Tag Archives: make it happen

Opinion: A Tax-Cut-And-Spend Policy?

Stephen Tall recently asked us here on Lib Dem Voice to consider whether Nick Clegg’s call for “big, permanent and fair” tax cuts, combined with £12.5 billion of green public investment would “strike a chord, appear flawed, or be ignored”.

Well, people might just find a flaw in our argument that tax cutting should be top priority, but so should increased public spending. It looks two-faced. It suggests we can’t agree amongst ourselves. Facing enormous government debts, our policy seems to be to increase them in all directions – by taxing less, and by …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 88 Comments

Our starters for 2008 – how did we do? (Part I)

A year ago, Lib Dem Voice posed 10 questions, the answers to which we believed might shape the Lib Dem year – time to revisit them, wethinks.

1. Will Nick Clegg become as well-known and respected/liked as Paddy and Charles became?

Well, not in his first year, he hasn’t – as Nick himself fully acknowleged yesterday, commenting: “This is my first year in the leadership, I have enjoyed it immensely. I also know that I am in the early stages of my leadership. If you look back in history it takes a while for all Liberal Democrat leaders to get …

Posted in Op-eds and PMQs | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

Can you sum up the purpose of the Lib Dems in a sentence? (Or ‘The Quest for the Lib Dem Holy Grail’).

Today’s Guardian carries an interview with comedian/actor Eddie Izzard: interesting for those of us who are fans (especially of his classic mid-90s’ shows), but also interesting for the problem it poses for those of us who are Lib Dems.

Asked about his politics, and his long-standing support for Labour (‘he describes himself as more Blair-ite than Brown-ite’), Eddie sweepingly sums up Labour and the Tories thus:

I just believe in the goodwill of people, the power of people to do something positive. And that’s why I’m in the Labour party. The Labour party believes in fairness, and the Conservative party

Posted in Op-eds | 107 Comments

LDV post-conference members’ survey (4): what you thought of Make It Happen’s tax-cuts

Over the weekend, Lib Dem Voice emailed the members of our private forum (open to all Lib Dem members) inviting them to take part in a survey, conducted via Liberty Research, asking a number of questions arising from last week’s party conference in Bournemouth. Many thanks to the 187 of you who completed it; we’re publishing the results this week on LDV.

The big issue of this year’s Bournemouth conference was undoubtedly the party’s Make It Happen policy document, and specifically it’s tax-cutting message. So LDV asked: The party conference voted by a wide margin to endorse Make it Happen, including the line: “If there’s money to spare , we won’t simply spend it. We’re looking for ways to cut Britain’s overall tax burden, so ordinary families have more of their money to help themselves.” This was opposed by some in the party, who said the Lib Dems should not place tax cuts ahead of public spending. Did you agree with the conference decision to endorse Make it Happen’s tax-cutting approach?

Here’s what you said:

> Yes – 61.9%
> No – 29.1%
> Don’t know / no opinion – 4.2%
> Other (please state) – 4.8%

A convincing vote, then, in favour of the leadership’s tax-cutting position, though a little less overwhelmingly so than the actual party conference vote (which was nearer to 3:1). Comments, as you might expect, divided into three categories: those passionately in favour of the new emphasis on tax-cuts those passionately against; and those either inbetween, or who thought the differences between the two positions had been rather exaggerated. Here’s a handful:

“Yes, public services cost money. But Labour’s doubled taxes in the last ten years, and everyone knows a lot of what they’ve done’s a fuck-up. If we can’t be at least 3% different to Labour, what are we all in politics for?”
“In fact, I don’t think there was a lot of difference between the two positions, a mere £5bn a year. It was the symbolism that was important.”
“I was quite happy with the fifty pence rate in 2005, but I think that the changes proposed are also a good way to deliver our objectives.”
“Old fashioned radical Liberal, not happy with the economic liberal slant”
“Your gloss is incorrect. We were concerned about the loss of help specifically to those who are too poor to pay income tax. Can two ex-Directors of Policy (Duncan Brack and Richard Grayson) really be wrong?”
“sensible, Liberal and popular (rare that any policy can tick all 3 of those boxes!)”
“Wrong policy, and defintely wrong time. Dosen’t add up either numerically or intellectually.”
“The best reasons to vote Lib Dem at the moment”

Part of the controversy of Make It Happen’s tax-cuts has been generated by the fact that the party does not, as yet, have firm, public proposals detailing how the £20 billion reduction in public spending to fund policy commitments and tax-cuts will be found. So the LDV survey next asked: As yet, the party has not spelled out the precise measures which will enable the party to cut public expenditure by £20 billion, and this has attracted some criticism within the Lib Dems and among sections of the media. Which of these statements comes closest to your view:

Here’s what you told us:

> It is not necessary or possible up to 18 months before a general election to spell out how this £20bn will be cut. It is therefore perfectly responsible for the party to state clearly its direction of travel – that it will reduce taxes and cut public expenditure – and to publish details before an election. – 47.6%

> The party needs to spell out far more precisely how it intends to find £20bn of spending cuts. If it does not the Lib Dems cannot expect to be taken seriously by the media or by the voters, and will deserve to be attacked as irresponsible by our political opponents. – 47.6%

> Don’t know / no opinion – 4.8%

That’s right – an exact tie! Here’s a little of what you said:

Posted in Conference and LDV Members poll | 11 Comments

Opinion: Clegg half-way there on tax cuts

The Liberal Democrats made a significant step forward at their Conference last week when we passed the Make It Happen policy paper.

