Friday, 26 August 2011

"With every passing day the Liberal Democrats are dragging the Coalition further away from the Conservative manifesto"...

That is the title of this piece by Tim Montgomerie over at the Conservatives home. 

I rarely read any blogs or items by other parties (I know I should, but I don't get much time as it is so prefer to read the opinions of people who's opinions I value), however it is always good to read a piece like this.  Even reading the title just shows why we were right to go into coalition with the Tories.  It may be damaging to our reputation to be seen along side all of the Tory policies that we have compromised on, however the hand brake that we have put on others (plus pressing forward our own priorities) means it was the right thing to do.  

Lets have a look at each accusation in turn:

  1. Human Rights Laws:  The Lib Dems in government are stopping the Conservative party renegotiate the workings of the European Courts and defending human rights.  As I have said previously, I for one am glad that there is a court in Europe that looks at what is right and doesn't just pander to media/social pressure from those who shout loud enough.
  2. £1.8bn of New Regulations: This is the supposed cost to businesses for treating all of the people they engage on contracts like employees.  Now I am not keen on agency workers having all of the same rights as employees - they usually get paid a large premium due to their reduced status and increased risk, but it is good that the Liberal Democrats are looking to do some things to protect these workers, not all of whom are on large salaries - many of which are engaged on long term roles which they themselves class as employment.
  3. Control of Immigration:  Anyone who knows me knows that I have quite strong opinions on the the freedom of movement of people and that immigration gets an undeserved bad press (I have blogged a few times on this subject - one here).  Apparently the Liberal Democrats are stopping the Tories reduce net migration figures.  Now I understand that overcrowding in areas can be a problem, however I don't believe you should restrict anyone who wants to come to our society and contribute.  I would hate to be told I couldn't move somewhere just because I wasn't born there.  This is probably my most passionate topic and one I wasn't exactly happy with the Liberal position on, however it was miles better than the Tories arbitrary cap which is infeasible, ineffective and actually hurts the businesses they say they champion.
  4. Green Policies: Apparently Tim doesn't see reducing our carbon footprint as a priority.  Now I may have stated in the past that I am not worried about global warming, but that doesn't mean that I don't think the Government shouldn't be looking to reduce the amount of carbon into the atmosphere - far from it.  I may not agree with all of the policies in place, but they are better than doing nothing to save money!
  5. "Opposition to Growth Measures":  Trying to spread the burden more evenly over society by increasing capital gains tax is apparently being opposed to growth.  As Warren R Buffett said "I have yet to see anyone ... shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off."  No offence to Tim intended but when it comes to investors motivations there are not many people I'd even think about believing over Mr Buffett!  Increasing capital gains tax in reality just lessens the incentive to avoid paying as much tax as you should on your income.
  6. Even Loading of the Cuts: So basically when Labour are screaming their "Too Far Too Fast" mantra they should be thanking the Lib Dems for ensuring it wasn't even quicker - not that I don't think that would have been a good thing.  The recession did highlight the need for a drastic rebalancing that would always have short term pain, it's just how long you want to draw that pain on for (or if you want to ignore it all together to make things worse in a future period - which will happen).  The slowing that I feel the Lib Dems have done is to attempt to make sure things weren't just cut rashly.
  7. Opposition to Renegotiation with Europe: I covered this in #1.
  8. Thwarting of NHS Reform: Huzzah!  Thwarting something that nobody apart from Andrew Landlsey appeared to actually like.
  9. Nothing Serious is Happening on Family Policy:  Excellent.  So it shouldn't.  Yes stable families are probably the ideal way to bring up children, however people shouldn't be discriminated against just because their situation hasn't allowed that - often through no fault of their own.  Normally it's those who aren't in stable families that need the most help from the Government.  This also leads to a disincentive for people in abusive relationships to leave their partner.  In addition I have to feel that sexual orientation will end up being a discriminating factor - especially if full gay marriages aren't introduced.
  10. Tuition fees: He's right here - no-one's happy.  
So, as Richard Morris says:  

The Coalition may not been good for us politically but reading pieces like that just remind me how important our part has been.

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