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

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

The measure getting all the headlines is the fact that they are going to restore the 50p tax rate that was in place for all of a month of their 13 year term in office. It’s worth remembering that their top rate of tax for the other 12 years and 11 months was 40p and there were so many loopholes, and so few proper taxes on wealth. We don’t shout about the fact that as well as raising the tax threshold, we also put up Capital Gains Tax by 10%. We could do with it going up some more, as well. I would be happy to see the top rate of tax back at 50p, by the way. I understand why Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander agreed to it coming down to 45p, though, as they got more taxes on wealth as part of the package. I don’t have to like it, but I understand their reasoning.

We also see that Labour plan to effectively introduce workfare, fundamentally failing to understand that looking for a job is a full time job. It’s interesting, as well, that he was silent on sickness benefits. Labour, of course, has made a big fuss about the Coalition’s changes to Employment and Support Allowance, but there don’t seem to be any plans to change them back.

Anyway, Danny Alexander had this to say about Balls’ speech:

Ed Balls’ speech today shows once again why Ed Miliband’s Labour cannot be trusted with the economy. It seems Labour have learned nothing from the last few years and would undermine the foundations of Britain’s economic recovery.
The coalition’s economic strategy is dealing with the catastrophic mess we inherited from Labour. The action taken by Liberal Democrats in government is the foundation for the economic recovery that is now underway and helping more British people find work than ever before.
Labour’s answer is to borrow more over a longer period, which will leave a higher burden of debt to be dealt with by future generations. That is not fair or responsible. We need to stick to the plan to secure the recovery, not weaken our resolve now.
Labour’s hypocrisy on taxation is breathtaking. In government they left a system full of loopholes for the wealthy to exploit. Thanks to our action in government to raise Capital Gains Tax, reduce pensions tax relief for the wealthiest, and tackle tax avoidance, Lib Dems in government are raising more from those who have the most and making Britain more competitive. Reintroducing the 50p rate wouldn’t help with either objective.
This year we are delivering the biggest tax cuts for working people for a generation – delivering the Lib Dem commitment that the first £10,000 you earn should be tax free. We should go even further in lifting the tax threshold – going back to the discredited 10p rate delivers much less for working people.
The economic recovery would not be happening without the Liberal Democrats. Ed Balls speech is a timely reminder that the Liberal Democrats are the only party that can deliver both a strong economy and a fair society.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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44 Comments

  • Please stop going on about tax cuts.

    I’ve never voted purely because of my own household’s situation, but will explain a little as I’m sure my situation is not that different from most.

    The much trumpeted Coalition tax threshold changes have benefited my household to the tune of about £595 this year in cash terms.

    But we also are paying out extra VAT because of the Tory/Lib Dem hike to 20%.
    It is hard to exactly put a figure on that extra cost but looking at VAT we’ve paid on building repairs, cleaning and hygiene items, replacement appliances and regular vet bills and medication costs for an elderly cat my guess is that VAT hike has cost us about £250 a year.

    On top of that my pension age has been pushed back a year, meaning that my state pension and additional payment I’d have got because I’d paid SERPS will have to be accounted for, that means I lose out over £500 a year if I take into account how much my household will lose because of that.

    The Coalition have also cut £50 off the Winter Fuel Allowance that my husband is eligible for.

    So the Lib Dem policies or Tory policies supported by the Lib Dems have actually cost my household money and we are nowhere near wealthy.
    I haven’t included the loss of income from savings which are languishing at very low interest rates that aren’t keeping up with inflation. Yet both Coalition parties boast of low interest rates apparently uncaring about people who have saved.

    So please forgive me for being cynical. The Lib Dems did of course allow tax cuts for millionaires.
    Presumably they are considered more hard working than the rest of us.

  • Is Danny’s take home message really ‘we won’t demand the rich pay a greater share and we condemn those who do’?

    Electoral suicide.

  • Apparently the working people iCowdebeath dothinks agree with Danny. But maybe some of them are paying an extra £14 a week rent for the bedroom tax. Still at least they beat Hamilton today.

  • Mick Taylor 25th Jan '14 - 6:01pm

    Oh, just like their counterparts in the private sector, for whom the Labour Government stopped paying for additional bedrooms in 2008?

