Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Uppal's broken record

Your favourite MP, multimillionaire bullshitter Paul Uppal, is at it again - mouthing the latest Tory press releases as though he'd thought of them himself.

As usual, his solution to our economic problems (for which he entirely blames the Labour Party and can't bring himself to mention the word 'banks') is the one which makes him even more money:

We must never shy away from supporting businesses by offering competitive levels of taxation, and we in the House of Commons must send out the message that the country is once again open for business.
Over the last decade, many high-profile companies have left the UK to escape our complicated tax system and our higher than average rate of corporation tax.

What a surprise. In actual fact, corporations pay far less tax than ordinary people: the current rate is 25% and it's dropping. Bear in mind too that many companies hide their money offshore so that they pay far less. Hedge fund traders famously admitted that they paid less tax than their cleaners.

Once more with feeling: paying taxes is your subscription to civilisation. If you operate a company, you need educated workers, clean air, good roads and railways, a health service, drains, street-lighting and so on. If you evade your taxes or lobby to pay less, the rest of us have to cover it. Or we don't, and the corporations moan about decline.

So he's overjoyed that his constituency is now an 'enterprise zone': a tax free area supposed to attract corporate development. It's nonsense of course - why come here when you can open a factory in China and employ slaves?

None of this applies to Uppal of course: his property speculation employs no-one, contributes nothing to his community, and adds nothing to society. Instead, we give him an extra £65,000 for spouting these mindless lies.

 I grew up in the shadow of Merry Hill. I remember the original site, and I saw with my own eyes the power of ambition and aspiration being tangibly enhanced as the buildings rose up in a sea of regeneration
Lower taxation, planning simplification and less bureaucracy will provide an ideal cocktail of measures to kick-start local economies and encourage the growth of that vital sector. 

This is exactly what's wrong with Uppal: he sees commercial property (in which he's made millions, though he doesn't see fit to mention this) as a solution. In actual fact, the Merry Hill shopping complex has turned the nearby town of Dudley from a bustling Victorian/Edwardian town into a dark, dank, bankrupt, deserted, miserable hell on earth. Nothing's been regenerated - instead, a small proportion of the population have acquired minimum wage jobs selling tat to the atomised consumers while decent jobs, education and a degree of civilisation have all disappeared.

What Uppal dreams of is a wild-west of no taxes, no environmental protection, no worker protection, no planning laws: just loud-mouthed businessmen riding roughshod over democracy. It's been done before. Citizens of the Black Country: prepare for Pinochet's Chile, Texas, Somalia, Canada's tar-sands and Saudi Arabia.

I despair. I don't mind listening to people with whom I disagree. I just object to such third-rate people being given a voice. How long until the election?

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