David Laws: let’s cut taxes and spending. For once, I’m unconvinced. Here’s why…

David Laws has earned himself a generous write-up in today’s Telegraph, with the paper which triggered his resignation from the cabinet two years ago hailing his ‘radical vision of a liberal state’, and lamenting with crocodile tears that his downfall was ‘a great loss to the Cabinet’.

The cause is an interview David has given to the paper in which he makes the case for further public spending cuts and lower taxes — a case he has outlined in greater depth in an article in the current Institute of Economic Affairs journal, highlighted last week on LibDemVoice. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

In his paper, Mr Laws argues that the great names of Liberalism – William Gladstone, David Lloyd-George, Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes – would be “shocked” that more than 40% of the economy is now accounted for by the public sector. “We are going to have to see a shrinking of the state share of the economy until it is back into kilter with the amount of tax people are prepared to be pay,” he says. Only health, education and pension spending can be protected from this, he argues. All other areas of state spending should fall.

It’s an agenda that will be music to the ears of many Tories, but many Lib Dems will surely be appalled by idea of one of their senior figures calling for years more of cuts. “Future UK governments should consider a further substantial rise in the personal tax allowance, along with lower marginal tax rates of tax at all income levels,” he writes in the IEA article. “The implication of the state spending 40% of national income is that there is likely to be too much resource misallocation and too much waste and inefficiency.”

I’m a big fan of David’s: he’s one of the most intellectually curious politicians I’ve met, much more interested in asking questions than he is in rehearsing out-loud his own views. But his argument here isn’t the strongest he’s mounted. While I’m sure our liberal forebears would be ‘shocked’ at the growth of state spending, there are many other aspects of modern life — cultural, scientific, technological — that would also perturb them. It’s not an argument in and of itself.

There are three other points I would make on reducing state spending to 35% of GDP. First, I think if such figures are to have any traction they need to be backed up by concrete example of the cuts that would be implemented. Abstract ‘size and shape’ discussions do not progress us far. David cites innovative revenue-generation in the public sector as one source of new income, but I’m unconvinced that’s gets us very far towards ‘the magic 35%’.

Secondly, there is only weak correlation — and very little evidence of causation — between lower public spending and taxes and economic performance. This graph from the Financial Times, accompanying an article by Martin Wolf, makes the point that there are low-taxing low-productive countries, and high-taxing high-productive countries:

Martin’s conclusion from this evidence is an important one:

The conclusion to be drawn is that a tax burden within the range of 30 per cent to 55 per cent of GDP) tells one nothing about a country’s economic performance. It is far more a reflection of different social preferences about the role of the state. What matters far more are culture, quality of institutions, including law, levels of education, quality of businesses, openness to trade, strength of competition and so forth.

Thirdly, before he became Vince Cable’s special advisor, Giles Wilkes produced an excellent post in January 2010 deconstructing why the correlation is weaker than commonly supposed. I recommend reading it all, but his conclusion bears emphasising:

… all the hysterics worrying about how large the state has become in the last two years, are misusing one metric – the spending/GDP ratio – to present a false picture of how much of what we do is actually state-determined. Let’s be serious: spending on this naive measure jumped from ~39% to %48% in a matter of 4 years. Did this mean the government suddenly ‘taking over’ 10% of the economy’s production decisions? Of course not! The absolute volume of government-economy transactions probably grew a little, and the volume of private-private transactions probably fell a little. If the government had bought Tescos (£47bn annual sales worldwide – 3% of UK GDP) and started running it like a Quango, we would have had a hit to our productivity. But that is not what happened.

The interesting ratio would be that between the number of transactions involving the State and £60,000bn. I have no earthly clue what that is, except for “much much less than 50%”.

Does this mean the Left does not need to worry about Big government damaging economic growth? No, of course not. For a start, the State can damage the economy through pure regulation, by for example dictating what everyone should be paid … It can also damage at the margin. A single state supermarket might damage all the grocery market by undercutting unfairly. Its methods of redistribution also matter: taxes on rents are better than those on economic activity. But simply parroting the public spending/GDP ratio achieve very little indeed.

