Peter Hoskin

Will Polly Toynbee have to eat a rack of hats?

Will Polly Toynbee have to eat a rack of hats?
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In today's Guardian, Polly Toynbee sets out a shopping list of policies by which Labour could "set national politics alight"; everything from personal carbon trading to bringing back media ownership rules.  But she adds that she'll "happily eat a rack of hats if any of this happens".

In which case, part of me thinks that Toynbee may have to start investing in some hats and some ketchup, as I wouldn't be massively surprised if Labour did put its name to one of her proposals.  Namely, this one:

"Spread the pain of the recession: make the coming 50% top tax rate start at £100,000, as those in good jobs are doing well with lower prices and mortgages."

Why so?  Well, there was evidence in yesterday's Telegraph/YouGov poll that the public support the idea of higher taxes for higher income earners*.  Given his beleaguered position, I imagine Brown will be tempted to play to that.  What's more, he could use it to set a trap for the Tories, while all the time spinning it as proof of his commitment to reducing the deficit.  All eyes on the Pre-Budget Report, then - if only to figure out Toynbee's dieatary arrangements.

*Although I suspect that deliberative polling, with respondents being told about what those higher rates could actually mean for the overall tax take, would produce a different result.