Sunday, July 20, 2008

Liberal Democrats call for tax cuts

After years of being to the left of Labour, in calling for higher taxes and being the party worshipping the religion of ecologism, the Liberal Democrats have made another swing now - closer to the "Liberal" roots of this unusual third party in British politics (which once had a proud tradition of being more classical Liberal/less government, but which merged with a centre-left faction of Labour disenchanted when Labour went Marxist/Trotskyist in the early 80s).

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg (nicknamed "Cleggover" after telling tales about the number of sexual conquests in his life) announced on Thursday that if elected, the Lib Dems would cut government spending by £20 billion to fund wide ranging tax cuts for low to middle income earners. Although he'd raise tax on high income earners, and assuming I'm bizarrely in this category, then there is no way in hell I'll vote Lib Dem. However, still announcing less state spending is at least new among the big UK parties, although the ways to do it are unconvincing. I doubt £20 billion will be saved by scrapping ID cards, cutting the number of MPs and not expanding nuclear power.

Sadly this rebranding is still dripping with the envy of the left, and full of green taxes which wouldn't be so bad if there was any substance to the call for less state spending. The truth is to cut state spending the Lib Dems have to be tough on the whole state sector, that means slashing subsidies for all sectors of the economy, tightening welfare and encouraging people to make their own choices for health and education, not the current statist behemoths. The Liberal Democrats in the past decade have become the party that many of old Labour have gone too, and it is full of busybodies whose views are given free range in The Independent, as the paper of the ecological finger pointer. Unless the Lib Dems can show a consistent vision of less state and less government in peoples' lives it wont be anything more than a younger version of new Labour. Meanwhile, nowadays it just looks like the 3rd playing political whore, ever looking for a market that the two dominant parties isn't looking after - but straddling the far left against the war in Iraq and the liberal right for lower taxes isn't going to cut it.

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