Budget Live Blog as Osborne helps rich – but casts young and poor adrift.

Caron Lindsay 12:30 pm

“A budget for working people” says George Osborne. We’ll see.  I guess if you are a rich working person, maybe.

I’ve had an official hiding behind pillow for all budgets in the last five years. I need it more than ever today.

So, let the budget live blog kick-off.

The measures we do know about seem very much about giving to the rich and taking to the poor.

People struggling to get by, stuck in private rented accommodation, will find it hard to see Inheritance Tax thresholds being lifted to more than £1 million while their entitlements to tax credits are being limited.

It’s worth pointing out that those are exactly the sorts of measure that the Liberal Democrats spent the last five years stopping or at least limiting. Everything announced today would have been done by now if it hadn’t been for us.

“Moderation but determination” says Osborne. Not any more.

The new fiscal charter, committing future governments to a surplus “in normal times” is this year’s trap for the Labour Party. The Commons will vote on it in the Autumn. It will pass because of a majority of Tory MPs, elected on just over a third of the vote.

Osborne says you can only have a strong NHS if you have a strong economy. Hmmm, we need a decent health care system when the economy isn’t in good shape, too. One of the priorities of a civilised society should be to take proper care of people when they are sick.

Osborne says NHS will receive £8 billion extra it needs by 2020 but doesn’t really set out how.

Public sector workers confined to !% pay rises for another four years.

And now we have hypothecation for road tax – a new roads fund to build new roads. The “green crap” really is going out the window.

Student finance

So you thought the last government was bad. Maintenance grants scrapped and replaced with a loan – £8200 for poorest.

Fees can rise in line with inflation “in the best institutions.”

They will consult on freezing loan repayment threshold at £21,000 for five years. Why not just do it or increase in line with inflation?

Northern Powerhouse

Greater devolution to Greater Manchester in return for elected Mayor with similar available elsewhere for the same condition.

Sunday Trading

As speculated, power devolved to local areas to decide their own hours.

Housing

This isn’t going to be pretty if you aren’t rich.

Mortgage relief restricted to basic rate of income tax and rent a room rate released. This will hit buy-to-let owners. Surely likely to restrict the supply as landlords sell? That can only mean more misery.

Reaction from Scottish Association of Landlords seems to confirm my fears on that:

This is a shocking decision by the Chancellor of the Exchequer which unfairly discriminates against landlords who provide valuable housing across Scotland.  In other businesses, tax is applied on profit, which is as it should be.”

Although we welcome other measures in the Budget such as reforms to the Rent A Room scheme which will increase supply of affordable rented accommodation, the decision on buy-to-let mortgages means landlords will essentially be taxed for investing in their businesses, something utterly unthinkable in any other sector.  As a result of this increase cost and risk to landlords, you may see some within the sector feeling they are forced to increase their rent levels which would obviously have a huge negative impact on tenants.”

The Scottish Association of Landlords have been working constructively with both Shelter and the Scottish Government to find ways of increasing supply to drive down rent levels in hot-spots across Scotland but this decision by the Chancellor potentially takes the legs away from that valuable partnership working.  We will be consulting our members, Scottish MPs and MSPs, as well as the Scottish Government and the third sector to find ways of trying to overturn this decision or, at the very least, to mitigate the damage this could cause to our business and to our customers in Scotland.

David Orr of the National Housing Federation was not impressed either:

Housing associations share the Government’s vision of homes as a foundation for getting on in life.  Like this Government, we want to see more homes built, more people working and more families with a home of their own. And like this Government we want to help people off the merry-go-round of benefits, ensure that hard work pays and reduce the benefit bill.

Given changes to working age benefits, a cut in rents over the next four years will be a real help for some tenants, but will massively constrain housing associations’ ability to meet the shared ambition of themselves and government to drive housing growth and new jobs. At the very least 27,000 new homes will not now be built, though that figure could be much higher. The right to buy for housing association tenants further compounds this

And now he comes to Inheritance Tax – and he explicitly says he was stopped from doing this in Coalition. So he’s going to give rich children a million pounds of unearned income.

Jon Sparkes, the Chief Executive of Crisis was worried about the effects on young people:

These short-sighted cuts to housing benefit are likely to push more and more people into homelessness and could end up costing the taxpayer even more than they save.

We are particularly worried about cuts to housing benefit for 18-21s. Under-25s already make up a third of homeless people and there is a real danger these changes could make things even worse. For many young people, living with their parents simply isn’t an option. Housing benefit can mean keeping a roof over their heads while they look for work and get their lives back on track. While we welcome the proposed exemptions to protect the most vulnerable, the Government must make sure that those at risk of homelessness don’t slip through the net.

Homelessness has a terrible human cost, but it’s also incredibly expensive for the public purse. Our research shows that failing to prevent someone from becoming homeless can cost between £3,000 and £18,000 per person per year.

We need housing benefit that genuinely protects tenants struggling to make ends meet. At the same time, the Government must make sure that young people who can’t live with their parents and are at risk of homelessness are genuinely protected, and we’ll be working with ministers to make sure this happens

 

An Unfair Society

Here comes the £12 billion welfare cuts: Licence fee plan for over 75s confirmed. Benefits for 18-21 year olds severely restricted. 30 hours a week free childcare for working parents – but will it be available at the right times and the right places? And expecting all lone parents of 3 year olds to be looking for work is just going to increase poverty. So the number of sick people on benefits hasn’t fallen fast enough so Osborne cuts their benefit by around £20 a week. And here’s the tax credit changes: Working age benefits frozen for 4 years – that’s horrific. Tax credits cut. Benefits cut. Social rent increased for those earning over £40k in London or £30k elsewhere. Tax credits and Universal Credit restricted to two children. My teenager watching the budget shouts “what is wrong with the right wing?” How can that do anything other than cause incredible suffering? Tax threshold raised to £11,000. Modest compared to previous years but Osborne has other priorities. So, what do the rich get? Threshold for higher rate raised to £43,000.

Defence

Annual real terms increase to  defence and intelligence spending, so our taxes are going to go to cover the cost of spying on us.

And the final rabbit out of the hat

National Living Wage to go up to £9 an hour by 2020 – but only payable to over 25s.

Summary

Ugh! This is a budget that will cause misery and suffering to those who are poor, particularly if they are young. There is nothing in there for people who earn less than £11,000 a year. The four year benefit freeze and cuts to Employment and Support Allowance as well as the cut in the benefits cap on one hand and the cut in income and wealth taxes for the rich tells its own story of where this Government’s priorities lie.

Osborne complained about our welfare bill being disproportionately high. Well, isn’t that the mark of a civilised society? Especially when most of it goes on benefits and pensions for the elderly.

And talking of which, young people are massively hit while we, who don’t need it, will still get to keep our Winter Fuel Allowance.

UPDATE: Much later…

Just a thought. Where was the fiscal responsibility in this budget? I just feel that the Tories didn’t just fail on fairness, they failed on sticking to the plan that has worked for the last five years which has secured the growth and low unemployment that we have now.  Rather than use our resources wisely, they’ve just given the rich a whopping tax cut because that’s what Tories do.  Osborne talked a good game, and set up his trap of a Fiscal Charter, but I’m not convinced that the actions and the words stacked up. If paying down the deficit is important, why give all these unnecessary tax cuts to the wealthy while making the poor suffer even more. Talk about trashing the Coalition legacy on all fronts…

 

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

90 Comments

  • Sadie Smith 8th Jul '15 - 12:41pm

    Sale of assets could be worrying in the longterm.

  • “Housing benefit will also be abolished for young adults.”

    What’s the Party policy on this?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 8th Jul '15 - 12:53pm

    Ross F – we don’t agree with it. We stopped it in the coalition years.

  • Ross Fifield 8th Jul '15 - 12:55pm

    So I’m right in saying we will re-introduce it if we get the opportunity?

  • Richard Underhill 8th Jul '15 - 1:14pm

    During PMQ, immediately before the budget statement, David Cameron talked several times about a “modest proposal”.

    Has he forgotten his political history?
    How much experience do his advisors have?

    What a gift to satirists and cartoonists!

  • Dawn Bailey 8th Jul '15 - 1:20pm

    Very worrying about student fiinance, less students means less trainee doctors and nurses to replace retiring ones on an already overworked health service

  • jedibeeftrix 8th Jul '15 - 1:39pm

    #2.0%gdp

    Hallelujah!

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 8th Jul '15 - 1:52pm

    I would hope so, Ross. That’s up to Conference to decide.

