LDVideo: Nick Clegg – It’s time to come together and focus on 2015

Nick Clegg has recorded the following video, which has just been emailed to party members:

It is also available on YouTube.

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58 Comments

  • At 0:31 Nick says “resilience.”
    Sigh.

  • Shaun Cunningham 27th May '14 - 8:53pm

    No Nick…..Time for you to step aside . Time for change. You have lost the doorstep. This party needs a new leader and a new direction

  • Martin Land 27th May '14 - 9:10pm

    We are coming together Nick, but it’s not behind you I’m afraid.

  • Philip Rolle 27th May '14 - 9:13pm

    I’d have thought he ought to have said that he was going to meet with colleagues to work out a way forward in the light of extremely disappointing election results.

    I’m in two minds about the best course of action but I think that the party can only ruin its credibility further by continuing in a centre-right coalition for another year, only to change direction and march centre-left for five years from 2015. There is a strong case, particularly with Nick Clegg’s position being so weak, to fix a direction now and stick to it. That direction would seem clearly to be centre-left social liberalism and so the logical conclusion is that Tim Fallon should lead the party.

    As a libertarian, that isn’t what I would personally want. But it really comes down to whether the party wants to come out of the 2015 election with, say, 37 MPs or with, say, 17. The best chance of achieving the higher number is arguably not just differentiation, but a selective repudiation of the nastier elements of current policy.

  • Richard Harris 27th May '14 - 9:14pm

    What was that? Family hug time? Is this just one big jolly? Some team game played out in society?
    You are a man who plays at politics. Please understand Mr. Clegg, your actions in government are having real implications for those who are not lucky enough to share your wealth. I’m glad you can find it in your heart to congratulate your political opponents, but my family find it hard when we are working out the best way (if any) to fund our daughter’s degree.
    In short, where do you mention that you are going to start listening to those of you that gave you your political power? When?

  • Did he just accuse more than 90% of the voting electorate of being close minded and lacking generosity of heart?

    That will change their minds…

  • Stephen Hesketh 27th May '14 - 9:21pm

    @Philip Rolle – sound comments but think we can find a better word/phrase than ‘nastier’ … Free market capitalist touting liberal or ‘Tory-lite’ might do it. Either have an ‘authentic’ ring to them.

  • Richard Harris – fund your daughter’s degree in what way?

  • David Hollingsworth 27th May '14 - 9:45pm

    Time for Nick to do whats in the Best interest of the Party and that’s stand down as leader

  • Andrew Tennant 27th May '14 - 9:46pm

    Nick Clegg deserves better than the way he is now being treated by a small but noisy minority agitating in our party.

  • Welcome note of humility but if Nick is up for the fight and committed to continue there’s no acknowledgment of what needs to change in his leadership and even relative loyalists like me are looking for changes in how the party is led within Government.

  • Richard Harris 27th May '14 - 9:51pm

    @tabman

    ….well thanks to the LDs she will probably have to take on a debt larger than my first mortgage, a situation that Mr.Clegg’s children are unlikely to have to face. My point was that his message sounds like someone that has little feeling for the realities of living in the UK he has helped create. He certainly doesn’t sound like someone willing to acknowledge the viewpoints of those many, many voters that put him in power.

  • Richard Dawson 27th May '14 - 10:01pm

    @Richard Harris
    Students pay less under the new system of Tuition Fees

  • Richard Harris – but its not a debt like a mortgage, is it? If I can’t pay my mortgage, my house gets taken away from me. With tuition fee loans, if you can’t pay them back because your income is too low, you don’t pay them. And no-one can take your degree away from you.

  • Stephen Hesketh 27th May '14 - 10:03pm

    @Philip Rolle . Have I missed something? Just reread you post “As a libertarian, that isn’t what I would personally want” … not quite sure what you mean by this following the excellent “There is a strong case, particularly with Nick Clegg’s position being so weak, to fix a direction now and stick to it. That direction would seem clearly to be centre-left social liberalism and so the logical conclusion is that Tim Fallon [Farron] should lead the party.”

    Tim is not only more socially representative of the party and country as a whole and certainly a refreshing change to all the posh boys (including Farage) at the top of the other parties but he is a good libertarian with a good voting record – including voting against Tuition Fees. This record might be of some value to us in the coming months!

