Thursday, 1 September 2011

Liberal Democrat Pride .

Statements in the past few days have caused me to feel a surge of pride in our Liberal Democrats in government.

First Vince Cable is proclaiming loudly and clearly that the the gambling and retail activities of the banks should be separated and that this should happen now and not "after the next election." Most people wonder why the banks were allowed to gamble with our money in the first place (and then come to us as taxpayers for a bail-out when they got things wrong), why it has taken three or four years to bring forward proposals to put a stop to it, and why in the meantime bankers have been able to pay themselves outrageous bonuses. Well done, Dr Cable, please stick to your guns and do all you can to prevent this essential and overdue reform form being kicked into touch by the bankers' friends, the Tories.

Secondly Liberal Democrats in government are making it c that in our view the 50% tax rate is right and just and should be here to stay. Critics claim, without much evidence as far as I can see, that it doesn't raise much money and discourages the enterprising, who may go somewhere else. The answer to the first criticism is to clamp down more vigorously on tax evasion and avoidance. The answer to the second is to call their bluff and let them go.

Thirdly and perhaps most importantly Nick Clegg has spoken out boldly in favour of the Human Rights Act. Part of his article in the Guardian last week (26/08/11) is worth quoting in full:

The Labour government that passed the Human Rights Act then spent years trashing it, allowing a myth to take root that human rights are a foreign invention , unwanted here, a charter for greedy lawyers and meddlesome bureaucrats....

The reality is that those who need to make use of human rights laws to challenge the decisions of the authorities are nearly always people who are in the care of the state: children's homes , mental hospitals, immigration detention. They are often vulnerable, powerless or outsiders,and are sometimes people for whom the public feels little sympathy. But they are human beings, and our common humanity dictates that we treat them as such.

As Shami Chakrabati put it at the Liberty AGM earlier this year (04/06/11), "Unpopular people have human rights too." Great to see the Liberal Democrat leader standing out from the populism which has became such a feature of our politics and sticking his neck out on an unpopular issue, because it is right.

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