It seems to be a well-established practice that all spending pledges made by the Labour Party must be accompanied by a detailed analysis of where the money will come from, whilst Conservative politicians are allowed to make wild promises as and when they wish, depending presumably on an assumption that the magic money tree only works for Tories. The media, by and large, play along with this, and the Labour Party make themselves vulnerable by dutifully falling in with the requirement rather than arguing that government finances simply don’t work that way.
The front leader in the Tory leadership race has duly obliged by promising to reduce taxes for higher earners. Some of his opponents have criticisedhim for this pledge, but I wonder if that’s mostly because of regret that they didn’t think of it first. It’s been made clear that the main beneficiaries of his proposal would be rich pensioners. By a curious (and I’m sure entirely unrelated) coincidence, the final choice of leader will be made by members of the Conservative Party, a group in which rich pensioners are extraordinarily over-represented. To be blunt, what did people expect of someone whose only interest is himself? Trying to win a context in that particular electorate by promising to increasing the living wage shows a remarkable lack of awareness about the concerns of the target audience. For what may, perhaps, be the first time in his life, Johnson is being brutally honest – he’s identified those who can make the difference to his chances and is deliberately setting out to buy their votes. What the rest of his opponents – let alone the public at large – think of that is irrelevant to him.