Where do the Liberal Democrats go from here? — May 9, 2012

Where do the Liberal Democrats go from here?

It’s hard to avoid the kicking the Liberal Democrats once again received in the Local Elections last week. Lots of hard working Liberal Democrat councillors sadly lost their jobs. Many in Labour and UKIP are rejoicing and predicting (hoping) that the Liberal Democrats will be all but wiped out in the 2015 General Election.

Since switching from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats last week I have been asked to explain why I feel jumping to a sinking ship is a good idea. So here we go…

Firstly, it is silly to assume that the Liberal Democrats are a sinking ship. Anti-Government sentiment is a regular occurrence, this types of voting patterns are nothing new, nor were they exclusive to the Liberal Democrats. I firmly believe that in 2015 the Liberal Democrats will increase the number of seats they have in the House of Commons. David Laws succinctly summarises why in the Financial Times.

“The coalition still has the potential to be one of the great reforming governments of the postwar era. The changes we are making in education, welfare and pensions are radical and right. The country will judge us over our full term and not on the basis of a turbulent few weeks of “here today, gone tomorrow” headlines. But after five years, we must show we have made the right decisions on the economy and got Britain back on track. That must be the coalition’s overriding obsession in the year ahead.” ~ David Laws

As I mentioned in my last post the Liberal Democrats have a LOT to shout about come 2015. Policies such as reducing the tax burden for the poorest in society. Increasing pensions by inflation, earnings or 2.5% (dependent on which is the highest). The £2.5bn Pupil Premium. Ensured that costly and illiberal ID cards were scrapped. Today in the Queen’s Speech their policy to break up the retail and investment arms of banks was announced. If you want more then head to: http://www.whatthehellhavethelibdemsdone.com/ which shows the huge number of pre-election promises the Liberal Democrats have ALREADY met.

These policies are Liberal Democrat policies, inevitably the Conservatives will attempt to hijack them and call them “Coalition policies” but Liberal Democrat politicians and door-steppers must stress that these were Liberal Democrat policies.

The Liberal Democrats haven’t had the same type of ministerial experience that Labour and the Conservatives have had and we must seek to build on that. We have some fantastic politicians waiting in the wings for some real big positions. Obviously I’m a huge fan of David Laws, but there is also Jeremy Browne who is a similar, classic liberal who is one to watch. I am of course new to the Party and not as well educated about the beliefs of each MP – but this I look forward to finding out more about my new Party.

Come 2015 I hotly anticipate another round of Clegg-mania when he finally gets a chance to really stand up for the Liberal Democrats successes in this Government. When the electorate are given a chance to distinguish between Liberal Democrat and Coalition policy, I fully expect the Liberal Democrats to come out on top.

Trying to second guess Ed Balls’ logic — April 18, 2012

Trying to second guess Ed Balls’ logic

I might be being overly generous here, but perhaps Ed Balls is playing a political master-stroke today.

He and the ever grating Rachel Reeves have tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill which will be debated today. His proposal which you can read here will remove the 45p tax band from 2013. Leaving the top rate of tax officially undecided, or 40p, the next highest band.

But maybe, just maybe it’s a clever move by Balls. Surely the Conservative’s will have to oppose the move, because they have just published a budget calling for a 45p tax band. If they could have afforded to cut the band to 40p, surely they would have done so? So, by calling out the Tories to back a 40p band and then them backing higher taxes, can Balls and Miliband spin their cock up against Osborne and Cameron. Tories voting in favour for higher taxes (as opposed to Labour’s scrapping off it) won’t sit well if it comes out in the media with grass root voters.

As I said, maybe I’m just being kind, maybe its yet another cock up by the ever incompetent Keynesian. After all, they did technically abstain on the bill in the past.

Tax cuts for the rich; pay cuts for the poor — March 18, 2012

Tax cuts for the rich; pay cuts for the poor

Same old Tories, ey? Well, only if you believe the spin that the Left are pedalling.

The 2012 Budget has caused a lot of debate already, and its not officially announced until Wednesday. But lets have a look at two policies that almost seem certain to be included in George Osborne’s budget.

Cutting the 50p tax rate

There has been a lot of speculation over the past month that Osborne is set to cut the 50p tax band. His reasoning for this is that en masse people have avoided paying the tax. To clarify, tax avoidance is legal. Now you can complain that those avoiding tax are morally bankrupt and avoiding paying their dues to society until the cows come home, but regardless, its still going to happen. The tax rate was introduced by the last Labour Government as a temporary measure to raise extra revenue for the state. And yet, it is rumoured that this isn’t the case. Rumours are that the Treasury is losing out on £500m a month due to tax avoidance. By lowering the tax rate, the Government hopes to recoup more tax, which can then be used to redistributed to those most in need. £6bn a year is a hell of a lot of money! Even if these rumours turn out to be unfounded, if it turns out the 50p tax rate is losing even a penny in revenue for the Treasury it should be cut. To keep the 50p tax band would be a shambolic symbol that we in Britain are against success, we envy the rich and we oppose wealth creation. So yes, it is a tax cut for the rich, but when the dust has settled it will be society who has benefited.

Ending National Pay Bargaining

On Saturday it was announced that the Government would end National Pay Bargaining. The Public Sector in the UK is a sacred cow, much like the NHS. Any reform is met with staunch criticism. Six million people are employed by the state, a figure that in itself is incredible. In some areas in the UK public sector workers are paid 18% more than their private sector counterparts. Inequalities between the two sectors causes tensions between people. The details of the policy are still very sketchy, but localised pay should be praised, not blindly opposed. Public sector workers in the South East need to be paid more than their counterparts in the North East, it is common sense. The costs of living between the two regions are diametrically different, so it makes sense that their pay should be separated.

So there we go, don’t believe the torrid nonsense about the same old nasty Tories, put your brain into gear and see what the policies are really about!