LibLink: Chris Davies – Be angry, be proud – and campaign hard

Over on his blog, North West Lib Dem MEP, Chris Davies, expresses his astonishment at the reluctance of some Liberal Democrats to shout our government successes from the rooftops (or, alternatively, on a FOCUS leaflet). His blog is particularly timely given the frankly extraordinary email sent to Liberal Democrat MPs by the former Leader of Liverpool City Council, Warren Bradley, calling on the Liberal Democrats to pull out of the coalition.

It’s an excellent piece, and the whole thing’s worth a read, but here’s an extract:

“We should never have gone into a Coalition with the Tories,” say some, but do they suggest that there was an alternative?  No party won last year’s general election and the result gave the Liberal Democrats their first opportunity in nearly a century to help shape the policies of government.  Presumably these critics would have liked Nick Clegg to have stood back – and allow the party to be portrayed for generations to come as one that didn’t have the guts to accept political responsibility of power and that ran away at a time of great financial crisis?

Times are tough, everyone knows that.  They’re not tough because the Liberal Democrats or even the Conservatives made them so, they’re tough because of the mess that Labour created.  Back in 2002 Labour started to put more money into public services but instead of getting it from taxes they borrowed it.  And then they carried on borrowing more and more, year after year.  When the banking crisis hit us (after years of Labour refusing to regulate the banks) the mess became rancid.  But make no mistake, it’s Labour’s fault, and Liberal Democrats shouldn’t be defensive about the role we are playing in trying to clean it up.  A good portion of the cuts we are having to make stem simply from the need to pay extra interest on Labour’s huge debt mountain.  We should be angry about that.  Bloody angry.  And that anger should come across in our election leaflets.

Chris continues:

I mean how hard is it to be able to boast in our election leaflets that:

  • while Labour put up the taxes on the poor, Lib Dems have reduced them, taking nearly 1 million out of paying tax at all;
  • while Labour let pensions gradually decay Lib Dems have linked them to annual earnings so they’ll increase in value;
  • while Labour curbed fundamental freedom Lib Dems are promoting civil liberties and extending human rights?

Maybe I am missing something but I think Liberal Democrats should be proud that we are setting up a Green Investment Bank, supporting offshore windfarms on a huge scale, and launching the Green Deal to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and insulate millions of homes and offices.

  • I’m pleased that we have prevented the Tories from cutting inheritance tax, increased capital gains tax on higher rate taxpayers, are getting £2.5 billion from the banks through the new levy, and are cracking down on tax avoidance.  These measures help stop the rich getter richer.
  • I’m pleased too that we’ve launched the pupils’ premium to help the disadvantaged, are providing compensation for hundreds of thousands who lost money through the Equitable Life scandal, and are giving some respite to a million carers.
  • I’m pleased that greater powers are being restored to local government and that it is being given the right of general competence – something I called for when I was in the House of Commons 15 years ago.

Of course Liberal Democrats would like to do more, and of course there are some Coalition compromises being made that we don’t like, and of course we have made some outright mistakes, but if there are not things here about which we can be proud and can proclaim then there is no pleasing some people.

And there’s more! But you’ll have to head over to Chris’s blog to see it.

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41 Comments

  • while Labour put up the taxes on the poor, Lib Dems have reduced them, taking nearly 1 million out of paying tax at all

    While at the same time increasing VAT to 20% meaning the average family is £230/year worse off.

    <blockquote cite="Chris Davies"while Labour let pensions gradually decay Lib Dems have linked them to annual earnings so they’ll increase in value
    At a time when earnings are rising much more slowly then inflation and the triple lock resulted in such a low number the government had to stick to the Labour formula for increasing pensions.

    <blockquote cite="Chris Davies"while Labour curbed fundamental freedom Lib Dems are promoting civil liberties and extending human rights?Changing the name of control orders to Terrorist, Prevention and Investigation Measures doesn’t make it any less an affront to civil liberties.

