Labour’s new Party Political Broadcast goes out tonight, on the topic of business lending by the banks. While the banking sector is far from perfect, as Pete Hoskin pointed out recently it’s a popular Westminster fallacy that all SMEs are in desperate need of new debt.
It’s fair to say that Labour have had some casting problems with their PPBs in the past (remember the actors used by Ken Livingstone as supposedly ‘real Londoners’?) so I thought I might check out who was starring in their latest offering.
Meet Edward Mason, who appears in the film alongside Ed Miliband and explains how his enterprise, the Five Points Brewing Company, was turned down for a loan:
He’s a good interviewee, with a compelling story – and his business now seems to have proved successful despite the bank’s decision.
But it’s an odd call for Labour, of all people, to try to portray themselves as friends of the brewing industry. After all, they mercilessly drove up tax on alcohol and in doing so pushed thousands of pubs out of business.
Their war on publicans was ably summed up in 2010, when they raised cider tax in their last budget before the election. Under the headline “Labour loses core voters with fresh 10% tax on cider”, the proprietor of one pub, the Duke of Wellington in Dalston, told the Hackney Post that:
“It’s certain to have an effect on our sales. We see sales increases from cider in the summer.It’s unfortunate in the current trading environment. It seems that pubs are are under attack on all sides, particularly in the ongoing recession and with cheap drinks on sale in supermarkets. We run a pub where people come to drink sensibly. We aim to promote a safe drinking environment and it’s a shame the government take a one-size-suits-all approach to punish those who drink cheap cider.”
Who was this businessman “under attack” by Labour’s greedy tax policies? His name was Edward Mason – the very same.