Osborne: Employees, exchange your rights for shares

In the Tory hothouse of Birmingham, this has to be the most delicate flower which has bloomed so far. Politicshome.com reports:

Employees could be able to buy shares in the companies they work for if they give up their employment rights, George Osborne has said.

In a speech to the Conservative party conference the Chancellor announced a consultation on the plan, which could also see the shares being immune to capital gains tax.

“Workers: replace your old rights of unfair dismissal and redundancy with new rights of ownership.And what will the Government do? We’ll charge no capital gains tax at all on the profit you make on your shares. Zero percent capital gains tax for these new employee-owners. Get shares and become owners of the company you work for.

“Owners, workers, and the taxman, all in it together. Workers of the world unite.”

Mr Osborne said the plan, which would be voluntary for employees and firms, was “a radical change to employment law”.

So, never mind the fact that you could lose your job with no rights of redress. You would have spent lots of money buying shares and then you can have those to provide comfort when you’re unemployed.

A quite brilliant wheeze, Gideon. Don’t bother to start arranging the Canadian Mounted Police to deal with the crowd assembling to take you up on this offer just yet…..

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90 Comments

  • Buy your shares today and tomorrow we sack you. But you will have a piece of paper. May as well hand out lottery tickets instead, they will probably be worth more.

  • I meant get not buy.

  • So what happens when the company starts failing miserably and the shares that you own in the company fall drastically?

    Not only could the company sack you and you have wavered your employee’s rights, But you could also be left out of pocket with shares which are almost worthless, worth far less than what you had purchased them for.

    You have to love Gideon, the guy is a genius, I am so confident that this Tory led Government is going to get us out of this debt crisis and lead us all to prosperity.

  • Simon Beard 8th Oct '12 - 4:14pm

    Is it just me or does this sound like a wonderful little tax dodge for big city firms that don’t care about workers rights anyway? As a graduate you quickly learn that the philosohy of most of the ‘high flying’ employers is “unpaid, and unsocial, overtime, quick dismissal and workplace harassment, but we pay you really well (and its not our fault othat everyone here is a young white man who seems to carry a sense of entitlement to earning more in a year then most people do in a lifetime)”, now not only is this philosophy legitimised you get a break from Capital Gains Tax as well.

    If this scheme is to work it must
    a – be only for SMEs, with the cap set at a certain level of turnover, not size.
    b – be completely optional, with no right to discriminate against workers on the bases of which contract they are willing to sign and
    c – piloted
    Otherwise it just looks like a very bad idea.

  • This is not how I understand the proposal will work. My understanding is:-
    Firms decide if they want to work with this share contract.
    The company can decide that any new employees can be offered only this share contract. No choice.
    Shares are included as part of the package offered to the employee. Not sure of the tax implication? Benefit in kind?
    Employee loses key employment rights.
    If employee leaves he can be forced to sell shares back to company at below market value.
    When they fire you, your shares are cashed in and any profit will not be eligible for capital gains.

    Is my understanding correct ?

  • Anne, I totally agree. I would love to have my say, but for some reason I am not allowed.

  • Richard Dean 8th Oct '12 - 4:32pm

    Is this about industrial strategy or the economic crisis? They say that the banks are refusing to lend, and maybe taking advantage of the huge interest rates available from continental sovereign debt. Can this be a way of bypassing this blockage and getting more investment into domestic industry?

    Buy your shares today. Tomorrow you will work harder, so we will not sack you, but you will see that we need to sack those others who do not own shares and do not work as hard as you. Do not worry, we will sack them on your behalf, happy in the faith that you will not take industrial action to against this. And this will solve the economic crisis too!

  • Will the Liberal Democrat Party be opposing this?

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Oct '12 - 4:32pm

    Well, whatever next? What other legal and social right would people sell if made an offer? Give up your right to vote for a lump sum payment? I reckon a good proportion of the UK population would do that. Give up your right to a free and fair trial for a lump sum payment? “Oh, but I’m a good person, I’d never be up before the law, so it wouldn’t affect me – gimme that £1000 you’re offering for it, and I’ll sign up”.

    This shows where the Tories are going – it’s very, very dangerous, and since Labour are conspiring with the Tories to destroy the LibDems and restore a pure two-party system, it’s what we WILL see if Labour get their way. This is the reality of their “dirty rotten LibDems, propping up the Tories, never vote for them again” line. Firstly, it may seem the current government is very right-wing, but it’s only when you see what Tories say when their on their own that you get realise they’re so extreme now that it would be a whole lot worse without the LibDem constraint. Secondly, we have already seen the “don’t vote LibDem again” crows lead to the Tories winning back control in local councils from the LibDems. Most LibDem seats are former Tory seats – the “don’t vote LibDem again” crowd will turn them back into Tory seats, possibly giving us a majority Tory government in 2015. God help us.

  • I agree. Absolutely disgusting. If only there were some Liberal Democrats in the treasury who could fight these vile policies…

  • What Matthew said. Scary.

  • If the Tories had a majority now, people would see their true colours and they would be out of power again in 2015 for another generation. Lib Dems are providing a fig leaf for the Tories.

  • Nigel Quinton 8th Oct '12 - 4:55pm

    What Matthew said.

    Plus – this is just plain WRONG Gideon. Workers rights are not a barrier to economic prosperity. For a business to flourish it needs good industrial relations, not a management hegemony. Workers participation is a good thing, but not at the expense of employee rights.

  • @Phyllis

    Totally agree.

    I do not buy the line that without coalition, the Tories would go back to the polls and win a Majority.

    The country has seen for its own eyes in the short 2 years what this government is all about and how it is still the “nasty party” the only difference this time round is, they have Liberal Democrats to shoulder some of the blame.

    I do not believe the Tories will be in power in after 2015 as I do not believe they would be if an early election was called now.

    This government is and has managed to insult nearly every single member of society, apart from those at the very top.

    Those who are in work and already work hard but at the lower end of the pay scale are being asked to “work harder”
    Those out of work are called Idle and reckless,
    Those who are sick or disabled are called fake and spongers.
    The young unemployed are accused of being lazy with no ambition.
    The list goes on and on.

    The only supportive words you hear from the Tories are to those up the top, constantly praising entrepreneurship, wealth creators and corporations, and how we must support and welcome these with lower taxes.

    This government needs to end asap.

    It will come to an end in 2015, but Liberal Democrats could do something about this “now” before then and save millions of people a lot of unfair and suffering. You never know, the country might even thank them for it and vote in more Liberal Democrat MP’s.

