Thursday, 3 May 2012

Broken promises: six pledges / statements from the Liberal Democrats

The first six pledges or statements from the Lib Dems that I have selected are as follows:

1. The Heart of Cornwall Journal leaflet (2008)
“Making the streets of Cornwall safe is a top priority for local people in Cornwall … the Liberal Democrats have said that they would scrap the expensive, pointless and ineffective ID card scheme. With over £1 billion saved the Lib Dems have said they would recruit 10,000 more police officers across the country – and an extra 223 officers on the streets of Devon and Cornwall.”

MK Comment: The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government has cut funding for Devon and Cornwall Police by £47 million. Staffing numbers have already been cut by over 200 and it is anticipated that, by the end of the spending review period, there will be 700 fewer police officers within the “Devon and Cornwall” policing area. Recent figures also show that crime has risen within the force’s area.

2. Numerous leaflets
“Labour and Mebyon Kernow are out of the race and cannot win. A vote for Labour or Mebyon Kernow will let the Conservatives in through the back door.”

MK Comment: After the 2010 General Election, the Liberal Democrats joined the Conservative Party in forming a Coalition Government to deliver Conservative policies – in direct contradiction to the vast majority of its election promises and campaign statements.

3. Standing up for St Austell and Newquay (2009)
“Can we trust the Conservatives with Cornwall’s future? The Conservatives have always treated the Cornish as second-class citizens. When Cornwall last has a Conservative MP it made no difference – Cornwall got the most unfair deal we ever had … The last Conservative Government sold off Cornish council houses without replacing them and gave 50% council tax discounts to second home owners … The Conservative’s botched water privatisation left Cornwall with the highest water bills in the UK, nearly twice that of London … The Conservatives left Cornish hospitals starved of funds and many patients waiting for treatment. They can’t be trusted with our NHS … The Conservatives left Cornish school children with over £100 less per child each year for their education than the rest of the country. It is time for a fair deal for Cornish schools … Now, the Conservatives are suggesting that people in Cornwall should get less in benefit payments than people in Essex.” – Steve Gilbert, PPC for St Austell and Newquay

MK Comment: Since the formation of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition, the Liberal Democrats have supported cuts in funding for affordable housing, the reintroduction of the Right-to-Buy of council houses, the further privatisation of the NHS through the unpopular Health and Social Care Bill, cuts in capital funding for local authority run schools, etc, etc. The Coalition has also raised the spectre of regional pay and lower incomes for workers in areas such as Cornwall.

4. Local Matters election booklet (February 2010)
“It’s clear that cutting the budget too soon, as the Conservatives want to, could stop the recovery and create a deeper recession.” – Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat economic spokesperson

5. Letter from Vince Cable (2010)
“Our economy is in a fragile state. One wrong move could send Britain tumbling back into recession. Now more than ever before our country needs the right policies to get the economy moving again … I’ve seen David Cameron and George Osborne get it wrong again and again on the economy. Their plan for swingeing cuts to public services will send our economy back into recession costing more jobs and more heartache to families everywhere.”

MK Comment: As soon as the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition was formed, Vince Cable became Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. He immediately reversed the Lib Dem’s policy position and backed the deep cuts proposed by George Osborne. As a consequence, the United Kingdom has slipped back into recession – the first “double dip” recession in decades.

6. Local Matters election booklet (February 2010)
“Why the Conservatives are wrong for Cornwall … A new generation of Home Counties’ Conservatives think it is their turn to inherit the system. Like their predecessors, today’s Conservatives offer nothing for Cornwall. If you’re thinking of voting Conservative in the coming election, you don’t need a crystal ball to see what it may mean – all you need is a memory. Remember what it was like. The closed village schools, the shut cottage hospitals, the burning pyres of our cattle, the rape of our farming industry. Remember our rocketing bills – we are still paying for those. Remember the devastation of our post offices, the long queues of our unemployed, the negative equity on our houses … Cornwall can’t afford another Conservative Government. We’re still paying for the last one!” – Lord Paddy Ashdown, former Leader of the Liberal Democrats

MK Comment: Following the General Election, Lord Paddy Ashdown performed a massive u-turn and backed the decision of the Liberal Democrats to go into coalition with the Conservative Party. Leaving the meeting at which the decision was taken, he was approached by the media and asked for his view on the decision. He replied: “Hooray!”

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