Category Archives: Op-eds

Two earthly halves locked in a downward spiral

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Jeremy Clarkson recently became a climate change believer when he experienced a dry lake in Cambodia.

I recently experienced something of the bush fire season in Australia. As well as all-pervasive smoke in most of Queensland and New South Wales, ABC Radio news is a constant stream of news on the bush fires – hundreds of them raging all the time. And it is still their spring.

Without trying to rehearse the dangers of climate change, I have one particular fear.

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This week, fight for our values on social security 

As we enter one last push before the election, it’s important to remember why we’re doing this. It’s tempting to clamp down into an unhelpful, wearying “shut up and deliver leaflets” mode, but really the best way to get motivated and to motivate others in politics is to have something to fight for. For me, the Liberal Democrats’ social security policies are exactly such a motivator.

A good safety net that liberates people from poverty and the threat of income insecurity is an absolutely crucial part of a liberal society. One of the reasons why coalition-era cuts in this area were so damaging for us as a party is that it jarred strongly with our natural position fighting for a society that supports and enables and empowers people. As liberals, we believe in people being supported to choose their own paths in life, and few things disempower people like time and energy and health being absorbed by a lack of good living standards. Fortunately, five years on, we’ve responded to that challenge, and are now exactly where we should be, leading the two main parties in having the most progressive welfare system plans on offer according to a Resolution Foundation analysis.

First, we have a plan to fix the system so it’s fit for purpose. Our root and branch reforms to Universal Credit, reducing the waiting time from weeks to days and scrapping the two child cap and bedroom tax, would rapidly and significantly improve people’s lives. Simply spending more on raw benefit levels is also urgently needed, and something that our Liberal Democrat MPs will fight for in the next parliament.  Since 2016 we’ve also been committed to the even bigger step of abolishing the benefit sanctions system: it is unconscionable, no matter what the circumstances are, that people should be left with insufficient income to live on. 

One area we’ve talked about less, nestling among the wide constellation of official Lib Dem policies not explicitly mentioned in the manifesto, is the longer term future of the system. As of Autumn Conference, our long term plan is to pilot turning the standard element of UC into a guaranteed minimum income, removing all claiming conditions other than income level. This is a natural evolution of policy from the abolition of sanctions, and also fits with our policies on lifelong learning and providing living cost support for startup businesses: by piloting an unconditional minimum, we will be looking towards having a single, streamlined system that will provide people with new opportunities, as well as giving people the stability they need to take care of themselves and those around them.

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Tammy Duckworth and the importance of second chamber reform

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One issue that has not come up during this campaign, but should have, is second chamber reform.

Firstly, may I say that our House of Lords has many, many fine members and does a fantastic job.

But there is a problem. We can’t get rid of it. It fails on the five democratic questions that dear old Tony Benn used to repeat endlessly:

What power have you got?

Where did you get it from?

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New MRP poll shows Lib Dems can stop Boris Johnson from winning a majority

The latest You Gov MRP poll shows us gaining slightly in both vote share and seats from 2017 but  still gives Boris Johnson a majority. But before we all panic, the figures show that we can stop him and gain more seats.

The headline figures have the Tories on 339, Labour on 231, us on 15, the Greens on 1, Plaid on 4 and the SNP on 41.

The study has us on 12% and with 15 seats. That doesn’t ‘t tell the whole story. Seats like Lewes, Finchley and Golders Green (Luciana Berger) and Cities of London and Westminster (Chuka Umunna) are in reach for us if we can squeeze that Labour vote.

North East Fife has moved from being SNP two weeks ago to a toss up and Caithness has gone from a 1% SNP lead to a 4% Lib Dem  lead.

If these results were replicated, we would gain St Albans, Richmond Park, South Cambridgeshire, Sheffield Hallam and Winchester by significant margins.

