Vince speaks out against “devastating and ideologically driven” Tory spending cuts plan

Vince Cable Social Liberal Forum conference Jul 19 2014 Photo by Paul WalterThe Tories have been “well behaved” over the past few years because the Liberal Democrats have kept them on a tight leash, apparently. So said Vince Cable on the Andrew Marr Show this morning. He said that we were now getting a glimpse of what they would be like without that leash, adding that the consequences of their spending decisions would be that there would be around half as much money to spend on Police, defence, local government and social care.

He highlighted the differences between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat approaches to the economy and what a vote for each would mean:

We have to reduce residual deficit from banking crisis and Liberal Democrats have a plan for doing that.

I’d be worried if George Osborne’s plan was realised. We’d halve spending on home office, defence, police, local government and social care, training and science. It would be devastating and ideologically driven and I’d be very strongly opposed to it.

Asked what this meant for the Coalition working together until the election he said:

We work together on a day to day basis and coalition has turned round the country.

We have to restructure the economy in a different way so we don’t rely on short term credit bubbles

The big differences, he said, were in way we approach the deficit.

Nick, Danny and I all accept we have to maintain budget discipline and we have a plan to do that. It would involve a different mixture of tax and spending reduction. We are not signing up to the extreme ideology of the Tories.

He dodged a question on whether there could be a further Liberal Democrat/Conservative coalition by saying simply that we’d kept them on the leash.

He was then asked about the air traffic control failures on Friday. The biggest story behind it, he said, was that they have been skimping on long term investment. They’ve been penny wise and pound foolish and, like many other institutions are relying on old, out of date technology.

The conversation then turned to diversity on boards. He said that there was  a great value to it and said that, without quotas, just by persuasion, the Coalition had made great progress in that all the FTSE companies now had at least one woman on the Board. When challenged that these were mostly non-exeuctive, he acknowledged that more executive women were needed and that is partly what shared parental leave was all about, to ensure that women had the same chance to reach the top.

You can’t really have an interview with a politician without bringing up the subject of the awful CIA report this week. He didn’t rule out a judicial enquiry on the torture revelations but he said it would be sensible to let the various urent enquiries their course. If these don’t bring about any conclusions then there should be a judge led enquiry. He said that any participation in or acceptance of torture completely undermines our values as a society.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

56 Comments

  • I’m not a politician or an activist just a normal voter and I’m confused, didn’t the LibDems say they were the joint authors of the Autumn Statement? Doesn’t the statement outline future spending plans? Are the LibDems now complaining about the spending plans Nick Clegg fully supported just a few days ago? I don’t claim to be the brightest guy – not all voters are – but this is confusing.

  • @malc

    I am very confused by it all as well.

    The way I have interpreted it is.

    The Liberal Democrats are in agreement with the Tories on spending plans and cuts for the period of 2015 to 2018
    (in other words shrinking the size of the state to 1930’s levels)
    Then there is a disagreement between the 2 parties for 2019-20 where the Conservatives want to continue with the ideology of ever shrinking the size of the state and running a surplus, compared to Liberal Democrats who say in 2019/20 they will increase spending on the state in proportion to GDP growth.

    Conclusion. No different to what we have with the current coalition, Liberal Democrats following the Tory line for 4 years of Government, then trying to differentiate themselves in the final year.
    Lets hope we don’t end up with another coalition Government.

  • Peter Watson 14th Dec '14 - 12:12pm

    I share the confusion.
    I can only assume that the Lib Dems have an as yet undisclosed (or simply ignored) set of cuts and tax rises to pay for the spending plans that they co-authored, and in the meantime are condemning the Tories for being all about the cuts and Labour about the tax-rises.

  • The Lib Dems have presumably decided their best hopes lie with another coalition with the Tories. This is why they constantly attack Labour, and the only Lib Dem politician to attack the Tories is Vince Cable, who everybody knows is more sympathetic to Labour, and on his way out of politics due to his age, and can be ignored by other members of Cabinet for these reasons.

    It’s nothing more than a cynical game to ensure the Lib Dems become a branch of the centre-right part of the Tory party that Cameron and Osborne need to maintain to ensure a defence against the Eurosceptic Right who pose a massive threat to the economy of the UK if they were ever able to realise their dream.

  • Is all this protest from Lib Dem MPs too little and too late?

  • Helen Tedcastle 14th Dec '14 - 2:05pm

    @ g

    Vince is not on his way out of politics due to age. That’s ridiculous and frankly, incredibly ageist. Think of the society we actually live in – people live longer and have active lives for longer. We have to get used to this and not assume politicians are over the hill for leadership after the age of fifty. In part, this attitude has ended up giving us the three leaders we have now.

    Attitudes have to change.

    Having seen the interview on Marr, I would say Vince is the only leading politician who speaks clearly and with sense. That’s what’s needed right now isn’t it?

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Dec '14 - 2:07pm

    Vince Cable is right to stand up for the police, armed forces and social care.

    I could add some minor criticisms, but I’m sick of criticising. We tend to argue over the narcissism of small differences, but I suppose it is because the Lib Dems are so low in the polls, there is a risk of deeply ideologically driven governments and no one really knows how to get out of this mess!

    Again, I don’t think the Conservatives rhetoric match their actions, but rhetoric matters too.

  • @Malc @Matt It’s not just that there’s a difference between Lib Dems and Tories about what should happen after 2017/18. There’s also a difference about what happens between now and then – i.e. the Lib Dems want to finish clearing the deficit by a mix of tax rises and spending cuts whilst the Tories want to do it just by cutting spending.

