We all remember the D-ream song "Things can only get better" as Tony Blair beamed through the crowds into Downing Street, and of course they got worse. For Liberal Democrats that prospect of a Progressive coalition with Blair's Labour disappeared in 1997 and reappeared briefly in 2010 when a desperate Gordon Brown clung to office. I myself preferred a Progressive, Pro-Growth coalition rather than the Anti-Growth, Austerity Coalition we ended up, however like many other Lib Dems I was seduced to the dark side by the Holy Grail of an AV referendum.
Today's Mea Culpa from Nick Clegg is only half an apology and two years too late. He ought to say sorry for not putting opposition to tuition fees at the Top of the negotiating list (ahead of AV) for the Coalition Agreement in May 2010, not for making the pledge. A double mistake which has cost us the Student Vote, 50% of our support and saw the cause of PR put back 20 years.
We are where we are. We are at the bottom of the electoral cycle, whether we can climb out of the hole of our own making is on whether growth returns, and we can put right wrongs against students and detoxify the party image from one of blundering liars and self-serving opportunists (which we are NOT). Liberal Democrats need to point out that in the 5 days that we had in May 2010 to save the country, we succeeded in doing so but made a rushed decision which damaged our party. This mistake, though probably the most serious blunder in our Party's History was nothing compared the giant lies and errors from the Labour Government 1997-2010 ( the Iraq War, selling the Gold reserves for next to nothing, giving the Bankers a blank cheque, wasting billions, rising National Debt, budget deficit etc) and the same from the Tories (remember the 1980's?, Poll Tax, George Osborne's Budget?). By comparison the choices over Tuition Fees and AV pale by comparison but to those they affected were life changing.
|Made the Mess, then Ran away|
Labour's crocodile tears (especially Ed Balls) need to be exposed. They presided over the Banking Crisis, and threw trillions of pounds of taxpayers money to fix it, and having left the treasury empty ran for cover. Ed Balls could have been Chancellor now, helping to solve the problem but he ran for the Leadership instead.
Labour did leave the Coalition with a moderate recovery which George Osborne has choked off.
|AV/Lord Reform Trickster|
The Central economic problem is a lack of effective demand in the economy not bottlenecks in the supply side of the economy. One half of the country is too poor to spend and the other half too frightened. We need confidence - confidence that house prices will be stable, confidence that our jobs are safe and confidence that prices will not outstip our ability to keep up with the bills.
|Beecroft Style Tory Supply Side Reforms will depress demand|
The Radical Tory right have got it all wrong with their attempts to bash public sector workers and remove employment and safety rights for workers across the economy. We need to make it harder to sack or make people redundant. We need to put the trillions of QE money out of Bankers vaults into people's pockets to spend in local shops and businesses. The velocity of money needs speeding up by encouraging people to increase the number of buying transactions in the local economy - eg the Bristol Pound.
The Times today reported 2,000 tax exiles in Monaco costing the UK economy £1billion in lost tax revenue. There's some money to pay the Student Tuition fees and the price the Tories have to pay now for not honouring their side of the AV and Lords Reform pledges.
The party needs to fight it's corner within government and land some blows against Labour's disgraceful record in creating the mess that we're all in.
We need a positive vision of investment and a plan for growth including perhaps billeting unemployed people with Britain's Businesses - to get them economically active and ready for work.
|Growth through Investment and Consumer Spending|