What people are saying about the Liberal Democrat manifesto

 

Let’s have a brief look around the internet to see what people are saying about the Liberal Democrat manifesto:

Independent organisations:

The Institute of Fiscal Studies compared what the 3 main manifestos said on education:

Overall, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are committed to protecting a larger part of education spending than are the Conservatives. In addition, the Liberal Democrats are committed to a faster increase in spending than the Conservatives in the period after 2017–18.

Compared with Labour, the Liberal Democrats have only committed to protecting the 2–19 education budget (which they say is currently £49.2bn). Labour have instead committed to protecting the entire Department for Education resource budget (which was £54.2bn in 2014–15 in 2015–16 prices). However, Labour have committed to protecting the education budget in real-terms, whilst the Liberal Democrat commitment currently implies increasing 2–19 education spending by 4.8% in real terms.

Therefore, the Liberal Democrats are protecting a slightly smaller definition of education spending than Labour, but have committed to increasing this by more.

Homeless Charity Crisis, which had grave concerns about Tory plans and worries about Labour’s plans to cut benefits from young people welcomed the Lib Dems’ safety net:

The Liberal Democrats have today made a firm commitment to review the help single homeless get under the law. If it goes ahead, this would be a hugely important step in making sure that every homeless person can get the help they need.  In this day and age, no one should be turned away to sleep on the streets.

We also welcome the proposed review of sanctions, which would be a vital first step in fixing this flawed regime. Evidence is mounting that sanctions can leave people utterly destitute, without money even for food and at severe risk of homelessness. We urgently need a full independent review looking at the appropriateness and effectiveness of the regime, particularly for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

We also welcome the commitments to protect the safety net for young people and to review the amount they receive in housing benefit so that it genuinely reflects the cost of renting. For young people who cannot rely on the support of their parents, housing benefit can be all that stands between them and the streets. Tragically, cuts to this vital support have left growing numbers struggling to keep a rough over their heads.

Lib Dem pundits

Our Stephen Tall pops up at the Times Red Box to explain the strategy behind the manifesto:

Commitments to balance the budget, cut taxes for the low-paid, invest in health and education, and protect the environment have long been trailed. This will disappoint some Lib Dem activists, who yearn for the party to trumpet its radicalism on issues like civil liberties and political reform. But Ryan Coetzee, the party’s chief strategist, knows what appeals to its target market – the “persuadables” who might vote Lib Dem – and is determined to stick relentlessly to the tried-and-tested “stronger economy, fairer society: opportunity for everyone” slogan.

“On message, in volume, over time” has long been Coetzee’s mantra. After all, it’s only when the political obsessives among us are bored with hearing a message that there’s a chance the voting public might have heard it even once.

On the same site, former Special Adviser Sean Kemp said that Clegg’s strategy was the right one:

 Nick Clegg was on good form at the Liberal Democrat manifesto launch today, repeating the party’s key message of this campaign: with no party about to win a majority, who do you trust to form part of a coalition?

In an election where people are understandably obsessed by what each party will have as its negotiation red lines, Clegg has repeated the trick from last time and stuck them on the front page. By a remarkable coincidence, these policies – a balanced budget, income tax cuts, protecting the environment, more education funding and investment in the NHS – are ones that it should be possible to thrash out with a potential coalition partner of the red or blue variety.

And Miranda Green agrees that it wasn’t so much about the policies, it was about Clegg’s message that he was the ideal coalition partner that mattered:

A new contest is being set up – do you want a deputy prime minister from Ukip or the SNP, or the Lib Dems? It’s a high risk strategy – opening up coalition as the number one argument for voting Lib Dem invites another 22 days of questioning on what might happen in negotiations on the other side of polling day.

But with the Conservatives now matching their brazenly uncosted spending pledges with brazenly implausible claims that they will win a majority, it could be crucial in those Lib-Con marginals across the south-west and south-east where having wreckers or ideologues in government frightens the horses.

Lib Dem Bloggers

In the blogosphere, David Boyle says it reads less like a great vision and more like a blueprint for coalition negotiations.