  • If the Lib Dems had thrown out the NHS bill, they would have redeemed themselves and won back a lot of votes, in my opinion. Now the test is Welfare Reform. Let’s see what the Lib Dems do this time.

  • I’m a Labour Party member and lifelong Labour voter – just to let you know where I stand politically. I’ve come onto this site to look at comments because I just couldn’t believe that the Lib Dem leadership had agreed to the welfare cuts and to this latest policy to cut employment rights.

    I’d prefer a Labour government, but I hate to see what’s happening to your party- like most people I thought that the Lib Dems were centre-leftish….. Am I wrong? Are you happy to be a right-wing party?

  • To be fair to the boy wonder he has got it half right. Encouraging employee ownership is a Good Thing – John Lewis, anyone?

  • matt – “I do not buy the line that without coalition, the Tories would go back to the polls and win a Majority.”

    Based on current opinion polls, and the electoral system, correct. Which would mean either another Lib/Con coalition, or Labour.

    We all know where your sympathies lie, so I guess that’s what you’d prefer. I have to say its almost worth it to see the f**k up Balls would make of the economy.

  • Teresa – we’re not a “right wing party”, we’re a Liberal party who are minority partners in a Conservative coalition (a result of the gerrymandered electoral system that your party promised to remove in 1997 and didn’t).

    That you don’t understand this difference speaks volumes.

  • Paul McKeown 8th Oct '12 - 6:20pm

    It’s appropriate that this news was provided by “Newshound” as the idea is barking.

  • I do understand the difference between you as Liberals and the Tories, and I respect everyone’s right to hold a view. What i don’t understand is why you have allowed and are allowing radical right-wing reforms of the welfare system and eg the NHS. If you weren’t a partner in coalition these wouldn’t have happened. If you are happy with these reforms then that’s okay – that’s democracy. My question was whether you were happy with this (your) government’s policies. It affects us all – and if we are talking about democracy – do you think that this gvt has an electoral mandate for these radical changes?

  • Teresa – “What i don’t understand is why you have allowed and are allowing radical right-wing reforms of the welfare system and eg the NHS. If you weren’t a partner in coalition these wouldn’t have happened.”

    Leaving aside the substance of your assertions, your counterfactual second sentence just isn’t true. The most likely outcome of a failure to enter coalition would have been a second election and a Conservative majority with a background of market turmoil.

    Coalition means comprise; as the junior partner it means more compromise.

  • And to your second point, its immaterial as to whether I’m happy with them or not. It goes with coalition terrkitor.

  • Remember none of these madcap ideas can happen without our MPs supporting them. I am hanging on to party membership by a thin thread that they will not allow this to happen. I fear I may be politically homeless before next April.

  • Tabman “To be fair to the boy wonder he has got it half right. Encouraging employee ownership is a Good Thing – John Lewis, anyone?”

    Yeah, brilliant idea. A half-right idea from a half-wit chancellor from the far right half of his party with half hearted support from the Lib Dem part of the coalition judging by some of the comments above.

    Another climb down from Clegg can be farily much assumed. No Mansion Tax then I take it Nick? No, didn’t think so…

  • Radicalibral 8th Oct '12 - 7:47pm

    Theresa the problem is that the Tories happened to be in the right place at the right time to introduce their agenda given the desperate plight of the economy. However I would pose a question to Lib Dems to chew over. Even if you believe in Deficit Reduction how can you make it possible for the UK Economy to turn the corner so that an expanding economy might reduce the need for “ongoing” cuts? The problem the UK Economy has this time is that in previous downturns these have predominantly, or exclusively affected the UK Economy requiring it alone to restructure itself against a backdrop of a healthy rest of the EU Economy. But how can this be achieved when “everyone” in the EU is doing exactly the same thing? Without giving this serious consideration you might give credence to the Theresa’s of this world?

  • Tabman – I truly admire your loyalty. However, if, as you suggest, the Tories would not have been able to form a government without a coalition with you, then you have more clout than you think. Just say no – you can still carry on with a deficit reduction policy without dismantling public services. Why the huge reforms? – I’m seriously not being provocative – I’m interested in your views…

  • RadicalLiberal – thanks. It appears that the Tories have used this deficit to bring in some far-reaching policies without a clear electoral mandate and that this should worry all of us. How can we have a reasonable discussion about what sort of society we want? There must be a better way to conduct politics….

  • paul barker 8th Oct '12 - 8:33pm

    People seem to be getting overexcited about what is still just a proposal.
    If I was working for a company that had shares (most SMEs dont) I would look at the details & weigh up the pros & cons. The right not to be summarily dismissed usually amounts to cash anyway, in redundancy or compensation. Who would want to go on working for a company that had already tried to get rid of them once ?
    This sound rather like the council house sell-off, its a matter of judging which option is worth more – probabilities in the end.

  • @Tabman

    I really do not understand what you think you will gain by being so hostile towards those outside the party. Teresa has come to the board with very clear and warranted concerns {which she is entitled to air} and you immediately go on the offensive. Is this what it means to be Liberal?

    It is very tiresome to keep hearing the same line about what would happen if Liberal Democrats were not in the coalition and how we would have seen another election with a Tory Majority implementing far more right winged policies.
    As part of the coalition, “both” parties need to accept “full” responsibilities for “ALL” policies.
    It simply is not good enough to trot out the line, well we do not like the policy, but it would have been far worse without the libdems input.
    Yes their has to be compromise, However, for the party to retain it’s identity it “has” to make it clear, were it stands on a policy, what the Tories party wanted, and what was “negotiated” as part of coalition.

    Teresa put forward a valid question in her post “My question was whether you were happy with this (your) government’s policies” which can be applied to all policies that are and have been implemented, not just those that concern welfare and the NHS.
    And time again we hear responses like that of Tabman “And to your second point, its immaterial as to whether I’m happy with them or not. It goes with coalition terrkitor.”

    In my opinion that simply is not good enough.

    Liberal democrats want to shout from the roof tops when their policies are implemented, even though dubious some of these claims might be, The conservatives jump on the bandwagon and try to claim part of the credit for their own party i.e lifting 2 million people out of income tax. But when it’s a right wing policy, Liberal Democrat MP’s support the policy, they come out defending the policy, and the grass roots hide behind silly excuses.

    This is not grown up politics. in fact, The bullingdon club are having a great old time resorting back to their playground bullying era

  • “It goes with coalition terrkitor.”

    Some mistake, surely – “terrapin”?

