Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour?


by Guest    
9:40 am - October 9th 2011

      Share on Tumblr

contribution by George W. Potter

The co-operative group has a political arm which is called (predictably) the Co-op Party.

Now, I for one, think that the concept of co-operatives is a brilliant idea.

But where I disagree with it is its political strategy. No matter how supportive someone might be of the co-operative philosophy, they are only allowed to stand as Co-op candidates if they’re a member of the Labour party or are not a member of any other party.

The Coop don’t see the point in standing candidates for the Co-op party alone and just being another minor party with a tiny share of the vote. Instead, the Co-op party will stand joint candidates.

This means that if someone has been selected to stand for parliament, and is also a member of the Co-op party, then the Co-op party will contribute substantially to their campaign costs and the candidate will stand under the name of both the Co-op and the other party.

But where has this got the co-op movement? Well, at the moment, there are 29 “Labour and Co-operative” MPs in parliament, including the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls. And one Co-op party policy is to turn failed high street banks (such as Northern Rock) into co-op or mutual banks.

But even now, when it comes to the Labour party supporting the policy of turning failed banks into mutuals or co-ops: mostly silence.

You can’t help but sense that the Co-op party is getting a pretty raw deal. Very few co-op friendly policies have been implemented by Labour in government since before the Second World War. By only allowing their candidates to be members of the Labour party they are effectively giving Labour a monopoly on their support.

I know several Lib Dems who are probably far more committed co-op members than Ed Balls, for example. And if you look also at the Greens and the SNP and Plaid Cymru and even, god forbid, a few Tories, you will also find people who believe in the co-operative philosophy. I know I do.

But as it stands, people outside Labour, like me, who believe in co-operatism aren’t allowed to join the Co-op party. And all this means is that the Co-op party is cutting themselves off from dozens of potential candidates who could otherwise be ardent voices for the co-op movement in parliament.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
This is a guest post.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Economy ,Westminster


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


I suspect it won’t happen because the Co-op party hierarchy will all be Labour members! Look at the rancour when Compass admitted non-Labour members.

I think you’re right, though. I always wondered what made Gordon Brown a co-op MP and PM, and I’ve never seen much evidence of co-op party councillors pushing for party policies like community land trusts and worker involvement in the management of services.

Yes it would seem that the whole co-operative movement is in thrall to the Labour Party and, for that reason, not worth getting involved in for anyone who really believes in mutualism. And that is to its detriment.

People voluntarily coming together to create their own institutions and organisations is antithetical to the corporate Stalinism currently espoused by Labour.

A (significantly) longer version of this also appears on my blog if anyone’s interested. That said, Sunny’s done a good job of editing it down so that it’s a reasonable length but keeps all the key points but if you do want to get the full fat version (despite it’s wishy washy liberal overtones) then feel free to click here:

http://thepotterblogger.blogspot.com/2011/10/co-op-partys-big-mistake.html

@1 and @2

It’s a real shame that that’s the case because I recently joined the co-op movement but feel rather let down at the fact that there’s no way I can get involved with supporting co-op policies.

Whilst I agree with a lot of what the cooperative movement has to offer (incuding their ideas about mutualising banks), I think it would help the Co-op Party if they shut-up about co-ops being used as an under-the-radar method of privatising public services.

Co-ops have a lot to offer as an alternative to traditional capitalist production, why then do they seem to be concentrating their efforts instead on weakening the state?

Why aren’t Co-op stores further up the supermarket sales league table? I usually find that I can get better deals and prices in other stores. My current favourite for groceries is Morrisons. It’s only No 4 in the league table but I reckon that makes them try harder

With respect, this seems a rather absurd article. Complaining that a minority single issue cause with 29 MPs is failing is utterly ridiculous.

The Greens would kill for that kind of presense in parliament.

The Lib Dems have had nearly twice that before and absolutely no influence over any policy until they signed up to a tory government (and will no doubt have far fewere than 29 MPs from 2015 onwards.

The Co-op party has very succesfully gained a strong foothold in parliament – and the opportunity to inflence a major party’s policies.

whinging that said major party is not itself a co-op party is pointless, shortsighted and damaging to the Co-op party.