We should not as a society tax more than we need to, nor spend more than we want to. Much political debate turns on where those boundaries lie, and we should be honest and up-front with people where the spending cuts would fall, and what the tax rewards would be. What we shouldn’t do is conflate that legitimate argument with the automatic assumption that economic output and productivity is reliant on one simple lever to be pulled or released at will.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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46 Comments

  • Richard Dean 24th Jun '12 - 3:06pm

    Health, education and pension only? What about the defence of the realm – is that not a government job? Or the maintenance of law and order? Infrastructure? Environmental management?

  • Neil Bradbury 24th Jun '12 - 3:18pm

    To paraphrase Big or small isn’t best, its what you do with it that counts. It isn’t about the percentage of GDP, its how efficiently you spend it. The UK could do with making its public sector work smarter but its private sector is also historically unproductive.

  • Andrew Tennant 24th Jun '12 - 4:40pm

    Three points on that graph:

    1) It shows the government can spend a lot less of GDP and the economy will still grow just as much.
    2) It shows higher government spending does not bring with it higher growth.
    3) Who chose the period 1989-2011 as the period of reference? It’s hardly a period of consistent political or economic policy making!

  • Andrew Tennant

    Do those who promote higher Government spending claim that it leads to higher growth? I can’t say it is an argument I have heard a lot.

    What we do hear a lot is that lower Government spending leads to higher growth – I would say that this argument is definitely not proven

  • Andrew Tennant 24th Jun '12 - 5:00pm

    @bazzasc
    You might turn the telly off every time he’s on, but I’ve certainly seen Ed Balls mutter ‘too far, too fast’ under the false pretence higher that government spending strengthens the country economically.

  • Andrew Tennant

    I think you are comparing apples with pears.

    It may be the graphs are not sensitive enough as they do not break down by year but the current situation, as argued by Balls, is that the complete lack of demand in the private sector can only be filled by government intervention. You may not agree but I will leave you to argue that with Paul Krugman (who is a better economist than me!).

    The claim Osborne and the coalition make out that lower spending will equal growth is also not proven so according to you both sides are wrong.

    Classic economics (I think) suggests that in periods of growth the public sector can squeeze out the private sector in terms of resources etc whilst in periods of lack of demand, the public sector has to step up and fill the gap.

    What the graph says to me is:

    i. Economics is a social science so quantitative laws are not reliable
    ii. Looking at just ‘public spending’ as a measure is not reliable and any attempt atquantification/correlation will have to be made on better definition of the inputs

  • Andrew Tennant 24th Jun '12 - 6:14pm

    Laws’ ideology aligns very well with the needs of the county at the moment. Right now the government spends £130Bn each year more than it takes in in taxes. It’s budget needs balancing, and I don’t see anyone asking to pay more taxes – do you?

  • Andrew Tennant

    We don’t have high tax take compared to our comparators according to the OECD so I suggest that we could consider some tax raises in order to help the budget. Getting growth growing would also help tax take but the Coalition is doesn’t so great on this measure

    ttp://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?QueryId=21699

    The problem with cutting public spending is that it usually opens gaps for amoral private companies to step in and produce a worse service. I would like to see what he would cut in more detail in order to achieve the 35% – and who would provide the services cut

    Personally I think the man is a fool – intelligent maybe but a fool nonetheless

    It would also help balance the books if MPs didn’t ‘misrepresent ‘ their personal circumstances and also claim sundry expenses without receipts. I think those people should take a lower profile when talking about subjects such as public spending.

  • Gladstone died in 1898, Lloyd George in 1945 and Keynes in 1946.

    To have spending on public services at their expected levels we would need to have services at the level provided in those times. Is this the new Lib Dem agenda? Have a think about what happened to families who fell on hard times in their respective periods. I do not believe in unfettered welfare provision but surely there are better times and individuals to compare to.

    Good luck pushing that with the electorate.

  • David Allen 24th Jun '12 - 7:02pm

    “Laws’ ideology aligns very well with the needs of the county at the moment. Right now the government spends £130Bn each year more than it takes in in taxes. It’s budget needs balancing”

    So big tax cuts are just the thing to help with that balancing, right?

  • Andrew Tennant 24th Jun '12 - 8:27pm

    @David Allen
    Only if we’re operating above the optimum tax rate on the Laffer curve.

  • Andrew Tennant

    Oh no, not the Laffer curve.

    Pray tell at what percentage this happens? Let me make a guess at 65%. What is yours?