  • Philip Rolle 8th Oct '12 - 10:22pm

    The shares for employment rights proposal has clearly been put up as an aunt sally to distract Lib Dems from criticising the far more important proposals to cut welfare.

    You’re not going to be fooled are you?

    Oh wait…

  • Teresa – clearly they could have formed a government; albeit a minority one. That would have led to stasis and market turmoil, whereupon they would have gone to the country saying, in effect, the Lib Dems dithered and look at the result – elect us to finish the job properly. Hey presto, Conservative majority.

    matt – what Teresa said originally was ” I just couldn’t believe that the Lib Dem leadership had agreed to the welfare cuts and to this latest policy to cut employment rights … I hate to see what’s happening to your party- like most people I thought that the Lib Dems were centre-leftish….. Am I wrong? Are you happy to be a right-wing party?”

    Perhaps not deliberately so, but provocative nevertheless. Firstly, AFAIK the two policy proposals are just that, proposals. The Lib Dem leadership has not agreed to them. Secondly, the assumptions that the Lib Dems are leftwing, and if we’re not, then we’re automatically right wing.

    We are neither, we are Liberal.

  • People already give up employment rights … its called temping. Sometimes they get a financial benefit for this.. also known as contracting. Osborne has never worked anywhere other than politics and some data entry job. Wouldn’t it be good if one or two of our MPs had been entrepreneurs, and not in the Grant Shapps way…

  • Definitely an aunt sally proposal.

    Currently, with no change in employment of tax law:
    1. A company can run an ESOP, which if it holds 10% or more of the issued share capital, gives very favourable tax advantages to the employee with respect to capital gains and dividends (although not as favourable as in France, where provided the shares are held for three years all proceeds are tax exempt).
    2. A company can run a profit share scheme, which if all staff are equal members, is tax free.

    so I wonder what is so wrong about the above schemes that causes Osborne to propose such a backward looking scheme. I suspect his next proposal will be to remove the barriers preventing company pension schemes investing in the company …

    Additionally, to pay capital gains, you need to see an increase in excess of £10,600 (2011/12 & 2012/13)in the value of the shares you sell in any one year. So either the employee will need to buy a lot of shares or they work for a start-up and things go exceedingly well …

  • Yes it would be very good if MP’s pay and pensions were linked to the performance of the economy.

  • Yellow Bill 8th Oct '12 - 11:25pm

    Just reported on BBC News. Vince Cable is to agree with the general sweep of what Osborne has been floating. What the hell is going on in the Lib Dem camp?

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Oct '12 - 11:30pm

    matt

    I do not buy the line that without coalition, the Tories would go back to the polls and win a Majority.

    I am not saying that, and I don’t believe anyone else is saying that. The point is that had the coalition not been formed in May 2010, the Tories would have formed a minority government, which would have had the right to call another general election, probably less than a year later. This is just what happened in 1974, the last time no party won a majority in the general election.

    Quite obviously, the Tories would have saved their more unpopular policies until after they had gained a majority in that next general election. So thye wouldn’t have made big service cuts, though they might have made tax cuts. Any market wobbles caused by not tackling the deficit would have been dismissed with “we can’t govern propelry without a majority – so give us one, by getting rid of the LibDems who arecausing this unstable situation”.

    So, sure , if there were another general election now, I doubt the Conservatives would gain a majority. However, they probably would win a fair few seats from the LibDems. If the polls look better for them in the next couple of years the seats they will win back thanks to Labour concetrating its attacks on the LibDems could result in the Conseravtves gaining a majority. If Labour win a majority but the LibDems are destrotyed, chances are the following election would give a Conservative majority – and we’d see the abibe and much worse be pushed throgh.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Oct '12 - 12:03am

    Teresa

    I do understand the difference between you as Liberals and the Tories, and I respect everyone’s right to hold a view. What i don’t understand is why you have allowed and are allowing radical right-wing reforms of the welfare system and eg the NHS. If you weren’t a partner in coalition these wouldn’t have happened. If you are happy with these reforms then that’s okay – that’s democracy. My question was whether you were happy with this (your) government’s policies. It affects us all – and if we are talking about democracy – do you think that this gvt has an electoral mandate for these radical changes?

    The answer to your last question is “Yes” – thanks to all those prominent Labour Party members who campaign for a “No” vote on electoral reform in the referendum last year.

    Sure, the Alternative Vote system proposed was a “miserable little compromise”, but had it got through it would have started the ball rolling towards electoral reform, but thanks to Labour it did not get through. Those Labour people who were supposedly in favour of AV were so quiet about it that no-one noticed, allowing it to be seen as a purely LibDem thing. Those Labour people against AV were loud in their opposition to it, and urged people to vote “No” to punish the LibDems – for what? Actually, for what the current electoral system had done to them i.e. weakened them relative to the Tories, Yet Labour opponents of AV as much as Tory opponents were using the line “Keep our current electoral system, as the way it distorts votes is good because it weakens third parties and strengthens the biggest party, so giving us more decisive government”. There were NO Labour opponents of AV who were using the line “it isn’t a big enough reform”.

    By two to one the people of Britain voted “No” to even the smallest electoral reform which AV was, and by common consensus this was interpreted as a vote against any electoral reform in the future. So by two to one the people of Britain voted in favouroif the idea we should have an electoral system whose best feature is that it distorts representation in favour of the party which gets the most votes and against smaller parties.

    That was just what we saw in the May 2010 general election, the distortions of the electoral system – the one the people of Britain voted to one to endorse a year later – meant although the Conservatives had only one and a half times as many votes as the Liberal Democrats, they had five times as many MPs. This meant a coalition that was very much in favour of the Conservatives was the only stable government that could be formed (apart from a Conservative-Labour coalition, which neither of those two parties were willing to consider). The distortion meant a Labour-LibDem coalition was not viable as it would not have a majority, even though the combined votes of Labour and the LibDems were a majority. And this distortion was backed by many prominent Labour Party people, with not a single Labour Patrty person so far as I am aware making a strong stand against it. So Labour’s opposition to electoral reform means, yes, they (unlike the Liberal Democrats) believe it is right we should have an almost purely Conservative government now, because that is what the people’s votes and the electoral system we have now gave us. Any argument that that was not what the people wanted was quashed by the “NO” vote in the 2011 referendum – the people of Britain said loudly and clearly that they wanted to keep the current electoral system whose distortions gave us the government e have now.