Here are the seats when we are in with a shout of a gain:Cheadle

Cheltenham

Esher and Walton,- Monica Harding could unseat Dominic Raab with the race tightening in the two weeks

Finchley and Golders Green, (Luciana Berger)

Guildford,

Hazel Grove,

Lewes

St Ives

Wokingham

Chelsea and Fulham – a longer shot but Labour votes switching to Lib Dem could see Nicola Horlick elected.

Ceredigion

The SNP could gain a few more seats from the Tories, too.

The take home from this poll is that a Tory majority is not inevitable.

Incredibly, Bolsover, one of the safest Labour seats in the country, is predicted to go Conservative. Who would have thought that Dennis Skinner would face electoral defeat at the hands of the Tories?

And on other side, Iain Duncan Smith also faces defeat by Labour in Chingford and Wood Green.

I suspect that this poll underestimates the Lib Dem vote from what I have seen and heard about on the ground in Lib Dem seats.

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Winter elections

The last time there was a General Election in December was in 1923. The BBC has a fascinating account of the event.

It was not a particularly cold winter, more dull and drizzly than crisp and blindingly white, although there were occasional snow and sleet flurries with December seeing a mean temperature of 3.9C.

Houses were decorated with festive bunting and heated by coal fires, shopping streets bustled with rattling trams and women wore ankle-length skirts and cloche hats.

The Representation of the People Act five years previously had given them the vote, although not all women – only those aged 30 or over who owned property worth at least £5, which accounted for about two thirds of the nation’s women (full voting rights would come in 1928).

Back in 2012, Mark Pack brilliantly developed a suggestion I had made to the LDV team and reported the Government’s proposal to move the day of local elections from May to February. There were howls of protest until someone noticed the date.  I particularly loved the final sentence:

As a planned cost saving measure, if the last Thursday in February falls on a leap day, the elections will be skipped and all incumbents automatically re-elected …

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Rob’s Liberal Democrat rap

Liberal Democrat Rob Castell thought he would be standing against Dominic Grieve in Beaconsfield. However, he stood aside when the election was announced. Dominic Grieve has been an important pro-Remain voice in the Commons, crucial to stopping Brexit. He is standing as an independent and the Liberal Democrats locally and nationally agreed not to oppose him.

Rob has been campaigning with Dominic Grieve, who is picking up much unexpected support.

Rob’s generosity in standing aside is clear. He has been a great and positive presence on social media during the campaign, though. Recently, he was put in touch with the producers of Politix and Chill, a new BBC Sussex podcast for young people. They asked him to write and record a rap about politics. Two others, from the Conservatives and Labour, were also invited to do so and they were judged by talent scouts.

Rob told me that it was a great experience and he hopes it will make politics more accessible for young people.

Watch it here.

The words to Rob’s rap are below:

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Can the Greens’ Universal Basic Income tackle poverty?

The Greens in this election are promising in their manifesto “a Universal Basic Income, paid to all UK residents to tackle poverty and give financial security to everyone”. They state that their Universal Basic Income (UBI) will replace the current benefits system. And they will phase it in over five years. The rates are £89 per week for working age adults, and £178 per week for pensioners. They will provide an unstated amount as a supplement for people with disabilities and lone parents. For families earning under £50,000 there will be £70 per week for each of the first two children and £50 for each additional child. However, it seems they are not paying Housing Benefit to new claimants once UBI has been introduced. Their manifesto states that they will, “Continue to pay Housing Benefit to those who received it before UBI was introduced, so that they can cover their rent (page 50).

For those in full time work the £89 a week is in fact only £40.92 a week because the Income Tax Personal Allowance of £12,500 would be scrapped.

They estimate the cost of the UBI, the supplements and free childcare at £86.2 billion. They state they will provide 35 hours of free childcare for all from the age of 9 months. This is more than we are promising because we are only providing free childcare for working parents for children aged 9 months to two years. This is estimated to cost £12.3 billion in 2024/25. Therefore the Greens are spending less than £73.9 billion to introduce their Universal Basic Income while abolishing Housing Benefit for new claimants.

