The Lib Dems want more power

 

Mr Clegg’s “appeal” is based on the pursuit of power for its own sake. He tells us he can form a coalition after 2015 with either Mr Cameron or Mr Miliband.  That shows how elastic his principles have become.Indeed, he argues that any coalition with Lib dems would be better than any other possible government.

It means, for example,  that he could either support a government renegotiating our relationship with the EU and then undertaking a crucial referendum on that topic, or a government which thinks the current big range of powers held by the EU is just fine, with no need for a referendum.

It means he could either support a government which intends to complete the job of removing the budget deficit by squeezing the growth rate in public spending, or support a government which thinks the UK should spend and borrow more.

It means he could either support a government which thinks current rates of tax on the so called rich are high enough, or join one which wishes to raise wealth taxes, impose a Mansion Tax and raid pension funds further.

It means his party can either support a party which wants cheaper energy and wishes to back shale gas exploitation, or supports a party which signed up to the entire EU dearer energy agenda and wanted to increase fuel duties considerably more than this government has allowed.

It was useful to find out this week  that the Lib Dems think anyone earning more than £50,000 a year is well off and should pay more tax. Surely income levels need to be related to the cost of living and the cost of housing in different areas.

I trust the Conservative Manifesto will not only wish to go further in easing the tax burden on all on lower incomes as part of the continuing reforms to make work pay, but will also wish to ease the tax squeeze on the middle. The 40% tax rate starts at too low an income so  the threshold  needs to be amended.

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61 Comments

  1. Alte Fritz
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    Yes, the Lib Dems made a sad sorry spectacle. Maybe they want to save on the cost of printing a manifesto?

  2. Brian Taylor
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Raising the 40% tax threshold would be a good idea but would reduce the pension subsidy from 40% to 20% for those unless you reduce pension subsidy to the standard tax rate for all???

  3. lifelogic
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    So Clegg says he can form a coalition after 2015 with either Mr Cameron or Mr Miliband.

    Well what is the difference, Cameron and Miliband are both fake green, quack energy, pro EU, tax, borrow, over regulate and endless government waste socialists. True Miliband is also the voice of the state sector unions, but the difference is so small in reality anyway.

    Unless the MP numbers are such that, as currently, a Labour/Libdem coalition would be difficult they will surely go with Labour.

    Hopefully there will be so few Libdems after the next election anyway. I do not think their members will allow a Tory one again easily.

    Anyway it looks as though the Tories will be third in the 2014 MEP elections, so I rather doubt it will be anything but an outright Labour victory in 2015. I cannot see that Labour will be much worse than Cameron. After all he is not a Tory in any real sense. Miliband will finally get his act together and give some EU promises if he needs to.

    Miliband might even be trusted on the EU issue if he makes promises, unlike the ratter Cameron. I do not suppose a promise from Osborne on IHT £1M thresholds, at the next election, will carry much weight this time, after his pathetic ratting.

    Cameron has doomed the UK to Miliband and continued suffocation under the undemocratic, expensive energy and anti-growth EU.

  4. Martyn G
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    John, an apt summarisation of a person and presumably also perhaps a Party bereft of political principle and morals whose aim is simply to hang on to power.

  5. Julian
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    The gap between John Redwood and the Labour Party is reasonably wide but the gap between Conservative and Labour considerably less so. Both parties have increased the public debt hugely. David Cameron wanted to embark on a Blair-like foreign escapade in Syria. Cameron didn’t want a referendum on Europe any more than Miliband did – he was dragged into it. And where is the party that wants to haul in the US ambassador (our supposed ally) and complain that all UK customers of Google, Yahoo, Apple and Microsoft have all their data automatically collected by the NSA?

    Historically, we seem to be at a point where there is very little difference between the parties. I’m sure the Lib Dems feeling they could support either Conservative or Labour will be seen as part of this.

