There seems to be a lot of threatening noises coming from my Liberal Democrat colleagues at the moment. We're told that Vince Cable may resign unless some sort of Glass-Seagall regulating arrangemnet put in place following the Vickers Report on banking reform to be published tomorrow. And then we hear that Chris Huhne might resign if the 50% income tax rate is abolished. This is not good for team spirit. Perhaps it will all calm down again after the party conferences are over.
I'm no economist and take an entirely pragmatic approach to these issues. Like most people, I've been nauseated by the greed and selfishness of our leading bankers, but would not want to introduce changes which damaged the UK just to spite them. I sense that there should be a division between 'normal' banking activity and the more risky 'investment' banking - but also worry that the UK will lose business if we introduce these changes without international agreement. No point in cutting off our noses for a favourable headline.
And the 50% tax rate is the same. If it transpires that it raises very little for the Treasury, and damages our economy, I'd want to scrap it. But if it does raise a decent slug of tax, it should not be scrapped until we can afford it and at the same time as a tax cut for the less well off. Its difficult to hold a rational discussion with any of my friends about bankers and the 50% tax rate - but I suspect that there are not that many investment bankers or 50% taxpayers in Montgomeryshire.