Maybe they’re on to something across the pond. It was announced the other day that the next national election in Great Britain will take place on May 6, and the stakes will be high. A 30-day campaign—can you imagine that?
Of course, the reality over there, as here at home, is that political posturing is a 24/7 proposition—relentless and unmerciful. But just the idea that an actual election can be set for a single month cycle is (pardon the pun) a foreign concept to us. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his leftist Labor party have been gaining ground on David Cameron’s Conservatives, closing what was once a 20-point gap to single digits—lately around 7 per cent—so the timing seemed right.
And while America is being dragged kicking and screaming to the statist left, our increasingly distant cousins could possibly be on the verge of an ironic power-shift. One that has been described “as potentially the most pivotal since the one in 1979 that brought the conservative Margaret Thatcher to power and recast the fundamentals of British politics and society.”
In other words, the culture that gave us Lloyd George, Churchill, and Lady Thatcher, could soon witness “the fundamental transformation” of their nation. Some are calling the campaign of the Tories a “back to the future” effort. Indeed.
Of course, conservatives in the United Kingdom are nowhere near clones of their nomenclature counterparts in the United States. Tories there would barely qualify as “moderate” Republicans here. But the trend is unmistakable and it is not being sufficiently noticed in our neck of the political woods.
Emerging as the hot button issue in the British election is a Labor-backed planned 1% increase in the National Insurance Tax. The Tories oppose this and have countered with an “efficiency saving” program that would address the chronic financial hemorrhage situation in the National Health Service. The NHS, by the way, remains an object of envy to many in our government. Go figure.
Most Americans—especially the nearly half who will pay no income tax this year—haven’t a clue as to how a single payer system works in places like Great Britain. Over and above already oppressive income tax rates, workers must pay a National Insurance Tax, with exemptions only for those who earn, say around 105 pounds per week, then it increases immediately to 11% of income up to 770 pounds per week. Over that, it costs an additional 1% of each worker’s income. So under the new Labor proposal most British workers would be paying a minimum of 12% of their income to fund their single payer system—in addition to already high income taxes.