By the way – if we just take housing as an example of the party’s influence

National
http://www.party.coop/2011/10/06/the-co-operative-housing-tenure-bill/

Local
http://www.party.coop/2011/10/03/the-new-rochdale-pioneers/

@7

The last Prime Minister was a member of the Co-op party and his main economic advisor was a Coop MPs The current leader of the Labour party and the Shadow Chancellor both appear on the coop party website endorsing the coop party policies. Furthermore, most Labour party MPs are also members of the Coop party. This is not a minor party with very little influence, this is a party which counted some of the most powerful ministers in the last government as their members and yet, in 13 years, the most they ever achieved were a few pieces of legislation allowing coops to take over building societies and mutuals.

As it is most people have never even heard of the coop party. They may have 29 MPs but they are invisible as those MPs (and the coop councillors as well for that matter) have never shown more than a token interest in implementing coop policies when in government.

Also @7, the Coop party has been allied with the Labour party for 90 years. I’ve yet to see any noticeable influence by the coop over any policies which Labour implemented in government.

11. Leon Wolfson

Why would a centre-left party…

@8: As it is most people have never even heard of the coop party.

This is because they don’t exist, they are not a real separate party, they are merely a name under which some Labour candidates stand.

IIRC Labour wanted to stand as Labour in the Scottish parliament constituencies and Co-op in the list seats (in order to game the electoral system) but the electoral commission wouldn’t let them, saying they weren’t separate parties.

GWP

you’ve pretty much backed my point there. By MP count they are clearly a minor party – yet as you point out – they run governments. They make policy. They find themselves, often, at the heart of Whitehall. They reach higher office than the Lib Dems do right now.

That you can’t see how impressive that is is rather sad. I for one think the Co-op Party is remarkable and brilliant and it’s unique strategy has proved uniquely succesful among small parties in the UK, at least for those without an obvious geographic identity – which it lacks.

And the fact you can’t see what policies it played a part in over the years just demonstrates myopia on your part.

After all – the last labour government created NHS foundation trusts built around the notion of direct public participation in their local trust – it reformed a railway monopoly from a private company to a body run mutually by the stakeholders in the industry – it strengthened protection for mutual banks and building societies to stop the march of carpet-baggers – and north of the border we saw the promotion of community land ownership in the Highlands.

Did it go around mutualising large swathes of the economy? No. Did it shift the country somewhat in the general direction that the co-op party wants to see? Yes.

You may be a dissolusioned member of the Co-op party – but many members have cause to be quite pleased with their party.

14. paul barker

There is no Co-op Party, just another Labour front.

@12

Weren’t you just saying how the Coop party couldn’t be expected to have any influence because they were so small?

So, tell me. Given that they had the Prime Minister, and Ed Balls (his chief economic advisor) and an assortment of other ministers, and counted most of the Labour party MPs as members, how is it that that list of all the Coop party achievements for the past 13 years is shorter and less significant than the achievements of the Lib Dems in the past 13 months? Especially given that the Lib Dems have far less ministers at the top table?

16. Leon Wolfson

@14 – Selection bias.

Secondly, I really don’t get why you’re so proud of responsibility for policies like the Government’s social cleansing. Thanks to collective responsibility, you can’t separate them.

@15

There are things I’m proud of and things I’m not proud of. But the things I’m not proud of would still be happening without us and government and would, in all probability, be much worse. But the things that I’m proud of would never have happened under either a Labour or a Conservative government. Giving £2.5 billion of extra money to deprived pupils, restoring the earnings link to pensions, taking over a million of the lowest paid out of paying tax altogether, ending child detention, scrapping ID cards and setting up a green investment bank are all achievements I can justly be proud of and your close-minded tribalism will never make me think otherwise.

18. Leon Wolfson

“taking over a million of the lowest paid out of paying tax altogether”

Firstly, no, you’ve taken them out of income tax. It’s not the same as ALL tax. Also, given what else could have been done to help the poor when you didn’t also give everyone earning less than the 40% tax threshold a tax break, it’s really poor value.

