LibLink: Tessa Munt: “You don’t have to love the Tories to work with them”

In the Daily Mirror, MP for Wells, Tessa Munt (and potential candidate to be Deputy Leader?), has been taking our case to its readers;

We’ve delivered more policies we’ve been working on for some time – like free school meals for primary school children, a supermarket Ombudsman and shared parental leave.

Most importantly of all, we’ve done even more to make our tax system fairer – taking the low paid out of paying income tax altogether and nailing an agreement to give workers a bonus of over £700 in April next year by raising the point when you start paying tax.

And the benefits of these tax cuts will be felt widely at this time of year, and with the announcement this week that for the first time ever, more than 30 million people in the UK are in work.

She reckons that;

People have got used to the idea that coalition government is exactly what it says on the tin: two different parties, different values, different instincts, but people who are able to work together in the national interest right to the end of this five-year parliamentary term. You don’t have to love them to work with them!

And she’s clear why she doesn’t love them too…

In their rush to finish the job of filling the black hole in our public finances, some of the Tories want to dismantle the state entirely by slashing public spending.

It is clear they’d rather see an ever-smaller, shrinking state than ask those who have much more to give more.

But for the full opinion piece, including her shopping list for 2014, here’s the full article for your delectation and delight.

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

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19 Comments

  • This Lib Dem strategy of telling people who hate the party that they just don’t REALISE how good they’ve got it is suicide. People don’t appreciate being told they’re just too stupid or ungrateful to see the reality. The whole “lifting people out of tax” thing in particular is especially ridiculous, do you really think people aren’t going to realise they have less money in their pocket?

  • Stuart Mitchell 21st Dec '13 - 8:55am

    “to give workers a bonus of over £700 in April next year”

    The deafening silence in this article’s comments would suggest that Lib Dems are now perfectly happy to see their politicians making completely untrue statements like the above, if it might pull in a few extra votes.

  • @ Daniel

    Most people who “hate” the party do so on the basis of false premises. First of all, they are assuming that falling living standards are due to government policy. Certainly for the 80% of people working in the private sector, they aren’t.

    Secondly, they assume that because we are in government, we can get all our policies into practice and none of the Tories’. We can’t.

    Thirdly, they have allowed themselves to be deceived by Labour that the deficit either didn’t need sorting out or could be solved by making no cuts or that even if they were cuts, they could be tiny little ones for services aimed at rich people (like what, exactly?) that could be made without anyone even noticing them. They couldn’t.

    People hating the party is therefore pretty irrational and based on a false debate that has been heavily weighted against us. Why is it our fault if we choose to point out some of the positive things we have done in government rather than just giving in to the general tendency to slate our party, scapegoat it for anything that goes wrong and ignore our (very large) positive contributions to government policy?

  • @ Stuart Mitchell

    £700 less tax than they would have paid under Labour. Well that’s better than anything the last government did for the low paid, isnt’ it? And that at a time when the public finances are under huge strain.

    It’s a key manifesto commitment delivered. Considering other parties are trying to paint us as not worth trusting, I think it’s something worth shouting about.

    And if we hadn’t done it, I’m sure you’d be the first to shout about “betrayal”, wouldn’t you?

  • Stuart Mitchell 21st Dec '13 - 3:08pm

    @RC
    You haven’t addressed my point at all. Any worker believing Tessa Munt’s article will be expecting to receive a “£700 bonus” come April. I hope nobody makes household budgeting decisions based on this, because it isn’t going to happen.

    “It’s a key manifesto commitment delivered.”

    Hardly. Your manifesto promised a £10,000 allowance paid for entirely by taxes on polluters and the closing of loopholes that benefit the rich. Has that happened? No. Instead, we have a higher allowance paid for by things like higher VAT and reductions in tax credits – in other words, trying to bribe ordinary workers with their own money.

  • @ Stuart Mitchell

    Delivered is delivered. Stop trying to twist the argument. Carping about the money comes from, given the fact that WE DO NOT HAVE A MAJORITY (double underline) shows that you have just started out from a viewpoint that whatever the Lib Dems do is not good enough. Therefore, anything we do is going to be criticised by you.

    Anyway, we have closed tax loopholes and put up capital gains tax as well, plus stamp duty.

    So, yes, we’ve delivered it and stop carping about it.

  • Paul in Twickenham 21st Dec '13 - 5:53pm

    The headline is a hostage to fortune simply begging to be completed by the old saw “but it helps”.

  • Stuart Mitchell 21st Dec '13 - 7:04pm

    @RC
    “Delivered is delivered. Stop trying to twist the argument.”

    No, it was NOT delivered. That is a fact.

    Look at the top left box on page 6 here :-

    http://network.libdems.org.uk/manifesto2010/libdem_2010_intro.pdf

    The manifesto pledged a £10,000 tax threshold “paid for in full by closing loopholes that unfairly benefit the wealthy and polluters”.

