Friday, September 29, 2006

Leadership Poll Results

I got rather a bigger response to my poll than I expected, thanks to Mark Wadsworth (a Tory who voted Labour in 2001), who decided that the poll was fun and trailed it on Political Betting, Labour Home, John4Labour and Conservative Home (though luckily the Con Hom trail wasn't a clickable link). I think Mark was trying to skew the results, but that might just be my suspicious mind!

Not surprisingly, the results were, er, varied. I know several Tories voted McDonnell as a joke, from watching the "who do you vote" poll rise last night by Tories who went for McDonnell, Johnson and Benn in the leadership poll! But lots of those who voted McDonnell were genuine supporters too.

The results as at the moment this post gets published are as follows:

82 people took part

McDonnell 24.4% 20 votes
Johnson 20.7% 17 votes
Benn 14.6% 12 votes
Brown 14.6% 12 votes
Straw 9.8% 8 votes
Milburn 7.3% 6 votes
Reid 6.1% 5 votes
Miliband 2.4% 2 votes

The "who do you vote for" poll had 80 respondents, with the following results:

Conservatives 37.5% 30 votes
Labour 35.0% 28 votes
Lib Dem 22.5% 18 votes
Other 3.8% 3 votes
Abstain 1.3% 1 vote

I hope people had fun voting and trying to get their faves through and
tactically voting against those they thought would be a threat to their parties!

I'd quite like to develop this into a discussion thread, so would be interested in hearing what attracted people to Hilary Benn (I was surprised at his popularity), and I'd be interested in hearing from the McDonnell supporters to ask them why they arn't supporting Gordon Brown, who has helped the poor through the pensioner minimum income guarantee, tax credits and a steady economy that has allowed people to find work. I presume that no-one in Labour disagrees on the economy, and the point of dissent is foreign policy - am I wrong? I think Lib Dems went heavily for Johnson - is this correct and why? John Reid did poorly, despite his good showing in the official opinion polls. I know Lib Dems loathe him, as do some Tories, though others quite like him. So why so few votes? Were opposition groups tactically voting against him, or is it that the type who vote in blogs don't go for his type? A mystery.

Anyway, I'd appreciate feed-back.


Anonymous said...

IF (big IF) Gordon Brown really wanted to help the poor he would:

- scrap Employer's National Insurance and increase corporation tax to compensate - this would be an enormous boost to labour intensive industries. He has actually adopted the opposite strategy. He has increased Er's NI by a quarter and reduce corporation tax by a tenth). Don't forget that boosting employment is the best guarantor of workers' rights and of evening up income-inequalities;

- double the personal allowance to take lower earners out of income tax;

- reduce the taper rate for tax credits from 37% to about 5% (otherwise the marginal net wages earned are reduced by over 70%);

- scrap child tax credits and instead double Child Benefit for under 5s and double the amount of the Early Years Funding

- not pander to super-high earners by giving them 40% tax relief on pension contributions of up to £215,000 (two hundred and fifteen thousand pounds) per year;

- increase the Basic State Pension to a Citizen's Pension for all (irrespective of marital status and contributions record) of £125 per week for over 70s.

- by the way, this is all perfectly affordable and do-able - see my report published at Despite I am not a natural Tory, I am very grateful to this particular moderate Tory think tank for publishing my report, just as I am grateful for Snowflake5's mention in today's post.

snowflake5 said...

Mark, your first point, scrapping employers N.I. and increasing corporation tax is dead wrong. Increasing Corp tax is a no-no, given the Single Market. There arn't any "labour-intensive" industries in Britain anymore. Most manufacturing is highly automated - they usually need a quarter of the staff they needed a decade ago. Same thing in financial services - a combination of very strong use of I.T. plus out-sourcing to places like India.

If you scrapped employer N.I., these jobs still wouldn't come back, they've been lost to technology and outsorcing for good. Increase Corporation Tax, and watch companies relocate in a jiffy to another lower tax regime in Europe.

Did you know that Europe in general has the lowest corporation tax in the world, because of the tax competition unleashed by the Single European Act? As a result it's the one tax that cannot be raised. So the chancellor has got it right.

Regarding your other suggestions - they could be tried - but very slowly, which is what the chancellor is doing. eg plans are in place to increase the Basic state pension and index it to earnings again.

Any "big-bang" changes will unleash too much money into the economy and lead to inflation. This chancellor has been great because he understands this and is cautious. Most tax-cutting is done for political reasons rather than economic, hence the tendency to go for dramatic decisions. The paradox is that economies hate drama, and it always comes to grief.

