Tag Archives: david cameron

Cameron’s conference: Giveaway budgets are dead! Long live giveaway speeches!

David CameronPoliticians don’t do giveaway budgets any more. It seems just too blatant to ‘bribe’ voters a matter of weeks before an election. Instead politicians now do giveaway leaders’ speeches.

Nick Clegg pulled a policy rabbit out of the hat last year by finding a spare £500m a year for free school meals for infants.

And yesterday David Cameron pulled two policy rabbits out of his top hat by announcing tax-cuts for basic-rate taxpayers (extending the personal allowance to £12,500) and higher-rate taxpayers (raising the threshold at which it becomes payable to £50,000) over the course of the next parliament.

This Tory pledge to extend the personal allowance — we really can’t call it a tax-cut for low-earners any more: most of those who benefit come from better-off households — provoked lots of outrage from Lib Dems.

Some pointed out that this was our idea. Forgive me if I excuse myself from joining the chorus of “But we thought of it first!” Others pointed out that it was an unfunded promise. True, but so’s ours.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

Edward McMillan-Scott writes…Postscript: The Tory Conference – more Euro-sceptic than ever

Edward McMillan ScottIt was a poignant watching the Tory Conference at Birmingham’s ICC on TV. After all, it was there at our Spring Conference in March 2010 that I became a Liberal Democrat, only to find my new party in coalition with the Tories two months later!

I described that as the happiest day in my political life: ‘the Lib Dems have tamed the Tory extremists’ I wrote as the Coalition Agreement was published, especially on the EU and human rights.

My impression is that the Conservative Party has made absolutely no progress …

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A bit of a howler in the Tories’ press lines…

Sky News have managed to get hold of a Tory briefing document which gives its MPs and media spokespeople the messages they want to emerge from their Conference. It was drawn up in the wake of the Reckless defection and Newmark resignation. Things drawn up in haste can often cause more problems than they resolve and this is no exception. Take, for example, the bit where they say that they are not stating red lines in coalition negotiations before, er, stating one:

Q. Is policy X a red line for future coalition negotiations?

A. We’re not going to answer hypothetical questions about red lines for coalition negotiations. Our aim is to win an outright majority at the next election so we secure a better future for Britain and that’s what we’re working towards.

Q. But what about your Europe referendum? You’ve said that’s a red line?

A. As our commitment to have a referendum would have to be fulfilled by a specific date after the next election, we think it is right in this one instance to confirm it’s a red line.

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Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder on Lord Hill’s EU appointment: “A victory for British influence in Europe”

Catherine Bearder - Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0When David Cameron appointed Lord (Jonathan) Hill, an influential but anonymous Tory peer more used to operating in the background, the fear was he’d be sidelined by new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker – especially after David Cameron’s attempt to veto Juncker’s candidacy. The portfolio for paper-clips (or trombones as they’d be known in Brussels) or some such. But, as ITV News reports:

In fact he’s been given one of the big economic jobs, and perhaps the one best suited to a UK Commissioner: financial services. Given London’s dominance and the EU’s known desire to clamp-down on everything from bonuses to a Financial Transaction Tax, this could hardly be better. It has long been the UK’s view that financial services regulation is best, where possible, left to the domestic regulator, and we can expect Lord Hill to take policy very much in that direction.

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged , and | 53 Comments

What if… David Davis had won the Tory leadership contest in 2005?

Cameron and DavisWhat-ifs are, as Peter Snow would say, just a bit of fun: a counter-factual parlour game for historians. It is impossible to know exactly how one event ricocheting off in a different direction would have altered the subsequent reality.

This one does genuinely intrigue me, though: What if David Davis had won the Tory leadership contest in 2005, rather than David Cameron? Davis did, after all, begin as favourite. His disastrous 2005 party conference – a dud photo-op and a lacklustre speech – coupled with David “let sunshine win the day” Cameron’s triumph meant his second leadership attempt sank without trace. He was trounced 68%-32% in the all-member ballot that followed.

But what if he’d won? Would David Davis have been a more effective leader of the Tories than David Cameron has turned out to be?

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Dear Daily Telegraph, Enough already. It’s actually okay for MPs to claim 11p for a ruler.

The_Daily_TelegraphSo the Telegraph is back to its old tricks on expenses. Five years ago, the paper uncovered some serious abuses by MPs at the taxpayers’ expense – along the way, the paper was also (as I wrote at the time) “guilty of flaky fact-checking, unfair distortions and disgraceful smears”.

