Household Charge redux October 4, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
One of the wonders of the household charge was the sense that no-one in government saw potential problems with it. Well, now, as reported in the SBP the Tax Strategy Group papers indicate that there were ‘red flags’ raised by that group and that…
[it] was concerned that the charge would lead to enforcement and collection issues.
I’ve mentioned before that the implementation of the charge/tax was particularly cack-handed. Even had it been rolled out in the guise of a registration fee it is possible that the response would have been more muted, but even today there is a remarkable weight of passive antagonism to it. I’m not sure it is possible to understate just how damaging this has been for the Government as an whole. It certainly took whatever residual gloss there was off it towards the end of last year and the beginning of this one. I’d also wonder whether fundamentally it has damaged them in deeper ways in terms of potential votes and transfers.
That said the campaign itself appears to have stuttered to an halt and I’d wonder at how effective it can be given the political emphasis being on the Budget (as well as the fact that in real terms the charges/taxes have been quietly down played in advance of the actual property tax next year or whenever – although all that said it’s probably best to keep some powder dry for that, not least given that it won’t be a comprehensive property tax of the sort advocated by Michael Taft). It’s probably also fair to say that the campaign while firming up some elements of public opinion went with the flow rather than representing a phase shift in Irish politics.
Still the manner of implementation of the charges/taxes suggests a remarkable level of detachment of the Government. Thirteen or fourteen years out of power one might have expected them to be a bit more astute at reading the public mood.