Wednesday, September 15, 2004

LibDem Utopia

Today's Daily Telegraph editorial is headlined LibDem Utopia. I think any comment from me is superfluous...

Oh, what an earthly paradise this land will be when the Liberal Democrats sweep to power after the next general election! There will be free personal care for everyone who needs it, young and old. For students, there will no more tuition fees (never mind top-up fees).

More investment will be made in the very young. The over-75s will be given an extra £25 a week, and a million pensioners will be relieved of the indignity of means-testing.

To restore and preserve law and order, there will be 10,000 extra police on the streets. Pollution and congestion will be cut, while more and more of our needs will be met by renewable energy. There will be free off-peak travel for pensioners and the disabled.

And never again will anybody have to sell a house to pay for long-term nursing.

The great thing about all this is that absolutely nobody will have to pay for it. All right, almost nobody. For the great majority of British families, taxes will be cut. Council tax will be abolished altogether, and replaced by a "fair and affordable" local income tax.

Only the "very rich" will have to pay extra, and even they will be asked for just "a little" more.

This was the glorious vision of a Lib Dem Utopia, described yesterday in the party's draft manifesto. All that was missing was a promise that under Charles Kennedy's benign rule, chocolate truffles would sprout from every tree, and elves and fairies would bring us our breakfast in bed.

It is all fantasy, of course, but it is clever fantasy, and not to be dismissed lightly by the other parties. The Lib Dems, with their flair for electioneering, have identified the aggrieved and disaffected groups most likely to tip the balance in their most winnable seats, and have lavished their most tempting bribes upon them.

Meanwhile, they hope to go on cashing in on their old reputation as the cuddly party in the middle - a harmless refuge for disillusioned supporters of Labour and the Tories.

The trouble is that the new-look Lib Dems are not in the least bit harmless. Nor are they in the middle. The policies outlined by Mr Kennedy yesterday amount to nothing less than the old socialist recipe for national economic failure, tested to destruction by every Labour government of the last century.

It is beyond belief that only the very rich would have to pay more for Mr Kennedy's over-regulated, redistributive, Brussels-led Britain. For every middle-income taxpayer in the land, a protest vote for the Lib Dems next time will be very dangerous indeed.

But, as always when economies go wrong, it will be the poor, the old and the vulnerable who suffer most.

1 comment:

Westbury-on-Trym Lib Dems said...
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