  6. Andyvan
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Pardon me if I am mistaken but wasn’t it the current Conservative chancellor that increased the tax burden on lower and middle incomes? So if a future Tory government did cut taxes it would not be “going further” but actually reversing it’s own policy of squeezing the productive as hard as possible to avoid having to current the gigantic, profligate and unproductive public sector.
    The Conservative party have not been tax cutters for a very long time and is far more like Blair’s gang than Mrs Thatchers. Clegg is merely reflecting the fact that there is not much of substance that differs between the parties except rhetoric and vague promises on the EU.

    Reply The current Chancellor has cut Income tax for lower incomes by raising the tax threshold substantially.

    • Hope
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Lib dem policy not Tory according to Clegg. Over 300 tax rises by introduced by dear George.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    I joined the LibDems in the 1990s thinking (wrongly) that they were 19th century Liberals – laissez faire etc – and Democratic.
    They are neither. I felt trapped in a dictatorship with very, very few principles.
    So I heartily agree with what you have written.

  8. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    My Clegg could argue, that whilst he was in a coalition consisting of any political leaning ,that he would push the LD’s agenda through and furthermore the more free and independent votes in the house, would be truly democratic.
    The principles of being free to choose and yet working within the concerns which the majority have, , definitely wooed me into thinking about coalitions of all types, as in this way major issues like the Syrian interventions could be overturned. This however doesn’t make me automatically vote for any one party as we have to look at how politicians work and use a little insight combined with retrospective performance.
    In the past the politicians were able to sway the public with high sounding rhetoric. The close relationship with the media and the growing scepticism of the populous in general enable a slightly more transparent view of politics.
    You yourself Mr Redwood were brought into politics in a different environment and although you are learned in your speciality and aware of all political moves, the lady today would have to be for turning. The cynical Brits who have witnessed much corruption in the last 30 years also play the ‘ house of cards game.’

    Reply Mr Clegg was a strong supporter of military intervention in Syria – 81 Conservative MPs including myself were not, and that changed it when Miliband switched sides.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      That may be , however my point is , that truly to be democratic and taking into consideration various points of view from different manifestos , coalitions may mediate. Whipping may be overturned in this way.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    The Conservative Manifesto will need to make it clear which policies could definitely not be sacrificed during negotiations for a coalition government, with the presumption that there could be some flexibility for those not explicitly identified as non-negotiable.

  10. Roger Farmer
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    His speech yesterday was among the most cringe worthy I have heard for a long time.
    His analysis of the result for Britain on leaving the political EU had the certainty of the big lie akin to the best efforts of (wicked spin doctors ed). The arrogant fool thinks that overnight 3 million jobs will be destroyed in the UK. In terms of trade the EU needs us more than we need them, that is the way the balance is. Handled properly after the invoking of Article 50 we re- join EFTA and nothing changes.
    His speech should be looked upon as a desperate effort to ensure his own survival until destruction at the 2015 election, after which he can trot off to some inflated job in Brussels.
    He tried to sell himself as the guardian of all things fair and British while overlooking his duplicity over boundary changes in constituencies which with boundaries as they stand skews the election far from the democratic one it should be.
    I hope the electorate have the vision to see him for what he is and discard him to the (dustbin ed) of history.

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Looking at your list it is clear that in all of them the LibDems support the Labour view rather than the Conservative one. However, if the electoral arithmetic means another coalition with your party then being in power trumps all. No surprise that Clegg wants one constant in government viz. his party, that is why he wanted a change to the voting system to make it more likely. This week the LibDems have shown complete public contempt for your party and its leadership. The sad thing is that Cameron has more empathy with Clegg than he does with members of his own party because, guess what, Cameron is also intent on the pursuit of power for its own sake.

  12. Tony Short
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    All this is quite true John , and yet the Tories have no problem forming a coalition with the Lib Dems who are the antithesis of everything conservative. Anybody would think that having spent the last decade abandoning most of their conservative policies and then jumping at any opportunity to form a government, that they were the last people to lecture the Lib Dems on the pursuit of power for it’s own sake. What was it Groucho Marx said about principles?

