Tag Archives: investment

William Wallace writes…A way to bring our national community together

I am a man of the people. You are part of the metropolitan liberal elite. They are enemies of the people, citizens of nowhere.

That’s the populist self-characterization that more and more right-wing politicians are now making. It’s an easy appeal to the ‘ordinary’ person against the sophisticated, over-educated and privileged. It works very well even when wielded by old Etonian Oxbridge graduates like Boris Johnson, or former city traders like Nigel Farage. The terms ‘elite’ and ‘establishment’ are elided, and blended with ‘liberal’, into a hostile image of people who claim superiority because of their expertise and knowledge, against those who prefer instinct and ‘common sense’.

There was a wonderful example of the genre in the Daily Telegraph of November 23rd, a letter under the headline “This ‘No Brexit deal’ by the political elite treats the majority who voted Leave with disdain” – signed by 15 Conservative peers, eight of them hereditary, three of them with peerages dating from the 17th century or earlier. If these are men of the people, I’m the king of Scotland. There was another in the Sun on Sunday, on November 25th, from Lord Digby Jones, one of the most self-important members of the House of Lords: ‘the British people – as if they needed further confirmation after what has gone on over the past few months – have been let down by the political class and the establishment elite.’ We should ridicule such claims whenever we see them.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 40 Comments

LibLink: Vince Cable: Politicians get lost in search for fabled Magic Money Tree

Vince Cable has written for City AM about governemnt’s fiscal responsibilities and how it has become less important to be financially credible.

Yet since the 2015 election, belief in financial magic appears to have grown. Brexit’s biggest appeal was a treasure trove to finance the NHS. Labour has caught the new mood.

A few weeks ago, shadow chancellor John McDonnell added £200bn of PFI contracts to a lengthening list of Labour financial commitments, including the nationalisation of rail franchises, energy and water utilities, free universities, and much else.

The IFS was scathing at the June election about Labour’s numbers, but it did little political harm, perhaps because the Conservatives had no numbers at all, and have since oscillated between preaching austerity and signing cheques when pressed. My own party, the Liberal Democrats, received an IFS Gold Medal in 2017, but it did us little good.

He then goes on to talk about a recent discussion with economics students who thought that austerity had had its day. Vince recounts the main points that he made with his response:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 39 Comments

Time to start building for Britain

I am currently travelling for a year and am currently visiting India. This vibrant and growing economy has lessons for the UK. Everywhere you go there is building going on. New houses, new factories, new shopping complexes. In addition there is an ongoing repair programme for roads, public buildings, ancient monuments, temples. Sure, India still has slums, some schemes take an age to complete, but the thrust of the country is building for the future.

The government – at national, state and local level – is funding a lot of this work, in conjunction with the private sector and heritage and other charities and voluntary groups. What is clear is that government in all its forms has no problem with taxing its citizens and spending a chunk of the money on improving infrastructure, growing the economy, providing jobs and encouraging tourism. Compare that with Brexit UK. Governments of all hues have spent decades convincing us that tax is wicked and must under no circumstances be increased – especially for the rich – and that cuts in public services are vital for the health of the economy. As a result the building trade is on its knees, there is a chronic shortage of houses, public services are being trashed, the NHS is in crisis and vital infrastructure repairs and improvements are being put off into the distant future.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 14 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid 21st Aug - 5:57pm
    Good article, but disagree the Liberal Democrats don't have radical policies - we do need to push them more - ending the Benefits Freeze, will...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Aug - 5:44pm
    @ TCO "Yet in 1980 Jo Grimond wrote “Liberals must stress at all times the virtues of the market, not only for efficiency but to...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 21st Aug - 5:24pm
    TCO, On the 19th August you suggested five policies which I assume think should be the core of our message once Brexit has been dealt...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Aug - 5:23pm
    @ Geoffrey Dron Yes, Geoffrey, I've read the Due North Report..... not surprising given I was brought up in West Yorkshire. As a former Convener...
  • User AvatarInnocent Bystander 21st Aug - 5:21pm
    Joe, Elliot is right on the problems but offers the usual trite and feeble solutions in response. "Invest in infrastructure and whatever is the latest...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 21st Aug - 4:39pm
    @Tom Harney Bonn became the provisional capital of West Germany as it was hoped that reunification would take place within a few years, with Berlin...
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