The Greens benefit reforms will leave most people who would qualify for benefits today in poverty. Using the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s figure in their
“UK Poverty 2018” updated by inflation for April 2019 the poverty levels excluding housing costs per week are:

Single person no children £157.62
Single person with two children £325.88
Couple with no children £271.58
Couple with two children £439.84

Turning to the Greens’ proposals these are what people would receive if not working:

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Steve Coogan campaigns for Lib Dem Oli Henman in Lewes

As part of an initiative to encourage tactical voting, comedian Steve Coogan joined Liberal Democrat candidate for Lewes Oli Henman for a campaigning session:

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Jo’s best bits from the Channel 4 Debate

Channel 4 held an “everything but Brexit” debate last night.

Jo represented us. Labour sent Angela Rayner, the SNP Philippa Whitford and both of them basically decided to gang up on Jo over the coalition rather than defend their own policies. Moderator Cathy Newman seemed to join in the pile-on at times.

The Conservatives and Brexit Party couldn’t even be bothered to turn up. It was quite bizarre when she read out bits of the Conservative and Brexit manifestos when they were not represented and able to be properly scrutinised.

Here are some of Jo’s best bits.

 

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Citizenship – a human right

It is Liberal Democrat Party policy to bring forward legislation to create overseas constituencies and votes for life for the British diaspora abroad. The Election Manifestos of 2017 and 2019 are explicit on this matter. Currently, British citizens living outside the UK loose their right to vote in Parliamentary elections and referenda after 15 years of absence; their enfranchisement ceases. After BREXIT, Britons living in the European Union will loose their local voting rights (European Parliamentary and Municipal Elections) and as they pass the 15 year threshold, they become completely disenfranchised for life. Is this democratic? No, this is an …

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Time for Smart Tactical Voting

Tactical voting was essential in helping me to win four Parliamentary elections in a row, and its absence led to the defeat of so many of my colleagues along with myself in 2015.

The danger in this election is that a simple ‘let’s unite to kick out the Tories’ could well end up with a hung Parliament that has more Leavers than Remainers in it.

Those who advocate such a simple solution to change the Government need to examine precisely whom it is they are helping to elect.

My first preference is for a Liberal Democrat majority Government. If I can’t have that, …

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The most frustrating thing about Jo Swinson

Jo Swinson was on Sophy Ridge this morning, setting out very clearly that every single Liberal Democrat MP elected on Thursday would be absolutely focused on stopping Brexit.

She emphasised that Liberal Democrats could stop Boris Johnson getting a majority.

She also defended our policy of revoking Article 50 if the Liberal Democrats won a majority, saying that it was the most popular option amongst remainers, including Labour remainers. She could have mentioned that 6 million people signed a petition to do just that just a few months ago so the idea clearly has support.

Here are her highlights:

Sophy Ridge asked her about …

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Santa Rennie delivers festive lump of coal to SNP

It wouldn’t be an election without Willie Rennie doing something eye-catching.

And today, he took part in a Santa dash in Glasgow.

 

He placed the SNP firmly on the Naughty List for the decline in public services since they have been in government and suggested that they’d be getting a lump of coal on Christmas morning.

The only reason that the SNP want to talk about Brexit is because their domestic agenda is truly abysmal.

Hundreds of children are waiting far too long for mental health treatment, the third Police Authority chair in three years has resigned and we are falling down the international education rankings.

This Christmas the SNP deserve a lump of coal for the way they’ve mishandled these services. Our teachers, nurses and police officers are working hard day in day out but they don’t get the support they deserve from an SNP government which has independence on the brain.

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TV legend Esther Rantzen backs Luciana Berger

Television presenter Esther Rantzen is throwing her support behind the Lib Dem candidate in Finchley and Golders Green. She said:

As a floating voter myself, I believe we need to support outstanding individuals to ensure we elect the best politicians with integrity and determination.

Although I do not live in her constituency, I am greatly impressed by Luciana’s courage and commitment in standing for election when she has in the past as an MP suffered appalling abuse and prejudice.

