Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Was that it?

I've always found Stamp Duty to be an insidious tax. It has discouraged movement between jobs and discouraged efficient use of the housing stock. So any move to reduce its impact is going to get the thumbs up from me. So I'm supportive of Gordon Brown's decision to exempt houses worth less than £175,000 from Stamp Duty for the next twelve months. Like I support the shooting of one of the millions of grey squirrels that visit such destruction on our countryside. Its a move in the right direction, but so small as to be dramatically insignificant. And even then, it seems that the Government is trying to mislead us over the scale of the benefit. We're expected to believe that this little wheeze will cost £600 million is forgone tax - but this figure is based on a massive over-estimate of the number of properties that will be sold during the next year. With this lot, nothing is what they say it is. Shake hands and count your fingers is to be advised.

But of course boosting the housing market was never the purpose of a Stamp Duty cut. We all know that the basic problem suffocating the housing market is the inability to get a mortgage. This cut will do nothing about that. The purpose of yesterday's announcement was for the Prime Minister to look as if he was doing something to help. But the Government's 'expectation management' has been such a disaster that what was meant to be the relaunch of the Prime Minister turned out to be another hole beneath the water line of HMS Gordon Brown. They can't even do 'spin' anymore - despite having more 'spin doctors' than ever before in British history.

More than ever, I'm planning for a General Election next June. I know that everyone thinks it will be twelve months later. But I cannot believe that all those Labour MPs are just going to walk like mesmerised lemmings behind Gordon Brown, over the cliff into oblivion, without trying to do something about it. I think that Charles Clarke is speaking for plenty of others, when he in effect called for Brown to be replaced today. A botched relaunch and a lost by-election could open the floodgates. And any new leader will know that the sooner a General Election is called, the more blame for defeat will attach itself to the 'Clunking Fist'. Its clear to me that if Gordon Brown's relaunch is no more than this pathetic little Stamp Duty announcement, the next few weeks are going to be very interesting indeed.


Anonymous said...

quite good for wales though glyn 80% of sales now exempt.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Sorry Glyn, but I've got to write/say this: WHAT AN EXTRAORDINARY SPEECH from Sarah Palin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A pit-bull with lipstick!!!!!!!

WOW is all I can say, WOW!

In one speech, Palin has buried Obama; in one speech, Palin has buried the Washington DC press, who are in the tank for Obama; in one speech, Palin shone like a star that she is - Palin represents a new generation, the future of politics in America. Contrast that with Obama's VP pick, Biden.

What a speech - there's 'no doubt about it': PALIN IS A STAR BORN.

The Republicans on the floor were stunned, the Democrats fear her, and they have a reason to fear her. She sliced up Obama with a smile. IT'S OVER. Obama-Biden's ticket doesn't stand a chance.

Palin has exploded over the press and the Democrats. Palin is KING. Watch out Hillary in 2012, you will be up against a star, Palin's energy is unbelievable, she has electrified her Party's base while simultaneously and so majestically went for and got the center ground - the single moms, the hockey moms, the soccer mums, the working families of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania – I’ve got a patent to file before midnight local time …

God Bless Palin, and GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - I agree with that. I support the Government's proposal, but it cannot have more than a marginal impact in a falling market. Personally, (and I know its not party policy) I believe there should be a comprehensive review of what can be done to make house movement easier - scrapping stamp duty up to £250,000 at least, scrapping HIPs and simplifying the planning system. Bit of a hobby horse for me.

Christopher - I've only seen clips on the news, but I thought she came over very well indeed. So much more engaging than Hilary Clinton. Too early for me to go as overboard as you, but it could happen when we see more of her. She even got her timing right on 'lipstick' joke.

Stonemason said...

Yours is one of the few blogs it is not necessary to count our virtual fingers when we exit.

penlan said...

