Vince Cable predicts second economic storm

Remember back in 2003, when Vince Cable was saying that at some point the economy would collapse because of the amount of consumer credit?

Well, he was right then and he’s now saying that we could be up for another Brexit fuelled crash.

The former Business Secretary, who hopes to win back his former seat of Twickenham, says that a combination of declining consumer confidence, job losses and inflation has the potential to outstrip the economic storm of the previous decade. That, if you remember, was the direst economic crash since the Depression in the 30s.

Vince said:

For Britain, the economic weather is arguably worse than it was before the credit crunch. The pound has plummeted, which is driving up prices and trapping consumers in a vicious Brexit squeeze.

Consumer confidence was all that kept the storm clouds away. But with job losses at everywhere from Deutsche Bank to Nestlé, that confidence is going to drain away further.

The Chancellor clearly has no confidence in the economic strategy of the government, because he knows that leaving the single market and customs union has the potential to devastate the UK economy.

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Could Rachel Johnson stand as a Lib Dem candidate?

First of all, Rachel Johnson, writer and journalist, welcome to the Liberal Democrats. Every media outlet is telling us that she has joined and some are even suggesting that she will be a candidate for the Liberal Democrats in this coming general election. The Guardian is feverishly speculating:

Johnson’s decision to join the Lib Dems is expected to infuriate her brother Boris, who has had a relatively marginal role in the post-Brexit negotiations so far.

She could not be reached for comment, while a spokesman for the Lib Dems declined to confirm her membership, citing data protection rules.

With just nine MPs,

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 21 Comments

Save the date: 24 May for TV Leaders’ Debate

And it’ll be a good one, too.

No, Theresa and Jeremy haven’t overcome their fear of Tim Farron. This is the Scottish Leaders’ Debate where Willie Rennie will spend an hour and a half at 8:30 pm on STV debating Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson.

From the STV website:

The Scottish debates are usually of pretty decent quality and you should be able to watch on the live stream south of the border.

 

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LibLink: Vince Cable: We are heading towards a dangerous one party state and only a Liberal Democrat fightback can prevent it

Vince Cable writes in today’s Independent of the dangers of the Tories being given carte blanche to do what they like as Labour disintegrates:

The Prime Minister wants an opposition-free parliament in which to pursue the extreme version of Brexit she has chosen. Her cruder – or more honest – supporters talk about “crushing the saboteurs”. Those of a more squeamish disposition talk about letting Theresa May (known by her activists as “mummy”) get on with her task without distraction.

In normal circumstances, the Labour Party would rally opposition to her plan. But they are compromised by the Brexit vote of many of their constituencies, and by the voting record of their MPs. And the leadership is a crippling liability, far worse than in 1983. Michael Foot was, at least, a fine orator and writer, a stalwart party loyalist. The latest episode in this tragic farce was the endorsement of Jeremy Corbyn by the more Stalinist of the two factions of the almost-defunct Communist Party of Great Britain.

But what difference could a strong contingent of Lib Dems make?

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 5 Comments

John Pugh MP writes.. Diversity now: Words into deeds

8 Lib Dem MPs were elected in 2015 – all male, all white and myself the oldest. This was despite the party having put a lot of effort and energy behind some absolutely superb female candidates in seats where sitting MPs had stood down.

So monochrome were we until the Richmond by election that when we were caricatured as pale, male and stale I felt almost apologetic at being elected. However it wasn’t really our fault; it wasn’t the party’s fault. It was all down to an electorate spooked by the possibility of a Miliband/SNP government ….oh and a little bit …

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Raising tax for health and social care: National insurance or income tax?

Last month, the independent panel of health experts set up by Norman Lamb published its interim report on “a new deal for Britain’s Health and Social Care Services”. The panel were “unanimously of the opinion that it is necessary to raise additional revenue for health and care through taxation” and Spring Conference seemed to agree. Similar views may partly explain why the Conservatives have so far (sensibly) refused to rule out any headline tax rises in the next Parliament.

The interim report, which may influence the Lib Dem manifesto, concludes with three options: 1) raise Income Tax (e.g. raising all rates by 1p); 2) raise National Insurance (NI); or 3) introduce a dedicated health and care tax. All have their pros and cons, and in the grand scheme of things Income Tax and NI rate increases raise similar revenue and are both very progressive. But in this post I want to highlight a few reasons why the current NI system might not be the fairest vehicle for boosting health and social care – points that are also important for considering what a ‘dedicated’ tax should involve.

Don’t raise employer National Insurance

First up, there’s a question about what forms of NI would be increased under that option. In short, you would want to raise the personal forms of NI that individuals – employees and the self-employed – pay, but not employer NI. That might sound backward – hitting individuals but not companies (though in the long run both just reduce take-home pay). But the existing employer NI system already creates damaging and expensive distortions. Foremost, it creates a large incentive for companies (and you and me) to use self-employed labour rather than employees. No-one seems to be suggesting this but for the avoidance of doubt: unless/until that major problem is solved, don’t raise employer NI further.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 17 Comments

Liberal Democrats will not field a candidate against Caroline Lucas

Liberal Democrats in Brighton Pavilion last night decided not to field a candidate in Brighton Pavilion against Greens co-leader Caroline Lucas.

From the Mirror:

Lib Dem President Sal Brinton said: “ Liberal Democrats across the country are challenging Theresa May’s Conservative Brexit government. As in previous elections, a limited number of local parties are considering how best to provide that challenge in their constituencies.

This comes after the Greens stepped aside in Richmond Park to give us a clear run.

What is also significant is that close to Brighton is the constituency of Lewes which we narrowly lost by less than the Greens …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarHywel 28th Apr - 1:42am
    I don't even know where to begin with that Caron. I'm just incredibly disappointed in you.
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 28th Apr - 1:35am
    Of course Caron, you were not endorsing her and Hywel should know better. No you just produced an article entitled "Could Rachel Johnson stand as...
  • User AvatarTonyJ 28th Apr - 12:50am
    "It’s also more than possible that the party might waive some of the rules if she were licensed for one election to contest a specific...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 28th Apr - 12:48am
    Having been delighted that our local party in Nottingham recently welcomed Sir Vince as speaker for our annual dinner, I am now very glad ,...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 28th Apr - 12:34am
    I am supportive of Caron on this. She knows she and I have had our disagreements, and we both recognise the party is broad and...
  • User AvatarDavid Pocock 28th Apr - 12:14am
    I am not sure labour will lose as hard as everyone thinks. Ultimately the question to the labour voter is do you want 5 years...