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Lib Dems: Ready to talk budget deficit

Nick Robinson | 12:00 UK time, Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Frank, detailed, honest, straight forward, specific, concrete, tangible. Those were all words the Liberal Democrats used this morning to talk about themselves.

Corrupt, dishonest, waffling, treating people like fools. That was them talking about their opponents.

Nick CleggToday Nick Clegg presented himself as the honest man of British politics.

While the man who's never far from his side, Vince Cable, described himself, somewhat oddly, as the elephant man. This was not because he's like the freak show exhibit of Victorian times. But because he's ready, he said, to talk about the elephant in the room - in other words the budget deficit.

Thus the Liberal Democrat budget proposals are bound to come in for particular scrutiny. They are proposing a massive tax cut, almost £17bn, amounting to £700 a head for ordinary workers, at a time of a massive budget crisis.

The money, they say, can be raised by higher taxes on pension contributions, air travel, expensive houses, closing tax loopholes and saving over four and a half billion in tax avoidance. Not a penny of that, mind, would go to cut the deficit or to avoid tax rises like the one planned for national insurance or to protect public spending . All of it would go to give people a tax cut.

Now the party can point to other proposals to cut spending which will help cut the deficit and boost schools spending.

But you don't need to reach for a calculator or even call our friends at the Institute of Fiscal Studies to ask this question - if you were in government and could really find £17bn, would you actually be prepared to give it all away?

Nick Clegg's answer to that question is an interesting one. He argues that the public will only back what he once called savage cuts in public spending if they see that the cake is being fairly distributed.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.


    Loved the intro, Nick.

    The media has talked up the LibDems as a major player and the Cleggies are happy to go along with it, bigging themselves up.

    People feel angry and let down by the same old politics but Clegg is part of the Westminster crowd and as such part of the problem not the solution.

    Voters are angry, frustrated and bored, turning their backs on the two main Westminster parties but have plenty of other parties and independents to chose from. The LibDems are just a little fish in a big pond?

    http://theorangepartyblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/little-party-too-big-for-its-boots.html

  • Comment number 3.

    I really like the idea of increasing the tax free limit to £10,000. Massive tax cut aimed squarely at the poor and modest earners. But thats a lot of cash that you have to raise to pay for it.

    Lib Dems can't realistically expect to get this through with either party if there is a coalition. You'd think Labour would be probably be more sympathetic to the idea though.

    Still it shows that the Tories are out on a limb with their 'your on your own, go and run your own school/post office/pub/park/library' philosophy.

    I think this will drive Labour voters to vote tactically Lib Dem in Tory/Lib Dem marginals and the Lib Dem voters to vote tactically Labour in the Tory/Labour marginals.

  • Comment number 4.

    As a general rule, the Lib Dems can say whatever they like in their manifestos as they know they aren't going to get in.

    I'm all for the tax cut if I believed it were true. It sounds rather like a pre-election bribe that would "miraculously" disappear once they took office and they realise that the state of the economy is far worse than they expected.

    Good luck to them though, hopefully they'll do well enough to relegate Labour to 3rd nationally. And if I want my local Labour candidate out I'm probably going to have to vote Lib Dem anyway as the Tories don't have much of a chance.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Nick Clegg is a lightweight dreamer. He attacks only the Conservative Opposition and leaves the Government untarnished by his comments. His actions will send the LibDems into reverse because a vote for them is a vote for Labour! Vote LibDem get Gordon Brown ! They should be honest and trustworthy - as they state they are - and confirm that they will support Labour in a hung parliament. A vote for the LibDems is a vote for Labour !

  • Comment number 7.

    Agree with them on one point already. The bigger two parties have certainly been treating the electorate like fools, even more so Labour for their many contradictions and still not letting on quite how bad the countrys finances are in. Even if they don't get in its refreshing to hear them say this.

  • Comment number 8.

    Finally, a manifesto which actual lays out clear plans for dealing with the deficit! Well done to the Lib Dems for actually being honest with the electorate about how their plans will work!

  • Comment number 9.

    Everyone agrees, the national deficit must be reduced, we need honest politics - it's going to hurt. We need honest policies, how would you protect British jobs - if you also support a global economy. And who should we trust - who honestly will make politicians accountable to the people that matter, us.

  • Comment number 10.

    would like to consider votes for this BUT not if it means that they will cuddle up to Gorndon "Mistakes a plenty" brown.

    ps one of htere current MP's Mr Hemmingway has been doing sterling
    work around the problems with the Family Courts and CAFCA-SS ,

    but not if they want to jump into bed with brown not even for that

  • Comment number 11.

    I think it is an interesting pitch, although I find it strange that the Lib Dems are able to find £17 million to fund their key proposal but seem to feel that the Tories plan to reverse the NI rise will leave a £6 billion black hole.

    Personally I am leaning towards what the Lib Dems are saying (I actually did the Telegraph test to see what party's policy best suits me and I was 50% Lib Dem, 25% Tory and 25% UKIP!), however as the local Labour candidate reminded me in her propoganda my area is a two horse race between Labour and the Tories and I don't want Labour to get back in.

  • Comment number 12.

    The problem with the Lib Dems is they fail to answer the big question - will they support Brown or Cameron. Nick Clegg is not going to be the next PM and so we have a right to know who he is likely to support. I want to get rid of Brown more than anything else and I need to know that if I vote LD then I won't end up with brown as PM. Whilst they say that they will support the party with a mandate I and I'm sure everyone else knows they will support the party that gives them PR.

  • Comment number 13.

    What's the point of the Liberal Democrats, they are not going to be the main party in any Government and they can whinge and moan as much as they want?

    They are politically irrelevant

  • Comment number 14.

    Fair distribution of the cake? Yet higher taxes on pensions etc? Is this the Robin Hood model of wealth redistribution? These proposals start to feel like robbery.

    There is a fine line here and if it is crossed, anyone who actually has the ability to earn a decent living will do so somewhere where they get to keep a reasonable proportion of it (which if this lot get in will completely exclude the UK).