Yesterday the paper attempted, rather desperately, to re-live past glories by running the story, ‘MPs’ expenses: Ken Clarke bills taxpayer for 11p ruler’. It wasn’t just Ken who attracted the Telegraph’s ire though: ‘Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, was found to …

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Opinion: Britain is the mother of parliamentary democracy, yet on Friday its Prime Minister voted against it

cameron-europeFor political historians, the 27 June 2014 may go down in history as the day a British Prime Minister voted against parliamentary democracy. For that is what the Juncker nomination was really all about, and which many commentators in the UK fail to understand. Comments such as “two-faced EU leaders”, “Europeans fed up with the UK”, etc, as read in several articles this weekend, reveal a lack of understanding of the process that has been building up in the EU in the past two years.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 139 Comments

Antony Hook asks… Juncker nominated as next President of the European Commission – What happens next?

EU flagToday the European Council nominated Jean-Claude Juncker to be the next President of the European Commission. The heads of government of the 28 states voted overwhelmingly for Juncker. Only the UK’s David Cameron (European Conservatives and Reformists) and Hungary’s Viktor Orban (European People’s Party) voted against.

Juncker’s nomination reflects not only the European People’s Party’s status as largest group in the Parliament but also that it supplies more of the states’ heads of government than any other party. The Council’s nominee will go before the Parliament in its plenary, 14-17 …

photo by: rockcohen
Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , , , , and | 33 Comments

Phone hacking trial: Coulson found guilty, Cameron apologises

andy-coulsonThe long-awaited trial of David Cameron’s former director of communications, Andy Coulson, concluded today, with the jury finding him guilty of a charge of conspiracy to intercept voicemails as part of the phone-hacking scandal. All Coulson’s co-defendants, including former Sun and News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, were all found not guilty of various conspiracy charges.

It’s just over 7 years since Cameron appointed Coulson as the Conservatives’ communications director – we noted in May 2007 his connection to what became known as the phone hacking scandal but which back …

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David Cameron should make Nick Clegg end the Coalition, say Tory MPs

Nick Clegg and David CameronThat is the headline over at Huffington Post, and it certainly makes for fascinating reading. How about this:

Tory MP John Redwood said Cameron should deliberately antagonise his Liberal Democrat partners into leaving, and warned the prime minister that terminating the coalition early may not be ‘”wise” as he had “given his word” and “it’ll not look good if the leader of the main party was to end the coalition”.

“What should happen now is the Conservative majority in the government should start to press very strongly for two or three distinctively conservative policies, and if the Liberals really don’t like it, they could push to leave on the grounds that they wish to impede from the benches of opposition,” he said.

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++BREAKING: Antidisestablishmentarian Times and Telegraph reveal new danger posed by 150 year-old Liberal pledge for separation of Church and State

times tele disestablishmentIs there no actual news happening today? Sounds a stupid question. I mean, the US has accused Russia of deliberately destabilising Ukraine, affordability tests for new mortgages are going to be toughened, and the state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland has vetoed big bonuses for staff. All important, interesting stories.

Then I looked at today’s Times and Telegraph, both of which lead on whether the Church of England should remain the established state church.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s a diverting issue. A little over five years ago, …

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The Nigel Farage Paradox: the higher his public profile, the lower is public support to leave the EU

Nigel Farage

Here is the Nigel Farage paradox: the more that Ukip’s media profile, poll rating and party membership has grown over the last two years, the more that support for the party’s core mission – that Britain should leave the European Union – seems to have shrunk.

    Sunder Katwala, director of British Future (New Statesman, 3 April 2014)
Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 31 Comments

Fraser Nelson is wrong: Cameron’s supposed EU re-negotiation allies are set on a very different path

european union starsLike so many Eurosceptics, Fraser Nelson was at it again this morning in the Telegraph: taking a couple of things they heard from foreign politicians and adding it all up to make something that matches exactly what they want: less Brussels.

Nelson was continuing his theme from the Spectator a couple of weeks ago, describing a Northern Alliance Cameron had been building to reform the European Union in his image. There is one problem with all that: it simply is not true.

In the UK, the Dutch are …

photo by: notarim
Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 8 Comments

FT: “For nearly four years, Britain has been served reasonably well by multi-party government”

On Tuesday, it was reported that David Cameron wanted to rule out the possibility of a second Lib-Con coalition in the event of another hung parliament. This tit was matched by an equivalent tat from the left, when Unite leader Len Mclusky urged Labour to do the same.

Today’s Financial Times leader attempts to inject a dose of reality into this anti-coalition arms race:

All this chest-beating has stirred Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem deputy prime minister, whose party can only govern with others, to denounce “tribal voices”. And he is right to do so. This should not

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LibLink: Stephen Tall: What Clegg was really up to last week

In his regular Conservative Home column, Liberal Democrat Voice co-editor Stephen Tall looked at the rationale behind two things that Nick Clegg had done last week, the debate challenge to Farage and his comments on Steve Richards’ programme which were interpreted as showing willing for a coalition with Labour.