  • Eddie Sammon 8th Jul '15 - 1:57pm

    First thoughts are that it is quite a good budget. Increases in dividend taxation, buy to let taxation and an increase in the minimum wage show that he is not an ideologue. Although maybe he is, just a bit.

    However I am pleased to see Caron effectively defend mortgage interest relief for buy to let businesses. Buy to lets are a business and debt interest, not the capital repayments, are a legitimate expense.

    Regarding 2% defence. Now we are going to meet it I would actually like to see us use it. With economic power comes military responsibility and it is time to act to keep innocent people safe. The military is not that different to the police force. In fact I am happier with the overseas aid budget now we have a military budget to back it up.

  • The devil is in the detail but a National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour by 2016 is the kind of bold policy I’d have liked to see us pursuing (for me this is far better at helping low paid than tax allowance changes as helps part-timers).

    I think this guarantees a) good headlines on the bulletins and b) the narrative that the Lib Dem break were not a force for good (which has been pushed by the right wing press) to be played out if we don’t challenge it correctly.

  • Sammy O'Neill 8th Jul '15 - 2:12pm

    Good budget I think. Genuinely pleasantly surprised by much of it- living wage, rising tax free allowance/40% rate threshold, IHT rise.

    @Dawn

    That’s not true at all. Absolutely everyone who wants to go to uni and has the grades still can. They just end up with a larger loan which they have to pay back at 9% of earnings over £21,000. I have always had mixed feelings on the grant system. Far too many people in receipt of it when I was still at uni were middle class kids whose parents had divorced- so they’d get thousands of free money every year, when daddy earned £200k in the city. Ridiculous situation. Do we think that guy is going to take out a full loan at the state’s expense now? I doubt it.

  • Peter Parsons 8th Jul '15 - 2:13pm

    Eddie, many rental properties are bought/owned by cash buyers (many from overseas), not buy-to-let landlords. Those people are not affected by this change, so the impact of this is likely to be that small landlords end up selling out to the big landlords (who can typically afford to outbid both buy-to-let landlords and regular buyers), thus reducing choice and competition in the private rented market.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 8th Jul '15 - 2:30pm

    An interesting budget, to say the least.

    The reduction in the corporation tax rate to 18% gives us one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe and might encourage companies to relocate to the United Kingdom and, combined with the £5,000 tax-free allowance for dividends, may well encourage more sole traders to convert to corporate status, much as Gordon Brown’s short-lived £10,000 0% rate did in the last decade.

    And, clearly, whilst Britain deserves a pay rise, its civil servants don’t – 1% paybill increases for the next four years, combined with tax credit changes, will hurt those who survive the job cuts ahead. Remember, the impact of pay freezes over the past five years have meant 12-15% real terms pay cuts for many junior civil servants.

    It will take some time to work out what the overall impact of this flurry of proposals will be, but the Conservative back benches certainly seemed happy enough.,.

  • Bill le Breton 8th Jul '15 - 2:36pm

    As the old saw had it (and as Dan above maybe suggesting): Tory men, Whig measures.

  • That 1% rise will be contentious, though, Mark. Remember, it’s not just civil service “pen pushers” (no offence, Mark!) but teachers, nurses, ambulance & fire crews, the police, etc who will all be affected. Already in Scotland the EIS has been calling for a 2% rise and the offer currently tabled is 1% this year and 1.5% next, so I’d fully expect over the next year some serious fighting with the public service unions.

  • Don’t like student grants being scrapped, but I can’t see much difference between that and the introduction of tuition fees by the last government. I still have worries about the disabled and attacks on their benefits, but overall the best budget for a long time. Increase in the min wage, maintaining defence spending, 30 hours child care for working parents and reducing corporation tax all excellent and that’s from a ex LibDem who voted Labour at the last election.

  • @malc as a student I’d have welcomed the opportunity to borrow money to fund my maintenance; as it was I had to rely on cash-strapped parents who could ill afford it. even better given that you don’t even begin to pay t back until you’re earning a comfortable amount of money.

    Much fairer to everyone – from each according to his/her ability to each according to his/her need.

  • “Far too many people in receipt of it when I was still at uni were middle class kids whose parents had divorced- so they’d get thousands of free money every year, when daddy earned £200k in the city. Ridiculous situation.”

    Quite. My parents discussed (half seriously) that it would make financial sense for them to divorce given 2 children at University.

  • @TCO
    Why don’t you just pay your parents back?

  • “Ugh! This is a budget that will cause misery and suffering”

    Hmmm. I doubt this Budget would be very much different if the Lib Dems had been part of the Government this time round, so this outpouring of outrage is pretty unconvincing to me. If you’d got enough seats to be sitting next to the Tories, you’d be busy saying how wonderful this Budget is and how Lib Dems had shaped all the good things in it.

    Lib Dem MPs happily voted for Bedroom Tax, Sectet Courts, tripling tuition fees and NHS reforms, benefits sanctions etc etc This is just a continuation of the last five years.

  • Malc – I think there’s quite a difference between having money to live on now, and possibly having to pay a higher rate of tax on part of your income if you get a very comfortable wage in several years’ time.

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Jul '15 - 5:17pm

    Phyllis

    Hmmm. I doubt this Budget would be very much different if the Lib Dems had been part of the Government this time round, so this outpouring of outrage is pretty unconvincing to me. If you’d got enough seats to be sitting next to the Tories, you’d be busy saying how wonderful this Budget is and how Lib Dems had shaped all the good things in it.

    Nah nah nah nah nah.

  • Matthew Huntbach

    Which part of my post do you disagree with?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 8th Jul '15 - 5:36pm

    @Dan: There are a few fig leaves that Osborne can use to say “but look, here I am, doing something for the workers” but the overall package is one that hammers those who have least. Nothing to help those on very low incomes, the tax threshold rise is the smallest he could get away with, clobbering students and young people – and Labour will support great chunks of it.

    A 4 year benefits freeze is truly awful. And pretending that every parent of a 3 year old should be able to find work because of free childcare is over-egging the pudding.

  • @ Malc. That 30 hours childcare comes with a sting. When youngest child is 3 the main carer will have to find work or be sanctioned under Universal Credit. As we know the DWP love sanctions, can’t find work then you are not trying hard enough, stop benefit. Not many seem to be aware of the in work conditionalities attached to UC either, not trying hard enough to ask for extras hours or find as second job, sanctioned.

  • It will take a while for budget to sink in. Mainly it looks like clobbering young people and the less well off. However, it’s time for people to realise that they have to vote because the fact is that various talking heads and governments think economic hardship is something you impose on population with no electoral comeback is why they keep doing it. Political parties need to feel their livelihoods and future is threatened by voters rather than the other way round.

  • Hi Caron,
    Anything worthy at all in the budget?
    We have to go left over the next couple of years if only to knock out the Greens, but it cannot all be bad? Can it?

  • Richard Underhill 8th Jul '15 - 6:51pm

    Having abolished votes for women in 1832, not introduced such voting when in government under Queen Victoria, presumably being part of the free vote in the House of Commons in 1917, Osborne claims to have introduced equality. He should be reminded of all the facts.

    Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928

    “The act was passed by the Conservative Party without much opposition from other parties. This was unsurprising given that the Liberal Party had been behind most reform in the nineteenth century.

    The bill became law on 2 July 1928, having been introduced in March. The leader of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies who had campaigned for the vote, Millicent Fawcett, was still alive and attended the parliament session to see the vote take place. She wrote in her diary the same night “It is almost exactly 61 years ago since I heard John Stuart Mill introduce his suffrage amendment to the Reform Bill on 20 May 1867. So I have had extraordinary good luck in having seen the struggle from the beginning.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representation_of_the_People_%28Equal_Franchise%29_Act_1928

  • Little Jackie Paper 8th Jul '15 - 7:14pm

    What seems to be unspoken in coverage of this budget is that these cuts are, in no small part the product of ringfences that are seeing effective increases for large budgets come at the expense of clobbering everyone else. In the middle of all this pensioners are getting their universal sweetie jars protected and a 5-year upward ratchet in the form of the triple lock. At a time of minimal inflation that is a very heavy burden. The NHS has got its extra £8bn yet the economic justification is thin. The political justification is a matter of conjecture.

    The inescapable result of the ringfences in a fiscal consolidation is deeper cuts elsewhere and the effect was there for all to see today.

