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Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Democrats’

The 2010 Liberal Democrat manifesto said this on the EU:

The European Union has evolved significantly since the last public vote
on membership over thirty years ago. Liberal Democrats therefore remain committed to an in/out referendum

Remember this?

We will scrap unfair university tuition fees so everyone has the chance to get a degree, regardless of their parents’ income

Do they ever keep their promises?

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Stephen Twigg, Labour's new Shadow Secretary of State for Education

 

Stephen Twigg, who has replaced Andy Burnham as Shadow Secretary of State for Education told the Liberpool Daily Post that:

On free schools, I am saying that we need to apply a set of tests, that we are not going to take an absolute policy of opposing them.

The tests should be: will the school raise standards for pupils and parents, will it contribute to a narrowing of the achievement gap between rich and poor and what is the wider impact of that school?

This statement has kicked up quite a fuss about Labour reversing their previous position on Free Schools. I, for one, think that these comments are very sensible when considered in the light that Labour will inherit any number of Free Schools when we win re-election.

The tests that Stephen Twigg outlines are not based upon ideological doctrine in the same way that Michael Gove’s belief in the Free Schools ideal is, but is based upon sound logic and consideration of the needs, and opinions, of parents and school teachers.

Indeed, asking the above tests of the whole Free Schools project shows a subtle, but important distinction when compared against Conservative and Liberal Democrat policy – Free Schools will now be judged as a whole, rather than individual cases. The tests that he lays out will ensure that the project is providing a quality service for the consumers of the service, i.e school children and parents.

By enusring that the Free Schools project provides help for poorer children and the wider community, Labour will provide a Progressive alternative to the Government’s program of introducing profit making into the British education system.

The former Shadow Secratary State for Education, Andy Burnham attacked the Conservative-led Government’s free school proposals as being a:

Free-for all, where good schools can be destabilised and where teachers can be employed without teaching qualifications.

In some cases this is true. Evidence has shown that this can be true.

However, by assesing the benefits of Free Schools as a whole, rather than indavidually, and ensuring that the projects can be shown to contribute to society by narrowing the ‘education gap’, and ensuring that schoolchildren receive the highest standard of education possible, Labour’s support for the Free School concept could provide a template for future schools projects by a new Labour Government.

Labour would be unwise to oppose a project that is here to stay. We should instead seek to improve and refine the model for the benefit of future generations. 

 

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The Coalition will continue, with the Liberal Democrats remaining in Government even if the Tories win a majority, according to Rachel Sylvester in The Times:

“For the Tory modernisers, the Lib Dems are the ideal weapon to ward off the enemy within. The news that some of the so-called “Tatler Tories” have been dumped from the list of prospective parliamentary candidates  is evidence that the leadership does not think that the modernisation of the party is yet complete. The Prime Minister is pleased to have political cover for keeping the 50p top rate of tax, abandoning the “prison works” approach to crime, avoiding a return to grammar schools and retaining the ring-fence on aid — all policies that infuriate the rightwingers. “The traditionalists are just not on planet Earth,” says one Cameroon.”

It would certainly provide political cover to Cameron to continue his modernization of the Tory Party.

“Proper “Tories don’t seem happy about it either.

@Richedaw, a self described Orange Book Lib Dem commented that “its the Tory Right’s fantasy conspiracy theory re why the LD tail wags the Tory dog so much”

@mad_pieman, a right wing Tory, said “Over my cold dead body”

I wonder what Simon Hughes and the “social” liberals think of that?

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Picture of Pile of Money - Free Pictures - FreeFoto.com

The Guardian report here that the Tories and Liberals are seeking  a £50,000 donation “cap” on Party funding.

Within that article, The Guardian suggest, that since 2006 Labour would have lost 85% of its funding with such a cap in place, with the Tories losing 50% of their donations. This proposal is being suggested by the “Committee on Standards in Public Life”, on which all of the main political parties are represented. The proposals from this independent Committee are being floated to remove the presence of “Big Money” in British Politics. It is not such an act. It is a cynical and self-serving proposal to damage the long-term interests and standing of the Labour Party.

The Labour Party has historically been funded, to one degree or another, by the Unions. Since Ed Miliband became Labour leader, the Party has become more reliant on these donations. Whether that is a positive or negative thing is a separate issue. Union funding is important for the Labour Party. In contrast, the Conservative and Liberal Democrats are both funded by wealthy individuals and companies, which is also true of Labour to a lesser extent. However, the Coalition parties are able to rely upon a wider base of funding, from numerous wealthy individuals who would be able to donate the maximum £50,000 each.

The Unite union donated £11.7 million to the Labour Party between 2007 and 2010. Unite has millions of members, all of which are ordinary working people, who voluntarily donate a small contribution to the Labour Party. By imposing a £50,000 cap, Labour would have lost millions of pounds of funding from “normal” people, and would cut off the Party’s substantial funding streams.

In the first quarter of 2010, of £12.36m received by the Tories. Some of the donations are below:

£951,000 from David Rowland, an international property developer.

Christopher Rokos, a hedge fund trader, donated £250,000

Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, donated £250,000

Lord Ashcroft gave £123,464 in “non-cash” donations to CCHQ

The Tories and Liberal Democrats would lose substantially less if such a cap were in force. By including Unions, and considering them to be corporate entities, the Government is comparing the likes of Unite and Unison to Michael Ashcroft.

How should funding of political parties be resolved? I believe that the proposals of the Hayden Commission should be implemented:-

“He recommended capping spending for political campaigns as well as capping individual donations. He also suggested increasing state funding by £25m a year, linked to public support – he proposed that eligible parties receive 50p each year for every vote cast for them in the most recent General Election and 25p for every vote in the most recent ballots for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and European Parliament. He also recommended cutting spending by the largest parties between elections by £20m each”

More gerrymandering from a ConDem Government.

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