    And just to make it clear that Labour wants to see the Tories wreck this country now and in the future, this year they closed down the argument on having a democratic House of Lords. A democratic House of Lords elected by a proportional system would have had the power and authority to stop an unrepresentative Conservative government from doing things that had no real popular support. The LibDems were trying to push the idea through, Labour voted to wreck it, and so voted to have no effective second chamber which could block the sort of dangerous legislation the Tories want to push through.

    So, please, Teresa and other Labour people – don’t come moaning to us here. YOU support the current government because YOU support the constitution that gives it to us. We LibDems would like to see constitutional reforms which would mean we never again get such an extremist unrepresentative government, but YOU have blocked all that.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Oct '12 - 12:09am

    Teresa

    It appears that the Tories have used this deficit to bring in some far-reaching policies without a clear electoral mandate.

    Yes, they did have an electoral mandate – they won the most votes in 2010. The Labour Party supports the idea that representation should be distorted so that the party that wins the most votes wins a majority even if it came nowhere near a majority of votes. By their oppsoition to electoral reform, Labour says the Tories have a mandate now.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Oct '12 - 12:17am

    Teresa

    My question was whether you were happy with this (your) government’s policies.

    No, but I wasn’t happy with the last government’s policies either. That’s democracy, you have to accept what the people voted for, even if it’s not what you personally wanted. In 2010 most people voted either Conservative or for Labour who support the principle that representation should be distorted in order to give the largest party a majority even if it does not have a majority of the votes. Every Labour vote, being a vote against electoral reform, was a vote in favour of the principle that if we don’t have a Labour government we should have a Tory government because of the system which pushed down third parties.

    What we have now is not “my” government, as a Liberal Democrat. It’s a government with a little Liberal Democrat influence, one sixth Liberal Democrat, that’s all. Quite obviously that means it’s doing a lot of things I don’t like at all.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Oct '12 - 12:22am

    Teresa

    If you weren’t a partner in coalition these wouldn’t have happened.

    Yes, and what would have happened? If all three parties had said they would block anything that was not all their policy, there would have been no government at all. Democracy is about reaching a compromise – right now the compromise is way to far to the Tories, but that’s due to the distortions of our electoral system. If you don’t like what it gives us, urge your party to back changing it.

  • Mathew,
    I think the Conservatives are more likely to gain seats if the Lib Dems continue to act as a cushion between them and the consequences of Tory policies for the next 2 years. I suspect that if the Lib Dem leadership pulled the plug over Osborne’s blatant economic failure rather than on a token issue the party would start to recover fairly quickly. I can certainly see someone like Paxman saying to some hapless Tory representative. “well. they’re right aren’t they, the record is abysmal”. I honestly can’t see it ending well otherwise

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Oct '12 - 12:51am

    matt

    It will come to an end in 2015, but Liberal Democrats could do something about this “now” before then and save millions of people a lot of unfair and suffering. You never know, the country might even thank them for it and vote in more Liberal Democrat MP’s

    I wish I could see signs of this, but I don’t. All I see is Liberal Democrats getting no credit at all for anything they do to try and reach a compromise which weakens the worst of Tory extremism, and written up by Labour supporters as we have seen here as if they are 100% in favour of everything the Tories want.

    If what the LibDems were doing to stop the Tories from within the coalition had strong popular support, if the LibDems could turn round and say “look, the people of this country want what we want, not what you want”, they could achieve so much more. But if, as we see is the case, whatever they do goes without acknowledgement, it is hard for them to achieve anything. The Tories can always use the line “If you try to block us, and force an early general election, you’ll be the biggest losers, so don’t even think about it”.

    OK, now let me make my position more clear.

    Within the Liberal Democrats, yes I do see people like Nick Clegg and David Laws as far too right-wing, far too sympathetic to the Tories. However, as someone on the left of the LibDems if I could point to some outside support for a more left-wing LibDem position, it would be easier for us within the party ti argue against what Clegg and Laws want. However, since it seems whatever we do, the outside view is that all us LibDems are all the same now and are all just 100% Tory supporters, the right-wing of the LibDems can say “there’s no backing for you lot, so if you don’t like what we’re doing to the party, get out”. Nick Clegg’s outgoing Director of Strategy wrote an article in the New Statesman last month saying EXACTLY THAT.

    So, though I defend the party for being forced to make compromises, I don’t defend the way its leader chooses to portray our position.

  • I think the AV vote was lost because it was associated with Nick Clegg and the tuition fee pledge because it gave the NO Campaign a platform that voting for AV will give Nick Clegg (a politician who had broken his promise after saying no more Broken Promises) more power. . The Country didn’t want that and his earlier assertion that it was a miserable little compromise made it even harder for the YES camp to have any credibility.

  • No, Phyllis, it was lost because Labour, despite having AV in their manifesto, and having had it means Labour are responsible for the current situation and for every future Conservative government.since 1997, campaigned against it. And for all the reasons do eloquently described above by Matthew that

  • No, Phyllis, it was lost because Labour, despite having AV in their manifesto, and having had it since 1997, campaigned against it. And for all the reasons do eloquently described above by Matthew that means Labour are responsible for the current situation and for every future Conservative government.

  • tabman

    I think that is looking through your yellowish-blue tinted glasses.

    Labour are split on AV and so there was support but it was lukewarm, although Miliband seemed okay with it. The problem was that Labour were mighty peeved at the changes to the boundaries/reduction in seats without cross-party consultation and warned of that throughout the progress of the bill. They should have supported the bill but your leadership should have been sensitive to the noises that had been coming out of Labour for a while. The Yes campaign was also poorly run and was not particularly stimulating

    Secondly, Clegg was poison and even a Labour push would have been unlikely to counter this as being a LibDem ploy to stay in power (I am not sure Miliband would have wanted to be too closely connected to a defeat on this if he has pushed too hard – he was not in the strongest of positions). We know this is wrong but that was the media spin on it, which brings me nicely to the third point. The outright hostility and lies told by the conservatives (remember Warsi?) and their friends in the media was to me the biggest influence – backed by a well-funded and slick No campaign

    I know you hate Labour but I think you are pushing things too far on this one

    As to Matthew’s post – I agree with the sentiment but what would you do in Labour’s position? The LD have been picking away at Labour’s vote from the left since 1997 and the strategists over there see the way to get it back is to portray you as Yellow Tories. That is for them to live with but I doubt they lose much sleep over it.

    From your own side, the approach and rhetoric from Clegg has not helped you at all, and the bringing back of Laws after just two years is a disgrace in my view. Personally, I think you have tempered some of the Tory policies but not enough and certain things are still happening that I would have expected a more robust argument from the LD.

