VAT is a mildly progressive form of taxation claims Vince Cable as supporters abandon the Lib Dems in droves

According to a poll published today, 48% of Lib Dem voters are now less inclined to back that party, and they  say that their change is as a direct result of the VAT increase.  How has Principled Vince responded.  He writes “No decision to raise tax is taken lightly, but VAT is more contentious than most. One reason is that VAT is often denounced as if it were the most regressive tax of all. However, the truth is more nuanced. As a proportion of expenditure, it is in fact mildly progressive”.

Yesterday I wrote of Cable: “The sight of Vince Cable bumbling and stuttering through feeble and half-hearted defences of his party’s total sell-out of his policies, his sound economic analysis and his principled stand on the banks, is pitiful.  Actually it is beneath contempt”.

Appearing on the Andrew Marr programme, as I write this, Cable dismissed the VAT Bombsell allegation made by the Lib Dems against the Tories “That was during the election campaign” and that the Lib Dems are now in coalition.

I wonder how Cable will justify the latest analysis of the ConDemNation budget.  It shows that the measures will hit the poorest six times harder than the rich.  The poorest 10%, those with an annual income of less than £14,200 will experience a 21.7% cut.  The richest, those with an annual income of over £49,700, with experience just a 3.6% cut.

How could someone who was so right about the banking crisis become so wrong about the impact of cuts on ordinary people?

St Peter’s and North Laine: Why the Lib Dems deserve to be humiliated

The Libe Dems are standing Trefor Hunter as its candidate in the St Peter’s and North Laine by-election on July 8th. In the latest Lib Dem ‘Focus’ newsletter that I understand is being distributed around the ward this weekend, Hunter attacks the Greens for failing to deal with congestion and pollution.

As someone who has fought and lost more elections than just about anyone else in Brighton over the last 30 years, Mr Hunter must surely be aware that the Greens have never formed the administration in Brighton and Hove.  In fact, his party’s coalition partner, the Conservative Party, are the administration locally and nationally.  He writes “Decades ago residents elected their first Green Councillor, but what difference has it really made?”.  Actually, quite a lot, and if we achieve a 20mph speed limit in Brighton I for one will be delighted.

The more relevant question is what difference does voting Lib Dem make?  In Brighton and Hove they are an absolute irrelevance.  In Brighton Kemptown and in Hove, they split the anti-Tory vote that saw two Labour candidates defeated and the election of two Conservatives.  Nationally, millions voted tactically or positively for the Lib Dems as a way of voting against the Conservatives.  What happened?  The Lib Dems jumped into bed with the Tories.  The sight of Vince Cable bumbling and stuttering through feeble and half-hearted defences of his party’s total sell-out of his policies, his sound economic analysis and his principled stand on the banks, is pitiful.  Actually it is beneath contempt.

If I had a vote in the St Peter’s and North Laine by-election, would I vote Lib Dem?  Give me an honest Tory any day. At least you know what you can expect from them.  The Lib Dems deserve to be truly humiliated in the by-election and in each test of voter opinion up to and beyond the next general election.

Con Dem Nation will see the Lib Dems wiped out in Brighton and Hove

I have been cut off in Outer Patagonia for the last 12 days.  No news, no internet, nothing.  On the way back someone told me this ludicrous joke that Nick Clegg had done a deal with Cameron to creat a Con Dem Nation, that Uncle Vince Cable was in government proposing the sale of 49% of the Royal Mail, that Norman Baker had gon into government with the Tories, and that David Miliband was standing for the leadership of the Labour Party!

Actually, I hve found the last 12 days quite depressing.  But there is one silver lining on the cloud, and I have recognised a terrible mistake I made in the run up to the election.  It all has to do with the Lib Dems. 

This blog advocated tactical voting to kep the Tories out.  In Eastbourne and Lewes I said that a Lib Dem vote was important to keep David Cameron out of Downing Street.  I was wrong.