  13. Leslie Singleton
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    The idea of the Liberals thinking they have some sort of self-appointed right to act in a permanent supervisorial role over other Parties is so preposterous that I reckon, certainly hope, that even those daft enough to have voted for the modern Liberals in the past will now think again. And I agree with those who have immediately said that Clegg’s boasting about vetoing so much that was in the Conservative Party manifesto , much of which was wanted by volumes of voters that he can only dream about, was a truly daft and counterproductive thing to say. And now they are just plainly trying to buy votes with free school meals…….even for people who can pay and want to pay maybe hundreds of times over.

  14. oldtimer
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    You have defined Mr Clegg`s centre ground very clearly. It is self serving double speak for his aim to remain in government, to enjoy the perks of office, by allying the LibDems with whichever other party has a majority of seats. That end justifies his means of trying to sit on the fence on every issue. It means that anything he or his party say to the electorate is even more meaningless and untrustworthy than usual. The reality of LibDem policy is office for its own sake.

  15. Bert Young
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Pulling a piece of elastic in one direction and then another will inevitably break it . The position of the LibDems and the Clegg plea yesterday clearly show how scared they are ; they are a spent force in British politics and have no appeal left of any credibility to the voting public . Now is the time for the Conservatives to do a deal with UKIP ; the right wing of the party have to be satisfied that it is their stand on Europe that will prove an election winner . Cameron must give ground .

  16. Edward2
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    I noticed the Lib Dems now think anyone earning £50,000 per year is “very rich” and need taxing even more.
    Presumably a home where there are 2 adults both earning £49,000 per year and has two children living with them who are also working and earning, are not “very rich”.
    Whereas a similar family where only one person in the home is working and brings in £51,000 is defined as a “very rich” home.
    Then consider someone living alone in London earning £51,000. Are they really “very rich”?

    Have they forgotten just how much the State already takes off a gross salary figure of £50.000 in Income Tax and NI and that is before paying into a pension scheme which is often compulsory.

    • Bob
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      @Ed2
      “Have they forgotten just how much the State already takes off a gross salary figure”

      After deductions and expenses, 50k would probably leave not much better off than someone at the “benefits cap” level, and by living on bennies you don’t need to get out of bed on a cold Monday morning (or any other day of the week).

  17. Richard1
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Were we to have PR, the LibDems would be permanently in Govt. I think such is their fatuousness that if there was a referendum on PR (which would be their price for the next coalition) people would reflect on that & they would probably lose it.

    Can anyone explain why Vince Cable remains in the Govt? If he really hates the Tories as much as he says he does, and doesn’t agree with the thrust of economic policy, then he should give up his ministerial car, red box and salary and stand up for what he says he believes in. His behaviour is hypocritical and dishonourable.

  18. A different Simon
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    “Lib Dems think anyone earning more than £50,000 a year is well off ”

    Would they consider someone earning a basic of £35,000 working in the public sector with a taxpayer guaranteed defined benefit pension well off too as that could well be more than a £50,000 salary in the private sector ?

    As you point out , that for Mr Clegg , not just as leader of the Lib Dems but personally , it is all about power as he is totally unencumbered by principles .

    He could just as easily have been party leader of the Conservatives or Labour . He evidently chose Lib Dem’s because he saw an opportunity to get to the top more easily .

    Mr Clegg seems to be a very , very poor mans Wilson ; many sided , two faced but with (less intellect ed).

    I happen to think Cameron is a better P.M. than Clegg could ever be but if he had joined the Conservatives instead that he might have beaten Cameron in a leadership contest .

    The excerpts from his speach yesterday show he is a savvy political operator and put the Conservatives in a precarious position .

    Your party needs to listen to it over and over again because as well as pure opportunist rhetoric for the choir like “greening the country” he also pointed out exactly where your party consistently gets it wrong .

    Now your party has to go all out for a win so why do you insist on scoring so many own goals ?

    If you want to keep Cameron and do the necessary a deal with UKIP then you are going to have to make some concessions .

