Author Archives: Robin Bennett

Achievements of the LibDems in coalition 2010-2015

The Lib Dem Manifesto of 2017 gives canvassers plenty to promise on the doorstep, but past achievements can be more convincing. Yet who among canvassers can instantly name three achievements attributable to the Liberal Democrats, against Conservative inclinations, in the Coalition Government of 2010-2015?

Here is a short list, which will no doubt benefit from correction or expansion. A full list can be found in an Appendix to David Law’s book Coalition.

  • The allocation of 0.7% of GDP to International Development, both in practice and as law
  • The raising of the Income Tax personal allowance from £6475 to £10,600
  • Steve Webb delivered the “triple lock” on the State Pension
  • Nick Clegg saw through the pupil premium of (eventually) £1320 per primary school child and £935 for secondary children to reduce the attainment gap in England and Wales
  • A £2.5 billion banking levy
  • Free school meals for infant-school children and in the first three years in primary school in England
  • Vince Cable vetoed a proposed “fire-at-will” employment law
  • Stopping welfare cuts and ensuring benefits kept up with inflation
  • Same sex marriage legislation
  • 15 hours free child care for disadvantaged children
  • Prohibition of the export of chemicals to where it is known they may be used to carry out the death penalty
  • Strong and stable government (true!)
  • 5p charge on plastic bags.
Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 57 Comments

Home Rule ‘defined’ at Scottish Autumn conference

Scottish Parliament 23 May 06 061Just imagine. You are canvassing for the Holyrood election in May 2016 and are mindful of what Willie Rennie said in his speech at the 2015 Scottish Autumn Conference.

We are the party for you…  if you support independence but are disappointed by the SNP in Government.

Some voters are probably beyond redemption, such as the man who told me on the doorstep before the Westminster election that he had vote Liberal/Lib Dem for 40 years but had now joined the SNP.   In such cases, you may mutter “we are fed up talking about the Constitution” and move on.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 7 Comments

Opinion: Scottish Lib Dems should abandon their suicidal complacency and promise to devolve oil and gas

It seems now clear, after months of polling, that nothing will disengage the Scottish electorate from its preoccupation with its place in the Union.   The latest TNS poll shows the SNP on 46%. Even a fall to below 40% will win the SNP most constituencies under FPTP.

We have heard much about Scottish Labour’s slump in the polls (from 42% in 2010 to 30% now), but the poll shows that their Lib Dem counterparts have collapsed from 19% to an appalling 3%. Lib Dems MPs look like being down from 11 to between 1 and 3.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 22 Comments
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  • User AvatarNonconformistradical 24th Sep - 8:56pm
    @Roland "a presumption of having opted-in , is an attack on our society and on our ‘British’ identity." Eh? You mean that's more important than...
  • User AvatarRoland 24th Sep - 8:52pm
    Robert (Somerset) and Sheila Gee raise very valid points. The concern isn't so much about this year or next year, ie. when the system is...
  • User AvatarMartin 24th Sep - 8:47pm
    Katharine Pindar: I would guess that it is possible to be in both the Single Market and Customs Union whilst not participating in the democratic...
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    Paul Barker - Which communists are those? I assume you mean trade unionist taxi drivers in the LTDA, RMT and Unite, or the centre left...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 24th Sep - 7:59pm
    Metaphors are fun, but we need some new ones. I think we Lib Dems must now be the super-hero moving nimbly to floor one opponent...
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    @paulbarker Are you aware that London has numerous 24hour bus routes? Something we provincials can only dream of ...