After Nick Clegg produced the best performance in last night’s ITV debate, it is time to examine their manifesto. Others has so far failed. John Redwood attacks the £5bn hole in the Lib-Dem figures, but misses the more important bits. Brian Barder on LabourList has clearly not read the Manifesto and Tom Harris thinking that the policies are irrelevant. However, the manifesto is significant for anyone (like me) sad enough to read the thing. In detail it is a direct appeal to the Liberal Left. It is far more re-distributive than Labour, whilst also scrapping some of Labour’s more authoritarian policies like the ID cards.
– In the army, reducing the top brass to fund increased pay for the lower ranks.
– Tax increases for the rich (CGT, pension tax relief, mansion tax)
– Anti tax avoidance measures.
– Hitting big business with higher corporation tax.
– Devaluing the Nations investment in the Banks by a banking levy; by breaking them up; through state sponsored competition in the form of a PostBank; and a UK Infrastructure Bank (high interest safe returns for “green investment”).
– Cancelling a replacement fo the Trident nulear missile system. They say they will look for cheaper alternatives, but this is unlikely to happen soon with even bigger cuts in other areas necessary to pay it.
Added to this the fact that Labour have created a structural deficit that will undermine public spending for a generation, and you have a strategy to overtake Labour as the party of the left. Perhaps it is Nick Clegg’s strategy to emphasise this in the third debate when Gordon Brown thinks he will avoid Clegg’s criticism.