Tag Archives: Danny Alexander

Danny Alexander: More people in work than ever before, earnings now rising in line with prices

speech danny alexander 6Two pieces of good economic news today, as the BBC reports:

UK unemployment falls to five-year low of 2.2m

The number of people out of work in the UK has fallen by 77,000 to a five-year low of 2.24m in the three months to February, official figures indicate. The unemployment rate now stands at 6.9% of the adult working population, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

After six years, wages finally overtake inflation

After nearly six years of falling real wages, weekly earnings have finally edged above inflation. Weekly wages, including bonuses, rose by 1.7% in the year to February, up from 1.4% in January, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Earlier this week, inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), fell to 1.6%. It is the first time that earnings have been higher than inflation for six years, apart from two months in 2010.

Here’s what the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander had to say:

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Danny Alexander tells Bloomberg of Liberal Democrat contribution to fair recovery and plans for Mansion Tax

Danny Alexander by Paul WalterDanny Alexander gave a big speech at Bloomberg this morning. Interestingly, he mentioned several times that he was from the Highlands and credited his upbringing in a small community with forming his commitment to fairness and managing resources wisely.

It was a wide-ranging speech, which looked back at the almost four years since he entered the Treasury. He said that some of the detail of getting to grips with the economic crisis would have to wait for his memoirs which he hoped would be “some way off”.  His main theme was that the Liberal Democrats were, uniquely, capable of managing the economy fairly. It was another variation of the “stronger economy, fairer society” melody.

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Danny, please listen to Charles Kennedy before you write about the Independence Referendum again

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TDanny Alexander’s article on the Independence Referendum in yesterday’s Sunday Times (£) was, for me, a frustrating read. If I’m honest, it was actually like nails being dragged down a blackboard.  Full of language like damaging, devastating and divorce, t is absolutely not what we need at this stage of the campaign. He even brought in the spectre of not being able to sustain the NHS in an independent Scotland. 

A poll published in yesterday’s Scotland on Sunday

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Independent: “Lib Dems fall out over who should take on George Osborne in election debate”

Cable alexander clegg some rights reserved by liberal democratsStephen Tall’s article here yesterday – Without a shadow of a doubt: Vince Cable should be the Lib Dems’ Shadow Chancellor at the 2015 election – has been picked up by today’s Independent:

As the minority coalition partner, the Lib Dems do not have a shadow chancellor. Nick Clegg must choose between the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, and the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, who represented the Lib Dems in the 2010 debate.

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Without a shadow of a doubt: Vince Cable should be the Lib Dems’ Shadow Chancellor at the 2015 election

Vincent CableOne of the quirks of being in coalition is the Lib Dems no longer have a shadow chancellor. But we shall need one in time for the 2015 general election – not least for the traditional televised ‘Ask the Chancellors’ debate.

There have been newspaper reports that there’s some jockeying for this position, with the Financial Times reporting that “Senior Lib Dems say the high-profile job is very likely to go to Danny Alexander, the Treasury chief secretary”.

Meanwhile, over at the New Statesman, Lib Dem blogger Richard Morris …

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Independent: Liberal Democrats’ “major and under-rated contribution” to Budget success

Budget 2010 photocallYesterday’s Independent editorial had some very complimentary things to say about the Liberal Democrats’ influence on the Budget:

It is widely said that George Osborne had a decent Budget this week, aided in no small part by Ed Miliband’s curiously weak response. But the Liberal Democrats, as has frequently been the case during this parliament, made a major and underrated contribution to its success.

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“I thought it was a spoof” Danny Alexander on Shapps’ “patronising” Bingo tweet

Proof, as if we needed it, that Liberal Democrat and Tory mindsets are very different can be seen from Danny Alexander’s reaction to Grant Shapps’ “Bingo”poster.

 

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LibLink: Danny Alexander: Get real, Lord Lawson, it’s the low paid who need our help

Danny Alexander by Paul WalterLinking to the Daily Mail usually brings me out in hives, but there are occasions when it’s ok. Danny Alexander taking down Lord Lawson for suggesting that further tax cuts should be focused on higher earners is one such case.

In today’s paper he starts by reminding people that it was a Liberal Democrat priority to cut taxes for the lowest earners. He missed a trick by reminding people where Tory hearts lay – an inheritance tax cut for the rich, but that’s by the by.

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Danny Alexander’s speech to Lib Dem conference. (AKA: we need to move beyond lists of achievements.)

If you missed it yesterday, you can catch up on Danny Alexander’s speech to the Lib Dem spring conference below. Listening to it, and trying to gauge the reaction of the audience of fellow Lib Dems, a couple of things struck me.