    In order to move on from this you need to sacrifice Clegg and bring in someone who is a little wiser in how they portray themselves outside the party.

  • Tabman/Matthew Huntbach

    Labour, 1997-2010 , introduced more electoral reform, whether devolution or changes to the Lords, than any government since the extension of the franchise to women.

    It simply does not stand up to scrutiny to continually paint them as some barrier to reform.

    I could, however, point out that the tories voted against every single one of Labour’s reforms…

  • Tony

    It’s very difficult to know who to vote dot to be honest. All the parties seem to have major, major flaws. It’s quite depressing.

  • Tabman,

    To be honest my over-riding memory is Tories holding up huge poster of Nick Clegg saying ‘Say NO to President Clegg’ and another one portraying Clegg as a con man. Chris Huhne apparently challenged the Tories on this in Cabinet after the vote was lost.

  • Well it has been widely acknowledged that the YES Campaign was seriously flawed and the NO Campaign was very slick. And Cameron got involved having promised Clegg he wouldn’t. But do not under-estimate the widespread contempt there is for Clegg in the country. It’s not just students. Even Lib Dems don’t seem to like him. The NO Campaign tapped into that which was a bit below the belt, IMO. But it’s not credible to say it was all Labour’s fault.

  • @Matthew

    And just to make it clear that Labour wants to see the Tories wreck this country now and in the future, this year they closed down the argument on having a democratic House of Lords

    I thought Labours position was pretty consistent on this particular issue from an opposition standpoint. One could equally ask why Clegg didnt call Labour’s bluff and go for a referendum. And are you really sure that Labour wants to see the Tories wreck the country? It might make you feel better to endlessly blame Labour when things are not going well, but the party is going to be judged on its actions, not others.

  • Keith Browning 9th Oct '12 - 9:19am

    Osborne used the phrase ‘the poor’ and it was also used by Romney several times recently. The last time I heard the phrase used in that pejorative way was during my school history lessons, nearly 50 years ago. The subject was ‘Victorian England’.

    Will regulations about curtseying and cap doffing be in the next Queen’s Speech?

  • John Carlisle 9th Oct '12 - 10:21am

    First of all, it was Nick who first introduced the employee ownership/John Lewis ideal. Here is Sheffield we have three steel product firms which are all employee owned WITHOUT workers giving up their rights. What Osborne has done is use Nick’s proposal as a Trojan horse to remove employee rights. In like manner, Francis Maude endorsed the concept of mutuals to encourage spinning out from the NHS: another Trojan horse.
    Never, EVER, trust the Tories.
    So, what is our counter-argument? First of all, the UK is the second highest country after France with broad-based employee share plans (75%) and the second highest, after France again, employee ownership (34%). So let’s endorse the good practice and ask why, when it already a trend, Osborne wants to bribe the dinosaurs of industry and intimidate their workforces. Would you give up rights in BAe, for example?
    Secondly, Milliband’s “predistribution rather than redistribution” is a useful concept ( a nod to Teresa); but is not yet thought through. There is common cause here with Vince talking about the whole system, i.e. supply chain etc., but it is likely that Milliband will get the headlines with the help of Compass.
    In summary: Osborne gets the headlines on employee-ownership, not Nick; Milliband gives the impression, rightly, of some really good thinking about growth et al, thanks to John Cruddas and Compass , while Vince still flounders; and Andy Burnham says what everyone wants to hear about the NHS, not Nick.
    So, tell me, just what do our media people do all day – apart from dreaming up Noddy posters??

  • This is where the LibDs could be a positive influence and get credit for it.
    Encourage the workers’ share ownership policy.
    Refuse the loss of rights part.
    Who could argue against that without looking foolish or worse?

  • Peter Watson 9th Oct '12 - 11:00am

    @Matthew Huntbach “And just to make it clear that Labour wants to see the Tories wreck this country now and in the future, this year they closed down the argument on having a democratic House of Lords.”
    Wasn’t it our Lib Dem leaders who tried to close down the argument by restricting the debate and scrutiny of the bill, which may have been a move in the right direction but was not perfect. And then Clegg withdrew the bill, closing down the argument completely. And this was because he feared that our tory allies would filibuster, not our Labour opponents. Labour are not above criticism on this issue, but I thing Clegg et al were pretty useless.

  • Richard Harris 9th Oct '12 - 12:37pm

    There was a time when I would have confidently thought that the Lib Dems would have prevented right wing madness like this from getting anywhere near actual policy. That time is long gone.

  • Helen Tedcastle 9th Oct '12 - 1:42pm

    @Growler: ” Remember none of these madcap ideas can happen without our MPs supporting them. I am hanging on to party membership by a thin thread that they will not allow this to happen. I fear I may be politically homeless before next April.”

    I know how you feel but why should we leave when ‘here today gone tomorrow’ politicians who sell this party short will be gone before long. There is only so much of this ultra right-wing Tory madness the membership will stand. The other Tory Party, Labour, will simply water down their policies – they have little new to offer, despite the new tone and warm words.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Oct '12 - 1:51pm

    jedibeeftrix

    If the success of AV was truly sunk by the popularity of one politician and some angry students I think it is fair to say there was little merit in the proposal in the first place. Or, at the very least, little merit that the electorate recognised, and that is what counts

    Hardly anyone understood it, thanks to the unbelievably poor nature of the “Yes” campaign. See the lines I have put in defence of electoral reform? Were these lines heard last year? No. I don’t like to boast, but I reckon I could myself have done a far better job of promoting the “Yes” side than those who were chosen and paid to do so.

  • Peter Watson 9th Oct '12 - 2:23pm

    @Matthew Huntbach
    I’m sure you could have made a better job of the Yes campaign, but unfortunately it was on a hiding to nothing from the start.
    The Yes campaign was nobbled before it began by association with Clegg and broken promises. He damaged it further with the oft-quoted “miserable little compromise” – no matter how out of context. Clegg was the poster child for the No campaign.
    And on the substance – in the face of criticisms that AV could lead to unfair/unrepresentative election results and that of the few countries that used AV one was giving up, even supporters of electoral reform portrayed AV as a step towards something else.
    With hindsight, I can’t help but wonder how things might have been if we’d made other issues a priority in the negotiations with the conservatives and labour.

  • Matthew Huntbach you can not be serious in blaming Labour for failing to support a bill that Clegg did not really support himself.

