Listening to R4’s Today Programme yesterday morning, I wondered If I’d heard properly. Scottish Labour had announced that it would increase tax on everyone earning more than £20k. Nutty? Of course. But as I tuned in to hear the leader of the Scottish Labour Brand interviewed by John Humphries, I heard her defend the idea by explaining that a teacher might earn, say, £29K, and it was fair to; “ask that teacher to pay a little more”. Just for laughs, I imagine, she also noted that no-one earning less than £20k would be any worse off – so that’s nice. If you fancy it, although I don’t recommend it, it’s here (the fun starts at 1:13 in).
I Googled the thing today to see if anyone had written about what sounded an amazing piece of aural madness – but few really seemed to care what Scottish Labour had to say. Wee Owen Jones at the Guardian revealed all, though, because he’s clever like that. What Scottish Labour was doing here, cunningly, was calling the SNP’s bluff. “Go on the SNP”, Labour was saying, apparently, “see if you can match that tax increase to teachers, nurses, junior local government officers and tradesman all earning 20-odd grand a year. Eh? No? Take that!”.
“Er, nah, yer alright, hen”, the SNP didn’t even deign to say, however.
The simple reality is that it’s tough being a council leader these days because the super-popular local tax freeze means you have to cut services. And Councillors actually hold a wee bit of power for now. So Scottish Labour is, with this Scottish parliamentary suicide note, putting the Councils first. Fair enough. There are some decent and competent Labour councillors out there still who actually know what they’re doing.
Shame for all the regular, not-especially-well-paid paid, folk who would be hit by Scottish Labour’s tax plans, though.