Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Clegg in New Statesman - Politics is broken

. Seems like a flurry of media activity from Nick Clegg unsurprisingly;

"It’s now twelve months since I became leader of the Liberal Democrats. More than ever it’s clear to me that people in Britain desperately want something different. They are looking for hope, and for change.

It’s no real surprise. Households across the country are facing a tight Christmas and a difficult New Year. It looks like 200 families are going to lose their homes every day in 2009, and a million could lose their jobs.

But the Government still isn’t listening. Labour is forcing us deeper into their downturn, refusing to take responsibility for the mess they have got us in. “Responsibility” is also the new catchphrase for the Conservatives. “Being responsible” is the new “do nothing”."

Full article here...

Interestingly, later on in the piece Clegg talks about;

"why my party have plans to cut taxes for people on low and middle incomes, paid for by closing the loopholes enjoyed by big companies and making the wealthy pay their fair share."

So, one presumes that The Times is wrong when it says;

"The default Liberal Democrat position is now to call for reductions, rather than increases, in spending."

Nor should it be; especially when that is not even David Cameron's position....

8 comments:

Alix said...

Eh? What's the contradiction? On the one hand he's saying tax cuts for lower/middle funded by the wealthy, on the other he's saying (via the Times) cuts in spending as a default. I.e. the tax side is a closed loop, the spending side is a direction of travel. Neither precludes the other (the logical outcome of both combined would be the reduction of *everybody's* rate of tax, once the closed loop redistribution had taken place).

Darrell G said...

Alix,

Clegg didnt say anything in The Times; it was an editorial. Spending cuts should not be a default policy of ours when it is not even David Camerons policy.

Alix said...

Wot wot? What's David Cameron got to do with anything? It was this bit I didn't understand:

"So, one presumes that The Times is wrong when it says:"

This implies to me that the statement preceding that sentence is somehow contradictory of the statement following it, which I was pointing out isn't the case.

But since we've got on to the subject, why on earth should we be setting our policy on spending cuts (or anything else for that matter) according to what David Cameron thinks? It's a slippery slope from there to unprincipled triangulation, surely.

Darrell G said...

Alix,

I am presuming from what Clegg says in the NS that The Times is wrong to say that we are now automatically a party that will look to cut public spending.

Is that the case or not?? Clegg strangely does not mention it in his NS article, out of the window has gone the £20 billion (rightly so I think). Also, does not a 'fair share' for the wealthy imply an increase; not a decrease in taxation??

I just find it rather sad that if the above is true we are pitching ourselves to the right of the Conservatives...not even of Labour...

mhuntbach said...

I read Clegg's comments as less tax on the poor paid for by more tax on the rich. It will be interesting to see if he actually follows this through.

The Times spins this as Clegg the tax-cutter, but we should recall that the real agenda of the Times and the rest of the right-wing pres is that tax cuts are a good thing, especially for the rich, as it means the rich will work harder making money which the rest of us will share in.

As events this year have shown, the supposed cleverness of the rich making large amounts of money from the finance market was nothing of the sort. The contrast between the predictions of the major finance players for the economy year end 2008 and the actual position shows they make it up as they go along. They are rich not because they are productive, but because they sit on the pipes where money flows and extract their share. It really was a Ponzi scheme - those at the top have taken their profits, bought their big house in the country or better still in a tax haven, live a life of pleasure, paid for by the debts and unemployment of those suckered in to keep the scheme going.

Of course The Times and its like wants to bring in Clegg and anyone else it can to shore up its line, now that line is so under attack - even by the mid-market, today's front page of the Daily Mail is something you'd expect to have seen only in Socialist Worker a couple of years ago.

There is support in tapping the anger in the country against the rich who have fleeced us and now threaten to run abroad if we stop their games. Whether Clegg has the guts to follow this, or wil be silenced by the Times saying nice things about him so long as he keeps to their line waits to be seen.

Oranjepan said...

This is a prime example of how trying to be all things to all people makes good policy, but makes a bad argument.

We won't rule anything automatically in or out, except as the situation requires and we are happy to change our stance as the situation changes.

This is a 'balanced' approach and it is the only coherent way of resolving the government's mess.

Darrell G said...

mhuntbach,

Some good points here I think especially about the Daily Mail/Socialist Worker comparison which is very true. You could also, of course, add into the mix what David Cameron has been saying about bankers recently. Signs of the times and which way the wind is blowing....

This is what I meant when I said over on LDV we should be attacking this government from the left...which in all fairness we have been doing some of the time...

Oranjepan,

I think you have a point but what you say rather reemphaises my point in the discussion i was having with Andy Hinton on LDV about why it was wrong for us to committ to the almost semi-totemic now £20 billion....

Oranjepan said...

So we have to box-cleverer, what's new?