Lib Dem claims and promises


               Nick Clegg kindly sent me his New Year message. I think I get it, because I logged on to the Lib Dem site during the 2010 General Election to check their promises for that campaign. It is nice he stays in touch.

               He told his troops that many Lib Dem promsies and pledges have now been incorporated in the Coalition programme. He claims credit for the following:

Fairer taxes

Extra money for disadvantaged pupils

Green economic growth

New open politics

Taking more people out of Income Tax

Earnings link for pensioners

Pupil premia

Scrapping ID cards

Stopping a Third runway at Heathrow

Ending child detention

            He does not point out that lower Income Tax has been a long standing Conservative promise, from way back when Lib Dems had as their main Income Tax pledge an increase in the rate to spend more on state schools. The Conservatives promised extra money for disadvantaged pupils,  green economic growth, the restoration of the earnings link for pensioners, scrapping ID cards and stopping the Third runway. I appreciate that some of my readers do not agree with some of these policies. The only point I am making is that they were policies common to Lib Dems and the official Conservative view.

            Lib Dems also promised an In Out referendum on the EU which they no longer offer now they could do something about it, and pledged not to increase Student fees. Conservatives made no such pledges on either item.

           The interesting questions include what will Lib Dems do on the EU Bill which the government plans to debate once Parliament returns. Do I detect a second change of policy, backing away from an In/ Out referendum, just as they backed away from supporting a referendum on Lisbon when Conservatives tabled and backed one under the last government?

          I also see the Independent on Sunday has run a readers’ consultation on what to put in a Freedom Bill. They tell us such a Bill remains popular . Of course it does. But they should also follow the plot. As readers of this site will know, as we did a similar exercise months ago, Mr Clegg seems to be in no rush to bring out his Freedom Bill and seems to have  backtracked  to letting the Home Office produce a civil liberties bill only. What we want is a much larger and more ambitious peice of legislation after years of over bearing regulation.


  1. lifelogic
    January 3, 2011

    Fairer taxes – No rates more than 25% ever would be fair and raise more tax too. 52% is mad and counter productive not fair.

    Green economic growth – Will generally reduce growth by taxing things that work and subsidising things that usually do not.

    New open politics – Does that mean they will keep election promises such as the EU referendum. Or will it just be “open” to MPs changing all their promises post election and saying one thing and doing another.

    Taking more people out of Income Tax – yes and reduce NI, vat, council tax, road tax duty stamp and all the rest reduce by 50% please.

    Stopping a Third runway at Heathrow – Certainly this will cost jobs.

  2. adam
    January 3, 2011

    The Sun:
    “BRITAIN’S terror law watchdog today warns the Coalition it will NEVER be forgiven if it scraps a crackdown on suspects – and there is a new 7/7-style atrocity.

    Lord Carlile urges Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg not to play politics with people’s lives by axing control orders.”

    Tell Lord Carlile, we are not slaves to be intimidated by violence. How dare he use terrorism to threaten the governments public policy decisions. He needs to be sacked, how dare he blame politicians for the violence when the entire blame rests on the terrorists alone. Tell Carlile Britain will never be a North Korean slave camp. We have rights and we value them. In addition control orders are ridiculous from start to finish and have already been exposed as such on mass media.

    1. Victor Southern
      January 3, 2011

      Detention without charge and indefinite house arrest for political opponents were practiced by the apartheid regime in South Africa and are used today by such as China and the Burmese military junta. Those are not examples we should be following.

    2. Stuart Fairney
      January 3, 2011

      Yes indeed, if someone is guilty of a criminal conspiracy, bring ’em before a court, prove the suspicion before 12 good men and true who will convict if the evidence supports the suposition. Control orders are a nasty, Stalinist nonsense which governments might find jolly convenient, but then I am sure they would value the legalised torture and execution of suspects without the bothersome obligation of proving guilt.

      But that would put us on a par with Saddam in terms of jurisprudence which rather defeats the point.

    3. Epigenes
      January 3, 2011

      Carlile must be the most pompous and bombastic (person ed) ever to have entered public life.

      He seems to suffer from perpetual apoplexy.

  3. norman
    January 3, 2011

    Perhaps in the future, to nip in the bud this type of argument, Dave and Nick could simply issue joint New Years messages to us all? No point in trying to decide whose Party is for what, and who is against what.