YOU’RE the Tory-hugging tribalist, not me. I’m not, as you seem to believe, a Labour supporter. I’m a genuine left winger, not a social darwinist who is complicit in social cleansing!

There is NO party who speaks for me or a lot of people. And a lot of people who made the mistake of voting LibDem last time won’t ever do that again. Or, in many cases, ever bother voting again. *claps*

@ George

“Giving £2.5 billion of extra money to deprived pupils”

It’s not extra money. And the crude measure of deprivation used – take-up of free school meals – skews things against schools in which take-up is much lower than eligibility; notably schools with high ethnic minority intakes.

“restoring the earnings link to pensions”

Fair enough.

“taking over a million of the lowest paid out of paying tax altogether”

The £15 billion cut in direct taxation you are referring to, benefitting mainly people in the top half of the income distribution and funded mainly by a rise in indirect taxation, is the Lib Dems’ most thoroughly Tory policy – though in fairness to the Tories, they rejected the same policy under Michael Howard as being too regressive. By far the most cost-effective way to reduce the tax burden on the low-paid is to make extra payments through the tax credits system, which is designed in such a way that the worse-off receive more than the better-off. Tax cuts have the opposite effect.

“ending child detention, scrapping ID cards and setting up a green investment bank”

Fair enough.

My opposition to the Lib Dems has nothing to do with tribalism; I just think they’ve clearly signalled a shift to the right by pushing through a huge tax cut for (mostly) mid-to-high earners at a time when that money is desperately needed to create jobs and protect public services and benefits.

I’m genuinely sorry to see you trotting out the party spin on that tax cut, as you strike me as a decent social liberal of the sort I’m glad is still vocal within the Lib Dems.

GWP/17: “[...] ending child detention [...]“

Announcing that it will be ended and actually ending it are not the same thing. I don’t think you get to count that one yet.

GWP

No – I wasn’t just saying it couldn’t expect to have any influence because it was so small. Try reading my comments again.

But to summarise – I was arguing that for such a small party it’s influence in government has been unparellelled.

And now I realise I may have misjudged you. I had read your OP as a rather bizarre complaint about the long term tactics of the most succesful small party of the last 100 years.

It seems your OP was in fact a complaint about Labour from a Lib Dem.

I apologise for misjudging.

To respond to your comment about lib dem achievements in parliament – they have had basically none. Maybe the fixed term counts. But that’s about it. Even the pupil premium was two policies, one from the lib dem manifesto, one from the tory manifesto – and the one put to legislation was the tory version (leaving lib dems to laughably claim they had a policy going through by coincidence of two policies sharing a name)

Oh – and amid the Lib Dem party spin on “achievements”

some one addressed most of them already – but

“scrapping ID Cards” was a tory policy – no lib dem influence applied.

“green investment bank” – if it ever actually happens, then, maybe, you can claim some credit. Pretending the existing proposal in anyway constitutes a green investment bank is laughable even before the pitifl sm of money is derided.

@18

Actually, I’m rather far removed from being a tribalist. All else being equal I’d much rather work with a left wing party than a right wing one. But the fact is that I’m actually open to working with anyone who’s willing to compromise for mutual benefit. Sadly that doesn’t include people like you who seem to think that even talking to a tory automatically makes you the spawn of satan.

@21

Oh do grow up. When I want to write a complaint about Labour then I’ll write one and I’ll make it much more hard hitting than any criticism of Labour in the OP is.

The OP is a complaint about the way that the Coop party singlemindedly glues itself to supporting and propping up Labour despite getting very little in return. And yet, in doing so, it excludes a vast number of people who support the cooperative movement but who are also members of other parties, such as the Greens ( a party which, I think we can all agree, is infinitely more committed to the idea of cooperatives and mutuals than Labour).

If you want to stick your fingers in your ears and refuse to engage with the topic of the OP then that’s your business, but don’t expect me to bother to reply to you while you continue to be so childish.

@19

1. I accept that there are flaws with using free school meals to determine allocation of funds but can you think of a more accurate way of doing it?