  • Methinks we’ve seen good expectation management from the Tory side and bad from Labour and our’s
    Given the bleak picture that was painted before the budget, it now appears to be moderate.
    Yet turning to students this was a very bad budget indeed.
    Much has been said about maintenance grants but even worse are the changes to tuition fees/graduate tax.
    Having the overall fee indexed and the relevant thresholds for payment frozen will mean that the system is a lot less progressive and reverses pretty much all improvements we won when we want back on our tuition fee promise. Deeply frustrating

  • stuart moran 8th Jul '15 - 10:16pm

    The man Osborne is a disgrace

    Let us look at the facts here – in 2010 he derided Labour for their lack of commitment to eliminating the deficit in one Parliament and in the end he pretty much tried to implement their policy, albeit in a cad-handed and uncoordinated way as it became apparent austerity as he described it didn’t work
    Fast forward to pre-election 2015 and you heard the same nonsense from him about the other parties and less than 4 months after his March budget he has now changed course yet again and tried to pretend he ‘cares’

    Does anyone believe any of his projections or ‘promises’ – remind me what he actually delivered of his promises made back in 2010? I suggest we wait until further examination of the detail – but will our media actually hold him to account?

    Nothing has changed since March materially and I can only say that in the March budget he told untruths and it was actually just all a tissue of fabrications. Even though he has rowed back some of the cuts and the numbers look a bit better the distribution of who is hit would be very different under Labour and the Lib Dems – he even has the cheek to steal some of those policies he criticised previously

    I am leaving the UK soon – I do not want to be any longer a part of this country. Small-minded, selfish – blaming the disadvantaged for their own misfortune whilst gripping on to some false hope of ‘aspiration’

    This country has become a worse place under Cameron and Osborne – a mean and unpleasant place. i do hold the Lib Dems in some way responsible for some of what I have seen but you guys are not in the same league and your heart remains in the right place – I hope you will recover from May 2015. I used to respect the Tories for their underlying decency and attempts to do the right thing – albeit in a different political philosophy to mine. No longer.

    The use of underhand means to sidestep democracy as we are seeing with the ELEV and fox hunting moves is another indictment of them

    I am left wing but I respect those of the right who have the desire to see the same outcomes I do but managed in a different way – this mob are appalling and I leave them to you

    I leave the country and look back and happily say I am ashamed to be British! I see colleagues now who spit anti-immigrant bile based on what is written in the newspapers owned and operated by right-wing tax dodgers (what percentage of our printed media has British domiciled ownership?).

  • Joseph ” Having the overall fee indexed and the relevant thresholds for payment frozen will mean that the system is a lot less progressive and reverses pretty much all improvements we won when we want back on our tuition fee promise. ”

    So the Party destroyed itself for nothing?

  • Just watched newsnight, but the news before made the same point. The news called Osborne the red chancellor. Newsnight said he produced a more left wing budget when unhampered by lib dems than he did when they were ‘restraining’ him. Boy were the libs reeled in hook, line and sinker to aid the conservatives cause.

    This budget was very well presented. The conservatives talked up the need for austerity before the election as a reason people should not vote for the left. The message went home. In the last parliament I do not believe Osborne was restrained anywhere by the libs. All they did was give him credibility to argue that a hard right approach was needed, even though he always knew it was not. Or almost always knew. I think the conservatives came in hard 5 years ago, but then rowed back because the economy started to go bad. And they learnt that lesson. They know they can talk hard right to win votes, but to get economic results they need to act more moderately. Its a brilliant strategy.

    Presentation was good too in an immediate ideological way. The chancellor presented a credible argument that the country needed a rise in minimum wage and a cut in state subsidy of low pay. That basic message is a simple winner. Again newsnight liked it, and they noted a change in attitutude, that the conservatives had accepted the concept that the country should not be seeking to force pay lower to increase productivity, but go up market. Increasing inheritanc tax thresholds is a winner, everyone loves tax cuts even if almost certainly it wont help them at all. A rise in income tax starting rate is always well received, even if it gives more to the rich. A policy the libs would recommend. As labour would have recommended doing something about non doms, and that minimum wage rise.

    Its a great strategy. Take note of your opponents best policies, and adopt them. Maybe its cynical, but its also very pragmatic. And its democratic too, best means voters approve it.

    It may be Osborne rowed back because of greece and China, which are going to knock some lustre off the recovery, but his budget now is exactly in line with Cameron’s speeches after the election. Expect that to be the theme of this parliament. The caring face of Conservatives when they govern by themselves.

    But pleeease, there are still libs arguing somethin was achieved in the last parliament by liberals, when everyone outside this party doesnt believe a word of it.

  • A Social Liberal 9th Jul '15 - 3:00am

    As reported on the Beeb, on his ‘not a debate with MIlliband’, David Cameron said he would not touch child tax credits as part of the austerity cuts. We should, we must hold him to account on this – if nowhere else then it should form the basis of our next question in PMQs.

  • Personally. I suspect it will suck money out of the high-street. It looks balanced until you realise how much money is being taken out of people’s pockets. There are a lot of hidden tax rises, Also the gap between significant pay increases, if they are even possible, and benefit changes appears too long to cover the los of income. . The thing I find odd is that advocates of small states and austerity is a tendency to talk about fiscal prudence in the wider economy as if it was a household budget whilst seeming to do everything they can to hike up borrowing by actual households to drive retail spending bubbles.

  • Phyllis
    I’m afraid yes at least in some way. The changes in the Browne report to repayment (9% of income over 21000£) meant that of 1£ nominal tuition fee only 45p were actually paid. Now the nominal fee will increase with inflation while the repayment threshold remains where it is. As a result students on low incomes in real terms will habe to pay graduate tax even though their real earnings have stayed the same.
    Raising the nominal fee disguises this effect a bit as not every graduate repays its full fee and less well off students continue to pay a now higher share of the nominal fee.
    In cash terms they are considerably worse off and the system as a whole redevelops to the days where upfront payers from whealthy backgrounds paid less than their mates, who had taken a loan and had to pay interest in addition to their fees.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Jul '15 - 6:08am

    Phyllis

    Matthew Huntbach

    Which part of my post do you disagree with?

    It refuses to acknowledge

    i) The extent to which the Liberal Democrats in coalition did stop some of what the Conservatives wanted to do, and are now doing thanks to people like you helping them get a majority by working to destroy the Liberal Democrats.

    ii) The extent to which what the Coalition came out with was a compromise, so agreement to it from the Liberal Democrats would have been acceptance on that basis, rather than enthusiastic agreement.

    iii) The extent to which the Liberal Democrats contains a variety of viewpoints, and is not a Leninist party, and so that even if the leadership supports something that does not mean all member support it.

    But I’ve been making these points again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again to you and the other “nah nah nah nah nah”s. So why do you ask?

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Jul '15 - 6:12am

    Danny

    Just watched newsnight, but the news before made the same point. The news called Osborne the red chancellor. Newsnight said he produced a more left wing budget when unhampered by lib dems than he did when they were ‘restraining’ him.

    Hmmm, looks like the BBC is getting really scared by what the Tories are threatening to do to it, and so has turned to pumping out Tory propaganda. The idea that this horrendous extreme-right budget is “red” is as ridiculous as the idea that North Korea is a “Democratic People’s Republic”.

  • Jayne Mansfield 9th Jul '15 - 7:20am

    @ Matthew,
    I don’t know why you get so angry and displace it on people who understand perfectly what you are saying.

    Of course people blame the ‘Liberal Democrats’ for things that have happened during the coalition. All parties are made up of people with different viewpoints, I have some very socially liberal friends who care deeply about those who are in poverty, who vote Conservative, but when criticising the things that the Conservative party do, I don’t refine my criticism to , ‘some members of the Conservative party’ or ‘the leaders of the Conservative Party’. We talk in shorthand. Anyone who reads these pages, has a very clear idea of your views, but the fact is, some of us were shocked by what the ‘Liberal Democrats’ enabled whilst in government.

    Those of us who felt that we could not vote for the party did not work to destroy the party, the party, we were innocent bystanders whilst your party did that without any help from us, we just used what little power we had on polling to vote for a candidate who more closely represented our views. It was a positive vote not a vote intended to hurt your party. I would have whole-heartedly voted for John Tilley, Bill Le Breton, Tony Hill and indeed yourself, but that was not possible.

    You say that there was not ‘enthusiastic agreement’ about the coalition agreement, well, sorry, that is not what was communicated during your five year coalition with the Conservatives. I am still fairly certain that the only thing missing from this budget, is Danny Alexander praising it and telling us how much the Lib Dems influenced the good bits.

