Monday, November 21, 2011

Liberal Democrats still restraining Tories

Cllr Frank Little writes: Contrary to Peter Rees's ludicrous assertion* that LibDems were "propping up" a Tory government, there is yet further evidence that Liberal Democrats within the coalition act as a restraint on the Thatcherite urges of some Conservatives. From

"It's clear that the Lib Dem brakes on the Tories are as effective today as they were back in the distant days of May 2010.

"In just three hours, we've had three different examples today of the way the Libs are constraining Tory ambitions:

"1. 50p tax rate.

"Many Tories are hoping that George Osborne's review of the 50p tax rate will lead to its abolition sooner rather than later. But Danny Alexander, who may know a little about how the Treasury's review is coming along, told SkyNews:

'It's very very important indeed that we continue to ensure that the wealthiest in society pay a fair contribution. That's what the 50p rate is doing. We'll see what the numbers show; I expect it is making money for the Government.'

"Yes, you read that right 'making money for the Government'. Conservatives were cheered in September when the Telegraph splashed on claimes that the 50p rate was actually costing the Treasury half a billion pounds, rather than raising any money.

" checked this claim and found the jury was out on whether the IFS had indeed found that the tax was not making the Exchequer any dough.

"Accountancy Age posted an excellent analysis of the 50p rate and concluded that given all the uncertainties the only clear thing was that the decision would ultimately be a political rather than an economic one.

"2. Strike laws.

"Francis Maude said on Marr this morning that if unions continued to strike then the case for increasing the threshold on ballots 'will become more pressing'.

"Yet within an hour, Danny was making clear the Libs were much less keen. He confirmed the issue was under review but said that changing the law was 'not the main response to these strikes'.

"Vince Cable has made plain that he does not want to embark on a union-bashing round of sub-Tebbit strike laws. He would prefer a new duty to keep services running rather than any threshold rise for ballots.

"3. Beecroft plans.

"Cable appears to have trounced Steve Hilton and some others in Number 10 who wanted the 'fire at will' plans proposed by Beecroft.

"Lord Heseltine, who don't forget has the PM's ear on many matters, was scathing on the Politics Sbow today about the idea that making it easier to fire people would help the economy.

"Hezza said that no business worth its salt would be making investment decisions on the basis of whether it could fire more people right now. He also said that in pure political terms the dangers of the Coalition being seen to attack workers in the downturn was not sensible:

'You don't want to make life rougher and tougher for large numbers of people you want to vote for you.'

"There, in a nutshell, is the Lib Dem/Cameroon credo that guides this Coalition and puts a brake on more radical Tory policies.

"No wonder many Conservative backbenchers are frustrated."

*The Deputy Leader of Labour-controlled Neath Port Talbot made the accusation in the budget discussion at the last council meeting, in a closing speech which allowed no opportunity for rebuttal.

1 comment:

Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats said...

Jonathan Calder ( wants us to be more positive.