Clegg’s being a bit hopeful

Instructions from leader come as opening of party conference is dominated by speculation about future coalition partners

Sorta assuming that there’ll be enough Lib Dem MPs to make a difference to a majority, isn’t he?

28 comments on “Clegg’s being a bit hopeful

  1. Clegg was on Radio 5 this morning yammering on about tax rises when he was asked about the Tory plans to increase the starting band for 40% taxpayers to £50k. Clegg started waffling on about how 40% taxpayers had already benefiteed from the rise in personal allowances. BUT THEY HAVEN’T!!!! The starting rate for the 40% band has been lowered and 40% taxpayers really haven’t seen any benefit from increased PAs. This isn’t an obscure technical point as it was deliberate and planned. So if Clegg doesn’t understand this how the f*** are we supoosed to trust him on more technical tax policy? And of course, the BBC journo didn’t pick him up on it because they know f*** all about tax themselves. All very depressing considering how tax is such a key issue.

  2. Apparently the prognosis for the Fib Dums isn’t so bad when you ask people specifically about their local MP before asking them about the General Election. Source: probably Mike Smithson.

  3. The great and good are suggesting a majority of voters would opt to vote for the current coalition if it was on the ballot paper.

  4. @ Andrew

    I don’t ordinarily like to defend Nick Clegg but – don’t you mean taxpayers over £100K (have not seen any benefit), ie where those PA’s are removed?

    Upping PA’s (to £10K etc) and “dragging” the start point for 40% should not have rendered any 40% taxpayers earning under £100K worse off?

  5. I haven’t met a LibDem yet who I wouldn’t prefer to wear a cement overcoat.

    I hope they sink without trace…

  6. Bernie,

    > The great and good are suggesting a majority of voters would opt to vote for the current coalition if it was on the ballot paper.

    That might well be true. I actually think they’re OK, by the standards of governments. Cameron’s shite, but one of his good points appears to be that he genuinely gives consideration to other people’s ideas — thank fuck, as his own ideas are worthless — and a few bits of genuine conservatism are getting through. And the Lib Dems and the Tories being forced to work together helps to stop either of them achieving too much. And, Lord knows, the last thing you want governments to do is achieve stuff. I have been pleasantly surprised by the Coalition.

  7. S2

    “And the Lib Dems and the Tories being forced to work together helps to stop either of them achieving too much. And, Lord knows, “the last thing you want governments to do is achieve stuff.

    +1

    At least, not most of the crap they aspire to achieve.

  8. Yes, about all the coalition have achieved is to continue Miliband and Worthington’s sterling work on turning an energy supply system that delivered reliable and reasonably priced energy into some third world, highly priced and increasingly unreliable system held together by diesel generators and rationing.

    “Let’s give the LibDems Energy and Climate Change*, they can’t do much harm there. After all, it’s not as if our economy depends on having cheap, reliable energy to power it any more.”

    *The Department of Energy and Climate Change. The Climate Change Act. The Department of Unicorns for All. The Unicorns for All Act. The Treasury. The Everyone’s a Millionaire Act.

  9. PF: taxpayers earning over £100k have lost out.

    The 40% threshold has been brought down in such a way as to remove the benefit of raising the personal allowance. That is, as the amount taxed at nil goes down, the amount taxed at 40% has gone up, so the total tax stays the same. So if you earn enough to pay 40% tax but less than £100k, no gain and no loss.

    But when you hit £100k you start to lose your personal allowance completely. You’ve already lost the increase in it, and now you lose the original amount. Once you get to £121k, you’ve been taxed once at 40% instead of 20% on the increase, and again at 60% instead of 40% on the whole amount. Double whammy.

    There’s not enough attention paid to the 60% tax band. Or the HICBC band, come to that (back when it came in this was 57.5%, if you have two kids: more kids, higher rate).

  10. @Pellinor – when say the 40% rate, you actually mean the 51% rate: don’t forget the second income tax called NI.

    As for the coalition, indeed if the best government is the one that does nothing (a sentiment I support) then they haven’t been too awful.

