Danny set outs alternative Lib Dem budget

In a constitutional innovation, from the House of Commons dispatch box, Danny Alexander has today set out the Liberal Democrats’ alternative fiscal plans, as the Guardian reports:

Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, has taken the unprecedented step of standing at the Commons dispatch box to set out an alternative fiscal plan to George Osborne’s budget.

The Lib Dem proposals would allow the next government to reach balance on the current account by 2017-18, and impose higher tax rises and slower cuts in spending than those set out by the Conservatives. The plan also allows for spending to rise faster than the Tories propose between 2017-18 and 2019-2020.

The Lib Dem website has the details:

In a statement to the House of Commons, Danny announced that the Liberal Democrat fiscal plans designed to build a stronger economy and a fairer society, creating opportunity for everyone.

Danny outlined how the plans are based on the Liberal Democrat values of fairness and strength and how they will deliver on our commitment to balance the books fairly.

Our plans include borrowing £70bn less than Labour and cutting £50bn less than the Conservatives, keeping Britain on the path to prosperity.

The plan has been produced by the Treasury based on Danny’s assumptions and using data from the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast.

Finishing the job of economic recovery, which we started in 2010, requires £30bn of fiscal consolidation by 2017/18.

In order to do so we will ensure that those with the broadest shoulders bear the largest share.

The plans are are based on a further £6n from tax dodgers, and an additional £6bn of tax rises. We would ask those in high-vlaue properties and the banking sector to pay more, rather than ask those on low incomes to accept less.

This would leave around £12bn of departmental savings and the remaining £3.5bn from welfare savings. Those measures allow the structural deficit to be eliminated in 2017/18. It would actually meet the coalition’s fiscal mandate with headroom of £7.7bn.

Once that mandate is met, we would then focus on cutting debt as a share of the economy.

We will increase public expenditure as the economy grows after 2017/18.

The national debt as a share of the economy would fall in every year of this plan, from 78.2 per cent in 2017/18 to 76.1 per cent and then 73.9 per cent.

The implied spending envelope for departments would be £314.3bn in 2017/18, rising to £324bn and then £348.1bn in the last year.

This means that there will be more money available for infrasture investment and public services, increasing to £25bn, then £36bn and then £40bn.

This money could be used to ensure that the NHS has the £8bn a year that it needs to secure its future.

It could also be used to protect the education budget from cradle to college.

Danny also announced a package of new measures to tackle tax evasion. These include:

– Introducing a new strict liability criminal offence for off shore evaders so that pleading ignorance can no longer be used in an attempt to avoid criminal prosecution.

– Introducing a new offence of corporate failure to prevent tax evasion or the facilitation of tax evasion. This would stop organisations from being able to get away with facilitating or abetting others to evade tax.

– Increasing financial penalties for offshore evaders – including, for the first time, linking the penalty to underlying assets. A billionaire evading £5m of tax won’t just be liable for that £5m.

– Introducing new civil penalties so that those who help evaders will have to pay fines that match the size of the tax dodge they facilitate. So if you help someone evade £1m of tax, you risk a penalty of £1m or even more yourself.

– Extending the scope for HMRC to name and shame both evaders and those who enable evasion.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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68 Comments

  • Paul Pettinger 19th Mar '15 - 3:14pm

    A great way to draw attention to the boost in apprenticeships.

  • Well, the BBC running an item on the News Channel detailing how the LDs have different plans to Lab and Cons.

    Given that this is what most people will see I’d say it has worked.

  • It’s a good and balanced plan.

    Let’s hope we can get the voters to start listening to what we are saying again.

  • Donald Smtih 19th Mar '15 - 3:35pm

    A pity that the Huffington Post has chosen to give us negative publicity instead.

    Danny Alexander’s ‘Farcical’ Lib Dem Alternative Budget Bombs
    Embarrassment As Hardly Any Lib Dem MPs Bother Turning Up For Statement
    Joking Labour MPs Heckle Treasury Secretary Mercilessly
    But At Least Danny’s Yellow Box Has Become An Internet Sensation

    I haven’t really noticed before but is the HP really so anti-LibDem?

