X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Coffee House

François Hollande: Ed Miliband’s embarrassing friend

31 December 2012

4:34 PM

31 December 2012

4:34 PM

Time was when Ed Miliband had plenty to say about François Hollande. When the new French President celebrated his victory in May, the Labour leader praised Hollande for his ‘determination to help create a Europe of growth and jobs, in a way that is responsible and sustainable’. He added:

‘This new leadership is sorely needed as Europe seeks to escape from austerity. And it matters to Britain.’

Then, Miliband was keen to work together with his new friend Hollande. Just a few months down the line, though, Labour has a bit less to say about how the French president is a shining example of the centre-left showing leadership and hope in Europe. First there was the noisy exodus of top earners from France ahead of the introduction of Hollande’s flagship 75 per cent tax. And then at the weekend France’s constitutional council rejected the tax. Ministers have indicated that it is unlikely they will produce an adjusted plan for the 75 per cent tax to comply with the council’s ruling before June or even September.

[Alt-Text]


The problems that the row over the fairness of the tax and the ruling itself raise for Hollande are political more than they are fiscal. The ruling has galvanised the opposition UMP, with Gilles Carrez, head of the National Assembly’s finance commission calling for Hollande to drop the tax altogether. He said he hoped that after reflection the government would decide not to go back to a rate that was so ‘absurd’ it didn’t exist anywhere else in Europe. Worse still for a tax that was intended to symbolise Hollande’s insistence that the rich would bear the greatest burden of austerity, the ruling caused tensions in his own party, with one MP, Jean-Michel Clément tweeting that it was ‘a catastrophe for our image’, adding ‘are we competent?’ The tax is now less a symbol of ‘responsible and sustainable’ fiscal policy than it is a symbol of the government’s competence or otherwise.

Guido reports today that Jean Michel Jarre has had meetings in Downing Street about moving to London to escape the tax, and David Cameron and Boris Johnson have spoken repeatedly about rolling out a ‘red carpet’ for those high earners who also plan a move to the capital.

Oddly enough, Miliband has had precious little to say about his chum recently: it’s difficult to imagine the Labour leader jumping to roll out a red carpet to Hollande should he visit London in the near future.. The problem, as Priti Patel predicted on Coffee House a few months ago, is that the 75 per cent tax row in France reminds those in Westminster of the row over the 50p tax rate. It makes it a lot easier for the Tories to argue in favour of a competitive tax regime when France is so kindly offering a demonstration of what happens when taxes become political symbols.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close