Perhaps the real problem is that it bears the scars from Whitehall battling over five bloody years.  It assumes the existing arrangements, uses the word ‘continue’ rather too much, thinks ahead too little and does not even attempt to inspire.  Its cover emphasises the failure to join up ideas.

Perhaps that is the right strategy this time.  I don’t know.  But for all these reservations, it is a real achievement too.  It is an extraordinarily comprehensive compendium of how we would bend the system, without too many running battles in the corridors of power.  It leaves no doubt – and I realise this was the intention – that everything there is eminently achievable.

It is a hymn of praise to a highly complex system of government, and a commitment to change it a bit.  Yet don’t be under any illusion – if we have a zero-carbon Britain by 2050, and free school meals, and a new Freedom Act, and a network of community level banks, and many other things that are all in there somewhere, the nation will look very different.

Nick Barlow finds it too full of centrist managerialism:

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of extra spending on schools and mental health, as well as the idea of paying less tax – after all, who doesn’t like a government that promises to spend more and tax less? – but when those are coupled with balancing the budget, you’re straying towards the La La Land section of Flip Chart Rick‘s Venn diagram of public spending. Saying ‘cut less than the Conservatives’ shouldn’t be a boast, it’s the minimum commitment for a party that doesn’t want to dismember the state, and these front cover priorities would see other areas cut well beyond the bone to deliver them.

* Newsmoggie – bringing you comment on the Lib Dems whether it's deserved or not

Read more by or more about , , , , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

26 Comments

  • Steve Comer 16th Apr '15 - 5:12am

    ” This will disappoint some Lib Dem activists, who yearn for the party to trumpet its radicalism on issues like civil liberties and political reform. ”
    Its not just ‘Lib Dem activists’ who are dissappointed. Vacating this political territory has mean that people who used to vote for us who care about this issues now have flurescent ‘Vote Green Party’ posters in their windows!

    And I’m afraid the Scottish Lib Dem tail is wagging the dog. Most English people I know don’t think of Alec Salmond as a scary beast. he’s regarded as a competent man who speaks clearly, believes in what he is saying, but is a bit of a ‘card’ and a gambler. No point scaremongering about Alec being Deputy PM – he wouldn’t wnat the job anyway.

    Generally I think the manifesto is OK, the 2005 one was much better, but this one will do for now. The trouble is we’re not promoting the issues raised in it, instead we seem to be defending the concept of coalition government, and being a bit arrogant in saying only we can make it work.

  • The bizarre launch seems to have attracted more media interest.

  • I found the Liberal Democrat Manifesto launch extremely odd.

    Nobody on hear seems to be talking about.

    The live coverage was pretty non existent compared to that of UKIP, whether that’s because the lights went out and Nick used it as a cue to mark a sharp exit, I have no idea.

    I am just so surprised that there is such lack of comments on here about it, or maybe its the case that Manifestos are highly over rated and dont mean much to people these days?

  • I wonder if the poor launch effort was an attempt to save money ?

    & whoever came up with Clegg’s Wizard of Oz line, and the poster should be sacked.
    It was obvious that people would ask who the Lib Dems are if the Tories are heartless and Labour brainless.
    Are the Lib Dems he cowardly lion ? The Wizard conman, or just asleep in the poppy field ? Or Munchkins ?

  • It got good coverage on news at ten. Job done.

  • What are people saying about the Liberal Democrat manifesto? My guess is that 98% of ordinary folk are saying nothing about it.

    Who reads a manifesto of any party?
    The party manifesto is just one of those pantomime rituals that the Westminster Players get up to every election time.

    The average response from the voter?
    “Life is too short…, I have more important things to do….. I’ve got to get the kids off to school….. there is some paint drying which I really must watch first.”

    A manifesto is something the political class do. It is Westminster Bubble stuff.

    Votes in 3 weeks time will be cast by millions of voters from outside the Bubble who will have never looked for or bought or read a manifesto in their lives.

    We knew this in the 1970s when we started instead to do something else, to print leaflets, community newspapers, things called Focus, which we shoved through letter boxes. We attempted to address the real concerns and everyday issues of ordinary people. Over the last ten years we have drifted away from that community-based, DIY politics and the party has become a creature of the TV studio and the fake photo-opportunity and glib lines from The Wizard of Oz.