    Let us see how the country does when all that is left is the section of society that won't lower itself to a job an imported Pole is happy to do, yet whines that foreigners take all our work.

    The basic problem is waste: If you waste less, you don't need more. Surely, increasing taxes is the lazy answer here.

  • Comment number 15.

    A truly interesting spectacle, not often seen in the UK political world. A remarkable feat that is to be confratulated. A fully costed proposal which is straight up and honest. Vote for me and we'll pay you X and tax you Y. Refreshingly different. It is so sad that my party didn't do the same, it would have gained some respect from Voters (of course some would be scared, but more would be grateful for the honesty). Labour missed a trick. The only plus side is that Georgie Osbourne and Chameleon Dave (what colour am I today?) did the same, with even less detail than Labour! At least Labour have owned up to some tax rises, i.e. the NI Increase that is so bitterly fought over... Or is that a tax cut if you're a Tory (scrapping an increase is not a cut in my book!)? Who knows.

    I'd like to see the Lib Dems surge as a result of their honesty, at the expense of Chameleon Dave of course, and maybe gain the balance of power when the parliament is hung (in a metaphorical sense unfortunately). Then and only then would we really see if they are different from normal politicians and do what they say (as far as possible in a coalition)? Or would they do what politicians normally do and put their own and their parties best interests first and ignore the basis upon which they were elected as "times have changed"....

    Not that I'm at all cynical...

  • Comment number 16.

    More smoke and mirrors,but the same old rhetoric , symptomatic of their Labour party roots. Hit the people who have worked and made money, spend it on those who won't or don't work. While it is admirable to look after those who cannot work, and those out of work due to Labour incompetence, there is nothing fair about taxing those who work to subsidise the lazy and workshy. This is the old policy of envy beloved of the Labour party and it's " division two " the Lib /Dems. Their aim seems to be not governance of this country, but policy geared towards sharing power with Labour in an election they know will not give them power on merit.Their manifesto is an exercise in Vince Cable economics, great for lecture rooms but impractical in the running of a national economy. Theories to cut deficits but no mention of how the massive debt can be cut, or how it's accrued interest is going to be paid for.

  • Comment number 17.

    New labour, having Mortgaged the future of young families through PFI, Budget deficits and massive National Debt, are now joined by the LibDems who want to add to that legacy by taxing pension contibutions at a higher rate.

    Elephant Cable? more like effluent given that joined up thinking!

  • Comment number 18.

    Well, we've had all the manifestos. I think it is up to us to let the Party leaders and their election strategists know what we do and don't like about them. There will be three weeks for them to say 'Sorry, we got it wrong, we'll make changes' or 'What you see is what you may (or may not) get from us'.
    I suggest writing short, polite letters, containing a tough question (or observation) or two, requesting a reply and copying it to your MP - even if they are in a different party. Send the letter by post - it carries more weight than an e-mailed communication - and chase for a reply if you hear nothing. Let us engage in this democratic process and let our representatives know how we want to be represented.

  • Comment number 19.

    well, this must be one of the biggest and dumbest election bribes on record. Clegg admitted to paxman on Monday that it would cost £17.5bn in tax cuts to put £1.5bn in the hands of the poorest group in society. That's £17.5bn that the country doesnt have - remember we are up to ears in debt. You dont need to be a whizz-kid to understand that it just doesnt add up.

    Then there's the limit on bankers' bonuses of £2500 cash. The principle is fine but the number is just stoooopid. For example, a friend of mine works in a NatWest branch. He gets a basic of £22k (not a king's ransom in London) and gets £10k bonus for being a good salesman. At the moment "selling" involves encouraging people to deposit cash with NatWest. Should his bonus be capped at £2500 a year? should he lose 20% of his salary? or should NatWest just pay him a bigger salary - increasing the bnak's fixed costs? It is evident that Clegg and Cable havent thought this one through?

    These two very dumb policies presumably come from Cable - you know the man who has spent the last 18 months trailing round the TV studios telling everyone who will listen "I told you so!". The same man who dreampt up the dumb mansion tax which will hit pensioners.

    The lib dems are evidently not fit for government. Why does the BBC give them so much airtime?

  • Comment number 20.

    As I live in a safe Labour constituency, under the present FPTP voting system there is little point in me voting. The conservatives believe this is fair and have no plans to change our outdated voting system, even though apathy (i.e. those who cannot be bothered to vote) accounts for approx 40% of the registered voting population and accounts or a larger share of the population that the leading party. I, like the vast majority, have no influence over who will be PM. But DC does think it's important that I play an active role in society. I can't wait to vote for my police chief, that's clearly more important than choosing Government. It's a shame really because if my vote counted I would go for the Lib-Dems this time.

    I'm hoping to see plenty of tactical voting to keep the Tories out. DC and his Eton clique would be complete disaster. I can't really understand the opposition to a strong hung parliament, grown men (and women) sat around a table agreeing a joint policy that two parties can live with seems a little more civilised and democratic than watching the little boys 'debating' policy in the houses of parliament.

  • Comment number 21.

    Their numbers did not stack up the last time I looked at them and no doubt they still do not.

    One of the ways that they get their numbers to work on paper is to say they will close loopholes and crack down on tax avoidance - as if that ever actually generated anything like the savings govt promises.

    The sad truth is that this country has a tax tolerance of around 37% of GDP, anything significantly above that and the voters get rid of the govt or business makes such a fuss that the rules get changed. If you do not believe me check on the OECD stats which go back to the 1960s and therefore cover both Labour and Tory administrations including those much more "statist" than current. Other countries have a higher tolerance for tax - I guess due to different traditions/history maybe even geography.

    If the tax take tops out at 37% of GDP (on average) then we simply cannot run the public sector on the basis of spending 44%+ of GDP (in 2007 before the credit crunch the figure was just under 44% now it is 52%). Obviously govt has other sources of income in addition to taxes, but these seem relatively minor - say 3% of GDP.