  • Campaign hard? I shouldn’t bother if I were you. The public aren’t fools. It wasn’t Labour’s investment in schools and hospitals that caused the deficit. It was the bankers’ greed. Every time you repeat that tired old canard that the deficit is all Labour’s fault you lose more and more support and respect. The bankers gambled with our money and lost; they had to be bailed out with billions of our money and still awarded themselves disgustingly huge bonusses; and now we have to pay for the bankers’ bail out with our jobs and our public services. We have paid not once but three times for the bankers’ greed. Now that is something really to be angry about. The Liberal Democrats are the Tories’ friends and the Tories are the bankers’ friends. That’s why you will lose hundreds of council seats in May.

  • DM Andy
    “While at the same time increasing VAT to 20% meaning the average family is £230/year worse off.”
    The quote you relate this to talks about Lib Dems reducing taxes on the poor. So why talk about “average families”?

    After all, the independent IFS concluded that the increase in VAT was “mildly progressive”.

  • @Simon Shaw

    That’s right … and Nick Clegg didn’t pose in front of Tory Tax Bombshell posters and claim that none of the Lib Dems plans required a VAT increase.

    Just like the bank levy wasn’t totally wiped out by cuts in corporation tax; the pupil premium isn’t entirely funded by cuts in the Area Based Grant which disproportionately affected pupils in deprived areas; new stop and search powers being given to teachers aren’t stronger than any search powers the police have ever held; Local Authorities aren’t being entirely removed from any influence over local education; any ‘Green Deal’ new jobs aren’t wiped out several times over by rising unemployment caused by the government inspired collapse in growth.

    Among the many achievements which have been missed above there is the handing over of millions of pounds of taxpayers money to private health firms to carry out screening of everyone on disability benefits; the relief of school fees from private schools which are converting to free schools; the targets for Jobcentre Plus staff to con the most vulnerable out of benefits; the millions of pounds paid to lawyers and accountants to cover the conversion of state schools to academies etc. etc.

    I could go on – and I haven’t even mentioned tuition fees or the privatisation of the NHS.

  • @Nigel

    No!

  • @Simon Shaw

    I’m not sure which bit you dispute. I’m sure it’s not the Nick Clegg bit. The quote was:

    “We will not have to raise VAT to deliver our promises. The Conservatives will. Let me repeat that: Our plans do not require a rise in VAT. The Tory plans do.”

    If you would like a link, how about one from this site: http://www.libdemvoice.org/nick-clegg-reveals-tories-13bn-vat-bombshell-18755.html

    Images of Clegg posing in front of it can be found all over the internet. Try this one for example: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1264531/General-Election-2010-Tories-planning-secret-389-year-VAT-bombshell-warns-Clegg.html

    Fairly unequivocal I would say!

  • The trouble is that so far Lib Dem achievements are either bogus (renaming control orders), or cancelled out by other govt policy (raising the tax threshold) or haven’t actually happened yet (green investment bank). So I don’t think this ‘look what a brilliant job we are doing’ strategy is going to fly. Perhaps there will be some solid successes to point to by the next GE although by then I suspect the game will be up.

  • Mark Pack Nick Thornsby 12th Apr '11 - 10:59pm

    Yes, Nigel: “Our plans do not require a rise in VAT.”

    Surely that is saying: “If we form a government, implementing our manifesto proposals will not require a rise in VAT”

    Do you need reminding of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Parliament2010UK.svg ?

  • @Nick

    No, I didn’t need reminding of it, but it is a useful reminder that to enact any legislation a government requires a majority and that the Conservatives don’t have one. They can do nothing without Lib Dem support so the the Lib Dems are entirely responsible for anything they do.

    I also, without any prompts, remember that your MPs voted for the VAT rise.

  • Mark Pack Nick Thornsby 12th Apr '11 - 11:17pm

    @Nigel

    Of course the Liberal Democrats should be collectively responsible for what the coalition does, but one can also recognise that were the Liberal Democrats in government alone they would be doing many things very differently.