    Free school meals for all under 7’s is a superb policy in the face of the poor who are continually getting poorer and the school child who starved to death partly due to questions about eligibility because their parent was too bone idle to register their circumstances .

    Constrast it to your own social engineering gimmick of tax breaks for marriage which directly contradicts your parties avowed intention to simplify tax .

  19. English Pensioner
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    The Conservative party should shout at the top of their voices about all the policies that they would have carried out had they not been blocked by the LibDems. It should also make it clear what LibDem policies, like free school meals for three years, is going to cost the taxpayers.
    The Tories seem very bad on “blowing their own trumpet” !

    • uanime5
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Given how many policies the Conservatives have been forced to do a u-turn on it would be unwise to highlight the policies they had to drop because of Lib Dem objections. Especially when they still require Lib Dem cooperation to maintain the coalition.

  20. Richard
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I agree with you that Mr. Clegg’s “appeal” is based upon “the pursuit of power for its own sake”, but then I think this is also true of both Mr. Cameron and Mr. Milliband.

    I think Mr. Clegg is trying to convince the electorate that he could work with either the Conservatives or Labour to control the excesses of both to produce, in his opinion, “a fairer society”.

    Unfortunately for the country most of his party are well to the left of most of the Labour party (Mr. Cable as an example) and hence a coalition between the Liberals and Labour would be a financial and social disaster for the UK.

    • Hope
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      All excellent points which demonstrates quite clearly why Cameron’s judgment is in grave doubt. He should never have gone into coalition if your points are correct. He should have copied Steve Harper and led with a minority, then call an early election to get a majority. He now stands as a total failure with nothing substantial to crow about. He has alienated his supporters in the process. All his main promises broken, U turned or failed to deliver ie EU, economy, tax versus spending cuts, crime and disorder, welfare, education, NHS. You name it he failed to deliver on it. A person who cannot be trusted with anything he says.

  21. Neil Craig
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    “It means his party can either support a party which wants cheaper energy and wishes to back shale gas exploitation”

    That would be the Pseudo-Liberals supporting UKIP then since there is no other party which has not spent decades actively raising energy prices – and creating recession and hundreds of thousands of deliberate pensioner (problems with the cold ed).

  22. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Another Clegg contradiction is that he supported the removal of child allowance from me by making it a means-tested benefit and so more “fair” and earlier in the week announced that as I earn more than £50k I’d need to make a bigger “contribution” – but then he said he’d give me a hand-out of £400 by paying for my child’s “free” school meals. It is absurd – children from poor children already get free school meals so this handout is going exclusively to the better off.

    Presumably his position on education is also entirely flexible being strongly in favour of free schools when in coalition with the Tories and entirely opposed when with Labour.

  23. Peter Stroud
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Excellent points Mr Redwood. Our Prime Minister should make sure that the voters are informed of them. Many, many times, between now and the GE.

  24. A.Sedgwick
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Clegg’s political cheek is breathtaking and Groucho Marx’s classic oneliner – you don’t like my principles, wait I have more – is fitting.

    This is not an unexpected turn of events and it was not very difficult to read his ambition from his first utterances in the Commons. But your leader effectively gave him airtime in the 2010 election, gave away the store in agreeing to a Coalition with four or five LD senior ministers and fixed five year parliaments only overturned by 75% majority(you couldn’t make it up), which again is a high example of personal ambition over conviction politics.

    Cameron as well as guaranteeing a 2015 EU referendum should rule out another LD coalition in any circumstances and no TV debates, which could become a serious contentious issue with UKIP likely to be ahead of LDs in the polls.

    There is another deliciously mischievous scenario – Scotland votes yes and England becomes independent.

  25. peter davies
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    The Lib Dems know they cannot rule on their own but still want power so are willing to pimp themselves to whoever comes along – the language and bile coming out of the mouth of the Business Secretary (whose never had a business) the other day was an absolute disgrace and sums them up for me.

    Their support base is rapidly disappearing so I doubt there will be enough of them left in 2015 to matter. What worries me is that their exodus will boost Labour numbers thus helping form a 2015 Labour led majority which is the last thing the UK needs right now.

