how well placed he will be to impose them should he win. Trust them; they know his mind and his soul better than the most enthusiastic student.

If the danger of Corbyn’s Labour is a great consideration, so is the record of competence and economic management of the current Government and its predecessor. There are two great issues before us: restoring our National Finances after the explosion of debt that followed the GFC, and handling Brexit. If we wish to put the young in debt to ourselves, we will handle these with the resolution and vigour that will leave the foundations of a strong economy, and a representative, free, and responsible democracy for them to build on.

Only the Conservatives can be trusted with the economy. And with the Brexit negotiations before us, this is no time to take risks with our financial stability.

Only the Conservatives can be trusted with the Brexit negotiations. Labour’s position, as with the Nuclear deterrent, is to adopt a policy so open and so pacific that it might as well surrender in advance. To state that any deal is better than no deal is to adopt the same failed negotiating tactic that Cameron did: but if his inability to walk away was easy to guess and was successfully gamed by the other side, in Corbyn’s case he has been considerate enough to make it explicit. His ineptitude and lack of preparation however is so great that even were he determined to negotiate hard and achieve a successful outcome, there is no basis for supposing he could do it.

The Conservatives need a clear majority to negotiate strongly with the EU, and to disabuse them of the notion that by using back-channels and playing for time they can erode the Prime Minister’s authority and majority at home and so weaken her negotiating hand. Only in that way is there any prospect of a mutually acceptable outcome. Even many who voted last year to Remain appear to accept that.

Finally, the long-term cohesion of society requires that we take notice of our fellow-citizens who have made clear that by a large majority they want immigration controlled, and to live in security without the threat of terrorism, and who want to feel that wherever they live and whatever their social views their incomes and futures, and that of their children, will be as much a priority as those of the inhabitants of West or North London. The Conservatives give more sign of understanding this than any other Party.

We must do our duty on Thursday; we must vote to strengthen and renew this Government. Vote Conservative

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