  • I think spending less on defence may be a good thing when we can’t trust Parliment to use the force for defence but attack. It’s high time we had some say in nuclear and specifically re locating nuclear from Scotland if we must keep it. Less on nuclear leaves more for other departments like border control

  • John Tracey 14th Dec '14 - 5:06pm

    It really is madness that Vince will not be the Economics spokesperson leading up to the election, he should be at the front of the campaign.

  • David Pollard 14th Dec '14 - 5:31pm

    It seems clear to me. The LibDems have been in coalition with the Tories until now and will complete the 5 year agreement. The autumn statement covered the remainder of this term and the first year of the new parliament. It is the LibDems responsibility to support the Coalition to the end of the 5 year term, then produce a manifesto for the next 5 years. The Tories have made a mistake saying that they are going to reduce public spending as a share of GDP to 1930’s levels. The LibDems (as far as I can make out) have rejected this principle and are basing their economic policy on ‘Strong economy; Fairer Society’ You cannot maintain a Fairer Society without maintaining public spending near where it is now, so with increasing GDP there are funds to provide better services.
    I just wish LibDem spokesmen would make this clearer!!!

  • To David Pollard: Of course ” The autumn statement covered the remainder of this term and the first year of the new parliament”; for malc, matt, g, and Peter Watson, it is just their way of announcing, or rather reaffirming that they will obtusely extract the maximum negative interpretation that they think is possible (even when it is nonsense).

    An Autumn statement is not a political manifesto for the next five years and certainly cannot bind an incoming government. It has been quite clear from the day the statement was given that Lib Dems and Vince Cable in particular were sceptical and certainly have different objectives and priorities for any post election government.

  • @Mark Pack

    That’s really not the message that I heard from either Danny Alexander or Nick Clegg.

    I am not saying it to be obstinate, truly I am not.

    If what you say is true, what is the Liberal Democrats policies to do this? They have agreed to eliminate the deficit by 2018, as set out per the Autumn statement, which Nick Clegg says he co-authored.
    The Autumn statement set out spending plans and GDP forecasts etc, detailing what will happen to the economy over the next 5 years. In order for the Government to come to those assessments and the OBR the party had to agree on spending and taxes for the next 5 years.
    So I really do not understand how you can say the Liberal Democrats would do it differently to the Tories.
    If that truly was the case, wouldn’t that make the autumn statement total nonsense?

  • I must be thick – and I’m sure this will be pointed out – but if the Tories and the LibDems co-authored the Autumn Statement. why is there such a difference between them now? A few days ago both agreed things like taking an extra £1bn from government depts each year until 2017. Surely the LibDems realise that when you keep taking money from government departments you will get cuts in “spending on home office, defence, police, local government and social care, training and science.”

  • @Matt Here’s one example: the Mansion Tax. The Lib Dems would introduce it and the revenue from that would help clear the deficit – and hence means the Lib Dems can clear the deficit by the same date as in the Tory plans but with smaller spending cuts.

  • @Mark Pack

    But Mark would you not agree that in order to produce the autumn statement which sets out the economic plans for the next 5 years, detailing deficit reduction and GDP growth, spending on the NHS, welfare etc. In order to produce those figures the coalition government would have worked exactly what it expects to receive in revenues and what it intends to cut to reach those targets.
    The Liberal Democrats have fully endorsed that Autumn statement (apart from the final year)
    Each fiscal year has been set out.
    How on earth could the 2 parties agree that in say 2016 the deficit would be reduced by (a) the economy would grow by (b) the Tories would achieve this by (x) and the Liberal Democrats would achieve it by (y) and yet miraculously both parties reach the same figure of (z) and they repeated this process for all of the fiscal years covering the Autumn Statement which then gets signed off by both parties.
    It makes no sense at all, the only thing that makes sense is the Autumn statement is just complete political nonsense.

    If we are to believe that this is indeed the case then why have we not heard already from the Liberal Democrats on exactly how they will meet this fiscal targets if they were in Government alone.
    The Tories have clearly stated that the version of the Autumn statement is based on 100% cuts and no tax rises.
    If the Liberal Democrats fiscal rule is different how did they get to their figures and forecasts? what is it 80/20 or 75/25 ?
    Saying a couple of things like mansion tax and cuts to winter fuel allowance does not come anywhere close to what would be needed if the forecasts are to be true that the Liberal Democrats have signed up to.
    People keep saying that Labour has no policies, What are the Liberal Democrat policies, all we hear is they will borrow less than Labour but cut less than the Tories, which tells us absolutely nothing.
    At least Labour are clear and are not committing to reducing the deficit to zero by 2018. However Liberal Democrats have committed to this so we should know exactly how they are going to achieve this based on the fiscal forecasts that they have already signed up to

  • Mark Pack

    I know it was originally a LibDem idea, but I thought the LibDems were now against a mansion tax.

  • Peter Watson 15th Dec '14 - 12:18am

    @malc “I thought the LibDems were now against a mansion tax”
    I don’t know where you got that idea from. Apart from the fact that Lib Dem MPs voted against a mansion tax.
    Voting for things they oppose and against things they support, simultaneously owning and disowning the Autumn Statement, … There are so many things about the Lib Dem performance in this coalition that gives me the impression it was inspired by Lewis Carroll.

  • Daniel Henry 15th Dec '14 - 1:39am

    The autumn statement sets out a target for reducing the deficit over the next few years but doesn’t specify how much will be through tax rises, and how much through spending cuts.