    Couple that with the Tory exodus to UKIP and you have 2 distinct groups in UK politics of left and right. The Tory party MUST accept they need to do a deal with UKIP else we are looking at a left wing govt propped up by the few odd balls left in the Lib Dems in 2015.

  26. Dave B
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    “.. a government which intends to complete the job of removing the budget deficit by squeezing the growth rate in public spending”

    So that’s it then. The Conservatives have no intention of reducing government spending. Glad that’s cleared up.

  27. Roger Farmer
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    As an example of political bias and filtered news, the BBC ( Biased Broadcasting Conspiracy) take a lot of beating. The clever bit is that they get the citizens of the UK to pay for it. Yesterday on BBC Parliament it was all Lib/Dem conference which amounted to Clegg’s desperation to stay at the head of his disparate rabble and in future government. Tomorrow begins the UKIP conference. The response of the BBC is to broadcast on BBC Parliament the speech of Nigel Farage but to surround it with regurgitations of the banal drivel of the Lib/Dem conference which ended yesterday.
    How long do we have to tolerate such biased nonsense and pay for it at the same time. Before the end of this year the BBC needs to be gutted of all those deemed responsible for the propaganda machine they are running and no more back scratching pay outs when they go.

  28. Dave B
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    “… a party which wants cheaper energy ”

    Is this supposed to refer to the Conservatives? Have they repealed the ‘green energy’ subsidies that are inflating our energy bills? When did that happen?

  29. behindthefrogs
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Of course the Libdems want to power even if it is an unrealistic expectation.

    However what you completely ignore is that if they go into coalition with another party they would expect to negotiate for some of their manifesto to be adopted by the coalition. Thus in a coalition the Libdems would expect to mediate some of the more extreme differences that you are suggesting they would need to adopt.

  30. Tad Davison
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Well said.

    The Lib Dems also say of themselves that they are a broad church. That’s interesting, as it covers just about any position that might be convenient to them at the time. But there’s no real and consistent direction. Mr Clegg thinks it is ok to give free school meals to the children of people who might be earning many tens of thousands of pounds per annum, whilst some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society, including the disabled, are having their housing benefits cut by £25 per week because of the so-called ‘Bedroom Tax’. A truly massive amount when a person is on the breadline anyway, and believe me, they DO exist.

    And I didn’t hear anything condemnatory from the Lib Dems, about people who deliberately milk the benefits system. My friend was in the South-West recently, and listened to a single woman who already had eight children by different fathers, and was openly boasting about getting pregnant again because she ‘wanted a football team’. She lives in a massive house, paid for by the tax-payer.

    There surely must be a case of ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor. The bedroom tax might be more palatable were it to exclude disabled people who are in a precarious financial predicament through no fault of their own. As I understand it, only those who need round-the-clock care, and pensioners, are presently excluded, and that seems odd, as the ones who are most likely to be living in local authority properties that they don’t really need, are the latter.

    I have heard many commentators lately, who have said that the ‘Bedroom Tax’ will ultimately cost more than it saves because of its unintended consequences. So what the hell is the point of having it in the first place if it isn’t cost effective? Better surely to incentivise, rather than penalise, those who could move, who have no need for a larger property or ties to their local community.

    That, and the fact that many say the Bedroom Tax isn’t going to save any money, would indicate that it’s ideologically-driven, and merely a ploy to drive down the living standards of benefit claimants. Well I’m all for stopping the cheats, but this must be one of the worst pieces of welfare legislation in recent times. It also says the Tories have learned nothing, from the days of the ‘Nasty Party’. So why weren’t the Lib Dems marching on the streets, and manning the barricades, to try to stop it?

    The Lib Dems just don’t get it. In the past, they have been a repository for disaffected voters, but after a period in government, people can now see what they stand for, and indeed, what they don’t stand for! Mr Clegg would like to see himself as ‘The Governor’. The one who would keep in check, the excesses of whatever party the Lib Dems were in coalition with. But their claim to be in favour of fairness, and to champion the rights and living standards of the under-dog, is just hollow just bilge!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  31. uanime5
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Given how similar a lot of Labour, Conservative, and Lib Dem policies are on various issues it would be quite easy for these parties to form a coalition regarding most policies.

