Last week we celebrated my daughters 21st birthday. The party was packed with her young friends who danced until 7am and then started a second party around the swimming pool lasting the whole day. The last guest left on Sunday at lunchtime and the party had started Friday night!
The sheer energy of youth just amazed me, and I spent most of the week thinking about how I would try and engage young people if I was Prime Minister. I am writing this blog for my own children’s sake to try and simplify politics as they approach voting age.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Conservative Party has deservedly lost the vast majority of young British voters and that if nothing is done, will eventually lose an election based on the demographic fact that with every passing year more young people come of voting age while the current base of Conservative supporters grows ever older.
Grandmother and granddaughter may view politics very differently
So here is how I see the landscape on tax and health – the two monster issues in any political campaign.
Tax is simply about maximising the total take of revenue so we can help the largest number of people in a variety of different ways. Although taxing the rich aggressively is a very popular policy due to the enormous inequality in the world, in all probability it penalises the poor because it reduces the total pot meaning there is less money to distribute among society’s most needy. Mrs Thatcher once said the Labour Party would rather the poor be poorer than the rich richer, and that is really the crux of the argument when you come to vote – you either believe taxing the rich hurts or helps society’s most disadvantaged.
Without winning this argument in the eyes of our youth no one deserves to be elected. My personal beliefs are inconsequential, but think of tax like this and it may help you decide what to believe.
The top tax rate sits around 40% – 45% for very good reason. Most high income earners are happy to donate a substantial proportion of their income, but one reaches a point beyond that where a law of diminishing returns sets in. Above 50% people are being asked to work until July of each year before taking any money home for themselves. When people lose the correlation between reward and how hard they work they also lose motivation. Historically, above a 50% tax threshold the well off tend to leave, people become demotivated and the total take for society’s most disadvantaged once again goes down.
This strikes to the heart of many private versus public sector arguments. Young or old, Conservative or Labour – would you be happy to work until July/August of each year before taking any money home for yourself? It’s an important question to ask before deciding which way to vote.
Fat Gladiator thought of the day – Tax breaks: those who choose to work fully for others should be cherished.
Lets recognise the amazing work done by doctors, nurses, and social workers and give them generous tax breaks to stimulate demand and make more people want to go into those professions knowing that they can make ends meet. In addition, let’s give them status in society so their work is better recognised. In an age of automation where millions of people are about to loose their jobs, let’s understand we need two million people in social care and do everything we can to attract talent to that sector and make it appealing.
Neither party will be able to fund the NHS to your satisfaction. The only way we can deliver a better service at a lower price is through investment in technology and that has to start now if we are to fix things within the next 10 years.
Preventative maintenance for your body
What we need is billions to be invested in telemedicine, gene sequencing and editing, liquid biopsy, and tests to stop people getting ill in the first place. Sugar should be treated the same as smoking. You can buy as much as you like but we will tax you heavily regardless of your class because it’s bad for everyone.
War on terror
I am not sure there is one. A war implies a beginning a middle and an end. Throughout history persecution, terror, and radicalisation have always been present and just morph into different forms. I am not sure we can ever outright win a “war on terror” like politicians would like us to believe, we can merely do everything we can to minimise the damage on an ongoing basis.
Anyway with a few of the big ones out the way, I have just one question to leave you with – is the Queen trying to tell us something?
I hope you all have a lovely weekend,