    As for damage done to the advancement of constitutional change the lib dems have done more in the last 2 years to put the public off a more proportional system than anything labour has done. The public have witnessed with a front row seat how coalition govt would work in a proportional system. The lib dems ran on a manifesto that attracted voters. They then dumped their manifesto in the rubbish and jumped into bed with a party who ran on completely different policies. Between them they then invented some new policies that neither party had in their manifestos or in the coalition agreement. Examples Privatised NHS and stripping workers rights. Where is that in any manifesto or agreement?

    For years lib dems have talked about principles, and how dishonest the other parties are. Yet, Clegg has dumped everything for a bit of power.

  • I disagree with all those saying that this is a policy for start-ups (or at least start-ups in the real sense).

    What will happen is that banks etc will structure those divisions which pay huge bonuses so that each team is a company. Service companies with minimal assets hence justifiable low share prices on day1. Abracadabra, tax free bonuses.

  • @sally

    ” lib dems have done more in the last 2 years to put the public off a more proportional system than anything labour has done. The public have witnessed with a front row seat how coalition govt would work in a proportional system. ”

    Totally spot on, hit the nail on the head.

    Even if there were another referendum on AV or STV this year or next, the public would never go for it. Not because of Labour or even the Tories, but because of the actions of Liberal Democrats in this parliament.

    I think coalition politics has been totally blown out of the window because the Liberal Democrats have allowed themselves to be played, walked over and damn right bullied by the Tories. The party has been hijacked and lurched to the right. I do not believe for one second that the public wished to see this happen or expected the Liberal Democrats to be as easily manipulated.
    Constant excuses about no alternatives because of the “markets” or only “57 Mps” or the Tories would call another election and win a majority, is quite simply very lame and not what the electorate expects.
    The excuses are wearing very thin and quite frankly if the Tories did win a majority through an early election or even in 2015, it would be Liberal Democrats fault for failing to prove that coalitions can work and the smaller party has influence and it retains it’s identity.

  • “I don’t like to boast, but I reckon I could myself have done a far better job of promoting the “Yes” side than those who were chosen and paid to do so.”

    Ahh. Another great “might have been” of history to muse over.

  • Peter Watson 9th Oct '12 - 5:17pm

    @matt
    In defence of our Lib Dem MPs (I can’t believe I’m writing anything that starts with that), it is true that in negotiations their influence will be restricted by the relative size of the two parliamentary groups, regardless of the shares of the popular vote behind that. Having said that, I would have more respect for them if they could demonstrate that they had negotiated with conviction and could point to the fact that Lib Dems wanted X, the conservatives wanted Y, and they compromised on Z. But instead they give the impression that they have become converts to a political direction that they/we previously opposed. Furthermore, they have gone beyond the need to work with the conservatives in order to fix the economy, something for which one could argue that the coalition has a mandate. Lib Dem MPs have enabled/supported/promoted a raft of ideological tory policies in education, health, etc which the majority of the electorate did not vote for and for which they have no mandate. That is why I have withdrawn my support and vote from the party under its current leadership.

  • This article begs the question – Why not encourage all private companies to offer shares to their employees WITHOUT the threat of individuals losing their employment rights?! For example, private companies could be required to allocate 10% of their profits to employees each year (or an equivalent cash bonus)……..

  • matt ” The public have witnessed with a front row seat how coalition govt would work in a proportional system. ”

    Totally spot on, hit the nail on the head”

    Totally and utterly wrong. They have witnessed how coalition government works in a non-proportional system where coalitions are a rarity.

    In proportional systems, coalitions are the most likely outcome so parties can set out their preferred partners and negotiation standpoints in advance. Negotiations can follow a more leisurely timetable, and the relative strengths of each party accurately reflect their proportion of the total vote.

    In a proportional system the Lib Dems would have had 2/3 as many MPs (and more porportionate negotiating power) than the 1/6 they got under FPTP.

    But Labour refused to remove the system when they had the chance, because they are prepared to put up with having none of the power for the occasional shot at all of the power.

  • Re above: 2/3 as many MPs as the Conservatives

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Oct '12 - 1:47am

    sally

    Matthew Huntbach you can not be serious in blaming Labour for failing to support a bill that Clegg did not really support himself.

    Yes I can. AV was a “miserable little compromise”, but even a miserable little compromise is better than none at all.

    As for damage done to the advancement of constitutional change the lib dems have done more in the last 2 years to put the public off a more proportional system than anything labour has done. The public have witnessed with a front row seat how coalition govt would work in a proportional system.

    So would you rather have a majority Conservative Party majority government now? Because that is the alternative. If there were no LibDems we’d have a purely Conservative government now. You seem to think this would be better. You wait and see when we get one.

    The lib dems ran on a manifesto that attracted voters. They then dumped their manifesto in the rubbish and jumped into bed with a party who ran on completely different policies. Between them they then invented some new policies that neither party had in their manifestos or in the coalition agreement.

    There was no other viable coalition. I don;t like what we have at all, and I don’t like Clegg for promoting it as if we have reached the promised land rather than a miserable little compromise. But the reality is there were simply not enough Labour MPs for a Labour-LibDem coalition to be able to work. That’s thanks to the distortions of the electoral system.

    Also thanks to the distortions of the electoral system, the current coalition is way too dominated by the Tories. There are five time as many Tory MPs as LibDem MPs even though the Tories obtained only one-and-a-half times as many votes as the LibDems. Quite obviously because of this the LibDems are weak and can get only minor concessions from the Tories.

    So your line doesn’t make sense. You are saying because the LibDems are weak in this coalition and it is dominated by the Tories far more than their real support should give them we should have an electoral system whose main stated benefit, according to its Tory and Labour supporters, is that it makes the Tories strong and the LibDems weak.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Oct '12 - 1:52am

    Peter Watson

    Lib Dem MPs have enabled/supported/promoted a raft of ideological tory policies in education, health, etc which the majority of the electorate did not vote for and for which they have no mandate.

    Sorry, while the combined Labour and LibDem vote was against these things, we have an electoral system which twists representation in favour of the biggest party, which in 2010 was the Tories. Don’t go round adding up the votes of smaller parties and saying “no mandate” because that’s using a proportional representation way of thinking, and the people of this country have rejected that. By voting two-to-one against even the minimalist reform of AV they have said they prefer distortion which usually gives all power to the biggest party regardless of what actual share of the votes it gets.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Oct '12 - 2:03am

    Peter Watson

    Having said that, I would have more respect for them if they could demonstrate that they had negotiated with conviction and could point to the fact that Lib Dems wanted X, the conservatives wanted Y, and they compromised on Z.