  • My patience with the noisy minority of Clegg haters is wearing thin. Its clear there was nothing behind this pathetic coup but money & vanity. Its time for the rest of us to move on . We have an Election to fight & nothing to spare for a fight among ourselves.

  • “Students pay less under the new system of Tuition Fees”

    Of course they don’t. The whole point of the new system is that it represents a huge shift from public funding to graduate payments – that is, precisely in the opposite direction to the Lib Dem manifesto policy of 2010.

  • Paul Pettinger 27th May '14 - 10:24pm

    – LDV have released a poll showing 42% of members expressing an opinion think Nick Clegg should stand down as leader
    – an ICM poll has just been released showing that if Nick Clegg is not leader he stands a greater chance of remaining an MP
    – The Party only has 1 MEP, finished behind the Greens in vote share and has fewer Councillors than at any time

    We’re inheritors to a social movement in trouble and exist for the public good, not a personality cult. The response is not to accept the need for change, but carry on, collectivise shortcomings and ignore the big picture. Not good enough.

  • @Andrew Tennant
    So what should the noisy minority do? Just accept the fact that the number of MPs is likely to be reduced significantly at the next election? At what point, do you draw the line and ask for something to turn things around?

  • Passing through 27th May '14 - 10:30pm

    @Richard Dawson
    “Students pay less under the new system of Tuition Fees”

    That isn’t true though is it.

    While it is true they may pay less PER MONTH but the higher rate of interest and the tripling of fees means they’ll pay it for a lot longer (up to 6 times longer), ultimately meaning they’ll pay a lot more and yet may never fully clear their debts.

    With the remorseless rise in the RAB charge it is almost certain that at some point a future government is going to have to tighten the conditions further and we have already seen it force large cuts in existing sources of funding support to make up the shortfalls appearing only a couple years in.

    People moan on here that the public don’t understand the new tuition fees system, it helps if you give them an accurate picture of what it entails.

  • Philip Rolle 27th May '14 - 10:35pm

    @ Stephen Hesketh : I believe in a small state and low taxes and that IMO doesn’t come from the left. But what the state does, it must do well By “nastier” elements of policy, I meant the demonising of the disabled and unemployed; the cuts in legal aid and the blind eye turned to those in prison serving indefinite sentences. That, I cannot support.
    As to tuition fees, I would abolish them and have fewer people go to uni. But, I disgress…

  • @paul barke

    “My patience with the noisy minority of Clegg haters is wearing thin.”

    Your use of the word ‘hate’ suggests an element of projection of your own problems. NO one hates a Leader who is failing to function any more than they do a photocopier whose fuser gears have seized up. Neither is of any use and bothneed speedy replacement.

  • “As to tuition fees, I would abolish them and have fewer people go to uni. But, I disgress…”

    Yes me too. Someone I know is doing a degree in Fashion Buying. Now there is no need for fashion buyers to have a degree at all. It’s a job for which you either have a flair or you don’t and the ins and outs if the business can be learnt on the job. But there we have it.

  • The electorate is not listening to Nick and the results are – and will be – catastrophic. It may not be fair but it is real. Debating the position is further splitting the party. Time to do the decent thing and earn respect from all.

  • @Richard Dawson
    “Students pay less under the new system of Tuition Fees”

    Well, as has been pointed out, that’s not true. That’s why people refer to ‘Nick Clegg’s TREBLING of tuition fees’ . If students paid less, ie there was a DECREASE in tuition fees, then the Lib Dems, by definition, could not be accused of breaking their pledge to oppose any INCREASE in tuition fees. And all would be well in the world.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th May '14 - 11:00pm

    We need a balanced message that people are free to voice discontent, but not free to actively undermine the party.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 27th May '14 - 11:12pm

    Well, genuine, unscripted, I liked the reference to the Lib Dem family and the reference to the defeated candidates being full of generosity for their colleagues who had won.

    That’s the party that we actually are.

    There was never going to be any great strategic shift in a video like this. It isn’t the right place. But he’ll certainly be getting no shortage of suggestions from a wide range of sources over the next few days, I think you will be sure of that.

  • “We need a balanced message that people are free to voice discontent, but not free to actively undermine the party.”

    Ideologically sound, Mr Brezhnev.