    @ Peter – the Lib Dems did vote against a Labour motion on the Mansion Tax, but that’s because it would have violated the coalition. While we’re in government we have to stick to the deal, no matter what we’d rather do.

  • @Daniel Henry

    “The autumn statement sets out a target for reducing the deficit over the next few years but doesn’t specify how much will be through tax rises, and how much through spending cuts.”

    But the Tories have said this will be done with spending cuts alone. So if the Tories came to these figures and forecasts through spending cuts alone, How was it possible for the Liberal Democrats to come to EXACTLY the same figures by using a different methodology ? Which then got agreed too and signed off?

  • And they would not be able to set out forecasts on how much the deficit would be paid down year on year, How much GDP would grow by year on year, How much the government would receive year on year, This is impossible without having detailed plans on how this was going to be achieved and how much government would need to cut to reach these forecasts.
    If they could miraculously reach these fiscal forecasts without any firm details, then maybe one of them would like to fill out my lottery ticket for next week.

    Unless they are Psychic and know

  • Vince Cable for Leader is not an option. It is a necessity. On Saturday I was at the Pantomime with my granddaughter. Buttons said “If there was a tax on brains some politicians would get a rebate -Nick Clegg” The audience roared with approval!!!! Please don’t say that it was only a pantomime audience. Sadly our leader is seen as a joke.

  • brianD
    Nick Clegg a pantomime joke?

    Well we do not have to rely on the script-writers for pantomime or the reactions of the audience.  This survey (perfectly respectable) published yesterday shows the continuing public mood —

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/2qik25ohr5/YG-Archive-Pol-Sunday-Times-results-121214.pdf

    It includes the regular question — “Do you think that Nick Clegg is doing well or badly as leader of the Liberal Democrats? ”

    For a political party entering a general election with such an unpopular leader “dominating the airwar” seems to indicate a death wish amongst those who could do something about it.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Dec '14 - 9:42am

    malc

    I’m not a politician or an activist just a normal voter and I’m confused, didn’t the LibDems say they were the joint authors of the Autumn Statement? Doesn’t the statement outline future spending plans?

    Indeed.

    What was in that statement was HORRENDOUS. I was appalled at what “the LibDems” said about it being “Liberal Democrat to the core” – though by “the LibDems” I think you actually mean Nick Clegg and one or two of those surrounding him. I am a “LibDem” in the sense of being a member of the party, and I most certainly want nothing whatsoever to do with the policies outlined in the Autumn Statement.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Dec '14 - 9:52am


    He was then asked about the air traffic control failures on Friday. The biggest story behind it, he said, was that they have been skimping on long term investment. They’ve been penny wise and pound foolish and, like many other institutions are relying on old, out of date technology.

    This is the same story throughout the public sector. That is why cuts and cuts and cuts are just not working, because we long ago reached the point where in order to make them things that might reduce this year’s budget but have big cost impact in future years are taking place. If the cost impact is on some other area of the public sector, well, if you are being told to make cuts, you’ll do that, at least you’ve made the cuts YOU were told to make, and then dealing with the impact is someone else’s problem.

    The plan for huge further cuts in the Autumn Statement is madness, pure madness. I cannot say it firmly enough – from my own knowledge of various public sector areas, it is mad madness, it will destroy this country. We have no choice, if we want to get out of this, we HAVE to increase taxes. We need to be honest to the people of this country about that. The wealthy in this country have been telling us that if we cut taxes, we’ll have a booming economy and all will be well, but it just HASN’T HAPPENED. Any boom just hasn’t trickled down to ordinary people at all. The wealthy have just kept the money to themselves, used it unproductively to push up house prices, employed cheap labour form overseas, without considering the inevitable long-term consequences of the lack of investment in Britain and its people.

  • Bill le Breton 15th Dec '14 - 9:54am

    matt, the OBR used the Tory figures.

    Of course this begs the question: did our members of the Quad approve that?

    Perhaps this piece by a ‘favoured’ journalist explains it http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/12/behind-bluster-tories-and-lib-dems-are-preparing-another-coalition

    The declared Tory strategy is a real surplus of circa £25 billion by 2020. The LDs are still talking about 25-75% of investment funding being excluded – say 50%. Note that 50% of investment spending in 2019/2020 is circa £25 billion. So a deal midway (each party shifting by £25 billion) is a balanced real budget in that last year.

    Labour’s declared position before the latest announcement was for a £25 billion deficit which remember is equivalent to 50% of investment spending that year.

    Martin makes the point that these are ‘just’ plans. But all ‘plans’ have announcement effects. The announcement effect of the 2010 emergency Coalition budget which changed Darling’s target of halving the structural deficit by 2015 to removing it entirely was considerable. It knocked consumer confidence but business also clearly had little faith in the Bank of England’s promise to provide sufficient further monetary easing to offset the accelerated rate of government spending reductions.

    June 2015 will see another ‘announcement’ of deficit consolidation plans 2015-2020 which will set expectations for some years to come.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Dec '14 - 10:05am

    I was speaking to my mother last night, and she was telling me about the misery and unhappiness of so many people where she lives – about all the food banks that people are coming to rely on, about how so many are fearful for their jobs, or unemployed or on low pay, about how the impact of the high cost of housing is so devastating, about how so many people live in constant fear because they are on zero-hour contracts so they never know whether there will be work for them tomorrow to pay the bills, about how badly people are suffering due to the cuts in public services. About how the people she knows there so detest the Tory government and detest the Liberal Democrats for backing it.

    My mother lives in Mid Sussex constituency.

