Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Some Questions I’d Like Answered…

Liberal Democrats have never had a high economic profile, but since 1992 what financial credibility we’ve gained has been through the ‘honesty’ of hypothecated tax rises, on the principle that if we say “We want this so much here’s a specific tax to pay for it," people reckon it must be true or why take the hit? Every party claims they’ll cut bureaucracy, but polls show almost no-one believes that. If you believe in a shift to an entirely fiscally neutral position, where will the money come from for any spending commitments? And why should anyone believe it?

I was on the Lib Dems' Policy Committee through the years-long rounds of spending arguments for the last three General Elections, all of which have been incredibly tight and used as a way to cut down masses of policy commitments, and never mind ‘positioning’, it’s very evident that the party has a serious problem in saying where the money comes from if we drop our last overall tax increase.

Already the media are talking up the possibilities of a hung Parliament after the next election. In elections such as 1987 and 1992 the Lib Dem campaign was completely side-tracked into talk of coalitions. Charles Kennedy’s response to this was to fight two General Elections on the position that in any hung Parliament the Liberal Democrats would remain independent and vote entirely on the issues rather than joining any coalition. Would you change this?

Or you could just ask, ‘Is it not the case that Labour and the Conservatives have so much in common that they would be better off in coalition with each other than with us?’

How would you approach local government funding? Is local income tax the right way to raise the small fraction of local spending taxed locally? Should the local tax take increase? As Lib Dem policy consistently argues for more local spending to be raised locally to increase the independence of local government, and Lib Dem campaigns consistently argue for yet more subsidy from the central pot to keep local taxes down, should we continue to face both ways?

How do we ensure that we are more consistent in our political approach without losing the principle of localism within the party?

While the Liberal Democrats have strongly opposed compulsory ID cards, some Lib Dems think voluntary ID cards might be a good idea. Are you equally opposed to both?

Is it the voting system, the media, the politicians or the voters that are to blame for the low turnout from younger people and those that habitually don't vote, and how would you engage them?

How do you balance the libertarian imperative to roll back government and centralised over-control of people's lives with the environmental imperative of very intrusive measures to change people's attitudes and behaviour towards things such as minimising energy and resource use?

And finally: Which of the MPs who have nominated you are you most embarrassed by, and why?

Thanks to a few friends who shall remain nameless for some of the questions… And should any reader happen to be at Question Time or one of the hustings, you have my happy permission to ask any of these yourself.

Labels: ,

Are you going to attend the Hustings in London 23rd?
As I've now received my ticket and (fingers crossed) my health now seems to be up to it, I can belatedly say yes. Will I see you there?
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?