  • Ah, fees. I wouldn’t agree with the ‘abolish and have fewer go to uni’ line. Because how can a party that champions aspiration and individual opportunity just say arbitrarily that many, or frankly any of these young people who have them should abandon them for the sake of a budget-minded target?

    There’s no point campaigning on the damn things, but if this archaic electoral system delivers another hung parliament that we can break the deadlock of in 2015, we should kill fees and do a proper job of the graduate tax. Setting right what once went wrong won’t return us to 20% overnight, but it would at least start removing the millstone from around our necks.

    Be careful about the ‘never pay it back’ line, though. The fact is that the graduate tax idea that was floating around four years ago was basically the monthly repayments we’re asking for now, but with no mechanism whatsoever for graduates to ever stop paying. That’s why I didn’t like it at first, although it does have the advantage of not presenting a £30,000 upfront bill to the aspirant. Our policy would need to be tied to earned income and stop claiming after a certain age, I’d say.

    But, a digression.

    Mr Clegg’s video. Not a bad effort, certainly seems to be getting the message that ‘Where We Work, We Win’ isn’t a slogan that appeals to the candidates who worked, worked, worked and lost. Is it enough to save his leadership through to the end of next May? Not on its own. We still need to see something pretty radical in the way of upheaval if the party leadership is to claw back any credibility. Mr Clegg and his inner circle must be aware that the clock is ticking, local parties are meeting and Newark is in a week’s time.

  • Little Jackie Paper 27th May '14 - 11:20pm

    Phyllis – We may yet see tuition fees extended into FE courses within 15 years. Every single argument about university fees applies to just about any type of post 16 education. All having fewer, ‘university students,’ will do in all probability is move where the fee gets paid around the system and have them paid by, ‘continuing students.’

    I believe that the Australians have just removed all caps on HE fees.

    The generational divide may yet be one of the biggest dividing lines in future politics – the current debates are just a glimpse of the future to my mind. The t’s and c’s of loans will almost certainly be tightened for a start, just at the pension triple lock gets paid out. But the generational divide is about far more than fees. Probably the only reason the young are not up in arms now is they have not yet quite worked out what a bad deal they are getting across the piece. Try http://niesr.ac.uk/sites/default/files/publications/dp377.pdf.

    Why not write off the student loan book? Is it really any crazier than, say, giving public housing away at discount prices?

  • Caron

    “But he’ll certainly be getting no shortage of suggestions from a wide range of sources over the next few days, I think you will be sure of that.”

    After years of losing elections with lower and lower poll ratings I would hope that this has been happening for some time. However, no matter what he’s says the voting public just don’t like or trust him and they have had plenty of time to form an opinion.

  • Little Jackie Piper yes I actually agree with you. Education should be free for all and young people should not be saddled with so much debt. I also feel, having had nieces and nephews go through HE, that there is an expectation that young people should go to ‘uni’ when it’s not the best thing for that particular individual. There are so many courses which I don’t feel need to be at university level. Fashion buying us just one. I’m not a snob, I value all kinds if different learning experiences and vocational pathways. I have seen too many people trying to shoppe horn themselves into university when they would do better perusing apprenticeships etc. I do feel very strongly that Labour made a big mistake with their 50% target. Before someone jumps in and asks how is it to be paid for? I would say look in the last LD manifesto, it has all the answers.

  • Philip Rolle 27th May '14 - 11:37pm

    @ Simon Shaw : Maybe you’re right. But I suspect that the short-term process of preserving seats in 2015 is going to involve giving prominence to the left of the party – for it is mostly they who are likely to have most credibility with the electorate. taking into account the last four years. It is a shame because the last four years have provided an opportunity to implement radical policies. I can think of only one – Steve Webb’s pension reform.

  • Little Jackie Paper 27th May '14 - 11:41pm

    On fees, there is a rather important point that seems to be being unspoken. The, ‘new,’ system will be considerably more effective in the event of a significant increase in the amount paid to those holding the loans.

    Has anyone given any thought on how to increase returns in the economy to labour?

  • Kevin Colwill 27th May '14 - 11:48pm

    I was that hens tooth… a “tribal” Lib Dem voter. My parents voted Liberal, as did my grandparents and every generation of my family since we had the franchise.
    We voted Liberal/Lib Dem because we weren’t Tories. Simple as.
    Nick Clegg sold us out. That’s why I won’t vote Lib Dem while he is leader. He can write a book, get a job in the city or just sit back and count his money- I don’t care. Just as long as he’s not leading the party I used to feel best represented me.

