Alpesh Patel: What Wins Elections?

Will you be better off, with more money in your pocket, under a Conservative or a Labour Government?

Alpesh Patel has the answer.

British companies are worth more now than they have ever been. The oil price is at its lowest since 2009. And house prices, an asset for many, are rising.

Of course — rising asset prices are a double edged sword. Those who aren’t asset owners miss out on the wealth it generates. But I daresay it’s better to have those prices rising and the prospect of joining the asset owning classes than asset prices falling and wealth being depleted. Wealth is created by owning assets wCapthich rise in price. First we want asset prices rising — next we must ensure you can afford to own them.

To be able to afford to own those assets, you need a higher income. How do we make that possible? By creating more jobs, lowering taxation on the lowest earners, and taking more money – their fair share – from banks and others making massive profits. (But not so much that we remove their capacity to raise wages for their employees.)

It’s simple. And as for Government — to spend on one off jobs and one off benefits which do not create a sustainable source of income is fool’s gold: a short term unsustainable boost from spending, but not from investing. You decide which party is most likely to deliver on the simple truths above.

When I was a politics student at university, I was fortunate enough to have 1 to 1 tutorials with probably the leading specialist in general elections of the past 60 years – David Butler. David knew everyone from Winston Churchill to every PM since. He also knew that the best predictor of elections was not personalities, it wasn’t even issues such as immigration. Until the 1980s it was class. Then it was interest rates. Why? Because those things underlined one thing – the money in your pocket. We actually vote on the whole based on
whether we feel we will be better off.

In the 1980s I, as a school child, bought into privatisation stocks. In
the 1990s, I bought my first home. Owning assets which rise in price made me want to vote in a direction which benefited me. When my corporation tax rate went down, I felt the same. It’s a simple truth easily forgotten.

But what about social justice? And Defence? Education? NHS? All these things are important. But even with these it all comes down to: will you be better off? Sadly, people tend not to vote altruistically – at least that’s what the voting data suggests.

So are we not a society? Do we not care for each other? Heck yes we are – but I want to give money from my own pocket, from having more income myself and I want to be able to choose the causes I support – and, again, it comes down to my having more money in my pocket.

The question to ask yourself now is:

1.        Do you own an asset – a home, a stock owning pension?
2.        Do you own a company paying corporation tax?
3.        Are you on low income and so hoping for tax exemption?
4.        Are you hoping to be an asset owner?

When you answer the above you should find the answer to how to vote. I know what I think.

Alpesh Patel

Alpesh Patel is CEO of a UK Asset Management Company investing in Global businesses. He is a Board Member of the UK India Business Council and a former Financial Times columnist and Bloomberg TV presenter on global investing – as well as the author of 18 books on investing.


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