Saturday, 18 August 2012
A New Chapter - The London Spirit
The Summer is nearly over, and following a National Party lasting 4 months covering a Diamond Jubilee and a Golden Olympic Games of National Success - the Public have at last something to cheer about. Forgotten the Murdochgate and the Phone Hacking Scandal and the Coalition squabbles over Lords Reform. The public want the party to continue and growth return and the country to pull together in a new Olympic spirit. Whether Gold medals will boost the Coalition in the same way capturing Port Stanley saved Margaret Thatcher in 1982 remains to be seen but a change of tone is detectable in the public mood and this represents a new chapter. A yearning for the end of austerity but a stoic determination to put up with the privations of the hard economic conditions, to work together and pull together in a semi-wartime spirit.
Liberal Democrats need to work together in a similar olympic fashion to put out a positive message and positive programme and work harder to shoot down bonkers tory back of the envelope plans and avoid falling into to trap of looking for a big idea ourselves and back Nuclear Power Stations or another London Airport.
Simple Ideas - A Small Business Economy (not laissez-faire), with strong competition regulation and safety and employment protection for all, unlocking creativity and enterprise in the 16-24 and 55-75 by getting people into enterprise and innovation networks.
Getting creative on Constitutional reform - get the boundary commission to address the issue of constituencies which are more politically balanced, more marginal and fewer safe seats which are the modern day equivilent of rotten boroughs.
Europe will be the big challenge and declining UK exports to Europe show that European Consumers and Businesses are downgrading Britain because we are not part of the European Team trying to solve the Eurozones problems. Liberal Democrats need to point to the parallel between British isolation in Europe and the folly of British isolation in 1912 and 1938. We need to portray David Cameron as Pontias Pilate washing his hands of Europe and put forward practical assistance to Europeans, failing that Britain ought not be gloating at European trouble.
It may well be that this new Chapter in the public mood may burst Labour's self righteous and hypocritical politics, they had a major hand in creating the 2010 mess and it is vital that the deficit is reduced whilst a growth strategy (fiscal boost) is achieved - ie Plan C. It may well be that a new consensus with the Conservatives will need to be reached which will switch resources out of government spending which does not contribute to economic growth and there will be a need to sell off state assets which restrict growth - eg Move Government out of London and sell the £ Trillion Pound Property Portfolio - eg the National Gallery, Tate, Imperial War Museum, Ministry of Defence, MI6, MI5, Whitehall.
There is clearly a need to restore the housing market and employment market by ending stamp duty and reducing National Insurance and to lower inflation and boost growth drastically cut the petroleum tax on fuel. To counter this, the Road Tax on Gas Guzzling 4x4 needs to rise and a financial transaction tax on city speculators needs to be introduced to end short term commodity, futures and currency speculation, and this can be done with Europe who want to do this.
Lib Dem own goals like the Solar Panel Tax Fiasco and the Student Fees Disaster will need to be put right. We know that the Conservatives have failed to deliver on their promises (Lord Reform) and been shown to have been treacherous in promises made (eg AV) but we are gaining the moral high ground and can begin to press and advantage which will see the party start to restore our fortunes. The key over the next 6 months will be party unity, and holding the Conservatives to the fire as the events try and blow them off course - eg Europe. We can expect the Conservatives to prepare for a UKIP Coalition in 2015 which will see them in opposition, our goal will be to deliver honest, straight forward, principled and stable government which will see the public want to see a strong Lib Dem voice in parliament in 2015.