  • Richard Harris 27th May '14 - 11:57pm

    @Kevin
    Well said.

  • Phil Wainewright 28th May '14 - 12:04am

    It seems to me the five stages of grief are being played out in parallel in both the posts and the comments section of LDV:

    Denial: Where we work we win, we’ve had to make tough choices, don’t rock the boat
    Anger: I worked hard, I’m gutted and I’ll say what I bloody well like
    Bargaining: Let’s change the leader then the electorate will forgive us
    Despair: It won’t do any good. we’re already wiped out
    Acceptance: This is where we are, now let’s work out how we move ahead from here

  • Caron
    “There was never going to be any great strategic shift in a video like this”

    Is there going to be any change at all? The only message from the leadership seems to be “hold your nerve” which implies waiting a little longer and hoping things will change. Is that a realistic approach?

  • @Racheal Harris: It sounds like your daughter is luckier than most to have parents willing/able to support her – my factory worker father abandoned me and my part-time secretary mother suffered from a long-term illness, so could not work; however, the Labour Government said I was not entitled to any support. I have, therefore, had to pay for all of my higher education (an undergrad and Masters totalling £60,000) myself (my parents could/would not help me, nor did the Government). I did it by studying part-time, getting a job and saving the money for myself.

    I do not say this to get pity (I am OK with it, it made me a much stronger person), but to highlight that if she determined, your daughter can do it. I advise you look for grants and scholarships. Part of the reforms to higher education included the creation and introduction of many new grants and scholarships. Sadly, the Liberal hating media and NUS ‘forgot’ to tell people that part, when they bashed us for reforming the system.

  • No Simon. We are a centre-left, social liberal party. We should start behaving like one.

  • Voter 28th May ’14 – 12:13am
    Caron
    “There was never going to be any great strategic shift in a video like this”

    Voter you are right to highlight this. I will preface my comment by saying that I really like Caron.

    Caron’s generosity towards Clegg knows no bounds and her patience in waiting for that strategic change is the patience of a saint.
    How can we but admire such generosity and patience when it is based entirely on hope rather than experience?
    For seven years she has been generous enough to put up with every duff decision, stupid mistake, rubbish appointment incompetent failure and wrong headed stupidity whilst remaining adoring of the head of the big family that we all are.

    Of course she has been giving him the rough end of her keyboard when she disagrees with him, because that has been effective hasn’t it?

    For seven years she has been waiting for that strategic change and no doubt she will wait another seven whilst the prodigal leader achieves at the General Election precisely the same result for MPs that he achieved for those members of the big family that used to be MEPs.

  • Richard Dean 28th May '14 - 1:34am

    “Centre-left, social”? Where does anyone get that from? As Caron might say, the clue is in the name: Liberal Democrat.

  • John Tilley, well said !

  • Denis Mollison 28th May '14 - 9:05am

    Richard Dean –
    The word “liberal” covers quite a range of meanings. I’m liberal in many aspects, but I’m anti neo-liberal, which too many of our leaders seem to close to.
    I go back far enough to remember that “Liberal Democrats” was adopted as an abbreviation of “Social and Liberal Democrats”. For 20 years our social and economic liberal halves seemed to cohere happily; but for the last 4 we’ve been led by the economic liberals in a context – the coalition – that exacerbates the difference.

    To come back on theme, I’ve listened to Nick’s video a second time, and it doesn’t help. To express sympathy towards those who’ve lost seats “through no fault of their own” without acknowledging that quite a share of the fault attaches to himself, leaves a bad taste.

    Nevertheless, the clearer policy is to let him ride this one out and fight the 2015 election on his/our record in government.
    After that we can look to a change of leader – in anything but the most optimistic of scenarios – and I hope a ditching of neo-liberal policies.

  • Dennis Mollinson – what is this neo-Liberalism of which you speak?

  • Chris Riley 28th May '14 - 9:42am

    This is not the venue to really discuss skills demand across the UK economy, but if you actually look at the labour market and the jobs people do, it is very clear that the economy needs an awful lot of graduates and it is far from clear we have ‘too many’ – it may be that we don’t have enough, particularly if participation starts to fall.

