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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Europe ready to throw the bums out?

PatDollard.Com: British Election Day Hardball … A Lesson For American Voters
Elections: U.K. voters resoundingly rejected the Labour Party in local elections last week. It was no capricious shift, but a citizen revolt against trendy carbon and nanny-state taxes that empower only bad government.

For Labour, it was the worst election in 40 years. In a massive turnout, the Conservative Party took 256 seats in parliament, along with control of 12 town councils and 44% of the vote. Labour and moderate Liberal Democrats got to split the remains, and even the Liberal Democrats ,with 25%, won more than Labour.

Best of all, London’s 5.5 million voters threw out Labour’s biggest bum: Marxist Mayor Ken Livingstone — a man so detested he forced Labour to spend the bulk of its campaign cash to defend his re-election after eight years in power to the neglect of other districts. Nice going, Red Ken.

The “very big moment,” as Tory chief David Cameron put it, echoed conservative victories in France, Germany, Sweden and Italy and signaled Britain’s alignment with them. The reason was also largely the same — costly, overweening and unresponsive government that does what big governments do best: fail.

In Britain, the burden was intolerable. Labour has savaged the poor, battered Brits with tax after tax, pushing the government’s tax-take to its highest level ever.

At a time of high oil prices, Labour taxed motor fuel and, for good measure, threw on a $16 daily “congestion tax” in the city of London. It also made a $5 billion raid on company pensions, which had been the best of Europe, and left British pensioners poorer.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown also imposed a 10% payroll tax that was so ill-received it drove angry fishmongers in the Labour stronghold of Bury (now turned Tory) to yell “Brown Out” until the tax was withdrawn.

In London, green taxes were tacked onto everything from renewable-energy schemes to plastic bags. This month, Londoners are bracing for a $50-a-day tax to be slapped on those driving SUVs or luxury cars.

Labour officials were amazingly clueless about the burden these green taxes placed on ordinary Britons and merrily proposed more.

“If someone drops litter, they should be arrested,” Livingstone threatened during his campaign, thinking his resolve would impress rather than infuriate voters with its ecologically correct pettiness in a city otherwise awash in real crime.

Every tax and intrusion imposed by Labour in recent years was justified as being for voters’ “own good.” Ending global warming, reducing carbon footprints, lowering carbon emissions and raising public funding of renewable energy — all were excuses used to hit the voters’ pocketbook with more taxes.

Yet none of these taxes improved the quality of life. Instead, just a few of them — the same ones the green lobby wants here — showed British voters this was a puritanical scheme to reduce the quality of life and substitute a Roundhead feeling of virtue as its own reward.

“In other words, don’t even think about enjoying yourself,” wrote Malcolm Davis on Reuters’ site.

But in the meantime, crime rose, state services declined, the bureaucrats proliferated, the National Health Service deteriorated and British purchasing power evaporated. “Many feel the government is creating a green fear for monetary gain,” Mark Hodson of Opinium Research told the Independent newspaper.

Worse yet, government’s only strength seemed to be in harassing its own citizens. Britain, for instance, had been covered with security cameras — which no doubt would be used by Livingstone to nab litterbugs — but have done little to prevent terrorism. It’s telling that last year a car full of bombs was detected not by anti-terror cameras, but by over-active tow trucks looking for illegally parked cars.

“Don’t vote for a joke, vote for London,” said Livingstone, urging Brits to turn away Tory mayoral candidate Boris Johnson. Amid rising green taxes, an increasingly intrusive state and government harassment, Brits took him up on his recommendation.