Yesterday, the Election 2015 contest continued to develop. The first of the two main news stories was the Labour pledge to abolish the Non-domicile tax status currently enjoyed by over 110,000 people in this country. We learned a lot about this little perk for a good number of the UK’s movers and shakers. It is hereditary and can be used by people born in the UK. It only applies to earnings from overseas and any UK income is taxed as normal. So it is not surprising that Roman Abramovich has packed in working nights at a filling station in Fulham and Lakshmi Mittall, the Indian Steel Magnate, is no longer working as a welder in Plaistow.
NonDom status has been around for over 200 years and so we can also wonder why more than 40 governments in power have failed to do anything about it. So why now? The cynical might say that it is just another vote catching headline especially as Labour admit that they do not know how much additional tax it would raise. To add to the confusion a television clip of Ed Balls ,the Labour shadow chancellor, was unearthed from three months ago saying that to get rid of Nondom was a bad idea as it would drive people away. As ever the reality probably lies between these two opinions.
The other story dominating the day was the nuclear attack by Michael Fallon, the Conservative defence secretary on David Miliband stating that Miliband would stab Britain in the back over the renewal of the Trident Nuclear deterrent as part of a deal with the SNP in order to get to power. Fallon went a step further, and probably too far in many peoples opinion, by stating that David Miliband had form in this area as he had already stabbed his brother Ed in the back in order to come to power. Cue outrage and indignation on all sides. On BBC’s Question Time last night, the issue was clarified by the impressive Daily Telegraph leader writer, Tim Stanley. He said that it was wrong because David had stabbed Ed in the front not the back!
Both of these stories developed as a consequence of the drip feeding of policies and pledges from each parties manifesto. We will need to wait until next week to see the actual manifestos. Why are they not ready to read as soon as the election is called? It is not as if they did not know when that would be. Again the cynical might consider that they are all simply jockeying for position and that the actual policies and content of those manifestos is subsidiary to the spin and counter spin.
Locally all the major candidates appear to be busy bees, hitting the streets and pressing the flesh with like minded supporters from other, safer areas, tweeting and facebooking away. William Wragg ( Con) and Lisa Smart ( LibDem) both featured on a BBC Northwest slot about Hazel Grove and the LibDem North West constituencies. Michael Taylor ( Lab ) had a few hours off to watch his team Blackburn Rovers lose heroically to Liverpool ( You had my vote on that one, Michael ! ) but found the time to get featured in two newspapers. His first was a article he wrote about devolution to the regions and specifically Manchester in the Guardian and the second was in an article about politicians as fans of T’Rovers, presumably from some more local publication than the Gazadian. Not sure which he was more pleased about.