    If we assume that of the 52% of GDP spend by the publci sector this year say 4% was bank bail out related costs which (hopefully) should not need to be repeated in the near future that means the public sector is spending 48% of GDP but only collecting in about 40% to pay for it.

    That means that public sector spending has to be cut by nearly 1/6th from current values simply to balance the budget.

    Just to frighten politicians still further, I suspect the tax tolerance will start to decline and 37% will be seen to be too high. I would not be surprised to see this drop to 35% (mostly due to decline in business taxes).

    What we have is a debate lacking in the intelligence displayed by a primary school playground fight, what we need is a grown up debate about what is govt actually for.

  • Comment number 22.

    Okay here's a task for you politically minded people out there.

    I'm 23, male, 9-5 office worker, looking to buy first house.

    I've never voted before and wasn't intending to this time either, but what is your concensus? Who should I vote for and more importantly, WHY?

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    At the end of the day he can say what he likes but the best he can hope for is a hung parliament.

  • Comment number 25.

    There's some good stuff in the manifesto. Scrapping the Trident replacement when we are so strapped for cash seems like such an obvious idea it's surprising the other 2 main parties aren't going for it.

    I'm also glad that they're scrapping the ridiculous target of 50% of young people going to university. It's a mystery to my why anyone ever thought that was workable.

    Opening more local rail lines and cutting rail fares is also a great idea. People travel by car rather than by rail mainly for 2 reasons: one is that the car is so much cheaper, and the second is the hassle of getting to your nearest train station.

    Lots of good stuff on privacy too.

    But most of all, they actually present their sums in support of their claim that the figures add up as a table at the end. Looking forward to seeing someone like C4 FactCheck having a go at it and finding out if it's credible.

    Mind you, it's only a manifesto, of course, so do we actually believe that they are really committed to it?

    Regular readers of my posts will not be surprised to know that I won't be voting Labour or Tory (except Susan, who somehow seems to have it in her head that I'm a Labour supporter). So the LibDems were always in with a good chance of getting my vote.

    I'm still undecided, and will wait to see who else is standing in my constituency, but I think this manifesto makes it more likely that I'll be voting LibDem.

  • Comment number 26.

    It all sounds good - but they could say anything really but they still wouldnt get into power.

    they are just token - same as all the other pointless parties - What should happen is you have a first round of voting take the top 2 and then see who wins the final election.

  • Comment number 27.

    Lib dems - play in yellow - just like erm Norwich(ish) - says it all really - mind you they could be about to join the Big Boys in the Championship - an Omen - nah - politics and footy have no influence on each other - what i just typed was waffle. Daft eh.

  • Comment number 28.

    That picture of Nick Clegg at the top, he is actually holding up an A3 notepad... Nick Clegg is a giant...

  • Comment number 29.

    Lib Dems: 'Ready to talk budget deficit'

    Err, right: they offer £17 billion of tax cuts funded by soaking the rich and anyone who wants to fly away on holiday.

    No impact on the deficit whatsoever! If they were being 'honest,' why didn't they tell us where the cuts would come from? All 3 main parties have avoided telling us.

    With these policies, the Lib Dems live in some happy clappy land well well to the left of Labour.

    As someone above said, voting Lib Dem is the same as voting Labour.

    And I'm really looking forward to another 5 years under Gordon Brown: he's so-oo good for the country.

  • Comment number 30.

    The Lib Dem's manifesto contains visible number crunching that explains their proposals. Labour and the Conservatives simply use their manifestos' to throw large chunks of pointless mud around at their opposite numbers. The Lib Dem manifesto also is the most readable because unlike the conservatives and labour they are actually getting their points down instead of trying to give style over substance.

  • Comment number 31.

    Has anyone mentioned that premodding destroys a blog on here yet? I mean, I could reply to Bryn the Cat but the last time he posted was over half an hour ago. He could be dead by now. Then how foolish would I feel?

  • Comment number 32.

    I'm confused, is this the guy from last of the summer wine? Who is he and why has he never been on telly before now, what party is he from and why are people interested i him...

  • Comment number 33.

    A good blog with good responses. As he may well be king-maker, it is vital we know who Clegg is likely to support in the event of a hung parliament.

    The problems with voting the Lid Dems are:

    They have no realistic chance of winning and if, somehow, they did, they have no experience of governing. Indeed, in such an event, the majority of their MP's would be total novices.

    They want to scrap Trident. Aside from any idealogical arument, this would see me out of a job.

    They change policies too often. Its not that long ago they were advocating a penny on income tax, now they're cutting it.

    Taxing pensions is stupid in an era when no-one is saving enough.

    Its great having a third party to come up with innovative, sometimes radical, ideas. And the Lib Dems do this well. But they are not a serious party for government. I would vote Lib Dem if it meant ousting a Labour candidate in my constituency though.

  • Comment number 34.

    Just when Liberals were standing for the sanity in politics vote now theywant to tax pension contributions. We are already taxed when we earn the cash to pay our subs into these schemes,taxed when we draw them as pension and taxed again when we live on said amount. Its bad enough being ripped off in the past with companies taking pension holidays,tagging a new scheme onto a previous so as not having to pay their contributions.Some years on finding the pension you have considered to be yours has gone not only to pay fees for running the scheme,but to those with no morals about the taking and the gamboling of the futures of others. We dont have enough cake left to share.

  • Comment number 35.

    I think rahte rthan liberal democrats we need liberal autocrats, a ruthless dictatorship which doesn't object to the occasional joint... makes more sense to me.

  • Comment number 36.

    At #13 Skynine:
    It's a bit oversimple to dismiss the LibDems as politically irrelevant, the elephant trap that George Osborne blundered into during his debate. If we get a hung parliament - which looks increasingly likely - then Clegg will be the kingmaker. Any policy that the LibDems don't like is unlikely to get past the Commons unless Lab and Con unite against the LibDems.
    So if the LibDems stand a good chance of getting to call the shots, we should be all over their policies like a rash. Do we REALLY want a hung parliament?