    But Cameron did sack the only two reasonably effective ministers he had: Gove (at the behest of the Fib Dims I assume) and Patterson (at the behest of the EU I assume),

    So even the things they had started to do sort-of right, will probably now run into the sand.

    otoh The Millipede will be much, much worse, so perhaps we should be thankful for small mercies.

  11. I expect those who are not in Scotland are unaware of the politicking that has been taking place up here since the referendum.

    Nicola Sturgeon (soon to be First Minister) and others in the SNP and amongst the wider Yes supporters are stating that a further referendum is possible and in some cases agitating for it to take place asap (but date is not mentioned). Salmond’s statement that the question had been settled for a generation has been basically ignored.

    Therefore I will be voting tactically in all elections here in Scotland in an effort to keep as many SNP candidates out of any political office as possible

  12. If benefits are on some sort of escalator (be it RPI or wage growth) then so should tax bands be. Fiscal drag is very insidious. It was used with great gusto by Gordon Brown, but all governments indulge in it to a certain extent. You might not notice your PAYE receipts creeping up at a few pence a week, but over the course of a few years the effect can be dramatic.

  13. @S2 – totally OT, but having finally clicked through on to you link, I’m amazed – I didn’t know that there were any conservative-minded indie kids from Glasgae (of one assumes Alan McGee vintage?).

    Were you always that way or did you undergo some sort of transition?

    If the latter, did it cost you friendships / the chance of success etc?

    Obviously, if this is impertinent and nosey just ignore.

  14. Interested: you can include me in that demographic (early to mid 90s vintage), although I was the type that stood around at gigs trying to look cool, rather than the likes of S2 who actually played gigs to try to look cool.

  15. @Interested: I felt mildly depressed recently when a young colleague said “you were going to gigs in the 90s? That must have been so cool”

    I explained that seeing a line-up of third rate Britpop wasn’t quite the same as being at the Lesser Free Trade Hall.

  16. The Lib Dems are still in the game aren’t they?

    They’re bound to win votes back when it comes to the crunch, and UKIP are taking from both Labour and the Conservatives.

    Could be interesting.

    More than ever before, this election will about voting for the party you loathe least. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that I’ll be voting for Osborne again, which is not something I’d readily admit to a researcher.

  17. Jack C – “The Lib Dems are still in the game aren’t they? They’re bound to win votes back when it comes to the crunch, and UKIP are taking from both Labour and the Conservatives.”

    The Lib Dem voters are people who like nothing about the two main parties and so can indulge in every little whim and fancy they like. Because they never expected to be in office. While in office Clegg has had to make choices and that means pissing off at least half his voting base.

    No, they will not win votes back and they are not still in it. I would not be surprised if they end up like Canada’s Progressive Conservatives – who went from 156 seats to just 2. Or more likely, the Australian Democrats. Who also did a deal with a conservative government. And then more or less ceased to exist.

  18. @Jack C

    I can’t see the Lib Dems retaining votes, though their voters are unusually smug and probably have a psychological attachment to voting for the bastards. I expect quite a few abstentions, and a few extra votes for Labour. UKIP will take votes ff the Tories, win maybe four seats and Labour will get in.

    @GD
    I was lucky enough as a fifteen-year-old to see The Jam live on their final tour, but the Pistols were a bit too early! Music in the 90s was quite dull IMO – Oasis being a case in point – so I had begun to delve back into the past.

  19. I was going to Edinburgh gigs in the 70s, first being Robin Trower just after he released Bridge of Sighs, then the Who, Led Zep, Rory Gallagher etc before progressed to watching pub rock (Dr Feelgood etc) and then punk – Clash, Jam etc etc.

    Also played in various bands myself.

    Then the dream died and I became a chartered accountant specialising in tax.

  20. “and I became a chartered accountant specialising in tax”

    Probably the easiest way of getting close to major bands actually.

  21. Interested,

    Hey let’s go off topic. Not the first time.

    > Obviously, if this is impertinent and nosey just ignore.

    Hey, if I wanted to hide it, the link wouldn’t be there.

    > I didn’t know that there were any conservative-minded indie kids from Glasgae (of one assumes Alan McGee vintage?).