She has put herself in the firing line for fearlessly exposing anti-Jewish racism.

It might have been tempting to decide to leave politics when women, especially Jewish women, have come under so much vicious attack. Instead she has decided to fight prejudice and resist hatred and xenophobia.

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How YOU can help the Lib Dems get more MPs this week

There’s just five campaigning days left in the General Election. All of a sudden you seem to go from “Oh yikes, how the hell will I survive 5 weeks of this?” to “Oh Yikes, there’s only five days to do all this?”

What matters to us all on Friday morning is the number of Lib Dem MPs we have. Noble third places count for nothing.

If you are not in one of the seats we hope to win on Thursday, please either get to your nearest one, or make phone calls from your own home into it. The party has set up a nice tool to let you know which one you should go to.

I have always done this. Sometimes, my local party where I live has not been happy about this. I remember the horror in the West Lothian local party in my first election when I moved there when I said I was heading to Edinburgh South. We didn’t win there in that election, but we were a top target and laid the groundwork for wining the Scottish Parliament seat two years later.

When I lived in the East Midlands, I worked in the target seat of Chesterfield which we  won in 2001.

At this stage of the campaign, we need to make sure that the target seats win. What you have done already will have helped you build for next time. And it can be hard, when you have put lots of effort into your local campaign to leave it and head elsewhere.

But if you can be part of winning a brighter prospect, that will also help you in more ways than one. Firstly, a good result for the party helps us all. More MPs = more influence in Parliament. For the country that is a good thing because it gives us the chance to stop Brexit.

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Pest control and security cameras

Here at Lib Dem Voice we receive some intriguing emails, especially those from people wanting to place a post to help their search engine status.  Here are a couple we have received this week.

This is xxx, a writer and a big fan of your blog/website content https://www.libdemvoice.org . I’m reaching out to you because I wish to write an amazing blog post for your readers.

The articles ideas I had:

Pest Control Services
Residential Pest Control Services
Commercial Pest Control Services
Termite Control, Termite Treatment
Ant Control & Extermination

I would appreciate if you could allow me to write a guest post for you!

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That NATO Summit discord, in context

The recent NATO summit in the UK filled the headlines for a few days. What was the summit really all about ?

Arguments about low defence spending amongst some members, about perceived military weakness relative to Russia in the Baltic States, spilled out. There was even an apparent threat from Turkey to delay progress on the Baltic States issue until the rest of NATO accepted that Kurdish defence forces in Syria are ‘terrorists’.

After 70 years of NATO, the irreconcilable discord dominated.

The underlying problem is that members do not agree any more on what exactly NATO is for.   What is worse is that its members are in a kind of gridlock; there is little leadership on mutual interests, lots of taboo topics, and sticking plasters everywhere.

Spending spats are really disagreements about control; some members being reluctant to extend spending until there is more equal status in NATO decision-making.

The history is key.  NATO was never part of any ‘grand plan’ at the outset. Its formation & development after WW2 was something of an accident.  NATO’s origins lie with the 1947 Dunkirk Treaty between France and the UK, and then the Brussels Treaty Organisation (BTO) in 1948 which brought in the Benelux Countries, creating the Western Union (WU) with US support. The WU was precursor both to NATO and to EU defence cooperation.

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The Daily Mail could end Brexit

The recent news that the Daily Mail has bought the i newspaper for £49.6m has caused alarm and dismay to many. Is this the latest example of the extreme right tightening their grip on Britain’s print media, 80% of which they already own? It was, after all, the Mail’s long running, vengeful and ferocious campaign against the EU, under Paul Dacre’s editorship, that set the scene for Brexit.

It may be that Dacre finally overstepped the mark with his “enemies of the people” attack on our top judges, or it may be that his particular brand of burning anger was no longer necessary once the worst of his work was successfully done; at any rate many hoped that his replacement by the more pragmatic Geordie Greig would signal a change of heart at Britain’s most popular daily, and a less toxic approach.