    My own view is that you would do better listening to people like Phyllis rather than criticising her. She represents the views of an awful lot of people.

    I have never ever heard anyone say nah, nah, nah, but I have heard former Lib Dem voters uttering angry condemnation, about your performance in power, some of it which I entirely agree with.

    In my opinion, you made the Conservative party and its policies respectable and that is why they are currently in power.

  • @Jayne I must say that you have some interesting friends who voted for a party committed to reduce the income of poorest people by £60/week(benefit cap) .I presume they also approve of the £1M properties being free from death duties – paid for by a 1bn cut in tax relief for pension payments for £150 kpa taxpayers. A fine example of robbing the affluent to give to the rich.
    I am not surprised that Matthew is angry, so am I!

  • Bill le Breton 9th Jul '15 - 8:27am

    Jayne Mansfield, “the only thing missing from this budget, is Danny Alexander praising it and telling us how much the Lib Dems influenced the good bits.”

    Almost impossible to argue with this – hence my reference above to ‘Tory Men, Whig Measures.’

    My overwhelming sensation yesterday was to remember the atmosphere at the time of Lawson’s 1987 budget.

  • Tony Dawson 9th Jul '15 - 8:33am

    Jayne Mansfield, you have expressed some reasonable points well there, although I still think you are a little hard on Matthew. You also exaggerate the importance of the Lib Dems in the election result. We presently have a Tory majority government largely because the Labour Party absolutely ‘tanked’.

  • @Danny
    Forcing pay lower does not increase productivity it reduces it as has been demonstrated to do the revers over recent years

  • Jayne,
    “I am still fairly certain that the only thing missing from this budget, is Danny Alexander praising it and telling us how much the Lib Dems influenced the good bits. ”

    I did hear him on the radio saying the good bits had been nicked from the libs. Also saying it included things the conservatives refused to accept when proposed by libs in coalition. Which did not add to the impression libs had been a restraining influence.

    briand:
    “@Jayne I must say that you have some interesting friends who voted for a party committed to reduce the income of poorest people by £60/week(benefit cap)”

    This weeks news about Greece does tend to put poverty into perspective.

    Matthew,
    ” The idea that this horrendous extreme-right budget is “red” is as ridiculous as the idea that North Korea is a “Democratic People’s Republic”.”

    Everything is relative. Conservatives are in power partly bcause they have convinced voters that the balance between rich and poor has swung too much in favour of the poor. If you want to change that, then some more convincing arguments why they are wrong are needed.

    A huge mount of this problem comes down to housing. It has taken up more and more of peoples expenditure and naturally has been pushing up the benefits bill. Solving the housing shortage would massively help the poor while cutting benefits bills immensely. The conservatives have not the least interest in doing this, but nor apparently does anyone else. Somehow preserving some scrubby but scenic farmland has becoming a higher national priority than providing people with housing.

  • Danny,
    No one wants to cure the housing problem. . It isn’t caused by shortage. It’s caused by over pricing and reliance on household debt to create the illusion of growth. Anyone who thinks this is about supply, needs to show me the shanty towns and shacks. People just can’t afford the product because high household debt means houses can’t be sold at a realistic price and rents are pushed up for the same reason. You could build a million houses a year and the price would not drop a penny, all that would happen is that credit would become a little cheaper until the bubble popped again. If you want cheaper homes and lower rents stop propping up the housing market.

  • Sadie Smith 9th Jul '15 - 11:15am

    I am surprised that there has been so little criticism of the balance in the budget.
    The BBC may be a bit scared, as Charter renewal sounds worse this time. Sky unlikely to be critical, most newspapers are generally supportive of Tories, or at least the subs are. But most have some good commentators
    I am angry at the cumulative effect on young people. And that gets scant mention.
    Maintenance grants were part of a complicated picture about student tuition. It has been unbalanced. I did wonder if the Tories would get cross about the tiny erosion in their privilege in higher education. But maintenance means you can go to a good University which is not in your home town and survive. An extra loan for the poorer just seems meam.
    And I don’t believe the hype over the ‘living wage’

  • A Social Liberal 9th Jul '15 - 1:19pm

    The IFS in their immediate response to the budget have said that the working poor will be hundreds of pounds worse off given the budget measures, with the very poorest losing £1000.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Jul '15 - 1:28pm

    Jayne Mansfield

    My own view is that you would do better listening to people like Phyllis rather than criticising her. She represents the views of an awful lot of people.

    And there you go again. I have listened to Phyllis and others like her. But I don’t see any signs of listening back. Instead all I get is the same old lines which criticise ALL of us who are Liberal Democrats as if ALL of us were mad keen Clegg fans. I don’t see ANY signs of Phyllis taking into account ANYTHING that I have written here over the years. It does not matter what I say, still she comes out with the same old lines which are essentially “nah nah nah nah nah, you put in the Conservatives and gave in to whatever they wanted, and you did it because secretly you love their policies”.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Jul '15 - 1:39pm

    Jayne Mansfield

    Those of us who felt that we could not vote for the party did not work to destroy the party, the party, we were innocent bystanders whilst your party did that without any help from us, we just used what little power we had on polling to vote for a candidate who more closely represented our views.

    Sorry, but a line I heard so often was “nah nah nah nah nah, nasty dirty rotten Liberal Democrats, you propped up the Tories and broke your pledge, I hope you get wiped out in the general election”.

    Well, we did almost get wiped out in the general election, and we see the consequences: a majority Conservative government. That is exactly what I predicted would happen if people who were sympathetic to the Liberal Democrats in the past in places where the main political contest was Conservative v. Liberal Democrat did not give support to the Liberal Democrats. We are already very clearly seeing how wrong was the line the “nah nah nah nah nah”s used, that there is no difference between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, so it doesn’t matter if the Conservative win what was once a LibDem seat or a Conservative seat winnable by the LibDems. Now we have a pure Conservative government, we are seeing a lot of right-wing nastiness being pushed through that would have been blocked by the Liberal Democrats.

    Of course, had the AV system got through, you could have done what you wanted: voted for Labour or Green as your first preference, to make clear you no longer preferred the Liberal Democrats, but put the Liberal Democrats as a later preference so they would have won what was otherwise a Conservative seat. We had a chance to have that. But the “nah nah nah nah nah”s smashed up that chance by arguing the case to vote “No”, on the grounds that the Liberal Democrats were such bad people and so much like the Tories we might as well have a system that just gives us a pure Conservative government. Well, we still have it and that’s what we’ve got: a pure Conservative government.

  • Jayne Mansfield 9th Jul '15 - 1:42pm

    @ brianD,
    Yes I do have some interesting friends, and some interesting arguments, especially when there is alcohol involved. They are really decent people , not snobs or bigots, who do really altruistic things. They want to see poverty eradicated too, but they just disagree with the best way of going about it. I doubt one could put a cigarette paper between them and some Liberal Democrat issues on most issues, which was why I was doubtful that soft tories would defect to the Lib Dems at the last election.

    @ Tony Dawson,
    Yes I have been terribly hard on Matthew Huntbach. That is because I admire him. I gain so much from reading his posts. For example, he is a person who is perceptive enough to see that this budget is not a ‘left wing’ or ‘one nation’ budget, it is a right wing budget by a Thatcherite Tory. I just happen to have a bee in my bonnet about people who blame others for their misfortune instead of examining their own part in their downfall and Matthew got caught in the blast. Sorry Matthew.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Jul '15 - 1:53pm

    Jayne Mansfield

    It was a positive vote not a vote intended to hurt your party. I would have whole-heartedly voted for John Tilley, Bill Le Breton, Tony Hill and indeed yourself, but that was not possible.

    Well, unfortunately, thanks to people like you and Phyllis pushing the “nah nah nah nah nah” line, people were persuaded to vote against AV to spite the LibDems, with the consequence that casting a positive vote can end up splitting the vote and letting in your worst option. You may not yourself have voted “No” in the referendum, but the “nah nah nah nah nah” line was certainly a great persuader of many who did.

    You say you would have voted for people who continue to stand for and promote what the Liberal Democrats and Liberal Party before that stood for, but that was not possible. Well, sorry, but the “nah nah nah nah nah”s went OUT OF THEIR WAY to paint ALL Liberal Democrats as the same, to INSIST that John Tilley, Bill Le Breton, Tony Hill and indeed myself are just the same dirty rotten Liberal Democrats as any others, and so should be punished by seeing our party destroyed.

