Friday, 16 April 2010

We need to start talking about the Tax Switch again

I'm not sure at what point we stopped talking about our "Tax Switch" and it became focused on the "Tax Cut" element but we need to go back to the switch.

I think the "A £17bn tax cut? That's an awful lot of money and in a recession...moving on" attack first used and honed by the BBC on their News after our manifesto launch(what that impartial news organisation, should they be trying to mislead? Yeah, you would have thought!) and now used by Cameron during the leader's debate is, I fear, an effective one.

Also, it doesn't help responding to it with our costed list if they're only going to let you mention one thing before cutting you off and then claim that it silly to think you can raise all that money from that one thing.

In this situation all you can do is don't do a waffle-filled introduction (Nick!) and just list the measures as fast as you can.

However if we start referring to it again as a £17bn tax switch (which will cut tax for the lowest earners...) then you've already got the idea of how it will be afforded in the public mind (even saying revenue-neutral which we used to say will help).

We mustn't let it be framed in tax cut...funding terms as the traps outlined above are difficult to escape in this soundbite culture.

UPDATE: One further thought, if we start talking about the switch in its entirety this also helps to neutralise that rubbish Fabian argument about the only most of the "cut" going to those who are not poor.

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