I have in fact held this over for a day as I was waiting for an expected important post by Guido, and it has now arrived...
Marginal Tax Levels
Here is Guido's info on the way that the country's over-complex taxation system penalises the middle classes. Correctly, he points out that this was part of (James) Gordon Brown's scheming for years, but it hasn't been fixed or anywhere near since the Coalition took over,three years or so ago.
Now, I have little doubt that the Lib Dem component of the current government has had a (strong) hand in stalling the Conservatives' 'tax simplification' initiative, and we really do need a Conservative majority in 2015 so that this and other pending initiatives can at last move forward.
Thus this becomes a Catch 22 type of situation, as the changes on this and a number of other policies can't really be made until after the 2015 General Election, whereas Conservative success in that election could well depend upon delivering in at least some of these areas. It's a tricky one; but at least we have a decent list of policies that have been enacted despite the coalition handicap...
The People's Assembly
With a pretentious title like that, it becomes immediately obvious that it's yet another attempt by the hard Left .to push their essentially Communist agenda. In reality the initial gathering of self-styled The People's Assembly was very much a damp squib, as Dan Hodges has reported as an attendee himself.
These things come, and they go. We have already had the ridiculous TUSC (Trades Unions & Socialists [against the] Cuts, in their current incarnation), the ever-ineffective Socialist Workers' Party, and various others over the years – technically including the Greens and Respect.
None of them ever really gets anywhere, despite the occasional mini-success by selling out to particular communities, as George Galloway has done though at the same time alienating the likes of seeming fellow-travellers such as Salma Yaqoob. I think most of us already have a 'handle' on the true nature of all of these and others, and are unlikely to be taken in by any of them.
Nevertheless, there are those who are relatively clueless or who have their own agenda, and I am aware of such types even within the council ward I once represented. That is useful knowledge, of course, on at least two fronts (the individuals and the collective significance, if any) and all helps to calibrate my own thinking in regard to that area – though I am no longer active there, and it just aids my polling predictions and little else, nowadays.
The Union View on Education
Predictable but none the less significant for that, is the National Union of Teachers' chief's view on why those from poorer backgrounds tend, on the whole, to achieve less within education in Britain than the rest. Fraser Nelson dissects this well, as he usually does.
I have my own experience of the dreaded Comprehensive system, as it deprived me at a stroke of any realistic chance of A-Level GCEs and a place at University. Thankfully my younger brother was at a Grammar School and did go to University and earn a degree.
I am pleased for him; but we could have both done that if it hadn't been for the sudden arrival of the Comprehensive system, wherein my school lost its sixth form and (among other insults to its teachers and pupils) downgraded its craft classes from precision metalwork to bricklaying (I kid you not).
Fraser's underlying point that it is the Comprehensive schooling system that is the problem is well made, and on solid ground too (follow the above link for some of the body of evidence) and all of us who have encountered it with knowledge of what came before are well aware of the drop in standards that this single change made. I have long been convinced that this was deliberate, in the attempt to manipulate our society into being more malleable and manipulable by the increasingly totalitarian State in future generations.
Air Capacity Developments
Earlier this week, the Airports Commission met representatives from several campaign groups, and the unanimous point-by-point message.those groups propounded is detailed here. Their approach is broadly correct; but what it (unavoidably) failed to provide was a politically exciting initiative that could be introduced, while keeping to the principles and factual assertives of their message.
In other words, any government commission needs to have something to offer to justify its existence, rather than a string of negatives and no major, headline-grabbing new initiative. This is a very tricky one to solve in this case, and indeed there might not be anything that the commission can offer the government beyond the negatives and 'more of the same at existing airports' – even though that is the correct message.
It needs some imaginative thinking to come up with something they can 'sell' to the politicians and get their enthusiasm going. I don't envy them with this task!