Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The LibDem Manifesto --- According to Eric Pickles

Says it better than I could, taken from ConHome:

Nick Clegg swapped the photocopying room in Cowley Street for much more stylish surroundings of a news agency to launch his manifesto today, complete with blue backdrop and green parrot. After the cartoons of the Labour Party and our more serious tomes, they adopted a homage to a West Yorkshire 1970’s bus timetable. The old West Riding had a great affection for that post modernist look when it came to imparting vital transport information.
I had a much loved copy of the timetable, so it was with much excitement I started to turn the pages, to find to my disappointment that it didn't give me the quickest route from Heckmanwike to Todmorden, but contained some "fully worked out pledges". Within minutes this "fully costed manifesto" started to dissolve before my very eyes like the foresaid timetable left out too long in the rain.

I won’t bore you with all the detail but needless to say there is £11.6 billion black hole in their calculations. The one of the more bizarre overstatements is the amount of tax avoidance which they claim they will save £4.65 billion through ‘anti-avoidance measures’ on income tax, National Insurance Contributions (NIC), Corporation Tax and Stamp Duty. However, HMRC estimates ‘tax avoidance’ in income tax, National Insurance and Capital Gains Tax is only between £0.8 and £1.6 billion. Perhaps Lib Dems know more about tax avoidance than we had previously anticipated.

I expect you might have come across the odd example of Lib Dem’s varying their message for different audiences but how about this for a ‘u-turn’. For weeks, Vince Cable and Nick Clegg have come out in support of Labour’s anti-business jobs tax and attacked businesses supporting Conservative opposition to the jobs tax. They were unkind enough to call our refusal to implement Labour’s job tax as “school boy economics" and "voodoo economics.” Compare that with "the increase in National Insurance Contributions is a damaging tax on jobs and an unfair tax on employees, so when resources allow we would seek to reverse it.’ (Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010, April 2010, pg. 97).

It just reinforces my view that if you want to see Liberal values in a Government, if you want to see improvements in the environment or pull back on the way in which the state is oppressively intruding into personal freedom and liberty, the sensible thing to do is vote Conservative. That is why Liberal Democrat voters are going to switch this time to the Conservatives to remove, rather than prop up Mr Brown in Number 10. Interesting that one of the first telephone calls that I took was from a Liberal Democrat County Councillor in the South of England who has chosen today to leave the Liberal Democrats and join the Conservatives. More on that later but suffice to say, she is very welcome

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