If anyone's stupid enough to still think New Labour is on the side of the working class, they need only read this contemptible call from Byers to abolish inheritance tax.
I've dealt with the better points he makes - "double taxation", "ordinary people" - in this reply to Matthew Elliott and James Frayne; his sillier arguments are well fisked here.
However, there's a huge difference between Byers and Elliott and Frayne. The latter want to abolish IHT as part of a wider campaign to cut tax. Byers, apparently, wants no such thing. He wants high taxes for ordinary hard-working people, whilst rich inheritees pay nothing.
Why might this be? Here's a theory - Byers wants to entrench the privileges of the managerialist class.
The centrepiece of New Labour ideology is the belief that there's a managerialist elite which has the judgment to understand the uniqueness of the new, modern world, and the leadership to face up to its challenges.
Now, these managerialists, as I've said, are utterly different from technocrats. Anyone from any class can be a technocrat, as long as they've got the hard-earned skills. But to be a managerialist requires a particular character: the self-confidence to spout management-speak without feeling stupid; "judgment"; "communication skills"; "leadership."
These characteristics, as understood by managerialists, are euphemisms for coming from the right class; they call it "being a team player."
The characteristics (I can't call them "qualities") for being one of the managerialist elite are therefore heriditary. So, if our rulers are to hand down their power to their children, why shouldn't they also hand down their money?
Byers is not the first New Labour figure to want to encourage a heriditary ruling class. Back in 1996, Mandelson and Liddle wrote, in The Blair Revolution (p140):
Private schools should be encouraged to twin with state schools in some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in Britain. The purpose would be to encourage a two-way traffic between the two systems. The state school might initially make use of some private school facilities - for games, music or drama for example. The private school could use its association with the school and neighbourhood to give its pupils much-needed contact with the real world, to develop leadership skills [my emphasis]...
Here we have New Labour's vision. "Leadership" is something that only comes from the sons of the rich. The ruling class should be heriditary. The rest of us should be heavily taxed to pay for the privilege of being led by this class.