Tax the rich? Hardship payments for benefit claimants? Sorry Nick – we believed you once before

Nick Clegg: He must have had his forked tongue in his cheek when he wrote the Liberal Democrats' latest list of pledges.

Nick Clegg: He must have had his forked tongue in his cheek when he wrote the Liberal Democrats’ latest list of pledges.

The Liberal Democrats have launched a desperate attempt to win back voters, packing their General Election manifesto with meaningless pledges.

Why are they meaningless? Because the Liberal Democrats, under the same leader (Nick Clegg), made pledges to us before the 2010 election – having already hammered out an agreement with the Conservatives that meant they would not be able to honour those commitments.

There is evidence that teams representing the Tories and Liberal Democrats negotiated what would be in a coalition agreement on March 16, 2010 – and abolishing student tuition fees, a principle Liberal Democrat pledge, was not part of it.

In this light, how can we believe Liberal Democrat plans to push for higher capital gains tax, bringing it more closely in line with income tax? How can we believe they would change tax relief for entrepreneurs, so it does not provide a tax loophole for the super-rich – or even the modest plan to cut tax relief on pensions from £1.4 million to £1 million? And how can we believe they will restrict access to “non-dom” tax status for foreigners living in Britain who do not pay tax on their earnings abroad?

The BBC has an even more hard-to-believe report that the Liberal Democrats will cut the Winter Fuel Allowance and free TV licences for better-off pensioners, in order to pay for a 66 per cent discount on bus travel (in England only) for young people aged 16-21.

This is doubly insulting to our intelligence. Firstly, a concession on bus fares is no consolation for the tripling of student tuition fees in which the Liberal Democrats participated after promising to abolish them instead – and don’t they know that means-testing benefits to discover who deserves them is not a simple matter? It is complex and costly – as Alex Little told us only a few days ago.

This comment of his is particularly apt: “Old Tories are often popping up to say they don’t need their £250 winter fuel allowance. It may be true that they don’t need it, but their motives for mentioning it are so these things will be means tested, the budget will be slashed and then they think they can ask for lower taxes, or more ‘contributory benefits‘ (code for benefits not available to the ‘undeserving’ who’ll need to rely on charity).”

The Liberal Democrats are being more than a little disingenuous with that promise, then.

And does anybody really think the plan to decriminalise possession of restricted drugs for personal use will ever happen? The Liberal Democrats know their performance in the Coalition means they won’t win any elections soon and are hoping to be part of another hung-Parliament alliance. This means they would be sharing public office with one of the other parties who, they state, have “blighted” UK drugs policy with “kneejerk prejudice and the wish to appear tough”. This is another pledge they can make safely, knowing it is never likely to happen.

You’ll notice, also, that the Liberal Democrats say next to nothing about the National Health Service – that foundation stone of British fair play and decency that they allowed the Conservatives to sell off to private companies (in which many of them are shareholders) in order to make a profit from the suffering of the sick.

They will increase its budget in line with inflation so the private companies leeching off of it won’t lose profit. How caring of them.

To cap it all off, Clegg repeated what has become the Liberal Democrat mantra ever since he first used it in December 2012: “Liberal Democrats are committed to building a stronger economy and a fairer society, enabling people to get on in life.”

It’s the ‘party message script’, you see. Back in 2012, he added: “We will stay the course on the deficit. We will cut income tax bills and help with childcare bills. We will invest in boosting jobs and we’ll reform welfare to get people into work.”

Considering his party’s record on those matters, there is certainly no reason to buy any of what he’s peddling today.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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  1. Jeff Scarisbrick-Wright September 9, 2014 at 10:16 am - Reply

    I’ve got a prediction. We will see a succession of one term Lib Dem leaders each falling on their sword to try to “purge” the predecessors record as they bounce from one coalition to the next like a ping pong ball in a tumble dryer.

    Unless Scotland vote Yes. Then we’re basically stuck with Tories. :(

    • Florence September 9, 2014 at 11:08 am - Reply

      If Scotland votes yes then it will still be possible to have a Labour government. The NuLabour election victories would have returned a majority without Scotland, so I’d ask us all to stop this sort of negative misrepresentation of both issues. It’s part of the Lynton Crosby “dog-whistle” politics campaign to create a sense of powerlessness and to undermine the Labour ability to form a government post-2015. Again, we need to challenge this propaganda because once again, it does seem to take hold, and become substituted for the reality of UK politics.

  2. Nick September 9, 2014 at 10:39 am - Reply

    the only real way the uk politics will change is for Scotland to implement real changes that they have been denied in this way the uk will be able to follow providing David Cameron and co are no longer active

  3. Florence September 9, 2014 at 11:07 am - Reply

    The “old Tories” (sample = my in-laws and their mates, all 70+) will compete with each other about what they don’t need, to make themselves appear better off, ie “more deserving”, which as we know is a massive contradiction. This has had the effect of some of their cohort refusing to claim benefits even when really needing it, just to show they are not scroungers. If the DM ran headlines supporting the welfare state, they would chant that as their mantra instead, and maybe be healthier & happier too. That is the reality of the press power in the UK, and of people being told what to think actually working. They are effectively creating their own culture of poverty and deprivation in old age, and fail to see they are being softened up for massive cuts, like those inflicted on the disabled and unwaged.

  4. Jeffrey Davies September 9, 2014 at 11:16 am - Reply

    clegg who oh the backstabber who denied us all with his broken promises i think his boss showed that using the delete button all those promises mean nowt

  5. Steve grant September 9, 2014 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Do yourself a favour Nick, you’re a liar and you know it. As far back as the ” boy” running around for Leon Brittan in Europe you snuggled up to a Tory. Why should we believe such a toe rag now?… That’s right, we don’t. So best to resign Nick or be humiliated.

  6. Thomas M September 9, 2014 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    I will never believe the Lib Dems ever again.

  7. Sasson Hann September 9, 2014 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Did you also notice that the hardship payments are repayable loans?!! So when monies are finally reinstated they’ll be deducting that from benefits then, even when someone was fully entitled?

    No favours then, just another debt trap.

  8. jaypot2012 September 9, 2014 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    I don’t know if the Lib/Dems will still have a minister never mind a party! Clegg has lied so much, that the rest of the Lib/Dems don’t want to know. Their party will go virtually down the drain and I can’t see them having much of anything, including trust, for a few decades.

  9. LAWRENCE S. ROBERTS September 9, 2014 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    If Scotland goes there wont be another Labour government in Westminster in the foreseeable future.

    • Mike Sivier September 9, 2014 at 11:00 pm - Reply

      What about Florence’s comment – that New Labour’s election victories would have been maintained with no Scottish MPs?
      It is possible, and after the last four years or so of Conservative-motivated malevolence, many will find it desirable.

  10. Martin September 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    If Scotland goes it’s own way, it’s more likely for a Labour-Lib Dem coalition, letting in Clegg’s mob for another 5 years.

  11. BarneyT September 10, 2014 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Ha! In the spirit of the imminent Scottish Independence vote (& in honour of my mothers` Glaswegian roots although SHE`s never used the phrase), my response to this latest BS is quite simple:”Git tae f**k, ye lyin` basa!”

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