    The reason the 40% tax threshold is so low is that your party lowered it to prevent too many people benefiting from the increased personal allowance. Also if your party keeps trying to cut tax credits and other in work benefits then working is unlikely to pay more than not working.

    In other news 50,000 are now facing eviction because of the bedroom tax. Care to explain why the Government is throwing people onto the streets for having too many bedroom, especially when there aren’t any smaller properties available.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-50000-people-are-now-facing-eviction-after-bedroom-tax-8825074.html

    • Terry
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      So-called bedroom tax is not a tax at all. It is a reduction in housing benefits commensurate with the number of underused bedrooms in a council house/flat.
      There are thousands of young people with kids sitting on housing waiting lists yet they are many single persons and couples living in multi-bedroomed council owned properties who receive housing benefits. To relieve the waiting lists, it makes sense to utilise those larger, only partially occupied properties for the larger families. The trick is to find an alternative, somewhere more suitable for the current occupants.

      • uanime5
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        A tax on housing benefit is still a tax.

        As long as there aren’t any small properties for people to move into this tax will continue to cause problems for the Conservatives, as the Conservatives are effectively punishing people for not moving when there’s nowhere for them to move to.

  32. Terry
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Consistently inconsistent Clegg. This man will say anything and do anything to hold onto power. He is addicted to it. I just hope the voters in Sheffield have seen through his two faced facade and will desert him in 2015. These past 3 years have proven that the Libdems are untrustworthy as a party and certainly not fit to Govern this country.

    Cameron has given them an inch and they have taken the proverbial mile. So typical of the socialists.
    I do hope that Dave attacks them during his conference speech next month because not to do so would let them off, again and show weakness. Being a gentleman does not work too well in 2013 especially when your partners are stabbing you in the back.

  33. Mark
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    For a party which has the support of so little of the electorate – perhaps 10% of 60% who might vote – they have extremely self-important views that illustrate the folly of handing casting votes to small minorities via changing the electoral system or the composition of the House of Lords. They seem to have no ambition beyond being a small minority party whose views have undue influence.

    Perhaps if they managed to secure a rather broader electoral remit they would be worth listening to. After the disaster of the last Labour government, the field was wide open to them to demonstrate that they had credible, sensible ideas, and were responsible. This they have failed to do.

    The problem seems to be similar with the other major parties too. Labour have done nothing to clear the decks of those responsible for the bad policies they promoted in government. Conservatives have abrogated real responsibility for sorting out the economy by kowtowing to Lib Dems on energy, taxation, the EU, and much else, and by trying to paper over the cracks of the banking system through trying to generate another property bubble. UKIP have yet to establish a coherent set of policies, rather than simply attacking the policies of the other parties (which is the easy bit).

  34. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Surely income levels need to be related to the cost of living and the cost of housing in different areas.

    But not, apparently, according to all political parties – if you work for the public sector. Apart from a trivial London Weighting – a teacher in Lancashire will earn the same as a teacher in Berkshire. Housing costs in Berkshire at about twice as high but that, it appears, does not matter.

    If you work on the basis that people in the South East can survive – then public sector wages across the rest of the country should either be increased (for those living in London) or decreased – depending on the local housing ‘index’.

    Can we expect such a policy in the next manifesto Mr. Redwood?

    • uanime5
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      The Conservatives are already trying to implement this policy by removing the national wage for teachers. I suspect the result will be the wages of teacher in remote areas being massively increased to try to attract teachers to these schools. Expect chaos as salaries begin to widely vary throughout the country.

  35. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood – if you wish to raise the income tax thresholds higher – both the personal allowance and the threshold for 40% – where will you find the money from to sustain public spending.

    Please don’t say ‘through cuts’. You have not cut spending during the crisis, you are not about to start.