    But they can. One only has to read the right-wing press or listen to what the Tories are saying at their conference to see this. They are howling against the LibDems for stopping them from doing the extremist things they want. In Tory-world the LibDems are being painted as hugely powerful in the coalition, as a massive block on their policies. It’s only because of the really extreme nature of those policies, which Osborne is revealing a bit of now, that the resulting compromise still looks very right-wing outside Tory-world. The Tories have moved way to the right of where they were under Margaret Thatcher.

    I think Clegg makes it a whole lot worse by going on about how wonderful the coalition and exaggerating the influence the LibDems can have in it is instead of admitting it’s grim and admitting the influence a party with just one sixth of its MPs can have is small. I wish we didn’t have Clegg as a leader, I’ve been making my position clear on that ever since he emerged. However, the people attacking what I am saying here really don’t seem to have got the point – they are saying because the LibDems are weak we should have an electoral system which makes them weak, because the Tories are horrible and unrepresentative of what people want we should have an electoral system which distorts the number of MPs in their favour. Just where is the sense in that?

  • Peter Watson 10th Oct '12 - 8:24am

    @Matthew Huntbach
    Even if they had won an outright majority I don’t think the tories would have a mandate for their top-down NHS reforms. Obviously they would still have gone through with them – but the Lib Dems would have opposed them instead of having a leader who commended them (even the initial white paper) as “a blend of Conservative and Liberal Democrat ideas”.
    And I do not accept that criticism from right-wing tories and their media friends is proof that the Lib Dems in parliament are having an effect. The wings of any governing party will always make strident conference speeches and believe that too many compromises are being made, that not enough is being done to follow the one true way. The unions made the same criticisms of Labour but there were no coalition partners to conveniently take the blame. Our leaders have shown no reluctance, only enthusiasm to pursue policies which reverse previously held positions. They have told us how great it is that a coalition government can be as radical as a single-party one,as if that is an end in itself.
    I have no problem with coalition in principle – just the way our leaders have tarnished it. The presence and support of Lib Dems has legitimised fixed term parliaments (when was the last good 5 year parliament?), gerrymandering (though we might now be pulling away from boundary reform), and I am genuinely unconvinced that a majority tory government would be doing things much differently from the present coalition one.

  • John Carlisle 10th Oct '12 - 8:49am

    You need to choose your battlegrounds. The battle is to stop the Tories winning the next election (not hard) and to form a LibLab coalition. So, first of all slow down the implementation of the NHS reforms by monitoring the levels of patient care, and making this, not the cuts and privatisation, the only criterion for whether it is working or not. Second, re-evaluate the deficit reduction strategy. If economists like Stiglitz, Krugman and Blanchflower are openly incredulous, why not listen to them?
    The issue is not borrowing or money, it is demand. Every action needs to be judged on whether it stimulates demand. There are billions held back by companies because they do see where the demand can come from. Do not rely on exports for growth. Stimulate regions, using Jacobs’ trading cities model. It is time to think about the Cambridge economists’ remedy of increasing the velocity of circulation of money – not QE.

  • Well, Matthew – perhaps in the referendum they were
    1 Voting against Clegg, because the No campaign had made him a focus because of “breaking his promises”, and that combined with
    2 the many natural supporters of the Tories and Labour who wish to persist with the idea that they can continue winning outright under FPTP, but more difficult under any alternative.
    If we had been in a different place, where we maintained public trust in us, then we could have appealed to more of those under 1, and with a better campaign we might have won. I think you are over pessimistic in saying that British people have a vioew that they want to keep a “distorted voting system”. I still find it very difficult to understand how you maintain your belief that there were (and are) no alternatives, and that, consequently, people who criticise the actions of the Lib Dem leadership at May 2010 are somehow misguided / playing into the hands of opponents etc. I think the Richard Grayson analysis of a hijack at that time is the most convincing story of what happened. IMO, we must look at our actions as a party at that time and leading up to 2010 if we are to put the party back to anything like viability. Sorry to veer off track on this thread.

    I note Peter Watson’s declaration of support for coalition in principle, and I feel the same – I even voted for it at the special Birmingham Conference. I did learn one hard lesson there, though. There were 8 or 9 amendments approved to the basic Yes / No to coalition – at least one if not two devoted to ensuring the Tuition Fee pledge was adhered to. The way I voted at the time was conditioned by the view I took that we had put sufficient safeguards in place to stop our parliamentarians veering off to the right. When I have looked at those amendments since, and compared with what has happened, I can see that I must have been extremely gullible.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Oct '12 - 10:24am

    Tim13

    Well, Matthew – perhaps in the referendum they were
    1 Voting against Clegg, because the No campaign had made him a focus because of “breaking his promises”,

    Yes, I know that is what many people though they were doing, I would have thought it fairly obvious that what I am really trying to point out is the disastrous consequences of that irrational behaviour. If the case for electoral reform, is to be revived – which I believe it has to be, urgently, because if not we WILL have a majority Conservative government in the near future even if Labour win next time – we have to demonstrate the case for it, and not let the result of the referendum be interpreted as closing the door forever on electoral reform.

    Let me repeat – the MAIN case the opponents of electoral reform made in the referendum was that the current electoral system is good because it over-represents the biggest party and under-represents third parties. It is PRECISELY that which has given us the government we have now. Therefore anyone who voted “No” in the referendum in anger at Clegg seeming weak was in effect voting in favour of the very thing they said they were opposed to. Talking to people like some of those writing here who say “I voted no because I don’t like what the coalition is doing” is like talking to people who say “I voted Conservative because I don’t like what the Conservatives stand for”. The logical consequence of what they are saying is that as coalitions are bad we should just have a government of whatever was the largest party, which in 2010 was the Conservatives. So the only logical attack they should be making on the Liberal Democrats is for resisting Conservative policy.

    I still find it very difficult to understand how you maintain your belief that there were (and are) no alternatives, and that, consequently, people who criticise the actions of the Lib Dem leadership at May 2010 are somehow misguided / playing into the hands of opponents etc.

    I am not saying there ARE no alternatives now. In fact my opinion at the time the coalition was formed was that we should have planned from then to pull the plug on it two or so years into it when people have come to see just what the modern Conservative Party is like. However, I do think any other arrangement made back in 2010 would have resulted in another general election, fought by both other parties on the line “eliminate the Liberal Democrats”, and the Tories would have engineered it to win a majority.

    I think the Richard Grayson analysis of a hijack at that time is the most convincing story of what happened. IMO, we must look at our actions as a party at that time and leading up to 2010 if we are to put the party back to anything like viability.

