Sunday, September 14, 2008

Principles or None.

For almost my entire life, Montgomeryshire has been represented by a Liberal/Liberal Democrat. Everyone admired Clement Davies (MP when I was too young to care). I hugely admired Emlyn Hooson personally, and still do today. I look on him as a good friend. And Alex Carlile was my next door neighbour, and acknowledged as an outstandingly able MP. And I know Lembit Opik. So both as a resident of Montgomeryshire, and as a Parliamentary Candidate who hopes to represent the grand old county in Westminster after the next General Election, it follows that I take an interest in what the Lib Dems are saying.

Well, its very difficult to be sure. It seems to change very frequently. In general I've always thought of them as being in favour of higher public spending - which translates into higher taxation. The Lib Dems have been fighting elections on a policy of more public spending for as long as I can remember. And then there's the matter of European integration. The one political party in the UK that was fully signed up to the European ideal is the Lib Dems. And then there's a few secondary issues like proportional representation and a Local income Tax. Can't think of much else, if we discount the waffle. So what the h*** is going on at their Bournemouth Conference.

Former leader, Charles Kennedy was on the Politics Show today. "Taxation is too high" he said - and added that he wants to see "Smaller Government" and people having "More disposable income". This is just for starters. Nick Clegg's spin doctors have been badgering every TV studio to allow him in to tell us that he wants to cut the overall tax burden - not just a switch from the 'poor' to the 'rich'. 4p off income tax and at least £20 billion off public spending. And Vince Cable has been going round rubbishing the idea of the UK joining the Euro. That's right. The Lib Dems playing the Eurosceptic card! Its b***** amazing. Even Charles Kennedy said today that the time for joining the Euro is not now - and I thought he was the most Europhile politician in the UK. And I understand that the Lib Dem's in the Scottish Parliament are opposing the SNP's proposal to introduce a Local Income Tax. What next? Perhaps they'll be in favour of 'first-past-the-post' as a system of election tomorrow.

Seems to me that its not a question of whether these are sensible policy changes. Its more a question of whether the Liberal Democrats actually believe in anything at all, or ever did.


Peter Black said...

The SNP are not proposing a local income tax in the Scottish Parliament they are putting forward a national tax that will emasculate local government. If it were a local income tax then the Liberal Democrats would support it.

Anonymous said...

Goodness, just look at your own MP's principles - dating Cheeky Girls, attending anything vaguely showbizzy with free booze, and promoting a highly dangerous absurd looking scooter contraption, as if it was the eptiome of civil rights! Basically, he has NONE.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

The Lib-Dems are so mixed up one has to wonder if they are copying the fair weather positions of the Democrats here in the USA. First they are against building up troops in Afghanistan but now Obama wants more troops in Afghanistan, and will consider sending troops into Pakistan, it's getting to the point where many Americans are beginning to wonder if Obama is closer to Bush than McCain.

Obama has gone from big spending programs to giving 95% of the people a big tax cut in the form of payment cheques. Never mind 40% or so don't pay any tax! Pretty soon the 5% will be looking to move from the USA to avoid paying for Obama's income distribution checks.

Imho if Obama wins the USA will flip into depression let alone recession just when it's economy has started to expand with a pick up in jobs in the manufacturing industry. Fewer jobs are being exported to China, more factories are opening in the USA to be closer to the US market.

The US economy can really take off - so long as it survives Wall Street today - if Wall Street collapses today, it will have a HUGE impact on Europe (which includes the UK) and it will look even worse for the UK which is already facing a serious slow down and possible recession.
"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can patent for your country.”

anonymouse in the treasury skirting boards said...


Never have had. Never will.

PR? Great - means we win seats.

Higher spending? Great - means we win seats.

Pro EU? Great, means we win, some, seats, doesn't it?

OOOOps! Things have changed, better ditch those things because all we are interested in is, errr, winning seats.

However much a shower the Tories looked in the 90s and early 00s, they stuck to their principles and are the only truly liberal party left in the UK.

That the people have come back to them is testament to the strength of their principles and the policies they are now hanging off those principles.

alanindyfed said...

The answer, as I see it, is that the Liberals are a party of Independents, all good-hearted people but with their own individual views and solutions. They have always been a party of ideas and often successive Labour or Conservative governments have appropriated these ideas and made them their own.
I would personally like to see them in power in England as they deserve a chance to govern (along with a Plaid Wales and SNP Scotland). They add colour to politics certainly, and could be a breath of fresh air.
Like Glyn, I admire people who speask their mind and stand by their beliefs, though in the LibDem case it does not augur well for party unity or treading the party line. In this regard Labour are the opposite, a line-up of grey, colourless party-liners to whom the party is sacrosanct.