2. Agreed.

3. It’s true that people who were already earning below the threshold don’t benefit from the tax cut. But if you look at those earning above the threshold (which is still people earning as little as £7,500 a year) the you’ll see that it is utterly progressive with those earning the least proportionally benefiting more and those earning the most benefiting proportionally the least. That’s progressive in my book.

I am a social liberal. And as part of that I firmly believe that no one should pay tax on the bare minimum income needed to live. That’s why I support the increase in the income tax threshold.

You’re entitled to your views, as I am to mine, but, IMO, this government is significanrtly preferable to a Labour government and infinitely preferable to a pure tory government. And, like it or not, the fact is that the Lib Dems are implementing some of our policies that no other party would ever have implemented if left to their own devices. I find it pretty telling that it’s Lib Dems working with tories who are finally taking real steps towards a democratic upper house while Labour failed to do anything about it in 13 years other than replace hereditary privilege with prime ministerial patronage.

25. Margin4error

GWP

Sorry – I obvioulsy hit a nerve there which was not my intention. I had meant it quite genuinely when I apologised for misunderstanding the nature of the OP.

I had read it as a misdirected tactical analysis by a Co-Op party supporter – rather than a lament by a Lib Dem that the Co-Op doesn’t support Lib Dems.

But I can’t stress enough – no party of such relatively small means and without geographic base, has ever achieved the level of influence in government as the Co-Op.

And to abandon that influence to appeal to some lib dems seems wrongheaded.

26. Green Co-operator

Having members influential within Labour isn’t the same things as being influential in terms of your core goal.

Despite this influence, at no stage did Labour actually have the consolidating legislative review the Co-operative movement was calling for for an awful long time. Sure, several private members bills got passed, but given labour conducted a review of the charitable and corporate law areas, it seems odd to not do the same for its supposedly influential sister party.

Labour went into the 2010 election not promising to re-mutualise Northern Rock (or any other state-owned bank) but instead to consider it, as long as it represented ‘value for money’ for the taxpayer, which is a long way short of a commitment.

The Co-op Party’s influential people tend to be labour people who arrive and express fidelity to the co-operative party, get a nomination and the election expenses it brings. It’s like Trade Union nominated MPs never having worked in the sector itself with little real understanding of the union and its actual members working experiences. I’ve been somewhat surprised at how little Co-op MPs actually know of co-operation.

I think it gets taken advantage of by Labour who have generally paid it lip service. I think that means it can’t do its job properly, because if the interests of co-operators and co-operation clashed with those of the Labour party, then the Co-op party will side with the latter; if it is to have any point, it must take the former’s side.

The creation of the Co-op Party was rooted in a set of circumstances which have long since evaporated (government food policy after the first word war, fact fans) and no other co-operative sector in any other country have a direct political party, still one solely allied permanently with one other party. Not only does the relationship fail to deliver for the co-operative movement (people get more from governments if they think your support is conditional – see the trade unions for this) but by being so allied with one party, you end up failing to engage with people in other parties, which is both stupid and a breach of the very first co-operative principle, of open and voluntary membership.

27. Margin4error

Green Co-operator

you make the fairly common mistake of saying what ammounts to “I didn’t get my way on this – so obviously the system doesn’t work”

I appreciate that the review you mention might not be your way at all. I also accept that you probably have a better rounded view of politics and the art of the possible than my comment suggests. But highlighting one thing that didn’t happen as evidence of no influence is clearly just wrong.

It would be like saying that the government has not scrapped Trident, so the Lib Dems have no influence in coalition.

I may think they have next to no influence, but I think it because of the lack of evidence of influence on the things they professed at the election to consider a priority – not because of a single and thus perhaps exceptional policy example.

@ 24

“1. I accept that there are flaws with using free school meals to determine allocation of funds but can you think of a more accurate way of doing it?”

Maybe the Index of Multiple Deprivation. Or maybe we need to come up with something new.

http://montrose42.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/free-school-meals-measure-is-it-the-best-measure-for-deprivation/

“3. It’s true that people who were already earning below the threshold don’t benefit from the tax cut. But if you look at those earning above the threshold (which is still people earning as little as £7,500 a year) the you’ll see that it is utterly progressive with those earning the least proportionally benefiting more and those earning the most benefiting proportionally the least. That’s progressive in my book.”