  • And a quick PS to those thinking the twitter and subsequent stories about the meme will have much of an impact, if we went by Twitter there would be a UKIP government, AV would have won with 85% and Scotland would be independent. It is the water-cooler for a single section of a demographic…

  • Eddie Sammon 19th Mar '15 - 4:01pm

    The future spending plans are much better than the Conservatives.

    As I mentioned on the other thread: Lib Dems need to stop blurring the lines between legal and illegal tax avoidance. The General Anti Abuse Rule (GAAR) has rightly been watered down, but at first it was horrific and an attempt to criminalise good tax planning.

    Robert Peston on the BBC News at Ten stuck the knife into the budget last night and basically made out that a Labour government would allow you to pay the debt off more slowly – like a free debt consolidator. He should have mentioned increased borrowing costs.

    Media biases from both sides need to be challenged. No doubt they get bashed on both sides, but it needs to happen.

  • @Donald Smith

    It exists for people to click on links, if it sees an angle it goes for it. Long live the BBC!

  • It’s not just the Huffington Post. The Daily Politics and The World at One both poked fun at Danny. They portrayed his yellow box as some sort of joke and the Daily Politics showed Clegg walking out and hardly anyone in the Chamber there in the first place. There was some confusion about how someone could say he was very proud of the Budget yesterday, could then present an alternative one today. and since Danny will never be Chancellor himself, this didn’t really tell us what they would have as red lines in a Coalition with a party other than the Tories (since we had the Tory-LD Coalition budget yesterday).

  • Tony Dawson 19th Mar '15 - 4:57pm

    What about a budget for those of us who are mainstream Liberal Democrats, not alternative ones? 🙂

  • ATF

    I agree with you about politics on Twitter.
    Political insiders talking to each other whilst ignoring real people and voters.
    It is a bit like one of those wildlife documentaries about apes who sit around “grooming” each other, a mainly social activity which reinforces bonds between those apes taking partof no wider consequence.

    If only the BBC were as good at politics as it is at wildlife. I watched The Daily Politics today. It was car crash TV for Liberal Democrats. Danny Alexander being torn to pieces, a figure of fun, being reprimanded by the speaker for going beyond his brief and seriously out of his depth.

    I hope The Daily Politics has smaller viewing figures than the coverage you mention in your first comment. Otherwise we are stuffed again.

  • David Allen 19th Mar '15 - 5:06pm

    Nice picture – A Caption Competition?

  • David Allen 19th Mar '15 - 5:53pm

    To be fair, the BBC clip on the website makes the Labour hecklers look a lot sillier than Danny. Yes, the Speaker began with a warning about not making a party statement – but if the Speaker didn’t want that, it wasn’t clear why he had allowed Danny to speak at all.

    However – It really wasn’t clever for Nick Clegg to walk out of the Chamber just as the heckling reached its peak.

    Also – as Phyllis says – Nice idea to have less draconian plans than Osborne, but will anyone believe that the Lib Dems have any intention of achieving them in practice?

  • @ David Allen

    Even Del Boy couldn’t sell this one

  • Which SPAD thought this up?

  • If they can change rules of Parliamentary procedure to allow this a few weeks before the General Election, then why haven’t they been able to change them before?

  • David Allen 19th Mar ’15 – 5:53pm
    “…….., it wasn’t clear why he had allowed Danny to speak at all.”

    This is a very good point. Liberal Democrats should be about protecting the proper role of Parliament.

    It is NOT the job of Parliament , it is NOT the job of The House of Commons, to provide a platform for a party political stunt in a General Election.
    Parliament is there to call the Govrnment and the Executive to account. It is not there for Danny Alexander to wave his yellow brief case and play at being a pretend chancellor for the day.

    The idea was a bad idea, it was done badly and the person doing it was not up to the job.. Out of his depth.

    If the boot was on the other foot — would our party be happy if the Commons was used for a promotional stunt by The SNP if they had an arrangement with a Miliband Government?

  • Peter Davies 19th Mar '15 - 7:54pm

    If political grandstanding wasn’t allowed in the commons, you could cut the budget debate down to five minutes. Just long enough for the chancellor to announce the two items he hadn’t leaked.

  • what a nonsensical idea, fine for a PPB but not for a day in parliament.
    no wonder there was heckling, but given the situation
    Clegg shouldn’t have baled!
    and why was the wretched box yellow anyway, what happened to orange?!

