Tag Archives: giles wilkes

LibLink – Giles Wilkes: £93bn of corporate welfare? What nonsense

Giles Wilkes, who was a special adviser to Vince Cable and chief economist at CentreForum, is now a leader writer at the Financial Times (which usually charges an online subscription). One of his recent editorials has been transferred to the free blog section so we are able to bring it to you.

Labour should be wary of giving credence to a very suspect number.

The £93bn figure now routinely used to evaluate the scale of “corporate welfare” in Britain is badly misleading. If the Labour Party is to re-establish its economic credibility, it needs to give the number a very wide berth.

First of all, the very concept of “corporate welfare” is tricky and question-begging. When applied to individuals, welfare is easy to understand – it means payments from the state provided on the basis of need.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 42 Comments

LibLink: Giles Wilkes – Tax cuts are exactly what we don’t need

In the Financial Times today, Lib Dem blogger (turned FT leader writer) Giles Wilkes – former special adviser to Vince Cable and chief economist at liberal think-tank CentreForum – lays into the party’s flagship manifesto commitment to raise the personal allowance:

Giving hundreds of pounds to millions of people is rather popular. Since this is what raising the income tax threshold implies, it is no shock that both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties want it in their manifestos. Sadly it is an idea that gets worse with each passing year.

A commitment to “take people out of tax” first emerged in 2008 at a Lib Dem conference. Strategically it was an astute move, threading between the Conservatives’ preference for inheritance tax cuts and Labour’s obsession with doing everything through welfare. It showed Nick Clegg, Lib Dem leader, wrestling his spending-obsessed party towards a more economically liberal philosophy.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 16 Comments

To OBR or not to OBR? That’s the manifesto audit question

libdemmanifesto 2010 wordleEd Balls wants it. Danny Alexander seems pretty keen on it, too. What is ‘it’? Asking the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to audit the manifestos of political parties.

On the face of it, that’s a good idea. Transparency’s a good thing and surely the public deserve to know as much as possible before we cast our once-in-five-years ballot which decides the next government? The case in favour is persuasively put by Giles Wilkes, until recently a special adviser to Vince Cable who has seen the …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 11 Comments

“The Lib Dems are setting out plans as if they may have to deliver them”. Giles Wilkes on Clegg’s economic plans

Tighten Your Belt - AusterityGiles Wilkes was, until recently, special advisor to Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable. He was the SpAd who famously slapped down News International’s advances when they were looking to lobby in favour of their proposed takeover of BSkyB. Before that, he was the chief economist at liberal think-tank CenteForum, where he was author of the award-winning pamphlet, ‘A balancing act: fair solutions to a modern debt crisis’, about which he wrote on LDV.

His Free-thinking Economist blog is a must-read, especially today as Giles covers …

Posted in LibLink and News | Also tagged | 31 Comments

Desperately thin stuff – Observer fails to reveal Lib Dem ties with Murdoch

Liberal Democrats’ ties with Murdoch aides revealed to Leveson inquiry shouts The Observer headline today followed by a breathlessly hyped claim:

Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats were sucked deeper into the controversy over News Corp’s planned takeover of BSkyB on Saturday as evidence submitted to the Leveson inquiry revealed close party ties with Murdoch executives.

I then read the story to try and find what amazing revelations backed-up the paper’s confidence. Then I read it again. And again. I’m still none the wiser how “Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats” have been “sucked deeper into the controversy”.

The Observer’s attempt to implicate the Lib …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 27 Comments

The Independent View: Will Lib Dem proposals to tackle tax avoidance help save the world?

What can we expect from the Government on tax avoidance and evasion?

Cast your mind back to the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto launch in April. A major theme was the plan to raise £4.6 billion by tackling tax avoidance.

This has been reduced to a single bullet point in the coalition’s Programme for Government, a promise to “make every effort to tackle tax avoidance, including detailed development of Liberal Democrat proposals.”

Vince Cable remains committed, telling the Telegraph soon after his appointment as Business Secretary that, “tackling tax avoidance by businesses is essential and this is an area that I …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

Three very different endorsements for the Lib Dems

It’s not just been the public making up its mind over the last 24 hours – a number of political bloggers have also declared who they’ll be voting for in the last day. Mostly, this is along party lines, as you might expect. But some have stood out from the crowd – here are three which have caught my eye …

Why this ex-Tory Boy is voting Liberal Democrat (Jack of Kent)

Until this election I have always voted Conservative. … By background I am a tribal Tory, from generations of Birmingham working class Tories and Tory-Unionists dating back to when

Posted in General Election | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

The Myth of “Strong” Government

As their hopes recede of using our broken voting system to secure a majority government on a minority of support in the country, the Party most set against reform, the Conservatives, and their media proxies begin to reel out the scare stories.

Lib Dem rules could paralyse government,” warned the Scotsman

Paralysis, indecision and political chicanery,” were the fear of the Daily Mail’s full page editorial.

The IMF could have to be called in,” thundered Ken Clarke!

Far from making a positive case to earn your vote, they resort to the desperate tactics of …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 10 Comments

LibLink: Giles Wilkes – David Cameron, the Goliath

Over ath The Guardian’s Comment Is Free website, Giles Wilkes – Lib Dem blogger, and chief economist for liberal think-tank Centre Forum – argues that its the Tories’ over-riding sense of entitlement which has left them bamboozled by the Lib Dem upsurge in support. Here’s an excerpt:

The Tories’ ascent to power was meant to have the inevitability of a family inheritance, something they are known to be keen on. Their reaction to a vanishing poll lead has all the outrage of an heir dispossessed by a long-ignored cousin. It shows a party that has long expected to win

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Daily View 2×6: 25 March 2010

A pleasant surprise this morning to wake up and find that, despite the fact I am doing the Daily View, it is indeed Thursday and not Tuesday! In celebration of yesterday’s Budget, there’s riproaring inflation of the number of posts featured in today’s Daily View. Don’t tell Vince! Is it sustainable? I doubt it, so enjoy while you can..

