Tag Archives: financial times

Opinion: Could there be a National Government by the end of the year?

Many readers of Liberal Democrat Voice may have missed the Financial Times’ prediction that 2015 “will see the creation of a national government in the UK.” It sounds deeply implausible. But activists who remember the coalitions between Labour and Conservative that have operated in local government over the past 25 years will recognise that these two deeply self-interested parties have more in common than they admit – including a strong reluctance to share power with Liberal Democrats.  So here is a New Year fantasy on how the FT’s prediction might come true.

No-one was surprised that the General Election of May 2015 was inconclusive but the degree of uncertainty was even larger than expected. Labour won the most seats – some 279, on 30% of the vote.  33% voted for the Conservatives, but this gave them only 267 MPs.  UKIP came third in terms of votes, but won only 6 seats. The Liberal Democrats, with 38 MPs, were the third largest party in the Commons, but with 4% less votes than UKIP. The SNP won 36 MPs, claiming that with a loose alliance with the 3 Plaid MPs it now outweighed the Liberal Democrats.  3 Greens, and 18 Northern Ireland MPs (9 DUP, 3 SDLP, 5 Sinn Fein, 1 Alliance), completed the tally.

With three or four parties polling over 20% in many seats, nearly 50 MPs had been elected on less than a third of the vote; 15 were returned on less than 30%, including 2 Greens and several Liberal Democrats.  Newly elected MPs who had scraped small majorities in hard-fought contests had little enthusiasm for an early second election.

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FT: “For nearly four years, Britain has been served reasonably well by multi-party government”

On Tuesday, it was reported that David Cameron wanted to rule out the possibility of a second Lib-Con coalition in the event of another hung parliament. This tit was matched by an equivalent tat from the left, when Unite leader Len Mclusky urged Labour to do the same.

Today’s Financial Times leader attempts to inject a dose of reality into this anti-coalition arms race:

All this chest-beating has stirred Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem deputy prime minister, whose party can only govern with others, to denounce “tribal voices”. And he is right to do so. This should not

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LDVideo: Vince Cable praises Royal Mail’s “very good launch” onto the stock market

Royal Mail shares soared on their first day’s floatation yesterday, prompting inevitable accusations that the company had been priced too low. Here’s Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable explaining his aim to assure long-term investment irrespective of the froth of the “spivs and speculators”:

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LibLink: David Laws “My second half Coalition agenda”

Writing in today’s Financial Times, David Laws sets out his key priorities for the Coalition, discussing what needs to happen in the economy to ensure growth is achieved alongside deficit reduction. He writes about how crucial it is for the Government to get it right on the economy.

The coalition still has the potential to be one of the great reforming governments of the postwar era. The changes we are making in education, welfare and pensions are radical and right. The country will judge us over our full term and not on the basis of a turbulent few weeks of “here

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“A political trauma, but a policy success” – the FT’s verdict on tuition fees

One year on from what remains, for many Liberal Democrats, the most traumatic decision yet taken by the coalition, the FT (via an editorial in the newspaper) has provided its assessment of the policy.

Here’s what the newspaper says on the policy itself:

Many academics and students continue to grumble about the move to charge undergraduates for their tuition costs. But governments looking for ways to reduce their outgoings should consider raising such charges – so long as they do it fairly, as the UK has.

It is a big concern that high college fees – and the fear of them –

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“An inept negotiating strategy placed in the hands of an inexperienced prime minister” – behind the scenes of Cameron’s ‘veto’

“An avoidable disaster”: that is the verdict of the Financial Times’s Philip Stephens in a must-read article examining what went on behind the scenes of the Coalition’s strategy for approaching last week’s failed European summit. And his verdict on the Prime Minister and his advisers could scarcely be more scathing:

There was no great plan for a rupture. What some Tories now see as Mr Cameron’s Churchillian moment was rather the result of an inept negotiating strategy placed in the hands of an inexperienced prime minister.

So what did happen? On last night’s Newsnight former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown set …

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David Laws interviewed in the FT

This weekend’s Financial Times magazine featured (registration required) a lengthy interview with Liberal Democrat MP for Yeovil, David Laws, by the paper’s political editor, George Parker.

David is extremely open about his personal life in the interview, talking about the effect of what he calls the “triple bashing” he underwent (having his previously-much-guarded personal life exposed by The Daily Telegraph during the course of an expenses story for which he later received a Commons suspension, as well as losing his newly-found Cabinet career).

Here’s a sample:

Laws looks back on the 44 years before May 28 2010 as if it was another life: “Your

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Lib Dems outperform Labour on private donations, notes the FT

Good to see a bit of media recognition today which overtly acknowledges our now consistent out-performing of Labour on private fundraising efforts. The Financial Times reports:

Private and company donations to Labour have plummeted to a 10th of their pre-election average in the first six months of Ed Miliband’s leadership, according to research by the Financial Times.

Many former donors have turned their backs on the opposition party, leaving it increasingly reliant on unions, which provide the bulk of its private income.