  • A political stunt that went dreadfully wrong. He looked out of his league, had little support from his own party and was ripped to pieces by the opposition. You had to feel sorry for the guy, but is that enough to get the LibDems more votes. For gods sake don’t let him have a TV debate with Balls or 7% in the polls will start looking good.

  • I like the idea of an alternative budget and much of the content.

    I don’t like the idea of presenting it in the commons or the fact that civil servants worked on it.

  • Did any of this fuss and bother help win a single new vote? Or is it really just about jockeying for position in the Party after the elections?

  • David Allen ” but if the Speaker didn’t want that, it wasn’t clear why he had allowed Danny to speak at all.”

    I only saw the clip on the Daily Politics and Danny kept saying that it wasn’t a PPB because he was also going to make a Statement to the House clarifying some aspects of the Budget (the real one).

  • No wonder Osborn said on Andrew Marrs show that the Chancellors debate should include Danny Alexander, he is just putting more nails in the coffin of the Libdems every time he speaks.

    I have said time and again that the Tories have out played and outmaneuvered the Libdems at every point of this coalition and the party are just not getting it.
    Osbourne and Cameron would have agreed to Danny making his Lib Dem budget speech the day after the real budget because they knew it would show the party up as incompetent fools .
    How could the public take seriously someone who sat beside the chancellor the day previously nodding and cheering the budget through as a coalition budget agreed by the quad, only to show up the next day criticizing the very budget they jointly agreed upon.
    And as for 3/4 of the Liberal Democrats not even bothering to turn up to support the parties economics spokesman and the leader of the party abandoning his side kick half way through. Why on earth would the public take the party seriously again. I can just imagine the campaign literature the Tories and Labour are now going to produce in marginals

  • JohnTilley: not to defend this move, but are you not the one who always moans about Lib Dems following the Commons procedure too closely, and not differentiating ourselves enough?

    You can criticise the move, if you wish, but it does seem a tad unfair for you (considering your previous comments) to make that particular criticism.

  • We need more and better Laws

  • Liberal Al – “JohnTilley: not to defend this move, but are you not the one who always moans about Lib Dems”

    Yep, you’ve got him bang to rights!

  • Tabman, John Tilley does not “always moan about LibDems”.

    Unless Nick Clegg is now all Lib Dems.

  • Phyllis, maybe, but he does always moan. He makes Private Frazer look like a comedian!

  • There was just as much if not more coverage of the way it was announced as the actual content. An own goal.

  • Well he has good reason to.

  • Phyllis – “well he has good reason to”.

    Rather than moaning continuously and continually, it would be far less tedious if he actually set out an evidenced alternative.

  • Tabman, we are totally off topic now so I shan’t engage further on this, except to say that I do not consider John’s contribution’s “moaning”

  • I’ve just watched the BBC’s cut: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-31963193

    Oh dear, oh dear. Utterly embarrassing for Alexander and the Lib Dems; he just looks totally out of his depth while the absurdity of a government minister presenting an alternative to their own budget in the House of Commons cuts deep. Clegg’s walk out just makes matters worse.

    This is a pity as the idea of the Lib Dems presenting their alternative budget is not a bad idea but the decision to present it at the House of Commons where Danny played at being Chancellor was a terrible one.

  • Tabman – John Tilley has done. Perhaps you were not paying attention.

  • David Evans – perhaps he’ll come on and engage

  • The content isnt bad though it sounds like equidistance dictated some policy, its just the woefully bad presentation. Im sure Danny Alexander is a good man but he’s been promoted beyond his capabilities. You cant contribute to put forward a budget one day and something different immediately afterwards.

  • Jack , thanks for the link. Danny says that he will raise an ~ extra ~ £6bn from tackling tax evasion and another £6bn from tax rises. Now I can see that the Tories might object to the tax rises but is Danny suggesting here that this is in the ‘Alternative’ budget and not in the Coalition Budget because the Tories are standing in the way of tackling tax evasion to the same extent as the Lib Dems (governing alone) would?

    Sorry if I have missed something very obvious here!