  • Robert Carruthers 24th Jun '12 - 9:14pm

    I would like to thank Stephen Tall for such an excellent and clear explanation of why such an obsession over share of GDP is simply wrong. Neil Bradbury is spot on when he says it is not the size of the state that counts, but what you do with it.

    As a moderate, middle of the road party member who believes that being in the Coalition government is the right thing to do for the country, I would venture to say that David Laws would feel more at home in the Conservatives than in the Liberal Democrats and even go further to say he should consider his position within the party.

    His concern about the size of the state as a percentage of GDP is based on the doctrine that the state must necessarily be bad and the private sector good. The lack of the Lib Dems’ adherence to such unjustified nonsense is one of the main reasons I am a member of the party. Seeing one of our party’s leading lights expounding it openly is an unpleasant experience.

  • Simon McGrath 24th Jun '12 - 9:20pm

    There is another reason for cutting public spending and taxation – that as far as possible we should allow people to decide how to spend their own money. Unlike many here I don’t think the ‘ the man in Whitehall ( or even the Town Hall) knows best how to spend my money.

    Yes of course we should have good public services, but we should also renember that every penny we spend is taken from someone’s pocket.

  • Good post Stephen.

  • Simon McGrath

    Then go and ask the electorate if they want to look for health insurance, organize there own road cleaning or security?

    In the end what happens is the money goes to companies such as Serco or Crapita who then do their best to form private monopolies.

    Remember that historically a lot of Government responsibilities came about due to the failure of the private sector

  • @Simon McGrath
    “Yes of course we should have good public services, but we should also renember that every penny we spend is taken from someone’s pocket.”

    Every penny the private sector spends is also taken from other peoples pockets. Your objection is an ideological one, not one based on deficit reduction. When people in the Lib Dems, such as yourself, make such claims about reducing public spending, it flies in the face of previous election manifestos (e.g. the 2005 manifesto that promised to increase taxation and spending). You can’t expect people to keep voting for a party that expresses such contrary opinions.

  • David Jones 24th Jun '12 - 9:59pm

    Why is Law’s sounding like a bloody tory????? the love that certain members have for him is insane!

    I do worry that we are sleepwalking to disaster – we have taken two back to back election results that were awful. The people who did well Horwood, Farron, Hancock surely say something….. we are in trouble.

    Trying to out-tory the tories is not the way to save the party, Seriously it’s reality check time. Stop being keyboard warriors and actually campaign. We are deep trouble…….

  • Please can somebody explain to me how trying to balance the budget at this time won’t lead to a deflationary spiral. We need a fiscal stimulus to boost employment. Look at the major social housebuilding programme after the 2nd world war as an example of what can be achieved, the deficit then was also far higher than it is now.

  • Tony Greaves 24th Jun '12 - 11:00pm

    Well this dreadful nonsense from Laws has brought out some of the usual tiny band of right-wingers in the party (you know what I would usually call them but the controllers of this website will delete my posting if I use such terms beause they think that telling the truth about such things is abusive!)

    It is however useful since it helps to knock on the head the idea that Laws would ever be a suitable leader of this party.

    And no, this is not the new Lib Dem mantra.

    Tony Greaves

  • It would be helpful if those posters who support Laws’ stance could suggest which specific spending cuts they favour. My understanding is that the three biggest areas of state spending are in health, education and welfare, so if you exempt health, education and pensions as Laws’ suggests, you would have to make very deep cuts in other areas – such as transport, local government, housing, police, defence, welfare benefits to non-pensioners, business and culture. So what would you cut under those headings?

  • Tony Dawson 25th Jun '12 - 8:10am

    @Steve:

    ” You can’t expect people to keep voting for a party that expresses such contrary opinions.”

    You mean like the Labour Party, which spent 13 years deliberately increasing the wealth gap between rich and poor to levels bigger than Mrs Thatcher dared to do, and doesn’t seem to be advocating that policy too loudly these days. The same Labour Party which boasted of less regulation of the banks while in government. The Labour Party which co-operated with the US government over rendition… The Labour Party which fell over backwards to kow tow to Rupert Murdoch…?

  • Bill le Breton 25th Jun '12 - 9:15am

    As usual Simon McG argues his line precisely – in this he is actually far superior to Laws who always hedges his bets: such as his proposition that economic liberalism better achieves social objectives.

