Thursday 22 September 2011

Liberal Democrat Conference; morale booster

Liberal Democrat activists are certainly a hardy lot. In spite of the loss of about one third of our (their) council seats last May endless repetitions of our achievements in government:

* pensions linked to earnings
* 880 000 low earners out of income tax
* the pupil premium
* the green investment bank
* loans rather than up-front payments for part time students
et al
were endlessly cheered. Surprisingly, fixed term parliaments, which I feel in the long run may be the most important achievement, weren't mentioned all that often.

There were also, unfortunately, endless repetitions of the half-truths, if not the downright lies, that the public deficit is all the fault of Labour's profligacy, and that savage cuts are necessary to avoid the fate of Greece. Polly Toynbee's headline, "Balderdash and Mendacity " (Guardian 20/09/11 - sorry, link thing is not behaving itself) may be a bit strong, but really she has the conference bang to rights

Happily, light may be beginning to dawn. Vince Cable called for "stimulus" along with stability and solidarity, and there were hints of small gobbets of extra expenditure.

I've just heard on the "Today" programme an American whose name I didn't catch say that normally he was in favour of balanced budgets but current American attempts to lower their interest rates even further are a waste of time and that "fiscal stimulus" as advocated by "your Mr Keynes" is what is needed. Maybe the world is learning.

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