27 Jan 2011

John Mason has expressed his disappointment that Labour are still taking the side of big business and are still against ordinary people. Some folk had thought that Gordon Brown, Ed Milliband, or Iain Gray would move their Party away from “New” Labour as it was under Tony Blair. But when the rubber hits the road, Labour leaders always seem afraid of upsetting big business.

In John Swinney’s proposed Scottish budget there was a plan to tax some of the biggest companies a miserly £30 million. Would this seriously damage them? Would Tesco close all their Scottish stores and move to England? No way! Firstly they are making huge profits in Scotland so a reduction of a few million would not make them leave. And the idea that Scots would travel to Carlisle to do their supermarket shopping does not hold much water.

How much are these big companies making? In the year to March 2010, Sainsbury’s profit was £610 million, an increase of 18% over the previous year. And in the year to February 2010 Tesco had profits of £3.4 billion, up 10%. How many ordinary workers have had pay increases of 10%, let alone 18%? Not many I reckon! So surely these big companies (with broad shoulders as Alex Salmond said) should pay their fair share. We are in tough times; so why should they get off without taking some of the pain? Why should it only be ordinary folk who suffer through higher VAT, reduced benefits, and poorer services?

But once again Labour and the Tories were hand in hand to oppose this move. Both seem scared to upset big business. So instead what do they want? Presumably they want to cut health and education spending and to force more ordinary people out of jobs – whether with local councils or small businesses.

Is there really any difference nowadays between Labour and the Tories?