Sunday, 23 September 2012

Saving the Day

Liberal Democrats can take heart that for once we have been the centre of attention. In the old days when David Steel said his famous lines "Go back to your constituencies ... and prepare for government"  the other parties (and public laughed) well we have been in government for 2+ years and what we say and think matters. Admittedly we got some things (a lot wrong) and we been blamed (wrongly) for the things the Conservatives have done and compelled us to agree with , but that's Coalition Government. When Britain faced a political crisis in May 2010, I didn't see Labour or the Conservatives coming together to save the economy - did you? If Lib Dems had said we're not getting our hands dirty, and refused to talk to the other parties then we would have had a weak and indecisive minority Conservative government without mandate to do anything and the economy would have been in the toilet. Instead we have had strong (not always joined up) government but Lib Dem popularity has taken the hit.

We might be in single figures in the polls, have a leader as popular as Michael Foot but the eyes on the world are on us and we have even captured the very short attention span of the big brother 15 seconds of You Tube fame which is popular culture with Nick Clegg's "I'm Sorry Parody". Defying conventional wisdom, this week's Lib Dem Conference in Brighton will strangely renew Nick Clegg's leadership and put and end to the Right wing drift of the Party. At a fringe meeting today Labour's Policy wonk John Cruddas even praised the positive role the Lib Dems have had as a break on right wing Toryism. All the critisism of Clegg has been taken on the chin and on board. The Political fightback can begin, with Lib Dems united and determined to hold the line against an autumn of radical right "Tea Party" style Conservative attacks on Britain.

Tim Farron Party President is witty in saying that George Osborne has abandoned Plan A, since Michael Gove has marked down his grade to Plan B. It is good to see that the Party's call for a tax on the super rich is now policy and remembering that the party has already taken so many low paid people out of income tax already.

Clegg has been branded a liar (on the basis of the Tuition fee cock-up) by politicians on the Left and Right who have a long list of massive deceptions and blunders to their name, (Iraq, End to Boom and Bust, NHS Safe with us) and it is time the party rallies to his cause.
We must be determined to renew the coalition to it's dual task of reducing the budget deficit whilst stimulating economic growth and Ed Davey's speech on Tory attempts to block Lib Dem Green Growth strikes the right note. Not sure about Jo Swinson's joke about Jeremy Thorpe or Norman Baker's plan for road charges though. Nick Clegg has correctly expressed the public concern on tax evasion by the super rich while the poor are paying more and earning less. Welfare reform has started to highlight potential savings from greedy people but Lib Dems must work to protect the genuine needy in this process. Steve Webb's efforts to fix the Pension timebomb are laudable but it is the economic hear and now we need to fix, we need to win today to fix tommorrow.
Nick Clegg is safe and he will be able to build on this as a bruising but catharthic experience to reconnect with the party.
If we fight hard, then mistakes made in 5 days in May, will be put to one side. What matters now is to get growth , keep our civic rights (employment, human and safety) and relations (especially with Europe) good and deliver on the deficit reduction. If the Lib Dem left is given a proper role in this and not rail-roaded then we might even be able to forge effective inter party policy agreements with the enemy (Conservatives) for the good of the Country - stronger defences (bring back Ark Royal, Sea Harriers, HMS Brittania, Concorde) , putting Afghanistan on a sustainable security footing and boosting Britain's exports with the BRIC group. Perhaps if we can get effective tax gathering for the super-rich we can see cuts in taxes on jobs and wealth creation - eg VAT, NI, Corporation Tax, High Street Rates and Fuel Duty.

No comments:

Post a Comment