So what does Stephen think it’s all about. Firstly, about getting the best deal in 2015 if there’s another hung Parliament:

In part, he’s preparing the ground for what may be. In part, he’s reaching out to those 2010 Lib Dem voters who’ve peeled off to Labour. And in part, he’s laying down

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

Cameron to “rule out second Lib-Con coalition” claims Telegraph. It may be a bluff but that doesn’t mean he won’t be forced to do it.

Today’s Telegraph splashes on the claim that David Cameron is preparing to rule out the possibility of a second Coalition with the Lib Dems if the Tories are the largest single party but lack a majority:

The Prime Minister wants to make a commitment in the Conservative Party election manifesto not to sign a second power-sharing deal with a smaller party in the event of a hung parliament next May, it is understood. Instead, a Conservative party that won the most seats but lacked a Commons majority would attempt to rule as a minority government, a course that would almost

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Clash of the Cabinets: A wasted opportunity

I’m feeling a bit disgruntled today. My two governments are in the news. The Scottish and UK Cabinets have set up rival camps, glowering at each other with the City of Aberdeen providing an unwitting No Man’s Land.

How very different it could have been.

Given that these governments share responsibility in really important areas like employment, climate change, transport and energy, I think it would have been so constructive if they’d been able to organise a joint session to discuss these issues. Youth unemployment, for example,  is a significant issue north of the border and it’s something that both governments are …

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Opinion: Nick, Nigel and the Hokey Cokey party

In common with many Lib Dem activists I have ambivalent feeling about Nick Clegg. I don’t feel that there is a strong case to either say that that no good had come from the coalition or from his leadership, or alternatively that it’s all been peachy. In my view it’s actually a case of what you think the balance has been between successes and disappointments, a debate where I sit roughly in the middle.

However Nick’s latest move – challenging Nigel Farage to a public debate on Europe – has my unbridled admiration, both morally and politically. Morally not only because …

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Opinion: David Cameron – the Conservative Party’s answer to Harold Wilson

More and more, David Cameron reminds me of Harold Wilson.

Both became leaders of their party when a sequence of election defeats forced change upon it. Both briefly were the young leader with a new purpose for their political tradition; the white heat of technology in the 20th century, huskies in the 21st.

Both struggled to win over the public, with neither getting an overall majority at their first attempt. Both turned out to be heavily beholden to their party’s traditional, backward-looking wing.

Wilson’s opportunities to be a dominating figure who reshaped society and rejuvenated the economy were wrecked on the Labour …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 18 Comments

Marriage tax breaks: Lib Dem members oppose Conservative plans by 62% to 22%

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’ve been publishing the full results.

(There were a couple of results I ran out of time to publish during the Christmas holiday period – I’ll be publishing them this week.)

Lib Dems oppose married couple tax-breaks by 62% to 22%

The tax break for married couples and civil partners was a Conservative election pledge that has lain dormant during Coalition. Not because of Lib …

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Opinion: Postcard from a British immigrant in Poland

As a Briton living and working in Poland I am ashamed of the small-mindedness David Cameron is encouraging in Britain by attacking Polish immigrants and insinuating that they are nothing but benefit scroungers. It is doing great damage to our image here and cutting deep into the trust and respect between our peoples.

I am a guest in this country, an economic migrant if you will. Since coming here to Warsaw in 2010 no one has ever uttered even the mildest criticism of my taking up the opportunity to work here (at an international college of European studies). Far from it …

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Immigration: 87% of Lib Dem members back free movement of EU people; but 65% also support benefit restrictions for EU migrants

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.

87% of Lib Dems support the free movement of EU citizens

Overall, do you support or oppose the right of people in EU countries to live and work wherever they want?

    87% – Support
    6% – Oppose
    1% – Don’t know
    5% – Other

An overwhelming proportion (87%) of Lib Dem members support the right of …

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged and | 23 Comments

Telegraph: Clegg and Cameron have to intervene in “daily” Coalition rows

The Telegraph has a story today that is rather perplexingly filed under “news” but seems like a summary of what we knew already.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg spend a “disproportionate” amount of their time attempting to resolve rows in the Home Office and Department for Education, in particular, sources said.

Disagreements have also affected policy-making inside the Department for Energy and Climate Change, while rows between Lib Dem and Tory ministers from different departments are a frequent feature of government life, sources said.

