A sobering glimpse into life in low-tax Britain
The low-tax, free-market country that Lord Frost and other Tories aspire to (PM must commit to low taxes or risk losing next election, says David Frost, 9 Janurary) would be one where raw sewage continues to pollute rivers and coastline; where the NHS is starved of sufficient funding to ensure a high-quality health service for every citizen; where rough sleepers abound in our cities; where public transport is expensive and patchy in its coverage, forcing many extra car trips into our car-blighted towns, cities and countryside; where plastic pollution continues unabated; where state-funded schools are grossly underfunded; where councils are unable to carry out essential quality assurance for building works; where private building companies build houses for maximum profit rather than those needed by ordinary people; and where the environment is just a word having little significance compared with the need to ensure maximum profits for private companies.
In reality, we need higher levels of taxation for individuals and businesses (especially foreign-owned online businesses) that can afford them. We also need European-dominated markets to minimise transport miles and their environmental impact.
• So yet another leading Conservative demonstrates how out of touch they are with the electorate. I spent several days knocking on doors in the North Shropshire byelection. On “true blue” doorstep after doorstep, the concern expressed was not about too much public spending, but about too little: long before partygate hit the headlines, the insistent complaint was about the removal of most ambulance stations and the severe scarcity of GP services.
The last time a sitting government suffered a swing to the Liberal Democrats comparable to that at North Shropshire was in 1993 (at Christchurch). Lord Frost and others like him might usefully reflect on what happened nationally at the next general election. His lordship’s obsession with low-tax policies may be shared by his new friends in the various self-important Tory ginger groups, but the mass of ordinary Conservative voters are far more interested in a properly funded and fully functioning NHS.