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 25th Jan '14 - 6:06pm

    “Oh, just like their counterparts in the private sector, for whom the Labour Government stopped paying for additional bedrooms in 2008?”

    But , amongst many other things, they weren’t vindictively retrospective.

  • jedibeeftrix 25th Jan '14 - 7:03pm

    “Mr Balls announced what Labour said would be a binding commitment to balance the books, deliver a surplus on the current budget and get the national debt falling in the next Parliament”

    Will there be a binding commitment to remove the 50p tax rate once you have eliminated the deficit in 2020, Mr Balls?

    After all, you did say:

    “When the deficit is still high, when tough times are now set to last well into the next parliament, when for ordinary families their real incomes are falling and taxes have risen, it cannot be right for David Cameron and George Osborne to have chosen to give the richest people in the country a huge tax cut,”

    And you original 50p rate was justified as a temporary measure during hard times…

  • @John Tilley. I’d like a bigger house. But I don’t expect other people to pay for it. So why should I pay for people to have bigger houses than they need?

  • Peter Hayes 25th Jan '14 - 7:53pm

    As a LibDem deliverer I hope I am never challenged on anything Danny A says. He seems to be an Orange Book Liberal closer to the Conservatives than the Social Democrat wing of the LibDems. Why accept the bedroom tax when you know there are no alternative homes available to give the most blatant example.

  • Stuart Mitchell 25th Jan '14 - 7:59pm

    “A surplus by 2020? Really? From Labour? They seem to be trying to make out that they can be trusted with our purse strings after all, despite all the evidence to the contrary that we’ve seen any time they’ve been in government in my lifetime.”

    I take it, then, you weren’t one of those Lib Dems circa 2001 attacking Labour for running such a big surplus and demanding that they increase spending instead. Which, in fact, they did – though not enough to satisfy the Lib Dems, who were still complaining in 2005 that the government should be spending more. Even by 2010, the Lib Dems were not promising to cut the deficit by one penny more than Labour. Lib Dem complaints of Labour profligacy seem very rich indeed to anybody with a passing knowledge of the last three Lib Dem manifestoes.

  • Stuart Mitchell 25th Jan '14 - 8:20pm

    @Simon Shaw
    “So, for Ed Balls to talk about the richest people in the country getting ‘a huge tax cut’ is simply wrong.”

    For once you are right – but as you well know, Lib Dem politicians daily tell us that all working people have been given a huge tax cut, and they’re just as wrong as Ed Balls is.

  • Stuart Mitchell 25th Jan '14 - 9:00pm

    @Simon Shaw
    You seem to miss the point that if the Lib Dems had been in a position to make fiscal policy at any point before 2008, the deficit would have been worse than it actually was.

    “Do Lib Dem politicians tell us that on a daily basis? I’m not sure they do.”

    You win Simon. We were probably spared it on Christmas Day.

  • “Cutting the top rate was a stupid thing to do. It probably raised up to £3bn a year. We should pledge to restore the 50p rate at the next election. It’s not enough to be fair, you have to be seen to be fair.”
    Tim Farron interview with Stephen Tall for AdLib

    http://stephentall.org/2013/03/09/my-tim-farron-interview-the-unexpurgated-version/

    In a survey of 700 members, 56% of Lib Dem members back a 50p rate of top-rate tax

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/our-survey-says-lib-dems-want-a-50p-toprate-of-tax-but-will-they-vote-for-it-at-conference-36256.html

    No surprise though that Danny Alexander doesn’t agree with the members that voted in that poll nor Tim Farron.

  • Balls talks balls 2014.1

  • Richard Harris 25th Jan '14 - 9:34pm

    @Steve Way. Very funny. You should be writing headlines for the Daily Mail. And that by the way is not a compliment.

  • “I understand why Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander agreed to it coming down to 45p, though, as they got more taxes on wealth as part of the package”

    Caron, surely you know that the claim that the rate cut increased revenue is a very controversial one, for reasons that have been discussed extensively on LDV?

  • @Richard Harris
    Forgive me I wasn’t aware the Ed Balls fan club was in. Please also forgive me for thinking I was on LDV not Labour list. And finally, please forgive me for not forgetting that Balls was a major part of most of the errors made in the management of the economy towards the end of Labours period in government. The fact I see everything that comes out of his mouth as utters balls is based upon his previous actions and certainly no right wing tendencies.

