Monday, September 21, 2009

Wherever next
for the
Lib dems?

The Lib Dem conference is always a bit of fun for political watchers, there is the feeling that they are the warm-up act for the Conference season proper.

In past times they have exploited this opportunity to float the kind of really 'reasonable' policy ideas that have most people saying 'what a good idea, why don't any of the other parties do that?' - these are usually policies that sound great coming from a party that will never be in Government but wouldn't stand up to five minutes scrutiny if they were put forward by anyone else.

However this year the gift seems to have completely left them. Their policy announcements so far have been contradictory, deeply divisive and electorally daft.

So far this year the Lib Dems have talked about the need for 'savage' cuts in public services yet while offering tiny cuts in services have two single proposals alone that would cost an extra £25,000,000,000 to implement:- abolishing student fees and raising the income tax threshold to £10,000.

To 'fully fund' these pledges they have proposed a 'super tax' on houses worth over £1m. This astonishing idea comes from the party that has fought four elections on a promise to abolish the 'unfair' council tax and replace it with a local income tax. Even Lib Dems admit this would 'only' raise £1bn.

And even the briefest analysis of the proposal leaves a stack of questions, who would value the property? What would you do about people who happen to have a valuable property but who are income poor (common amongst pensioners, especially in high value property areas like London and the South East), how much would the tax cost to collect?

Recognising the lack of credibility in their positioning Nick Clegg has volunteered that the pledge to abolish student fees may have to go, causing uproar and an intervention from his popular predecessor Charles Kennedy.

So far Nick Clegg has annoyed students, pensioners and public service workers - three of the most important sectors of the community for his party.

So far this Parliament nine Lib Dem parliamentary candidates have switched to the Conservatives. Listening to Clegg on the Today programme this morning I did wonder for a fleeting moment whether he might be about to make it ten.


anyone but the torbay tories said...

Unlike your party it is members that agree or reject policy positions. Lib Dem conference is the democratic policy making forum, unlike the cheerleading week long rally you have.

When you have debate you have disagreements sometimes. That is better that the impossibility of engaging in debate and policy making that rank and file Tories experience.

How many pensioners in Torbay live in £1m houses eh Marcus ? Lots in the bay would benefit from the lifting of the tax threshold which nationally would take 4 million out of taxation. That is what progressives, like the Lib Dems do, increasing inheritance tax levels to benefit the wealthier is what the Tories do.

Oh, and how 'progressive' are your new Euro chums Marcus ?

Eric Pickles, can call himself progressive and liberal, but saying it makes it no more true than me insisting I'm a banana.

Vote Blue = get Thatcherism recycled. Vote Lib Dem and get progressive taxation, protection of civil liberties and environmental action.

Just look at the laughable Bye, the odious Carroll and egregious Lewis to realise how little the Tories have changed. All of these have been enthusiastically supported by you Marcus.

Your party even managed to bully the council group Political Assistant out of a job - the nasty party indeed.

Marcus Wood said...

On the news, in the papers - even on the Lib Dems own blog it is clear that many delegates and members were unhappy with the conference.

Why is it that in pointing this out you resort to such unpleasantness?

Sticking your tongue out and blowing raspberries at your opponents says so much more about your party than I ever could.

You are busy calling local councillors 'odious' while your leaders call us 'skinheads' and 'con-men' - is this really the kind of adult debate you always say you want?

The Mansion tax was a cock-up at every level, on the one hand the Lib Dems have been claiming for years that the poll tax is unfair "because it takes no account of peoples ability to pay" and then you propose this. Also, all the evidence is that Cable had not done his research, not worked out how the tax would be collected, how properties could be valued and by who, or how much the tax would generate in revenue.

Taking 4 million out of tax by raising thresholds is something that will cost £12bn, the house tax will raise £1bn at best.

This is really all about resenting suffessful people, hating the rich, something that Lib Dems used to try and rise above - but clearly not any more.

Anonymous said...

The American state of New York instituted a Mansion Tax under Governor Mario Cuomo in 1989, at 1% on properties over $1 million. Approximately 5,440 properties in New York State were affected by the mansion tax in the last fiscal year, raising $141.5 million in taxes. The NY mansion tax does differ from Cable's idea, nevertheless, the principle of taxing high value properties is the same, and it works.

Real estate brokers, say the mansion tax has been little deterrent for buyers of such homes. ''They don't like it, but they know they have to pay it,'' according to Benita Cohen, a vice president for the Corcoran Group. The main complaint about the mansion tax is it needs recalibrating; a $1million property in 1989 would now cost about $2.5 million.