First, Danny has definitely improved as a public speaker. After almost four years in the cabinet as chief secretary to the treasury, he’s much more confident. Perhaps his best line yesterday was when he fended off Tory attempts to steal the credit for the Lib Dems’ tax-cuts for low-earners by saying, “There’s a big difference between doing something because you have to and doing something because you want to. They had to because we wanted to.”

Secondly, that improvement in Danny’s speaking only goes so far. Too much of the speech sounded like read-out versions of the e-mailed lists of Lib Dem achievements party members regularly receive. That’s fine in an email and we all need to have some handy facts to back up our doorstep conversations. But a speech needs also to tell a story, to engage. Can’t say Danny’s did it for me. Am I being too harsh? Well, judge for yourselves below…

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What the media say about the York Conference, part 2

The Observer carries two major stories about the conference today.  They comment on the key messages in Nick Clegg’s Q&A yesterday afternoon under the headline: Lib Dem conference: stuck in the middle – but with whom?:

It is really quite difficult being a Lib Dem these days. In pre-government times, when they were merely the protest party, they could say almost anything that would get them votes. Now, after several years of enjoying power and wanting more, it is all about positioning between two polar opposites while trying at the same time not to lose the party’s own identity.

But in an article headed Northern Lib Dems rebel over cuts the Observer reports that a group of eight Northern Lib Dem MPs, including Tim Farron,  have handed Nick Clegg a document titled ‘Grim up North?’

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Julia Goldsworthy re-selected as Lib Dem candidate for Camborne and Redruth, quits as Danny Alexander’s SpAd

julia-goldsworthyCongratulations to Julia Goldsworthy, selected last Friday to fight what is, on paper at any rate, the Lib Dems’ top target in the 2015 general election: Camborne and Redruth. This was the seat which Julia, who had been the party’s shadow chief secretary to the treasury, lost by just 66 votes to the Tories in 2010. Julia, who became special adviser to Danny Alexander at the Treasury shortly after her defeat, has resigned her post to focus on the campaign.

Camborne and Redruth was one of the eight Conservative-held marginal seats …

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Nick Clegg announces 2015 negotiating team

Nick Clegg has announced the team who will handle coalition negotiations after the election in 2015 (if needed, of course).  It will consist of Danny Alexander, Steve Webb, Sal Brinton, Lynne Featherstone and David Laws.

In his book ‘22 days in May‘ David Laws revealed that Nick Clegg had appointed the 2010 negotiating team in secret during the previous year. The team was not put together in haste after the election, as many had assumed, so there were really no excuses for the absence of women. Politically David Laws and Danny Alexander were drawn from the economic liberal wing of …

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Can everyone please just play nice? Briefing against other Liberal Democrats and insulting party activists is never going to help.

carmichael and teddy bearWe’ve had some pretty strange and random articles appearing all over the place about who might replace Nick Clegg. The least strange and random was of course this by my co-editor Stephen Tall.

People who know Graeme Littlejohn have generally been laughing their heads off at the notion that he’s been brought in as Danny Alexander’s Head of Office as some Machiavelli who’s going to win him the leadership. That’s been in a couple of papers now and I’m just wondering who on earth is spreading this stuff. Actually, I do have some ideas, but these are better kept to myself for the time being.

Yesterday, it was the turn of Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael to get the Leadership Speculation Treatment, by Thomas Byrne over at the New Statesman.:

Carmichael has managed to avoid falling prey to the left/right divide emerging more clearly in the party as it gets used to power. “He could be a compromise candidate… post-coalition we need someone to hold the party together. Alistair might be the guy,” one Lib Dem told me. As chief whip for the Lib Dems before becoming Scottish Secretary, he will know where the bodies are buried. Not only did this position make building a relationship with all the MPs in the party compulsory, it also meant he commanded their respect. Don’t mess with Carmichael.

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LibLink: Danny Alexander: Scotland can’t go it alone and keep the pound. That’s not bullying, it’s reality

Danny Alexander has taken to the pages of this week’s Mail on Sunday to write about the Scottish independence referendum.

He tackled the hostile reaction from some nationalists to David Bowie’s entreaty at the Brits. “Scotland, stay with us.” said the rock legend.

David Bowie’s call sparked strong reactions on both sides of an ever more passionate debate. He was attacked for being a ‘celebrity’, being English and not living in the UK.
And why shouldn’t a ‘celebrity’ have a view and express it? Why shouldn’t an Englishwoman have a view on  an issue that will change the country she lives in, too?

Come

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Who’s afraid of Scottish independence?

Saltire - St Andrews Flag - Scotland - Some rights reserved by byronv2The last month has seen the ‘Yes Scotland’ independence campaign take a battering.