Support for this view comes from a leading article in the British Medical Journal, and raises the interesting possibility that the Mail might one day be in the vanguard of a drive to reverse the worst calamity it ever backed: Brexit. The argument is that if the paper has seen the light and abandoned its long term support of the anti-vaxx lobby, anything is possible.

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The Lib Dem pitch to the rural left

Those of us who are left of centre in rural areas are often completely missed from political discourse, despite our long history of distinctive political belief.  Rural people are, obviously, spread out both geographically and economically. We live in smaller communities and have much smaller workplaces. The result of this is a more individualistic yet supportive community where people rely on themselves first and their neighbours second. Liberal philosophy is ideally placed to appeal to these rural values, giving a hand up when needed while getting out the way when not.

How can our liberal message best appeal to the many areas of the country that are represented by the Conservatives yet badly let down by their safe seat apathy?

Our economic message must fit both rural reality and rural values. We must build a framework that allows small and micro businesses to thrive by busting monopolies that are especially damaging in rural areas. Across the country, monopoly power is costing ordinary people billions. The uncompetitiveness of the energy market costs the country £1.7bn but the renewable revolution allows us to rebuild the energy market around communities and their needs, returning the profits of relatively small-scale renewables to the areas in which they are based. A new model of distributive rather than concentrative markets must be built, in which ownership and control are shared widely through mutuals, cooperatives and small enterprise.

We must also build the infrastructure rural areas need to succeed. Our support for universal high-speed broadband as well as better public transport is vital to helping fledgeling businesses to survive, while we also need to be building affordable and social housing to ensure we can halt the rural brain drain. I, myself, am an example of that drain, moving from the village I grew up in to the nearby city of Lincoln for work and to study.

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Lord Paul Tyler writes… Voting tactically to end tactical voting

New polling for the ERS on #DemocracyDay today (Thursday 5th) shows that 80% of people feel they have little or no influence on how decisions are made, and 85% think our political institutions need significant improvement.

We now know that around a huge proportion of Labour supporters are likely to vote tactically (almost all for Liberal Democrat candidates) and a similar number of Liberal Democrats will do likewise (most for Labour candidates). These well-informed citizens are determined not to be cheated again by the absurdly anachronistic and unfair electoral system.

They wouldn’t have to vote tactically if a proportional system operated in this election. If we all enjoyed the STV preferential ballot which the Lab/Lib Dem Coalition introduced for local elections in Scotland almost every vote would count – there 95% of those who vote are represented by councillors they have helped to win. In England and Wales barely half can say that.

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Hugh Grant on Boris Johnson: Sinister, narcissistic and alarming with potentially no principles at all

Chuka Umunna and Hugh Grant talk with the press yesterday in St John’s Gardens, London SW1

“Could someone interview Hugh Grant tomorrow?” came the call from our esteemed LDV editor Caron, late on Sunday.

Well, one of the advantages of being gloriously retired is that you can often turn on a sixpence. So I jumped at the chance to interview the great man despite basic logistics issues such as “where” and “when” being still unclear. As these basics remained unclear as hours passed I realised I would have to bring forward my powers of initiative and assertiveness.

Fortunately, thanks to the great assistance of our old friend Dr Evan Harris of Hacked Off and Helen Davies, chair of City of London and Westminster Liberal Democrats, yesterday I was introduced to Hugh Grant as a “friend” and got my three minutes with him. You can hear the whole interview here on SoundCloud. (It includes a section about press abuse.)

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What happens after 12 December?

It is clear that there are two possible broad outcomes to this General Election. The first is an overall Conservative victory. The second is no party with an overall majority, what the world will call a Hung Parliament.

There’s a subset of them both which is a repeat of 2017 where the Tories as largest party can get to an overall lead with the assistance of the DUP. The Irish borders issue (the main single reason we are now having an election yet almost completely absent from the election debate) may make that more difficult for Johnson though we must …

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Hugh Grant goes canvassing for Luciana today, Chuka tomorrow

It was great to see actor Hugh Grant out canvassing for Luciana Berger today.