  • Is there a reluctance among Liberal Democrats to think seriously about political strategy? It seems as though every time the question of whether a decision will win or lose votes comes up, it is pushed to one side as if even thinking about that was to surrender to something vulgar and filthy.

    A political party is a machine designed to win votes. That is its raison d’être. If one’s interest is not in winning votes, then there are plenty of other organisations for all sorts of causes that may be better suited than a political party for one’s aims.

    There are, of course, many strategic variations. One can launch a new initiative to offensively seize control of an agenda and attract many new voters. One can act defensively, rallying one’s base of support. One can even just attempt stasis, preventing the further erosion of one’s vote.

    It’s not clear to me that the Lib Dem leadership, at any level, are trying to do any of those things. Rather we seem to be going through conventional motions without anything resembling a coherent plan to either attract new votes or to retain those already had.

    Is this just a reaction to bad polls, and a sense of desperation, a notion that motivation can only proceed from denial? Or is there really just a gaping intellectual void at the top of the Liberal Democrats?

  • @Dan Falchikov 20th Mar ’15 – 12:27am

    1)The budget was a coalition budget, one which both parties could agree and live with but not what they would do if either was governing alone
    2)What Danny presented is what a ‘pure’ LD would have been

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th Mar '15 - 7:45am

    matt

    How could the public take seriously someone who sat beside the chancellor the day previously nodding and cheering the budget through as a coalition budget agreed by the quad, only to show up the next day criticizing the very budget they jointly agreed upon.

    I despise the stupid “black and white” approach to politics typified by this comment. I always have done, it is one reason why I joined the Liberal Party.

    Politics is, or should be, a matter of reaching balances and making compromises to do so, not “everything I say is right, and everything you say is wrong”. It is perfectly possible to accept a compromise one has reached with others, but say that you would have preferred a different emphasis, which is what Danny Alexander was doing here. What’s wrong with that? If we can’t do that, we can’t have serious mature politics.

    We have had this throughout the coalition. Compromises are reached, which reflect the balance in number of the two parties, and the Liberal Democrats are denounced as if whatever the compromise is was their ideal and they are bad people for changing their position from what it was before the coalition. Then if they try to clarify the position and do anything to suggest what would be their ideal position if they hadn’t had to make compromises, they are denounced as turning back on what they agreed to in the compromise.

    You cannot have liberal democrat politics if that is your attitude. Liberal democracy means representatives coming together and reaching a consensus, and it means accepting that consensus, but it does not mean having to pretend that consensus is your ideal. If you don’t like that model of politics because you think it is hypocritical or nit serious, go for another. Go for the Leninist model where it has to be utter agreement to whatever is the party line this week as set by The Leader. Go for the model used in Italy in the 1920s, and suggest the electoral reform proposed to support it, which ends all this non-serious compromise stuff.

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th Mar '15 - 7:53am

    David Allen

    However – It really wasn’t clever for Nick Clegg to walk out of the Chamber just as the heckling reached its peak.

    Yes, this is completely unacceptable. If a decision has been made within the party to do this, the Leader needs to be there to support that position. Even if he disagreed with it, as Leader he needed to put aside his personal views and accept what was the consensus. After all, that is what he does in coalition, isn’t it?

  • Bill Le Breton 20th Mar '15 - 7:56am

    Sorry to break radio silence, Paddy, but really – what a shower. Why do so many still find our support levels such a mystery. The Lib Dem group on Borsetshire County Council would do a better job, and frankly they were pretty poor.

    By the way our excellent Adam Corlett who we have generously loaned to the equally distinguished Resolution Foundation has produced an essential blog on the three party fiscal positions, with this revealing chart: http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/media/blog/all-aboard-the-fiscal-rollercoaster/

    Yes, that’s a Lib Dem roller coaster plunging down in the early years of the Parliament only to rise cynically in the last couple of years, in close step with the Tory/Coalition budget. We continue to want our political arguments both ways.

    But then I reckon our Parliamentary Party took their revenge yesterday, keeping well out of sight down below the gangway.

    Humiliation for a once great Party.

  • Paul in Wokingham 20th Mar '15 - 8:25am

    Bill “rising cynically”??? Tpyo or Freudian Slip?