    How different it would have been if there had been a greater acknowledgement of the different opinions within the Liberal Democrats, and people like you openly saying BEFORE the general election that if they had a Liberal Democrat candidate like John Tilley, Bill Le Breton, Tony Hill or indeed myself, then you WOULD vote Liberal Democrat. That would have really encouraged the sort of anti-Clegg revolt we needed in the party. It would have encouraged the middle ground who were remaining quiet to be more vocal in expressing their concerns about the Clegg leadership. It may have led constituency parties to select left-leaning candidates on the grounds those candidates were more likely to win.

    I am not saying you should have voted for our party, unless you really were living in a Conservative-LibDem marginal. All I am saying is that if people like you had given more moral support to those of us inside the party fighting the Cleggies, we could have done better. But instead, with your “nah nah nah nah nah, all you Liberal Democrats without exception are bad people” line, you helped the right-wing of our party to push the Richard Reeves’ line that all our old voters have deserted us forever, so we have to carry on moving to the right.

  • The EU does the same. It serves the interests of the rich, the corporations and the banks, yet many LibDems keep loving the undemocratic EU and still lament Britain not joining the Euro. I’m from the Netherlands and can hardly put into words how fortunate you are not to suffer from membership of this destructive currency. Only the rich are better off with it.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Jul '15 - 2:00pm

    Danny

    Conservatives are in power partly because they have convinced voters that the balance between rich and poor has swung too much in favour of the poor.

    It has actually swung massively in the opposite direction. There is a hugely greater difference in wealth and income spread now than there was before 1979. The rich have got richer and the poor have got poorer.

    Funnily enough, most people I know, whatever their politics, would agree with that. It’s a line I find often used in casual conversation. What the Conservatives have managed to do, however, is to persuade people to believe that ALL politicians are on the side of the super-rich against everyone else, so there’s no point in voting, or you might as well vote Conservative because at least the Conservatives have a brain.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Jul '15 - 2:10pm

    Danny

    A huge mount of this problem comes down to housing. It has taken up more and more of peoples expenditure and naturally has been pushing up the benefits bill.

    Sure. This was a very predictable consequence of the “right to buy”. I predicted it would happen when the Conservatives pushed the “right to buy” through, and one of my local MPs was the Housing Minister. I wrote to him saying it would happen. His reply was “Don’t bother your little head, there will be no problem, the houses will still be there” (or words to that effect). Well, so they are. Ex-council houses now rented out at three times what an identical council house is rented out to, to the people who would have lived in a council house had there still be council houses. The extra rent just goes in pure profit to the buy-to-letter, and that is paid for by the rest of us through taxes.

    Yet the Conservatives STILL think pushing right-to-buy even further is a vote-winner. Well, perhaps it is because we no longer live in a free society where there is honest discussion on such things. We live in a society where right-wing propaganda is pumped and pumped out and out to the point where few people even understand that it is propaganda and instead just accept it as “fact”.

    A classic example is headlines about “people on benefits getting more than those who work” which hides the reality that the high figures quoted are due to council housing being abolished and so people having to rent privately, and that benefit going to the private landlord, not as extra luxury money for the tenants. It is never mentioned also that it is a false comparison, since those in work are entitled to claim housing benefit on the same basis as those out of work.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Jul '15 - 2:17pm

    Danny

    The conservatives have not the least interest in doing this, but nor apparently does anyone else. Somehow preserving some scrubby but scenic farmland has becoming a higher national priority than providing people with housing.

    No, it’s not just that. It’s also the refusal to put in any measures which would discourage people from hanging on to homes they do not need. It’s the encouragement of the idea that somehow we can all get rich by sitting on our bums owning homes, and it would be an “attack on aspiration” to try and make people invest more money in something productive.

    See now how the Conservatives are pushing this line even further by cutting inheritance tax. That is all about protecting the idle rich, letting the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, attacking the work ethic by insisting that tax should fall in earned wealth and not unearned wealth. It was one of the things the LibDems stopped the Tories from doing when they had some say in the government.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Jul '15 - 2:32pm

    Jayne Mansfield

    Anyone who reads these pages, has a very clear idea of your views, but the fact is, some of us were shocked by what the ‘Liberal Democrats’ enabled whilst in government.

    As I have said, many times, with just one in six of the Coalition MPs and no alternative coalition that could have been formed, the Liberal Democrats were in a very weak position. They were just not in the position you and many others seems to suppose of being able to make the Conservatives jump to their tune. You may disagree with me on this, but it is my honest opinion, based on what I observe happens in similar situations in local government and in other countries.

    The reality is that the Conservative Party had moved so far to the economic right (and dispensed with its last remaining scraps of social conservatism – still why many people vote for it, perhaps MOST of its voters), from where it was when it was last in government that even quite a bit of compromise forced on it by the Liberal Democrats would still result in a very right-wing government.

    You and people like Phyllis refused to acknowledge this. You (I mean in the plural, I accept that you in the singular were rather milder than many others I branded as “nah nah nah nah nah”s) insist that the Liberal Democrats could have said “jump” and the Conservatives would have jumped to their tune. And you would not even give the courtesy to me of agreeing to differ. Instead, when I tried to make that point here, all I met was relentless attacks on me, accusations that I was only saying that because I was trying to disguise some underneath deep support for right-wing economics, insistence that as a Liberal Democrat member I could not be anything but someone who has thrown away his own power of thought and decency and become a puppet of The Leader, with the assumption that that must be the case because that’s how politics must work.

  • I haven’t fully studied the Budget yet but am deeply concerned with the attacks on young people. From cutting Housing Benefit for under-21s to the abolition of the Maintenance Grant for students whilst potentially increasing Tuition Fees and the fact that the new National Living Wage will only apply to over 25s!

  • Matthew, “It has actually swung massively in the opposite direction. There is a hugely greater difference in wealth and income spread now than there was before 1979.”
    Yes, i know. As I said, the conservatives, and others around the world, have convinecd voters this is not the case. Labour did no job at all of defending their record in office, virtually agreeing they had overspent….on the poor. Which was exactly the conservatives plan. This budget illustrates that conservatives did not believe their own propaganda about the economy and the absoulet need for cuts. The libs in general were very badly placed to argue for the poor, having spent 5 years saying what a great job the coalition was doing with all that austerity and benefit cutbacks.

    One might say, of course the general public think the poor are getting too much, because every party has been telling them this is the case.

    “As I have said, many times, with just one in six of the Coalition MPs and no alternative coalition that could have been formed, the Liberal Democrats were in a very weak position.”

    I dont know what is happening in Greece, it will be bad. yet they just voted 60/40 to refuse to impose austerity, almost as an act of defiance to the principle of it rather than any coherent plan. In a situation where there was no economic pressure, the libs meekly decided it wouldnt hurt to help along the the most hawkish UK party. Gosh, you think the public are that thick? Of course there were alternatives! I think the parliamentary numbers thing was always a red herring. The conservatives simply stuck to their ground and liberals did not.

  • Matthew Huntbach

    I am getting a bit fed up with you continually putting words in my mouth and attributing comments and attitudes to me (and others) which are not true. I also object to “you and people like Phyllis…” I am an individual. So is everyone else.

    Just to remind you I asked you which of my words in the following you disagree with – could you now answer exactly which words you disagree with? :

    “Hmmm. I doubt this Budget would be very much different if the Lib Dems had been part of the Government this time round, so this outpouring of outrage is pretty unconvincing to me. If you’d got enough seats to be sitting next to the Tories, you’d be busy saying how wonderful this Budget is and how Lib Dems had shaped all the good things in it.”

    Interestingly Stephen Tall has said pretty much the same thing but much more articulately. Are you going to lump him in with “people like Phyllis” now? If so, I consider myself in good company.

  • Matthew,
    “No, it’s not just that. It’s also the refusal to put in any measures which would discourage people from hanging on to homes they do not need. It’s the encouragement of the idea that somehow we can all get rich by sitting on our bums owning homes, and it would be an “attack on aspiration” to try and make people invest more money in something productive.”

    There are no laws in this country saying you can not have 2,5,10, 50 cars. You just have to pay the cost. The real cost of cars has fallen for a century. If someone buys 100 cars, it does not stop anyone else buying as many as they like. Its called a free market. Houses is completely different. It happens my great uncle built his own house, quite literally himself. I could not possibly do the same. I could lay the bricks, I could buy the materials, i could buy some land. I am not permitted to put them together. I am forbidden by law to make myself a house, and no one else is allowed to do it for me. What would be the price of cars if only ones built before 1950 were allowed on the road, plus an extra 20,000 new ones each year?