In the first of a series of visits to Lib Dem, Labour and Independent remain supporting candidates who could deny Boris Johnson a majority, he canvassed with Luciana then attended a packed rally.

The best tweet has to come from Gabriel Rozenberg, quoting that great line of Andie McDowell’s from that last scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral – still an incredibly funny film, if you haven’t seen it.

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What World AIDS Day means to me

We’re in the middle of a General Election campaign and you can be forgiven for not being aware of every international day the United Nations celebrates, but I want to draw your attention to one that is special to me: World AIDS Day. It’s today.

I’ve been living with HIV for over 15 years, since June 2004, but I didn’t publicly disclose my status until March 2015 – when I became Britain’s first openly HIV positive candidate. There’s still so much stigma attached to being HIV positive that, despite knowing that I am healthy, undetectable and am able to live my …

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Entitled Isn’t Exceptional: Why Brexit Will Fail, part 4

For readers joining this series late, here are parts one, two and three

So far this week, I’ve discussed the lies and indecision at the heart of Brexit that make it impossible for Johnson to deliver on any of the grand promises he makes.

The biggest lie of all is British Exceptionalism, the lie that we tell ourselves that Britain is somehow special, because of our history, because of the Empire, because of the ubiquity of our language, because of the “special relationship”. The dangerous delusion of “Empire 2.0”.

Johnson in particular, refers to Britain in towering, cod-Churchillian terms, forgetting …

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Jo’s best bits from the BBC Debate

Seven leading figures from the various parties competing in the election took part in a televised debate from the National Assembly of Wales.

We are a site made up of Lib Dem supporters. Of course we are going to back our leader. But she surpassed even our expectations.

Her opening statement offered hope, and a country where everyone is valued regardless of religion, who they love or the colour of their skin, working with our closest friends to save the planet, nurturing the bonds in our family of nations, protecting the vulnerable.  A proper liberal vision.

She had the line of the debate.

She didn’t mention that it was a horror show, though…

And here’s her closing statement:

She highlighted why Lib Dem spending plans were not only effective, but added up.

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The Singapore Delusion: Why Brexit Will Fail, part 3

In this third part of the series (part one is here, and part two here), Richard looks at the Singapore-on-Thames concept…

Singapore has seen extraordinary levels of growth over the last decades.

Where Western countries have long-term average growth rates in GDP per capita of around 2% a year, Singapore saw nearly a decade of real gdp growth of 12.7% per year from 1965-1973.

Who could not want that, the average citizen seeing their income double every six years, above inflation. Even the worst off would see substantial increases in income, services, wellbeing…

But the idea that a mature economy like the …

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Conference Early Bird Discount extended until 7th January

Last month, when registration opened for York Conference, I noticed that the discount for booking early finished just one week after the election and before Christmas. I felt that this was unfair:

Now, most of us are knocking ourselves out campaigning for the General Election. We’re out in the cold and dark on a daily basis. Campaigning is not cheap. You have to pay to travel -and many of us are travelling to our nearest target seats. And we’re all getting asked to contribute to local and national campaigns.

This election is an unexpected and added expense just before Christmas. If you add to that the cost of registering for Conference as well, it might mean that some people just can’t afford to go.

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Election Diary 3: Into the final stretch

Harold Wilson stated more than fifty years ago that a week was a long time in politics, and in a general election campaign this is especially true. There are just under two weeks left until the country goes to the polls, and a huge proportion is still up for grabs in this most divisive election. It is also the most important since Margaret Thatcher’s election in 1979, which fundamentally changed Britain, for better or worse. 

