Saturday, April 10, 2010


Nick and Vince Answer: “Why Vote Lib Dem?”

I don’t know what I’m going to be able to write about during this election campaign. I want to help at least five Liberal Democrat candidates; I want to volunteer at Lib Dem HQ; I know my poor health’s going to get in the way, as always. And I want to write about the election, not just getting pissed off with other parties but about my positive reasons to vote Lib Dem. So, in case I’m too ill, or too tired, or too busy, here’s a start: Nick Clegg and Vince Cable’s reasons to vote Lib Dem. It’s about fairness.


The Liberal Democrat constitution starts by saying that what we do, what we are is based on our values of Liberty, Equality and Community. Our purpose is to free people from poverty, ignorance and conformity. That’s why fairness was a key part of the Liberal Democrat campaigns in 2001 and 2005, and why for the last five years our policies have increasingly been aimed at creating greater fairness – not least economic fairness, in a society where under both the Tories and then under Labour, the gap between rich and poor has always widened, and in a tax system where under both the Tories and then under Labour, the richest in society pay a smaller proportion of their income in tax than the poorest.

For the last year, the Liberal Democrats have been campaigning on four key ways to make Britain a fairer place:

Nick Clegg: “Why Vote Lib Dem?”

I’ve got my own beliefs and my own reasons to support the Lib Dems, but – though I hope to find time and energy to get on to those too – you might think it only fair that I tell you directly why Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg is asking you to support him. He set out those four themes in detail at our Conference last month in Birmingham; click here to watch or read the whole speech.

This is why Nick wants a vote for the Liberal Democrats:
“Shall I tell you the one phrase that bothers me more than any other? It’s this.
‘That’s just the way things are’.
“No. The way things are is not the way they have to be.
”We do not have to live in a country where the poorest pay the biggest chunk of their income in tax. We do not have to live in a country where politics is the plaything of wealthy donors and corrupt MPs. We do not have to live in a country where the banks can profiteer at the expense of everybody else and our climate is in jeopardy. We do not have to live in a country where children’s chances are determined more by their parents’ background than by their own hopes and dreams.
“There is a better way.”

“We will give you fairer taxes.
“We will make sure your child gets the fair start in life they deserve.
”We will create a new, fair economy where we are no longer held hostage by the greed of bankers in the City of London.
“And we will give you a fair, open and transparent politics after the gross betrayal of the expenses scandal.
“It really is as simple as that. No-one can guarantee what the election result will be. But I can guarantee what we will always fight to deliver.”

“When you think about who to vote for remember that the future of your country is at stake.
“Whatever you do – do not settle for the way things are.
“Be demanding.
“Vote for what you believe in.
“Vote with your heart.”

“A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a commitment to hope and opportunity.
“It’s a vote that says:
“I want government to be honest and open.
“I want a green economy.
“I want fairer taxes.
“I want a fairer future for my children and for all our children.”

“And if you like what we say… If you share our values… If you want fair taxes, a fair start in life for your child, a fairer economy, and a new, fair politics… Vote for it.”

Vince Cable: “Why Vote Lib Dem?”

When Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable won the Channel 4 Ask the Chancellors debate on the 29th of March – my bias or my observation? I’m confident enough in Vince to say, don’t listen to the spin, just watch the whole thing and I think most of you will agree with me – he did something considered unusual: he answered the questions. He was measured, and sensible, and positive (even when giving bad news). But in his closing statement, he showed passion as he finally went on the attack.

This is why Vince wants a vote for the Liberal Democrats:
“I’ve set out my agenda. It’s financial discipline in the public sector; directed lending from banks to support small and medium-sized companies; we’ve got to have a fairer tax system; we’ve got to make the economy much less dependent on financial gambling. The question is – who can you trust to do it?

“The Labour Government led us into this mess; they have done severe damage to pensions and savings; they have wasted a vast amount of money on over-centralised public services.

“The Tories presided over two big recessions in office; they wasted most of the North Sea oil revenue; they sold off the family silver on the cheap; now they want to have another turn to get their noses in the trough and reward their rich backers.

“The Liberal Democrats are different. The Liberal Democrats are different. We got this crisis basically right. We are not beholden to either the super rich or militant unions.

“We have people of real experience who are committed to fairness. We want a change of government. Yes, we want a change of government. But it’s got to be a change for the better – not for the worse.”

Update: Now you can read the full Liberal Democrat Manifesto, complete with all the figures at the back so you can see how every priority is paid for – the only party with fully worked-out costings.

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