Kicking your can

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I see Labour have kicked the can, as is the general rule of thumb with all things Brexit these days, a little further down the road in terms of coming out as the anti-Brexit party.

It still feels like Tom Watson and his gang are hedging their bets on an early autumn general election. The first thing that Boris or Jeremy will face as PM will almost certainly be a vote of no-confidence in the Government, and the remainer Conservatives, at least vocally, seem happy to bring down their own government rather than face the possibility of a No Deal Brexit (AKA the Boris Brexit, despite his protestations that it’s his plan C).

Whether these rebel Tories will vote with Labour or not, I guess depends on who wins, although I’d be amazed if Boris didn’t win, and that Labour didn’t immediately carry out the no-confidence trick (or shortly after the Brecon by-election).

Labour really must think that by alienating a big chunk of their electorate, they stand a chance of regaining the votes lost to the Lib Dems to make up for it. I don’t see it personally, I see that as more ‘suicidal’ than a No-Deal Brexit (not that either is particularly what anyone wants).

Labour would only be able to regain those they perceive to have lost to the Lib Dems in the EU elections, and I doubt many of them would seriously consider voting Lib Dem in a General Election anyway. I can’t see many Lib Dems jumping ship and switching over to a Marxist-led Labour party, just because they decided to become anti-Brexit.

What makes the logic even more spurious, is that a recent poll split people roughly 28% leave with no deal, 29% leave with a deal and just 43% revoke Article 50. By my reckoning that indicates a growth somewhere in the region of 5% for the pro-Brexit camp (compared to the Referendum).

I’m sure Jeremy Corbyn in senses that the keys to No. 10 are only just out of his reach; making a stand against Brexit may just snatch them away from him. It will also encourage the Tory membership to be more inclined to vote for Boris, and usher in more chance of a No-Deal Brexit, the one thing Labour are trying to stop.

Not great news for Mr McDonnell

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WARNING: Amateur economist possibly making rash comments about things he doesn’t know enough about.

With Labour making waves promoting Universal Basic Income, and threatening to raise taxes for the ‘rich’, I’d thought I’d do a bit of investigating to see how much tax we actually pay into the coffers each year.

Using some handy dandy stats from statista.com on UK population and earnings, and some genius coding by yours truly, I created some fairly rudimentary graphs like this, which shows the number of people per ‘salary band’ in the UK during 2018:

The first thing that struck me was just how many people are in the £20 – £30k salary bracket. I’m not sure what I was expecting, and it probably shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise, but there you go.

Then I broke the various salary bands down in the to current tax brackets to work out how much tax we paid last year – a healthy £116,867,500,000 (give or take a few pence), as it goes.

The obvious thing that sticks out is, even with the current tax regime, just how much more tax those earning over £50k pay. That got me thinking, how much would we have earned if Labour were in charge and had bought in their revised 45% for the £85k+ bracket, and 50% for over £123k.

That would have bought in £120,876,600,000, a good 4 billion extra. Healthy, if not somewhat annoying for the higher earners, who already feel they are shouldering a disproportionate amount of the tax burden.

But what if then, I wondered, should the recent article in the Times have come to pass and 1 in 10 of the higher earners (over £150k) had cleared off and got their salary paid in another country?

In that case you undo all the hard work of changing the tax system, and bring in just £117,080,680,000. That’s an improvement of a mere £213,880,000, which in the grand scheme of things, and with upsetting a lot of people to boot, hardly seems worth the effort.

Tomorrow: UBI, how will it work?