    Here is how Simon puts it in the raw, ‘as far as possible we should allow people to decide how to spend their own money.’

    I disagree fundamentally with that proposition. Perhaps it is because I spent my formative years playing sport in teams, but I have always been aware of the debt that I owe to others, known and unknown, alive and dead without whose aid and willingness to engage in mutual activities (including paying taxes) I would be a lesser person.

    It is not my own money free from strings. If it is ‘mine’ in any sense then it is attached to obligations to others. I value living in a community where others are able to develop – it helps my own development. This does not happen when we pursue our own ends alone. We are all diminished. We are all less free.

    Again helpfully, Simon then links to the important difference in our attitudes to the state. He writes, ‘Unlike many here I don’t think the ‘the man in Whitehall (or even the Town Hall) knows best how to spend my money.’

    I am not sure I think that either, but this is a misrepresentation of governance in a democracy. What I do think is that by giving responsibility for decisions and oversight to democratically elected and accountable representatives we improve the chances for mutuality to work well.

    Those who wish to diminish the state first undermine its benefits. They portray it as a foe, as a barrier. I happen to think that it is fundamentally an engine of opportunity; that in the account book it increases liberty – the more democratic, the more devolved, the more efficient in reducing monopoly power, the more directed to help people to take and use their power the better it becomes.

  • David Thorpe 25th Jun '12 - 10:51am

    Keynes great quote that thew state “should only do those things which the market can do” should be the guiding light by which Lib Dem policy is formed.
    The problem with greater spending elading to graeetr growth is that the UK hasnt got the money to spend, it has to borrow it, at interest, so you need to generate enough growth from your spending to get your origianla money back, plus the interest, also borrowing can lead to inflation, so you need to generate enough to account for inflation as well.
    Whether any level of spening can genarte that levl of short term groqwth is debatble, but certainly, spending on “public services”, which are not designed (wquite rightly) to be growth enhancing but rather to provide a ‘social safety net” certainly wont generate that level of growth. Infrastructure spending might do, and thats why thats coalition policy

  • @Tony Dawson
    “You mean like the Labour Party, which….”

    Sorry to say this but people didn’t vote for a party to be a bit better than Labour they voted for them to act according Lib Dem principles and keep to the promises made during the election.

  • Being in coalition with the Tories has given the LibDem right wing too much influence. What’s Law’s position on cutting higher rate pension tax relief?

  • We should be ideologically neither right or left. We are liberal, we care about the size of the individual and not the state; though we should be inevitably sceptical of large collections of power in any context.

    Surely what we believe is allowing people to make as many choices about their own life as possible and seeking to inform and empower people to allow them the broadest life choices practicable .

    And another sigh as the Telegraph suggests Mill was ‘anti-state’ with this quote: “A government cannot have too much of the kind of activity which does not impede, but aids and stimulates, individual exertion and development.”

    Clearly those at the Telegraph have never read to the end of Chapter 5 of On Liberty…

  • Good article. I’m similarly usually pretty sympathetic to Laws, but setting an essentially arbitrary target for the spending/GDP ratio seems misguided.

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th Jun '12 - 2:03pm

    I would encourage any Liberal to read Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom”. There is plenty of good liberal thinking there, it was a necessary antidote to many of the common assumptions at that time. It is also a great improvement on almost all of its successor works which developed this theme further. I don’t deny this sort of thing as a stream within liberalism, what I do deny is the claim – which is clear in the words Laws has chosen to use – that this is the ONLY stream within liberalism.

    Unfortunately, as this stream has developed it has lost its grounding in humanitarian liberalism and become merely an ideological excuse for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. So just as Hayek was needed at a time when starry eyed views of socialism blinded people to its faults the way it could and was being used as an ideological excuse for oligarchy, so now that extreme free market ideology has replaced socialism as the default ideology, we very much need someone to write a new “Road to Serfdom” which pulls the rug out from it.

    The last thing we need is people in the Liberal Democrats jumping on the bandwagon saying “Me too” to an ideology that is already sinking, its great promises revealed as wanting. Laws is like someone in the 1970s praising USSR-style communism. Really clever people are good at challenging orthodox assumptions, not pushing tired old orthodoxies with the tired old lines excusing them that were developed when what has become orthodoxy was new and challenging.