  • Comment number 37.

    what gets me about this simon pegg fella is he looks like a russian doll that usually lives inside peter jones from dragons den.

    i'm out...

  • Comment number 38.

    Mr Spitfire, sir.

    With respect, I feel you may hav misconstrued Nick Klegg, the namesake of my favourite character in Nicholas Nickleby who famously said "Fan the sinking flame of hilarity with the wing of friendship; and equitably pass around the Christmas cake."

    This seems appropriate to the cheery bonhomie we associate with the successor to Charles Kennedy, who would have undoubtedly passed around the mulled wine (no doubt in large quantities) and the irrepresible and well beloved Paddy Ashdown, who at this festive time of year could usually be found standing under the mistletoe in state of almost eponymous undress (great men are seldom over-scrupulous in the arrangement of their attire).

    I feel the Klegg is more well-inentioned than you imply, Mr Spitfire, sir, although its hard for me to tell from this rather peremptory blog which Owd Nick looks like he dashed off on the back of a fag packet. Come on, Nick, you can do better than this. Noone (plymouth argyle) knows what Klegg stands for or how to spell his name properly and we're still Little the Wiser.

    And a Merry Christmas to One and All, even you, Ass.

  • Comment number 39.

    i think they could raise the money they need by slashing the millitary budget, rather than actually having weapons we should just focus on looking hard. we get some troops to get lary with a talibaner whilst 5 other lads hold him back and say they aint worth it...

    on a political scale, send the PeeEm to tha UN with a mock "red button" and if any other countries get aggy, he should get a crazy look in his eyes (eye if gordon) and say "i'll do it man, i'll do it, dont think i wont man"...

  • Comment number 40.

    Complain about this comment

    13. At 1:25pm on 14 Apr 2010, skynine wrote:
    "What's the point of the Liberal Democrats, they are not going to be the main party in any Government and they can whinge and moan as much as they want?

    They are politically irrelevant"

    Not a government in waiting but a catalyst for the other parties.Letwin has borrowed some of their communitarian ideas while Labour have edged towards reform of the voting system.

    They are also talking about tax in a refreshing way,the low starting rate here is a poverty trap for many and below most West European countries.

    A city guy called David Buick has described Vince Cable as "Dangerous".on Radio 4.That to me is a definition of a radical.

    There is an article in today`s Times by JK Rowling,"The Single Mother`s Manifesto which has an interesting slant on social justice and patriotism.In her view,public services are the core of the first,and paying your share of UK tax integral the second.

  • Comment number 41.

    I think all taxes should be scrapped, and replaced with a mandatory wage garnish... which can be used to fund public services. simple when you think about it.

  • Comment number 42.

    that picture makes nick clegg look like a boy getting told off for looking at his dads magazines... it does honest.

  • Comment number 43.

    Why do my words keep getting stuck im my throat????? I neraly coughed me guts up????

  • Comment number 44.

    Ok. I see. The call to 'a fairer Britain' is not some racial purification initiative but seriously, is banning the tanning salons rid us of all the ills we hvae in society?

    I get it that we'll all be better off with Phill Brown, Jordan and Jade Goody (oops she is dead, innt?) in their real colours but thats hardly a major issue is it.

    I for once would like to see a major political party talk more openly about the financial mess we find ourselves in.

    Its about time, dont you think. I mean , if not at Election time, I dont want to hear it.

  • Comment number 45.

    Do we know whether Ms Clegg is dom or non-dom?

    Just as a Trivial Pursuit question

  • Comment number 46.

    16. At 1:31pm on 14 Apr 2010, kaybraes wrote:

    More smoke and mirrors,but the same old rhetoric , symptomatic of their Labour party roots.

    ------------------

    More Tory Central Office Sponsored Misinfoblogation. Its only the Lib Dems who have given you even the remotest sniff of power since the outbreak of the Third Afghan War, which off the top of my head began on 6 May 1919 and ended with an armistice on 8 August 1919.

    Check your history!

    Before this the Liberals were known, as any school boy knows, as the Wigs, which were the fashion in Edwardian times. They have changed their name several times since, just to confuse us, I think, and relinquished the name Liberal when it became discreditted due to the election slogan "Vote Liberal or we'll Shoot Your Dog".

  • Comment number 47.

    25pm on 14 Apr 2010, maidstonerichard wrote:
    "The problem with the Lib Dems is they fail to answer the big question - will they support Brown or Cameron. Nick Clegg is not going to be the next PM and so we have a right to know who he is likely to support. I want to get rid of Brown more than anything else and I need to know that if I vote LD then I won't end up with brown as PM. Whilst they say that they will support the party with a mandate I and I'm sure everyone else knows they will support the party that gives them PR."

    The straight answer is he doesn`t know and is keeping his options open.At the weekend,"The Sunday Times" reported that 77% of those "Thinking" of voting Lib-Dem had the conservatives as their second choice.The You Gov poll today of Lib-Dem voters reports that 41% favour an alliance with Labour,32% with the Tories, so the evidence is ambiguous.

    My opinion for what it`s worth is that Clegg is a natural conservative while Cable is to the left so Clegg`s has a dilemma whoever emerges with the most seats/more votes.

    The only implication to draw from such a difficult decision is that the price of partnership would be high.

  • Comment number 48.

    They don't get my vote.

    All of Cornwall's current 5 MPs are Lib Dem; all nice people and all very good 'local constituency' MPs. However, their lack of 'clout' to influence Nationally led policy has been dismal and Cornwall's lack of ANY representation within the Government over the past 5 years has been telling.

    As mentioned by other posters - the question that so many will be asking and still don't have the answer to is 'Is a vote for the Lib Dems a vote to keep Gordon Brown as PM'?

