Posts Tagged ‘Vince Cable’

In ‘the thick of it’ in Parliament Square

I was in London yesterday and was shocked by events inside and outside Parliament! I saw for myself what happened in the heart of Parliament Square and I heard eloquent and intelligent young people rage against the madness of the Coalition’s tuition fees policy.

The Tory/Lib Dem Coalition government voted to massively increase tuition fees for students. There was heated debate in the House of Commons but Nick Clegg was unapologetic and eager to push the policy through. This was despite huge opposition from young people who protested on the streets of London outside Parliament yesterday.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg appeared arrogant and out of touch in his media interviews. This went down very badly with young people!

Students on Westminster Bridge at around 1pm on 9th December 2010

I saw the protests from both sides of the police lines and saw many injured young people and one injured policeman. There were some upsetting scenes which I chose not to photograph. This included one young man with blood pouring from his head onto the road. There was a whole group of injured young people sat on the pavement. Police at times did seem very heavy handed with the crowds and there was huge anger amongst protesters. See video footage of police horses charging the crowd – unlikely to be shown on Sky!

Students reason with the law

The impact of the Lib Dem leadership voting for the policy was very evident outside as young people challenged police control lines and chanted “Shame on you for turning blue” whenever Clegg’s name was mentioned. He was, of course, called a lot worse.

Sense of Betrayal is Felt by Young People

There was a deep-rooted sense of betrayal amongst young people and probably the majority of the anger was directed at Clegg and his supporters (a reducing number of people as time goes on).

For my part I believe that it’s crucial to be a man or woman of your word. If there is an explicit promise made in writing and on film (and it’s a promise that has no conditions attached ) … well you can’t renege on it – at least not without undermining your credibility with the electorate and feeding the cynical attitude that ‘you’re all as bad as each other’.

Broken Promises Undermine Coalition Politics

The Observer said this on Sunday, “the (tuition fees) furore risks cementing coalition in peoples minds as licence to break promises”. When the referendum on changing the voting system comes there’s a real danger that people will say, ‘well if that’s the result of the kind of coalition that would come from electoral reform, I don’t want to vote for it’.

In any case Clegg did not hold the Party together. His attempt to appear tough with his own MPs backfired badly as more Lib Dem MPs voted against or abstained than voted for the policy put forward by the Lib Dem leadership. Clegg is weakened by this – as is our Party. So a pretty comprehensive disaster Nick! You have managed to deeply damage public trust in our party, particularly amongst young people and you have caused major division in the Lib Dems at the same time.

That is the kind of leadership we can do without.

28 Lib Dem MPs voted in favour of trebling tuition fees proposals, 21 voted against, 8 abstained.

Here are the names of the 21 Lib Dem MPs who voted against the trebling of tuition fees

Mass protest in Parliament Square

The Lib Dem Team of Clegg and Cable is the best choice for Britain

Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat finance spokesman warned this week that Britain risks sliding into a Greek-style fiscal crisis unless the next government takes drastic action to cut borrowing.

Taxes must rise sharply over the next decade to bring down borrowing, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. They suggest that taxes will have to rise by the equivalent of a 6p in the pound on income tax! They also said the UK economy faces sluggish growth and rising unemployment this year.

The Governor of the Bank of England governor Mervyn King is reported to have warned that “Whoever wins this election will be out of power for a whole generation because of how tough the fiscal austerity will have to be.”

Who would want to take the economic reins of power in such a scenario?

I ask another question – ‘In such dire circumstances who will be best suited to reduce the government debt, oversee a much needed restructuring of the banking sector, whilst protecting the vulnerable from cuts in vital government services?’ It will not surprise you that my answer this question is Vince Cable, Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats.

The next government could make the situation a lot worse. We need sound financial judgement if we are to recover and not sink into a second recession. Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats have consistently got the analysis right over the economy. We must tackle government debt without choking off the economic recovery

We cannot afford to take a leap in the dark with Osborne and Cameron. Many people are fearful of the mass job losses and VAT increases likely to follow a Conservative win. Cuts and tax increases will be needed but who will bear the brunt of these?

Vince says, “The public will accept austerity for a time if the burdens are fairly shared”.

Vince Cable and the Lib Dems are determined to make our tax system fairer and we would raise the tax threshold so that nobody earning less than £10,000 would pay any income tax. This would be paid for by a tax on mansions worth over £2million, closing tax loopholes and making airlines pay for the pollution they cause.

Raising the tax threshold will benefit the average tax payer by £700 per year, but it will also have the added benefit of greatly increasing the incentive to work rather than languish on benefits.

Our manifesto sets out a carefully costed plan of cuts and spending commitments that would result in a £10billion cut in the deficit. Much more needs to be done and that will include hard choices about benefits and public sector pensions for example.

Nick Clegg proposes a ‘Council on Financial Stability’, involving representatives of all parties, the Governor of the Bank of England and the Chair of the Financial Services Authority. We face the kind of dire circumstances that require all Parties to work together if we are to avoid major social division when cuts and tax rises are implemented.

A strong Liberal Democrat presence in Parliament will ensure a wise, prudent and compassionate approach to the crisis we face.

Mike Simpson, Prospective Liberal Democrat MP in Gostrey Meadow, Farnham

This election is likely to centre on two issues; economic competence and the expenses scandal. Vince Cable of the Lib Dems is respected as being the most astute and honest of the potential Chancellors, way ahead of George Osborne. A hung Parliament will see Dr Cable taking the economic reins of the country to the relief of millions. We cannot afford the amateur economist Mr Osborne, because nobody has the faintest idea how he would balance the books. Many fear it will be them who will pay in the mass job losses and tax increases so carefully hidden to date.

The Conservatives’ slick presentation reminds me of Blair in 1997. It is not yet clear if the electorate will fall for that again.

The bigger issue is of course the economy and the huge government debt we face. I for one would rather entrust decisions about this to Vince Cable than to George Osborne. I sincerely hope that the electors of South West Surrey will not take a leap in the dark with Osborne. This election gives us all the opportunity for a real political change. With a hung Parliament we are likely to get Vince and sound economics at last.