  • @Simon Shaw 25th Jan ’14 – 8:13pm
    Thanks for the worked example, that begins to put some context on this debate/argument. Although I’m not quite sure if the example is for a single earner and hence if they have children the loss in benefits will be marginally greater due to the new child benefit cap. Perhaps it may be useful to look at the changes in NI contributions (personal and employers), given that many regard NI as just another form of income tax.

    I do wonder how many of those earning over £150K pa are actually employed rather than ‘self-employed’ and hence get paid through a services company and hence how many people actually have an ‘income’ of £500k that is wholly subject to income tax and NI.

    From this evenings BBC News, it seems that the cut from 50% to 45% reduced Treasury income by £100m a year – based on 2012 receipts. So whilst a sum that could be put to good use, not a lot given the overall scale of tax revenues and expenditure.

  • Little Jackie Paper 25th Jan '14 - 10:52pm

    In some ways it is actually what Balls did NOT say that is just as interesting. The 50p rate will catch the attention of the media of course – but the essential thrust was that Labour will in some combination implement cuts and tax rises in the event that they are in government. But what Balls, as far as I can see, made no mention of was ringfencing.

    It has been a bad habit of the Coalition to protect particular areas of spend. The only implication of this in a fiscal consolidation is deeper cuts elsewhere. I am yet to hear any compelling reason why the NHS protection should be a sacred cow over all other policies, presumably including deficit reduction. And protection eads to some very difficult things to defend. A few months ago we borrowed £2bn+ to send a cheque to every pensioner in the country. Quite why Granny sitting on £300k of bubble-priced housing gets a cheque whilst the priced out young take the brunt is not obvious. At least economically; we can speculate on the politics.

    For all the talk of austerity the commitment to a pension triple lock to 2020 represents an extremely large commitment, especially in a context where there appears to be consensus on an absolute surplus. Any protection for the NHS would similarly be a very large commitment. It will be interesting to see if the Lib Dem manifesto has anything to say on ringfencing, there has been remarkably little debate.

    However as far as I can see Labour have not offered up any sacred cows. Whilst there is much to criticise about Labour, the Coalition might like to take note when it comes to ringfences.

  • jedibeeftrix 26th Jan '14 - 1:31am

    @ MartinB – “It’s not enough to be fair, you have to be seen to be fair.”

    I agree, but where we differ is that i think rich people already pay more than enough, given ONS figures that show that when tax and benefits are taken into consideration all deciles pay roughly 30% of income.

    Using Simon’s figures a person on £500,000 pays £225,000 in tax. Roughly the salary of three senior doctors perhaps, how many doctors have you paid for?

    Fundamental question: is tax for paying for essential public services or equalising outcomes?

  • jbt In answer to your question – both. It is, in fact, needed much more as an equaliser these days, when the gap between the top, or even the “near top” and the lower middle and bottom is so great. I would also question you on how you are using the word “essential” to describe the public services which should be provided.

    But then, you and I already know that we take a fundamentally different view on this type of issue. I cannot agree with you about your basic principle of having a level of total tax which should mark an upper limit, for instance.

  • Paul In Twickenham 26th Jan '14 - 8:01am

    I would not for a moment disagree with the statement that Labour are not in a position to lecture anyone on responsible economic management :

    whether it was selling gold at $280 an ounce (setting aside the conspiracy theories and calling it bad judgement rather than intrigue);

    landing us with ridiculously overpriced and self-deluding PPP schemes in an effort to get capital spending off balance-sheet;

    or failing to grasp the nettle of proper regulation in The City that created the environment for Northern Rock, RBS etc.

    Labour have no credibility – I note that even Paul Myners is now saying that Ed Balls “would not get a pass at GCSE economics” for the thinking behind reintroducing the 50% tax rate. With friends like those…

    But YouGov have a poll today that shows that only 8% of people feel that their personal financial position is improving – and that those people are concentrated in London. That compares with 67% who feel no change and 25% who feel that their position is worse. It will be interesting to see how the public react to a claim that incomes are are now rising faster than inflation, if that does not resonate with personal experience.

  • A Social Liberal 26th Jan '14 - 8:40am

    Just to be clear, did a recent Lib Dem poll find that 56% of members voting supported an income tax rise or not? A supplementary question might be asked, will this become Lib Dem policyi?

