Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Holes in the LibDem Approach

I listened to Nick Clegg and Vince Cable like many others did - on the radio. And on the surface what they offered sounded quite attractive. Vince was there playing the wise old sage and telling it like it is. Well, telling it how Vince thinks it is. Clegg put in an impressive performance explaining the four cornerstones of the Liberal Democrat approach. They both confronted the deficit head on, and seemed to offer cast iron public spending cuts, albeit only £10 billion of them. But they managed to portray this as somehow being rather courageous. It is, however, true, that unlike the Labour and Conservative press launches, they did speak about the deficit at length and appearing to offer ideas on how to solve the problem. Some of the journalists picked holes in their plan, which may be why Clegg would only take seven questions.

But of course when you dig beneath the surface you find the normal idiotic LibDem policies, which put saner people off voting for them. For instance, they want to put VAT on new houses, adding £11,000 to the cost of an average house for a first time buyer. And later on you find that they rule out military action against Iran "in all circumstances". Totally irresponsible.

So, where are we, now that all three parties have published their manifestos? Probably exactly where we were before. None of the parties has produced a gamechanger in their manifestos. There have been no big surprises, so we now move on to the next big election moment - the first Prime Ministerial debate. And it is the polls in the Sunday papers which may indicate if there has been any real movement over the last seven days.


Dungeekin said...

Given their chances of electoral success, listening to the Lib Dems about anything is slightly less worthwhile than herding cats.

They may as well have been reading from a Mr Men book for all the difference it'll make to the Electorate.


chris said...


Vat on new properties is actually a very good idea, and is green.

Houses will not go up by the vat amount - just the land will be worth less. And most land for new properties is bought from lucky landowners whose agricultural land goes from being worth £2000 an acre to £1 million, or something equally ridiculous. Developers would only be able to sell properties for the same value, so would have to pay less for land. There would be a short term hit for those who own or have options on development land, but it may be possible to work something out in the meantime.

This is also very green because when you refurbish a building you pay VAT but not on a new build, so there is an incentive to knock things down, which makes no sense at all

Dungeekin said...


Great for the environment - somewhat less enjoyable for first-time buyers, eh? After all, it's only another eleven grand on someone's mortgage, all to the Treasury's coffers. It doesn't matter, does it?

Nice to see 'fairness' enshrined again....

Still, the Limp Dumbs could offer every registered voter a pony and a stable to put it in - they know they'll never actually have to come good on a single proposal.


Jabba the Cat said...

Lol...reaffirms why they are referred to as the LibDims...

strapworld said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Purpleline said...

Vote LibDem and start learning Russian, Vote Brown and more Stasi East German controls over your life. Vote Cameron the only one who can save our souls.

#Cameronsos. i just started this on my twitter Purpleline retweet please. lets get #cameronsos as our country needs him

Anonymous said...

VAT on new houses will not increase their price, the buyers can only afford what they can afford and any tax, like Stamp Duty now, has to be paid for out of that figure. It will reduce the net of tax return that developers receive and, ultimately, depress land value.

However, as a precursor to adding VAT to all home sales, this would reduce people's equity stakes in their homes by the equivalent of the tax charge, pushing many more peple into negative equity.

Osama the Nazarene said...

Nicky Campbell picked a nice little hole in their plan to increase the pay of non commissioned soldiers by £5K. Sergeants will receive more than junior officers!

This may well be a sensible thing to do but should really be decided by the military nothe politicians.

So much for well costed!

Patrick said...

Developers always prefer to demolish old buildings (often with character) and build bland new buildings.

so VAT on new builds is equalising.

It wont put house prices up, as new houses command a premium anyway. So, this is likely to be included in the price; so will just reduce developer profits.

Phillip said...

After 13 years of LABOUR MISMANAGEMENT, preceded by 18 years of CONSERVATIVE PRIVITISATION AND DIVISION, isn’t it time for wholesale changes in the British political system? Wouldn’t we all like to see WHOLESALE ELECTORAL REFORM and truly PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION, creating a British Parliament where OUR VOTE ACTUALLY COUNTS FOR SOMETHING?

During the past 30 years, both Labour and Conservative governments have been directly responsible for destroying the industrial base of our country, selling off the nation’s most valuable assets and helping to a create a truly divided society.

Despite what the Labour and Conservative parties would have you believe, I believe that there is A THIRD OPTION for those people that are sick and tired of the same old two party politics that has been inflicted on this country for the past 90 years. That option is the Liberal Democrats and despite the widespread belief that a vote for the Lib Dems is a wasted vote, in reality, a vote for them is a VOTE FOR CHANGE and a move away from the failures of the past.

Over 20,000 people have already joined this Facebook group to campaign and vote for a third option for the British electorate!/group.php?gid=113749985304255 This is true democracy in action.

Anonymous said...

From where I stand (somewhat to the left of most readers of this blog), the Lib Dems are right on taxes, right on civil liberties, right on the deficit, right on electoral reform, right on Europe and right on the environment. Plus, they were right all along about the war in Iraq.

My vote will go to them in May, though it won't make a blind bit of difference as I live in a super-safe Labour seat.

Anonymous said...

Those deluded posters interested in voting LibDems should come to my borough and see them in action in Town hall-allthings to all people, facing East, West, North and South at the same time, in one constituency of the borough where there is predominantly white population they are for strict immigration control and in the other where there is ethnic majority agree that GPs speaking the language of the majority should be appointed even if it means bringing from the country of the majority etc.. etc..
Worked with them as a school governor. Would shun them as if they are the carriers of ebola virus!!

Anonymous said...

Clegg: " Go back to your constituencies and prepare to support Brown government"

Chris said...

@Philip says


Well quite a lot of Lib Dems are going off the idea following the experience in Scotland. A lot of Lib Dem votes are garnered by being the "only party that can beat [Lab or Con] HERE." And they campaign very hard on that point. Their own policies do not matter because you know they won't be implemented - you vote for them to keep out the party you like least. With PR all that goes out of the window. And, of course, it opens up the field for everyone. So far from propelling the Lib Dems into contention for government it would see them jostling for votes with parties who have much a clearer identity. You know what UKIP or the Greens are all about - the clue is in the name. Decades of facing in both directions trying to win over Labour and Tory voters have left the Lib Dems with a confused identity and a very small core vote of their own. Take away natural Labour and Tory supporters voting tactically and it's possible that under PR the Lib Dem vote could be seriously squeezed.

John Ionides said...

It would be very interesting to kow precisely what the "equalising" VAT rate would be, and how it would be implemented (e.g. would if affcted just VAT-registered businesses, or would it apply to DIY as well).

I strongly suspect that the Lib Dems have not worked this through and simply don't know either what the VAT rate would be or precisely how it would be implemented.

And I don't buy the argument that sticking 11k on the build costs will not affects the final price. Some may come off the land price, but by no means all, or even most.

..Silicon Implant!! said...

Clearly not "All circumstances". If an Iranian warship chugged up the Thames and started shelling London City Airport, I think that even the Lib Dems would countenance a robust military response. However, having spent a decade in a nation with a military posture that could be summed up as 'Our troops fight and die in Americas wars, however insane', I can certainly see a lot of merit in saying "If the Americans start yet another one, they're definitely on their own!" as a matter of policy. The alternative is that when the Israelis pre-emptively strike Iran, the Americans - who have their tongues wedged uncomfortably but firmly up the Tel-Aviv poo-pipe, will be half a pace behind, and of course we, whose metaphorical tongues are similarly stuck between the American's cheeks, will be half a pace behind them.