    Do you think people would invest in cars? Buy stakes in cars? demand the right to leave them to their children? rent them out to those without cars for huge sums? Share cars? And how much would they cost?

    What you are suggesting is more or less subtle means of rationing houses to try to spread the insufficient stock a little more fairly. The only really fair way would be blatant rationing where each person is given a square metre ration of built space. It happens I probably have a lot more than would be my fair share in that case, but I am not one of those who is content just to leave things as they are because I happen to be one of the winners. Most people who really do have politicial influence in this country are also amongst the winners. If we did intoduce such rationing, I am certain the housing shortage would be completely solved within 10 years, and solutions well underway within 5. Within a year there would be new towns laid out.

  • Jayne Mansfield 9th Jul '15 - 8:00pm

    @ Matthew Huntbach,
    Matthew I voted in favour of AV because I saw it as a step in the right direction to STV.

    I voted for the Liberal Democrat Candidate in the European election, which was quite painless given that he had proved himself to be a hard working and conscientious MEP who worked for our interest.

    I could not vote for the Liberal Democrat Party in the General elections. All that Wizard of Oz stuff about giving brains and hearts was the final straw. In my day we used to call the Conservative party , ‘the stupid party’ – a rather more frank expression of preference.

    Rather than go over old ground, could I just thank you for assuming that I have such great powers of persuasion . Having tried them out on my husband, family and friends over many years, I have always found the results, at best, patchy.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Jul '15 - 9:17pm

    Phyllis

    Just to remind you I asked you which of my words in the following you disagree with – could you now answer exactly which words you disagree with? :

    Well, I thought I had already answered this, but once again …

    I disagree with you when you write “the Lib Dems” and “you” with the implication that means every single member of the Liberal Democrats. You have refused to acknowledge that there are a variety of viewpoints within the Liberal Democrats. As well as people like myself, who openly opposed Clegg throughout the period of coalition, there were many others who were unhappy about him, and so very relieved that he and what he was doing have now gone.

    I disagree with you when you write “you’d be busy saying how wonderful this Budget is”, as if every member of the Liberal Democrats enthusiastically supported everything that the coalition was doing out of conviction. You have refused to acknowledge that a coalition is a compromise, it involves coming to an agreement which may be some way from your ideal, especially if you are a relatively small component of the coalition. This is just basic democracy, one accepts one cannot have it all one way, one accepts the need to agree to something that is a compromise between what various people want, but accepting it does not necessarily mean believing it is “wonderful”. So, you have refused to acknowledge my point about acceptance of the coalition being not at all the same thing as belief that all its policies are the best possible policies.

    There are also many aspects of this budget that the Liberal Democrats actively opposed and stopped when they were part of the coalition, and are being put through now because the LibDems are no longer there to stop them. That includes cuts to inheritance tax, removal of welfare support for third and further children. As the LibDems stopped the when they could, you are quite wrong to say they would now be cheering them on as “wonderful”.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Jul '15 - 9:22pm

    Jayne Mansfield

    I could not vote for the Liberal Democrat Party in the General elections. All that Wizard of Oz stuff about giving brains and hearts was the final straw. In my day we used to call the Conservative party , ‘the stupid party’ – a rather more frank expression of preference.

    Oh sure, I agree with you on this and said much the same as you about the “brains and hearts” line. I myself voted for the Liberal Democrats in the general election, but could not bring myself to actively campaign for them. So the fact that you bring this up, even though I made the same point myself, indicates that you just haven’t got the message I’m trying to put across. You are responding to me as if I’m a Cleggie. Why? Isn’t it obvious that I am not?

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Jul '15 - 9:26pm

    Jayne Mansfield

    Rather than go over old ground, could I just thank you for assuming that I have such great powers of persuasion

    Quite obviously it’s not just you, so that was a silly point to make, again showing you are completely missing the message I am trying to put across.

    Well, I am sorry if this is “going over old ground”, but I’ve tried making this point almost continuously since the coalition started, and it’s the fact that people like you and Phyllis carry on making remarks which show you have completely missed the actual point I was making that led me to label the lot of you “nah nah nah nah nah”s.

  • Matthew Huntbach

    Fine, I accept that you have now responded to my post with your own views. I don’t agree with you but I would rather have a response like that than you saying ” nah nah nah nah” which is not a very constructive way to challenge posters with whom you disagree.

    As for ‘ enthusiastically agreeing’, well that’s what what your parliamentarians have been doing. Yes you may not agree with their enthusiastic support of government policy but my comments were not directed at you, but at the writer of this article. I am baffled by why you should think they were.

    I assume you will now be engaging with Stephen Tall to accuse him of being a “nah nah nah nah nah”.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Jul '15 - 9:37pm

    Ok, so once again, what was the point I’ve been trying to make, unsuccessfully, for five years?

    It’s really quite a simple one: that there is a difference between accepting the coalition as a compromise and believing everything it did was wonderful.

    I’ve been a strong believer in proportional representation, and hence a multi-party system, and hence inevitably coalition governments all my life. The outgoing coalition was most definitely not what I would have supported had there been any reasonable alternative, but there was not. It is not the sort of coalition I would have wanted because the balance of the two parties in terms of seats did not represent the balance of votes as it would have done had there been proportional representation.

    Nevertheless, I feel it would have been hypocritical of me to support a multi-party system, and yet reject the formation of a coalition when necessity put one in place. I believe that government should be by agreement and compromise. So yes, that does mean accepting compromises which are not one’s ideal.

    However, it seems to have been impossible to get this message across, because all I ever got in reply was the line Phyllis is still using, the “nah nah nah nah nah” one which makes out that accepting a compromise means enthusiastic support for it as if it was what one would have done even if one had complete power to oneself.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Jul '15 - 12:05am

    Phyllis

    I assume you will now be engaging with Stephen Tall to accuse him of being a “nah nah nah nah nah”.

    No, he is making a completely different point. By “nah nah nah nah nah” I mean people like you who just throw abuse and have nothing constructive to say, who refuse to accept that there are a variety of opinions within the Liberal Democrats and instead keep pushing the line that every single of one of us is a right-wing Clegg fan, who make completely unrealistic assumptions about what was possible in the situation following the 2010 general election.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Jul '15 - 12:23am

    Phyllis

    As for ‘ enthusiastically agreeing’, well that’s what what your parliamentarians have been doing. Yes you may not agree with their enthusiastic support of government policy but my comments were not directed at you, but at the writer of this article

    Well, there you go again. You continually paint every single member of the party as a mad keen fan of Clegg. You fail to acknowledge the difference of opinion and attitude that existed in the Parliamentary party, as well as in the members. So, yes I very much DO see what you are saying as an attack on me, because you are using the line that all Liberal Democrats without exception are supporters of the Clegg approach. I also think you are unfair even on Clegg, because you refuse to accept that he too has had to compromise, so what he agreed to as part of the compromise reached with a party five times as large as his in terms of MPs may not be what his position would be if he led a majority government.

    It has been simply impossible to have the sort of constructive discussion with you that you claim you want, because every attempt to do so has met with the same response from you, the one you continue to give now, the one that claims that every Liberal Democrat without exception supports everything Clegg said and did, and which refuses to accept the idea that a pluralistic government must mean reaching compromise positions which are not necessarily the ideal positions of individual participants.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Jul '15 - 12:34am

    Now the other thing is that although there were relatively few members of the party willing to come out with full opposition to Clegg’s leadership, there were many who were unhappy with it, but chose to take the position it was better to remain quiet and leave it until after the election. To swing the balance in the party, we needed to persuade those silent people to stop being silent. To do that, we needed to show there was outside support for the anti-Clegg position.

    But we were defeated by the sort of “nah nah nah nah nah” attacks from the likes of Phyllis. Far from persuading the silent majority to back us, the Cleggies were able to point to the “nah nah nah nah nah”s and say “look, that shows there is no support for your line, we have to say goodbye to all those people who used to support us because they will never return, instead we must continue down the route of endorsing the economic right”.

    SO, Phyllis, I assure you, if you were contributing here in the hope of pushing the party back to where it used to be, your contribution, and similar from so many others, has had the OPPOSITE effect. That is what made me so angry.

