The Lib-Dems seem to have adopted a new tactic in their campaign to not get elected or become the official opposition in 2010: announce radical, vote-losing policies that no-one in their right mind would support.
At yesterday’s conference session, their leader, Nick Doodah – can never remember his name – declared that anyone with a property costing more than £1m would be taxed annually at 0.5% of the value. This is so that the “low paid” can be removed from the income tax system completely, although in reality the money will go to those on benefits and other forms of income support. Wonderful – so someone who has paid attention at school and worked hard to buy their dream house, now has to subsidise the workshy. All very socialist; all very certain to consign the Lib-Dems to another period in the wilderness.
At the same conference, Treasury spokesman, Vince Cable, announced that the much-needed and even much more delayed CrossRail project would get the axe if the Lib-Dems get into power. This is the Vince Cable who is held up as an economic guru, for his ability to voice the most loudly what most of us knew about the New Labour boom – it was a sham built on unrealistic house prices and over extension of debt. Cable was supposedly a “chief economist” for Shell, which probably translates to Assistant Clerk to Head of Logistics Supplies (Paper Clips) London (West).
What this country desperately needs after nearly 13 years of public sector growth in personnel and salaries is for spending on core infrastructure projects. It does not need backward-thinking 3rd rate politicians to spout on about re-distributing non-existent wealth or threaten to cancel upgrades to the creaking transport system.
However, none of this is likely, unless by some freak of politics Labour win a fourth term in government and steal the Lib-Dem’s ideas, as they tend to do with anything that is short-term and populist. What Cable and his boss appear to have forgotten is that they have as much chance of being in No’s 11 and 10 Downing Street as Laurel and Hardy. Although at least the latter pair were entertaining.