    David Laws is doing untold damage to the Liberal Democrats by persisting with this. He undermines the lines we need to be using to defend our current positions. We want to make clear we are in coalition because the electoral situation forced us into it, and that we are defending unpleasant economic polices because of this situation and because of the difficult global economic situation. Yet along comes Laws and essentially says this is all lies, what we tell the plebs to hide our real plans – that we wanted all along to form an ideological merger with the Tories and have a simplistic “cut taxes and cut the state” agenda. Well, it may have been for him, but I am certain it was NOT for the majority of Liberal Democrats members, and we are a democratic party, so it’s OUR party, not a vehicle controlled solely by him and a few of his right-wing mates.

  • Simon Hebditch 25th Jun '12 - 3:02pm

    Matthew’s comments are very apposite to this story. David Laws has revealed what we knew, instinctively, that a number of the Lib Dem party leadership were ideologically attached to the Tory project to create a smaller state with very restricted collective responsibilities. The Coalition in that sense was not a marriage of convenience but rather a love match between Tory and Lib Dem politicians who wanted to achieve similar objectives. That is why the party leadership is marching down the road which William Hague referred to when the Coalition was stiched together – that we were witnessing a realignment of the Right!

  • Robert Carruthers 25th Jun '12 - 3:16pm

    @ Simon Hebditch

    If Laws wants to realign himself with the right with this kind of thinking, let him do so. Outside our party.

  • Solid points jedibeeftrix,

    had the labour government contained public spending to 35% of what was an articificially inflated level of GDP during the boom years, we might have found ourselves in less of a sorry state when the inevitable crash came and with a more sustainable level of public service provision.

    We cannot expect to maintain over a long period, a higher deficit or debt burden than our principal trading partners and remain competitive in international markets. We have to be able to earn our way in a globalised world. We can only do so by enlightened investment in the skills, infrastructure, energy capacity and industries of the future.

    The key to maintaining an efficient and equitable public sector is expansion of the productive capacity of the private sector. The private sector itself is dependent on a stable base of public sector provision. State led programs of job creation, investment in education and skills training, development of economic infrastructure and nurturing of nascent technologies can build both the confidence and framework to get us there. Ill-advised cuts in taxes and essential public services can only set us back from the path we need to follow for sustainable mutual prosperity.

    The answer for those concerned with the curent size of the state should be obvious. Develop the confidence building measures and environment that will put the unemployed and under-employed into productive work and the public sectors share of GDP will shrink naturally as a % of an expanded and flourishing economy.

  • Interesting article, Personally I’ve never been a Laws fan, too caught up in the pre-failure economic orthodoxy of the last 30 or so years.,, for my tastes. The point for me ist that you get the society you aim for and that the small government mantra is an ideological quest of right wing economics, not a proven pathway to healthy economies or coherent societies.

  • David Allen 25th Jun '12 - 5:22pm

    Matthew Huntbach said:

    “David Laws is doing untold damage to the Liberal Democrats by persisting with this. He undermines the lines we need to be using to defend our current positions. We want to make clear we are in coalition because the electoral situation forced us into it, and that we are defending unpleasant economic polices because of this situation and because of the difficult global economic situation.”

    To be honest, I don’t believe Laws is doing untold damage, because the Lib Dem lines are undermined already. The only people who give credence to our being forced into Coalition are Tories. For them, it’s a way of treating us warily and justifying fobbing us off with policy crumbs.

    As to defending unpleasant economic policies, let’s deconstruct the words. “Defending unpleasant economic polices because of this (i.e. the “forced” Coalition) situation” means having to support things you don’t believe in. “Defending unpleasant economic polices because of … the difficult global economic situation.” means having to support things you do believe in. So there we have it, a defence of Osbornomics for self-contradictory reasons which nobody outside our party would want to give credence to.

  • There is no magic percentage. If there were – then for me – it would not be constant over time. It could rise in times when a country faces some overarching existential threat, like global war or a global financial crisis. The State needs to step in where the markets fail, and we should be prepared to understand that these areas themselves will change over time, and this could affect the optimum percentage.