  • Matthew Hunbach
    The conversation you had with your mother last night reflects the conversation I had with my son who visited me yesterday.
    He too spoke of the how the people he knows so detest the Tory government and detest the Liberal Democrats for backing it.
    He too spoke of the food banks, the unemployed and worse still the fear of unemployment, the zero hours contracts and the Conservative plans to slash and burn public services.
    He questioned why anyone in the General Election, least of all anyone who holds Liberal Democrat views, could possibly vote for Clegg and his cronies.
    He said people expect dreadful stuff from Cameron and the Conservatives but why would people vote for us when Clegg believes the same as Cameron.

  • “About how the people she knows there so detest the Tory government and detest the Liberal Democrats for backing it.”

    Are they going to vote Labour though?

    Maybe enough will to win them the election, but I doubt it myself.

    As a country we are screwed, and no party has a way forward. That is the long and short of it.

  • Bill le Breton 15th Dec '14 - 11:29am

    Talk of the end of two party politics may be premature.

    A divided country, which ours has become, usually has a polarized politics.

    Which is why ‘tactical’ voting may be the first casualty of the new Britain.

  • peter tyzack 15th Dec '14 - 12:20pm

    comments reveal here that people didn’t hear what Vince said.. all available on I-player.! The most interesting bit of Sunday’s news was that Vince’s comments were totally ignored by the BBC, yet everyone else who appeared on the show as an item in the news for the rest of the day.
    The most interesting bit of this thread is that certain contributors are clearly not Liberal Democrats.. and allowed to appear on here (without a proper name) to wind us up.

  • peter tyzack 15th Dec '14 - 12:25pm

    wrong, Simon, the Liberal Democrats have the answer. We need PR and then we will show it, by giving powers back to communities and ending the dominance of the two old Parties. Why else are they and their supporters so opposed to us, and intent on bad-mouthing us, whilst at the same time pinching all our appealing policies.

  • @peter tyzack

    “comments reveal here that people didn’t hear what Vince said”
    The problem is Vince is not part of the Quad, Vince is not even listened to by Clegg and Alexander who have disagreed with his comments over the last couple of weeks, especially his comments directly after the Autumn Statement.
    Vince may well be loved and respected by the party membership and indeed those who are not Liberal Democrat Supporters, however he is not shown that respect by the leadership so why would the public listen to what he has to say when he is dismissed by those at the top of the party?

    “The most interesting bit of this thread is that certain contributors are clearly not Liberal Democrats.. and allowed to appear on here (without a proper name) to wind us up.”
    That old chestnut again. How are the Liberal Democrats supposed to reconnect with the electorate if they are only interested in hearing the views of those from within the party. You do not need to know the full identity of every poster, just because I can see your name and photo does not make your contributions to LDV any more valid than any other poster, I have no idea who you are, where you live, what you do and quite frankly it is none of my business,

    “We need PR and then we will show it, by giving powers back to communities and ending the dominance of the two old Parties. ”
    Problem is Liberal Democrats screwed PR up for at least a generation with the AV. On top of that the Liberal Democrat leadership in this coalition government have performed badly, everything has been negotiated behind closed doors, there has been no transparency as was promised by Nick Clegg, therefore the public have not been able to judge how effective a junior coalition partner has been in government. This has inevitably put people off any kind of PR as most people are now against the thought of more coalition governments.
    Nick Clegg is entirely to blame for that because his approach has been totally wrong to how a coalition government should work.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Dec '14 - 7:34pm

    simon

    “About how the people she knows there so detest the Tory government and detest the Liberal Democrats for backing it.”

    For those who didn’t get it, this is in a constituency which has always been Conservative, and where the Liberal Democrats have been the main challengers to the Conservatives for decades. Labour’s share of the vote in recent years has been tiny.

    Are they going to vote Labour though?

    Well, I have heard there has been some revival of Labour here, and in other places which had become classic Tory-LibDem territory, but not enough to bring them anywhere near a serious chance of winning. What is more likely is that a slight revival of Labour makes the seat safer for the Tories, or where the seat has already gone to the LibDems hands it back to the Tories.

    I’ve had a long discussion on this issue recently elsewhere. My mother is not talking about the posher folk up-country, but nor is she talking about the pockets of real deprivation that do exist in supposedly “true blue” England. No, these are predominantly people somewhere in the middle. As I was saying in that long discussion, there isn’t the Labour culture in these southern English places that there is in the north and urban areas, but it would be quite wrong to write them off, as so many do, as naturally Tory, and so to suppose what our party has to do to win them is to become more like the Tories.

    Rather, the situation is that people who make comments that sound leftist and seem to have opinions that you might think would lead them to vote for parties of the left instead tend to adopt an “all politicians are the same attitude”, and so float around between the parties. They don’t actually see politics in terms of a left-right spectrum. It has long been my opinion that there are attitudes on the political left that causes this alienation from the politics that people who are less well off in the south actually need. One of the reasons I was attracted to the Liberals was that they seemed to offer something more down to earth and less arrogant, and so did seem to be able to win votes for the left in these supposedly true blue places that Labour couldn’t.Sad to say, however, our leadership seems not ti understand that at all, and has thrown it all away.

    And, no simon, I do not believe UKIP offers any sort of replacement. You know what I think of your party, and I will not repeat it now.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Dec '14 - 7:37pm

    simon

    As a country we are screwed, and no party has a way forward. That is the long and short of it.