    The statement that they will support the party with the largest mandate simply doesn't cut it unless they answer the question posed to them by Nick and others 'Are you defining a 'mandate' as seats in Parliament or 'votes'. As the party of 'PR' the answere should be the latter, but I suspect the former to be more likely should Labour win more seats, but the Tory's more votes, which is a distinct possibility.

    Any more of this 'fence sitting' and they will be getting splinters where it hurts!

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    Its all well and good for Vince CAble to take on the elephant in the room, elephants are scared of mice, it;ll have a heart attack when Ming The Merciless pounces on him..

  • Comment number 51.

    It sall well and good talking about the elephant in the room, but surely a call the RSPCA is the wisest thing... or get a massive glass and gian newspaper and usher it out like you would a bee or wasp?

  • Comment number 52.

    I genuinely like Vince Cable self-description as the elephant man; at least I like the principle, but people suffering from this condition would not like the reference to “freaks”. Vince should consider changing his self-description – Dinosaur-man i.e. that old deficit that no one wants to deal with or seems able to deal with.
    Personally, I can’t see the average worker being able to afford £700 of new tax. Not only this, but I feel it’s unfair. The ordinary worker didn't cause this economic mess, and God knows he has paid enough already in bail-outs. So the LibDems have got to do a better job of living up to their name because this proposition is neither Liberal nor democratic, and is likely to shut a lot of ears.
    Point by point, I see it like this:
    1. Higher taxes on pension contributions – okay, but only for the elite. Set a dollar-figure for the kick-in.
    2. Air travel – scrap. Even poor families have a keen desire to see family and friends abroad.
    3. Expensive houses – okay. Set a dollar-figure for kick-in.
    4. Tax loopholes – this is a BIG YES! But in the history of Government, no Government has been very “good” at finding, far less closing loopholes; it seems they get nervous (downright scared) once they peek over the tax-hole and see the financial wolverines growling and snarling back. I doubt if Clegg would claw back 10% of the £40bn lost to the exchequer through tax evasion every year. Nevertheless, it is an idealistic goal.
    LibDems are ready to talk deficit, but what they offer is restricted in practicality.

  • Comment number 53.

    17. At 1:33pm on 14 Apr 2010, gac wrote:

    New labour, having Mortgaged the future of young families through PFI, Budget deficits and massive National Debt, are now joined by the LibDems who want to add to that legacy by taxing pension contibutions at a higher rate.

    Elephant Cable? more like effluent given that joined up thinking!

    ------------
    I say, how rude!

    Im not sure youre in much of a position to criticise the quality of anyone else's thought, gac (I say, again, what a horrid blogmoniker, sounds like my cat Nostradamus coughing up a spitball. my cats bit of a chav, see. yeah go on be snobby say "just like you" i dare you, posh twits). Gac, sir, i believe you to be a WUM (wind up merchant)

    Effluent Cable? Makes no sense at all. And not even a remotely good pun.

    "given that joined up thinking" what you complainng about then?

  • Comment number 54.

    An hour for pre-mod? Are they working on Fergie Time or summat?

  • Comment number 55.

    16 KB

    Before posting your nonsense about the "Lazy and workshy" I suggest you read today`s article in "The Times" , "The Single Mother`s Manifesto" written by JK Rowling.

    It will perhaps give you a moment`s reflection before you rush to condemn.Vince Cable`s tax proposals aim to relieve poverty,not licence indolence.

  • Comment number 56.

    Regardless to the Lib Dems ability to explain the financial detail of their manifesto Vince Cable is accepted by many folk as the number one expert and will be believed.

    With the apparent move to the left by the Lib Dem party there is now a possible alternative vote for those "Old" Labour voters that wish to show their feelings of contempt to the "New" Labour party that has lost the traditional ways for which their parents voted.

    This will be very noticeable in Scotland and Wales where at the last general election many traditional Labour voters showed their disgust by voting SNP or Plaid Cymru that unfortunately had little or no effect.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    At 1:33pm on 14 Apr 2010, gac wrote:
    "New labour, having Mortgaged the future of young families through PFI, Budget deficits and massive National Debt, are now joined by the LibDems who want to add to that legacy by taxing pension contibutions at a higher rate.
    Elephant Cable? more like effluent given that joined up thinking!

    Sad,sour condemnatory nonsense.You almost make me want to vote Lib_Dem.


  • Comment number 59.

    I have to say of the 3 main parties this manifesto is the most unrealistic. These tax cuts even if they were possible, would advantage the middle class much more than the low income workers. Therefore it seems a pointless exercise. It would not be long before the Lib/Dems would have to put taxation up again, in order to help pay down the deficit or cut the public sector accordingly. The actual policies that they will be using to raise this money for a tax cut seem very vague to me.

    There are also no policies in their manifesto for getting growth in the British economy. So tax cuts are all very well if they are targeted to increase business in the private sector, such as the potential NI cut by the Conservatives. Otherwise it will be tax cuts but no job for the public as the private sector shrinks. The same will be true of the public sector as the Lib/Dems will have to cut deeper in order to make up for loss of potential taxation, which could have been used to cut the deficit.

    The Lib/Dems policies fail on many levels you are not helping the private sector with growth, not cutting the deficit and not helping the public sector either. It would be more benefical to cut the top rate of tax to encourage investors to come to Britain than this policy which does not help the economy at all.

    It all sound very opportunist to me, give the public some sweetener and they will vote for me.

    There is also the matter of the pro EU stance of the Lib/Dems this is not in tune with the average voter in Britain, who is mostly anti EU.

    I do hope this Party do not get a chance to power share. They are all over the place with policy.


  • Comment number 60.