Of course the lack of drama under Labour makes people believe nothing is happening, but click onto my June archive, where I detail all the tax cuts that Gordon Brown has pushed.

Anonymous said...

Headline corporation tax rates
USA 40%
Japan 40%
Germany (incl GewSt) 38%
Italy 37%
France 33%
India 35%

I know all about tax evasion - see my report!

High Employer's NI = High unemployment. These so called flat tax countries in Eastern Europe have bügger all corporation tax but 40% employer's NI - so they have MASSIVE unemployment. Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands have lower NI than we do and lower unemployment. Fact.

The source of all wealth is labour. We actually still build nearly as many cars as we did in the seveties (I read recently). Even if we all work in IT, surely we want the IT contractors to be based in the UK, don't we?

Even if we all work in services - giving back massages, cutting hair, drafting wills, doing import-export, engineering design, writing screenplays or recording hit records, ultimately the cost of all this is LABOUR. It is labour that builds the computers, the ofice buildings, the recording studios, maintains the websites. And so on. And it would be a boost to organic farming, which is very labour intensive, for example.

Singapore is the most advanced economy in the world - they don't grow a single grain of rice or manufacture a single widget, but they still have high employment, because they all work in shipping, import-export, financial services, tourism, lap dancing bars, retail.

How do you mean relocate? Are Tesco going to shut down their supermarkets? Are the high street banks going to shut their branches and operate from Estonia? I think not.

Cutting Er's NI won't bring the jobs back, but it will cut the cost of labour by 8%. So we'll lose less jobs in future and lose them more slowly.

I thought you were on the side of the workers - the combined effect of income tax and NI means the total tax burden on a basic rate employee is 40.6% - but corporation tax is only 30%. How is that in any way socialist? Or even economically sensible? Or fair?

Your route suggests we should accept that there are a few capital intensive businesses that can support a huge army of the unemployed, hardly my ideal vision for Britain in the 21st century.

Please read my Bow Group report IN FULL and then we'll discuss!

snowflake5 said...

Mark - you are comparing UK corp tax to the USA. But you need to compare to the rest of Europe, where the Single Market is in force. The USA can keep corp tax high as there is no tax-competition in NAFTA, as NAFTA still has trade-tariffs in place, though they have been cut - NAFTA is not a proper free-trade zone.

Europe is different. Doesn't it strike you that France has a corp tax rate of 33% (7% lower than the USA)? France! Haven't you ever wondered why? It's because of the single market. Germany's corp rate was 45%, now it's 38% - ever wondered why they cut? Ireland 16%, Hungary 16% and so on. There are market forces at play in Europe that are not in play in other parts of the world. You talk about "who will relocate" - well Peugeot for a start has this year closed their UK plant and moved production to eastern Europe. It would also be very easy for financial services/investment banks to move to Frankfurt, if our corp tax rate exceeded Germany's.

You are very simplistically looking at fiscal policy in isolation, instead of considering the interplay between fiscal policy and monetary policy. You are very simplistically comparing a tiny city state like Singapore, which is not part of any free trade zone, to a large nation like Britain of 60 million, and part of the biggest barrier-free trade zone on earth.

You are talking nonsense about organic farming as the future of labour! Farming employs just 4% of the UK's labour - it's the most automated industry you can think of.

And we don't have high unemployemnt, our labour participation rate is 74.4% - the highest in Europe bar Scandinavia, where more women work.

And please don't fling meaningless terms about like "socialist". The Labour government understands that economies are strong and resilient when capital and labour are in balance. And that's what we have now. The Labour government understands that economies can't take the dramatic shocks that you wish to administer. There is no economic imperative to subject the economy to shocks. Those who go in for dramatic gestures only do so for reasons of politics and ego. And they cause a bloody mess as a result.

The tragedy of most economies is that those running them lack self-control and can't resist "bold" gestures to feed their egos. And that's the kiss of death. We are doing better than other places because the chancellor is controlled and puts the needs of the economy before his ego.

I had hoped that this thread would talk about politics of leadership and not economics. Hopefully we can get back on track.

Anonymous said...

I voted McDonnell and would never support Brown or anyone else until they remove PFI from all their plans for the health, education and public transport sectors. Labour Party member and shop steward. Don't even start on the foreign policy.

Anonymous said...

Please read my Bow Group report IN FULL and then we'll discuss.

Anonymous said...

i agree with anonymous.
I voted for Mcdonnel in the poll, and i voted Lib-Dem in the last election - on the basis they had the most Left Wing agenda of the three main parties.


snowflake5 said...