Thirty years ago, the British Olympic Association (BOA) voted by a large majority to defy the government and send athletes to the Olympic Games in Moscow.  The Conservative government has pressed the BOA to boycott the event in a protest at the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan the previous year. Sir Denis Follows, the chairman of the BOA, said that whilst he was sympathetic to the government’s stance, “We believe sport should be a bridge, and not a destroyer”. 

On this day in 1655 Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens discovered Titan, the largest natural satellite of the planet Saturn.  During their 1969 honeymoon, John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their first Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.

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Evidence based, Left Foot Forward? Not if you’re ignoring the actual evidence

The Labour-supporting Left Foot Forward blog prides itself on being evidence-based. But not, it seems, when the evidence doesn’t support the conclusion they’ve already written.

That seems to be the only explanation for their slanted weekend posting that Lib Dem tax policy “fails the fairness test”, which appears to rest on two points: 1) that people who don’t pay tax won’t benefit from tax-cuts, and 2) ignoring completely the redistributive wealth tax rises that Vince Cable and the Lib Dems are proposing.

Perhaps the authors, Tim Horton and Howard Reed, hoped nobody would notice the sleight-of-hand; or at least that it …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 10 Comments

LibLink: Giles Wilkes – The hidden cost of quantitative easing

Over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free website, Lib Dem blogger Giles Wilkes – liberal think-tank Centre Forum‘s award-winning chief economist – argues that though quantitative easing was needed to prevent financial collapse, it has made the rich richer, and taxpayers will foot the bill for growing inequality. Here’s an excerpt (but NewsHound does recommend you read the full article to enjoy Giles’s imagined budget speech of a year ago):

QE was the right thing to do: it may become the most significant step that Labour took to fight recession. … quite possibly averted an outcome far worse: an

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Daily View 2×2: 22 February 2010

Happy Monday morning everyone. Just 213 years ago today saw the Last Invasion of Britain: look away now if you don’t want to know the result. We beat the French. The 22nd February is also the birthday of three of this country’s greatest entertainers: Kenneth Williams (1926), Bruce Forsyth (1928) and Terry Eagleton (1943).

But enough of such tarrying, and on with the main event …

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here’s are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 21 December 2009

Morning, all, and welcome to the 355th day of the year, a date which marks the 21st anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing, and the 47th anniversary of the British decision to buy nuclear missiles from the US. Today is also, you may like to know, the birthday of Thomas Becket, Jane Fonda and Tina Brown.

2 Must-Read Blog-Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here’s are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:


And a very Merry Christmas to you too Eurostar & BA … (Lisa Harding)

So, to the people that run and work

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Daily View 2×2: 20 November 2009

Welcome, Daily Viewers, to November 20th; it’s 17 years since fire broke out at Windsor Castle, causing tens of millions of pounds worth of damage. It’s also 24 years since Microsoft released Windows 1.0.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • The Isms of Cruddas Giles Wilkes at Freethinking Economist on why it’s not enough to think about thinkers.
  • The forgotten work and the financial penalties for women as primary carers – by Jane Watkinson at My Liberal Democrat Political Ramblings.

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories


Harriet Harman to be prosecuted for alleged driving offences

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Daily View 2×2: 16 November 2009

2 Big Stories


It’s the last Queen’s Speech before the general election

Which can only mean, as The Times reports:

Gordon Brown will begin a six-month election campaign this week with one of the shortest but most deliberately political programmes of recent years. … In a podcast on the Downing Street website, Mr Brown said that Britons wanted world-class public services underpinned by “guarantees not gambles”. He was referring to legislation this week that will enshrine in law the right of NHS patients to get treatment within 18 weeks or to see a cancer specialist within two weeks — or be granted

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged | Leave a comment

Welcome to the new bloggers…

Six blogs have recently joined Ryan’s Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Chris White – good to see another councillor using ALDC’s excellent MyCouncillor system.
  • Giles Wilkes – a think tank blogger spawns his own blog, which is an interesting take on the question of why there are so few successful think tank blogs. His explanation? “‘Institutional’ blogs look and feel terrible.  You need individual personality.”
  • Jeremy Rowe – do not look at the photograph on this post if you are easily scared.
  • John Ault – the man who triumphed on Top Gear turns to blogging.
  • Nigel Roberts – a

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged , , , , and | Leave a comment

Where are the the think tank bloggers?

Yesterday saw the annual Prospect Think Tank of the Year awards ceremony, an occasion the glittery red-carpetness of which those of us on the outside can only dare to dream. Congrats are due at the outset to the UK’s only liberal think tank, Centre Forum, for winning Pamphlet of the Year for Giles Wilkes’ report, A balancing act: fair solutions to a modern debt crisis, about which he wrote here on LDV.

Awards are usually a moment to take stock, which is what I’ve done today. Because one of the points that has struck me over …

Posted in Online politics and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: If you go down to the woods today…

At the end of the thread to my last offering there was an invitation from Mark Wright to comment on whether I still thought our conference was a disaster. Yes, I do Mark; I know it was; day by day I grow more and more certain.

My case was never based on poll performance (especially during the conference season) and Sunday’s new ComRes poll with its CON 40% (+2), LAB 28% (+5), LDEM 19% (-4) figures should remind us why. No, for me the evaluation was always to do with lost opportunities. May I try to explain my reasoning?

Back in the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments
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