Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Field Floors Brown In 10p Tax Revolt

A last ditch bid to scupper New Labpour plans to impose a 10p tax levy on the poor could mark time for struggling Brown, as he faces up to a fresh challenge to his lamentable leadership.

Today's 10p tax rebellion sees an unholy alliance of around 30 decent Labour backbenchers, Tories and Lib Dems, led by veteran campaigner for the poor, Frank Field, out for revenge after being frozen out in his bid to become speaker.

With his bid to take the speaker's chair dashed as punishment for leading last year's 10p tax revolt and Brown's humiliating climbdown, Fearless Field has made no secret of his distaste for a so-called "Labour government" which is hell bent on hitting the poor.

Revenge could be a dish best served in the cold corridors of Westminster. Delivering a parting shot as he stood down as a speaker candidate, Field made it clear: "It just might be that those people who worked so hard to keep me out of the Speaker's chair, when they see the next campaign on the 10p, they might wish they'd put me in it."

Now with the vexed issue of 10p tax compensation raising its head again, Field has issued a rallying call: "This is the last chance for Labour MPs before the General Election to deliver justice to the 10p losers", claiming 1.3m people are losing out even today by £1 a week as a result of the abolition of the 10p tax.

As MPs prepare to vote on the entire government budget, the cross-party bid may not end in government defeat but could well end in a round of fumbled concessions, arm twisting and blackmail which once again casts doubt on Beleaguered Brown's authority.

The so-called Labour 'rebels' are thoroughly fed-up with their fag-end government. With millions of people on low incomes worse off since the change, New Labour is paying lip service in a pretence to protect the poor. As the Orange Party has said many times before - one person's 'rebel' is another person's true Labour MP.

But Bunkered Brown is having none of it, as MPs seek to secure compensation for everyone left worse off by the controversial abolition of the 10p income tax rate.

In a bizarre move for a supposedly 'Labour' government, chancellor Brown's final shot was to scrap the 10p starting rate for the poor in his 2007 budget to fund a 2p cut in the standard rate of tax for the better off.

Field's July revolt forced Brown to suffer a humiliating climbdown and sparked a fresh wave of leadership challenges, as the government was forced to come up with fudged compensation for those who lost out by the decision to scrap the lowest tax band.

Beleaguered Brown is braced for a fresh backbench revolt. A humiliating defeat could block the entire budget, screw up income tax collection and throw all the carefully laid economic plans into chaos.

But the Orange Party isn't holding its breath, despite backbench support and opposition backing. The fag-end government failure will be pulling out all the stops to head off defeat.

All leave has been cancelled as whips muster the troops and twist a few arms to toe the party line. Once again Northern Ireland's DUP will be cajoled to prop up the government. With backs against the wall, no doubt government pork-barrel sweeteners will be passed around to keep the swervers sweetly in line. If all else fails, there's always blackmail and the frighteners of Armageddon.

Even if the threatened revolt fails or manages to wring out some concessions with another heady mix of fudged figures, the spectacle of ministers digging in their heels makes a mockery of the government's bid to paint the Tories as the nasty party of cuts with a New Labour budget which would hit the poor.

Born-again Brown needs today's commons revolt like a hole in the head. But once again the deluded Supreme Leader has made it even worse, with a hotch-potch of measures brought in to try to fix a problem of his own making.

Whatever the outcome, the threat comes just before MPs break up for the summer holds to spend more time with their plotting pals.

Today's events will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many decent Labour MPs, already fed-up, angry and depressed. And careless talk over Battered Brown's flagging leadership of a fag-end government is bound to erupt once again.

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