  • Matthew,
    “It’s really quite a simple one: that there is a difference between accepting the coalition as a compromise and believing everything it did was wonderful. ”

    I havnt gone and asked them, not even conducted a poll: But I think theres 20 million voters out there who were sick and tired of hearing libs say how wonderful the coalition policy was. They just didnt say, ‘this bits awful but we accepted it because its a package deal’. What we got was Danny Alexander raving on about how fantastic tuition fees are really. The remainder of the voters are conservative supporters anyway. That doesnt leave many wanting to vote liberal now.

    Last night I had a look at the news, and LO! The chancellor is now banging on about building more houses. Whether he will really do something about this remains to be seen. Nick Boles got a lot of stick for saying on newsnight that only 9% of the south east is actually built on, and theres lots of space for new housing. But this is the chancellor. Right now the conservatives are looking for issues which will be popular amongst those losing out, and spinning them to be popular to their own voters too. Yes, they have taken steps which widen income disparity, but they are seriously seeking to spin this as fundamental reform needed by society , and they might even accomplish something.

    In my view the one single item most distorting the Uk economy is housing shortage. Banking probably comes second, and a big chunk of that is via financing housing.

  • matthew,
    ” Far from persuading the silent majority to back us, the Cleggies were able to point to the “nah nah nah nah nah”s and say “look, that shows there is no support for your line, we have to say goodbye to all those people who used to support us because they will never return, instead we must continue down the route of endorsing the economic right”.

    And the cleggies were wrong. Todays labour supporter is tomorrows UKIP. Libs had a unique selling point which was not being either of the other main parties. I have read enough about this internal debate now to conclude people like me are what enabled the libs to continue to exist, whereas trying to stand on the centre right, also occupied by both conservative and labour is impossible. Those former supporters might return: those who were always from a background of con or lab will always gravitate back to those parties when disaster strikes.

    The conservatives did not like 20 years of being out of office. They squeaked in this time. Who knows whether they can hold it together, but right now they seem to be engaging in the same sort of reform which made Blair a winner. They are seeking a philosophy acceptable to a very wide base. This is the opposite of typical parties in government, which tend to lapse back towards their extreme roots.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Jul '15 - 10:28am

    Danny

    I havnt gone and asked them, not even conducted a poll: But I think theres 20 million voters out there who were sick and tired of hearing libs say how wonderful the coalition policy was. They just didnt say, ‘this bits awful but we accepted it because its a package deal’. What we got was Danny Alexander raving on about how fantastic tuition fees are really.

    Sure, but I myself have not defended the way those at the top of the party presented the situation. In fact I have done the exact opposite. From the beginning of the Coalition and thereafter my position has always been that while I accept the 2010 situation left the Liberal Democrats in a situation where the best compromise was to accept the coalition, that was very much a compromise necessary due to the situation i.e. the Parliamentary balance, and most definitely not the ideal. I have continuously said that I found the way those at the top presented the situation as being super-duper wonderful rather than being honest about being a miserable little compromise was hugely damaging to the party.

    So, that was the situation I was in – willing and able to defend the party’s position as a necessary compromise under the circumstances, but having my willingness to stand up and defend the party being undermined by its own leader. As I said, several times, I felt it was similar to what Geoffrey Howe said in his famous resignation speech: like a cricketer stepping up to the crease only to find his bat had been broken by the team captain.

    The point I am continuing to make is that just because the spads ad ad-men at the top pursued the “it’s all super-duper” presentation policy, please do not assume that is an attitude which is shared or widespread among party members.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Jul '15 - 10:30am

    Danny

    Who knows whether they can hold it together, but right now they seem to be engaging in the same sort of reform which made Blair a winner. They are seeking a philosophy acceptable to a very wide base. This is the opposite of typical parties in government, which tend to lapse back towards their extreme roots.

    Oh, so I see you’re another one who has been fooled by the propaganda put out by the right-wing about this truly horrendous budget.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Jul '15 - 10:39am

    Danny

    And the cleggies were wrong. Todays labour supporter is tomorrows UKIP. Libs had a unique selling point which was not being either of the other main parties. I have read enough about this internal debate now to conclude people like me are what enabled the libs to continue to exist, whereas trying to stand on the centre right, also occupied by both conservative and labour is impossible.

    Yes, and I agree, and it is why I continue to be active in discussion arenas like this to try and persuade other party members that this is the case. From my own experience, there are actually very few party members who want the party to stand on the centre right. However, the few who do so benefit from being well-funded by outside support of the various pressure groups they are associated with, and from the appallingly biased recruitment strategy Nick Clegg had when he was leader, putting people like this in influential positions. So I am appealing again and again and again for people like you to realise that the Liberal Democrats are not all “Cleggies”, and to help us rebuild the party by showing that there is real support coming back to us out there if we stand up and make more clear that we are not, if the party nationally makes more clear that what happened in the Coalition was a compromise, necessary under the circumstances, perhaps, but certainly not our ideal.

    However, I feel I am really being undermined in this if every effort to do so is met by the likes of Phyllis jeering “nah nah nah nah nah, I’m not listening, you just rolled over and supported the Tories because you loved what they were doing”.

  • Matthew,
    “The point I am continuing to make is that just because the spads ad ad-men at the top pursued the “it’s all super-duper” presentation policy, please do not assume that is an attitude which is shared or widespread among party members.”

    I dont know what party members think. I know what I have read on this website and views seem to divide between people like me who think the adopted policy was insane, and those who are still defending it as essential, unavoidable and in the national interest. The impression I get is thatt he libs as a party still do not understand why they created a disaster for themselves. That being so, little hope of a recovery.

    Apart from that, voters quite plainly think the libs are nothing but conservative wannabes. if its any consolation, labour seem to have managed much the same trick of saying that when in power they felt compelled to do terrible things. Combined, these two things led to Cameron’s victory.

  • Matthew,
    “Oh, so I see you’re another one who has been fooled by the propaganda put out by the right-wing about this truly horrendous budget.”
    In the end, a budget liked by a good proportion of the public cannot by definition be horrendous. Its called democracy.
    It may be dissembling, but the conservative have made a point of producing a budget no worse than those when libs were their partners. As if it was necessary to do anything more to see off the libs.

    Cameron has staked out a territory for the conservative party. Alistair Darling this morning was saying con/lib and now con have followed exactly the economic path he had plotted for the country. They had Lawson on too, who argued that this was only achieved by a government which tried harder than labour would have done, so labour would have fallen short of their own targets. Nonetheless, it is difficult to argue that the conservatives have been extreme with austerity when they followed a labour track.

    No doubt labour would have sought a different balance where cuts should fall. However, i am personally not convinced that an escalating path of tax credits was the right way to go. Nor do I think that slashing housing benefits is right: that problem should be solved by housebuilding.

    There are five years to the next election. Plenty of time to resolve the question of how serious Cameron is. I predict a modest recovery betwen now and then. I predict this would have happened whoever was elected, but they would claim the credit. It is possible events in Greece or similar will prove me wrong, but these are all outside the influence of the british government.

  • matthew,
    “So I am appealing again and again and again for people like you to realise that the Liberal Democrats are not all “Cleggies”, and to help us rebuild the party by showing that there is real support coming back to us out there if we stand up and make more clear that we are not”

    As someone just reading the media, I see no reason to think what you say about the party is true. From what i have read here, I see a party split by the two sides. The editorial pieces posted on this website which i have read seem very much the exact opposite of what you are saying. Sure there is a mix, but many keep saying why did voters punish the libs when they did right. …because they didnt?

  • Matthew,
    You should have learned by now that most of the people you are arguing with are basically either Labour or Conservative voters and they are just here to whine and troll on LDV. Honestly, it’s pointless arguing with someone like Danny because he’s here to wind people up, much like the guys on IMDB who make pointless threads about films.
    Danny, why don’t you find something productive to do. Start your own website or political party or something?

  • And Good old Jedisithtrix is back, to tell everyone that 37% of 60% is really a majority, whilst invoking the truisms of Darth Tebbit and claiming 85% of something or other agree with him about something or other, based on figures he appears to have plucked from the ether.

  • Glenn, I’m a lifelong liberal (tactical, becaue voting liberal is pointless in many constituencies) voter. I dont know what the spread of matthew’s views are because I havnt been here long enough to see. I posted here a little after the last election and again now. What I post here are my views and most certainly not anything I made up to be annoying. If you dont like them, you dont like a good chunk of liberal voters.

    jedibeeftrix, I think a policy which is good for a mainstream party is not necessairly good for a small one. A lot of the problem here is that the libs sought to change from one to the other. A very difficult thing to do in the UK. I felt Clegg risked all on one gamble…and lost. I also felt much was said to justify this which was pure spin, and liberal voters hate pure spin.