It is therefore little surprise that two main parties have recently shifted their focus going into the final weeks and days of the campaign. Labour, despite Jeremy Corbyn’s increased poll ratings, has not garnered enough support to pose a real threat to Boris Johnson’s plans for majority rule. His party has now focused its attempts on retaining its Northern Leave-voting seats, which could give the Lib Dems an opportunity to heavily target previously Labour-supporting Remainers. The huge spending pledges have not caught the public’s imagination as much as Corbyn and Seumas Milne would have wanted, nor have their plans for large-scale renationalization. Or, for that matter, the party’s disgraceful failure to combat, let alone admit to, its anti-Semitism. 

A new poll, employing a method that accurately predicted the 2017 election result claims that the Lib Dems are on course for thirteen MPs if the election were held today. If true, this would a disastrous. After the recent successes in European and local elections, such a poor showing would mean that the Remain voice would have virtually no voice in Parliament, and would, I fear, mean the final failure of the Remain campaign as a whole. 

The party’s pledge to revoke Article 50 is one of the main reasons for this slump. Speaking to even the most ardent Europhiles, I have found a disquiet about the policy. For Jo Swinson to succeed, she needs to position herself as the moderate, opposing both the extremes of Corbyn and Johnson. Supporting revoking does exactly the opposite. It presents the Liberal Democrats as un-democratic, ignoring the first vote and not allowing even a second. Much anger in the public at this extreme turn has meant that a rethink is needed if the current poll figures are to be reversed. 

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Observations of an ex pat: The Laffer Curve

It is an economic model called the Laffer Curve and it reeks of common sense and good economic stewardship. It is also being studiously ignored by the Labour and Conservative parties in their headlong race to buy votes with expensive election promises.

The Laffer Curve is basically a bell-shaped curve which starts at zero on the left , rises to an optimum figure in the middle and then drops back down to zero on the far right. The zero on the left is the expected tax revenue that would be raised if the tax rate was zero, which is fairly self-explanatory—no taxes, no revenue.  Halfway up the left side of the curves means taxes are too low and revenue is insufficient.

The zero on the far-right may appear at first glance to be counter-intuitive.  The higher the price (taxes) the higher the revenue. But if we use the shop analogy the fallacy of that argument is exposed.  If a shop charges more money than the customer can afford than they just go elsewhere. In the case of taxes they vote with their feet and move to another country and refuse to invest in an economy which fails to give them a return with the result that the pool of money from which taxes are drawn shrinks.

The key is to find the happy median. This is the highest point on the Laffer Curve where the tax rate—like Goldilocks’s porridge—is neither too high nor too low but set just right so that it draws in the maximum tax revenues.

The Laffer Curve is named after American economist Arthur Laffer from the Chicago School of Economics. Professor Laffer did not invent the theory. But he did popularise it during the Ford, Reagan and Bush Senior Administrations. The theory actually has its antecedents in 14th century Tunisia; was popular in 19th century American economic planning and a cornerstone of the policies of US Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon during the Roaring Twenties.  Even John Maynard Keynes made some admiring references to it, but it was largely forgotten in the 30 years after World War II.

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  • User AvatarPaul Barker 12th Dec - 4:22pm
    You hear a Fire Alarm go off. Do you evacuate the building immeidiately or wait till you can see the smoke ?
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 12th Dec - 3:57pm
    @Michael BG "It also seems that the Brexit Party has been adversely affected by not standing in all British seats." I think a large part...
  • User AvatarPeter 12th Dec - 3:37pm
    Roland, the models predict temperature and by implication, sea rise, because the rise is due to the thermal expansion of the oceans. If the models...
  • User AvatarPeter 12th Dec - 3:19pm
    @Roland The purpose of the models is to predict future temperatures given the projected rate of increase in atmospheric CO2. We now have decades of...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 12th Dec - 3:04pm
    Peter Watson, The Liberal Democrats are a national party and should stand in every constituency. I think it is generally recognised that fighting on a...
  • User AvatarRoland 12th Dec - 2:51pm
    @Peter - What do you really mean by "predict correctly"? And at what point are you prepared to stop procrastinating and start taking action? Remember...
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