  36. sjb
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    During the 2010 General Election campaign, the LibDems promised to substantially increase the Income Tax threshold.[1] You told us the other day “that Conservatives have been equally enthusiastic about this policy”.[2] I found no mention of this policy anywhere in the Conservative Party’s 2010 Manifesto[3], so it appears the junior partner in the Coalition can be an influence for good.

    The LibDems now want to increase personal allowances further in order to free those on the National Minimum Wage from the burden of Income Tax. It will be interesting to see whether the Tories follow.

    [1] pp18 & 52, Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010
    [2] http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2013/09/15/what-have-the-liberal-democrats-contributed-to-the-coalition/
    [3] Invitation to Join the Government of Britain: The Conservative Manifesto 2010 (pdf version)

    Reply Conservatives are always the tax cutting lower spending party of the 3. I did campaign for tax cuts in 2010, and was happy to support a higher Income Tax threshold as a way of doing that, as that was the one Income Tax cut we could get through Parliament easily.

  37. JoeSoap
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    *the pursuit of power for its own sake*
    Surely your leadership signed up to the coalition on just this basis too?
    Had they had any convictions which required courage, they would have gone back for a working majority in 2010.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:05 am | Permalink

      Indeed

  38. Pleb
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    With luck the Lib Dems will be dead in the water. I see a Sun poll has them at 10% whilst UKIP is at 13%. The upcoming EU elections will be interesting. Andrea Merkel is up for re-election or not in three days time. Big changes over the next 18 months. Looks like Labour needs a new leader for 2015. It will be fascinating to watch.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Pleb–Following their perfectly idiotic posturing, how low do the Liberals’ poll ratings have to go (below 5% maybe?) before the Tories say enough is enough and start to play hardball with these twerps? Did Alexander really say he favoured our deterrent not being armed while at sea?? Seems scarcely credible.

  39. Anonymous
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    40% tax too low. Also the Child Benefit limit sets a tax ceiling above which one ends up working for nothing. It discriminates against traditional families with one parent dedicated to raising the children at home.

    • Narrow shoulders
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      The removal of child benefit from “high earners” (people who after tax and NI could take home the same as those at the upper limits of the new universal tax credit) was the most vindictive and unfair policy and attack on inspiration of all the lib dem inspired plunderss on those with” broad shoulders” from this administration.

      That it was not accompanied by the reintroduction of a full rate transferable household tax allowance shows that government is more interested in getting all out to work so they can be taxed than the nurturing of the next generation.

  40. sm
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    John, anyone who has been a political Party worker knows how completely unprincipled most LibDems are – I was a Conservative activist for many years, and it was one issue that regularly united us with Labour, especially during election campaigns!

  41. Atlas
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Clegg seemed to be repeatedly saying that Coalition Government is good. I suppose if he persuades most of us voters of that point then a UKIP – Conservative coalition could do good things eh? – Perhaps not the coalition he had in mind…

  42. outsider
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, I hope that you were allowed to make influential contributions to the Conservative MPs’ “away day”, dubbed by some journos as the real party conference.
    But I would guess that policy discussion centred almost exclusively on what was most likely to secure power at the 2015 election. Perhaps there was also a small sideshow on the 2014 Euros.
    In that sense, your party is no different from LibDem or Labour. None of the three has mass public support. As I understand it, total membership of these three parties is about 1 per cent of voters, about one tenth of National Trust membership and, at a guess, with fewer active volunteers. Your own party has, I think, the lowest ratio of members to MPs.
    So politics has essentially become just another oligopoly sector battling over market share, doubtless to the frustration of people like yourself who actually believe in something.
    Even in those terms,however, the latest LibDem marketing position looks flawed. Having watched the coalition in action, and particularly the 50-50 policy “quad”, Labour leaders might well have concluded that they would be better off running a minority government if they fail to secure a majority in 2015.
    Most Conservative MPs will doubtless have reached the same conclusion, the overriding case for a stable majority in the face of financial peril having disappeared with time (unlike the deficits).
    Whether your party leaders have reached this conclusion is another question.