    When we were listening to and working with people at local level, they started to get into the habit of trusting us and voting for us.
    Now of course we are a “Party of Government” and far too busy and important to dirty our hands with ordinary voters; we have a man to analyse their views via the terribly clever software that we have shipped in from the USA. We spent a “small fortune” on that activity.

    The results of this change of approach can be seen in the opinion polls.
    No amount of whooping and cheering by a small and carefully selected group of the inner circle when Clegg says the magic words “heart” and “brain” will change wht the voter think.

    The top of the party today seems to be populated by Munchkins.
    They may be delighted to dance down the yellow brick road to see the Wizard of Clegg but ordinary voters are not.

  • I’m someone who likes to have the manifesto and have sent off for a hard copy. Looking at the PDF it’s abundantly clear that the index has not been done well. The index tells me that libraries are on page 135: there are scattered mentions, but the main paragraph seems to be on page 137. According to the index, Zero hours contracts should be on page 48, but are in fact on page 46. Dementia is supposed to be on page 72, but is actually on page 74 = nothing at all on page 72.

    It looks as if someone has compiled the index from a different version of the document.

  • John Tilley – “We knew this in the 1970s when we started instead to do something else, to print leaflets, community newspapers, things called Focus, which we shoved through letter boxes. We attempted to address the real concerns and everyday issues of ordinary people. Over the last ten years we have drifted away from that community-based, DIY politics and the party has become a creature of the TV studio and the fake photo-opportunity and glib lines from The Wizard of Oz.”

    Oh Lord preserve us from baby boomers harping on about how wonderful the 1970s were. They weren’t.

    Badly Roneoed pieces of paper shoved through a letter box don’t cut it these days, John – even the most scuzzy pizza delivery firm has better-produced literature. I’ve delivered to houses where the letterbox goes straight into the recycling bin.

  • Metro, the free paper which lots of people in London read on their way to work, had rather more about the UKIP launch than about ours. And yes, they did mention that the bus broke down, that the power failed and that Nick had to hitch a lift to the launch.

  • John Minard 16th Apr '15 - 1:39pm

    I guess a Manifesto is necessary but right now the Lib Dems have a huge credit deficit and blame credit for coalition policies over the past 5 years. Other opposition parties like the Greens and SNP are talking of wielding power from the opposition benches with formal or informal confidence and supply arrangements – arguing that a vote for them can be effective and they will keep their hands clean unlike the Lib Dems.

    Be honest, publish what you think you might have achieved with such an arrangement size by side with what you did achieve in coalition. The Tories almost own the increased personal allowance policy – time to get your credit back.

  • Julian Tisi 16th Apr '15 - 2:07pm

    “whoever came up with Clegg’s Wizard of Oz line, and the poster should be sacked”
    On the contrary, the line was brilliant. It generated such a frenzy on social media that even opponents were repeating it in order to ridicule it in some way. But what a way to cut-through with an easy to remember message. Very impressive. I’m only sad they didn’t add “follow the yellow brick road” – OK, no, maybe not!

  • Julian Tisi 16th Apr '15 - 2:09pm

    Also, the Lib Dem manifesto was the top story on the BBC news site all day. Specifically, the line “it’s either me, Salmond or Farage” – another genius line.

  • Julian Tisi 16th Apr ’15 – 2:09pm ………………… Specifically, the line “it’s either me, Salmond or Farage” – another genius line…………….

    I don’t know about that. In the Guardian comments someone had written, “If you had two bullets, and a choice of Nick Clegg, Alec Salmond and Nigel Farage, who would you shoot?” To which some wag replied, “I’d shoot Clegg twice”….

  • Expats – which says far more about the commentators to the Grauniad website than it does about Nick Clegg. The Left have always had this “cut your nose off to spite your face” streak; its not attractive.