    The real elephant in the Liberal Democrat closet is not the deficit at all.
    What is important is the only thing of any relevance, the crucial factor.
    And they are saying absolutely nothing about it.
    So how can anyone be expected to vote for a party who won't tell us the only thing about them that matters?
    They can blah blah all they like about the economy and it matters not one hoot.
    The only thing we need to know about them is.....
    Whose side are they going to take if there is a hung parliament?
    Are they Tory Liberals or Labour Liberals?
    Is Clegg a Klingon for Cameron or Brown?
    And we need to be told, otherwise voting for them is pointless as they are not letting the voters know who they are and what they stand for.
    If they keep sitting on the fence they are a just a pig in a poke.
    We need to know WYSIWYG and not just a big question mark ?
    What on earth are they for?
    VOTE LIB DEM AND HAVE NO CLUE WHICH GOVERNMENT WE WILL END UP WITH!

    Do they even know themselves, and if they do then why are they not saying?
    Are they trying to con the erstwhile Tory voters or the erstwhile Labour voters?
    And what sort of a party is deliberately setting up a huge faction of its voters for disappointment with a plan to intentionally deceive them into thinking that they have not yet decided what to do?

    That is what their manifesto is and is not about , and that elephant stinks a lot more than anything coming out of Vince Cable's orifices.

  • Comment number 61.

    I would vote Lib Dem but for 2 reasons.

    1. They are happy with the EU.
    2. They would scrap trident

  • Comment number 62.

    12 60 I hadn't read your post when I wrote mine.....spot on!

  • Comment number 63.

    Tories = posh twits*

    This public information message brought to you by a sinister international stalinist conspiracy of ordinary people who dont want a return to the bad old days of famine, exclusion, rapine and greed which the Blue Meanies brought with them last time. I was personally biffed by that flying Glove and ive still got a small scar to prove it. I pretend its a mensur scar because I too secretly wish I was a posh twit because their women are luvverly.

    Vote Tory!* You make it knows. Sense.

    * ow this is what I call a balanced comment. I could almost be speaking on behalf of the Wigs and the Baldies Party.

  • Comment number 64.

    Wait, no. I just remembered that Kleggog slept with a hundred women.Can I join in? Or at least watch?

    Vote Lib Dem!!! You know she mates. Sense?

  • Comment number 65.

    Probably these most radical out of the 3 Manifestos (the Tory one being the worst).

    One thing.

    In an ideal situation, I would love to give people on 10k or less tax free earnings, but I don't think now is the time. This sort of thing is what Labour should have done years ago.

    I look forward to a Lib/Lab coalition and the Tories in the wilderness forever.

  • Comment number 66.

    I like most of these proposals. As a country we are far too entrenched in the Labour/Tory/Labour/Tory merry-go-round. This election is the first time in a long time when we can, if not upset this merry-go-round, at least make it wobble. I'm fed up with "I'd vote LibDem but they don't have a chance" chant we hear every election. If instead of saying that, you actually voted for them, we just might start to get some real change in this country.

  • Comment number 67.

    I am a politicil see-saw i like some of what they blues say and some of what the reds say, i know its important to vote, but i'm just not sure who for... i wish thier was a party who shared unsuredness, whom i could vote for but still know i'm not making any difference, a democratic, yet liberal way to throw away my vote..

    Who would you suggest?

  • Comment number 68.

    Well, Nick you say:

    "The money, they say, can be raised by higher taxes on pension contributions, air travel, expensive houses, closing tax loopholes and saving over four and a half billion in tax avoidance. Not a penny of that, mind, would go to cut the deficit or to avoid tax rises like the one planned for national insurance or to protect public spending . All of it would go to give people a tax cut."

    Interesting. As an aside, I wonder how that would have read to the loony left contributors, the equality obsessed hippies and the bored schoolkids on yesterdays blog had it been in a conservative manifesto?

    The blog would have been full of "bribing the electorate with a tax cut".
    Never mind. It puts more money back in peoples pockets, regardless of where it comes from, so more money circulating in the economy... well, people cant say they dont have a choice any more. I'll be intrigued to see the detail on avoidance, loopholes, etc, as to just who they are going to go after. There may well be unintended consequences, but...

    "Now the party can point to other proposals to cut spending which will help cut the deficit and boost schools spending."

    Such as getting rid of Trident. Fair enough, a clear statement. People can choose whether they want that or not.

    "But you don't need to reach for a calculator or even call our friends at the Institute of Fiscal Studies to ask this question - if you were in government and could really find £17bn, would you actually be prepared to give it all away? Nick Clegg's answer to that question is an interesting one. He argues that the public will only back what he once called savage cuts in public spending if they see that the cake is being fairly distributed."

    Maybe they will, maybe they wont. So, taking that last line apart literally, not only will you get what amounts to a tax bribe in anyone elses language, you're still going to get "savage cuts" and if the same loony left logic is to be believed, reduced public services and more job cuts in the meantime.

    So, eitherway, you're going to end up getting to the same end point, just that you'll be bribed with your own money along the way.

    And I wonder why the Liberals havent formed a government since the 1920's...

  • Comment number 69.

    Re: post No.1

    Rephrased: according to the Daily Telegraph, Nick Clegg was caught out in the expenses scandal.

  • Comment number 70.

    i wouldlike to take this opportunity to congratulate the BBC on chairing this free flowing debate...

  • Comment number 71.

    The words "Frank, detailed, honest" and Lib Dem just don't go together.

    Clegg - the "honest man of British politics".... What a joke!

    After Clegg broke his own manifesto pledge and allowed Brown to bulldoze the european constitutional treaty through both houses, the Lib Dems have no further credibility.

    Nothing Lib Dems say can be trusted.

  • Comment number 72.

    At the very best, the LibDems will be chiselling away at someone else's cake.... Labour's or Conservative's.
    It's the best they can hope for, if there's a hug parliament
    They'll always be a lighter shade of pale...

  • Comment number 73.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 74.

    Nick said "But you don't need to reach for a calculator or even call our friends at the Institute of Fiscal Studies to ask this question - if you were in government and could really find £17bn, would you actually be prepared to give it all away?"

    Dear Mr Robinson,

    If the Government doesn't take it off us in the first place it is not giving anything away. It is leaving the money where it is - in the pockets of those who earned it, know best how to spend it and can get better value for money from it.

    The State is not the economy.