  43. lifelogic
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    You may say:-

    “I trust the Conservative Manifesto will not only wish to go further in easing the tax burden on all on lower incomes as part of the continuing reforms to make work pay, but will also wish to ease the tax squeeze on the middle. The 40% tax rate starts at too low an income so the threshold needs to be amended.”

    But if it does make such promises only complete fools would believe it. Cameron and Osborne have increases tax rates all over the place: Stamp duty up to 15%, IHT threshold not increased and £1M promises ratted on conclusively, the 40% threshold reduced, pension contributions restricted, pots caps lowered …………………….

    And what do they do with this tax they piss it away damaging wars, the EU, loan to pigis, mad PV and Wind subsidies, HS2, an incompetent (criminal really) NHS, absurdly generous state pension and wages and a bloated, do nothing much of any use state sector.

    Cameron’s word on anything is totally worthless, yet there is no alternative replacement in the wings. Amazingly he still seems to have a 25% change of an overall majority according to the book makers. This seems very high indeed to me, even give the appallingly useless Miliband. We shall see what happens after he has come third in the fake, democratic EU veneer elections, in May 2014.

  44. Credible
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    “It was useful to find out this week that the Lib Dems think anyone earning more than £50,000 a year is well off and should pay more tax. Surely income levels need to be related to the cost of living and the cost of housing in different areas. ”

    We could debate whether £50,000 is well off or not, but it is certainly considerably more than the average income, so it must be pretty tricky at the moment for the majority if £50,000 isn’t well off.

    • Narrow shoulders
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      The top level of income available to those on the Universal tax credit is around £36k. Camapigners claim there should be no cap. A worker earning £50k per year will not take home much more than £36K but I don’t hear the bleeding hearts brigade calling for fewer pips to squeak.

      £50K earners do not need your sympathy nor do they deserve your contempt

      • uanime5
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        The top level of Universal credit is £26K, not £36K. Though most claimants won’t be able to get anywhere near this amount of money.

        • Narrow shoulders
          Posted September 22, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

          @Uni

          I figured you might query tbe figures.

          I suggest you search for an online calculator. Put in two children of different sexes, living in a London Borough and earninv £12K per year.

          Tbe withdrawl of benefit is ratcheted in such a way to allow the claimant to receive the whole £25K capped amount and to keep the after tax wages earned. It comes in around £36K. Lots of Europeans will qualify for this.

          As I wrote earlier thirty six k is around what a fifty k earner takes home after paying contributions to government and its clients

  45. alexmews
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    thx John

    I would like to see real cuts to government spending as was promised. the coalition has resolutely failed in this regard.

    I would then like to see real tax cuts for the ordinary tax payers in this country who have been paying for the largesse of the political class over the years. This will require some restraint from many in the middle class who seem to respond to the media ‘something must be done’ baiting and who seem to forget that there is no such thing as ‘government money.’

    I would like to be part of a confident, globally-oriented, enterprising and self reliant Britain. You cannot tax your way to prosperity. The Liberal proposals this week were a joke in my view – tax & spend. I hope your expose above forms part of the Conservative attack message at the next election. It would be good to probe Mr Davey hard on these points. Unfortunately my own Conservative MP, Mr Goldsmith, would likely fare little better in this regard -at least as regard green matters.

  46. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    I only hope that the Prime Minister and his Chancellor are as determined to “complete the job of removing the budget deficit by squeezing the growth rate in public spending” as you think they are.

  47. Paul
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    Most people can only dream of earning over £50,000. Those who do earn over that amount may not be massively wealthy, but they are certainly well off.

    Elections are decided by the people – it is perfectly reasonable for Nick Clegg to say he would be happy to join a coalition with either Miliband or Cameron in 2015 depending on what the electorate decides. All three party leaders are in politics for power, not one has any real principles or convictions, it is wrong to single out Clegg. The only politician I can see who actually believes in anything is Mr Farage.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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