Press summary: Tuesday 29 March
The blanket coverage of the Howard Flight affair continues in Tuesday's newspapers (Financial Times, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail, Express, The Sun, Mirror). All of them agree that the on-going situation is damaging Michael Howard. Only the Daily Mail attempts to put a positive spin on the affair by headlining their article "How New Labour's new lies backfired."
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Charles Moore supports Michael Howard's decision to take the whip away from Howard Flight, arguing that "no employee in a business could expect to stay in the company if he said that the business's product was wrong or that its advertisements were untrue."
In the Independent, Stephen Richards looks ahead to after the general election when "the Tories can have their much-needed row about tax and spending." He rightly says that there "is still an eager audience for Howard Flight's views among Tories who seek a much smaller state." The same is true of the general electorate.
Philip Stephens, writing in the Financial Times, suggests that the story indicates that "Whatever else one says about the Tories, two defeats and 15 years on they still walk in the Lady's shadow."
Giving an economic perspective to the debate for The Times, Gary Duncan argues that the situation is "a symptom" of the lack of debate between the major parties on taxation and public spending. "Bizarrely, the Tories, whose Shadow Chancellor is Oliver Letwin, have declared what amounts to a virtual non-aggression pact with the Government on the tax-and-spend issue. Their strategy is to fight Labour on its own territory, confining the fiscal fight between the parties to a silly scrap over their proposal for a derisory GBP4 billion tax cut - less than 1 per cent of total taxation. The consequence of this is that both sides spend most of their time exaggerating the almost non-existent differences between their economic platforms in an insult to the electorate's intelligence."
Christopher Fildes discusses the Adam Smith Institute's new Flat Tax pamphlet in his column for the Daily Telegraph.
Irwin Stelzer argues in The Times that Gordon Brown "does not yet understand how to equip his nation to play in the unforgiving game of international competititon."
"So, work late, earn a bit more, and turn 40+ per cent of it over to the Government when you earn it, and another 17.5 per cent when you spend it. No one can blame anyone who decides that the net benefit of that extra effort just isn't worth the trouble. Which may explain why Britain continues to trail in the productivity league tables."