    That is not in contradiction to what I have been saying. The fine balance of Parliamentary seats which made a Conservative-LibDem coalition viable but a Labour-LibDem coalition not viable was not something than could be plotted in advance, and if Clegg really did throw the election at the end, so we ended it on a downward streak, which was a big contributing factor (though unspoken) for why sitting back and letting another one be called was not an option for us, well, he’s a much cleverer man than I suppose.

    Yes, I certainly believe the way our leadership has handled it since has been appallingly incompetent, and has shown there’s a small group at the top of our party who are deliberately using the situation to destroy it as we used to know it. Nick Clegg’s outgoing Director of Strategy more or less told us that in his New Statesman article on the eve of conference. But you don’t have to tell me that as if it’s a revelation – if you read what I have been writing in Liberal Democrat Voice since May 2010, you will see I have been saying it myself continuously.

    One of the points I am trying to get across is that if people from outside just keep on attacking all of us in the Liberal Democrats as if all of us support everything the leader is doing, as if all of us gave our agreement to the coalition with the conscious idea that we would dismiss all our policies and become just another form of Tory, they are actually making it much harder for those of us who want to pull the party back to where it used to be to make headway. If there was some support given to us inside the party when we try to push it to the left from people on the left outside, I think we could do it more effectively. But because there is no support, because whatever we do we are still written off as “you people have given up your principles and jumped into bed with the Tories”, people like Richard Reeves are able to get away with their line “We on the right of the party have won, there will never be a return to the old Liberal Democrats, and if you don’t like that, get out”.

  • Peter Watson 10th Oct '12 - 11:52am

    @jedibeeftrix
    Sorry about that – gerrymandering is too strong a term (and there is some truth in the arguments that the boundary reforms would lead to a fairer and cheaper House of Commons even if LD leaders have now changed their minds). I was clumsily trying to make the point that if the boundary reforms and 5 year fixed term parliaments had been introduced by a majority tory government they would have been vilified (by Labour and Lib Dems) for gerrymandering and being undemocratic, but the presence of Lib Dems in a coalition gave the changes more legitimacy than they might have deserved.

  • Matthew You may remember that one difference I had with you over the post May 2010 strategy was that there were alternatives. I am, of course, aware, that your view, which seems to be the majority view, is that we would have been thrashed in a second election called by a minority Tory Government, rather in the way that we lost a lot of support in the second election in 1974. NB In studying that period, of course, it could also be noted that the biggest thrashing we were given was in 1979, following the Lib Lab pact.

    Because I believe in something close to the Richard Grayson view, I am not sure how far I believe Nick Clegg’s line that the full gravity of the economic situation was not discovered till after the election. I think our leaders either by deliberate policy, or by a tragic mistake, did not take long enough to go through the angles of a coalition programme with the Tories, and didn’t negotiate hard enough with them. I still believe that a) the country generally would not have blamed us universally for trying, and then not finding enough joint position. In fact, looking at the effect on public opinion now, you might even say it would have strengthened our polling. I believe b) that Labour could have been brought back into the reckoning by patient work, using our moral strength at that time, NOT to form a coalition with the Lib Dems alone or as a rainbow coalition, but in a productive relationship with the Tories (again, probably not as a coalition). I believe the Tories as a minority did NOT have to be allowed to run away with their “destroy the public sector” agenda, and with Labour in the negotiation that could have been stopped. The question I would ask again is how far was that deliberate by the Lib Dem leadership / negotiating team, and how far a mistake?

    I fully agree with you on most other points, such as an exit strategy being needed etc.

    But I am afraid you just have to live with those who tribally, or for reasons of bias or lack of understanding, criticise “the Liberal Democrats”. Their views may be doing as you suggest, but my experience is that people can be persuaded by careful discussion etc. It is also understandable if you see political parties as sort of monoliths – and people see what we would call the Orange Bookers being largely unchallenged.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Oct '12 - 10:00pm

    Tim13, we may differ on whether there was a viable option other than forming the coalition, but I hope I have written enough, not just here but elsewhere to suggest it is possible to have accepted formation of the coalition for reasons other than almost all Labour Party people seem to be throwing at us – that it was a joyful jumping into bed together as if we had all planned it all along.

    I’m sorry that I have this stupid idea that one can somehow win people round by rational argument, but I still find the line “you jumped into bed with the Tories” to be irrational because it assumes the Liberal Democrats had other options which could easily have been taken and would have had very different outcomes. Are all Labour supporters really so innumerate that they are unable to add together the number of Labour and LibDem MPs and find it doesn’t make a majority, therefore the Liberal Democrats simply didn’t have the option of choosing a Labour-LibDem coalition instead?

    The really silly thing is that if the Liberal Democrats had spread themselves around a bit more, they may have won more votes but many fewer seats, as the Liberal-SDP alliance did in 1983. Well, then we’d have a majority Tory government despite the Tories having an even smaller share of the vote, and all those Labour people currently abusing us and saying we have a government with no mandate would be saying that’s all fine and well they won their mandate, as the majority Tory government elected with 33% or so of the vote introduces instant sacking on the spot, abolishes voting rights for poor people, tells teenagers they don’t need any welfare support as there’s plenty of job opportunities out there in the prostitution industry they could take to make money etc.

  • Matthew Huntbach 11th Oct '12 - 10:22am


    tells teenagers they don’t need any welfare support as there’s plenty of job opportunities out there in the prostitution industry

    If anyone thinks I am being gratuitously offensive here, what I have written IS how many people are forced to make money in those countries where there is no welfare state. When the government cuts benefits especially for young people saying “you can make money if you put your mind to it”, and Tory right-winger whoop and cheer to “low tax small state” ideologists at their conference who are in effect saying we should become like those countries which do not have a welfare state, it IS moving towards that direction.

  • Any time the conservatives propose an appalling idea such as the share idea for worker rights, there is a brief discussion before someone takes the thread away from discussion of the appalling ideas, and ends up with yet another diversion as to why the liberal democrats just had to go into coalition into with the Conservatives .

    Selling workers rights for potential and likely l worthless shares is a back door effort from the conservatives to eliminate workers rights for the contention that the only way to compete with the far east, is people having the same low conditions and pay. What ever happened to investment in high tech skills and education ?

    Are the Liberal Democrats going to oppose this ? What makes the liberal democrats different to the Conservatives ? Or maybe we can divert into how bad the last Labour government was to avoid discussing the issue.

    Coalition 2.0 ? Anybody ?

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