Author Archives: John Knox

The road to redemption – a Lib Dem manifesto

With a new leader comes a new beginning.  Here are some thoughts.  Liberal Democrats need to make a more positive case for staying in the European Union and address the fears of those who backed Brexit.  We should argue for a real end to “austerity” which involves being honest about the government borrowing more and taxing more.  We need to make the polluters pay for the damage they are causing to the environment. And we should re-invigorate local government, and local services, by returning to a realistic level of council tax.

Yes, some of these suggestions will be unpopular but it is better to be unpopular and right than to be popular and wrong.  Let’s just be brave. We were brave over a second EU referendum and now it’s a widely held position and may even come to pass.

On Brexit, we should be trying to bring the country together again after the shambles of the last three years.  Immigration is clearly a worry for many English cities.  European regulation is resented by many businesses.  Some European court rulings are hard to take.  People fear a Federation of Europe dominated by a corrupt elite.  We need to address these concerns by saying: of course Europe is not perfect but we can reform it from within. There are other countries in Europe who feel the same way.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 22 Comments

New thinking on job creation

 

One of the big challenges of our time is to provide work for all those who need it, work which is useful, fulfilling and which pays enough to live on. And although the British economy is creating around half a million jobs (net) a year, many of them do not satisfy those simple criterion.

The need for good quality jobs will increase as the population increases and working careers get longer, yet hardly anyone is thinking about where these jobs are to come from.  Government departments, unions and think-tanks tend to concentrate on where jobs have been created in the past or predicting where they may come in the future, or on skills training or how to improve conditions for those already in work. The private sector seems to regard jobs as a by-product, a necessary evil in the process of making a profit, and in the public sector the government wants to cut as many jobs as possible to save tax-payers’ money.  No one is actively looking at areas where new and worthwhile jobs can be created and how to do it.

Let me be bold and suggest six sectors where this might be done, in what I call the “infinite industries” ie where there is no limit to the amount of production that can be done: education, health, energy, environment, sport and the arts.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 27 Comments

What the Scottish Liberal Democrats should be saying in 2016

The Liberal Democrat manifesto for the Scottish elections this spring needs to be a cracker or we will not be noticed, even by the 5 per cent of voters who are thinking of supporting us.  So let me suggest a list of radical ideas.

First, we should be arguing for a 3p rise in income tax to raise around £1bn for public services.  Just about every day there is an example of our schools, colleges, health and care services, social work departments, police and fire brigades, libraries, sports fields etc. being short of money.  And George Osborne is only half way through his austerity programme.  This constant cutting has to end and we should be honest with people and say we all need to pay more in tax to halt this drastic decline in our public services. And while on the subject of income tax, we should say that from next year onwards (when Scotland gets its new powers) those earning over £60,000 a year should pay income tax at 50 per cent, so raising another £100m for public services.

Of course, extra funding should not be pumped into these public services without constant reform. The funding should be targeted….on struggling schools, poor communities, on preventive medicine not expensive treatments for the very old.     

Posted in News | Tagged and | 19 Comments

Opinion: Going it alone

BRITAIN POLITICS UK ELECTION CAMERON BECOMES PMAs the new year dawns there’s much press speculation about when the Liberal Democrats are going to cut and run from the Coalition and start campaigning for the next election.  At some point, of course, we are going to have to do this but having given an undertaking that we would work with the Tories for five years, that point I think should be quite late. But what we can do now is much more exciting.

We should declare that at the end of this coalition we shall not be entering into any further coalitions, either with the Tories or with Labour.  And we should do this as soon as possible.   We need to end this single-question politics of which way will the Liberal Democrats jump after the next election.  This would allow us to get on with explaining our policies and winning back our support.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 59 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 23rd Aug - 11:04am
    A letter from Laura Gordon's campaign, received yesterday, said that she is "doing the job of an MP because Labour didn't even check their candidate...
  • User AvatarSteve Trevethan 23rd Aug - 10:59am
    Apologies! The complete conclusion of my previous post is as follows: Is "Austerity" an inaccurate label for a policy of minimal to non investment in...
  • User AvatarAndrew 23rd Aug - 10:54am
    Maybe we can learn from Canada. I have become a regular listener to the CBC weekly political podcast The House (https://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcasts/current-affairs-information/the-house/): everyone is so polite!...
  • User AvatarRichard MacKinnon 23rd Aug - 10:45am
    I know this wont get published but what the hell; Lorenzo Cherin and all commentators on his article miss the point here. We are 9...
  • User AvatarLaurence Cox 23rd Aug - 10:36am
    I think that all Party Members need to accept that the EU has serious problems: for example its treatment of migrants, where only Angela Merkel...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 23rd Aug - 10:36am
    @ Ian Sanderson. Good point, Ian. Amazing how those down South have remarkably little knowledge of what goes on north of the Border..... though they...
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