Friday, July 18, 2008

Well I agree with you, Nick.

£20bn in spending cuts and tax cuts for the lowest paid - a brilliant proposal yesterday from Nick Clegg (or Cameron Lite as he has become rather cruelly known in some circles).
I couldn't agree more, in fact I was standing for election just two years ago on exactly that platform - cut taxes by £20bn through efficiency savings and spend some of the money on raising the income tax threshold to take the lowest paid out of income tax altogether, proposals which Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson David Laws bitterly criticised, describing them as "implausible and undeliverable". He said at the time: "We don't believe these plans are achievable and nor do the majority of the British public."

What a difference 24 months - three leaders and a third off your polling numbers make, eh?

Now the very same people who brought you 4p on your income tax and a 50p top tax rate are new converts to a new world of lower taxes and swingeing £20bn spending cuts - not sure where from, but no doubt their very own financial wizard (er, don't you mean 'magician' - Ed.) Vince Cable will enlighten us eventually.

I think this potential change in strategy is a wise reaction to the London/C&N/Henley results. Clearly the Lib Dems cannot hope to beat the Conservatives in a face off against them and their best bet of maintaining a credible number of MP’s is to look to make gains in the North to compensate for losses in the South.

I do wonder how all those Labour voters who supported the Lib Dems in seats like Torbay will view Nick Cleggs rightwing conversion, but he must have thought that one through and decided he doesn't need them.


Anonymous said...

Clearly, the Yellow Peril can propose anything they want nationally, safe in the knowledge they'll never get elected and never have to imnplement anything. Whatsoever. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Clegg has stolen a march on the Tories, it’s hardly encouraging to hear Osborne say he will stick to Labour spending plans. Is the only difference between Labour and Tories to be a promise to manage the shop in the same way but with better managers?

£20 FT billion (that’s 2 billion in British English) is 3% of Govt spending, so you’ll easily find that in efficiency savings with this spend, spend, spend government. It won’t go down badly with Labour voters because it is broadly re-distributive – albeit proportionately helping the middle income earners more than the really low paid.

The Lib Dems have an increasingly impressive Treasury team, the only criticism of this policy I have is, it isn’t ambitious enough. Never the less the tax proposals along with the cutting on regulations are reflecting the mood of the country, they won’t be running the country after the next GE, but I suspect news of their demise are greatly exaggerated. No wonder today’s Sunday Telegraph’s marginal seats poll suggests a awesome Tory victory but with the Lib Dems holding on toTorbay.

Marcus Wood said...

Nobody can afford to take the electorate for granted and we Conservatives assume that the fight in Torbay is going to be tight to the wire but even still, either you didn't actually read the Telegraph Poll or you are unusually optimistic, even for a Lib Dem supporter.

By almost any measure on this and all other current polling information the Lib Dems look set to lose not just all nine of the marginal seats included in the survey but most of their South West seats - and they would lose Torbay quite comfortably with the reduction of 3.5% in their vote against the last time this survey was done (last year), even without the 11% increase in the Tory vote that the survey is also reporting.

There is a long time to go till the next election and nobody can know how it will turn out- that is why election night is so exciting - but I remain puzzled by the Lib Dems apparent confidence that they can hold on to all their 1997 gains when the evidence all around - opinion polls, falling membership, dwindling activist base, and actual election results in locals and by elections suggests the opposite.