    This post perfectly illustrates the point I made yesterday in a comment. As things stand there is hardly a cigarette paper between the three parties. One can imagine Labour, who recently said that by the next election there would be no need for the 50% tax rate, under their new leadership happily advocating all the above policies now that they’ve trying to distance themselves from the Brown terror.

    Maybe we could form a government of national unity next time and invite Labour to join too?

    One people, one nation, three leaders?

    1. Stuart Fairney
      January 3, 2011

      Well Ed maybe marginally more stupid than Dave or Nick, apparently the £20B we borrowed in November (by my reckoning about £660 a month* for every serious net tax payer) is “cutting too fast”

      So two of ’em de facto think this is okay and one wants still more of it!

      * How long could you last as a private person having to borrow this amount just to go on spending every month. A visit by the IMF before 2015 I suspect and with it national humiliation just like the Irish

  4. JimF
    January 3, 2011

    “He does not point out that lower Income Tax has been a long standing Conservative promise, from way back when Lib Dems had as their main Income Tax pledge an increase in the rate to spend more on state schools.”
    This is double-double-speak.
    The Libdems were the first to promise a 50p income tax rate, a higher rate which they have delivered.
    The Conservatives promised lower income taxes, which they have only delivered for the very lowest paid, and not really then in real terms.

  5. JimF
    January 3, 2011

    On the In/Out referendum, of course Cameron doesn’t want this and Clegg will use him as cover to say “well the Conservatives are the main party and it wasn’t in their manifesto so we can’t vote for it”.
    The only way is for you and your colleagues to call Clegg’s bluff on the basis of a free vote.

    January 3, 2011

    We cut & paste all our comments to this and other sites and have been looking back at previous Januarys dating back to 2004.

    Like other contributors we clearly put in a lot of effort into decrying Labour’s poor attempts at governing Britain. Our efforts played a very small part in helping the scales drop from the electorate’s eyes, so how disappointing is it that within a few months of this new government our comments are mainly directed at their disappointing and half-hearted performance so far.
    What saddens us more is the immediate future promised by self-justifying Lib-Dem utterances like those highlighted above. If the scale of the debt and the action required is anything like the rhetoric employed by the Conservatives prior to and immediately after the election their ‘velvet hand in a (self-titled) iron glove’ philosophy now is ridiculous.
    Mr Cameron should remember that an enthralled media were completely behind both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown soon after THEY moved into No 10 but were reticent on Mrs Thatcher. The long-term results of all 3 speak for themselves.

  7. Acorn
    January 3, 2011

    Please tell me this site is not going to turn into an election campaign for the next five months. That is; unless you are going to start the “UK PLUCK Party”. Having an Ideology may be out of fashion, but it is not yet a crime; keep the faith.

    1. Acorn
      January 3, 2011

      BTW. In your list above JR, there is no mention of Land Value Tax (LVT). You will be aware that the ALTER group in the LDs are very big on LVT. In fact Huhne; Clegg and Cable, are leading lights of this group.

      I can understand why “land barons” do not want to be taxed on holding land out of the market and negating a future capital gain. But, those of us who have been involved in local government, can tell you why LVT is a very good idea. You will be well aware that a field with a couple of horses in it munching grass; can multiply in value when the field next door gets planning permission.

      Hoarding land is the same as hoarding gold; except, you can’t hide land from LVT bailiffs. This may sound a bit socialist, but no more than a Bank bonus tax. Land value is always a consequence of the policies of your local Planning Committee, but it can’t ever consider it in planning decisions. But the smart money in your planning area, will analyse every decision and place their bets on your planning committee’s next move. LVT can make sure that the Council Tax payers get a share of those bets.

  8. Bill
    January 3, 2011

    I suppose that he (Mr Clegg) could hardly do otherwise (surprised he didn’t add retention of Human Rights) – his is an unenviable task of keeping his troops in line

    – and if the AV referendum hits the buffers he’ll need all the propaganda that he can muster.

    Much dafter, in my view, are those Conservative personalities who champion an electoral pact, an effective merger of the parties.

  9. John C
    January 3, 2011

    I don’t remember the Tories promising to raise the personal income tax threshold to £10,000.

    I’ve never understood why.

    It fits in with their principles of lower taxes and benefits everyone who pays income tax but is progressive as those on the lowest wages benefit, proportionately, the most.

