Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Decision Time

I'll have to admit a referendum on AV which one part of a coalition is free to campaign against is the not the ideal way to bring about new politics, however I doubt that this is the only concession that the Conservative team have given away. I suspect that there are also retractions on just how must they are going to cut in the first year as well.

You also have to look at some of the things that we have agreed upon.


There is plenty of scope for agreement, the Tories are also looking at a pupil premium and freeing up schools to do what they want. One contentious issue will be over homophobic bullying and teaching of same sex education as part of the curriculum, even in faith schools.


The Conservatives had intimated that they will look at the lifting of the personal tax allowance to see how this can be afforded. This is an encouraging sign for the lowest paid in our society. This may allow room for manoeuvre to get rid of the inheritance tax cuts for the super rich possibly to tax them instead on their properties. We shall wait and see but the Tories have intimated movement to make taxation fairer.

Civil Liberties

The Tories are with us on cutting the surveillance state, scrapping the ID card scheme that has been the Labour puppy for so long. Also part of this is loosening up red tape for businesses.

The Economy

There is a basic agreement in what needs to be done the real debate is over the time scale. There is a desire from both sides to get the banks lending, to cut the deficit over the term of this parliament and give Britain a greener and sustainable economic future.

Political Reform

Voting system aside there is movement to fixed term parliaments not set at the whim of the incumbent, the right to recall a corrupt MP and cutting the size of the House of Commons.

I know there will be people who said that they didn't vote Clegg to get a Conservative government, however more people in this country did vote for the Conservative MP than any other party and they returned more MPs. The Conservative government that would exist with a Liberal Democrat coalition partner would have a greenness to it, an inbuilt social conscious as well as a desire for new politics. Yesterday's Guardian cartoon showed Cameron crushing the cricket of wooden boy Clegg's conscience, however the Lib Dems in coalition with the Conservatives would act as a social conscience for the larger partner. Look at the promise to look at the poorest end of income tax above for a start.

If people voted Liberal Democrat to get electoral reform and their views to be expressed in Westminster more vocally then you have to realise that there is agreement between us and both the main parties in some areas and disagreement with both on others. I think Nick Clegg and the negotiating team will be looking at what offer is best to fulfil the nation's interests, that includes stability and economic recovery first and foremost. We have to show that coalition government can work here in the UK if we are to move for true proportionality. Only if it works and we can show we work with a party that is not the natural bedfellows will both the two main parties realise that there is hope of a future for them.

We were right to talk with the Tories as they had the best mandate from the people. We are still right to talk with them and try and come to some sort of agreement to best serve the people.

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