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:
Extra money for disadvantaged pupils
Green economic growth
New open politics
Taking more people out of Income Tax
Earnings link for pensioners
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.