Don’t let the Tories airbrush us out of history

The Conservatives’ Twitter feed has annoyed me even more than usual today.

It’s no different. They are always taking credit for things that Lib Dem ministers drove forward in Government, but we shouldn’t let them away with it.

Remember when David Cameron told Nick Clegg in the 2010 leaders’ debate that the rise in the tax threshold was unaffordable? Now they are proudly claiming credit for it as if it was there idea when everyone knows it wasn’t.

They also highlight the rise in the State Pension. Ah yes, but who was responsible for the triple lock, ensuring that the pension rose by earnings, 2.5% or inflation whichever was the biggest? Step forward Steve Webb, former Lib Dem Pensions Minister.

And they are also boasting about the Pupil Premium, an idea implemented and boosted by education ministers Sarah Teather and David Laws.

It’s funny that they’re not boasting about that other Lib Dem achievement, the massive investment in renewables. Ah, that will be because they’ve dismantled that one.

These were all good, solid, practical and popular measures introduced by the Liberal Democrats. The first chance the Tories get to rule on their own, they jump on their anti NHS, BBC and EU hobby horses as well as planning to rob us of our human rights protections.

We should not let what’s happened since and the mistakes we undoubtedly made in the Coalition years take away from our very real achievements.

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

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18 Comments

  • @Caron Lindsay
    “They also highlight the rise in the State Pension. Ah yes, but who was responsible for the triple lock, ensuring that the pension rose by earnings, 2.5% or inflation whichever was the biggest? Step forward Steve Webb, former Lib Dem Pensions Minister.”

    Let’s get this straight – you want Lib Dems to be given full “credit” for the fact that pensions actually increased by a smaller amount under the coalition’s triple lock than they would have done under the last Labour government’s double lock? See :-

    http://paullewismoney.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/triple-locked-down.html

    The triple lock was a colossal con, based on the premise that a triple lock sounds inherently more impressive than a double lock (three is better than two – geddit?). But when the highest component of the double lock is more valuable than the highest component of the triple lock, then the double lock is superior.

  • Caron, what do you expect, if the boot was on the other foot and we were government and the Cons down to 8 bet we would do the same. But really lets finally move on and stop reminding people of the coalition.

  • The coalition did much more harm than good to both the Lib Dems and the country. It wouldn’t be the worse thing if the Tories could airbrush you out of that shameful period in your history.

  • nigel hunter 14th May '16 - 11:18am

    It does show that we have the ideas that others are jealous about and we must at all opportunities inform the voter of this. Equally, in an actual Government, ideas do have to be reorganised to show that we can be responsible in charge.

  • Rightsaidfredfan 14th May '16 - 11:19am

    It was a coalition therefore both parties are jointly and inseperately responsible for everything that the government did as they were both in government together. You want credit for it? Are you sure the party can handle taking the credit when that means taking credit for everything? Not just the higher tax free threshold, but tuition fees the bedroom tax and everything else?

    So Caron do you really want to take the credit for the coalition it’s an all or nothing kind of thing? Does the party want to say it was a mistake and move on from it or take credit for it? Can’t have it both ways I’m afraid.

  • TBH, there are great problems with the ratcheting up of tax allowances in the way we suggested anyway. One of the gravest is the continual restriction of tax take, and therefore our ability to provide proper public services. We are seeing, in the NHS, in Social Care etc real human problems. We are seeing in Benefit cuts and sanctions severe damage done to vulnerable people – witness suicide rates that have been widely reported. We are seeing whole professions (eg librarians) being decimated because large numbers were employed in publicly funded bodies. We are seeing unjustified and undemocratic centralisation eg in education removing the powers of local communities. We should be campaigning on these things, not on the ability of middle income and above people to keep a bit more money in their pockets! Our tax policy always used to be about FAIR taxation, not LOWER taxation per se, and should return to that now the Cleggite period is over, hopefully!

  • Jayne Mansfield 14th May '16 - 12:09pm

    Sorry Caron, I think you are doing the Party no favours jolting the memories of what it achieved in government as compared with what it enabled.

    I have no doubt in my mind that your former leadership hoped for a second coalition with the Conservatives, and that they talked up the achievements of the Tory/ Lib Dem coalition hoping that this would come to pass.

  • @Tim13
    “TBH, there are great problems with the ratcheting up of tax allowances in the way we suggested anyway.”

    Not that the way Clegg suggested it would happen was what actually happened.

    What Clegg actually said in that TV debate, as well as in the LD manifesto, was that the increased threshold would be financed by increasing taxes on the wealthy – including, specifically, cutting pension relief for top-rate taxpayers.

    That did not happen. Instead, it was paid for by things like tax credit cuts and the VAT increase.

    Six years on, Lib Dems are still wilfully ignoring one side of the equation and claiming their tax policy was implemented, when it wasn’t. If I tell you I’m going to take £10 from a rich person and hand it to you, then remove £10 from your own wallet and give it to you instead, I don’t think you’d say I had kept my word. But that’s exactly what Clegg asked us to accept.