    The way forward is what the Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Party before that used to stand for, before the “Clegg coup”. I believe this now more strongly than ever. Please, I want my party back, so we can get on with what this country needs doing to rescue us from slavery by poverty, ignorance and conformity.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Dec '14 - 7:51pm

    peter tyzack

    We need PR and then we will show it, by giving powers back to communities and ending the dominance of the two old Parties.

    That assumes that power still lies in the hands of national government, so it can give it “back to the communities”. But how do you propose, peter, to give “back to the communities” all that power which has shifted from government to big business?

    I believe that can only be done by international co-operation. That is why the fat cats fund UKIP, because they want to destroy the international co-operation that the EU can offer to stand up to them.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Dec '14 - 8:00pm

    matt

    That old chestnut again. How are the Liberal Democrats supposed to reconnect with the electorate if they are only interested in hearing the views of those from within the party.

    That old chestnut again. I see almost NO signs of people coming here and using pseudonyms having any willingness to engage in constructive debate with the Liberal Democrats. That is why I have labelled them “nah nah nah nah nah”s. Some of them seem to have spent the last four years coming here and saying “nah nah nah nah nah” and nothing else. Most seem interested only in seeing the Liberal Democrats destroyed, so we can get back to the good ol’ two party system, with Labour feeling oh-so-good about itself (and not having to work too hard – just wait in hope for the pendulum swing) as it sits in opposition to the generally Conservative governments the good ol’ two party system gives us.

    As someone who is passionate about getting rid of Clegg and winning back the Liberal Democrats for what they used to stand for, I find all these “nah nah nah nah nah”s who do nothing but come here to post insults and use lines which suggest their little brains can’t get out of the Leninist way of thinking about how political parties must operate, to be worse than useless – as much my enemy as Clegg and the Cleggies are.

  • Matthew Huntbach, as ever, hits the nail on the head when he points out that power has shifted from government to big business. As the Guardian pointed out last week, of the top 175 economic entities in the world in 2011, whole nations included, 111 were giant corporates. I’m not knocking community politics, but while we were busily occupied pointing at potholes globalisation was gathering pace and sucking power away from our communities. As Liberals we have tended to see only the positive aspects of free trade and globalisation, and have not concentrated our attention on the other aspect of it which is the concentration of power, something to which we are fundamentally opposed. As I keep saying, there is a disconnect between these two strands of our philosophy , and we are not going to be able to make ourselves relevant again politically until we have done some serious thinking about solutions to the problem.

  • Matthew Huntbach and tonyhill,
    Thank you for reminding us about this major concentration of power.

    The false promises of UKIP and The Conservatives are particularly cynical because they pretend that national governments can do something about tax-dodging companies and oligarchs that stride round the world making vast profits at the expense of 99% of the world’s population.
    The Jeremy Browne tendency within the Liberal Democrats join with UKIP and The Conservatives in promoting free market capitalism as if it were the solution rather than the problem.

  • I assume that this stupid idea to reduce the deficit by 2018 is behind the totally idiotic idea to pass a law eliminating the deficit. I still don’t understand how the Liberal Democrats can have a policy to eliminate the deficit by 2018 and at the same time want to build 300,000 homes a year, but then we don’t, we have a policy to only balance the budget in the round while excluding some capital expenditure from the figures. We should be tackling the issue of the 4 million who are not working and our low pay economy.

    @ John Tilley

    I will be voting Lib Dem because I believe in liberalism and hope that the party will rediscover its liberalism when we have a new leader who believes in true liberalism and not one that believes in a small government. I believe it is important that we have some MPs after the general election and a base from which to rebuild the party back into a radical liberal party that believes that the role of government is to ensure individuals are free and not held back by the powerful including market forces.

    @ Tony Hill

    “hits the nail on the head” – we need to concentrate our attention on how to control the power of giant corporations.

  • Matthew Huntbach

    I see almost NO signs of people coming here and using pseudonyms having any willingness to engage in constructive debate with the Liberal Democrats. That is why I have labelled them “nah nah nah nah nah”s. Some of them seem to have spent the last four years coming here and saying “nah nah nah nah nah” and nothing else. Most seem interested only in seeing the Liberal Democrats destroyed, so we can get back to the good ol’ two party system, with Labour feeling oh-so-good about itself (and not having to work too hard – just wait in hope for the pendulum swing) as it sits in opposition to the generally Conservative governments the good ol’ two party system gives us.

    Why do you think they want the Liberal Democrats destroyed?

    I liked the pre-2010 Liberal Democrats, I liked the commitment to the use of evidence in policy, the liberal attitudes to personal behaviour, their position on drugs and their commitment to a fairer society.

    I almost voted for them then, and I have in the past, but given I was registered to vote in a constituency that was a straight fight between Labour and the SNP, then I considered a Labour vote my best bet.

    Then the coalition happened, and everybody I know who voted Lib Dem, regretted their decision, including some who were party members. They feel conned by a party that, at best, failed to correct misconceptions about how it would act when given power. They will likely never vote for you again. This isn’t hyperbole, look at your polling, particularly in Scotland.

    There are two massively divisive forces in UK politics just now who threaten both the existence of the country and that of the EU, the SNP and UKIP/Eurosceptic Tories. Both need robustly challenged, and there has been an utter failure by all major parties to effectively do so, with the exception of a few individuals, mostly in Labour. In Scotland the Lib Dems can’t even get noticed by the media with a critique of the SNP, and Clegg’s attempt to challenge Farage was an absolute disaster.