The main issue of the debate revolved around Nick Clegg’s pledge to cut billions of pounds from the income tax of low and middle income families. The party has broadly welcomed this, though many have accepted it only as long as it is accompanied by a promise that the overall tax-take will remain the same, and that richer people should shoulder more of the tax burden.

This redistributionist error was sadly reinforced by Clegg himself in an …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | 34 Comments

Michael Crick on the Make It Happen debate

Via the BBC blogs:

This afternoon’s discussion at the Lib Dem conference on tax cuts was one of the best debates I have heard at a party conference in many a year. In fact, not since Labour’s big nuclear disarmament debate of the 1980s have I heard exchanges so passionate and genuine.

The Lib Dems managed to organise it so that both sides were properly represented without trying to stage manage things in the way that other parties are occasionally suspected of doing. And I even got the impression that one or two people may have cast their votes on the

Posted in Conference | 3 Comments

Conference: Make It Happen debate… the live-blog

Yes, it’s the day of the Big Debate on Make It Happen, the party’s policy and consultation document, and there’s keen anticipation here in the conference hall. Over 100 members have applied to speak so far, so we can expect some fiery views on both sides of the should-we-cut-the-tax-burden debate.

The party’s manifesto chief Danny Alexander has introduced Make It Happen – plenty of warm applause, including for the line that tax cuts for ordinary people are very much part of a social justice agenda. He urges conference to vote down Paul Holmes’ and Evan Harris’s amendment, arguing it will …

Posted in Conference and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , , and | 143 Comments

Paul Holmes writes… ‘No’ to Make It Happen’s public spending cuts

It would appear that Liberal Democrat policy has changed to one of cutting public expenditure to fund tax cuts rather than switching wasteful or less desirable New Labour expenditure to fund needed investment in accord with Liberal Democrat policies. This has been announced at various press conferences and interviews since the 17th July – but has neither been discussed by the Parliamentary Party or passed by Conference.

Given that – as the Times, Independent, Telegraph and Financial Times have all pointed out – this is a major shift in our policy, it is strange that it is not even mentioned in …

Posted in Conference, Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged | 73 Comments

Guardian: Make it Happen “a shift towards liberal traditions and away from social democratic ones”

There’s an interesting and pretty perceptive editorial in today’s Guardian taking a thoughtful look at the Lib Dems’ Make it Happen policy proposal paper, launched by Nick Clegg last week. (And, whether it was deliberate or not, let me take a moment to congratulate The Guardian on not rushing to judgment, but taking a reflective, carefully considered, and rounded look at the document).

And broadly it gives Make it Happen a thumbs-up, albeit in a back-handed way for those who came into the party through the SDP:

Liberal Democrats do not think of their party, as the media does, in

Posted in News | 29 Comments

Has Making it Happen made it happen for the Lib Dems?

Well, if the press and media reaction is anything to go by, the launch of the Lib Dems’ Make it Happen policy paper has succeeded way beyond the party’s expectations. No need for LDV to round them all up, as Centre Forum’s Freethink blog rounds up the newspapers’ responses, while Julian H’s Orange By Name has the blogosphere’s first reactions.

Why such a media splash? (And I admit the term splash is relative; but the tendency of political reporters to ignore a party which attracts almost one-quarter of the national vote means we Lib Dems get a little …

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged | 52 Comments

Clegg launches ‘Make it Happen’ with call to cut taxes

The party website has a blue mast-head, a youthful leader and a call to cut taxes for low- and middle-income earners: yes, the Lib Dems’ leader Nick Clegg has today launched the party’s new ‘Make it Happen’ policy and consultation document, and made an unequivocal pitch to voters wanting to kick Labour out of office and mistrustful of the Tories’ ability to marry economic competence and social justice.

Nick showcased the proposals on this morning’s BBC Radio 4 Today programme:

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has outlined his pledge to cut taxes for low and middle-income people, as part of

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged | 89 Comments

Recent Comments

  • David LG
    Seems very undemocratic this. There hasn't been a vote on this policy at conference yet our MPs behaviour prevents us from being able to maintain our policy on ...
  • Martin Bennett
    Brandon Masih: Illicit imports of cigarettes may happen but I doubt they will matter much. There could be a few rebellious youngsters who try it out but smoki...
  • John Grout
    I think this is a very good articulation of why Daisy voted the way she did. Personally I'm still not convinced - if the public health grounds are sufficient...
  • Brandon Masih
    Thanks for that @Simon R but why do you think it will be workable - geographic nature of NZ probably plays a better role for lower prevalence for illicit tobacc...
  • Simon R
    In answer to @Brandon Masih, I think the rolling ban will be workable for at least the next 10 years or so. Beyond that maybe less so because as the cut-off ag...