Friday, July 18, 2008

Would you Like To Try A New Position ?

Yawn yawn stretch yawn… so where were we .. Oh yes Cleggy the political impressionist has popped behind d the Curtain and come out as a Conservative …
“"We will get wasteful government spending under control and give the economy a boost by cutting taxes from the bottom for those who need the most help. If there is money to spare, we won't simply spend it. We are looking for ways to cut the overall tax burden."( Independent )

He is not just promising an adjustment at existing tax levels but a real reduction overall ,just as Cameron, with great good sense, is warning (in the Guardian ) ,that we had better face the prospect of tax rises over the next few years, not withstanding any waste that may be found in the system .
Clegg is being braver than it looks, if you believe it . Revenues plummet and claims multiply during a slow down, so much so, that it is possible to claim that Thatcher`s state was larger as a proportion of GDP than Brown`s. With intergalatic debt there is no room for manoeuvre and David Cameron was right to sound a note of sanity .Clegg. ,by contrast ,wants to put all his chips on Orange hoping low tax driven economic recovery will replenish the coffers . It did not for Bush did it , and given the suffering likely to assail this country it is a very bold manoeuvre indeed . Bold , resolute ,and Liberal …eh ? Bit odd for the Party that likes to say “Yes…now what’s the question?”
So could a swing right be the key to a Liberal breakthough ? Well repetition fatigue argues against it .The new dawn has been a perpetual imminence from Jeremy Thorpe’s supposed pact with Heath to Diddy David’s infamous “ Go back to your constituencies and prepare for tea..” . But now Clegg is summoning the spirits of John Stuart Mill Gladstone Cobden Bright , freedom , free trade and laissez faire halleluiah !Lets examine the “provenance “ of Clog’s piping-up shall we.
Wasn`t there some old chap recently …who was he ? …the one who was less popular sober than Charles Kennedy drunk . He promised to clobber households earning more than £70,000 …like a Policeman and a teacher for example . ….“ Hammer the rich and penalise the people who ah done too well under Labour” he said ? The mechanism was an end to the taper system for Private Equity . Brown U turned on it,finding he was destroying thousands of legitimate businesses set up, in the not unreasonable expectation, that the government would wait for them to be committed, and then chop their legs off. We will not be hearing much about that . I doubt we will be hearing much about the proposed Lib Dem Brown pact reported in the Independent on the 21st of Jan 2008 either . But oh dear my memory is long . I recall the 1p increase on income tax to pay for …kids with three legs or something, during the very long period when the Liberal Party were attacking Labour from the left.
During the magnificently snippy leadership contest Clegg was forced to swallow his nascent attachment to ,health vouchers and health insurance and reaffirm his commitment to the great Liberal pie in the sky Proportional Representation. In fact after the election ( which Huhne may actually have won ), weak in the Party, he went awfully quiet on the Orange book .Only now he has personally polled better than his felllows ,does he creep into the open.Electoral reality is the spur
We think of the Libs as a dull permanence ,a faintly irritating ache . Sometimes it plays up, buts always there. This is an illusion.In the progressive sixties the Liberal vote collapsed to 2,000,000 and the Party was almost wiped out .The SDP “event “ saved the beards and that reached its zenith in the lection of 1983. They scored 25.4 %( Labour only got 27.6%) up from13.8%. So if we are going back to real Liberal Party lets remember how small it was . The birth of the modern party , its “new” moment ,was all about yoking together irreconcilable positions and mushing them into porridge . Socialists ,and preening antiquarians have rubbed along with a motley crew of animal rights campaigners wimmin and assorted whingers. Their rag tag crusade has no steady course ,but like any asymmetrical army they use whatever anyone leaves behind . Luckily there has been plenty of carrion for the scavengers since …
When the Labour Party became infected with Marxist dominated activism, and Trade Union power, in the 70s ,it made itself unelectable . This gave the Liberals some meat and eventually they consumed the SDP , or visa versa. The Conservative Party then took over by refusing to believe no-one liked them after Major, and being sent to cultural Coventry . The Liberals darted to the left vacated apparently by New Labour and began doing business as real Labour . So at each stage since the 60s the Liberals have fed on some structural weakness with the big two.
We are now in what is , in my life , a unique period .New Labour are unpopular because of the economy a drift left and general arrogance born of power. There are however ample intellectual resources in the Party to reinvent itself and are suffering nothing like the disconnect of the Militant days .The Conservative Party has roared into life , alive with ideas and lean from ,long years of famine and both crowd the middle .Notwithstanding the current polls it is quite possible the next General Election will be close. In those circumstances the current flat line of 18 % would look like living high on the hog and the Liberals risk returning to a tiny Party of assorted protests , a status 2/3 of the electorate granted them in a recent survey . It could be the end for' three , (not two) Party politics'
Clegg`s implausible side step is born of fear not hope . As he told Martin Bright , (discussing a Lib Lab pact) 85% of Liberal seats are ex Conservative seats and with their being no good reason not to vote Conservative his MP`s are sweating profusely . All thoughts of “leading the attack against Labour “ in its heartland , are gone .
As a desperate Political strategy this makes sense but Politics is not just a game , the idea is that you wish to achieve something other than a spot on Question Time . People judge your sincerity by consistency and willingness to be unpopular . The Liberals Party will find rebranding is a game of diminuishing returns .They did not do their time out in the cold as we Conservatives did . They have not demonstrated any depth of attachment to new thinking . Partly they are following the zeitgeist like a lost dog, but mostly they are scared of losing any significant presence in Parliament . So ferocious is the antidote to the Labour -lite problem it will leave much of their own Party behind .They should not panic , it is not real .
When you are not going to be in power you can say whatever you like . You do not have policies you have ‘adverts ‘. I aint buying .It is a cynical posture on which he could never deliver his Party is they once suspected there was the slightest chance of it becoming policy.