    I watched the coverage live and my jaw dropped as the proceedings unfolded. Whatever the merits of the proposals – certainly nothing to set the pulse racing or offer any reason to vote Lib Dem – the stage management was shambolic. Vince Cable’s inscrutable Mona Lisa-esque smile summed up the event perfectly.

  • @Matthew Huntbach

    “I despise the stupid “black and white” approach”
    Well it annoys the heck out of me people who think that they are entitled to criticize their own party but any outsiders are not allowed and are attacked for doing so.
    “Politics is, or should be, a matter of reaching balances and making compromises to do so, not “everything I say is right, and everything you say is wrong”. It is perfectly possible to accept a compromise one has reached with others, but say that you would have preferred a different emphasis, which is what Danny Alexander was doing here. What’s wrong with that? If we can’t do that, we can’t have serious mature politics.”

    Yes Politics is about compromise. But the Problem with the budget the “real budget” that is. It was agreed by the quad.
    Now if at the next election The Tories win a majority they will get to carry out that budge. If they only get a minority vote and end up in another coalition with Libdems that budget as already been agreed and signed off by the Liberal Democrats.
    If the Liberal Democrats are fortunate enough to get into a coalition Government next time round how are they supposed to object to parts of the budget that they have already agreed and voted through?

    That is the absurd position the Liberal Democrat party has got themselves into and that is why there should have been an agreement for the coalition to come to an end a good 6-9 months before the election so the parties could set out their clear distinctions and separate identities.

  • David Howarth 20th Mar '15 - 9:17am

    @Dan
    From a technical point of view, and making no comment on the politics, it is perfectly possible to vote for the Budget but to disagree about spending in the next Parliament. That’s because all the votes at the end of the Budget debate are about taxation. There are no votes about spending.
    Unlike in local government where taxation and expenditure are voted through at the same time, in Parliament the two are completely separated. The expenditure side is dealt with by the Supply and Appropriation Bills, the final decisions on which happen in July (and which in any case cover only one year).
    Even on the taxation side the Budget votes only authorise temporary changes in taxation in advance of the Finance Act, which also isn’t finalised until July, so you could vote for them even if you intended to change the details later.
    The budget resolutions themselves can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmagenda/Budget150320.pdf.

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 20th Mar '15 - 9:43am

    A very good idea to present an alternative to the Tory-dominated budget. An alternative which matches much LD thinking, I’d say, especially as it would “ensure that those with the broadest shoulders bear the largest share”.

    As usual there were missed opportunities in the Commons – to show a party acting as one. But we understand that the Coalition is ending and there are no modern precedents for demonstrating the differences between coalition parties in government. NC should have spent more time on this one – gaining united support for presentation.

    However, I suspect that our MPs are already in their constituencies trying to defend LD seats – and NC will have had that in mind for some time. The fact that HM’s loyal opposition in the Commons [typically] acted childishly when they were being presented with a better alternative budget than theirs will be missed by most voters – who are lead by the nose by the media. There is much work to be done for future coalitions in government – keeping in mind that there will be many more, they should be representative, and ‘the people’ expect better behaviour and the parties working together. Adversarial politics is very silly as it flies against every means of conducting business in the modern world. Voters will welcome alternative measures properly presented.
    .

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 20th Mar '15 - 9:46am

    David Howarth 20th Mar ’15 – 9:17am.
    Exactly!

  • David Evans 20th Mar '15 - 9:52am

    Tabman, John has engaged extensively over a long period. You need to look for yourself, not simply expect to be spoon fed on this.

  • Denis Loretto 20th Mar '15 - 10:34am

    Watching the Commons performance live I thought the Labour behaviour came over as absolutely pathetic and Danny did a good job of facing down their childish screaming and pointless waving of red books. As to the initiative itself I thought the basic ploy (how did we get away with it?) of using the Chief Secretary’s statement to plug the distinction between the Lib Dem fairer and more responsible approach post election and the potential savage cuts proposed by the Tories was good. However it should not have been characterised as “an alternative budget” and frankly the posturing with a yellow box at the Treasury was embarrassing to say the least. As the budget debate now proceeds the simple point must be made clear – the budget itself is an agreed coalition product and represents the culmination of a 5 year period of responsible and effective government which has saved the UK from the appalling national and international situation inherited in 2010 but the way to achieve the desired outcome after the election must be spelled out before the election and the Lib Dem way is the best way forward. With the Institute for Fiscal Studies demanding from George Osborne that he sets out his post election plans and Ed Balls being quite incoherent as to the Labour approach, there is all to play for in the Lib Dems upping the ante on this.