First, Mark Carney raised doubts about Alex Salmond’s plans for a post-independence currency union between Scotland and the remainder of the UK.

This warning was echoed when, with more naked partisanship, George Osborne, Danny Alexander and Ed Balls teamed up to state they would each refuse to form such a currency union.

And then last Sunday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hammered in

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Danny Alexander speaks out about use of police horses in Inverness

As a native of the peaceable Highland capital, I was quite shocked to see the words “police horses” and “Inverness” in the same sentence. Why on earth would there be any need to employ such an expensive resource, normally associated with serious trouble? It’s not as if they were even taken from a stable down the road. The animals were transported 200 miles from Ayrshire for a pre-Christmas show of police strength. They were even used to police the Inverness Caledonian Thistle game on the Saturday afternoon. I cannot imagine, as someone who goes to Caley games when I …

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Danny Alexander on porn, always wearing the same tie, Scottish independence and Lib Dem achievements in Government

photoDanny Alexander was in relaxed form on last night’s The Agenda programme on ITV. Host Tom Bradby had a bit of a gentle go at him for always wearing the same tie, showing numerous photographs to back up the claim. It was the very tie that Danny had on. He was able to completely disarm Bradby by saying that his 6 year old daughter chose it so he likes to wear it a lot.

By far the funniest moment was the look on his face, pictured above, when fellow panellist Germaine Greer …

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Après Nick: which Lib Dem MPs are best-placed to become the next Lib Dem leader?

Today’s Independent has an interesting story speculating on the Lib Dem leadership contest to come if the 2015 election result triggers Nick Clegg’s resignation. It’s one of the features of this parliament – perhaps linked to it being a fixed-term in which we know the dates are all known – that there hasn’t been nearly as much gossip about future leadership bids in any of the three main parties.

Anyway, the Indy story seeks to make up a little for that absence: Nick Clegg’s rivals for the Lib Dems leadership told to rev up. The premise of the article …

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Danny Alexander’s photograph used in US scam

Danny Alexander’s photograph has been used by a con-man as a device to extract money from an American woman.  From the Independent:

Francis Rains received a phone call last September telling her she had won $2.5m and a Mercedes-Benz.  A man called her a couple of days later, apparently from a Jamaican number, saying she needed to send money to pay off the tax on her prizes.

In order to convince her to send the money, he sent her a picture of ‘himself’. The picture he sent was a smiling picture of Chief secretary to the Treasury,Danny Alexander.

Two other people,

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Danny Alexander: currency union would create unacceptable risks for Scotland and the UK

Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander, released the following statement commenting on the Treasury’s analysis of a proposed currency union were Scotland to vote for independence:

Today the Treasury has published further analysis of the SNP’s proposed currency union in the event of Scotland voting for separation.

This analysis is crystal clear – a currency union would create unacceptable risks both for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

For Scotland separation would already be the riskiest and most uncertain step our country has ever taken. To take that step and then give up control over interest rates, exchange

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Fraser Nelson’s must-read guide to utterly and completely misunderstanding the Lib Dems’ Coalition strategy

Fraser Nelson has written a must-read guide to utterly and completely misunderstanding the Lib Dems’ Coalition strategy today. My guess is he’s reliant on Tory intelligence, which in this case is an oxymoron.

Much of it is the usual half-fair/half-unfair admixture of insults regularly thrown at the Lib Dems by the right-wing media. We are, says Fraser, “a hodge-podge of a party defined by its lack of definition”, “conservative in Somerset and socialist in Solihull” (has he met Lorely Burt?). Unlike the Conservatives, of course, where the small-l-liberal outlook of Ken Clarke and Nick Boles dovetails perfectly with the …

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Higher-rate tax and Danny Alexander’s time-limited dead body

This was the couldn’t-be-clearer headline in the Mirror today, atop an interview with Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander:

danny alexander mirror headline

Defiant Danny Alexander today opened up a fresh rift within the Coalition Government by vowing to block Tory plans for yet another tax cut for the rich. … His comments will enrage Conservative MPs who are pushing to slash the rate from 45p ahead of next year’s General Election. It comes just days after David Cameron refused, on three occasions, to rule out cutting tax. But

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Lib Dems accuse Danny Alexander of ‘going native’

According to the Independent, members of the Social Liberal Forum have challenged Danny Alexander over ‘straying beyond party policy’ by outlining proposals to maintain the squeeze on spending throughout the next Parliament.

Under the heading “Lib Dems accuse Danny Alexander of ‘going native’ at the Treasury as he backs George Osborne’s plans for more spending cuts” Andrew Grice reports that:

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Spring 2014 Conference Agenda now online

The Conference Agenda has been finalised and is now available online.