  • Comment number 75.

    Are they LabDem or LibTory?

    It would be kinda useful to know who the heck they are and what they stand for!

  • Comment number 76.

    Seeing as in my "job" I earn just around 12 grand a year, I personally would love the lib dems tax break. For so many of the young people that I know it would be such a welcome break and it would probably make a few people I know decide to go back into work.

    The pity is with the amount that I'm (barely) earning I'm not that much better off than if I was on the dole, which is something I'm refusing to do as I need a reason to get up in the morning.

  • Comment number 77.

    Well this makes me happy! After spending the last 13 years with Labour destroying my pension the Lib Dems want to tax what little is left by even more!

    So much for being encouraged to save for the future and retirement.

    It appears that all three of them cannot put forward the basic facts.

    We have been put into massive debt by this government
    Sadly, there will be cuts in public sector employment. Sorry to have to say it but that is a fact that is not going to go away. Blame Labours' lack of vision in ensuring that there was a healthy private sector to provide the funds necessary for the public sector we have. They haven't learn't from history and it appears Gordon Brown has only decided to learn from the past today after spending the last few years saying it was nothing to do with him.

    Getting sick and tired of hearing them talk about the top 20% rich people and the 20% poorer people. What about the 60% in the middle that pay the predominant tax bill and have to suffer the conseqeunces of the two ends of the wages spectrum. They always seem to be the ones that have to carry the burden.

    Everyone wants to support those on a lower income to provide a good quaility of life. The real question is, how much should be provided and how much expectation should be put on the individual to support themselves.

  • Comment number 78.

    I had a word around the office and asked what people generally thought of old Cleggy, alot of people thought that his policy is well meaning, but far fetched, others said it was desisve and merely served to split the middle ground, oner person said that he genuinlly feels that peopel are tired of labour and dont want to go back to the thatcher/major years so they represent a real challenge tis time around... But everyone i spoke to agreed he is much funnier when himand his mates are puching compo down a hill in wheely bin...

    In conclusion, Cleggs, stick to what you do best!

  • Comment number 79.

    Hi Nick,

    Have you read this (the CBI's comments on the Lib Dem manifesto): http://www.cbi.org.uk/ndbs/press.nsf/0363c1f07c6ca12a8025671c00381cc7/05a9f52c27550994802577050043c123?OpenDocument

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement from the business community you might say?

    2 other comments:
    "Today Nick Clegg presented himself as the honest man of British politics."

    If he WAS actually the honest man - he would tell us who - in the seemingly very likely event of a hung parliament - he would form a government with. His prevarication to see what happens is certainly not honest. If the LDs formed a hung parliament with Labour, but with the Tories as the largest single party - he would lose credibiility entirely (I say this becuase he said it would be terrible to have a Tory majority government elected on 25% of the vote the other day). I would add, the LDs lost credibilty in my view when they dishonestly abstained on voting for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty - about as cyncial, calculating and dishonest a political stunt as there has been in recent years (their excuse that it wasn't the referendum they wanted so they weren't going to vote for it, thus ensuring there was no referendum, giving them the end result that they wanted was shameful). I don't trust him - or them - at all.

    Secondly, why do the LDs think they are the only ones talking about cutting the budget deficit?? EVERYONE is talking about that! He's also disparaging the other parties for making spending announcements - but doing exactly the same thing himself (with the 10K allowance).

    And why are they accusing the other parties - the Tories in particular - about not being honest about having to make cuts? The Tories have been saying for months and months that cuts would have to be made. They are still saying that.

    Clegg is trying to get on the public bandwagon of dissatisfaction with politicians, but he's actually one of the worst offenders.

    OH - and he's only after electoral reform for the purpose of self-interest. When I vote, I only want one vote, which I would use for the party I want. I don't need - or want - to vote for any 2nd/3rd choices. First past the post works. AV would skewer results for lesser parties - and they are "lesser parties" precisely because they don't have the qualities or the policies to govern.





  • Comment number 80.

    Frank, detailed, honest, straight forward, specific, concrete, tangible. Those were all words the Liberal Democrats used this morning to talk about themselves.

    Corrupt, dishonest, waffling, treating people like fools. That was them talking about their opponents.
    ====================================================
    Nice but do we have to believe any of these talk?

  • Comment number 81.

    O Moderator, where art thou?

  • Comment number 82.

    what gets me about this simon pegg fella is he looks like a russian doll that usually lives inside peter jones from dragons den.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    It's very true, although perhaps he's the guy who usually controls peter jones from the inside, which would explain why, whilst he's off campaigning, an uncontrolled Peter Jones is larking about on a supermarket trolly in daytime tv ads on channel 5.

  • Comment number 83.

    RedBlueArmy92 your posts aren't funny, they're just irritating as they clog up this board and the moderation for people that would actually like to have a constructive conversation.

  • Comment number 84.

    They are also the party of niaivity.

    The party that stills believes wholeheartedly in a European State at the same time as that whole state is beginning to disintegrate.

    Interesting to here Gordon Brown's view this morning when asked about his refusal to give a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

    He challenged the questioner to tell him of any changes he had noticed since the treaty was ratified. Asking the question again instead of giving an answer.

    Perhaps the questioner should have asked Nigel Farage who could have told him exactly what is about to change. He's someone I am listening to very carefully to at the moment in case we do have a possible pro-European Lib/Lab pact.

  • Comment number 85.

    He is going to pass a law to make it a criminal act to evade tax. Tax evaders do not care what the law says, it is a bit like saying you are going to make bank robbery illegal.

  • Comment number 86.

    Well i dont know whose going to win tht election but if the graffiti outside the post office is right, the BNP have a good chance!

  • Comment number 87.

