Author Archives: Ed Randall

Opinion: Intelligent quantitative easing is best hope to stop the bleeding and begin reviving the patient

At our party Conference in Birmingham I described accelerated fiscal consolidation as pure poison: “Poison for the party, poison for the Coalition and, most important, poison for the country.”

I know that Liberal Democrats in ministerial office cannot be heard to say such things in public. But Liberal Democrats who do not have to labour under the restraints of office should be making it plain how oxymoronic ‘expansionary accelerated fiscal consolidation’ really is.

They will be in good and growing company.

The announcement of a further round of Quantitative Easing (QE) – much larger than the financial press had anticipated and a month …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 15 Comments

Opinion: Is the Chancellor ready to listen to the best economic brains in the Cabinet?

Having just left one party conference, where I was able to deliver my message on the shortcomings of the Coalition Government’s strategy to revive the UK economy and to promote my alternative take on the official Lib Dem approach to party policy development, in advance of the next General Election, (see Facing the Future ), I am now waiting to hear what George Osborne has to say at the Tory party conference in Manchester, in just a few days’ time.

Labour really is – as Alistair Campbell has recently put it – the third most interesting party in the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 9 Comments

Opinion: pots and kettles – names and games and a journey towards political maturity

Michael Collins, a lecturer in twentieth century British history at UCL, has predicted at Open Democracy–Tuition fees just the beginning of Lib Dem troubles that the “SDP contingent” in the Liberal Democrats faces an existential battle with “coalition Liberals” over the future of the party.

Collins’ fantasy Lib Dem politics isn’t very convincing but there are a growing number of matching accounts, which mirror his portrayal of Liberal Democrat division, include accusations of unprincipled behaviour and go on to predict the party’s demise. It seems reasonable to respond to Collins’ account of ‘Lib Dem troubles’ with a little history and …

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Opinion: With Liverpool in my mind

A mistaken diagnosis that leads to mistaken and damaging policies: an invitation to Liberal Democrats to reflect on coalition policy before they meet in Liverpool in September.

The coalition government is committed to urgent fiscal retrenchment. Measures agreed between the coalition partners mean that the coalition has adopted £6 billion of ‘early’/Conservative public sector spending cuts, cuts that Liberal Democrats previously opposed.

The coalition’s emergency budget announced an increase in VAT from 17.5% to 20%, to be introduced at the beginning of 2011. The VAT rise was presented as an essential part of a plan to accelerate the elimination of a …

Posted in Op-eds | 26 Comments

Opinion: The British electorate did not speak with one voice – but we must

The British electorate has spoken!

On Thursday, and (given the numbers of postal votes cast in the 2010 General Election) for many days before, the British electorate ‘spoke’. But it didn’t speak with one voice.

For decades our electoral system has suppressed dissent and aided those who dismiss fundamental disagreements as ill-considered discontents. First past the post in UK parliamentary elections has been a variant on Henry Ford’s famous maxim – you can have any colour, providing it’s black.

But the British electorate isn’t made up of post box red or royal blue electors. It has been multi-coloured for a long time …

Posted in Op-eds | 12 Comments

Opinion: A Diminished Clarke – a picture of electoral calculation and desperation

What Ken Clarke has been sent out to do (FT.com – requires registration) – and has been willing to do – diminishes him. It can hardly diminish his party.

Ken Clarke is a fervent European but he has been willing to return to the frontline of Tory politics. No doubt he believes he has done a deal…and he has calculated that he can hold back the forces of Euro-scepticism in the Tory party. The gag he is now prepared to wear, on European matters, is a measure of how unsound his judgement has become.

He has a point when he complains …

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Opinion: Baleful – keeping our heads despite the ‘debate tsunami’

The fact that Tim Bale, an academic from Sussex University and author of The Conservative Party; From Thatcher to Cameron, is represented in the FT as attempting to answer a silly question about the Liberal Democrats illustrates the extraordinary nature of the ‘debate tsunami’ that has struck British politics. It also serves to underline the need to resist any temptation (limited I know so far as most Liberal Democrats are concerned) to build castles in the air, on the basis of a few days of post ‘debate’ polling.

Bale’s piece is entitled: ‘Lib Dem Revival not yet a Revolution’. There is, of course, a slight problem with the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 5 Comments
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