    The position you adopt is one that cannot accomodate compromise, and that, I’m afraid, is one that can’t be reconciled with a belief in pluralistic politics – politicians working together, as the man on the street might put it.

    If political parties are to work together, that inevitable means both sides swallowing things that they don’t particularly like:

    com·pro·mise n. A settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions.

  • Well said, Chris Davies!

  • Considering the massive collapse in the Lib Dem vote, and consequent gain in Labour’s it’s fair to state that blaming Labour and praising Lib Dem achievement may struggle as a political strategy. The May elections are now less than a month away and the Lib Dems strategy for survival seenms to be to not mention Nick Clegg, a man who can take credit for most of the ‘successes’ laid out above. Why are you deluding yourselves that it’s all going well? It’s not. Getting to grips with people’s displeasure, rather than reading out a list of what you think are successes, might be a more constructive approach to avoiding a wipeout.

  • Andrew Suffield 13th Apr '11 - 7:46am

    Campaign hard? I shouldn’t bother if I were you.

    Somebody’s getting desperate there. If the only way you can win in your ward is for the Lib Dems to not campaign, then that tells a different story…

    They can do nothing without Lib Dem support so the the Lib Dems are entirely responsible for anything they do.

    Actually, they could do quite a lot of things that Labour would support.

  • @ Nigel

    The issue you raise around “handing over of millions of pounds of taxpayers money to private health firms to carry out screening of everyone on disability benefits;” – Uhm, it was in March 2005 that ATOS were first awarded a 7 year, 500 million pound contract:
    http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2005/03/18/28715/dwp-hires-atos-origin-to-provide-medical-assessments.html

    And it was in October 2008 that ESA was introduced, so not quite sure why you appear to be suggesting that these changes were introduced under the current Government?

  • Mack “It wasn’t Labour’s investment in schools and hospitals that caused the deficit.”

    If you can pull your head out of the sand for long enough, you might want to peruse this graph. Labour spent 7 years borrowing (and growing the total debt) before the recession hit. if they’d run a surplus then we would now only have an interest bill for the recessionary borrowing rather than having to cover the cost of their profligacy.

    http://www.liberal-vision.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Deficit.jpg

  • Nick (not Clegg|) 13th Apr '11 - 11:59am

    Dear Nick Thornsby,

    Instead of simply dismissing Warren Bradley’s email as “frankly extraordinary”, please will you post it, or extracts from it as you have Chris Davies’ blog piece, so that your readers may compare and contrast and then make up their own minds?

    Regards,

    Another Nick

  • @Tabman
    Perhaps you care to explain why the last Tory govt ran a deficit for 16 years and quadrupled the national debt and why you think applying the same essentially Thatcherite policies now is going to have a different result. Of course it would have been better if we had been running a surplus pre-crash but it wouldn’t have made that much difference. After all Spain and Ireland were running surpluses and look at them. The reason we are in such a deep hole is not because we spent too much money on health or schools (after all we have only recently reached the European average for health spending) but our over-reliance on a dysfunctional finance sector and the folly of imagining we could all get rich selling houses to each other. Frankly, neither Labour nor the Tories have much to boast about with regard to their stewardship of economy. The Tories in particular have an nerve laying responsibility for the entire accumulated debt of the last 350 years at the feet of Labour when they did so much to add to it in the 80′s and 90′s. What I find truly bizarre about the coalition is not the u-turns and compromises but how quickly some Lib Dems have been to swallow Tory propaganda hook, line and sinker.

  • Be angry, be proud – and campaign hard but mostly be gracious in defeat.

    Warrent Bradley was correct, many LD voters do not want to be part of this coalition government.