  • @jedibeeftrix

    Actually I’m not sure we disagree – let’s say that over the course of the business cycle Government expenditure should be roughly equal to Government tax receipts. That implies deficit spending when times are tough, and a surplus when things are looking up. At present, you’re correct in saying that UK tax receipts are approximately 35% of GDP so we might expect Government expenditure, over the course of the business cycle, to be roughly 35% of GDP as well. I don’t dispute that balanced budgets are a good thing, and that in the long run the Government should (indeed can only) spend the money that it can raise – that, of course, doesn’t necessarily imply that it shouldn’t ever run a deficit.

    Nonetheless, I do dispute that there is anything particularly special per se about 35% with regards economic growth. Sweden has Government spending of over 50% of GDP and yet presently has a growth rate slightly higher than ours, unemployment roughly the same, inflation roughly the same, and a higher GDP per capita than we do. Equally, Hong Kong spends less than 20% of GDP and also has gdp growth at roughly 0. Over the past 20 years, the US has spent a smaller portion of GDP than the UK and yet has experienced very similar gdp growth.

    So if you’re making the point that, in the long run, Government spending should equal Government tax receipts, I think we agree. And of course tax systems should be designed to minimise perverse incentives, resource misallocation and so on – that does not necessarily imply a lower tax burden or indeed lower Government expenditure. But there is nothing special about 35% with regards to growth. Hopefully David was making the former points rather than the latter.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th Jun '12 - 11:37am

    David Allen

    As to defending unpleasant economic policies, let’s deconstruct the words. “Defending unpleasant economic polices because of this (i.e. the “forced” Coalition) situation” means having to support things you don’t believe in. “Defending unpleasant economic polices because of … the difficult global economic situation.” means having to support things you do believe in

    I believe in democracy. Democracy means you accept what the people voted for, even if it is not what you yourself wanted as the ideal. As a democrat I believe in the right of the democratically elected government to do what I believe to be wrong in terms of my personal policy position.

    In May 2010 the people of his country voted for a Tory government. Oh sure, you can say the majority of them did not actually vote Tory. But this country made its position VERY clear a year later in the 2011 referendum. The main case the “No” campaign put was that it was best for representation to be distorted so that whatever party won the most votes controlled the government, with third parties weakened so they wold have little influence. And they won, by two-to-one. So by two-to-one the people of this country voted to support the government we have now, because it is the government that results form the distortion they supported and from the arguments used in favour of that distortion.

    Apart from this, in purely practical terms governments have to do things that ideally they would rather not. So it seems to me to be silly to use terms like “believe in”, which suggest these policies are being carried out as an act of faith or because the government actually enjoys doing them. If we had a majority Liberal Democrat government now, I very much hope it would be doing quite a lot that is very different from the current Tory-with-a-little-LibDem-filling-in-details government. However, I am sure given the international economic situation it would still have to do a lot that people would find unpleasant. All governments have to make a budget, and in any budget it’s cuts in services people remember most, even when those cuts are made to enable other better things. It is not at all helpful if someone within our ranks suggests unpleasant cuts in government services are done not through economic necessity but through ideological fervour.

  • ‘While I’m sure our liberal forebears would be ‘shocked’ at the growth of state spending, there are many other aspects of modern life — cultural, scientific, technological — that would also perturb them. It’s not an argument in and of itself.’

    On behalf of Mr Laws, ‘Ouch!’ Imagine Gladstone’s reaction on finding one of his newly appointed ministers had made a false claim for expenses to cover up his sexuality.

  • Anne Forgettable 29th Jun '12 - 3:51pm

    WTF does Laws think there is left to cut???

  • Anne Forgettable 29th Jun '12 - 4:04pm

    The fundamental mistake is this: There was a reason why Gladstonian Liberalism was replaced by New Liberalism, and then by Social Liberalism, and ultimately gave way to Socialism with Labour replacing the Liberals. The methods of C19th Liberals (laissez faire capitalism) failed to achieve the aims of C19th Liberals (greater liberty and equality).

    Faced with the choice, most Liberals chose to stick to their aims rather than sticking to failed methods. But we have recently seen the rise of putative Liberals who believe Liberalism should be defined by failed methods rather than unfulfilled goals, and others who once again believe the failed methods can somehow deliver those goals.

    One defining characteristic of politics over the past 30 years has been this successful ignorance of history, of what happened and what life was like before WWII.

  • Simon Titley 1st Jul '12 - 4:10pm

    David Howarth has just published a very good response to David Laws here:
    http://www.liberalinsight.com/ideas/publications/spending-and-growth/

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