Monday, 15 February 2010

Liberal Democrats Declare Four Demands For Coalition Government

The Guardian has an important story today. The Liberal Democrats reportedly do not want seats around the Cabinet table in the event of a hung parliament but do not want progress in four areas.
  1. Investing extra funds in education through a pupil premium for disadvantaged children. This is already the Michael Gove, Conservative (Surrey Heath) and the Conservative Party's policy and Labour could certainly agree to this demand.
  2. Tax reform, taking 4 million out of tax and raising taxes on the rich by requiring capital gains and income to be taxed at the same rate. Many Conservatives would welcome such a policy and Edward Leigh MP, Conservative (Gainsborough) proposed it three years ago, although funded in a different way.
  3. Rebalancing of the economy to put less emphasis on centralised banking and more on a new greener economy. It is not clear what is meant by 'centralised banking' but a move toward a greener economy would doubtlessly be a commitment that both the Conservative and Labour Party's could make.
  4. Political reforms, including changes to the voting system and a democratically elected Lords, that go further than proposed by Labour. Labour will probably be more willing to embrace electoral reform than the Conservatives (86% of Tory members oppose Proporation Representaton) but the Conservatives could offer more on civil liberties.
Update: 19:00 15/02/10 
Interviewed on BBC Radio 4's World at One Vince Cable MP, Liberal Democrat (Twickenham), Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, poured cold water on story. He said that in the last month The Guardian had said that the Liberal Democrats were likely to back the Conservatives and then to back Labour. Now reporters at The Guardian who have 'vivid imaginations' had written that the Liberal Democrats had ruled out joining a coalition. Nothing had been ruled in and nothing ruled out. He said that the party which emerged strongest from the election would have the 'impetus' to take a lead in arranging any deal.

Acknowledgement: ConservativeHome | LeftWatch | 14/02/10

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