The full coalition agreement

The full coalition agreement document has just been published, covering a much wider range of policy areas than the initial document released previously. There’ll be plenty of commentary and analysis on this, but for the moment here is the full document for you to read:

Coalition Programme

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34 Comments

  • Ellie – Think it’s meant to be green but it looks like our “fair future” green from the manifesto

  • I think you just have to accept that once “the new politics” starts coming under the microscope it is just as dubious as the old, with a whole raft of artificial caveats, such as 55% majority (at least you now admit that is only to protect the smaller party ie you) a plethora of “reviews”, where you cannot reach agreement, a pledge to keep disagreements behind closed doors, a tendency to fudge details especially with bizarre idaes like “the public nominating laws which should be abolished”, while proffering no constitutional mechanism to achieve this. The new politics looks increasinly like X factor with Nick Clegg as Louis Walsh.

  • Is there a PDF I can download without subscribing to scribd? Or even just an HTML version?

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th May '10 - 10:57am

    A few fairly random things I’ve picked up here:

    Under “Communities and Local Government” I’m glad to see councils will be permitted to return to the committee system of governance – in my view the forced introduction of the cabinet system under New Labour was one of he worse things it did, damaging to democracy, to open government and to council competence. This enormous constititional change, a far bigger thing than the introduction of AV voting, went through almost unnoticed by the national media, because local government is something beneath the attention of the Westminster bubble. I am sorry, however to see the creation of directly elected mayor in the 12 biggest cities. This is a Westminster bubble obsession, because local government being done by ordinary people elected at ward level is something they can’t abide, so they want it to be replaced by some media star mayor i.e. “someone like us”. I do not see the mayor system working anywhere where it has been introduced. The enormous effort put into some silly new buses in London just hints at one reason why it is bad.

    Under “deficit reduction” is “we will protect jobs by stopping the proposed job tax”. Oh, please, this is a government document, so let’s cut the political propaganda out of it. Call whatever it is that is meant here by its proper name. Now, if by “jobs tax” is meant any tax on earned income, let’s give a good kicking to those right-wing Tories who are moaning about increasing Capital Gains Tax rates to income tax levels. We want to do this so we can reduce income tax levels on the poorest – i.e. to cut “jobs tax”. So let those Tories who would prefer to keep CGT low use the language they themselves introduced – when it comes to a tax on jobs or a tax on sitting on your arse making money by owning something, they prefer a jobs tax. Loud and clear “Liberal Democrats want to cut jobs tax, John Redwood and fellow right-wingers oppose cutting jobs tax”.

    Under “Equalities” we have “we will undertake a fair pay review in the public sector to implement our proposed ’20 times’ pay multiple. Jolly good. And in the private sector? Now, either you have to pay sky-high salaries to attract talent, as the City boys say, or you don’t. And I fancy the multiple talents involved in being e.g. a senior local government officer are rather more than those involved in much of City work that pays pots. So, are the City boys wrong, or are we saying we don’t want an talent in public service? I think this is pretty much yes or no, so can we get an answer from the Tories on that one? Might we suggest that the government will start making it a requirement of companies whose services it uses that they also use the ’20 times’ pay multiple that we seem to think is good for those it employs directly? I looked for the bit about correcting the greatest inequality that exists in Britain, to go alongside the positive measures to promote women and ethnic minorities in to posts private and public. I just thought maybe the bit on social class was on page 19. But it wasn’t. So, more black and ethnic minority people in top positions so long as they’re black and ethnic minority people like us (the Westminster bubble) i.e. their skins are dark, but they talk posh and went to private schools. Jolly good.

    Under “government transparency”, we have “We will require public bodies to publish online the …”. Blah-de-blah. As before, and the private sector?

    Under “political reform” we have “we will fund 200 all-postal primaries”. Er, where did that come from? Do they mean “So Westminster bubble people can use their power. wealth, and influence to push aside local people in political parties”? We also have “we will give local residents the power to veto excessive council tax increases”. Yes, and with the power to veto will there also be the duty to spell what is to be cut from the budget to make the books balance? Otherwise, it’s silly.

    There is more, but that’s enough for now. One can see the joins, and I’m too much of a party loyalist to point out those cases where the silliness comes from our side.

  • David Boothroyd 20th May '10 - 10:59am

    The ‘new politics’ apparently also means Lib Dems fiddling the system so that they get ‘Financial Assistance for Opposition Parties’ even while in Government. In other words, taxpayers’ money which is designated solely to support opposition parties will be abstracted and given to a government party. This is an absolute outrage and your party should be ashamed for even thinking of it.

  • David Boothroyd: Yawn. Arent you tired of all the “constitutional outrages” you have found since Saturday yet?

  • David Boothroyd 20th May '10 - 11:46am

    Well, you may yawn at your party’s attempted theft of taxpayers’ money, but I don’t.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 20th May '10 - 12:20pm

    “We also have “we will give local residents the power to veto excessive council tax increases”. Yes, and with the power to veto will there also be the duty to spell what is to be cut from the budget to make the books balance? Otherwise, it’s silly.”

    Yes, that struck me too. Not just silly, but potentially quite dangerous to the quality of local services.

  • David Boothroyd 20th May '10 - 12:33pm

    Richard Gadsden, I’m even more shocked by the fact that you think that’s a reasonable argument. Liberal Democrat ministers can ask the civil service to research policies, and if there are no departmental ministers then the Cabinet Office ministers can ask. Same situation for the Conservatives. ‘Financial Assistance to Opposition Parties’ means exactly what it says on the tin. You are part of the Government now and so you do not get it. Not one penny.

  • @David Wright: Yes I think they have been mostly working to finalise the agreement and didn’t have a chance to include the motions from last Sunday.