First of all: it’s those people who are earning below the threshold who are the poorest people in our society. The fact that they are facing a VAT hike and cuts to their benefits and tax credits while people better off than them are receiving £15 billion in tax cuts is not something to be brushed aside with a simple “yes, but…”.

Secondly: by “proportionally” I assume you mean “relative to their overall income” – in which case what you say is just not true.

Consider what happens to someone on £8,000 and someone on £20,000 when the tax threshold is raised from £7,500 to £10,000. The lower earner gets an income boost of £100 (20% of £500 newly tax-free income); the higher earner gets an income boost of £500 (20% of £2,500 of newly tax-free income). £100 is 1.25% of £8,000; £500 is 2.5% of £20,000. So the higher earner gets an income boost that is “proportionally” twice as large, as well as five times as large in cash terms.

Among people earning more than the *new* threshold – and so seeing the full £500 benefit of the change – yes, it is of course trivially true that those on higher incomes will receive a proportionally lower income boost (though the same in cash terms). But it seems perverse to say that makes the system “progressive”. If you “zoom out” and look at the overall picture, what you see is that most of this £15 billion ends up in the pockets not of people who have been “lifted out of tax”, nor of people on low-to-middle incomes, but of people in the top half of the income distribution. The fact that any one of those better-off people, considered individually, has “proportionally” not gained much just seems monumentally irrelevant. If anything it makes the whole thing seem even more wasteful: why share all that money round so many people who won’t really notice the difference? Why not target it at those on lower incomes, or spend it on services that *do* make a difference?

“I am a social liberal. And as part of that I firmly believe that no one should pay tax on the bare minimum income needed to live. That’s why I support the increase in the income tax threshold.”

I agree that the net tax burden on anyone earning the bare minimum income needed to live should be nil. But raising the personal allowance is a grotesquely inefficient way to reduce that burden to nil, because it means reducing the net tax burden across the board for people on much higher incomes. Far better to use the tax credits system to achieve the same end – *and* boost the incomes of people too poor to benefit (much, or at all) from a crude tax cut.

As an illustration of the relative efficiency of tax cuts vs tax credits, take the example of a low-income family on £15,000 a year with two children.

Raising the tax threshold to £15,000 to “lift that family out of tax” would cost maybe £35 billion and leave them no more than £1,505 better off. But the tax credits system, at a cost of £24 billion a year or so, currently boosts their income by £6,805 (assuming one adult is working at least 30 hours a week. (Source: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/leaflets/wtc2.pdf.)

29. Green Co-operator

Hmm. Your analogy would have more weight if instead of being called the LibDems, they were called, um, ‘we exist to get rid of nuclear weapons as tyne central plank of a thorough-going critique of modern political economy’. Were the Lib Dems to be unsuccessful at the achievement of that goal, we might conclude that however else they were influential, they had failed to be influential on a policy which was central to their very creation and continued independent existence.

As it happens, I only use the Northern Rock example to cite the problem with the constant refrain from Co-op party people as to the party’s effectiveness on behalf of co-operators and co-operatives. They then compound this by criticising the Tories for failing to do something they couldn’t persuade their own sister party to do.

All of this is really easy to challenge me on though by a simple list: Can you just tell me in what ways the Co-op party have used their power within Labour to make life better for co-operative enterprises in a way which wouldn’t have happened if co-operators hadn’t lobbied for changed as a sector, in the manner the CBI does, or the NCVO? In other words, simply tell me how this great co-op party / labour link actually works for co-operators?

@ George again

Here’s what I fail to understand.

Say you’re a politician and you decide that no-one earning less than £12,500 should be paying any income tax, because that’s the minimum someone needs to live on. Great. I agree.

So you set the wonks to work, crunching the numbers, ironing out the details. They come back to you and say: “Well, there’s a simple solution: raise the personal allowance to £12,500. That’ll cost you about £24 billion a year in lost revenue. £3 billion or so will stay in the pockets of low-income people you thereby ‘lift out of tax’, a further £9 billion or so in the pockets of other low-to-middle income people, and a further £12 billion in the pockets of relatively well-off people”.