    Hmm. Well, there are, but I’m not entirely sure I’m one of them. I’m not so much Conservative as opposed to whoever’s in power. I thought I was left-wing, then Labour got in, and I soon realised I just hate whatever stupid bastards — or, worse, intelligent bastards — are in government. Having lived entirely under the Tories up to that point, I just hadn’t had the opportunity to realise.

    It always strikes me as odd that so many people, especially artists, equate “left-wing” with “anti-establishment”. I assume they think it’s 1890.

    And I’m a bit young (or non-old, at least) for Alan McGee. But I probably was an indie kid, albeit at a time when indie kids were supposed to be all about the guitars and drum machines were very much frowned upon. Honestly, try getting a gig when you’re using a load of sequencers and Oasis are at their height. Worse, try getting a sound engineer who doesn’t turn all the synths off and crank the guitar up to eleven.

    Scottish indie musician friend of mine once admitted to me that he actually supported the poll tax — although obviously he would NEVER EVER admit that in public. Another Glaswegian indie musician friend of mine blogs here. You might find his politics quite surprising. But yeah, I find most musicians are lefties.

    > Were you always that way or did you undergo some sort of transition?

    Well, I was brought up hard socialist. My mother is very much part of the Loony Left that Kinnock tried (and failed) to purge from the party.

    > If the latter, did it cost you friendships / the chance of success etc?

    Nah. Not being socialist cost me some acquaintanceships, but they clearly weren’t really friendships. I was the object of quite a nasty campaign of online character assassination and trolling led by a Marxist gobshite, and was disappointed by some of the people who joined in. A couple of them later apologised, and I told them to fuck off. But none of my real friends joined in, by definition.

    One of the bands we used to gig with quite a lot were Aether Flux. Really really nice guys, who made a quite excellent psychedelic wall of noise. After a couple of gigs, one of them told me what a pleasant surprise it had been to gig with us and all get on so well, because they’d been “warned” about us, mainly me. Honestly, some people.

    I find it ridiculous that people get so tribal about politics. I mean, on tax, say, no-one sane thinks it should be at 0% or 100%, and almost the entire debate takes place around the 40% to 60% region. In other words, there is no extremism left there: everyone’s in broad agreement and quibbling about the details. And yet some people will literally scream at you that you’re evil because you agree that it should be, say, 45% instead of 50%. What the fuck? I find I can get on perfectly well with lefties because most of them aren’t like that. The ones that are, who fucking needs them anyway?

    For the record, I have never looked cool.

    Anyway, this is all beside the point. What did you think of the music?

  22. GlenDorran,

    > I felt mildly depressed recently when a young colleague said “you were going to gigs in the 90s? That must have been so cool”
    > I explained that seeing a line-up of third rate Britpop wasn’t quite the same as being at the Lesser Free Trade Hall.

    You were going to the wrong gigs. I saw some amazing stuff in the 90s: Portishead, The Orb, Propellerheads, Geneva, Bentley Rhythm Ace, Mansun, Curve, Lo Fidelity Allstars, Lamb, Vast. 90s music was superb.

  23. Squander Two:

    Oh I agree totally, I saw some amazing stuff in the 90s. Should have explained that it was just my young friend was really into Oasis and thought that seeing them live at their “peak” would have been a life changing experience. I just said “meh”.

    I did see Toni Halliday playing to a crowd of about 20 at King Tut’s with her post-Curve band. I can’t even remember what they were called but they were pretty poor and most people left early.

    I think this is starting to get slightly too obscure and off topic.

  24. > my young friend was really into Oasis and thought that seeing them live at their “peak” would have been a life changing experience.

    Pfffffffffffffffffffffff.

  25. > when say the 40% rate, you actually mean the 51% rate: don’t forget the second income tax called NI.

    That’s not right. Employee’s NI falls from 12% to 2% at about the same point as income tax increases from 20% to 40%. (Osborne increased the basic NI rate from 11% to 12% a few years ago.)

    Benefit withdrawals aside, the highest marginal tax+NI rate is 62%, for earnings between £100k and £120k.

    All this without considering employer’s NI…

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