    The Liberal Democrats lied in their 2005 manifesto about wanting a referendum on the EU Constitution, and Nick Clegg was (see link) very much part of that deceit.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/oct/15/politicalcolumnists.eu

    Indeed i would suggest that Nick Clegg and his colleagues in the so-called “Liberal Democratic” party do not even know what liberal democracy is. The founders of the American nation-state for example were real liberal democrats. Jefferson and Madison believed that only basic issues of liberty (e.g. human rights) should be put beyond the reach of the democratic majority, as set out in a separate body of constitutional law (e.g. the Bill of Rights) or international law that the short-term majority in the legislature could not touch.

    Nick Clegg and his fellow European federalists in the so-called Liberal Democrats believe that this undemocratic political zone should be far larger, encompassing all the general matters of politics that we used to decide in general elections. Increasingly these matters are being put beyond the reach of our votes in the form of a superior body of European law which only ever grows in size, all the time pre-empting national law and our very ability to elect a parliament capable of enacting legislation that does not overlap with that of Brussels. The inevitable long-term consequence of European integration is to shrink the arena within which democratic politics operates towards nothing, negating the very concept of liberal democracy itself. Clegg has been part of the political elite that is subverting our liberal democracy and reducing the scope of our elections to the ever dwindling list of issues that are not yet decided in Brussels. There will be no restoration of trust in the British political system until the full powers of Westminster to decide the law we live under are taken back from Brussels, and that most certainly is not of offer in Clegg’s 2010 manifesto.

  • Comment number 88.

    come on mods sort it out. anyone would think you werent expecting many people to respond to Nicks boring old blog!

    this is like waiting for major surgery on the NHS!

    Vote Tory! (major surgery will be performed at no wait whatsoever, except you have to take one of them little tickets) at the meat counter at Tescos!

    Vote Green! They just wont bother with the NHS - theyll just compost your dead body

    Vote Lib Dem - theyll do er something er not quite sure er Nicks blog doesnt mention it er with er erm the NHS

    Vote Labour! You mow the makes hence.

  • Comment number 89.

    > The problem with the Lib Dems is they fail to answer the big question -
    > will they support Brown or Cameron. Nick Clegg is not going to be the
    > next PM and so we have a right to know who he is likely to support.

    In practice it's almost impossible for him to find himself in a position where he gets the choice. The BBC seats calculator illustrates this very clearly - an outcome where both the Tories and Labour are short of a majority but with the LibDems both of them would have a majority is pretty difficult to achieve. Far more likely, if indeed there is a balanced parliament, is an outcome where one larger party is just short and the other has very clearly lost.

  • Comment number 90.

    come on admit it. which of you posh twits complained about me "gammar"

    go on. sit in the corner. think about it and write me a quick appology and make sure its "gammatically" correct n'all.

    You fools Im a Cambridge lecturer in transformational generative grammar, but I cant allow my secret identity to be unveiled. suffice it to say ive made it through, in disguise, of course, to the finals of Andrew Lloyd Webers Be the Next Dorothy (im NOT the one with the norks), Im a well known international singing star and a massive Port Vale fan

    I am.....
























































    Mandrake the Magician.

  • Comment number 91.

    RBA, RBA....he's not a giant, he's a midget. He's holding up in the picture above, one of the latest postage stamps. He's a smooth talker is old Kleggog, but philately will get him nowhere.

  • Comment number 92.

    bryhers, you should know that Ive read "Harry Potter and The Single Mother`s Manifesto" written by JK Rowling and its not as good as the other books in the series.

    but youve gone home by now, havent you bryhers, because these mods are taking an imModerately long time modding. Its moddening.

    the mod men have taken over the asylum.

  • Comment number 93.

    "67. At 2:58pm on 14 Apr 2010, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:
    I am a politicil see-saw i like some of what they blues say and some of what the reds say, i know its important to vote, but i'm just not sure who for... i wish thier was a party who shared unsuredness, whom i could vote for but still know i'm not making any difference, a democratic, yet liberal way to throw away my vote..

    Who would you suggest?
    "

    Hey RBA - I bet you like some of what the army says as well.

  • Comment number 94.

    #36, Wyndorfina:

    "Any policy that the LibDems don't like is unlikely to get past the Commons unless Lab and Con unite against the LibDems."

    True, but isn't it actually quite likely that Lab and Con will unite against the LibDems on a lot of issues? They are more similar to each other on many things than they are to the LibDems.

  • Comment number 95.

    #67 RBA I guess I'm suggesting Aldershot.

  • Comment number 96.

    My wife has had several implants in her breasts and I am now worried what politicians mean when they say they want to 'tackle inflation'

    Also my wife has told me to ask - why in this day and age of everything having to be so PC are the political parties allowed to call there policies by the word MANifesto, surely they should now be known as PERSONifesto.

    Thank you for your time

    A Reid - formerly of Aldershot


    and a Merry Christmas to you too Blog

  • Comment number 97.

    #59, Susan:

    "There are also no policies in their manifesto for getting growth in the British economy."

    That's a bit unfair, Susan. Have a look at page 23: that bit claims to be able to create 100,000 jobs. They may of course be wrong about that, but if they are right, wouldn't that create growth?

    And I'm also quite impressed with pages 25-26, if they really mean it. All the stuff about cutting red tape would make a real difference to small businesses if they actually carry it out, and anything that helps
    small businesses, even though I say so myself as a small business owner, is likely to produce growth in the economy.

    Now, I'm not naive enough to believe that if by some miracle they form the next government they will actually do all that stuff as promised, but if they did, then it would certainly produce growth in the British economy.

  • Comment number 98.

    #71, DistantTraveller:

    "After Clegg broke his own manifesto pledge and allowed Brown to bulldoze the european constitutional treaty through both houses, the Lib Dems have no further credibility.

    Nothing Lib Dems say can be trusted."


    True, but the 2 other main parties also broke their promises on the Lisbon treaty. I assume you'll be voting UKIP then?

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    So here we are, two threads, twice the number of opportunities to make the same fatuous point, twice the excuse for mods to slow down the process. And what will we get from it?

    Don't know, but my correction pencil is out and ready for blogdignag and his grammatical errors

 

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