Given all that George Osborne has done for the Conservative cause, grassroots unhappiness at his performance is uncharitable. All of us also need to understand that the Brown bounce is NOT that considerable. The latest polling confirms that David Cameron remains on course to be Prime Minister. The time for a change message is working from Washington to Wellington. It will triumph in Britain, too.
But there should never be any room for complacency and Conservatives need to enthuse voters and they need to offer some recession-relieving, economy-boosting tax relief. That’s the message to emerge from the latest ConHome survey of grassroots members when we asked about the ideal fiscal policy for the downturn:
Commentators like Daniel Finkelstein have misrepresented the lessons from other countries (see here and here) and accuse tax cutters of being punks. In reality tax relief is on the agenda of nearly every successful politician in the world:
Although we still believe in the multiplier (or supply-side) effects of lower taxation, last week we proposed that the Conservative Party should respond to Labour’s (almost certain) irresponsible tax relief plan with a responsible tax relief plan; tax cuts financed by reducing waste rather than increasing borrowing. We are encouraged that that position is supported by a majority of Tory members. Before recession struck it was important that resources were shifted from the bloated state to the overtaxed private sector. That’s why September 2007’s Tory decision to match Labour on spending was so ill-judged. A shift to the private sector is even more important now.