Amid speculation of an early (March) general election, and two polls with contradictory data about who’s doing well, both Labour and Tory leaders have been engaged in high profile activity today: the prime minister’s been in Afghanistan today for the traditional pre-Christmas visit to British forces on the front line. At home, David Cameron’s tried to defuse a hugely embarrassing row over the non-domicile status of one of their most high profile parliamentary candidates, millionaire environmentalist Zac Goldsmith who’s contesting the eminently desirable and affluent southwest London constituency of Richmond Park (currently held by Lib Dem Susan Kramer). Mr Cameron declared today that he’d introduce laws ensuring all peers and MPs would pay British taxes. (Self-made) millionaire and Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne, has gone public with his scorn for what he calls the “hypocrisy” of the Conservatives’ new policy; asking why the Tories won’t reveal the tax status of major donor Lord Ashcroft.
These are very cynical & devious pre-election ‘persuasions’. Once you’ve voted – they’ll back to ‘business as usual’. Do not be-Laboured or Conned or LibDemned
VETTING RULES: A notable policy change from Labour, too, though not the u-turn it’s been declared to be in some quarters: Children’s Secretary Ed Balls has announced a smaller scale implementation of the child protection vetting rules. So nine rather an estimated 11 million adults will now have to pay for criminal record checks if they help out with children. You may remember the furore from authors like Philip Pullman, who give dozens of readings at schools, who would have been forced to register; likewise parents driving team minibuses, or car shares. One of the key concessions seems to be excluding the requirements from volunteers whose contact with children is less than weekly or involves close friends. So how much of a difference will it make? And is it more important, perhaps like David Cameron’s tax move, as a cynical political attempt to lock down an issue inspiring strong and potentially very damaging public opposition?