    Now, you could argue that we have too many graduates taking the ‘wrong sort’ of degrees – an argument against individual choice which sits ill with the alleged ethos of the Lib Dems, but broad church and all that – but the potential solutions are to react to economic downturn by reducing the number of young people getting educated (a rather…..odd….response), to centrally plan the whole system (not a natural Lib Dem reaction), or to leave the choice up to the individual and trust them to make the best of it.

    Fortunately, the UK higher education system has evolved in such a way that the third, most liberal option tends to be the best because we have developed highly adaptable and flexible degrees that, by and large, don’t railroad graduates down one particular path as other country’s systems tend to do.

    So, Phyllis, your fashion buyer (and by the way, good luck with telling the fashion industry what qualifications they should be asking for in their employees) could become a fashion buyer. Or they could do something else with that degree, something the UK system is internationally well regarded for allowing.

    One thing that is unequivocal is that the fashion buyer will pay more for their degree than someone who completed before 2010, unless they are remarkably unfortunate throughout their entire working life – or make very poor choices.

  • @Richard Dean – you’re right there’s no “centre – left, social” in “Liberal Democrat”. I think that quite a few people (me included) formed the belief, based on things that the LDs said or put in their manifesto or even pledged, that the LDs were a centre – left, social democratic party. It turns out we were wrong. Oh well, fool me once and all that.

    Which is actually why (as I posted on a different thread yesterday), I don’t think moving left (in terms of message) is going to help. Any appeal to centre – left voters from the LDs will be regarded with the utmost suspicion, and will look generally hypocritical given that the LDs have been part of a centre – right government for 5 years.

    About the only option I can see for the LDs that might work is actually to move right with an economic liberal tax – cutting agenda, defuse the Europe issue by offering a referendum and focus on LD/Lab marginals hoping to pick up enough Tory/UKIP tactical votes to maintain a significant presence in parliament. “Equidistance” is of course dead in this scenario.

    Personally I wouldn’t vote for it, but if I’m honest I can’t think of anything that the LDs could do to win my vote back for this GE and I suspect the same is true of a lot of the left wing voters that have abandoned the LDs since 2010. So you might as well give it a try.

  • Stephen Hesketh 28th May '14 - 10:24am

    Just out of interest … from Wikipedia:
    Neoliberalism is a form of economic liberalism whose advocates support free trade and open markets, privatization, deregulation, and enhancing the role of the private sector in modern society.[1][2][3]

    Neoliberalism was an economic philosophy that emerged among European liberal scholars in the 1930s attempting to trace a so-called ‘Third’ or ‘Middle Way’ between the conflicting philosophies of classical liberalism and collectivist central planning.[4] The impetus for this development arose from a desire to avoid repeating the economic failures of the early 1930s which conventional wisdom of the time tended to blame on unfettered capitalism. In the decades that followed, neoliberal theory tended to be at variance with the more laissez-faire doctrine of classical liberalism and promoted instead a market economy under the guidance and rules of a strong state, a model which came to be known as the social market economy.

    In the 1960s, usage of the term “neoliberal” heavily declined. When the term was reintroduced in the 1980s in connection with Augusto Pinochet’s economic reforms in Chile, the usage of the term had shifted. It had not only become a term with negative connotations employed principally by critics of market reform, but it also had shifted in meaning from a moderate form of liberalism to a more radical and laissez-faire capitalist set of ideas. Scholars now tended to associate it with the theories of economists Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.[5] Once the new meaning of neoliberalism was established as a common usage among Spanish-speaking scholars, it diffused directly into the English-language study of political economy.[6] The term neoliberal is now used mainly by those who are critical of legislative initiatives that push for free trade, deregulation, enhanced privatization, and an overall reduction in government control of the economy.[7]

    American scholar Robert W. McChesney notes that the term neoliberalism, which he defines as “capitalism with the gloves off,” is largely unknown by the general public, especially in the United States.[8] Today the term is mostly used as a general condemnation of economic liberalization policies and its advocates.[7]
    ENDS.

