Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
It is hard to believe that it has been five years since Gordon Brown announced the abolition of the 10p rate band in an failed attempt to be too clever by half (as my mother would describe it), and I am as surprised that it has taken until now for someone to suggest reintroducing it.
Restoring a 10p rate of income tax, between £9,205 and £12,000, would cost around £6 billion a year according to the House of Commons Library. This is significantly cheaper than raising the personal allowance to £12,500 (which could cost as much as £14.4 billion). It also has the advantage that it would benefit all workers, and could be paid for without dragging more families into the 40p band of income tax.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Monday, January 21, 2013
When the explore card was cut in 2011 as part of the New Strategic Direction ideology budget on grounds of 'cost', the Liberal Democrats warned that this short-sighted decision would cause significant damage to the educational, work and training prospects of a whole cohort of young people. And of course this damage did occur - in the middle of last year the Conservatives heard full details directly from Suffolk Lib Dem councillors, from schools and colleges, from parents and – most of all – from the young people affected.
Cllr Caroline Page, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Roads and Transport said, "Bringing back this card is obviously a successful outcome for the Suffolk Liberal Democrats, but most importantly all the young people and their families who have been lobbying for the restoration of this card since it was withdrawn."
"We all told the Conservatives that scrapping the Explore card would – and did – cause huge problems to those who wanted to get an education and a job. But the Cabinet member for Roads and Transport memorably replied, "you can't spend a pound more than once." In such circumstances, the wise idea is to choose carefully what you do spend your pounds on in the first place. This was the same Cabinet that agreed the expenditure of really quite a lot of pounds on Suffolk Circle."
"Why has it taken so long for the Conservatives to implement this decision? Why didn't they just review the explore card rather than cutting it completely and leaving many young people struggling to get to college and employment? Why has this happened now, when this is an issue that should have been extremely important throughout the years, and not just pre-election?"
Cllr John Field, the Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader said, "This U-turn shows just how wrong the Conservatives were in their decision to remove the explore card. The Lib Dems urge the Council to roll out this new Oyster-type scheme as quickly as possible. We must reverse, wherever possible, the harm they have caused and are continuing to cause to the next generation of Suffolk."
However, my attention is drawn to the anonymity of politicians this morning. There was, on my train this morning, a politician (who shall remain nameless). Naturally, he was a Coalition MP - there are no other MPs with constituencies on, or near, the East Anglian main line or its branches - and he was, as is obligatory these days, in standard class.
He was working on his papers in an entirely efficient way, and I found myself wondering how many people sharing the carriage had any idea who he was.
Why does this draw my attention? Because, like everyone else on the train, he has experienced the delay to the service, the discomfort of the elderly rolling stock - in short, life as "the rest of us" experience it. He isn't cocooned from the public, he is part of it. And yet he will repeatedly be accused of being out of touch with us, of not understanding what we go through.
I suppose that, as a politician, you can't win. Quietly get on with your life, do your job and don't make a fuss, and we ignore you. Be highly visible and we take potshots at you - it's the British way.
Ah well, on that note, I'd better get to my meeting...
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Friday, January 11, 2013
- John Doran, Liberal Democrat Voice (16 November 2010)
One of the advantages of being fairly cynical, and having been encouraged to be a sceptic at university - many thanks to Dr Janacek, my statistics lecturer and academic advisor, for that - is that I tend to wonder about someone's motivation.
And so, when I discovered that a former Surrey county councillor had taken the opportunity of Nick Clegg's radio call-in show on LBC to attack him, I did what anyone might have done (like journalists ought to?), and Googled him, finding the above quote rather easily.
So, Mr Doran doesn't like Nick Clegg - it's a free world. But don't let anyone believe for a moment that he's a recent convert to that view...
Sunday, January 06, 2013
Perhaps the more interesting thing was the response of the Chair of the local Conservative Association. Andrew Speed said,
We are disappointed that Frank has felt the need to move to UKIP but we retain a healthy majority on the district council.There are twenty-one Conservative councillors out of the forty on Mid Suffolk District Council, hardly a healthy majority, or is that a confession that Ray Melvin, Charlie Flatman and Stuart Gemmill are really only masquerading as independents after all?
Saturday, January 05, 2013
Thursday, January 03, 2013
It is, I suppose, typical of the utter disrespect for residents shown by the Conservatives on the County Council that there should be no attempt to inform voters of the change. Luckily, I've got my county councillor coming to a meeting next week, and he might like to come up with a justification... especially as he's up for election in May...
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Until its abolition in May, Ros was a member of the European Union Sub-Committee G, something she enjoyed greatly. One of its final acts was to review the impact of EU legislation on grass-roots sport, particularly appropriate in the run-up to the Olympics and Paralympics...