    We are in a world of three party politics now, Labour, the Tory ‘wets’ (including Cameron & Osborne) and the anti-politics crowd. There is no place for the Lib Dems any more, they’ve been squeezed out of political discourse and a vote for them, when they don’t appear to stand for much, or operate on principle, at least in terms of leadership, seems pointless.

    Perhaps you could tell me what the Lib Dems stand for, and why anybody should vote for them citing your track record in power?

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Dec '14 - 10:46am

    Michael BG

    I assume that this stupid idea to reduce the deficit by 2018 is behind the totally idiotic idea to pass a law eliminating the deficit.

    It’s not just reducing the deficit. It’s this whole idea that this can be done primarily through making cuts in government expenditure rather than raising taxes. The Liberal Democrat leadership have given the impression that is what we are about as well, with their going on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about the best thing our party has done in coalition being to increase income tax allowances – with the FALSE claim that that was a manifesto promise, and the FALSE claim that it helps poorer people. I am deeply ashamed of this, and I could not campaign for the party if this was the centre point of its election message in 2015, as those at the top seem to be pushing it to be.

    The claim that it was a manifesto promise is false because the actual manifesto promise was to move taxation from income to elsewhere, not just to cut it. The claim that it helps poorer people is false because it does not give any more money at all to those who don’t already have an income that reaches the allowance level, but it gives the same amount of money to everyone who earns more, so the average person it helps is a person richer than the norm. This is most definitely NOT the way to forward the Liberal ideal of ending enslavement by poverty.

    It ought to be obvious that the increasing complexity of society means we need more of the sort of basic infrastructure that the state provides than we did decades ago. For example, we need to educate people for longer, we can’t just have basic 3-Rs education and then they leave school at 14, as was the case in the 1930s. A few yards from where I live there’s a quiet little road which, incredibly, until 1988 was part of the A2, the main route to the continent – we need much bigger roads than that these days. A huge proportion of those alive and in their 60s or older now would be dead had they been born in the 19th century, killed by all those things medical advances have stopped. Quite obviously, this needs state support if we have an NHS to do the keeping alive, and for the needs that elderly people have.

    So the idea that we can now reduce the proportion of GDP spent by the state to the level that it as in the 1930s, as put forward in the Autumn Statement which Nick Clegg claimed was “Liberal Democrat to the core” (or some such words) is crazy. It’s insane ideological extremism. Business doesn’t work like this. The greater complexity of society means companies spend far more of their income on infrastructure things than in the 1930s when it would have been just the staff on the shop floor and the boss in his office. The whole “finance industry” can be seen as the bureaucracy of capitalism, needed to manage the greater complexity of modern business.

    Part of the reason we have this deficit is this idea that if you cut taxes, especially on the rich, people will work harder and the economy will improve, and it will benefit us all. But this just hasn’t happened. To suppose it does means thinking that there are kids lying in bed this morning thinking “Well, I could go to school and learn and get a good job. But I won’t, because if I do well and buy a big house, I’ll have to pay big taxes in it. So it’s not worth it”. It means thinking there are people who have big new idea, a new drug that will save lives, a lovely new food product that people will enjoy, a technological development that will provide high quality entertainment, and those people are saying “Well, actually I won’t bother developing it, because if I do and make money and buy a big house, when I leave it to my children, they will have to pay a big tax on the money made from selling it. So instead I’ll just take life easy”.

    More likely there are people with good ideas who think “Well, I’ve got a big mortgage or rent, I can’t afford to take the risks, I’d better take a safe job instead”. The fear imposed by austerity and dog-eat-dog attitudes and the “meet the target or you lose your job” line causes people to close down and stop being inventive.People are more inventive and constructive when they have a sense of security in life.

    The cuts being made now are not working, so many of them will cause problems that will cost the state more in the long run. If we keep on trying to cut the deficit in this way, it won’t work, things will get worse. You cut training, you don’t have the staff and have to employ expensive agency staff, or bring in people from overseas while people here are unemployed. You throw someone out of a job – it saves your department money, but the government no longer gets the taxes that person paid, and has to deal with all the knock-on effects of someone being miserable due to being out of a job.

    If we want to cut the deficit, we have to do it by taking money from those who have it. These people have failed us, that is why we need to take money from them. They HAVEN’T caused the economy to grow in a way that benefits us all, as they and their mouthpieces proclaimed. They have just frittered it away in more luxurious living for themselves, nothing of that old idea that was not just Liberal, but also old-style patronising but caring Tory, that along with wealth came responsibility. We have to be honest about what things cost, and how we can raise money to pay for them, and what it will cost to rebuild a more productive society in which all feel secure and have the energy to proceed in life.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Dec '14 - 6:05pm

    g

    Perhaps you could tell me what the Lib Dems stand for, and why anybody should vote for them citing your track record in power?

    I am not an official spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, indeed in this discussion as in most other places in this newsgroup, I’ve been bitterly critical of the leadership, suggested different ways it should go, and said I myself am not able to give active support to the Liberal Democrats under the current leadership and what it is doing, though I retain my membership in the hope it will change.

    And yet, STILL, here we are and you are addressing me using this word “you” as if I am somehow an official spokesperson for the Liberal Democrat, an uncritical supporter of all the party is doing now. You just prove my point, so very well, “g”, about little brains who can’t get out of the Leninists way of viewing political parties. If you can’t be bothered to read and discuss all they have written over the months and years since May 2010, and take me at my word and discuss it in the sense of written it – and you can’t, what you have written here shows that, I have NOTHING but contempt for you.