    I think a party needs something unique and appealing to win in the UK and neither lab or con has it. They mainly have inertia, from being the winner last time. In as much as the libs had one unique point, it was ‘neither of the above’. In some way being more honest. Well, that went completely out the window, and nothing could illustrate it better than the sudden change from everything the coalition did being fantastic to distancing themselves from it. And obviously, they lost the support of voters who though they would stand up for certain particular points which libs have traditionally supported and failed to do now.

    Conservatives won the argument over tuition fees, even if libs won a respectable concession on repayment terms. Trouble is, thats jam tomorrow, and at that may not arrive when some new government changes the rules in 10 years time. Maybe the libs won a concession which will hold, but you all know it was still political suicide to reverse on such a solid promise. How is it I am repeating this after it has been said so many times?

    UKiP had a policy which was winner for a major chunk of voters. Their disadvantages are lack of treck record, lack of people anyones ever heard of, lack of anything by way of more rounded policy (though I think it a trap for a small party to hav eviews on everything). SNP are the only party with a real pulling point, and they had two! Scottish independence for those so inclined, and a scottish centred party as a voice for Scotland within the UK.

  • Matthew Huntbach
    “However, I feel I am really being undermined in this if every effort to do so is met by the likes of Phyllis jeering “nah nah nah nah nah, I’m not listening, you just rolled over and supported the Tories because you loved what they were doing”

    Dismissing people as ‘ the likes of Phyllis ‘ who think that Nick Clegg and most of the Lib Dem parliamentarians were far too comfortable in Tory company is not only disrespectful but not a good way to win back hearts and minds to your party. And the last part of your sentence is wholly inaccurate. I have never jeered, nor have I stopped listening and the only one who I have ever seen use the words ‘ nan nah nah nah nah’ is you.

    And in my view it’s only the truth to say that the Lib Dem leadership and MPs (‘the Lib Dems’ for short) rolled over on a number of issues because they agreed with the Tories. If you don’t believe me, just read up a bit elsewhere.

    And if you say the Party as a whole did not support Clegg et al when they pushed through bedroom tax, secret courts etc, well the party should have risen up and got rid of the leadership if they felt he was doing things in their name which were insupportable. The fact the party as a whole did not (credit to those who did stand up eg Bill lB, John Tilley etc) suggests their feelings of revulsion not that strong.

    . You and your views are not ‘the Lib Dems’ any more than Clegg is ‘ the Lib Dems’.

  • My comments here at least started out to be about the budget. I think i said the conservatives have run a truly excellent strategy at the last election, and whatever the reality of the budget, it came across as left wing and generous. These terms are relative, and relative to expectations -not least hyped up by liberals- it is true.

    Libs asked for a kicking in this respect, and they got one. My expectation is that Cameron/Osborne will attempt to repeat this, and I believe he has scope to do so. The strategy against both lab and con has been to talk tough, but then act more softly. Osborn has now had some practice in his job, again with the help of libs.

    The clips of Alan Duncan Smith cheering were quite telling. I dont honestly know what his reform views are in detail, but anyone saying our benefits system is in a mess is entirely correct. My view is that the minimum wage is too low. This has led to massive dependence on benefits and employers taking advantage. its a coherent message, and the conservatives are pushing that they agree with me.

    There are a lot of reasons how this situation has come about, and not the least is that property prices are so high. I have already posted about this here and in other threads. But here again, the chancellor has at least given lip service to doing something. The only things which could be done are either rationing, or building adequate numbers of new homes. Unless anyone is interested in cutting the population massively. Talking about ‘brown field sites’ is politically safe, but quite useless as a solution because there simply arent enough of them, and anyway they always exist as a rolling total of undeveloped areas as they slowly get recycled from old uses. Speeding up this recycling (a bit) isnt going to make much difference to anything. (cont…)

  • …(cont
    )In my view the biggest thing wrong with the Uk economy is its failure to deliver sufficient housing. Doing something about this was, interestingly enough, one of the reasons for labours success after ww2. Since then conservatives built a consensus for no state intervention in housing, which has been nationally disastrous. I think planning policy really does reflect local public opinion, which is almost always that someone with a green field next to their house wants it to remain a green field rather than become a housing estate. Unfortunately this local interest view has come to completly dominate housing policy. Obviously no one wants a development next door, but it must go somewhere

    The ramifications of this policy have spread throughout the economy. Obviously, accommodation is a huge expense for the poor as a proportion of income, and governments have started to rebel at paying the unsurprising cost of their own policy in this respect. But it goes far beyond this. Were the conservatives to really embrace dealing with the housing shortage, it could become a major election winner and be very good for the UK. The move to restrict benefits for children beyond two is also relevant in an overcrowded island. Sometimes it has to be accepted that there will be losers from policy changes.

  • Jayne Mansfield 12th Jul '15 - 10:03am

    @ Glen,
    Even if that were true, do you not think that that Matthew’s arguments might sway people to his point of view.

    As Matthew has already said, in previous posts, he has had lots of experience arguing with people on the doorstep and bringing them round to a different point of view – some of the people appear to have been harder nuts to crack that posters on here.

    I would ask myself why posters would pretend to be something that they are not. This website does not demand that those posting on here are Liberal Democrat members or supporters.

    I think that there those who have actively driven people away from supporting the Lib Dems ( Richard Reeves et al. There are even Liberal Democrats on here who don’t seem too bothered about keeping bona fide ‘old lefties’ in the party.

    Well, the party has reaped what it sowed, and if people are expressing their anger with the party, the party has only itself to blame.

    In my opinion, one can work with anger, its the people who previously voted for the party and are now indifferent to it that you need to concern yourself with. They are unlikely to take the time to post on here.

  • jedibeeftrix,
    While labour has its problems, it is in a far better position than the libs. At least it does have that historic support, whatever remains, plus very much more political inertia than any other tory challenger in England. Moreover, everyone seems to be writing off the fact that labour under Blair was massively popular until his foreign policy extravagances. Nor did labour lose its budgetary shine until the world crash in 2008. It is only labour incompetence which has allowed conservatives to blame labour for the world’s banking crisis. Conservatives have at least as much blame for this, probably more, but you have to look further back to see it. Some of us remember those events, but this crash is the downside of a policy of liberalisation, which surely boosted profits and tax revenues, but increased risk. So now we saw the risk come home, as inevitably it would one day.

    The trouble is, that policy of liberalisationn was intelinked with significant growth, as indeed is the Keynsian stimulus accorded by masses of private people borrowing huge amounts of money on the housing scam. This only works so long as the scam continues. So if you regularise the system and put a stop to so much borrowing, inevitably long term growth must fall. Not a palateable prospect for politicians.

    The only likely consequence of labour disarry will be a long sweep of conservative governments. We saw this last century. It was accompanied by a slow growth of lib support, but ‘you guys’ set the clock back to baseline five years ago. Neither conservative not labour has real public support as things stand. The system demands a winner, so we get one.

    It needs to be remembered that conservative success in this election was due to the collapse of the lib vote and its redistribution to others, not to anything the conservatives managed to do which boosted their popularity. unless you count engineering this lib collapse, which they did do. A determined conservative would now be seeking an advantage to win the next election. A vision of the future for Britain sounds just the ticket.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMartin 9th Aug - 12:37pm
    Labour and Conservative politicians when in opposition frequently make encouraging noises about electoral reform, but then go mute once in government. What I want to...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 9th Aug - 12:21pm
    @ Marco, An alliance was out of the question as soon as you started to use terms like 'hard left'. Look, if there was anything...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 9th Aug - 11:09am
    @ Katerina, Yes a good point about looking at other countries' experiences. As far as I know there hasn't been a UBI introduced anywhere. And...
  • User AvatarMarco 9th Aug - 11:00am
    @ Peter Martin - In 2019 Labour were led by a hard-left leader who was woefully ill equipped to be Prime Minister even less so...
  • User AvatarMarco 9th Aug - 10:55am
    @Richard Easter “ The argument that the more voters see of a leader, the more they will think highly of them didn’t work for Swinson.”...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 9th Aug - 10:53am
    A well-worked-out scheme for a national Social Contract was offered as a motion for this autumn's Conference to the Federal Conference Committee by ourselves, the...