  • The lack of LibDem MP’s yesterday was a fair indication that they know Clegg and Alexander are finished. It took a long time to happen, but the penny has finally dropped.

  • @ Donald Smith “I haven’t really noticed before but is the HP really so anti-LibDem?”
    Hell yeah. Surprised you haven’t noticed until now. They’re rabidly, viciously anti Lib Dem. Their headlines in particular always give the worst possible slant and they never miss an opportunity to attack us.

    ATF puts it perfectly – 1)The budget was a coalition budget, one which both parties could agree and live with but not what they would do if either was governing alone, but 2)What Danny presented is what a ‘pure’ LD would have been.

    It’s not a hard concept to grasp, but it was amusing watching the puerile bullying that passed for grown up politics from the Labour MPs heckling Danny as he put it forward. Interesting that they were worried more about the procedural aspects of the statement than anything he actually said.

  • Sadie Smith 20th Mar '15 - 1:37pm

    The argument for a different profile over five years and so a minor change to year 1 is sensible and seems to accord with the views of a lot of respected economist.
    The Speaker was dreadful. So we’re some Labour front benchers,
    The box stunt was not a good idea.
    And we all told Leadership about economic spokesman for the election and were ignored.

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 20th Mar '15 - 2:18pm

    Well spotted Sadie. And wasn’t our preferred economic spokesman there, giving support? Yes he was. Forget the spin, from wherever in the media, go with what you see and hear – recorded and substantiated.

    Coalition government is different and we needed to force a precedent and demonstrate that the dominant party of government cannot ‘pick and mix’ and try to tell the nation they are not really extreme. Speaker Bercow was caught wrong-footed, didn’t know what to do – so protected less than he should, and has learned a little more about democracy.

  • Julian Tisi. Procedure does matter though. If the Lib Dems are allowed to present their alternative budget in Parliament, why should UKIP et al not be allowed to do so too?

    I agree about the puerile nature of the Commons though and voted for the Lib Dems to get ‘a new kind of politics’. Sadly it has yet to materialise.

  • Tony Dawson 20th Mar '15 - 8:35pm

    It was a good idea to present an alternative budget – and particularly an alternative view of the future – but this stunt was not it.

    What it demonstrates, most unfortunately, is that our Parliamentary leadership had not worked out in advance any sensible way of addressing the issues at the end of a fixed term Parliament for a Coalition Government. So they cobbled together this event which does not reflect at all well upon them.

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th Mar '15 - 11:46pm

    matt

    Yes Politics is about compromise. But the Problem with the budget the “real budget” that is. It was agreed by the quad.

    Once again, what one accepts as a compromise, because democratic politics is about reaching a consensus, may not be one’s ideal that one would want if one had complete control.

    How many times do I have to repeat myself on this? Why do people find the concept of liberal democracy so difficult to understand?

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th Mar '15 - 11:52pm

    matt

    If the Liberal Democrats are fortunate enough to get into a coalition Government next time round how are they supposed to object to parts of the budget that they have already agreed and voted through?

    I think you missed off the “un” in front of “fortunate” there.

    It depends on the nature of the coalition. If it is radically different (say, a coalition with Labour), of course one can say “Well, that was the compromise we reached with the Conservatives, but now we are in a different position which means a different compromise”. Suppose I agree to go out to dinner with a friend, and we agree on a restaurant which isn’t my favourite, but my friend likes it and I find it better than the other ones he likes. Now, suppose my friend cancels so I go out with someone else. Am I still supposed to insist with my other friend that we go to that same restaurant? Wouldn’t that be very silly if my other friend actually preferred what was my real favourite?

  • @Matthew huntbach

    Sorry none of that washes.

    Danny Alexander produced an “alternative Liberal Democrat Budget” supposedly better and fairer than the coalitions budget. Even this articles title claims the same. I am not sure if there are any votes due to come up about the “coalitions budget” is Danny going to vote against them because his budget is better? of course not.