The difference in tone between the two sources quoted is interesting. The Tory source is snarky as anything:

It’s

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The battle for pensioners’ votes begins with Cameron on Liberal Democrat turf

The latest Ashcroft polling shows that the Conservatives have a long way to go to be within a shout of victory, with 37% of those who voted Tory saying at the moment that they would not do so if there were an election tomorrow. It’s hardly surprising, then, that David Cameron kicks off the next stage in the 2015 election campaign, in an interview with today’s Sunday Times (£), by pledging to stick to one of the Coalition’s most successful policies through another Parliament.

The Tories have previous for trying to claim the credit for a Liberal Democrat policy. Last …

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Revealed: What Lib Dem members think of Ed Miliband and David Cameron

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.

Cameron still leading as Miliband recovers (a bit) among Lib Dems

We’ve been asking this question for over two years, and over the past year there has been quite a change in fortunes (and back again) for the two party leaders, as this graph illustrates:

cam mili member ratings - dec 2013Continue reading »

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Better in Cameron’s Black Book than on the Statute Book

“The Lib Dems have held us back, says Cameron” screams today’s Daily Mail headline. Yes, it’s the Prime Minister showing that he can play the differentiation game too.

If there’s one thing that David Cameron and Nick Clegg can agree on, it’s that the Liberal Democrats and the Tories have divergent views on many issues. Both will take every opportunity to point that out to anyone who will listen.

The Daily Mail quotes Cameron’s interview with the Spectator in which he says that Nick Clegg has stopped him doing all sorts of things he would love to do. None of this is …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

“Nick Clegg is an idle f*****r says David Cameron”

clegg-cameron_different_directionsThe Mirror’s headline promised Coalition discord and rancour. The reality was a lot less interesting – a joke by the Tory leader as his Lib Dem counterpart enjoyed dinner with his wife. Here is that racy anecdote in all its “foul-mouthed” glory:

The PM’s foul-mouthed remark came as he heard the Lib Dem leader and his wife were enjoying a meal out – while he was still busy working. He made the discovery after calling a horse-training pal who happened to be in the same restaurant as the Cleggs.

Mr Cameron

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John Major: Class warrior

Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major is back in the news today condemning the stranglehold on power and influence enjoyed by the elite:

In every single sphere of British influence, the upper echelons of power in 2013 are held overwhelmingly by the privately educated or the affluent middle class. To me from my background, I find that truly shocking.

This follows his unexpected intervention in the energy debate calling for a windfall tax on energy companies. In both cases Major seems to be taking on the role of Cameron’s One Nation conscience, speaking up for people in modest …

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YouGov: Nick edges Vince on economic trust

Which politician (or combination of politicians) would the public most trust to run the British economy? That’s the question YouGov asked, and here are results courtesy the PLMR blog:

economic trust

Overall David Cameron has the single best economic trust figure (35%) followed by Ed Miliband (30%). As you might expect this breaks broadly on party lines: 91% of Tory voters trust their party’s leader; 76% of Labour’s trust theirs. The current Coalition partnership – Cameron and Clegg – are trusted by 29%, with Tories less enthusiastic and Labour supporters overwhelmingly hostile.

Intriguingly …

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Danny Alexander MP writes… This is the Liberal Democrats’ policy and everybody knows it

The Conservatives may claim to be the party of hardworking people. But the same cannot be said for their policy wonks. According to today’s Financial Times, the Conservatives are apparently considering a proposal for their manifesto to increase the personal allowance to £12,500. An almost identical idea to our own policy of raising the personal allowance to the minimum wage that we first passed in our spring conference of 2012 and reaffirmed just one month ago at our Autumn conference in Glasgow. Once again, it is the Liberal Democrats who are shaping the future of the British tax system.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 38 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 23rd Oct - 8:46pm
    My thoughts are: 1. We don't talk enough about people at the sharp end of climate change. So this is welcome. Extreme weather also seems...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 23rd Oct - 8:18pm
    Good article Martin. Sorry for the late response. It is easy to procrastinate when exploring new topics. Yes, all violence against children needs to be...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 23rd Oct - 8:16pm
    It was possible for England to abolish the House of Lords in its entirety in 1649. It is bizarre that more than 365 years later,...
  • User AvatarHywel 23rd Oct - 8:14pm
    The NHS needs an extra £8bn a year according to the five year plan. The Lib Dems are proposing an extra £1bn of which £500m...
  • User AvatarElizabeth Patterson 23rd Oct - 8:13pm
    Norman, re-obesity, unhealthy diet etc. In my day, a long time ago, before the NHS, we had a way of discreet ly monitoring children's health...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 23rd Oct - 8:12pm
    Rosa, this was actually written long before the awful incident in Canada, just published afterwards.