  • Fred Carver 20th May '10 - 5:12pm

    Something has to be done about that green, it is just horrific.

    Some good stuff here, I’d like to see the fact that both parties will “consider jointly the mechanism for implementing the limit” [on non EU economic migrations] as meaning that the Lib Dems will be pushing for it to be considered that there is no feasible mechanism for implementing the limit and the whole thing should just be kicked into the long grass.

    Some odd wording – we’re committed to promoting stability in the west Balkans? So we’re generally in favour of chaos except in specific regions? The east Balkans can go hang? Where would we consider Repubica Serbsca to be? I’d say that’s where stability is going to need the most external assistance.

    I really like the idea of special relationship with India but what on earth does this mean?

  • Ruth Bright 20th May '10 - 5:13pm

    Blimey – it’s a touch salutary when the Lib Dem cuts are going to affect your own family. Goodbye the Sure Start outreach service my three-year-old receives. Fair enough though, the Tory policy on health visitors was better than ours anyway.

  • Andrew Suffield 20th May '10 - 5:53pm

    There are quite a few policies in the joint agreement that I think are wrong – anonymity for rape defendants

    What’s wrong with that? Most rape defendants are found innocent; it’s one of the worst crimes as far as false accusations go. Keeping their identity secret unless they are convicted is an excellent start to sorting that mess out. (I still want to see more convictions for people who make false accusations)

  • Andrea Gill 20th May '10 - 7:30pm

    Andrew – I completely agree about the anonymity of rape defendants, to those objecting to it, whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?

  • @Andrew Suffield

    “What’s wrong with that? Most rape defendants are found innocent; it’s one of the worst crimes as far as false accusations go. Keeping their identity secret unless they are convicted is an excellent start to sorting that mess out. (I still want to see more convictions for people who make false accusations)”

    What a load of insensitive and factually incorrect rubbish. For a more enlightened and balanced view, I suggest this article

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/anger-at-coalition-plans-for-rape-defendants-anonymity-1978387.html

  • Anthony Aloysius St 20th May '10 - 9:15pm

    From that Independent article (quoting Ruth Hall, of Women Against Rape):
    More attention needs to be paid to the 94% of reported cases that do not end in conviction rather than the few that are false.

    “False rape allegations are extremely rare, but receive disproportionate publicity.

    There’s obviously an assumption in some quarters that all but a few of those 94% accused of rape were guilty, even though they weren’t convicted. That’s a pretty strong argument for anonymity in itself, isn’t it?

  • @Anthony Aloysius St

    We may have some area of agreement here! It is surprising and a concern that so few cases result in conviction. It was the assertion regarding false accusations that should be challenged. Would anonymity improve conviction rates? This article usefully points to other issues involved, relating to the issues of ‘consent’ and the ‘relationship between accuser and accused’.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-493301/If-want-rape-convictions-REDUCE-penalty.html

    In any case the situation is far more nuanced than the cry of mass false allegations suggests.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 20th May '10 - 10:02pm

    I just think that by its nature it’s very difficult to prove in many circumstances. But it’s not fair to assume on that basis that everyone accused of rape is almost certainly guilty, and if people are assuming that, then maybe there is merit to the policy of anonymity.

  • Andrew Suffield 21st May '10 - 12:14am

    The US government places false accusation rates for rape at 8% (that’s confirmed cases), while UK data comes in at 9%. Other sources can rule out around 50% of cases as not being false accusations (not necessarily rape, since this includes genuine disagreements on consent and relationship status). The other 40% are harder to call, and there’s no good research on them.

    Even ignoring the questionable cases (which I usually do), my original statement stands on the basis of 9%:

    it’s one of the worst crimes as far as false accusations go

    False civil claims are much more common, but for crimes? A 9% perjury rate is huge. In real terms: that’s about 800 lives ruined by perjurers, per year in the UK. Anonymity until conviction would protect these people from what is nothing more than a deliberate, malicious assault on their reputation. And from some of the people in this comment thread, who they apparently do need this kind of protection from.

    Where did the rape anonymity thing come from? How come it wasn’t in either the Tory or the LibDem manifesto?

    It’s from a motion passed by Lib Dem conference. September 2006 I think.

  • Right I have just read the big coalition document and to my great disappointment I can find no reference to the bringing in of a statutory Youth Service. Labour made this promise and Jack Straw, the man who wrote it, could not remember his own policy when I asked him about it. No wonder Labour never brought it in it clearly slipped their minds!
    Now my own party have failed to honour its commitment on this one. DCs big Society and all the measures on youth and communities will fail, just as labours did on the simple inability of the Politicians to GET IT! These great ideas have to be delivered by Professionals on the ground with the skills and ability to do so. The lack of a statutory base for Youth & Community Work has seen the erosion of this provision over the last 30 years to a point now where it has not got the capacity to deliver the programs that the New Government wants. Labour found this to be the case and now the new Government will as well. While telling a politician, “I told you so!” Has some appeal to me it is the lost opportunity to improve the lives of some of the most deprived in our society that really angers me. Teen Pregnancy, youth on youth violence, the new national service at 16, community Volunteering, the list goes on all in danger of failure for the lack of a simple piece of legislation that most parties agree with! Such a simple act to pave the way for so much. Such a wasted opportunity once more!
    I call on Paddy Ashdown, Simon Hughes and all the other former Youth & Community Workers in my party to put this back where it belongs at the heart of our plans to make this society fair!

  • Andrea Gill 26th May '10 - 4:12pm

    @robert, is this what you were on about?

    “We will introduce National Citizen Service. The initial flagship project will provide a programme for 16 year olds to give them a chance to develop the skills needed to be active and responsible citizens, mix with people from different backgrounds, and start getting involved in their communities.”

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