    So, to take things to your level “Nah nah nah nah nah, yah booh sucks, belly bum poo”.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Dec '14 - 8:16pm

    g

    the Tory ‘wets’ (including Cameron & Osborne)

    NO WAY are Cameron and Osborne “Tory wets”. Why do you believe their propaganda that says they are? The phrase “wet” was used to mean those members of the Conservative Party who had a social conscience and who opposed the right-wing economics of Margaret Thatcher because of that. Cameron and Osborne are way, way to the right economically of where Margaret Thatcher was. The Autumn Statement proves that – it’s such a horrendously scary right-wing document, that I may even feel forced to vote Labour (which I have never in my life done before) in the Tory-Labour marginal constituency where I live, for fear that voting my usual way might let in a Tory who would support that sort of thing.

  • Jayne Mansfield 16th Dec '14 - 8:17pm

    @g,
    You are being unfair. There are liberal democrats on here who clearly do believe in something, but there is a robust argument going on about what the Liberal Democrats stand for, with support for, or criticism of, the current leadership. I hadn’t realised that the Liberal Democrats were such a coalition amongst themselves!

    I won’t vote Liberal Democrat at the next election, although if there was a Liberal Democrat candidate in my constituency who strongly stood for up for what I always considered Liberal Democrat values I would. I feel mean not doing so, given that so many within the party are fighting so hard for what they believe in, but I can’t give my support to the current leadership, nice man though he might be.

    As things stand, I fear yet another LIb/Dem Tory Coalition Government like the one we have just experienced with yet more of Danny Alexander channelling George Osborne.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Dec '14 - 8:23pm

    g

    I liked the pre-2010 Liberal Democrats, I liked the commitment to the use of evidence in policy, the liberal attitudes to personal behaviour, their position on drugs and their commitment to a fairer society.

    Yes, and so do I, and that why I want to bring the Liberal Democrats back to that, and persuade its members that if we do that, we can win back lost voters. But when I turn round looking for some sort of support in this aim from people like you, and all I get is “nah nah nah nah nah”, I despair. It means the Clegg coup people can say – and HAVE – to those like me trying to pull the Liberal Democrats back to where they used to be, “Look, those votes you are yearning for have been lost permanently, there is no point trying to win them back, instead we have to go for all those authentic classical liberals (sic) who are out there waiting for an extreme right-wing (my words) economic party”. That is why I see people like YOU, “g” as allies with the Cleggies in trying to destroy the old Liberal Democrats and what they stood for.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Dec '14 - 8:34pm

    Jayne Mansfield

    I won’t vote Liberal Democrat at the next election, although if there was a Liberal Democrat candidate in my constituency who strongly stood for up for what I always considered Liberal Democrat values I would.

    Thanks, Jayne, that is much more helpful, it is all I am asking for.

    I fully recognise why many people who voted Liberal Democrat in the past are no longer planning to do so. I don’t need people like “g” forever going “nah nah nah nah nah” and repeating the same old line they have been repeating for four years as if somehow I am not already familiar with those lines, or if despite all I have written in that time because I am still a member of the party I must somehow be a mad keen and uncritical supporters of all that emanates from the Clegg bunker.

    What I would like to see is a recognition that actually, yes, some of us members of the Liberal Democrats still stand for what we always stood for, and are ourselves very unhappy about the coalition (even if some of us can see better than those outside the party why unfortunately it had to be formed). If I could see some sort of support for our attempts to pull the party back to where it was, and saying you would vote for those Liberal Democrat candidates who indicate they are of the sort who want that is very helpful support, it might give me the incentive to carry on. We need to be able to demonstrate that if we pull away form where Clegg and the Cleggies have taken us, that will win us votes. If we do that, we can give courage to all those timid people in the party who won’t openly voice their concerns (there are many) to do so, and gradually we CAN win back our party for what we joined it for.

    But if whatever we do and say, it’s still people like “g” going “nah nah nah nah nah” and treating all of us, no matter what we say, as if we are uncritical Clegg fans, then I feel “why bother?”. People like “g” are just causing me to think of the other things I can do, other hobbies, more effort into my paid job, just giving up politics altogether and letting our country rot as the fat cats take it over.

  • Matthew Huntbach

    But if whatever we do and say, it’s still people like “g” going “nah nah nah nah nah” and treating all of us, no matter what we say, as if we are uncritical Clegg fans, then I feel “why bother?”. People like “g” are just causing me to think of the other things I can do, other hobbies, more effort into my paid job, just giving up politics altogether and letting our country rot as the fat cats take it over.

    I hope I’m just a proxy for a general attitude here, rather than a specific cause.

    I have little faith in political parties these days to change things through themselves, 3rd sector organisations and academia are often much better at getting policy changes than movements from within parties, outside certain politically sensitive subjects.

    Perhaps the future of democracy is numerous special interest groups all pitching for the attention of a parliamentarians rather than whole social movements organising behind a shared ideology.

    I’m not sure this is a bad thing, or at least worst than what we have.

  • SIMON BANKS 17th Dec '14 - 1:58pm

    “The only Lib Dem politician to attack the Tories is Vince Cable”? I presume g hasn’t heard of Tim Farron, Party President for the last four years, or Julian Huppert, or noticed the attacks from Nick Clegg on the Tories on not dissimilar grounds to Vince’s (too ideologically right wing, too concerned about the rich not the poor) plus on Europe and civil liberties? In my view Nick Clegg has given far too much ground to the Tories, especially in the first year of the coalition, but he seems to me to attack the Tories at least as much as Labour. There are of course some limits on how much you can tear into measures which you don’t like but which are part of the give and take of coalition. That said, we’ve given too much and taken too little.

