More of the Liberal Democrat manifesto in practice

Just before Christmas, I blogged the Liberal Democrats’ achievements in Government. Since then, even more of the party’s manifesto has been enacted.

For example, the ID card database was publicly destroyed on 11th February 2011 and Project Merlin has ensured that the UK has the most transparent banking pay disclosure scheme in the world.

Sarah Teather’s SEN Green Paper has proposed key reforms to the way Special Education Needs are diagnosed and the support that children and parents receive.

The National Curriculum is under review, with the aim of replacing the current system with a slimmed-down and more competitive version.

The Government are backing Lord Clement-Jones’ Live Music Bill, which aims to cut red tape for putting on live music, as set out on page 46 of the Lib Dem Manifesto.

For the full update, see below:

Lib Dem Achievements in Govt MARCH 2011

Document also available on Scribd here.

For easy comparison, there is also a version with the changes highlighted in red here.

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14 Comments

  • Ms Duffett – With respect, and to be clear I do mean that.

    Two points – The Live Music Bill is something that makes enourmous assumtions about the effectiveness of other controls. I would hazard a guess that its champions who have never had 150 people decide to hold a thrash metal event next door to them. The Bill pretends that problems don’t exist. This is not to say that the Licensing Act is perfect, but the proposals are an affront to those who have had real quality of life problems caused by reckless music events.

    On the more general point. This list is great. Really it is. But this is rests on an idea that government and politics are tick-box exercises – the more boxes that get ticked the better. It is a seductive argument, more so because of some of the more unfair criticisms that have been made of the Lib Dem Party. The problem comes because manifestos do not exist in isolation. The list might demonstrate to a greater or lesser extent effective political movement in Coalition (though for me Merlin was a dreadful side-show). It’s just that government is not about the party or its tick-boxes – after all Labour probably could likely have done a similar exercse, do you think it would have helped?

    For some time I have been uncomfortable with manifestos as large, detailed ticklists. These documents are hostages to fortune. A better approach would be a short statement of principles on which voters could comment instead of having politicians (of all stripes) wade to page 127 part 3 subsection 42b(i) to find a soundbite about dishonesty,

  • Sadly, however many soft and cheap LD policies get enacted, the vast mass of the population will judge us on the unpopular Tory policies we are helping enact on schools, health, policing etc which are all a massive gamble and will not be easily forgiven

  • Perhaps we should see a list of the damage which is likely through the Tory policies including Academy and free schools or the back door privatisation of NHS, undermining local government via the so called localism bill and the special needs green paper.
    By the way it is ridiculous to compare executive salaries with that of the Prime Minister because the PM is not an executive. It is a comparison between apples & pears and it fuels the mean spirited resentment which prevails in post Thatcher society. I can understand the Daily Mail being deliberately ignorant but we should be better informed.

  • @Duncan – We have had that discussion on another thread, I disagree strongly with your claims, but perhaps more relevant: It was in our manifesto, and is party policy.

  • Henry – We did indeed have that discussion, but it is relevant here in the sense that this is a discussion about ticking boxes off from the manifesto. The phrases, ‘it was in the manifesto,’ and, ‘it’s party policy,’ are not magic phrases that end debate and give carte blance to ride roughshod over any objection. Yes, I am more than happy to recognise the shortcomings of current legislation – that does not mean however debate ends. How do problem pubs get treated? Is there a balance to be struck between residents and venues that the propsosals do not recognise? Why is it that my own (Lib Dem) Council seemed reluctant to act? These are real issues. Accepting the fact of a manifesto statement or party policy position is one thing, but as I said earlier, this can not be reduced to a tick-box.

    I think you mentioned that you have some sort of advocacy role for musicians – fair enough, you have a view and you represent it. It’s just that I am uncomfortable about replacing debate with, ‘it’s policy,’ and reducing things to a tick-box.

  • Henry is right. Duncan is wildly missing the point of the Live Music Bill which is not the rather patronising “hooray for live music bill” that he claims.

