Our cutting edge narrative?
Vince Cable has outlined proposals for £14 bn of cuts to help tackle Britain’s rather large mountain of debt. Alot of it is suitably vague; like the commitment to curbing centralisation in education which sounds very nice and laudable given that centralisation is a bad thing and according to the proposals will save £600 million. Also, the practical ramifications of ‘tapering’ the family element to tax credits sounds potentially ominous. However, as always the devil remains in the detail so it is hard to comment one way or another without knowing the full details.
Some things we do know the detail of are of course welcome, the committment not to renew Trident being one, however we wonder once again why the leadership remains economically and morally committed to our costly and wasteful intervention in Afghanistan. I rather suspect that the main controversies will centre around the commitment to zero growth in public sector pay and the commitment to review public sector pensions which are a potential minefield. One wonders if that since the banking industry now technically constitutes the public sector if this will apply their; it should, but obviously won’t.
Also, if you look at the pre-amble to the report then there are some frankly depressing revelations;
“the emphasis for fiscal consolidation must fall on controlling public spending, not higher taxes: to commit to additional tax revenue raising from the outset undermines any commitment to setting priorities in spending,”
seemingly gone from our narrative is talk of closing loopholes and the better off paying a fair share. Instead, as is usually the case with this party we cleave to the dominant meta-narrative and try and insinuate ourselves with that which in this case gives what we say a tangy hint of Conservative blue. The above actually constitutes a u-turn when compared with statements comparatively few months ago; a few months ago, tax rises for higher brackets were needed to pay for our proposed cuts for lower/middle income earners and now that is seemingly not wise. Needless to say this will not see us advance in any of the areas we actually think we will; ie, against Labour and won’t be enough to save Liberal Democrat MP’s in the south and Shires.
One point where I unequivocally agree with the preamble is when it makes this telling observation;
“Fiscal policy is political.”
What the above says politically is however troubling….