Statement on economics motion at Lib Dem conference

On Saturday, when the Social Liberal Forum Conference in Manchester was discussing on how we get growing again five years after the financial crash, Liberal Democrat Voice published a motion on the economy to be debated at Conference in September. While Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander’s motion contains a number of positive messages and policies, it paints an overly-optimistic picture at a time when living standards continue to fall and recovery is fragile and unbalanced.

In Manchester, we heard a very clear message from our members: that the Liberal Democrats must bring forward a coherent alternative to George Osborne’s economic strategy. Since the formation of the Coalition Government in 2010 the SLF has consistently stated that the Liberal Democrats must maintain independence as a political party, and develop policies that are distinctive, radical and progressive.

While it is indeed important to highlight Liberal Democrat achievements in government, our 2015 Manifesto must look forward and not be bound by the previous Parliament in its scope. George Osborne’s dogmatic approach to reducing the deficit distorts economic recovery by curbing the ambition of the very policies promoted in the motion to be debated in Glasgow. Hence the Lib Dems must not endorse this particular approach to fiscal policy, a compromise made for the purposes of this coalition, as Party policy for the next election. The only party going into that election defending Osbornomics should be the Conservative Party.

In the coming weeks we will be listening to Party members, as we hope the movers of the motion will too, on this important debate. It is crucial that Liberal Democrats demonstrate we are capable of independent thought – the future of our Party, not to mention the British economy, depends on it.

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7 comments on “Statement on economics motion at Lib Dem conference
  1. Robin Martlew says:

    I’m afraid we have failed to take the ‘Occupy’ Anti Capitalist movement seriously enough! I am well aware that no coherent alternative came out of it, but that should not prevent us from recognising that there are consistent flaws in it that result in unfair, inefficient and very undemocratic forces at work within the syatem! I think we are mistaken in defending it instead of recognising its systematic failures and trying to identify them and correct them. It may be that real advances have been achieved under capitalism, but it depends upon serious flaws that need identifying and correcting.

    A major flaw is that unemployment is endemic and in spite of Nick’s declaration that we wanted an ‘inclusive’ society we have mad little if ant progress towards that objective and while unemployment remains an integral, and accepted part od the system, there is no way that we can claim that it is inclusive.
    Nor logically can inclusivity be less than an equal inclusivity, We have need for some fundamental thinking here if we are serious!
    As an active Liberal since the mid 50s I am becoming to infirm to lead the sort of challenge that is needed to get us back on track. I think I know how we should be tackling this, but Will anyone help?


  2. Peter Hirst says:

    Any economic policy that does not provide for abolishing the budget deficit within the next five years is not worth the paper it is written on.

    • prateekbuch says:

      Peter, unless you can demonstrate a credible way of doing so, without damaging both crucial services and the infrastructure and innovation architecture on which the entire economy depends, I suggest that any economic policy that does claim that it can eliminate the budget deficit – however you define that – is not worth the paper it is written on…

      • Neil Craig says:

        Easy. Allow the economy to grow.
        But the LudDims are opposed to that.

        • prateekbuch says:

          Sorry Neil, care to elaborate how you’ve come to the conclusion that the Lib Dems are opposed to economic growth, not least given the SLF and the party as a whole has spent considerable effort working on policy to achieve growth? Growth that is sustainable and equitable, yes, but growth all the same. If the Coalition’s approach to date has been largely ineffective – it has – it is because Osborne’s held the trump card.

          • Neil Craig says:

            Economic liberalism is working across the world to provide an average growth rate of 4.8% (6% if you exclude the EU) so it is quite obvious that the recession here is entirely caused by the political class.

            The “LibDems” are, of course, absolutely opposed to economic liberalism.

            What “policy to achieve growth” do you claim to support. If none please acknowledge this dishonesty.

  3. Paul Hindley says:

    I do very much agree that the centre-left in Britain needs new political thinking especially around economics. And I hope that is something that the Social Liberal Forum can help provide with their narrative around redistributing power, wealth and opportunity throughout the country.

    As for tackling the budget deficit, I personally think it would be a mistake for the Lib Dems to stand on an Osbornomics platform in 2015. The Lib Dems need their own alternative. There is no point pursuing slash and burn austerity if all it does is to increase social hardship and job insecurity. The first objective of the government should be to tackle unemployment and if this means having a small government stimulus, then so be it.

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Statement on economics motion at Lib Dem conference"
  1. [...] that in mind, Social Liberal Forum have published their response to the economy motion on their website. They [...]

  2. […] Left-leaning Lib Dems are pushing for changes that offer genuine departure from the coalition’s austerity programme, abandoning current fiscal policy and creating clear water between the party and the Conservatives. Winning this vote would be a shock defeat for Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander, and a clear indication that the membership is much more inclined to a coalition with Labour post 2015. My prediction is that they won’t win it. The rank and file left leaning Lib Dem grouping has been weakened too much by haemorrhaging membership and the leaders payroll vote has already won out in other key conflicts over the NHS, tuition fees and secret courts. […]

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