Next election my advice to voters in Eastbourne and Lewes will be ‘Vote Tory’. I would rather have the real thing than a poor yellow imitation that lends repectability to the Tories.

Clegg is the most rightwing Lib Dem leader in several gereations, cut from the same cloth as Cameron.  It is no surprise that they make such good bed fellows.  But Norman Baker, how could you ….. ?

As for the silver lining, the Lib Dems will see their support from left of centre voters collapse.  In Brighton and Hove this is good news for the Greens who can now be even more optimistic about picking up two seats from the Lib Dems in Brunswick next May.

Vote Tactically in Brighton Pavilion, Vote for anyone to stop Leo Atreides!

I have just read the election communication of Leo Atreides, an Independent candidate in Brighton Pavilion, or ‘Brighton Pavillion’ as he has remodelled it.

In the cause of fairness, I thought you may wish to get a better understanding of his platform.

“Hear me, Leo Atreides, rally to my cause so that all shall know the love of the Citizens of the Brilliant Pavillion (sic).  We must carry the success of our noble grand parents in the quest to undo inherited injustices of the past that made slaves, beggars & scare of common folk”.  Indeed.  If I had one of those gizmos from the Leaders’ Debates, I know what my worm would be doing right now.

He calls for a “Long Clearing Settlement”, a measure that even Vince Cable is yet to adopt. He says: “The European Central Bank will engage a clearing facility with the development banks of the African Union, Middle East,South America, the Indian subcontinent, Asia and all others to fund adapting to climate change.  The facility enables Europe to provide universal €800 TOP UP PENSIONS A YEAR TO EVERY CITIZEN of the Union of 65+ years”.  (That’s his emphasis, certainly not mine).

So you get it?  Understand how it would work?  No?  Well, Leo helpfully explains: “To illustrate, a borrower writes a cheque that clears in 50 days to a lender and provides a home as security, the lender allows the borrower to withdraw the sum of the cheque immediately. The borrower pays interest every day, when the cheque clears the debt is cancelled.  Instead of cheques we use bonds, instead of a home we use social housing and we use a long clearing period of 50 days”.

Unlike other candidates whose literature records the details of who is promoting the campaign, Leo is promoting hs own.  I wonder why?

This blog has consistently advocated tactical voting, mainly against the Tories.  On this occasion, I would advocate tactical voting for anyone, Labour, Lib Dem, Green, Conservative, Ian Fyvie of the Socialist Labour Party, even UKIP, to stop the surge that could be personified by Leo Atreides.

A final thought, the 15 minutes I have spent writing this post is 15 minutes of my life I will never get back.

History beckons the Greens in Brighton Pavilion. Don’t do anything risky, work hard, and you will make your historic breakthrough

As we enter the last full week of campaigning, and with just 10 days of campaigning left, here are some views about the campaign.  The last big event is the third and final Leader’s debate on Thursday.  The theme is the economy and this is Gordon Brown’s big opportunity.  Not only is this his strongest area, it is David Cameron’s weakest, and Nick Clegg is no Vince Cable.  Expect Gordon to come out of this debate stronger than the first two, and he recorded the best improvement between debates 1 and 2.  Nationally, anything can yet happen in this unpredictable election.  Tactical voting could yet decide certain results.  It is just a shame that Clegg is becoming so hostile to Brown.  His Tory origins are beginning to come through.

Locally, also on Thursday, is the debate at the church by the Fire Station.  Nancy Platts will hope that the fire fighters will be there to support her.  Her campaign regarding the fire station has been stronger than most local issues.  Charlotte Vere must be keenly looking forward to May 7th so that she can leave Brighton for the last time and seek a safe Tory seat in outer London.  She hasn’t done badly, but her campaign has never really gelled, and it is hard to see what she can do over the next 10 days to salvage things.  Her attacks on Caroline Lucas have proved counter-productive and she should have avoided name-checks to the front-runner.  If you attack, you must land a killer blow or else you look petty and partisan.