  • Lib Dem MP Chris Davies : “Times are tough, everyone knows that. They’re not tough because the Liberal Democrats or even the Conservatives made them so, they’re tough because of the mess that Labour created. Back in 2002 Labour started to put more money into public services but instead of getting it from taxes they borrowed it. And then they carried on borrowing more and more, year after year. When the banking crisis hit us (after years of Labour refusing to regulate the banks) the mess became rancid.”

    Jonathan Freedland, in the Guardian:

    It’s not Labour profligacy that caused the deficit – if the last government was spending too much why did the Tories promise, until summer 2008, to match its largesse? What’s more, the books on the nation’s current account were set to balance over the cycle before the crash hit. As David Miliband used to put it, this was a problem caused “on Wall Street, not Downing Street”.

    One of these men is ill-informed, and it seems to be Davies. The problem with Davies’ list of Lib Dem policies in action is that if the average voter read this list, and believed it, the Lib Dems would still suffer a kicking on May 5. It is the big picture that disgusts the voters.

  • @Andrew Suffield
    Posted 13th April 2011 at 7:46 am | Permalink
    Campaign hard? I shouldn’t bother if I were you.
    Somebody’s getting desperate there. If the only way you can win in your ward is for the Lib Dems to not campaign, then that tells a different story…

    I suggested that you shouldn’t campaign hard because I so hate to see people wasting their time. Labour desperate? No. Actually, it would be very much to Labour’s advantage to have a Liberal Democrat standing in every ward to remind the public of the extent of Clegg’s betrayal. (c.f. Nigel above.)Everyone knows that the Lib Dems are the dummy and the Tories the ventriloquist. That’s why come May you’re going to lose hundreds of seats.

  • Paul McKeown 13th Apr '11 - 1:42pm

    Good article by Chris Davies, which does rather ask the point why so many LDs are so defensive about their party’s role in government.

  • Nigel
    “I also, without any prompts, remember that your MPs voted for the VAT rise.”

    Are you implying that the VAT rise was wrong?

    As the increase in VAT was “mildly progressive” (as per the IFS) and the substantial increase in personal allowances is most certainly progressive, are you seriously arguing for a more regressive taxation system?

  • @AndrewR
    ” Of course it would have been better if we had been running a surplus pre-crash but it wouldn’t have made that much difference. After all Spain and Ireland were running surpluses and look at them. ”

    Absolutely. And don’t forget Iceland! In 2007 Ireland’s surplus was 0.1% of GDP. Spain’s surplus was 1.9% of GDP and Iceland’s surplus was a whopping 5.4% of GDP. Come the crisis, it didn’t help them. The OECD average deficit for the end of 2009 was -7.9% of GDP. Seven of its member countries exceeded this average deficit by the end of 2009. It is instructive to compare what the deficit of these seven was as a percentage of GDP in 2007 compared to 2009:

    2007 2009
    Ireland 0.1 -14.3

    Greece -5.4 -13.5

    UK -2.7 -11.3

    Spain 1.9 -11.2

    USA -2.8 -11.0

    Portugal -2.7 -9.4

    Iceland 5.4 -9.1

    Three of the countries in the direst state after the crash had surpluses before the crash and four were in deficit. . Before the crash the UK and Portugal had the smallest deficit of the four that were in deficit. The USA and Greece had the largest deficit. NOT the UK.! And remember that the average defict for all OECD countries after the banking crash was -7.9%.

    These figures give the lie to the Tory canard that the deficit is entirely the fault of Labour’s over investment in schools and hospitals. It really makes me angry whenever I hear the Liberal Democrats mouthing the same old Tory lies about Labour’s mess. Well, they had a mess in Ireland, Greece, Spain, the USA, Portugal and Iceland too. And that was nothing to do with Labour. It was a global mess. What aspect of “global” do you people not understand? The leader of the Liberal Democrats on Liverpool Council is giving you good advice when he urges you to pull out of the coalition. You ought to take it. Being in the coalition is corrupting your judgement.

