Nick Clegg's tax cut claim

 

One of Nick Clegg's most revealing lines in his speech at the Liberal Democrat annual Welsh conference in Newport was the claim that both David Cameron and George Osborne refer to the £10,000 income tax personal allowance as "Nick's tax cut".

The Lib Dems get particularly annoyed when the Conservatives try to claim it as their own policy.

The party members I spoke to in Newport were honest in admitting the difficulty they face on the doorstep among some because of their part in the Conservative-led coalition.

One even said the party was suffering from mid-term blues because it was now in government.

The story the party tells is that it acts as a restraining influence on the Conservatives, particularly in areas like welfare reform.

What it's trying to do now is show it has done more and that's why the raising of the income tax personal allowance is so important, and has to be seen as a Liberal Democrat achievement.

War waged

I asked Nick Clegg what he thought of the recent row over who pays for the rail electrification of the south Wales valleys and his answer was surprisingly strong.

He said the First Minister Carwyn Jones had cynically tried to re-invent history by insisting that the UK government had agreed to pick up the bill, which will amount to hundreds of millions of pounds.

There are few senior figures in the UK government left who haven't been highly critical of the Welsh government for refusing to pay.

I'm told there's a lot of talk going on behind the scenes to try to resolve the issue but, in the meantime, a war continues to be waged on the airwaves.

There may not be a crack between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives on rail electrification, but the Tory "compare and contrast" strategy of criticising the Welsh government's record on health and education has caused some concern in the party.

Politically promiscuous

Mark Williams, the MP for Ceredigion, told me the problem is that he believes it tarnishes everyone and damages morale in schools and hospitals.

He believes the criticism should be more targeted at the Welsh government's stewardship of health and education, rather than all those who work in it.

This is something we heard a lot about last week at the Labour conference, and something we will hear a lot about next week at the Conservative conference in Llangollen.

The subject of whether the Liberal Democrats would enter another coalition after the general election came up in conversation at the conference.

You could argue the party is in a no-win situation here. If it enters a coalition with Labour then it will be accused of being politically promiscuous, go back in with the Tories and it'll risk accusations of being too close to them.

 
Nick Servini Article written by Nick Servini Nick Servini Political editor, Wales

Normal service resumes

Even by the high-profile standards of some of the articles criticising the state of public services in Wales over the past year, the Daily Mail's blistering attack on the Welsh NHS seems to have gone up a notch.

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  • rate this
    -7

    Comment number 10.

    Clegg and his puppet kirsty Williams have the neck to mud sling when their party have no credibility. First they promised the scrapping of fees signing a pledge and lied then once in power prop up a Tory dictatorship enacting some of the most draconian polices going with ATOS, bedroom tax ect.. then use lame exuses regarding the recent Tory expenses scandal. Liberal by nature and with the truth.

  • rate this
    -7

    Comment number 18.

    15: May I remind you that this is a claim not substantiated but if any soldier's has suffered it's the result of the Tories who closed between 1992/96 seven out of the eight specialized military hospitals resulting in them being treated in civilian hospitals without proper facilities so the surgeon generals comments are a little unfair and any WG blame should be redirected to David Cameron.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 24.

    17: Yes Carwyn has made mistakes or "errors" as you say but some are down to his and the WG indecision or lack of leadership but some good with the 5p bad charge, Pinewood Studios deal, the buying Cardiff Airport ect. resulting in a 9% increase where it left to the Tories and like-minded doom merchants or the Spanish owners of CIA they would have put it into a permanent siesta.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 12.

    Still can't see any critiques over the recent Conservative expenses scandal. Wonder why? Could it be the usual are turning a blind eye perhaps using their twisted political agenda to attack another institution which although hasn't showered itself in glory being Labour lead hasn't reached the heady hights of waste like Westminster and it's ruling Tories. I call it hypocrisy myself.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 8.

    #6 Cont. A man could have bought a 4-bed house in the SE for £6K in 1960, Say 12x minimum wage. He dies in 2014. Estate sells house for £600K. Now 40x minimum wage. So much of increased value of estate NOT down to' hard-work'. If due to State policy, not unreasonable that State takes a cut.
    Much better than NI on those earning under £10K p.a.

 

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