Tag Archives: alistair darling

Pack & Tall Debate… What’s the Lib Dem economic narrative now?

In the week of the Chancellor’s autumn statement, LibDemVoice co-editors Mark Pack and Stephen Tall debate what it all means for the Lib Dems…

Stephen Tall: So we now all know the painful financial reality. With growth forecasts revised down by the Chancellor in his autumn statement, austerity is here to stay.

Both Lib Dems and Tories had hoped and expected that three years of painful cutbacks would be followed by a year or two of pre-election giveaways — the Lib Dems would press for a balanced mix of increased public spending …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 30 Comments

Opinion: Green light for Light Rail

Six years ago amid a huge amount of controversy, the then Transport Secretary Alistair Darling announced the scraping of several “tram schemes” designed to serve Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Hampshire. In doing so he effectively scrapped plans outlined by the then Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott for a network of 30 Light Rail schemes to serve our major conurbations. The reason – escalating costs.

Light Rail was deemed too expensive in this country compared to costs on the continent.

Despite a subsequent report from the Transport Select Committee on what could be done to reduce costs little was done by the Department …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

PMQs: Tim Farron asks “Question of the week” – Ed Balls signals four runs

In my ever-earnest toil to prepare this review, this week I have been reviewing web sites which explain cricket umpire signals. I also checked the umpire signals for netball, American football and baseball.

There is no doubt about it. Ed Balls was signalling a four at Prime Ministers’ Questions. His hand was a bit lower than normal, but it would pass to signal a boundary at Morley Cricket Club.

For a change, I’m going to stand this review on its head this week and concentrate on questions from backbenchers, starting with Liberal Democrats.

Question of the week came from Tim Farron:

The world population

Posted in Parliament and PMQs | Also tagged , , , and | 3 Comments

Vince Cable does gloom

The public’s attitude towards gloomy politicians is a curious one: only too happy to mock politicians who only talk up the positive but also frequently going off politicians who talk up the negatives. It happens across all parties, as we saw in the last Parliament where both Alistair Darling and George Osborne tried talking gloomily about the country’s economic difficulties and, far from being met by public support for their frankness, saw widespread criticism and slipping poll ratings. Journalists may love knocking politicians for not having been gloomier during the 2010 general election, but all the nearly all the signs …

Posted in Conference | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Alan Johnson – “an instinctive cutter”

Given how I’ve previously pointed out that Yes, ministers can disagree and the world doesn’t end, it would be wrong to shout “splits! splits!” at what is going on in the Labour Party over economic policy. The latest disagreements between leader Ed Miliband and Shadow Chancellor Alan Johnson do however highlight just how much work Labour has to do to work out its economic policy.

As John Rentoul has pointed out:

Johnson made clear to Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson that he did not share his leader’s enthusiasm for making the 50p-in-the-pound top income-tax rate permanent: “I am only

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

Opinion: a broken pledge, but we knew how bad it was back in March

Sorry Nick. Sorry Vince, I can’t find the figures that back you up

Both Nick and Vince have claimed that there was no option but to reverse their pledges on tuition fees. The public sector finances were in a far worse state than they expected and they had no option.

That would be a justification that would be just about sellable to people. A promise made in good faith which became unsustainable due to information not known about at the time could be legitimately broken.

The problem is, I can’t really find much that backs that claim up.

My starting point …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 54 Comments

How the media loves mixed messages (when they suit their own message)

‘Conservative spending cuts are worse than Thatcher’s, says Alan Johnson’ shouts today’s Observer, reporting the paper’s interview with Labour’s incoming shadow chancellor.

If the election had turned out differently — if Labour had won, rather than suffering one of the worst defeats in its history — the headline could have read a little different… Imagine this headline:

    Alistair Darling: we will cut deeper than Margaret Thatcher

But wait, we don’t have to imagine that headline: it already exists, and was used by the Observer’s stablemate The Guardian back in March when reporting the then Labour chancellor’s realistic appraisal of the …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 13 Comments
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