  • These figures give the lie to the Tory canard that the deficit is entirely the fault of Labour’s over investment in schools and hospitals.

    Is that really what they are saying, because I haven’t seen that.

    The truth is that a major part of the current £150 billion deficit is down to (and solely down to) Labour’s financial profligacy.

    You need to face up to that, because the majority of the public know it.

  • MacK – “Three of the countries in the direst state after the crash had surpluses before the crash and four were in deficit. . Before the crash the UK and Portugal had the smallest deficit of the four that were in deficit. The USA and Greece had the largest deficit. NOT the UK.! And remember that the average defict for all OECD countries after the banking crash was -7.9%.”

    The snapshot position is irrelevent. What is important is how long the deficit or surplus was running, and what that meant for the interest bill when the crash struck.

    The simple fact is that the UK had the opportunity to pay down its debt (which, after all, is what Keynes advocates) during the boom years, meaning we would now have a far lower interest bill to foot. Brown and Balls failed to do this.

  • @Simon Shaw

    The truth is that a major part of the current £150 billion deficit is down to (and solely down to) Labour’s financial profligacy.

    You’ve made the statement – Now back it up. Show me where it was overspent and exactly what alternatives were being offered

  • Ben – “Show me where it was overspent”

    You can start with PFI.

  • Oh, and agreeing settlements wiht Doctors that saw them working fewer hours for more money.

  • And all those defence contracts that went massively overbudget. And the NHS Computing system. And government procurement.

  • @Tabman
    You do realise even if we had a budget surplus, that when the Financial crisis hit we would still be around £100 billion in deficit?

  • @Ben

    Quite. The Tories and the Liberal Democrats are Financial Crisis deniers. They act as though no other country in the world but Britain incurred a massive deficit because of the greed of the bankers. They have to be Financial Crisis deniers in order to justify their shameful and unnecessary cuts.

  • Ben – “You do realise even if we had a budget surplus, that when the Financial crisis hit we would still be around £100 billion in deficit?”

    Yes of course; although I’m not sure you understand the problem or the point I’m making. The real impact of the deficit is what it does to your interest bill in-year. Recession-based (cyclical) deficit spending adds to your stock of debt and annual interest bill in a cumulative way. We were already paying interest on the borrowing we’d done previously. New borrowing (a) adds to the interest bill (but the effect is clearly less if you aren’t laredy paying interest – we were) and (b) makes markets nervous about your ability to service the loan if your existing interest commitments are already high (they insist on higher interet rates to cover the risk of default).

    Every year we go on borrowing adds more to the stock of debt and more to the interest bill. At the end of this parliament we might just be back in balance; the debt will be a lot higher and the annual interest bill take a progressively larger share of total government expenditure than it is now. Were we to move slower at reducing the deficit the porblem would be compounded (in all senses).

  • MacK – “justify their shameful and unnecessary cuts”

    In year 1 I have £100 of debt. I earn £100 and spend £130. I borrow £30 to make up the shortfall. My interest bill (at 5%) is £5 which means I have £125 to spend on other things.

    In year 2 I have £130 of debt. I earn £100 and spend £130. I borrow £30 to make up the shortfall. My interest bill (at 5%) is £6.50 which means I have £123.50 to spend on other things.

    In year 3 I have £160 of debt. Times are hard and I get a paycut. I earn £80 and spend £130, borrowing £50 to make up the shortfall. My interest bill is £8 which means I have £122 to spend on other things.

    In year 4 I have £210 of debt. I’m still only earning £80 and the lender is nervous about my ability to meet my interest payments and my inability to balance my books. The interest rate goes up to 10%. I borrow £50 and my interest bill is £21, giving me £109 to spend on other things.

    Getting the pattern yet?

  • @Tabman
    “The real impact of the deficit is what it does to your interest bill in-year”

    Depends who the interest is going to.

    With Quantative Easing the Government pays interest to the BOE who give is back to the government as a dividend.