    It is this standard modern usage and association with unfettered globalism, corporatism, Thatcherism and the dogmatic rolling back of the state, mutuals etc that most Liberal Democrats would find impossible to swallow. I could not remain a member or worker for (or voter for) a party of such ‘Neo-liberalism’. I believe it to be totally inconsistent with our aims as set out in the preamble. This is not an argument amongst Liberal Democrats, liberals and social democrats, social liberals and others but all of these against the Tory-lite Neo-conservatives.

  • Eddie Sammon 28th May '14 - 10:58am

    @David Allen. Lol, “Mr Brezhnev”, I try not to sound too authoritarian, it is just what I would deem normal behaviour during a crisis is a bit less liberal than perhaps most Lib Dems would like. However, I think it is still possible to be a liberal, but authoritarian when necessary, with David Lloyd George providing some good examples.

  • When the party loses it’s deposit at Newark you just know the reason will be “nobody votes for a divided party and everyone needs to get behind the leader”

  • Phil Rimmer 28th May '14 - 2:13pm

    Clegg appears to want to change this from a disaster into a tragedy, with him centre stage and blood soaked.

    This party is not a Shakespearean tragedy about one man’s decline and fall, it is a vehicle for those of us who share an important political philosophy to present that philosophy to the public and persuade them that it has positive things to offer in solving problems.

  • John Roffey 28th May '14 - 2:35pm

    @ Phil Rimmer

    Succinctly and elegantly expressed.

  • Brenda Lana Smith 28th May '14 - 6:19pm

    Somebody must have been terribly insensitive or having a laugh re Nick’s e-mail’s: “Donate” link
    https://libdems.nationbuilder.com/donate

  • @ Tabman “what is this neo-Liberalism of which you speak?”

    The key question to keep in mind is whose is the freedom that is generally taken as the hallmark of liberalism? One might suppose that the answer would always be “the people” but confusion or deliberate misdirection (some of each I think) have led to a situation where the received interpretation in Westminster, Washington and many other capitals is “for capital” (and by extension the interests of large corporations and those who control them.

    That is a very different answer to “the people” that was the Lib Dem’s traditional position. It is the watershed that Clegg has tried to take the Lib Dems over by fiat of the leader and his gang and without any debate. If he remains it will get worse because he and others have committed to other horrors not yet in plain view such as the TTIP. Although billed as a EU-US “free trade” treaty, ALL its freedoms are for multinational corporations and NONE for the people. Corporations will not have to worry about “trade restrictions” such as environmental regulations or local procurement rules – if they think they will loose profits as a result of such measures they will be able to sue in for damages in special courts with no appeal to the High Court making it a constitutional outrage as well.

    Clegg and his lot must go. Now!

  • Tony Dawson 28th May '14 - 7:23pm

    I am intrigued by this talk of ‘neoLiberalism. That implies some sort of direction being deliberately steered by the ‘leadership’. While I accept that the present Ledership’s own personal positions on many issues may be a bit to the right of the average Lib Dem, I see no sign whatsoever that they have ANY political strategy – this completely matches their lack of electoral strategy. Not only are they locked in to their government roles to the virtual extinguishment of their Party roles and their roles as listeners to and leaders of the people, they do not even appear to realise the extent of their sleep walk and the mire into which it has already dragged the Party over the past three or four years. A staggering level of denial. There is no need whatsoever to speculate about the possibilities of the next eleven months. The hard evidence is there to be seen already.

  • @ Tony Dawson. I certainly agree that there is a total lack of strategy and staggering level of denial about the ensuing mess but I see this as entirely consistent with the turn into neoliberalism of Clegg et al.

    Since the Lib Dems were founded the leadership has avoided any real political debate. One theory is that they have always been scared of reopening the divisions that characterised the latter days of the lib/SDP Alliance although I suspect it must go much further than that. At any rate, anything involving policy has been delegated to working parties leaving the actual parliamentarians dangerously unprepared for office; in government politicians require an “instruction sheet” (as it has been called) of background thinking on which to base daily decisions. Lacking such they turned to the only one available – neoliberalism (effectively the evolved version of Thatcherism). Blair and Brown had earlier done just the same and, on present evidence, if Labour wins the next GE they will likely fall into the same pit again.

    The really stupid thing about this is that it is perfectly obvious that neoliberalism has failed and failed badly with its core assumptions revealed as nonsense. Unfortunately it’s really difficult to put together an alternative political economy made almost impossible by the fact that our leadership apparently doesn’t see the necessity of doing so.

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