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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Not for sale

After much wooing from both Labour and the Tories in the last few weeks, Liberal Democrat Leader, Nick Clegg hits back in this morning's Times with the emphatic assertion that the party is not for sale.

The stance the Liberal Democrats will take matters more than ever because the map of British politics is being dramatically redrawn. Slowly but surely three-party politics has asserted itself. Half a century ago only 2 per cent of voters chose a party other than Labour or the Conservatives. At last year’s local elections, that had shot up to 40 per cent. At the last general election, one in four people who voted supported the Liberal Democrats; six million voters, more than for any other Liberal party in Europe.

So no wonder that both Mr Brown and Mr Cameron are trying to appeal to the millions of people who have long tired of the pendulum politics of Westminster. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so it’s a compliment of sorts that the core values of the Liberal Democrats — fairness in society, real change in politics — are now being mimicked by others. On so many issues in recent years, Liberal Democrat instincts have been in tune with the British public: on Iraq, civil liberties, political reform, the environment, fair taxes, the excesses of the City of London, the rights of Gurkha veterans.

We are, and have shown ourselves to be, very different from the other two parties. My message to Mr Brown and Mr Cameron is simple: the Liberal Democrats are up for real change. We are not up for sale.

He goes on to contrast the position of the other two parties with the Liberal Democrats. Labour he says have created a tax system where the poorest pay a higher proportion of their income in taxes than the rich, while the Tories' top priority is tax cuts for millionaires. The Liberal Democrats have four main priorities:

First: fair taxes. Our plan would mean that the first £10,000 you earn would be free of income tax. This would be paid for by taxing income and capital at the same rate, phasing out special pension subsidies for highest-rate earners, switching tax from income to pollution and introducing a mansion tax on the value of homes above £2 million.

Second: a fair start for all our children. We will cut class sizes and provide more one-to-one tuition to children by introducing a new “pupil premium” in our schools.

Third: a fair and sustainable economy that creates jobs. We will use the money from one year’s cuts in current spending to create tens of thousands of new jobs in public transport, a national programme of home insulation and new social housing. We will be honest about where savings must be made to balance the books and we will break up the banking system.

And finally, fair, clean and local politics. We will introduce a fair voting system, ensure that MPs can be sacked by their constituents if they break the rules, return powers to local communities and stop tax avoiders from standing for Parliament, sitting in the House of Lords or donating to political parties.

He concludes by stating that if people like what we offer then they should vote for it. They will not get it any other way.
Your taking the pee you must be, the Lib Dem's have made little ground on a labour party which has to be seen as being p*ss poor, with Cameron seen as being a child, and Clegg is seen as being a copy cat of Blair. You still cannot move against either the Tories or labour.
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