Labour’s corporate and individual donations of £248,577 for the half-year to March were dwarfed even by those to the Liberal

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John Kampfner: “How punchbag Clegg can fight back”

Earlier this week, chief executive of Index on Censorship and former New Statesman editor (and Lib Dem supporter), John Kampfner, penned a piece for the Financial Times expressing his view as to how Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats can fight back after a what have been a difficult few months. Whilst he acknowledges that it’s going to remain tough for the Lib Dems, his view – and it’s one I share – is that with a big push on some core Liberal Democrat policies and a change in tone and strategy from the Leader’s office, the medium-term …

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Clegg signals Coalition to emphasise growth over cuts in coming years

Today’s Financial Times carries an interview with Nick Clegg in which he signals the Coalition is shifting its attention towards promoting growth after the last eight months’ focus on cuts:

The deputy prime minister admitted the 0.5 per cent fall in economic output at the end of last year was “very disappointing” but said that rebuilding the public finances was an essential plank of restoring growth.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Clegg said he would tell world financial leaders at Davos that the coalition would not be deflected by increasingly strong Labour attacks on its economic policy. “We will maintain

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Vince: financial markets have nothing to fear from hung parliament

Here’s how the Financial Times reports it:

A hung parliament might frighten the markets, but according to Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, the concerns are “completely and totally irrational”.

The Lib Dems point out that many of the world’s leading economies, including Germany and Italy, hold elections that almost always produce results where the leading party has to do deals with smaller parties. They add that some countries with single party governments, such as Greece, have some of the worst records in dealing with fiscal crises, while multiparty coalitions, such as the one in Sweden in the 1990s, conducted fierce

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LibLink … Nick Clegg: Politicians must set out plans for the deficit

Over at the Financial Times Nick Clegg has pledged to be straight with the British public about the state of the nation’s finances, and the public spending cuts the Lib Dems will make – called on the other two major parties to do likewise. At the moment, he says, Labour and the Tories are treating fiscal discipline like a “political football”:

Gordon Brown is determined to keep spending, whatever the risks, to create a dividing line with the Conservatives. David Cameron is determined to insist on immediate cuts, whatever the risks, to create a dividing line with Labour. It has become

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FT editorial: Lib Dems’ “ultimate selling point is they are not like the other parties”

Following on from yesterday’s feature interview with Nick Clegg, today’s Financial Times carries a generous editorial on the Lib Dems and the party’s contribution to British politics:

Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has said that it is “not beyond the realms of possibility” that his party could move into second place at the next election, ahead of Labour. His party might well receive more votes than Labour; they nearly managed that feat in 1983. …

Of the big national parties, only they opposed the war in Iraq and only they have consistently opposed Labour’s illiberalism. Thanks to

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Clegg: no overall cut in taxes now, except for low- and middle-income earners

Last summer, when Nick Clegg launched the party’s Make It Happen policy statement, he made a bold declaration for a Lib Dem leader: that we would “get wasteful government spending under control, and look for ways to cut the overall tax burden.”

Today, Nick conceded in an interview with today’s Financial Times what has become increasingly obvious since the collapse of Lehman’s in the autumn, and the plunge of Britain’s economy into full-blown recession – that it’s simply not possible now to cut the overall burden of taxation:

Nick Clegg yesterday abandoned the Liberal Democrats’ short-lived pledge to go

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Financial Times: if only the Tories could be more like the Lib Dems

I paraphrase, of course, but only very slightly… Here’s what the Pink ‘Un‘s editorial has to say about the Tories’ response to the current financial crisis:

It is a cliché to say that Britain’s Conservative party has no policies. It is also untrue; the Tories have views on issues as diverse as why a bottlenose whale starved to death in the Thames and the rate at which British museums buy new pieces for their collections. They have a complex foreign policy of alternately hissing at the work of the European Union and forlornly reaching for the hem of Barack

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[email protected]: Tim Leunig – Co-ordinated inflation could bail us all out

Over at the Financial Times, Tim Leunig – occasional contributor to LDV, and reader in economics at the London School of Economics – considers the unusual financial origins of the current recession. Here’s an excerpt:

The global economy would benefit from a pre-announced, temporary, globally co-ordinated bout of moderate inflation. Since it takes about two years for central-bank policy fully to influence inflation, a sensible policy would be to target 4 per cent inflation for the five years from 2011, followed by 2 per cent thereafter. … An increase in inflation by an extra 2 percentage points for a period

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Paddy’s advice to Nick: “Be patient”

Today’s Financial Times has an interesting enough article by Alex Barker analysing Nick Clegg’s first year (and a bit) as Lib Dem leader. Noting some of the tougher moments, it also highlights Nick’s achievements (albeit by resorting to the usual, simplistic right/left labels so likely to irritate Lib Dems):

His authority has also proved strong enough to oversee a fundamental shift in direction. Under him, the party has pivoted to the right, shedding decades of dogma on tax and public services. Clegg is for tax cuts and a smaller state.

On the offensive, the political focus has turned from marginal

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