  10. A.Sedgwick
    January 3, 2011

    The only positive from the coalition is we may get a realignment of the political parties. I regard the performance to date as shambolic. The chance of the coalition lasting five years is nil, the Libdems are in turmoil, most traditional Conservative supporters are against Cameron and Ed is the next PM.
    It is more than a possibility that most current Libdem MPs will end up in the Labour or Cameron camps, most noticeably NC. The question is whether the right wing Conservative grandees will form a breakaway party, perhaps CDP, or join UKIP.

    1. Mike Stallard
      January 3, 2011

      No chance.
      Labour is done for. Ed is useless. Everyone knows what they did when handed the country on a plate in 1997. The right wing is leaderless. In the middle, everyone has the chance of a nice little earner.

  11. michael read
    January 3, 2011

    Oh boy. I love this blog. A free seat at a contemporary Coliseum but infinitely more visceral.

    1. Stuart Fairney
      January 3, 2011

      Me too. Trolls pop up to stick their tongue out without joining debate or having anything positive to say. They don’t usually last long.

  12. alan jutson
    January 3, 2011


    Tell me.

    Do the Party Leaders (all of them) really belive, that we believe this sort crap.

    All seem more interested in spin than substance yet again.

    Meanwhile we are going down the tubes.

  13. Derek Buxton
    January 3, 2011

    One thing is certain, there will not be a Referendum on the EU, especially not “in/out”. Not one of the three main parties will take the chance that we might have a say and vote for “out”, think of their pensions. I have never seen any sign that the lib-dems would reduce taxation, ever, they are high tax, high spend as a party, reaaly, I live amongst them. Look at Huhne, he is a good example. Purveyor of useless but very expensive windmills that require 100% back up running all the time, but it taxes the poor to make rich men even richer. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the true face of the lib-dems.

    1. The ESSEX GIRLS
      January 3, 2011

      Surely the Energy Secretary should be explaining the reports that in the recent cold spell the windfarms contributed little or zero to our energy needs.

      Is this true Mr Huhne and are prolonged cold spells factored into your projections?

  14. lojolondon
    January 3, 2011

    One error above, John – the conservatives DID promise a referendum on Europe, but immediately broke that promise. In fact with hindsight, most people believe the original ‘cast iron’ promise was intentionally worded so it could be broken.

    I look forward to seeing the ‘proper’ conservatives force the yellow-backed leaders of the coalition to deliver a referendum as has been promised by the Tories many, many times over the past years.

    Reply: The official Conservative position on a referendum changed before the Election, so they did not promise one in the Manifesto. They promised one on Lisbon if it had not been ratified.

    1. Paul H
      January 4, 2011

      (Replying to the reply, not the post)
      I have a fair amount of time for your views, but this kind of abiding by the letter rather than the spirit of what was said is the worst kind of sophistry and helps give politicians a bad name. DC was sending out a message with his “cast iron” promise, and it would have been just as easy to finesse the fine print to continue with a vote on Lisbon. However he clearly didn’t want to and I suspect he had only been setting up a political position that was convenient at the time (and my opinion of him is the worse for that). Incidentally, a promise to give people a say on any further surrender of powers to the EU does not seem to have staunched an on-going leeching of said powers.
      This is less about the issue of staying in the EU (in itself crucial) than about honesty in dealing with the issue – honesty that seems to have been in short supply since at least Ted Heath.

      Some of us have continued to make the case for a referendum.

  15. Iain Gill
    January 3, 2011

    Just been to the shops, absolutely packed, queues round the block to get in, queues from the entrance all the way round the aisles to the checkouts to pay, reason? Everyone trying to buy before the VAT rise.

  16. Alte Fritz
    January 3, 2011

    Today’s electorate ought to be the best educated and sharpest in history. Instead it is infantilised, and Mr Cameron knows that if he had promised blood sweat toil and tears, then Labour would now be in government.

    Contributors to this blog scream for honesty from politicians, but what about the converse.? Can we not be honest enough to accept that life is far from painless?

  17. Mike Stallard
    January 3, 2011

    Doesn’t anybody read christopher Booker in the Sunday Telegraph?
    1. What about the MASSIVE deficit?
    2. What about the encroaching EU?