As for Caroline Lucas, she needs to continue to motivate her supporters.  The pressure will be on her and she needs to make sure she takes some time for herself, does not come across publicly or privately, as stressed.  She needs to continue to charm and show what a formidable alternative politician she is.  Her supporters need to redouble their efforts, but her campaign manager must ensure that she enjoys the next 10 days.  It is the Greens’ campaign to lose.  I can’t see Nancy or Charlotte landing that killer blow on her campaign.

History becons.  Don’t do anything risky, work hard, and the Greens will make their historic breakthrough.

First round to Clegg. Brown did ok. Cameron came across as the spoiled school boy he is

No doubt about it, Nick Clegg had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and he surely made the most of the Great Leaders’ Debate.  He looked relaxed, assured.  He was even enjoying himself.  And he won the debate hands down.

In spite of the online polls, Gordon Brown came across as predictably competent particularly on the big issue of economics.   The contrast between himself and David Cameron showed Cameron to be shallow, indeed scared of figures.  He kept trying to change the subject.  This is the Tory’s Achilles Heel.

A straight debate on finance between Brown and Cameron would produce one decisive winner, and it wouldn’t be Cameron.  (How I wish there was to be a television economics debate between George Osborne, Alastair Darling and Vince Cable – actually that would be cruel and inhuman punishment for the Boy George …. but it would be fun!).

Cameron looked like the school sulk, clearly the less liked of the three by the others.  You could imagine Brown and Clegg finding an accommodation, and a Chancellor Cable would appeal to many.

Cameron may have polled well amongst Conservative supporters but did little to convince undecided supporters to vote for the change he is advocating. 

But there was something lacking in this debate, something that could have made a real difference.  It wasn’t a debate stifled by too many rules.  It was definitely enhanced by Nick Clegg’s presence, and the Lib Dems will receive a massive boost from this.  No, what was missing was a woman’s input. Can you imagine what a difference Caroline Lucas would have made.  Clegg would have responded positively, she would have brought out the best in Brown (as does Sarah), but it would have exposed Cameron further.  Have you noticed how he manhandles Sam Cam, holding her by the wrist and guiding her with an arm up her back?

First round to Clegg.  Brown did ok.  Cameron must learn not to come across as the spoiled school boy he is.  Actually I hope he doesn’t learn!

Lib Dems give up on Brighton Pavilion as candidate stands down

I am grateful to Green Ben Duncan for breaking the news that the Lib Dem candidate in Brighton Pavilion, Andrew Falconer, has quit the race to succeed David Lepper. The only thing that has surprised me about this move is that the Lib Dems had a candidate at all. 

I watch politics in Brighton and Hove quite closely but have to admit that I had no idea whatsoever that the Lib Dems had selected anyone.  In fact, only last week I searched the internet, including the Lib Dems Brighton and Hove site, to see who the candidate was, and even the website had not been told about Andrew Falconer’s selection.

The Lib Dems in Brighton and Hove are a joke, holding just 2 seats on the City Council.  What will they do now?  Hold a joke ‘open primary’ like the Tories? S lect a woman in order to elevate the camapign to a level playing field?   Select a charasmatic, public figure to represent them, someone like …?  Actually, apart from Uncle Vince Cable the Lib Dems don’t have anyone known outside their own front room.

I hope the Lib Dems won’t waste their time fielding a candidate, even a token paper candidate, in Brighton Pavilion. They should concentrate their efforts in constituencies such as Lewes where they have a sitting candidate in Stormin’ Norman Baker, and Eastbourne where they have the best chance of beating the Tory Nigel Waterson. The Lib Dems could encourage their supporters to vote Labour or Green in Brighton Pavilion and Labour and the Greens should reciprocate being encouraging their supporters to vote tactically for the Lib Dems in Lewes and Eastbourne.