    The Budget that the party has agreed with will be implemented if we end up with a Tory Majority or another Tory Liberal Democrat coalition. Liberal democrats will have no wiggle room with the Conservatives when it comes to negotiations because they have already produced and agreed upon this budget,

    And when 3/4 of the party can not even bother to show up to support the “economics spokesman” for the party and the party leader even abandons him half way through, why should the electorate take any of this seriously?

    It might not been quite as bad if Danny Alexander and the party produced this “alternative budget” in their own time and to their own expense, the fact that it wasn’t is also an outrage.

  • Matthew Huntbach “It is perfectly possible to accept a compromise one has reached with others, but say that you would have preferred a different emphasis, which is what Danny Alexander was doing here. What’s wrong with that? If we can’t do that, we can’t have serious mature politics.”

    But what purpose does it serve, Matthew, for Danny to tell us what a purely Lib Dem budget would look like when the Lib Dems are never likely to be in a position to implement that. It would have been informative if he could have recognised that the Lib Dems will always be a junior Coalition partner and tell us what the Lib Dems red lines would be with future partners. We already know what a Tory-LD Coalition Budget will be as this was presented to us by George Osborne. By your logic, he should now be telling Parliament what a purely Tory Budget would look like. And if Lib Dems are allowed to present their budget, what about all the other minor parties. Why shouldn’t Nigel Farage present his budget too??

  • Philip Thomas 22nd Mar '15 - 8:01am

    I’d like to see each party present its own budget. The UKIP budget would be amusing…would have to be Carswell or Reckless presenting it though.

  • Philip Thomas , yes of course but why should they be using Parliamentary time and government resources to do it, as Danny did?

  • Philip Thomas 22nd Mar '15 - 11:46am

    @Phyllis as regards Parliamentary time, I don’t seen any issue with political parties setting out their position in Parliament. As regards government resources, I guess that is a fair point, was Danny wearing his “Chief Secretary” hat?

  • Bill Le Breton 24th Mar '15 - 8:19am

    Just noticed this superb analysis above by David-1:
    There are, of course, many strategic variations. One can launch a new initiative to offensively seize control of an agenda and attract many new voters. One can act defensively, rallying one’s base of support. One can even just attempt stasis, preventing the further erosion of one’s vote.

    It’s not clear to me that the Lib Dem leadership, at any level, are trying to do any of those things. Rather we seem to be going through conventional motions without anything resembling a coherent plan to either attract new votes or to retain those already had.

    Is this just a reaction to bad polls, and a sense of desperation, a notion that motivation can only proceed from denial? Or is there really just a gaping intellectual void at the top of the Liberal Democrats?”

    And thought it deserved repeating.

  • “Is this just a reaction to bad polls, and a sense of desperation, a notion that motivation can only proceed from denial? Or is there really just a gaping intellectual void at the top of the Liberal Democrats?”

    Bill Le Breton and David 1 raise points perhaps germane to the thread on David Steel’s call for the party to get back to its roots.

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  • User AvatarMichael BG 18th Jul - 3:32pm
    Joseph, I think it very strange that you condemn the Conservative economic policies of 2010 and 2011 which the Coalition implemented and state it delayed...
  • User AvatarBernard Aris 18th Jul - 3:22pm
    About the comments of Dutch Labour (PvdA) EU Commissionner Frans Timmermans in tonight's BBC Panorama about 3 years of Brexit "misadventures": what Timmermans says is...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 18th Jul - 2:45pm
    Peter, I think you are confused. You have often written that it is taxation which gives value to a fiat currency. Pavlina Tcherneva points out...
  • User AvatarBill le Breton 18th Jul - 1:34pm
    Thank you Bernard. We shall see. What we all need is a co-ordinated fiscal stimulus across the Eurozone accompanied by renewed monetary stimulus. Do we...
  • User AvatarBernard Aris 18th Jul - 12:25pm
    @Bill le Breton. The Dutch Labour (PvdA) and Green (GroenLinks) MEP's have said that their vote against VDL in THIS vote was a sign of...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 18th Jul - 12:08pm
    I wouldn’t be too astonished, Katharine. It’s like watching Geoffrey Boycott bat only less exciting. No doubt when he’s bowled out he’ll claim it was...