I knew there was a problem with the speech but didn’t see it until I was walking home – the major themes of the speech have nothing to do with the major policy announcement.
Goff makes great points about sharing the wealth, makes the (very vital) point that ‘bludging’ is something that is practised by the very rich as well as those on benefits, makes sound points about inequality – all good solid left wing stuff – and then announces he’s capping salaries for the public service.
What does renumeration for the Treasury Secretary and the head of the DSW have to do with any of the arguments in the speech? Beats me.
I don’t think the policy will be unpopular – if it were released by a right-wing politician who gave a speech ranting against the evils of the civil service and the bureaucracy it might really strike a chord! But it’s a weird policy for a Labour leader to announce when he’s giving a speech about income equality, child poverty, collective responsibilty etc.
Meanwhile, Lew dissects the language in Goff’s speech and finds it vague. I don’t think this stuff matters so much, since only a hundred or so people in the country will read the speech. What’s important are the themes, the money quotes and the policies: they’re what gets on tv and radio or picked up by the columnists and pundits, and then amplified or distorted out to the persuadable voters.
The message here is ‘we must all share in the economic recovery and I will do that by cutting the salary for the DIrector General of Health.’