  • Why have a discussion about the relative merits of 50p or 45p ? When George Harrison wrote the song ‘Taxman’ the lyric was “there’s one for you , nineteen for me”. Fifty years ago the top income tax rte was twice what it Is today, and some people might argue that we lived in a more civilised country as a direct result. Jo Grimond when asked about a minimum wage argued in the 1970s for a MAXIMUM WAGE.

    Rates of tax are not just about how much money you bring into government. Income tax levels for the rich elite send a message to the rest of us. If you are struggling to find the extra £14 each week for the bedroom tax it does not make it easier to cope if you know that the man who owns Chelsea football club is feeling hard done by because he is having to pay a 50p as opposed to a 45p rate on his unearned income which he probably derives from highly dubious if not criminal activities .

    George Harrison still ended up a very rich man . The income tax levels of the 1960s did not blunt his creativity . It is a good song, but not the basis for a Liberal policy on taxation.

  • jenny barnes 26th Jan '14 - 9:36am

    Another ” a big boy did it and ran away” speech from the Orange bookers? yawn. We’re a few years after a major structural capitalist crisis, world income inequality is so large that even the helicopter riders in Davos are noticing, so let’s blame it on the previous government. Pardon me for not being inspired.

  • crewegwyn 25th Jan ’14 – 7:47pm
    @John Tilley. I’d like a bigger house. But I don’t expect other people to pay for it. So why should I pay for people to have bigger houses than they need?

    You say you do not expect other people to pay for your house. But I am guessing you do expect other people to pay for the sewers that your home is connected to, the roads that you drive on, the lights that make it safer to drive or walk down those roads. If you are involved in a car accident I am guessing you would not turn away the ambulance because you have not paid for it yourself or because it is bigger than is actually necessary to take just you to hospital.

    That is why we pay for people in housing need, because there is such a thing as society and community and because we know the value of things as well as the price of things.

  • Stuart Mitchell 26th Jan '14 - 10:33am

    Danny Alexander attacks Ed Balls for wanting to reintroduce the 50p tax rate.

    Is this the same Danny Alexander who used to defend the 50p tax rate?

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/jul/31/danny-alexander-lamont-tax-cuts

    Vince Cable also defended the 50p tax rate – perhaps he’d flunk GCSE Economics too.

    Just the usual hypocrisy on the economy from the Lib Dems

  • A Social Liberal 26th Jan '14 - 10:34am

    If there was a like button I would have pressed it for Jennys post.

  • I voted to reinstate the 50p rise at conference last year. The vote was was lost by 4 votes if I remember rightly! It was all very exciting, its a shame a few more people on this thread didn’t go to conference and voice their displeasure!

    Its pointless further increasing income tax for the highest earners without tackling capital gains. We need the tax rate equalising with income tax or the system will be perpetually open to abuse, with those who can arrange it getting paid in dividends instead of wages. This isn’t just a fiddle for the super rich, I know a number self employed and small business owners who pay themselves just below the higher rate income tax yearly wage and then take the rest as a dividend. £10,000 of this is completely tax free, and beyond that you’ll pay either 18% or 28% depending on your earnings. A well organised person can save themselves a fortune compared to an equivalent PAYE earner.

    For most people, this capital gains allowance goes wasted every year. Its an regressive tax break that rewards those fortunate enough to have spare money to invest, or are in a situation to organise their working arrangements appropriately.

    We need to decide if we want to help people who work or people who sit on assets through our taxation system and I’m glad the Lib Dems are on the right side of this argument, but I’m deeply disappointed with didn’t go far enough with Capital Gains when negotiating with the tories in 2010. Perhaps our leadership were a little naive in 2010, I think they’d be much tougher negotiators now.

  • Oh my mistake, the dividend tax rates is now are effectively 0% if you’re a basic rate tax payer and 25% if your a higher rate tax payer, plus those who can get paid in shares (and then sell them) can use the £10,000 capital gains allowance too. Either way there’s a lot of ways for people to reduce their tax burden that are simply not an option for most people.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th Jan '14 - 12:11pm

    I didn’t want to comment on this, but I want to clear up a fact: capital gains and dividend tax rates are lower than income tax because they are both paid after corporation tax.

    Regarding Balls’s announcement: I support a 50% tax rate, but think it should only apply to incomes greater than £1,000,000 a year. Regardless, I think we should support a 50% rate or a net-asset tax and scrap the mansion tax.