    As for the Lib Dems having decided the best option for the next parliament is a deal with the Tories – of course, we may not have the choice and a no overall control position will be complicated by probably over 20 SNP MPs, but, thank God, the decision on any post-election deal with anyone goes to a special Conference and it will be hard to get a continuation of the current coalition past the members there.

  • Ian Nicholson 17th Dec '14 - 11:56pm

    Simon Banks,

    That would be the Tim Farron who`s just voted to keep the bedroom tax would it? The Huppert and Clegg who appear to have abstained. Nice to see the Lib Dems still supporting the war on the poor.

  • Matthew Huntbach 18th Dec '14 - 2:17am

    g

    I have little faith in political parties these days to change things through themselves, 3rd sector organisations and academia are often much better at getting policy changes than movements from within parties, outside certain politically sensitive subjects

    Academia? Well, I’m a university lecturer, please tell me how you think I can change things.

    Power, or at least that of it which has not passed to big business, still lies with politicians. This idea that is being pushed so much that we should get involved in 3rd sector organisations to change things rather than political parties is DAFT. Because what are these 3rd sector organisations doing? Lobbying politicians, begging and pleading them to think of things their way. Why do that rather than be a politician, or at least actively work to change the politicians we have?

    The flight from political parties, though often painted as oh-so-trendy, is all part of the triumph of the political right. The political right doesn’t need mass membership parties, it just needs the big money that the super-rich pay it to keep it going. The political left should be fighting back with more in the way of mass membership political parties, but it is not doing so because of the way the political right have pushed this message to the people “politics is bad, don’t get involved”.

    So we have this idea now that if you want to get things changed, you should run silly little demonstrations, begging and pleading the politicians to make the changes you want – and we have right-wing politicians elected who just aren’t going to listen to that begging and pleading, unless it’s begging and pleading from the fat cats for yet more luxurious living for fat cats at the expense of cuts and misery for everyone else.

    We need to reawaken the democratic principle – that we elect people to represent us, that if we want to get things change we stand as representatives, and we say we want to change things and how and what we will change, and we get the people to support us in that. The “don’t get involved in politics, get involved in pressure groups instead” message is a right-wing swizz, something pushed to make life safe for the right, and we can see how successful they have been with the way politics has drifted so much to the right over the past few decades.

  • @ Matthew

    “As someone who is passionate about getting rid of Clegg and winning back the Liberal Democrats for what they used to stand for”

    I despise Clegg as much as the next man (and most next men seem to heartily) so in many ways I wish you luck.

    But aren’t you caught in a terrible paradox, though?

    Under Clegg and his acolytes you achieved power but didn’t know what to do with it. It just became your leadership “being ” something, not “doing” something. The fame , the cars, the red boxes. As the nation collapses around their ears..

    But if you rediscover your roots, and ideological purity you will lose power. No-one will vote for you.

    Or are you guys SO in denial that you really think the crackpot ideas I read on here are anything but insanely unpopular with the nation at large?

  • @simon: The Liberal Democrats may be unpopular, but liberal ideas are not just popular, they are the very lifeblood of the nation. Other parties are able to advance largely in proportion to the implementation of ideas they filch from the liberal pot. Extreme right parties like UKIP achieve an evanescent popularity, not because of their anti-liberal ideas, but because they are the last men standing when other parties have been written off. Should they ever be in a position to have to govern, their popularity will plummet far faster then the Lib Dems’; because rhetoric evoking a misty imperial past would be too thin a veil to cloak their reactionary ideology and neofascist roots.

  • “If we want to cut the deficit, we have to do it by taking money from those who have it. ”

    That always works so well in practice. From Hollande today, back to Denis Healey squeezing the rich “till the pips squeak” that has always led to economic success, ne c’ est pas?

    The problem with your argument is the Laffer curve. Actually there are LOTS of problems with this simplistic soak the rich class warfare, but that is the most obvious one,

    It doesn’t even work in its own terms.

  • I remember a constituent we worked with having to get two buses in a wheelchair to get to his benefits assessment. Have we lost the plot? There is plenty of money out there. We need to tax spending on things people don’t really need – dining out, luxury goods, holidays etc and tell them it’s so we can help people who are really struggling. I think we need to make people understand how tough life is for some people and not be ashamed of that.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDilettante Eye 23rd Feb - 9:24am
    “Defending their values is hard mental work that involves playing fast and loose with the law of the land and cherrypicking facts or dismissing inconvenient...
  • User Avatarnvelope2003 23rd Feb - 9:17am
    Malc Poll: Is that your real name ? Your comments are not easy to follow because of the number of typing errors. I assume 2/3...
  • User AvatarSteve Trevethan 23rd Feb - 9:10am
    Might we stand up for Julian Assange? So doing would be standing up for freedom of speech, freedom of reporting, reduction of manipulation of our...
  • User AvatarPaul Murray 23rd Feb - 9:08am
    "Liberal Democrats want to see an open, inclusive, outward looking and optimistic United Kingdom". What parties are campaigning for a "closed, exclusionary, inward looking and...
  • User AvatarAndrew Daer 23rd Feb - 8:53am
    @Rodney Watts. You make a number of interesting and valid points. As Pappe also points out (and Margaret Thatcher almost said the same thing in...
  • User Avatarexpats 23rd Feb - 8:43am
    Katharine Pindar 's young member nailed it with the "to integrate a real, outrage-driven response to poverty into a progressive economic policy and the excellent...