Anonymous said...

'For almost my entire life, Montgomeryshire has been represented by a Liberal/Liberal Democrat.'

So ur going to do a Sarah Palin and break the 'good old Lib-Dems network'.

Good for u!

Savonarola said...

Its called Realpolitik.

Clegg, to his credit(never mind for the moment his credibility), has spotted a wide open gap in the market - one which Cameron-Osborne has been ambivalent about.

Cut Govt spending/waste AND Reduce taxes. Cameron-Osborne always hedge(as some say they must)their statements on tax/spend.

Cable/Clegg are saying what Cameron/Osborne should be saying. LOUD and CLEAR, read my lips style.

janice hooper said...

Well said Glyn! I am glad you heeded my call to articulate your priorities.
This is precisely what the fight here in Montgomeryshire needs - some critical analysis of Lib Dem failures and someone to expose their inadequacies - and there are many!
We need more more of this Glyn - keep it up!
(It was most interesting to see Peter Black popping up to comment here. Having just read his blog, I would have thought he has enough on his plate in South Wales trying to justify his job! The accusations against him of not having enough to do, must be true!)

Glyn Davies said...

Peter - One of the reasons that I have always opposed a Local Income Tax is that I've thought there would be huge pressure to establish a 'norm' which would, in effect be a 'national' tax. But I do take your point.

anon - He has his ways and riding a Segway on the public highway was the first time any of them has been illegal. Just trying to be fair!.

Christopher - Don't know about you, but I prefer a politician who says something I disagree with, rather than a politician who says different things to different audiences and flip-flops with each passing breeze.

anon in the Treasury - I expect that when our manifesto comes to be written, the people of Britain will be able to judge us to be the most liberal and state-reducing party. And I expect it to be believable.

Alan - this is all very well, but advocating a policy is no use if its not credible.

anon - hope so.

savonarola - Difficult for me to comment because I'm keen to stay in line - but I've always been a 'smaller state' man. And that means lower state interferance and lower state spending. It is difficult for us (the Conservatives) to make committments at the moment because none of us know the scale of borrowing that Gordon Brown is going to leave. I remain hopeful that when the manifesto is written, it will give encouragement to those who share my beliefs. Clegg has correctly identified what people want to hear, but it just sounds incredible to me in the current circumstances.

Janice - Must admit that it was coincidence! But you have been making a fair point - which I intend to post on when I finish responding to comments.

Anonymous said...

I see the Lib Dems becoming shadows, they really seem to be slipping into the ether. That’s sad we need another good strong party, the old Liberal party had much more impact.
I think they are opportunistic and so what, they will never be a government unless they pick up their game and Nick Clegg gets a profile and some gravitas.
Local Income tax is a vote loser, its stealth tax that people want changed

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

"Christopher - Don't know about you, but I prefer a politician who says something I disagree with, rather than a politician who says different things to different audiences and flip-flops with each passing breeze."

Glyn> I don't know if it was your intention, but u describe Obama to 'a fine T'! Obama speaks "one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco" - as noted by Sarah Palin!
"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can patent for your country.”

Savonarola said...

I agree that Clegg,s 'lets cut taxes and the size of the state' talk is just that. When placed under a magnifying glass, the figures will not add up, tax gains here will be tax losses there - the usual LibDem con trick and the size of the state sector will grow because thats what they are 'Nannys'.

Nevertheless we need to lead the voters on the merits of smaller state rather than trying to ride two horses with one backside. Fog in the pulpit, mist in the pews etc.

Glyn Davies said...

VM - I do think that the Lib Dems are all over the place. I too think that Local Income Tax is a thoroughly bad idea, but I can see that it has an appeal when it is portrayed as just being a painless end to Council Tax - the ultimate in oppoprtunism.

Christopher - A few months ago I was warming to Obama, but I'm seeing him more and more as an unprincipled opportunist as we learn more about him.

savonarola - you are being a touch unfair by trying to draw me into agreeing with a position that my party has not yet announced as policy!

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn> how Obama revealed his true character is pretty much how it went with me.

I liked Obama, but the more I learnt about him the more I realized he is a disaster for small businesses which form the backbone of the US economy.

In contrast Palin and her husband ran a small business, same goes for many of her relatives and friends. This means a LOT to small American based business owners like me. We feel confident that she understands our problems, so I will be voting for her, and hence voting for the McCain-Palin ticket.

Like I was sponsored to become a US citizen, I am now sponsoring my mother - she has her final interview for USC next month. With any luck her voting papers will be through by Nov 4 and as a new American citizen she will be able to vote - she wants to vote for Sarah Palin. Bless her cotton socks!