13 comments:

Philipa said...

I preferred the other chap, Vince Cable was it? I preferred the cable guy.

Anonymous said...

Yawn yawn stretch yawn… so where were we .. Oh yes 'Dave' the political impressionist has popped behind d the Curtain and come out as a Liberal, er Green er, …

Newmania said...

Anon we have always been green and a great deal more Liberal than the Liberal Party

Bill Quango MP said...

85% of Liberal seats are ex Conservative seats..

And so they want to hang on them.
but they are wrong. you don't attack at strength, but at weakness. Clegg HAS to reassure his MP's that they will be fine in 2010, but they won't.
Labour is weak. Weak and bankrupt and discredited and disliked.
Clegg can lose seats in the South and pick them off from the North.


'There sir, are the enemy, and there are the votes'

Newmania said...

I think you may well have a good point there BQMP , hard to attack the North with a tax cutting agenda

Newmania said...

I think you may well have a good point there BQMP , hard to attack the North with a tax cutting agenda

Retiredandcrazy said...

I think we should all go out and get drunk. There's no hope left. But wait, there is hope, why don't we recommend that the government borrow more money so that they can continue to throw it down the drain WITHOUT raising taxes. Now there's a plan.

Newmania said...

Oh but that would be madness R and C...madness

asquith said...

Economic liberalism is not right-wing. Right-wing is entrenching the already wealthy in their place whilst denying the poor a realistic chance to get on.

My motto is "socialist ends, liberal means". People are waking up to the fact that a large state is not necessarily progressive, and supporting a small state does not mean I support privilige.

People in areas like this, have been hammered by tax rises and a wasteful tax credit system, and are ready for tax cuts. They will, like me, support green taxes if the revenue raised by them is used to cut their income tax and VAT, a tax I have always been bitterly opposed to.

Being for a small state is not Conservative, Conservatism is something that makes me uneasy. What you see as tradition and social order seems to me like privilige and repression. We will not see eye to eye.

But I agree with what Clegg has been doing. His domestic agenda is far better than Cameron's. If only he weren't so pro-EU...

Newmania said...

His domestic agenda is a fiction Asquith and he can only talk such rubbish as an also ran.

Green taxes mean taking people`s holiday`s and cars away and they will not be supported but I agree with you on tax credits and there are a number of Liberal ideas worth looking at.

However while the Liberal Party is not without a few good eggs it can only deliver Brown. the good eggs could just as easily be in the Conservative party and the one problem m ight be Europe ..odd that your mention it

Auntie Flo' said...

They did not do their time out in the cold as we Conservatives did .


You're right about Cleggover but not entirely fair to Liberals. All those years when I was a Liberal I never ever voted for party that won a General Election. Imagine that. We were definitely used to be out in the cold, it was our natural habitat. Couple that with every other party under the sun continually taking the p*ss out of you. It takes fortitude to be a Liberal :)

Auntie Flo' said...

However while the Liberal Party is not without a few good eggs it can only deliver Brown. the good eggs could just as easily be in the Conservative party and the one problem m ight be Europe ..odd that your mention it.


Sh*t, have just seen this...so now I'll just creep quietly away...

Newmania said...

Never thought of it that way Flo , in my life I have always been the only Conservative in the room.

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