Labour Leader Ed Miliband has been taken to task over the Manison tax – by ex pop star and current model Myleene Klass. As Mr Miliband looked on in bewilderment she berated him on the proposed Mansion Tax, saying “you can’t just point at things and tax them,” arguing that better solutions needed to be found for the NHS’s funding gap. Twitter commentators remarked that she was “doing a Paxman” on the beleaguered Leader of the Opposition.
As the whirlwind of rumours and conspiracies that have plagued Labour Leader Ed Miliband over the last two weeks are dying down, he may have been hoping for some calmer weather this week. It is not to be. Yesterday, leadership approval ratings by YouGov placed Miliband on a score of -56 percent, against Cameron’s -15 percent. Only Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is doing worse, on a score of -58 percent. Nigel Farage was not prompted for in the poll, but the latest figures for him, dating from early October, show the only positive approval rating with a score of 35 percent.
Mr Miliband and his aides presumably expected his appearance on ITV’s current affairs panel show The Agenda, aired late last night, to be an opportunity for Miliband to showcase their policies. Instead, he was taken to task by the whole panel, which also included columnist Allison Pearson and former British Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer, on his plans to plug the NHS funding hole with a Mansion Tax on all properties worth over £2million.
But it was Miss Klass who silenced Miliband by insisting that the tax was unfair, unworkable and badly thought through. Asked what she thought about the idea, she responded “For me, what’s so disturbing is the name in its own right: ‘mansion tax’. Immediately you conjure up an image of these Barbie-esque houses, the sort Crystal Carrington would live in. But in London, which is where 80 percent of the people who will be paying this tax actually live, have you seen what that amount of money can get you? It’s, like, a garage.
“When you do look at the people who will be suffering this tax, it’s true a lot of them are grannies who have had these houses in their families for a long, long time.
“The people who are the super, super rich buying their houses for £140million, this is not necessarily going to affect them because they’ve got their tax rebates and amazing accountants. It’s going to be the little grannies who have lived in those houses for years and years.”
The answer, Klass argued, was not to introduce new taxes, but to investigate why NHS costs were rising year on year and whether anything could be done to make the system more efficient.
“My mum was a nurse in the NHS for years ,” she said. “It’s very rare to be able to tell who is using and who is abusing because no-one is necessarily looks into it, they just say ‘ok, it needs more money, so let’s take it from the rich because that sounds like it’s going to get us more votes’. But as fiscal drag kicks in, we’re all going to be paying it.”
Miliband responded that he understood that people “don’t like paying more tax”, but insisted “the values of my government are going to be different from those of the current government”, with the rich paying more than the poor.
“I understand you don’t like it, but I’m going to have to make really difficult decisions about how we fund our NHS, how we’re going to make our society a fairer society, and I absolutely defend it.”
Sir Christopher Meyer interjected “I’m a pensioner, you’re going to screw me royally!” to which Miliband responded “I think you should pay more tax Christopher”.
Tom Bradby attempted to level the playing field saying “Ed’s getting a bit isolated here,” to which Klass responded “maybe he’s getting isolated because no-one thinks it’s going to work”
Miliband then argued that the rich ought to pay more in tax, which he claimed was not happening as the current government had cut taxes for the highest earners. He linked this directly to the NHS funding shortfall, but it was an argument that Klass wasn’t going to accept.
“That can’t be your only option,” retorted Klass, becoming frustrated. “You may as well just tax me on this glass of water. You can’t just point at things and tax them. You need to have a better strategy and say why is the NHS in this mess in the first place?”
Her performance drew support from Twitter users, who berated Miliband on his inability to hold his own during the debate. Edward Mayes tweeted: “Ed Miliband is currently being schooled by Myleene Klass on his mansion tax policy. That political heavyweight.” Scott Reid was in agreement, tweeting “You know it’s gone truly surreal when Myleene Klass goes full Paxman on Miliband.”
Another user wrote: “Ed Miliband says he’ll take on terrorists, two minutes later he loses an argument to Myleene Klass.”
Right wing think-tank Policy The Centre for Policy Studies meanwhile used the incident as an excuse to indulge in some punning, taking to Twitter to promote their arguments against the Mansion Tax by saying “You’ve seen Myleene Klass’ opposition to the Mansion Tax but it’s not just Hear’Say. Read our case against it.”