  • Tabman 16th Apr ’15 – 2:41pm……Expats – which says far more about the commentators to the Grauniad website than it does about Nick Clegg. The Left have always had this “cut your nose off to spite your face” streak; its not attractive……

    How is your ‘humour bypass’ working out….Although, if it had been about Milliband, I’m sure you’d have seen the funny side…

  • Peter Hayes 16th Apr '15 - 4:25pm

    Expats and Tabman, since the Telegraph and Times went pay to view the Guardian gets so many trolls from right and left the below the line comments are rarely worth the time

  • Expats. For a humour bypass to work, the remark has to be humorous in the first place.

    I think Miliband is a joke but that’s a different kind of joke.

  • expats 16th Apr ’15 – 2:29pm
    ….., “If you had two bullets, and a choice of Nick Clegg, Alec Salmond and Nigel Farage, who would you shoot?” To which some wag replied, “I’d shoot Clegg twice”….

    Which is possibly the funniest thing that Paddy Ashdown has ever said.

  • The manifesto launch got us 10 minutes of quite positive coverage at the front end of news at Ten last night. I’ll be surprised if there isn’t a short-term 2-3% poll bounce, but it is whether it is maintained which matters.

  • JohnTilley 16th Apr ’15 – 4:50pm…….expats 16th Apr ’15 – 2:29pm
    ….., “If you had two bullets, and a choice of Nick Clegg, Alec Salmond and Nigel Farage, who would you shoot?” To which some wag replied, “I’d shoot Clegg twice”….Which is possibly the funniest thing that Paddy Ashdown has ever said….

    I went back and looked….The poster was one Tim.F…I’m still trying to work out who it could be…

  • Eddie Sammon 16th Apr '15 - 6:00pm

    Lib Dem policy to cap party donations to £10,000 per person per year comes across as a self-serving policy which will actually reduce the vibrancy of our democracy.

    Trade Unions and big taxpayers deserve their say. Tackle inequality, but don’t micro manage what people can spend their money on.

    Regards

  • There’s an interesting exercise on the BBC election website. Pick your own manifesto. I wish they had not revealed the owner of each policy until afterwards but if you can be honest it may yield unexpected results. In my case I chose 7 topics. 3 policies selected were Lib Dem, 2 were UKIP (Transport and Education), 1 Tory, 1 Respect (Immigration). That would be quite a post-election Coalition. Could it last 5 years… I was really surprised to have agreement with UKIP and Respect in some areas. More surprised that the Lib Dem manifesto just didn’t grab me across the board though it did win on a FPTP and STV basis, Most surprised that I did not select a single Labour policy despite having lent them my vote in 97 and 01.

  • Eddie Sammon: “Lib Dem policy to cap party donations to £10,000 per person per year comes across as a self-serving policy which will actually reduce the vibrancy of our democracy.”

    I don’t pretend that I know what Eddie means by “vibrancy,” but to me a “democracy” in which the voices and influence of the very wealthy can drown out those of thousands of the less wealthy is neither “vibrant” nor democratic. If it were up to me the cap would be much, much lower.

  • Philip Thomas 17th Apr '15 - 7:42am

    “Lib Dem policy to cap party donations to £10,000 per person per year comes across as a self-serving policy which will actually reduce the vibrancy of our democracy.

    Trade Unions and big taxpayers deserve their say. Tackle inequality, but don’t micro manage what people can spend their money on.

    Regards”

    A Trade Union is not a person. I’m undecided about the suggested system (I think it might need increased state political funding to work) but it is easy for the Trade Union to get round it- just ask all their members to donate.

  • The opinion polls are the best judge of the effectiveness of our manifesto launch and our campaign to date.So far apart from a few double figures after the first debate,the polls are pretty static around the 8% level.
    Given that we were pretty invisible during the coalition government, you would expect better than that, but our publicity since the dissolution on the 30TH March has not really made much difference.

  • I watched last night’s ‘Question Time’….. When Jo Swinson, in trying to defend Nick Clegg’s absence from the earlier political debate, stated, “David Cameron stopped Nick from appearing”. Yvette Cooper’s riposte of, “So, when Dave Cameron told Nick he couldn’t come, he didn’t”….

    A cheap shot but it got the biggest cheer of the evening. Sadly, that perceived impression is why the party is doing so badly…

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

    No recent comment found.