I am most cheered to perceive a political party that has returned to the principles that I espoused through so many ministries. It was always a matter of regret, indeed of alarm, to me that the state should extend itself into too many areas of activity; it was necessary in many cases, although too often modern politicians appear to have perceived of the bureaucracy of Whitehall as the answer to their problems rather than to trust the people with solutions within their own towns and cities.
Yesterday I observed the Liberal Democrat party declare that the burden of taxation is too heavy, is burdensome for working people of limited means. The matter was discussed most vigorously with a quality of speeches that offered me some hope as to the quality of the modern political sphere.
I must mention the member for Westmoreland, young Mr Tim Farron, whose outpourings excelled in many respects; indeed with maturity and application he may become a great orator. Mr Farron referred us to a woman from Cumbria whose earnings amount to some £7,000, which I understand to be regarded as a paltry sum. She pays in taxes, he stated, some £2,000 a year. A measure of retrenchment, a certain restraint in our view of Russia and other nations, Mr Farron, opined would assist in reducing the burden of taxation.
The Tories, he stated, gave tax cuts to the rich, the socialists gave them to the comfortable; "we will give them to the poor" he declared.
Further excellent contributions came from Mr Vince Cable during the day. It is proposed that taxes be reduced for the poor and that those members of wealthy classes who used various devices to avoid payment should be harried, indeed should be prevented from using the islands of the Empire for these purposes.
There is resistance, it seems, from those who fear this policy will be depicted as an intention to remove the state's apparatus of welfare, its ownership of hospitals and schools and its support for the poor. As I have noted before, it seems curious that a population that has benefited from generations of education at the hands of the state appears less able to digest political argument than when the franchise was first extended to working people. My career was spent in the pursuit of reduced taxation and yet it was necessary to allow the state to grow. The government does not exist to spend the taxes that the people pay; nor do working people pay taxes merely to sustain the government. It is merely a means of delivering communal benefits and the tax that is paid should reflect the cost of those benefits.