    However, Danny is bounded by message discipline expectations, so I think he should have said along the lines of “The Lib Dems don’t support a 50% tax rate, which is 52% after national insurance, but we do support a mansion tax.”.

    I don’t think we can slam them for their economics because on a like for like basis I think the 50% rate is more economical than the mansion tax.

  • Stuart Mitchell 26th Jan '14 - 1:02pm

    @Eddie
    At one point, Danny Alexander and Vince Cable were both insisting that the Lib Dems would only allow a reduction in the 50% tax rate if it was replaced by a mansion or other wealth tax.

    We all know what happened next.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th Jan '14 - 1:43pm

    Yes true Andrew. Nobody gets their communications perfect, so I’ve criticised Danny’s response, but without going OTT on it. I’m also a bit of a Danny supporter, so I’m going to be careful.

  • Bill le Breton 26th Jan '14 - 4:46pm

    Little Jackie Paper 25th Jan ’14 – 10:52pm as ever hits the nail on the head, “no mention of ring fencing’.

    Now all three parties are committed to reaching a balanced budget circa 2019/20, which requires £25 billion EXTRA cuts or tax of increases around the two years 2016/18 to those already identified.

    That part of the budget which is outside of the present ring fenced protection and outside of the devolved budget heads, is the Residual Departmental Expenditure Limits (RDEL), amounts to £101 billion.

    This implies savings of £22.5 billion extra (Lib Dems having identified £2 billion tax take from Mansion tax. And £500k from something else.) from Transport, DCLG Communities, DCLG Local Government, BIS, Home Office, Justice, FCO, DECC, DEFRA, DCMS, DWP, Law officers’ departments, HMRC, HMT, Cabinet Office, Single Intelligence Account, Small and Independent Bodies – a quarter off all those budgets would be devastating to public services.

    [Before critics here say ‘but things will change in the years ahead, the election will be fought on figures such as these provided by or run past the Office of Budget Responsibility. So in one year’s time they won’t be very different.]

    It means that none of the main parties in the election will have the courage to run on a manifesto for providing a decent level and standard of public services.

    The Neo-Cons have won the election 15 months before it happens.

    May I remind readers that changing the ultimate 2019 target from balance to a deficit of 1% of GDP will cut those required cuts or tax increases by £20 billion.

    I for one would rather that the Liberal Democrats came out of the shadow of the Tory spectre and say with vigour that we will set figures that arrive at a 1% deficit, but which includes a £12,500 threshold on allowances (or similar tax break for poorer working people), identifying £15 billion of tax rises (on a recovered economy remember) and 4 or 5% off annually managed expenditure. To me that is a Liberal Democrat expenditure programme for the next Parliament.

    Of course a 2% deficit would largely remove the need for those tax rises as well.

  • James Murray 26th Jan '14 - 10:03pm

    It is quite clear from what Caron and Danny say, and the above discussions, that the LibDems have a very good and reasonable take on what needs to be done in the country’s economic affairs.

    However, I despair at how amateurish is our lack of persuasive presentation of the arguments.

    Like or loath him, Blair’s New Labour marketing machine was second to none.
    Ably assisted by Mandelson, Campbell et al and wonderfully tested on Philip Gould’s extraordinary number of focus groups they lived for the sales pitch.
    Regretfully, sound bites and mantras work, and they knew this to their souls – witness the classic “The-world-wide-recession-which-started-in-America”.
    This was repeated endlessly by every Labour politician for months a years after it happened until we all began believing it.
    Even now is heard occasionally from some of them.

    Our PR and Press Officers and politicians need course 101 “Putting Across Persuasively and Memorably”

    They seem to forget that most folk are not political wonks and have only a vague idea of what we LibDem members may know because we are interested in the stuff.

    Labour knew people needed to hear a linked description many, many times, before that link becomes solid in their thinking.

    My own suggestions include:

    – Never mention the recession without calling it “The Gordon Brown’s Recession” or “the Credit Crunch that Gordon Brown allowed the banks to create”

    – Never mention the 50% tax rate without saying, “In 13 years in office Labour had the 50% tax rate for only 39 days.” or “Brown left the 50% as he knew it deters investment and planned to shout at the next government when inevitably they reduced it”.