  • Peter Watson 14th May '16 - 2:45pm

    “And they are also boasting about the Pupil Premium, an idea implemented and boosted by education ministers Sarah Teather and David Laws.”
    And which was in the Labour and Conservative manifestos in 2010.

  • Thomas Shakespeare 14th May '16 - 2:52pm

    @Peter Watson Was there a promise of £2.5 bn of extra support specifically for the poorest pupils in either the Labour or the Tory manifesto?

  • Peter Watson 14th May '16 - 3:13pm

    @Thomas Shakespeare “Was there a promise of £2.5 bn of extra support”
    Was £2.5 bn of extra support delivered?

    Other real-terms reductions in school funding mean the Pupil Premium has
    not always increased school budgets. Over the last four years, the Department has
    given £6.0 billion to schools under the Pupil Premium policy but reduced other school
    funding in real terms at the same time. As a result total per-pupil funding has increased
    in 55% of schools in real terms, but it has decreased in real terms in the remainder.
    Some schools with very disadvantaged intakes have less money per pupil now, in
    real terms, than in 2010, despite the extra funding provided by the Pupil Premium.
    We estimate that the per-pupil funding of 16% of the most disadvantaged secondary
    schools fell by more than 5% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2014-15.

    (https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Funding-for-disadvantaged-pupils-summary.pdf)

  • Whether we like it or not, for most of the electorate the Lib Dem Coalition time was a great turn off with memories more of the negative aspects such as the bedroom tax, the VAT rise, the Lansley NHS ‘reforms’, the student fees business, tagging along with the Tory austerity cuts and privatisations and an image of untruthfulness. Not only that, but constantly saying it had nothing to do with the American banking collapse was an echo of Tory propaganda and a turn off to anyone left of centre.

    This may be unfair – but I think it has force with the electorate at large. We will not make significant process until all of this has largely disappeared from the public consciousness.. It does little good to remind folk of it.

    More to the point, it is no alternative to working out fresh relevant radical policies over the next two to three years. Failure to do this I’m afraid and it will be Kaput.

  • Alex Macfie 14th May '16 - 3:44pm

    Mark Wright:

    ” You are right Caron to point out that those policies were ones that were had to force the Tories into accepting.”

    We should have said AT THE TIME what we were blocking and what we were forcing the Tories to accept. The Tories were briefing against us during the Coalition; why were we not doing the same to them? Like it or not, the Coalition was a political disaster for us, and the blame for this lies with Clegg’s leadership.

  • Jayne Mansfield 14th May '16 - 8:25pm

    @ Councillor Mark Wright,
    People are more likely to read The Star’ newspaper in Sheffield rather than Liberal Democrat Voice.

    When they read an article’
    ‘Former Tory candidate backs Nick Clegg – but conservative rival says ‘here’s no pact’ in Sheffield Hallam.’

    I suggest that the good people of Sheffield are hardly likely to think that the tories are shaking in their boots at the thought of Nick Clegg being re-elected.

    I think that Nick Clegg, like many who contribute on here probably has decent instincts, but I and many like me who voted Liberal Democrat in 2010, found that we did not share what we perceived to be the political leanings of the Liberal Democrats during the coalition years.

    You might not like the message, but you have been flogging the same theme for two years now and where has it got the party? Where is the evidence that you forced change whilst in coalition with the tories? I am sorry to be so brutal, but all the Liberal Democrats that I have known on an individual basis , have been pretty decent people and I am genuinely saddened at what has happened to the party.

    When your party was blaming Labour for crashing the economy and praising the Coalition for saving it, who did you think would get the most credit for saving it?

  • David Evans 14th May '16 - 8:57pm

    Caron, our leadership airbrushed us out of history, or to put it fully in context – Our leadership airbrushed 50 years of hard won progress and 49 MPs out of history. It has gone and pretending we can do anything to wish it better is simply the worst form of wishful thinking.

  • Samuel McLaughlin 15th May '16 - 9:21am

    “Remember when David Cameron told Nick Clegg in the 2010 leaders’ debate that the rise in the tax threshold was unaffordable? Now they are proudly claiming credit for it as if it was there idea when everyone knows it wasn’t.”

    I think your assertion everyone knows the tax threshold rise wasn’t a Tory idea is dubious.

  • Bill le Breton 15th May '16 - 9:40am

    Resources are scare. Our ability to get traction very limited. Our opportunities to connect limited.

    So, ok. Let’s try the window test. You are at an open first floor window. Someone is walking along the pavement beneath you. You have 5 seconds to grab their attention and stop them walking by. What do you shout out?

    Hey, it was us wot did … not the Tories?

    Or do you hit them with something that is on their mind now?

    What is on their mind? Gratitude for something that happened 6 years ago???

    Christmas!!! Where are the Lib Dem campaigners?

    It is enough to make you weep.

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