Thursday, September 18, 2008

Has Cleggs’ Tax Cutting strategy bombed?

Earlier this month Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg shocked the political world by declaring that he intended the make the Lib Dems into a ‘tax cutting’ party.

In a carefully orchestrated series of public announcements leading up to his conference speech yesterday Mr Clegg has sought to abandon the Lib dems ‘more left than Labour’ position.

For years his party has made great store by being the only party to claim that the only way to get top class public services is to cough up lots more money in taxes; a penny on tax for education, a 50p top rate for those on £100,000 and a 4p in income tax to replace the hated council tax are three such policies.

At a stroke Clegg has U turned his party and is now saying the same thing we Tories said at the last election – that the public services are bloated and wasteful. His claim is that what the country needs is £20bn in tax cuts and he can find this in efficiency savings is almost exactly what we said in 2005 – a claim that was comprehensively rubbished by his party at the time, and also by the electorate who clearly decided that substantial cost savings are easy to talk about but impossible for any politician to actually deliver.

Unfortunately for Clegg his road to Damascus conversion coincided with reports that he is to abandon most of his Southern seats and to instead try and win Labour seats in the North; and of course to do this you need Conservative-minded voters to vote tactically in places where “only the Lib Dems can beat Labour”.

So it was no more than a wafer thin attempt to say anything necessary to win votes where Lib dems think they need them.

Most political parties expect a ‘conference bounce’ – but for the Lib dems their average poll rating – already a fifth down on their 2005 level of support- dropped from 17% before the conference to just 12% yesterday, according to the latest one from MORI.


Anonymous said...

But oh dear Marcus, they're on 20% with You Gov.

Anonymous said...

Bet it's less than 20% in Torbay though.....

Anonymous said...

21% now

anyone but the tories said...

Marcus crowing too early once more ?

Oh instead of 'dissing' Adrian after the contretemps in Bournemouth, why not ask that his fellow Tory Anthony Steen comes clean with a full disclosure of his parliamentary finances and that Giles Chichester be brought to book for his own 'mistakes'. Funny how Marcus 'forgets' such matters isn't it ?

Marcus Wood said...

Oh come on, this is ridiculous.

Do you really think that I am not entitled to comment when the local newspaper ask me? Unlike Adrian I presume voters have a right to know what my views are about the big issues, and they don't get much bigger than your MP having a fight with someone on the steps of his party conference.

Anonymous said...

ABTT your anti tory bias makes you blind.

Giles Chichester has been cleared of any wrongdoing and Anthony Steens daughter is now off his payroll. You seem to have conveniently 'forgotten' that it is Mr Sanders' who is still employing Cllrs Darling and Pentney plus Mrs Sanders; and who is still not saying how much he pays them all (but it totals around £80 grand a year).

Marcus Wood said...

Anonymous, for the record I am not certain Mr Sanders does still employ Ruth Pentney any more - I have a feeling she is employed by the local party these days.

My understanding is that Cllr Darling works as a case worker and Mrs Alison Sanders is his secretary.

You are right that we don't know what they earn but that issue has been explored ad nausiam, without anyone being any the wiser, and I am not about to re-start it here.