Sunday, 23 November 2008

Not beyond our Ken

Ken Clarke is always good value and the long interview with him in The Times is worth a look: Ken

He is studiously loyal to George Osborne, pointing out that it has been 'get George Osborne fortnight', but does not rule out ever being Chancellor again, whilst emphasising that he has many interests outside politics. He could not be accused of a lack of what Dennis Healey calls 'hinterland'.

I have only met Ken once, but I must say that I find him very likeable and he is a considerable asset for the Conservatives as he always manages to deliver a few blows at Labour, as he does here on the subject of public expenditure, an area where many nonpartisan analysts would say that they have been profligate and sometimes wasteful.


Justin Greaves said...

I enjoyed this interview as well, although his qualified support for a reduction is VAT is a different line to that being taken by Cameron/Osborne. If there is scope to cut taxes, VAT is probably one of the fairest and most effective ways to do it in the current climate. I can imagine, however, it will cause a nuisance to retailers who have to re-price their goods. Also, will it give them an opportunity to mark up prices and not pass the full cut on? It could also be deflationary. Also, it could result in lower cigarette prices (against government heaalth objectives) and lower alcohol prices (encouraging binge drinking) unless the government makes other tax changes to compensate. It will be an interesting 'mini budget'!

Wyn Grant said...

You can have differential rates of VAT - indeed we already do, or you can add on a compensating tax. There is a big implementation problem - Radio Scilly spotted that in their coverage.