The agenda features a variety of debates including one on a Digital Bill of Rights on Making Migration Work for Britain.

There will also be speeches by Jenny Willott MP and Danny Alexander MP. Nick Clegg will do a Leader’s Q&A on Saturday 8 March at 15:05 and you can submit concise questions (up to 25 words) on any topic up until 12:40 on 8 March at the Speakers’ Table in the auditorium or by email ([email protected]) before 17:00 on Thursday 6 March.

Every motion in the agenda is open to …

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Danny Alexander: Labour will deliver less for working people than Liberal Democrats

So, Ed Balls has been laying out his vision for the economy. A surplus by 2020? Really? From Labour? They seem to be trying to make out that they can be trusted with our purse strings after all, despite all the evidence to the contrary that we’ve seen any time they’ve been in government in my lifetime.

The measure getting all the headlines is the fact that they are going to restore the 50p tax rate that was in place for all of a month of their 13 year term in office. It’s worth remembering that their top rate of …

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LDVideo: Danny Alexander explains decision to guarantee all UK debt up until Independence

It’s slightly annoying that the announcement by the Treasury pledging to honour all UK debt up till the date of Independence was made on the same day as Alistair Carmichael’s first keynote speech of the New Year, but there was little choice given ill-advised threats last week that an independent Scotland would default on its debts if it didn’t get its way on using the pound as part of a currency union. The markets were spooked. The Treasury had to act.

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LibLink: Danny Alexander – “Every day the Coalition continues is a day Britain’s economy gets stronger”

Over in the Telegraph, Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander has welcomed the start of 2014 by highlighting the ways the Coalition is helping individuals and businesses to help get the economy growing fir everyone. Here’s an exerpt:

There is a lot more work to be done, but the recovery wouldn’t be happening without the Liberal Democrats. Every day the Coalition continues its work is a day that Britain’s economy gets stronger.

For the first time there are more than 30 million people in work and unemployment is at its lowest level since April 2009. It is those hard-working

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‘Help to Buy’: 61% of Lib Dem members oppose Government’s cheap mortgage scheme

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Party members reject ‘Help to Buy’ by 61% to 27%

Do you support or oppose providing a government guarantee to encourage banks to offer 95% mortgages to homebuyers, available for homes costing up to £600,000?

    5% – Strongly Support
    22% – Support
    Total support = 27%
    9% – Neither support nor oppose
    34% –

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MPs condemn MPs’ pay rise

MPs of all sides are objecting to IPSA proposals to increase their pay by 11%, alongside some less-reported minor cuts to expenses and a move to a career-average pension scheme, that make the whole package, we are told, cost-neutral.

Danny Alexander has called the rise “wholly inappropriate”:

I think most people will find it utterly incomprehensible that a time of pay restraint for the public sector and further squeezes on Government spending that IPSA should be recommending . I think it would be wholly inappropriate to get such a large pay rise when every other public sector worker sees pay

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Danny Alexander earns a reprieve after strong performance on Andrew Marr

Danny Alexander went on the Andrew Marr Show this morning to talk about the Autumn Statement and the Liberal Democrats’ contribution to the economic recovery.  If I had to pull him up on anything, it’s not getting in any mention of shared parental leave. No Liberal Democrat interview should be complete without it. It ticks all the stronger economy, fairer society, enabling people to get on in life boxes and is one of the best practical demonstrations of  Liberal Democrat values in action that we’ve delivered in government.

He said that the proposed MPs’ pay rise would be wholly inappropriate when there’s pay restraint in other areas of the public sector.

In terms of differentiation from the Tories, he said that Liberal Democrats wanted more taxes on the wealthy, opposed what he called the tax penalty for unmarried people and opposed the removal of housing benefit from young people, which we had stopped in this Parliament.

He also confirmed that free school meals for younger children was a permanent commitment and reports that it was unfunded after 2015 were not true. He said the money was there but the work had not yet been done to allocate them to individual departments.

I’ve done a quick Storify which covers the main points of the interview.

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    "Don’t you believe in balance and a diversity of views? " Yes, I do indeed! I believe we are stronger for our diversity and for...
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    @David Pollard I'd be all for teaching a little mythology and classical studies. Studying Gilgamesh, Deucalion and Genesis in parallel, for example, is a popular...
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    It was interesting (and slightly surprising) to see widespread media coverage for a report from Princeton that labelled the USA as an oligarchy rather than...
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    Certainly RE should be included in a civic minded curriculum. The question isn't religious education, the question religious selection in education. This can inculcate social...
  • User AvatarRadical Liberal 19th Apr - 10:01pm
    'Indeed. So do we really need another one in a position of power and influence?' Don't you believe in balance and a diversity of views?...