Thursday, 2 October 2008

NW Summit LibDem

Nick Clegg Lib Dem leader was in the NW to meet Lib Dem Council Leaders and MP's today. I represented Sefton. Clegg was on fine form. Clearly the economic situation is dominating politics at present and I was impressed how much he and Vince Cable have got their act together and are clearly communicating well and co-ordinating their responses to fast changing events.

I can't remember a time when the Lib Dems have managed to get their message across so well. Too often in the past if their has been a crisis outside an election -when the broadcasting rules protect us- we have been banished from the media. This time Nick Clegg and Vince Cable have bucked the trend. This has happened for two key reasons. Firstly the boldness of Clegg's pitch. He has embraced a political strategy of tax cuts for low and middle income people which is a highly progressive tax policy especially when coupled with a credible policy of funding that by making the rich pay more. Too often in Britain tax cutting has not led to redistribution of income. The Tories have cut the tax for the wealth claiming-despite all the evidence to the contrary that there will be a 'trickle down'. Their present policy to cut inheritance tax will only help the wealthiest 6% of the population.

The second key reason why were are still in the debate is Cable's track record. He has over years gone on and on about mounting personal debt and the coming disaster when the housing bubble bursts. He was mocked and scorned. The Tories were the cheer leaders for the 'get rich pay later' economy. He has credibility where simply no other opposition politician has.

Norman Baker MP was there as our Transport Spokesman to launch a campaign for a high speed rail link to the NW. Norman is very impressive and has really done his homework. He has produced a costed plan that will mean the high speed line will serve not just Manchester but also Liverpool and Preston and unlike the Tory plan will not be funded by axing other rail spending(God help the Southport Wigan line under the Tory plans. ) He was also very well briefed on minor rail plans that would have significant impact including the Burscough Curves and the Todmorton Curves. I will post more about this shortly