  18. English Pensioner
    January 3, 2011

    The trouble with so many politicians is that the are absolutely convinced that they know best, and Nick Clegg is unfortunately one of these.
    Regardless of any promise of an In/Out referendum on the EU, we won’t get it from him in case voters don’t know what is best for them and vote to get out. The same with a Freedom Bill, you just can’t have people doing what they want because it might not be the best for them, but they simply don’t realise it. Voters have to be treated like my 2 year old grandson and told what they can and can’t do because they haven’t yet learnt of the dangers of freedom.

    1. Steve Tierney
      January 4, 2011

      You have very much hit the nail on the head. Everybody is terrified of “populist” policies – as if we have a country full of mad people. We don’t, of course. Or else we wouldn’t have achieved as much as we have have over the years and centuries.

  19. steveredfern
    January 4, 2011

    Re- the Coalition’s attempt to reduce regulation.

    My project to build a small 2 storey extension is now at Building Control stage. Before buying the property we consulted a foundation specialist who told us that a tree 2 metres from the building would cause no problem as the land around here is gravel below the topsoil. There are no settlement or heave problems in the area. The 1975 extension is stable and the structural engineer says 20tons/ m run is provided by existing footings. We are adding about 1 ton.

    The Council require us to provide details of all trees within 30m, taking us across the two adjecent roads to the back gardens of 10 neighbours. They will then use tables to tell us to underpin or pile the foundations. Yet nearly all houses in the area are near trees in the road planted by the Council and there are no foundation problems, even with shallow footings.

    They also require that we upgrade the insulation of walls adjoining the new conservatory or provide whole- house thermal calculations- another specialist job. It is obvious that the new highly insulated walls and solar gain of the conservatory greatly improve the thermal performance, but we have to prove it.

    On a 2 storey house we have to provide a wired linked fire alarm and a large escape window on the front elevation. This messes up the architectural proportions and anyway the side and back are more accessible to a fire engine.

    The design was delayed by the planners, so we caught the new regulations starting October 1st. The highly insulated roof and walls have already resulted in tenders around £2000 per square metre. Costs were expected around £1000 before. British costs are already above European. Now it is doubful whether the project is worth building.

    Over successive governments: J.Major split up the railways and now we have train fares higher than anywhere else and a lousy service. Blair and Brown gave us hospitals and schools bought on ‘hire-purchase’ PFI and now we spend more on these than anywhere else. (forget going to war for the wrong reasons, buying 2 aircraft carriers with no aircraft and national bankrupcy) Now, within a year, Dave and his Dummy have given us building which is too expensive to build and power stations which don’t work (5%) in the coldest part of winter.

    John. You and other MPs are probably on your last term. You would lose nothing by resigning the whip and starting your English Bitter party. Most practical people would support policies which would give us the hope that this nonesense could be stopped.

    Reply: I am the prospective Conservative candidate for Wokingham for the next General Election. I have no intention of creating an “English bitter” party.

  20. steveredfern
    January 4, 2011

    Just noticed the back of the letter from the local authority. In red ink it tells us that under the 2010 Buiding Regulation Charges Act, they are allowed to charge extra, on top of the £800 or so we aready have to pay to be messed about, if plans are incomplete or revised or work is ‘non-compliant’. Better not argue then. And VAT is now 20% for this ‘service’.

  21. Steve Tierney
    January 4, 2011

    >> Lib Dems also promised an In Out referendum on the EU which they no longer offer now they could do something about it, Conservatives made no such pledges <<

    I think you're on dodgy ground with this one, John.

  22. Bazman
    January 4, 2011

    It would be interesting if all the shops, supermarket and garage receipts showed VAT and on which item it was paid. There would be a few sorry looking faces then, and I don’t just mean the shoppers.
    It would also be interesting to see how buying habits changed and how companies adapted to them.

  23. steveredfern
    January 5, 2011

    Am I dreaming? The Building Inspector just gave way on nearly every point he had asked for in writing. Just have to persuade the client that she can’t have a Grand Design type glazed roof and we may be able to build it.

  24. steveredfern
    January 5, 2011

    John. You may be the conservative prospective MP for the next election, but if Dave and Dummy carry on as they are for 5 compulsary years, you are likely to be taking retirement pay – if it hasn’t been cut by then. I will not be upset if you delete this one. Best of Luck!

  25. George Rowley
    January 7, 2011

    Interesting comments John, it sounds like you are criticising the lib dem leader, surely not the Coalition was working well?

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