So, VAT went up today, which was a bit of a pain. And so this morning we had the Labour leader being quoted as saying how unfair this was, and that this tax increase would inevitably hit the poorest worst, and...
Here's the thing: Britain's finances are a mess. We have a huge debt problem. Worse than that, we have a structural deficit in place (meaning we spent more than we make, which means things are only getting worse). The creditors are getting antsy. We must deal with this deficit urgently, and really should be dealing with the debt after that. Any government would have to take harsh action on this matter.
There are three ways to deal with the problems. The first is to cut public services to the bone. Stop spending money, and so reach a point where outgoings are less than income. The second is to raise taxes, and so reach a point where income is greater than outgoings. (Or, more realistically, do some of column A and some of column B. How much of each is an open question.)
The third option is to do nothing, take on lots more debt, and hope really hard that the eceonomy gets itself moving, and grows really fast, and so income grows to exceed outgoings. But that only works if the creditors will sign up for it... and at the present time, they won't.
(I suppose you could allow massive inflation, and so minimise the debt that way. Which would be a great idea, except that runaway inflation will make paupers of us all.)
So, it has to be cuts or taxes.
The Labour party have spent months griping about the cuts. They're monstrous, they tell us. They're completely unfair, and will inevitably hit to poorest hardest, they tell us.
And they're right. The cuts will hurt a lot of people, and they will hit the poorest hardest.
(I'm not going to address the question of 'fairness', since that depends very much on your point of view. One could construct a very strong argument that says that it's only 'fair' for the rich to pay less in taxes than the poor, since they also make less use of public services. As such, 'fairness' can be made to mean pretty much anything you want it to mean.)
The problem is, you can't have it both ways. If the cuts are monstrous, and unfair, and shouldn't happen, then you have to have tax rises. If tax rises are monstrous, and unfair, and shouldn't happen, then you have to have cuts. Pick one position, or the other, but you can't have both... or you have no credibility.
Anyway, back to the title.
Damn it, Ed, stop making me defend the Tories!
#1: "AD&D: Monster Manual", by Gary Gygax