On the Tories poll ratings... "Inevitably as you come into an election campaign it’s going to be tough and you have a fight on your hands. For years the Conservative Party was stuck on 32%. As of this morning we’re on 40%."Fair enough 40% is better that 32%. However, if you don't win the election then 40% really won't mean much come mid-May. My point is, between here and the Election it is the win that counts now. Undoubtedly you can't win without the centre ground, but you are losing some Conservative core voters, and lately the Tory message has become disjoined. Sort it out, because there are 70% that absolutely don't want any more of Gordon Brown and Labour. Please spare a thought for where your support will come from when you're in government and exercising tight fiscal reforms and the Liberals and Labour are making unfunded promises and screaming about Tory Cuts and winning back some of those floating votes.
Council Tax, Inheritance Tax and Elderly Care... "We will freeze council tax for two years. The council tax has bled British families dry. It has doubled in most places, no one feels their services are twice as good. Then there is inheritance tax. People do feel that £325,000, the current threshold is too low. The fact is there are two million homes in the country valued above that level and we will take away the threat of inheritance tax for all middle income families, people who have worked hard and put money aside and built up a nice house they want to pass on to their children. On elderly care, if you put aside £8,000, no one will have to sell their home to pay for long-term care."
Council Tax is repressive and hits the poor very hard. I am by no means well off, and after I have paid Income Tax and rent I loathe paying Council Tax. A two-year freeze would be welcomed by me and I suspect widely elsewhere. But you acknowledge we have been "bled dry" so in these two years, and perhaps in parallel with your pledge to redraw electoral boundaries I would like to see a review of councils, boundaries, responsibilities and funding. There is massive scope for change and reform and massive scope for cuts. Get rid of these regional assemblies and look if the responsibilities of district councils could be absorbed into county councils, devolved assemblies and/or to Westminster. I have no problem with the notion of a change in the Inheritance Tax threshold, which seems to me to be too low. It would be cheaper to administer if many fewer estates qualified. However, I think there are other areas where tax could be cut first that would be more beneficial to the economy, and that would register positively with a wider audience. I am not sure what you are proposing for the elderly so I will refrain from comment on that part.
On 50p Rate of Income Tax... " I suspect it will raise a little bit of money, although less than people forecast. We can’t make an early pledge to get rid of it but we don’t think it’s a sensible move. Look at the evidence of the 1980s. I want the rich to pay more taxes. The way we got the rich to pay more taxes is we cut the top rate of tax. The remarkable thing about the move to 40% was that it didn’t just mean the rich paid more in income tax, they actually paid a larger percentage of the total income tax take."I have a pretty good record of reading between the lines on your announcements; unfortunately this skill has left me predictably disappointed in some areas. My guess here is that you are saying that you understand the laffer curve economics but there will be cuts in the public sector, and quickly. To offset the furore and to placate the Unions you will keep the 50p rate and point to it as proof that everybody sharing the burden of recovery. This would be a political move, and despite the economic reality of such a high band of tax, the politics are smart if it is a tempoary position; though not guaranteed to succeed. I hope I am correct in my suspicion that you will after two or so years then adjust the top rate again, and when you do, I hope you and the Chancellor look at raising the threshold, or lowering the rate below 40p, which may have been attractive in the 1980's, but no longer is. For the record, I am not personally in the band, I am not close to it, nor do I suspect I would be in the next Parliament.
On the EURO... "I was in the Treasury when we were in the Exchange Rate mechanism, and I said to myself: “Never again should we give up control of our domestic interest rates.” If I am Prime Minister and for as long as I would be Prime Minister, I would never take Britain into the euro, full stop, end of story. We should never have got ourselves into the financial mess that we are in but at least we have the flexibility of our own currency and our own interest rates."That's great... But what about when you are not Prime Minister any more? It is not about you as an individual; it is about the other 59,999,999 of us (and rising, fast). The death of the last Tory Government left us proles powerless in the face of swooping EU controls, and some close to you supported that. There is only one way to get the EU issue resolved, and that is a referendum on continued membership. EU Sceptics en-masse do not beleive you can implement your stated and recently revised policy on the EU. But, then again most EU Sceptics see that position as one that is not compatible in the post Lisbon scenario with the basic traditions of free thinking conservatism. The Lisbon Treaty is clear, the currency of the EU is the EURO, there will come the day when it is forced on us. It may not be on your watch, but if you leave the soil fertile for it, you will be blamed too (me, writing future history here.)
A referendum on EU membership suits all sides, because it really will bring things into the open and will allow those in favour to make a stated case too. The bottom line is, the other EU nations do not want a half committed UK, and that is as far as you will keep us in. Do the right thing and call a vote when you are in power. Put it in your manifesto, and that poll rating would break 50%.