Surely to goodness, at that point – especially with the deficit as high as it is and public spending under so much pressure – you would tell the wonks to go away and look at other, cheaper ways to reduce the net tax burden on your target group to nil? Some way to cut *their* taxes without cutting *everyone else’s* taxes too? Tax rebates, tax credits, *something* that doesn’t create yet more pressure to raise indirect taxes and cut spending on benefits and services – thus harming the very people you set out to help?

@G.O.

If it’s all right with you, I’d like to refer you to this which I thinks make the argument much better than I could:

http://www.libdemvoice.org/demonstrating-how-the-lib-dem-policy-of-raising-income-tax-thresholds-is-progressive-25418.html

I’d also like to say that, in my opinion, a universal increase in the income tax threshold is something which benefits the vast majority of society. It’s this universality which I think is so important as it means that the policy has wide appeal and is therefore more likely to be kept. Just like the NHS, you could make it cost less by denying it to people who you deem don’t need it. But that’s a slippery slope and narrows the base of support for it.

The other important thing to bear in mind is that this did not happen in isolation, it was a change paid for by clamping down on tax evasion and tax loopholes at the very top of the income scale.

@ George

I will read that article, thanks.

“I’d also like to say that, in my opinion, a universal increase in the income tax threshold is something which benefits the vast majority of society. It’s this universality which I think is so important as it means that the policy has wide appeal and is therefore more likely to be kept. Just like the NHS, you could make it cost less by denying it to people who you deem don’t need it. But that’s a slippery slope and narrows the base of support for it.”

I’m a big defender of universal services and benefits myself. for just the reasons you identify; I was opposed to the removal of Child Benefit from higher rate taxpayers, for instance, and I’m sympathetic to the Coalition’s aim of introducing a flat rate pension. But I think the argument applies much more neatly to Labour’s ‘progressive universalist’ tax credits model – almost every family receives something, but richer familes receive less and poorer familes more, not just proportionally but in cash terms. Just as binding everyone together in a system promotes solidarity, though, I worry that removing certain people from a system could, in the longer term, promote an ‘us and them’ mentality with non-taxpaying low earners being cast as ‘spongers’ alongside benefits claimants.

“The other important thing to bear in mind is that this did not happen in isolation, it was a change paid for by clamping down on tax evasion and tax loopholes at the very top of the income scale.”

It would be just as true to say it’s been paid for by raising VAT, or by cutting benefits. If I was going to describe the overall picture, I’d say households (especially childless households) in the ‘top middle’ of the income distribution – with joint incomes of £40,000 to £80,000, say – are doing OK for themselves, while those at the very top are facing more tax rises and those nearer the bottom are facing more benefit/tax credit cuts and seeing less benefit from tax cuts. It’s surely the case that childless couples on decent incomes are in a ‘sweet spot’ – in line for £1,400 in tax cuts, but not losing benefits, affected by anti tax-avoidance measures, or particularly hit by the VAT rise – while familes lower down the income distribution are losing thousands in tax credits etc.

33. Leon Wolfson

“it was a change paid for by clamping down on tax evasion and tax loopholes at the very top of the income scale”

Oh, is THAT what firing a large chunk of the inspectors who were revenue-positive and working on that is called? Thanks for the polispeak translation.

(And no, hiring a small number of them back lately was headline-grabbing, no more)

@ George

OK, I read that article. I could make a few smallish points, but one big one will do: it relies on what I think is a non-standard reading of ‘regressive’ and ‘progressive’ as referring to effects on individuals’ incomes rather than as referring to distributional effects across households. (One’s position on the income distribution depends on the income and composition of one’s household, not on one’s personal income; an individual on £30,000 who’s the sole earner in a two-adult, four-child household will be towards the bottom, and an individual on £15,000 who lives with a partner on £60,000 will be towards the top.) In standard income-distribution terms, the author concedes the policy may be weakly regressive.

(And this is assuming you don’t think putting things in proportional rather than cash terms is a bit tricksy; I’m still not convinced that giving £500 each to A on £10,000, B on £20,000 and C on £40,000 is ‘progressive’ just because £500 represents a smaller proportion of B’s and C’s incomes. It’s certainly not progressive in quite the robust sense that it would be progressive to give £750 to A, £500 to B and £250 to C – the ‘tax credits’ model.)