    There is plenty of anti-social behaviour and public order legislation on the statute books which is not up for repeal under the Coalition and can contain the extreme examples that he has unfortunately experienced.

    The problems Duncan may have experienced are ones of enforcement – as demonstarted by the fact that they still occured in spite of the 2003 Acts existance.

  • I think both the live music bill and the SEN bill are potentially good achievments. I have a concern that the number of free schools will mean that the Special Needs provision provided by local councils may bvecome untenable if schools do not “buy in”.

    On ID cards let’s remember that as good a move as this is it was also Tory Policy so is not so much a Lid Dem achievement as a coalition one. It is the policies where Lib Dems changed the Tories position that need to be highlighted…

  • The Lib Dem performance in May will not be ameliorated by these successes. What is important for Lib Dems not always aligns with what is important for voters. A few successes on civil liberties, unfortunately always a niche concern, will not win you back the centre-left vote.

    You really need to address why your vote is collapsing and why your conference requires astonishing levels of police protection.

    Tuition Fees.

    NHS.

    Benefits.

    Pensions.

    What manifesto commitments have the Lib Dems achieved here?

  • Mike – No, I fear you are the one missing the point. Though your comment is a step forward on the rather patronising, ‘if residents don’t like it they can move house,’ approach you took to me on a previous thread.

    You are correct – I agree that on paper there are plenty of controls. On paper. Provided the Council do some enforcement they are probably fine. My local council did the sum total of zero, though maybe other areas take a different approach.

    My point was that, although I have never met Lord Clement-Jones, I would hazard a wager he has never had 150 people hold a thrash metal event next door to him. Had he ever found himself in that position he might see that live music is not the problem free activity this legislation would have us believe. Unless you think it is a civil liberty to be able to hold a thrash metal concert in a residential area?

  • Dominic Curran 11th Mar '11 - 1:35pm

    @ Brian
    “Perhaps we should see a list of the damage which is likely through the Tory policies including Academy and free schools or the back door privatisation of NHS, undermining local government via the so called localism bill”

    I’ve read much of the localism bill, brian, and it really does give a lot of power to local government. there are several clauses that say the secretary of state may prescribe this or that in the future, but those are in lots of bills and are safety valves in case something needs to be done centrally that the government didn’t realise at the time. you can make criticisms of the coalition on plenty of grounds, but to suggest that the localism bill isn’t localist is factually wrong.

  • Dominic Curran 11th Mar '11 - 1:37pm

    @ g

    you asked what we had achived form our manifesto on pensions – how about restoring the link between pensions and earnings? that’s a pretty good one i think.

  • @Duncan – I wasn’t suggesting a ‘carte blanche’ re Live Music in general so much as making that point in terms of the relevance to this post for which the phrase ‘in the manifesto’ and ‘party policy’ should be helpful in terms of keeping everything on topic… However, once again you make unfair assumptions. I live in the centre of town, have problems occasionally, but do not think the unfair and unbalanced restrictions are needed given that such restrictions already exist in environmental regulations. As I say, see previous discussion.

  • True – you only need to look at these manifesto commitments

    ID Cards
    “We will scrap ID cards, the national identity register and the Contactpoint database. ”

    Project Merlin
    “We need to change the way we regulate our banks to stop a crisis on this scale ever happening again.”

    National Curriculum
    “We will reform the national Curriculum so that it is more challenging and based on evidence about what knowledge can be mastered by children at different ages. We will ensure that the primary curriculum is organised around subjects like maths, Science and history.”

    Of course that was in the Conservative manifesto so there is a decent chance that these measures would have happened without us.

    On SEN – I’m not sure that a review of SEN is really what our manifesto pledge was. I don’t see any mention of the commitment to guarantee assessments for all 5yr olds for example.

    LIve music I will agree with – though its a back bench bill with government support which has happened before through the Lords when we were nowhere near government.

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