Tuesday, 27 September 2011

What sort of bargain is this "New Bargain"?

Calm down, calm down! It's only a bargain. A New Bargain
So Ed Miliband wants to offer us a new bargain. But what sort of bargain is he offering? The problem is that his speech today gave very little clue as to what that was. After all speech is cheap, quite the bargain really and if you can fill 55 minutes with platitudes and nothingness. Ok saying "something for something" and attacking one part of the opposition's approach to the NHS without ignoring that the other part is doing the sort of things you're saying you want to do.

So just what is a bargain:

an advantageous purchase, especially one acquired at less than the usual cost: The sale offered bargains galore.
an agreement between parties settling what each shall give and take or perform and receive in a transaction.
such an agreement as affecting one of the parties: a losing bargain.
something acquired by bargaining.
Informal an agreeable person, especially one who causes no trouble or difficulty (usually used in negativeconstructions): His boss is no bargain.

Well looking at part one above, is that code for the fact that as he said elsewhere in his speech that he wouldn't undo all of the cuts of the government. He also said that if the current government hadn't sorted out the deficit by the end of the term he would do so. Yet this seems odd as Labour and Ed were all saying that this was a global issue and not one that the current government should be taking measures to deal with themselves. Now forgive me for getting confused here, unlike the PPE that Miliband got from Cambridge I only have an Economics degree from Kingston. But surely either something is global and you can do nothing about it, or it is internal and you can promise to sort it out, surely it cannot be both!

Part two seems to go contrary to the Labour party saying this week that they are a party of principle. How can they have any give and take if they are sticking to their principles. Indeed wasn't this the issue they found themselves in last May. They didn't do any giving and were doing plenty of taking. The Lib Dem negotiating team said that the Labour team didn't seem to want to be in government anymore because they refused to discuss things, refused to give any ground. That led to the only sensible option being taking give and take between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. That is pluralistic politics something that surely a PPE first from Cambridge should have picked up on, if not him he maybe should have asked Douglas Alexander's sister Wendy about that.

The third definition talks about a losing bargain affecting one of the parties. If that is the sort of new bargain that Miliband is offering who is losing out? But surely if the principles have to stand there is no give and take, therefore who is it that will end up losing out? Maybe Labour themselves if they are unable to cope with a change in the landscape. Maybe the people the ones who lost their 10p tax rate, the pensioners who lost their indexed linked pension before the Lib Dems put it back in place, maybe those promised a working wage which may well be taxed like the so-called minimum wage that Labour brought in and taxed. Indeed it is the Lib Dems who are promising to make a living or minimum wage outside of tax. If it is the minimum it should be outside of direct tax, of course indirect taxes like VAT and duty may be accrued, but that may well be up to the individuals choice as far as possible.

The fourth definition talks about something acquired by bargaining. We've yet to find out what Labour are prepared to bargain with. Miliband talked about social housing, well increasing the competitiveness for it, but nothing about increasing the supply of it. How is this really going to benefit the people he talks about helping. He said that taxes were increased for the poorest, yet the tax threshold has been increased lifting thousands of the poorest out of tax. As I said above the minimum wage that is still taxed fails to live up to it's name, yet this is just what Labour did.

The final option may well define Miliband a person who causes no trouble or difficulty. Because without any substance he really isn;t going to cause any trouble. The Liberal Democrats have already proven to cause more trouble for the Conservatives that Labour seem prepared to do.

Maybe what Miliband was offering today was a plea bargin, he didn't quite get around to saying sorry, but he did say that Labour had over the years got a few things wrong. Maybe he is looking for a lesser charge to be brought against Labour.

1 comment:

  1. What I want to know, is what is "The promise of Britain"? And how is he fulfilling it out of government?