LibLink: Danny Alexander… We’re not giving nice cover to nasty Tory cuts

Today’s Times (£) features an interview with Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, which touches on Coalition cuts, the Budget, banks, Nick Clegg, electoral pact rumours – and even red squirrels.

Here’s a taster:

“One of the things about a coalition is it’s two different parties, with different policies and different thinking. The only way you can deal with things is through discussion based on evidence and it does mean that you have a bit more formality about the processes of government than perhaps existed before.”

When he took over at the Treasury, his predecessor left him a note saying “good luck, carry on cutting with care”. Critics accuse the Liberal Democrats of giving nice cover to nasty Tory cuts. “I don’t think of it in that way,” he says.

“The country is in a very difficult economic situation. We inherited a terrible mess from the Labour Party which we have to clean up. That was one of the things that threw the parties together in a coalition, because it was clear that the country really needed a strong and stable government and that we had a responsibility to try and deliver that. The plans to reduce the deficit are much as our plans as the Conservative plans.”

“The economic recovery is going to be choppy. So this is going to be a very difficult year. But though it is a long road I think we’re on the right road and I think the destination we’re heading towards is the right one and that’s why I don’t think we should deviate from our plan. The worst thing for the economy would be to step back from our plan and lose the benefits of the confidence that we’ve created in Britain’s ability to control its public finances.”

Although the Lib Dems and Conservatives are working closely together in coalition, Danny does not foresee a pact between the two parties at the next General Election:

“I just don’t think that’s going to happen . . . The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives should and will fight the election as independent political parties with our own manifestos.”

Will he campaign against Mr Osborne? “I haven’t thought about that,” he replies. “I expect I’ll be campaigning in the Highlands.”

For the time-pressed, some of the quickfire Q & As at the end of the article:

  • Optimist or pessimist? Optimist.
  • Axe or scalpel? Axe. I’ve often chopped wood at home
  • Helena Bonham Carter or Keira Knightley? I hope they’ll both back the “yes” campaign
  • Iron Maiden or the Iron Lady? Iron Maiden
  • Red squirrel or ginger rodent? Red squirrel
  • Dolphins or dinosaurs? Dolphins. We have them in my constituency
  • Haggis or hamburgers? Haggis
  • Kilt Ceilidh or disco? Ceilidh
  • You can read the full piece in today’s Times (subscription required).

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    6 Comments

    • You are doing a great job Danny keep it up m8, as your actions are going to let Labour in next time no problem.
      Thanks Andrew

    • Useful clarification – the Lib Dems fully support the extent and current pace of the cuts. They may be right and they may be wrong (we will see) but this at least puts to bed once and for all any claim that they only have 57 MPs and cannot determine government policy.

      If the result is a booming economy in three or four years time, you can claim your share of the credit. If there is a massive rise in unemployment and a collapse in growth, you can accept your share of the responsibility.

    • “The plans to reduce the deficit are much as our plans as the Conservative plans.”

      I wonder if that’s what he was saying pre-May 6th 2010. It certainly wasn’t what Vince Cable was saying in the chancellors’ debate near the election.

    • The Conservative Councillors at Wiltshire Unitary Council budget meeting last Tuesday were quite clear, the cuts belong to Danny Alexander/David Laws.

    • Dominic Curran 28th Feb '11 - 12:10pm

      fiona – then those tories were being disingenious to the point of outright dishonesty.

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