Saturday, 23 October 2010

Daily Mail on Lib Dem achievements in the CSR

The Daily Mail's website has listed lots of Lib Dem achievements in the CSR, in a column by Edward Heathcoat Amory. Who am I to argue with the Daily Mail? According to Mr Heathcoat Amory, we can thank the Lib Dems for the following CSR measures:
  • International Aid: A massive increase in funding for the Department for International Development, up from £7.9 billion to £11.4 billion over four years, an increase of 44 per cent in cash terms
  • Green Investment Bank: £1 billion in cash plus the proceeds of future asset sales to fund investment in offshore wind farms and other projects
  • Carbon Capture Storage: A £1 billion investment in a ‘carbon capture’ scheme, to take the carbon emissions from a power station and store them deep underground
  • Child Tax Credits: Available to families earning under £41,329 from April and under £23,275 from 2012, will go up by £30 in 2011 and £50 in 2012, at a cost of £560million a year by 2014
  • Sure Start: The Coalition has chosen to protect its budget in cash terms
  • Regional Growth Fund: A taxpayer-funded pot of cash, worth £1.4 billion over three years, with the aim of pumping money into areas of the country especially hard-hit by cutbacks in the size of the state
  • Childcare for two-year-olds: From 2013, disadvantaged two-year-olds will be entitled to 15 hours or more of childcare paid for by the taxpayer a week
  • National Scholarship Fund: Worth £150million a year by 2014, this will help pay for higher education for poorer children
  • Museum Charges: The Government is still funding free entry to museums in Britain.
This is a terrific list, demonstrating the influence exerted by Liberal Democrats within the Coalition Government. Would these things have happened if the Conservatives were governing without the Lib Dems? I have my doubts.


  1. How can you be sure it's accurate, given that it was published by the Daily Mail ? ;-)

  2. Getting the support of the Daily Mail is hardly something to sing about.

    I would ask you this question - how many of the Tory party policies (including regressive cuts,taxes, and attacking the vulnerable) would have happened if the Conservatives were governing without the Lib Dems? None, because they couldn't get them through Parliament.

  3. Anonymous - we don't have the support of the Daily Mail - that's the point. They're complaining at what they see as our 'disproportionate influence' within the Coalition!

    As for your question - the answer is all of them, and more, would have happened a few months down the line when the instability of a minority Tory government led to a second election where only the Conservatives could afford to campaign, and where the Lib Dems were punished for indecision and failure to put the country before narrow self-interest, leading to a majority Tory government.

  4. @anonymous: anyone who thinks that a minority government in total grid-lock during an economic crisis would have been a "like, totally neat" thing wants their head examining. We would be having another election by now, the economy having tanked, and the Tories would be marking to victory.

  5. The election produced an indeterminate outcome - no party won a majority of seats in the Commons, meaning that no party won. A Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition was the best means of producing a stable government with a proper majority. The alternative would have been the chaos of a minority government, followed fast by a second election - how would the markets and Britain's creditors reacted to that? Someone needed to govern Britain and my party stepped up to the plate.

  6. Neil (I was the first "anonymous")23 October 2010 at 23:57

    @anonymous (2) - I find it vaguely amusing that you characterised me with as an American teenager!

    Anyway, you're right, we would have be having another election now. But...

    1. our party would still have it's dignity.
    2. a. the tories would (other than a few minor tweaks) be introducing the same polices as they are now. So no difference in that respect.
    b. Those very policies (which we stood against in May) will, in my opinion (and formally our party's) lead to the economy tanking.

    And Matthew - were we always a party that made policy to placate the self-interested "market"? And the length of our debt (as many analysts have pointed out) would preclude a Greece style collapse.

    And, another point, it's OUR party, not yours alone. I, and many others in the party, are sick to death of the party hierarchy and their sycophants who are happily putting the nails into the coffin of any chance of Liberal Democrat values ever being the mainstream.

    We have a Tory government Matthew. With at best, a frill of watered down Lib Dem policies. Real people are going to suffer as a result of policies we opposed for decades. REAL people.

  7. It is indeed "our" party, not mine alone, or yours alone. It also belongs to the millions of people who vote for us and the millions more who seriously consider doing so. It is a democratic party, which elects its leaders. The democratically elected leadership reached a decision about the coalition, got it endorsed by the Parliamentary Parties, the Federal Executive and Conference (an overwhelming vote in favour, cast by democratically elected Conference Representatives). I sincerely believe that being in this coalition, and implementing these policies, is the right thing to do. Incidentally, I am myself "a REAL person", as is everyone else reading this. I'm sure your political views are based on what you think is right - well, mine are based on what I think is right, too. We're both equally moral, equally honest people, despite our political differences. Like Tony Benn, you are unable to accept that people you disagree with politically are acting from motives that are as decent as yours are.

  8. I didn't question your sincerity or motivation Matthew, I disagreed with your opinion is all...
    Incidentally, politicians I respect include Ann Widdecombe and Dennis Skinner; I respect their motives although I disagree with their opinions.

    You're quite right re democratic etc etc. However, democracy doesn't stop at one election/decision. It continues as we try to shape each others' views. And I think you're wrong on the spending review.

    I don't doubt your realness but, like me, I suspect you aren't living on the breadline. The "real" people I refer to are those who cam ill afford to be further marginalised and disenfranchised from society. Like those on long-term sick leave, or the long term unemployed, or long-standing members of communities in social housing who can't sleep tonight with worry about the future.

    The millions who voted for us didn't vote for this, or perhaps they did? I don't think I, or they, voted for the overwhelmingly Tory policies of this coaltion government. Our plans for the deficit, quite rightly in my opinion, didn't involve massive spending cuts (and split 80:20 with tax increases). Presumably you and Nick campaigned on different policies than the rest of us?

    There's compromise and there's wholesale abandonment of our principles (save a few scraps to keep us happy). For the sake of small concessions many of which the public don't see or, worse still, credit the Tories with, we are condeming ourselves to political obscurity for a generation.

  9. A big part of our pitch at the last General Election was that we (unlike the other two parties) had honestly identified the cuts that we would make to reduce the deficit. We had been warning of the dangers of the deficit for longer than anyone else - that's why Vince Cable was so popular, because he had succeeded in forseeing the debt crisis, unlike most politicians and commentators.

    Our four key pledges ( are all being delivered: a change to income tax that is a tax cut for most people, especially the low paid; the Pupil Premium, to raise funding for schools attended by the poorest pupils; green jobs - the Green Investment Bank; major reforms to make the political process fairer. And one our ministers, Steve Webb, an acknowledged expert on pensions, has today announced far-reaching reforms of the state pension.