    Is that really the same as paying it to foreign investors?

  • “The simple fact is that the UK had the opportunity to pay down its debt (which, after all, is what Keynes advocates) during the boom years, meaning we would now have a far lower interest bill to foot. Brown and Balls failed to do this.”

    They did pay down a substantial part of the debt they inherited from the Tories. We are paying less in interest payments now as a proportion of GDP than we did under Thatcher or Major. But then for some reason you like to pass over the Tories record in silence.

  • @Tabman

    Year Five. I sell my car close down my business and sack all my staff. I now live in a field. But at least I don’t owe £210 of debt..

    Getting the pattern yet?

  • AndrewR / MacK – I suggest you go and have a play with this: http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/index.php

  • @Tabman
    “The snapshot position is irrelevent. What is important is how long the deficit or surplus was running, and what that meant for the interest bill when the crash struck.

    The simple fact is that the UK had the opportunity to pay down its debt (which, after all, is what Keynes advocates) during the boom years, meaning we would now have a far lower interest bill to foot. Brown and Balls failed to do this.”

    You’re the one using a snapshot. The national debt was lower when the finanacial crisis struck in 2007/8 then when Labour came to power in 1997. In reality, they had paid down the debt and it was less than 40% of GDP, following both Labour and the Lib Dem’s identical manifesto commitment. Arguing that the Lib Dem’s have a better financial record is absurd.

    You are arguing from a point of view of hindsight. To examine the Lib Dem’s actual competence it is necessary to look at your record of foresight.

    The Countries that are in deep amounts of poo have a huge reliance on the financial services(sic) industry and housing bubbles. We’ve witnessed an enormous housing bubble, that has only partially unwound, and we have a huge reliance on the spivs in the City, so our economic outlook is gloomy to say the least. It isn’t gloomy because of our government debt, which is low by historical standards, or our government spending, which again is presently lower than it was for much of Thatcher’s reign. No doubt you’ll point out to me that Vince Cable mumbled something about house prices in 2003. However, nothing Vince said had any effect on your policies/manifesto commitments, so what’s the point of him (and the lib dems)?

    Yah boo, labour’s mess, etc.

    @Simon Shaw
    Using some dodgy lobby group, that’s changed the definition of tax progressivity to suit its message, is hardly convincing. VAT is regressive across all income deciles, albeit mildly, according to the accepted definition.

  • @Tabman.

    The links you provide show that the Labour Government paid down the National Debt right up to the 2008 crisis as Steve argues above, and that it is nothing now like as huge as it was in the 1920s, after the First World War and just after the Second World War. (238% of GDP) Even as a consequence of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis the national debt is not expected to be higher than 100% of GDP. The Second World war debt took more than 50 years to pay off and in that period Britain saw good improvements in growth. All arguments for Labour’s gradualist approach of not cutting too fast and too deep.

    Your absurdly simplistic household debt analogy is about as much use as Osborne and Alexander’s “maxing out on the credit card analogy” and Thatcher’s weekly shopping expenditure analogy. Are you trying to convince me that you are an economic illiterate? Your example doesn’t even make allowances for all the economic levers available to the Treasury and the Bank of England. It doesn’t even factor in higher taxation or growth. Frankly, it is useless but I thought, for fun, I would pursue it to its reductio ad absurdum. It is truly alarming if this is the model on which the Tory led coalition is basing its economic policies.

    But the real point at issue is not whether or not there is a deficit, but whether it was caused by a global financial crisis. The first crisis of globalisation, in fact. Although I showed, in the table I adduced above, that Britain’s deficit before the crash was not as bad as other countries and that some countries even had a surplus and ended nearly as worse off than Britain, you dismissed that as a snapshot. Never let the facts confound your prejudice eh? Keep repeating that there was no global financial crisis, it was all Labour’s fault and people will hopefully believe you eh? What are you going to try to convince them of next? That the earth is flat?