Famous last words but I disagree.By implication Clarke has admitted that none of the next generation(Miliband etc)wants to lead the party to defeat.They are better off leaving Brown to lose and shoulder the blame.I suppose Straw could replace him from the same generation but he is a dismal figure as well.Of that generation,only Reid gave me any confidence and he is now CEO of Celtic FC (but still an MP).If Brown is still there,I can't see an election in June.It will be too soon after a bloodbath in the May Euros.He may try early autumn ,though,to impose discipline in the 2009 conference.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn> me and mum watched the GOP Convention live; the former NYC mayor did a really good job, great high impact speech (Fred Thompson the same yesterday). Since you are 6/7 hours ahead of MN time it would be difficult to watch the same live in UK/Europe. Sarah Palin's speech was electric, I'm not sure but it looked like the pit-bull lipstick joke was off-the-cuff (i.e., not scripted); only say that because some members of the audience off camera caught Sarah's eye and Sarah responded with that joke (maybe the group who caught her eye were waving banners with "Hockey Mom" indicia.

PS We've seemed to have outfoxed the pigeons again - put plastic (so harmless) poultry mesh over tactical parts (yes, it's a passive war) of the balcony, and the big artificial owls are helping too - I am already thinking up a new strategy to fit with the other two ... It's only a matter of time until they realize they can avoid the plastic mesh and still land on the deck under the noses of the artificial owls, but if they do, they won't have the view of the rest of the lower floors of the building, which from the top view is L-shaped and our balcony gives them a Hitchcock "Rear Window" view.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Yeah Glyn, this is how Simon Heffer of the Telegraph summed up Sarah Palin: “She is an astounding politician. In nearly 25 years of being paid to sit through political speeches, I struggle to think of one I have heard that was more immediately successful and that will prove to have been such a moment in history.”

Like what I wrote early, "PALIN IS A STAR BORN".

Birthday: November 3, 2008.
Time of birth: approx. 11 PM local time
Place of birth: Xcel Energy Center, 175 Kellogg Blvd W., Saint Paul, MN 55102

Democrats: you SHOULD fear her.
Republicans: you lucky people

Message for the Democrats (post 4/11/2008): "Don't whine THRICE about the vote being stolen - GET OVER IT".

PS Glyn, the last (and up to now only) political party that I was a member of was the British Labour Party ... after watching Palin's speech at the GOP Convention in MN, I have to say, I'm going to join the line to be become a "Registered Republican". I live on top of DC, maybe it's time to volunteer for a party that I can now truly love. Go PALIN 2012! I like Hillary, but Palin is a star born. Anyone honestly watching Palin last night, whether Democrat, Republican, Independent, would have to conclude that Palin is heading right to the top. It's no wonder she rose to the top in Alaska so soon after getting into politics. Palin is a force of nature - no one and nothing will stand against her, "all will bend like reeds in the wind".

Glyn Davies said...

stonemason - some comments show me two as they leave though!

penlan - If Brown remains, the General Election will be in June 2010. If he goes, it will be in June 2009 or sooner. Any new leader, and Miliband it could well be could get some 'bounce', and some Labour seats could be saved. But the key point is that he could lose and stay leader as long as the gap between taking over and electoral defeat was not too long. That's what I think.

Christopher - Write to Sarah Palin to ask her what her policy on pigeons is. She'll be round with her shooter. The media over here are so biased in favour of Obama that we're only getting negative stuff about Palin. But I agree with you. The girl's a star.

Anonymous said...

PS Obama might think he can part water, but Palin can drown him.

Oh brother, Obama and Biden had better say their prayers, and then check into "Hotel California" and thence never leave.

It's good that Biden knows how to use public transport!

Obama will need real tablets, not the credit card sized stone tablets he thinks he's carrying in his back pocket.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - and we're being told that the lipstick joke was off the cuff. She's the best newcomer on the world scene since William Hague.

Anonymous said...

I still watch that great William Hague “Gordon’s Nightmare” uTube video clip:

Great stuff.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - agreed. It was brilliant. Only William could have done it.

landsker said...

The supporters of Ms "Pit bull" Palin would do well to remember that old Welsh proverb.
"He who sleeps with dog, awakes with fleas."
As for McCain, his military service saw him destroy at least five aeroplanes, [all American ones,] and he managed an impressive tally of 132 dead and many more wounded, again, [all Americans].

The end of empire looms!