Nick Clegg has been letting his party know that all that talk about free childcare and the right to personal care, well, they just can't have it. Even though it's party policy. You have to be 'grown up' about these things you see.
In tomorrow's Morning Star I argue that;
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has announced that the politics of plenty are over. I assume by this he means plenty of war, plenty of cuts and plenty of sell-offs because he could not possibly be saying that up to now we have never had it so good. Or could he?...Whilst I tend to agree with Mr Clegg on the Gina Ford parenting thing, more generally he has been a disaster as a leader positioning the Lib Dems in a right of centre space that does not exist as it has a prior occupant, the Tory Party. I fully expect the third party to be electing a new leader after the General Election.
After describing voters as grown-ups, Clegg then announced that he would introduce caps on public-sector pay, scrap the government baby bonds scheme, ditch the commitment to free childcare and their "citizen's pension" and that he would no longer advocate free personal care for the old and disabled. Added to this the Lib Dems would keep tuition fees, at least until the good times roll again.
Clegg described this bonfire of the policies by saying: "We have stripped away everything that is not essential because the country cannot afford it."
There was me thinking that policies like free child and personal care existed because parents and the disabled couldn't afford them. Maybe they aren't part of "the country."...It's an interesting way to try to give people confidence in your manifesto by tearing half of it up shouting: "This is all rubbish! We were never going to do any of it."
Frankly Clegg's idea that the Labour and Tory parties are pretending as if the economic crisis is not happening is extraordinary. It's hardly credible at a time when they are competing with each other to say how savage they are going to be wth public services. Never-the-less he says he's going to be tougher - Christ that's worrying.
The announcement that Clegg was ditching a raft of Lib Dem policies was met with a mixed reception from Lib Dems. Some bloggers were supportive but others less so. Jennie Rigg, for example, said;
Our Glorious Leader has chosen today to announce that we won't be able to afford all the policy commitments we are committed to, despite the fact that three months ago conference told him we would not be happy about it. Predictably it's the equality-based commitments that are highest up the cancellation list.Darrell, a Leeds council candidate for the Lib Dems, says that;
Lets be quite clear that there is nothing fair about withdrawing policies meant to increase state support for vulnerable (and least self-sufficient) groups within society while maintaining things such as a ‘multi-billion pound committment’ to the failed war in Afghanistan.It seems to me that the Lib Dems have squandered the last few years that could have seen them go from strength to strength as an alternative to the two floundering parties of government. Instead their electoral support is flagging, and their politics directionless. What a shame
P.S. talking of being adult about things, it's nice to see someone at The Telegraph thinks the Greens are all grown up now. I assume that's a compliment.