LibLink: Tavish Scott: Cuts plan is Osborne masterstroke

Well, we almost choked on our tea here in LDV Towers when we read that headline. Then we remembered that Tavish is hardly best buddies with the Tories, nor with the idea of the Coalition.  What was his latest article in the Scotsman all about? Well, possibly getting his wooden spoon out and stirring it a bit. This article was even quoted in Thursday’s First Minister’s Questions by Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm.

Tavish looks at Osborne’s assertion that there must be £25 billion further spending cuts:

Fast forward to this week and Chancellor Osborne is positioning his party against both Labour and the Lib Dems. He has achieved something that would have appeared impossible in British politics. He has allowed the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and the Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls to agree. So what brilliant idea has united the Deputy Prime Minister and a hated political opponent? Spending cuts. Osborne has committed his party to cut £25 billion of spending in between 2015-2020 if the Conservatives remain in office. This may be brilliant political positioning. But it could have handed the next UK general election to Labour.

But will the country wear it?

So as the mood turns upwards and people look forward to rising wages, is slash and burn on spending a good strategy? There will always be a political market for a smaller state. But it is a constituency that shrinks when times begin to improve. It is in effect a core vote Conservative strategy. It looks ideological rather than what needs to happen. £25bn of cuts is huge. That affects many schools, hospitals and care homes. So Labour now know what to put on every leaflet, tweet and target letter until the 2015 UK election. They need not reveal their economic hand until the election. Why should they? The financial numbers underpinning government expenditure will be unclear until the autumn budget. Clegg’s unequivocal response this week separates the Lib Dems from Osborne’s position and is a good for party morale.

And how might that affect the independence referendum in Scotland?

The Scottish dimension is very clear. A probable Labour win in 2015 makes a Yes vote in the referendum increasingly unlikely. Alex Salmond needs a Tory government in London. Badly. Why is he so keen to debate with the Prime Minister? Because Cameron is a Tory, considered posh and above all, English. If Labour look like winning in 2015 then this hurts the SNP. Osborne may just have pulled off a genuine masterstroke. He has found a way to keep the union by losing an election.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary published in print or online.

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

4 Comments

  • The Scottish dimension is very clear. … … Osborne may just have pulled off a genuine masterstroke. He has found a way to keep the union by losing an election.

    II would prefer the Unionists to lose an election and the referendum. We used to be against unionists . I cannot quite understand why friends in Scotland stand shoulder to shoulder with the Tory and Labour Parties and the status quo in the Referendum debate.

  • jedibeeftrix 11th Jan '14 - 2:22pm

    “We used to be against unionists”

    Come again…

  • jedibeeftrix 12th Jan '14 - 3:33pm

    thank you for the explanation.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJoe Bourke 19th Dec - 12:56am
    When it comes to strategy and political tactics the temptation is always to "refight the last war." The membership of the Libdems dropped to circa...
  • User AvatarJoe Bourke 18th Dec - 11:43pm
    Peter Martin, yes I do realise that trying to balance the budget is counter-productive. A big part of the problem is the way government does...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 18th Dec - 11:17pm
    @ Mick Taylor, If you vote for a motion of no confidence in the government knowing it is unlikely to pass, ( which it is),...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 18th Dec - 11:06pm
    @ Frankie, “The Euro will fail, trust me I’m an economist” The euro doesn't have to fail. If the US$ can work so can the...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 18th Dec - 10:48pm
    @ JoeB, 'The 2017 Conservative Party manifesto pledged to eliminate the deficit by the “middle of the next decade”' Presumably it means the Govt budget...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 18th Dec - 10:44pm
    I wouldn't have expected to be in agreement with Paul and David either, but there you go. Just to finish the bit that fell victim...