    That has not happened. The manifesto pledge was not delivered.

    If I promise to give you £100 out of my own pocket, and then steal your wallet and give you £100 taken from it, have I really fulfilled my promise to give you £100? You, apparently, would say yes.

  • She reckons that;
    People have got used to the idea that coalition government is exactly what it says on the tin: two different parties, different values, different instincts, but people who are able to work together in the national interest right to the end of this five-year parliamentary term. You don’t have to love them to work with them!

    John Pardoe used to say – “The first step to political wisdom is hatred of the Tory Party.”.

    (For the youngsters here, he was another West Country Liberal MP but from another age)

  • Stuart Mitchell 22nd Dec '13 - 9:12am

    @Simon
    You seem to have missed the word “like” in my post. I wasn’t hypothecating the way you describe – I was only pointing out that the raised allowance was certainly NOT paid for by the promised “closing loopholes that unfairly benefit the wealthy and polluters”.

    Anyway, if it’s so ridiculous to hypothecate in this way, then why did the Lib Dem manifesto say exactly where the money was to come from? Was the manifesto, to use your phrase, “meaningless rubbish”? On that, we might agree.

  • @Stuart, first, this Government – love or hate it – has actually done quite a bit to tackle tax evasion and tax avoidance.

    Secondly, you criticise Tessa for moving the goal posts in your last post (different words, same meaning), but that is what you have done, You start by criticising her for the statement “to give workers a bonus of over £700 in April next year”. When that criticism is proven to be your simply not reading the commitment properly, you suddenly start going on about where the money has come from and how that makes it a lie.

    This shows how weak your point was from the start, it is self-refuting; however, to put the final nail in the coffin. There are two parts to that commitment:

    1=Raising the threshold to £10,000.00.

    2=Paying for this (in full) by closing loopholes.

    Now, if Tessa had at any point stated that the loopholes had all been closed and the money had come from there, then she would be a lier; as it is, she only talks about the threshold being raised, so your point is moot. At best, you can criticise for not mentioning that the money may not have come from where we originally wished for it to come from.

  • Paul in Twickenham 22nd Dec '13 - 10:16am

    @Liberal Al – surely the point that Stuart Mitchell is making is really very simple: the Liberal Democrats pledged to increase the personal allowance to £10K and explicitly stated that this would not be done by sleight of hand where money is taken away by raising one tax that affects low earners in order to reduce another. His charge is that this has not happened and that the increase in the tax threshold has been offset by increases in other taxes such as VAT and cuts in other benefits. Is that true? Do the ONS have figures showing that those on an income of (say) £15K are now £700 per annum better off net than they were in 2010?

  • Stuart Mitchell 22nd Dec '13 - 11:13am

    @Liberal Al
    On the question of the manifesto commitment, I wasn’t refuting Tessa Munt. That was a direct response to RC (21/12 2:02pm). I was pointing out – and you accept this – that the manifesto commitment had two essential parts to it.

    Whatever the net effect of tax changes, would you not agree that Munt’s talk of giving workers “a bonus of over £700 in April next year” is a pretty odd way of describing it? Anyone taking this literally would expect to see £700 added to their April pay packet. It’s seriously misleading.

    As for those net effects, I’d suggest you look at chart 2.C on page 10 here :-

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/263548/impact_on_households_autumn_statement_2013.pdf

    This shows that the bottom three deciles are WORSE OFF as a result of all the tax, tax credit and benefit changes since June 2010. Only deciles 5-9 are better off (lots of Tory and Lib Dem votes to be cultivated in those deciles!), with the eighth decile doing the best – but even they are only about £250 better off.

    Where’s this “£700 bonus” then?

  • Peter Watson 22nd Dec '13 - 11:41am

    One of the ‘good things’ / ‘hostages to fortune’ [delete as appropriate] in the Lib Dem manifesto was the way that it attempted to show how policies would be paid for by a Lib Dem government in a very explicit way. As others have pointed out though, in coalition the party could not achieve both parts of the policies it paired and ends up making optimistic claims about what it has achieved. The manifesto seemed to be more about redistribution, but instead to a degree we end up robbing Peter to pay Peter, or worse robbing poor Peter to pay wealthier Paul.
    Still, as a worker, I’m looking forward to the “bonus of over £700” that Tessa Munt has promised me next April.
    Oh – apparently it doesn’t work like that. It seems to be one of those ‘old kind of politics’ statements where they hope people will assume ‘all workers’ when they simply mean ‘more than one worker’ and misleadingly use a word like “bonus”.

  • Stuart Mitchell 22nd Dec '13 - 7:12pm

    @Simon
    A tax relief openly given, and legitimately claimed, is not a “loophole” in any sense whatsoever. Try again.

  • Stuart Mitchell 23rd Dec '13 - 9:55am

    @Simon
    All you’re demonstrating there is that you don’t know what a “loophole” is.

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