@ George

…one compelling reason to think it’s right to look at these issues in terms of *household* incomes rather than *individuals’* incomes is this: taking the latter approach means ignoring the effect of tax and benefit and changes on children, who on this view all have the same income – nil – and are beyond the ability of the tax and benefits system to help.

I see the IFS are now predicting a large rise in child poverty. Well, of course they are: under this government, there is a clear pattern of redistribution from people with children (and so more likely to be affected by cuts to benefits and tax credits) to people without (and nonetheless in line for tax cuts). In crude anecdotal terms: my family is losing around £2,500 a year in tax credits and (eventually) gaining £700 from the raising of the tax threshold. Our taxes are being cut in name only; in fact we face a net increase in our tax burden of £1,800 a year. But if you’re on the same sort of income as us and *don’t* have kids, and so don’t claim tax credits, boy are you in luck – doubly so if you’re a couple who are both working full-time (since no-one has to be around to look after the kids).

@ George

Let me back up the point I made in relation to universalism above.

As far as the right-wing press is concerned, there are two types of people in this country: ‘hard-working taxpayers’ (‘us’) and ‘spongers’ (‘them’). I honestly question whether it is in the long-term interests of low earners to push them out of the ‘us’ camp and into the ‘them’ camp. (Which is not to say I oppose the *de facto* elimination of the tax burden on those people, achieved via the tax credits system, say; I just don’t think it’s helpful to mark them out as peope who get a lot out of the system but don’t pay anything in.)

To back this up: look at this very debate, about the tax threshold rise. We’re doing a lot of arguing about whether this is the best way to help low-income taxpayers, but ask about very-low-income NON-taxpayers and it’s “well, obviously it won’t help THEM; but to get back to the subject at hand…”. In five years’ time, can we be confident that non-taxpayers on £10,000 won’t have vanished off our radar too?

37. Leon Wolfson

@36 – THEY PAY TAX!

Sheeesh. It’s labelled “national insurance”, but it’s a tax.

Moreover, yes, it moves lower earners into “them”, the non-contributing scum.

38. Margin4error

Green Co-operate

I did in fact list several policies that showed significant mutual/co-operative motivation behind them further up the thread.

As I said, you picking out one policy that didn’t show evidence of it in no way invalidates the influence of the most influencial small party in mainstream british politics.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? http://t.co/gLZSx4j7

  2. The Dragon Fairy

    Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? http://t.co/gLZSx4j7

  3. Lianne

    Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? http://t.co/gLZSx4j7

  4. Richard

    Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? http://t.co/gLZSx4j7

  5. overhere

    RT @libcon: Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? http://t.co/tVQF3Jc9

  6. Peter Coville

    Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? http://t.co/gLZSx4j7

  7. Anna

    Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? http://t.co/gLZSx4j7

  8. Henry Stockdale

    Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? http://t.co/gLZSx4j7

  9. Sven Rufus

    RT @libcon: Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? http://t.co/lAwgb6US

  10. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Wb5lXTl7 via @libcon

  11. George W. Potter

    @CoopParty Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? http://t.co/LzOBEusG

  12. George W. Potter

    RT @libcon: Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? http://t.co/LzOBEusG

  13. Duncan Stott

    Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/rGNBKHOB via @libcon

  14. DPWF

    Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/rGNBKHOB via @libcon

  15. Kris Brown

    Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/rGNBKHOB via @libcon

  16. Ust Oldfield

    Good analysis on the Co-op Party's relationship with Labour http://t.co/9Ttc35I3

  17. Anna

    Good analysis on the Co-op Party's relationship with Labour http://t.co/9Ttc35I3

  18. Kris Brown

    http://t.co/PttXrFdU Great article on Co-op Party relationship. Wish I could still be a member, but can't for leaving Labour.

  19. B Tree

    Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/rGNBKHOB via @libcon

  20. Matthew Doye

    Is the co-op movement getting a raw deal from Labour? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/2NLkBjrI





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.