    – Never mention the recession without also mentioning , “Australia did not free banks from credit control Like Brown and Bush, and so they avoided a Credit Boom”.

    – The only honest Labour politician has been their Chief secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne, when he told the new Coalition and the country they had spent all the money – and he was right.

    Can I just add that it is astonishing how our spokespeople are intimidated by political TV interviewers into not repeatedly that the Labour Government’s was financial incompetent.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th Jan '14 - 10:39pm

    Danny Alexander

    The coalition’s economic strategy is dealing with the catastrophic mess we inherited from Labour.

    If it was just caused by Labour, as implied here, then it’s something that would be seen in this country alone. But it wasn’t. There was an economic crisis which struck across the developed economies. So to suggest it was all the fault of Labour in this country is politically dishonest.

    If we are to deal with this, as with much else that needs dealing with, properly, we need to deal with it honestly. We need to look at the real causes of it, which can’t just be “Labour” if it was seen in countries across the world.

    This sort of political knockabout stuff is what people are fed up with. Many people thought, when the coalition started, that it would mean an end to that, that it would mean “the parties working together”. Partisan lines like this justify the claims that we have given up what we used to be and just become blinkered supporters of the Conservative Party, willing allies, echoing their propaganda, saying they are so much better than Labour. We shouldn’t be doing this, or saying anything which suggests that’s where we now stand. Not unless we WANT to throw away a big proportion of our vote. We should remain equally critical of BOTH Labour and the Conservatives. Sure we are in coalition with one of them, but we need to make sure that’s recognised as a reflection of how we had to go along with how people voted, what was needed to for a stable government, and NOT because we far more favour one of the parties than the other.

    There’s a lot of things wrong with our economy, but it seems to me that if Labour is to be blamed, a lot of what they did to make a mess of things comes down to carrying on with the policies the Conservatives had been setting since 1979. Labour carried on with this idea that big businessmen and bankers are some sort of gods, people who are always right, people whose every whim must be supported because they are “wealth creators”. Yet the financial crash came about because it turned out a lot of this “wealth” that was created wasn’t real wealth, it was just balanced by debt. Labour carried on with this idea, put forward by Thatcher and her supporters, that somehow we could all make money and grow prosperous by selling houses and shares to each other.

    Now we see this has all led to social misery, as so any people are badly housed or suffering from high house prices. It has led to a big increase in our taxes, as not building council houses and letting house prices boom, has forced many people into expensive private rented accommodation, paid for by housing benefit. We have seen how the “businessman is god” attitude has led to the state being ripped off by poor PFI deals, and privatisation whose long term higher costs are becoming more and more apparent. Yet even when this all crashed, the bankers convinced us that we had to carry in worshipping them, so they had to be bailed out at state expense. We have this “bankers are gods” attitude now, where we are told they have to have these million pound bonuses for just doing their job shuffling money about. Gordon Brown did not tell us that this was all wrong, that it had to be done away with and replaced by socialism. He said that it had ended boom and bust, just as the latest bust came. So if Labour’s to blame for this, it is hardly for pursuing traditional Labour policy – it is for abandoning it in favour of Conservative policy.

    Therefore to suggest that what we have now is any sort of solution, as Danny Alexander has done, is wrong and shameful to our party and it tradition. We ought to be standing for something different from the others, not throwing away what used to make us different and just saying “we too” to the failed policies of the Conservatives and of Labour-turned-Conservative.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th Jan '14 - 11:19pm

    Resorting to cynical marketing techniques is the last thing we need more of, so I agree with Matthew Huntbach in this respect.

    We need honesty and passion – like a Nigel Farage with good policies. This can only be achieved by sacking off the message discipline. We can still work together as a party by not standing against each other and splitting the vote.

    That’s my opinion anyway. Works in business and should work in politics too. It’s about trust.

  • What does it matter what the policy is, what the ideas are, who did what or what the outcomes will be?

    The Tories will come up with their plan, the Lib Dems will all vote in favour of it no matter what it is, and when challenged on it will reply “buhhh, Labour!!”

    Then people on here will retrospectively say how brilliant it is and how it’s the only sensible option, while also saying how they had to because they’ve less power as a coalition partner than a minor opposition party, and if they were fully in power they’d vote against it. Despite it being brilliant and the only sensible option. Um…

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