    Let me give you a couple of facts. By April 2010 global flows of money were at $4 trillion per day. That’s four trillion dollars worth of money being traded back and forth across the planet every day. Second fact: in April 2008 four British banks sought £20 billion of capital through rights issues to help them weather the financial crisis. That this was the biggest rights issue in British history and that it was not big enough to bail those banks out should give you some understanding of the scale of this crisis. The global financial crisis began in the Shadow Banking System. Mortgages worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were awarded to people in the States who stacked shelves in supermarkets and sold gas in gas stations so that they could buy nice big houses that they couldn’t afford and couldn’t sustain.

    These mortgages were given Triple A status and sliced up, resecured and resold again with a triple A rating. These instruments were so successful that they were copied and used extensively by the Formal banking system. In 2007 the total volume of credit created through the shadow banking system was $20 Trillion. Nearly twice as large as the credit moving through the traditional banking system. The Toxic instruments spread and multiplied throughout both systems like a virus. The situation was like an inverted pyramid, the apex of which was balanced on the heads of penniless mortgagees. When they defaulted the whole unsustainable architecture collapsed. And no-one saw it coming because they didn’t know the astonishing extent of the debt or the contamination. it would have taken firms of auditors months even to get an inkling of what was really going on.

    To blame this chain of events on Gordon Brown and Labour public spending is a monstrous distortion of what happened and a most spiteful lie. Even Lib Dems and Tories who accept that there was a global crisis still try to lay the blame on Labour by suggesting that it was due to Labour’s failure of regulation. But, this is simply not true, it was a consequence of the Shadow Banking System, which no regulator could get anywhere near. That’s why, it is both morally and intellectually corrupt of the Liberal Democrats and the Tories to suggest that Labour’s 2.1% deficit in 2007 led to all this and describe the global meltdown as Labour’s mess. It was a global crisis, the first crisis of globalisation and we have Gordon Brown to thank for saving the world’s banking system. He was the first one to recognize that the only way out of the mess was state recapitalization and he and Alistair Darling saw that it was done. That Cameron, Osborne and Clegg and Alexander choose to lie and distort what actually happened; to make cheap political points out of it and use it as a justification to destroy people’s lives through draconian, unneccessary cuts shows what pygmies they are. And the people who support them.

  • David jackson 16th Apr '11 - 10:52am

    Spot on MacK. This govt. Is hell bent on unfair and damaging Tory policies. They are short term ideologically driven, I’ll thought through ideas with incompetent implementation. Apart from the vote on AV I can’t see a single lib dem policy that has not been completely undermined by either a Tory policy or by the scale, speed, front loading and poor implementation of the general cuts. This is looking more and more like a collusion for power than a coalition.

    I wanted the lib dems to stand up and be counted. If you wanted a graduate tax instead of tution fees at £9k then you should have not agreed to anything in the coalition agreement and voted against the conservatives. This is not what I and many many others wanted or expected when we voted LD last year.

    I have voted LD for 22 years and you have lost me. I will not be voting for the LD again until you show us some grown up politics (that you and Cameron patronisingly keep telling us) and stop ruining peoples lives by supporting this Tory nonsense. There is nothing grown up about cutting primary school breakfast clubs, closing libraries ( that do much more than lend books – although the awful Pickles doesn’t even know this), cutting local authority care budgets, regressive tax rises, turning off thousands of students from university, letting the banks off lightly with a limp levy more than compensated by the corporation tax cut etc etc.

    I am all for coalitions, they are almost inevitable with PR but the benefit is you get some continuity of long term policy from the coalition partners. They knock off the extreme ideological policies of the partners. You don’t end up with mediocre compromise you end up with long term stable policy making. Look at Germany for example. This is such a bad example of a coalition partly as a result of a coalition formed by first past the post, but also by a misguided and bullied LD party that I fear it will turn people off AV and PR.

    In short – Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems show some backbone.

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