Hi anonymous and wozza - Thanks for commenting. I too have problems with foreign policy. However I believe that if it was a Brown government, he'd be more cautious about foreign adventures.

Is McDonnell definitely going to stand? Alex on Labourhome said there were mutterings at the conference about McDonnell not consulting the rest of the left about his candidature.

If the contest was between Brown and Reid, who would you support? I prefer Brown for the reasons detailed above.

Anonymous said...

I voted Brown, but when I came back a few days later I pressed the 'view results' button, as your defalt setting was on Benn this may acount for some extra Benn votes .

Anonymous said...

Yup, Peugeot shut their UK factory and moved it to E Europe. Why? Lower wage bills in E Europe.

This has little to do with corporation tax rate. Companies send stuff to India because of low wages, not lower corporation tax - corporation tax in India is actually 35%, higher than ours.

Scrapping Er's NI would cut wage bills by 8%, not a lot, but enough to give us an edge over the other large/mature EU economies.

If we were discussing candidates other than Brown I would get off economics and look at what that particular candidate says or does.

John Denham for example talks a lot of sense and I believe he resigned over Iraq. If he were a serious candidate, I would do more research on what he actually DID in government and so on, whether he's been in any scandals, hopefully not.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Labour Party member who voted for McDonnell and will do so in the real election too. Foreign policy is, of course, a big factor - but so is privatisation, trade union rights and social housing. McDonnell will stand, nominations permitting (and there's some encouraging news on that, apparently) - so I don't think your Reid v. Brown scenario will happen. But I don't think I'd vote if it did (or give anyone a second preference in the more likely scenario). I would consider voting for another left-wing candidate in the unlikely scenario that they got nominated instead of John.

PS: What's happened to labourhome? Is it just temporarily down?

snowflake5 said...

Mark corp tax rates in eastern europe are all lower than here. Anyway, cutting employer's NI and putting corp tax up to compensate equals the same thing for labour intensive businesses, and equals a tax rise for those businesses that are not labour intensive but capital intensive instead - like car plants which are highly automated. That should drive Honda, Nissan etc away.

Re John Denham, I like him too (I even did an article on him) - but I understand he's decided not to run.

labourmember - have no idea what has happened to LabourHome. I haven't been able to get through either. Out of interest do you approve of anything the current govt has achieved? Also, don't you think McDonnell would drive away those centrist voters out there who currently vote for us and push us into opposition?

Anonymous said...

Snowflake5, you are clearly more than one person (clash of literary styles across posts), probably working for the Goblin King's taxpayer funded PR department (aka Treasury).

Most of us actually believe what we say and we do this for fun, whether we are right or wrong is of secondary importance. You (the whole lot of you) don't believe a word you are saying, and you are doing this for money. So long.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I wouldn't have worked so hard getting this government elected and re-elected if I didn't think they would make - and have made - a valuable contribution to improving society. The minimum wage, peace in Northern Ireland, some improved trade union rights, some impressive work re: development and debt. None of those things stand without some reservations, and in some cases progress in one area has been hampered by market dogma in other areas. But certainly I'm glad we've had this Labour government rather than the alternative.

Any potential leader might push some supporters away. We're told Gordon will lose some Middle England voters just because of image, etc. Ridiculous, I agree - but probably not without foundation. John Reid would lose a lot of liberal/left voters I'm sure because of his hard-line/authoritarian bent. John may well lose us some voters too. But I'm sure he'd also gain us some, particularly amongst that great constituency of non-voters who feel politicians are 'all the same', etc. Also I don't think most people think in terms of left, right and centre - they think in terms of individual policies: and most of John's policies are very popular.

snowflake5 said...

labourmember, do you have data to show that McDonnell will win us more voters than he loses? I agree his decision to ignore personality politics was very positive for him. But I'm not sure about the rest.

I think the new Labour government needs to keep the economics the same (because they've worked), alter foreign policy slightly (we can't start attacking the Americans a la Chirac because we don't know who will succeed Bush, but we can be cooler to Bush), and yes, introduce more integrity to government.

Anonymous said...

Of course I've no data on the impact of any individual. There's quite a lot of polling evidence about policies out there - but actually (although much of that is quite favourable to McDonnell's programme) that shouldn't be our guide. What's the RIGHT thing to do? In my view it is to follow a programme very close to that set out the LRC recently (and therefore very close to John McDonnell's strategy) - other people with have different views. But if we're just chasing polls, then we've had it as a party. I hope none of the potential leadership contenders do that.