Commenting on Nick Clegg’s decision to appoint Danny Alexander as Lib Dem Treasury Spokesman for the General Election Campaign, SLF Chair Naomi Smith writes:
“Vince Cable has a long and proven track record of sound judgement on our economy, whereas having been resident in the Tory-led Treasury for the past five years, Danny Alexander is much more closely associated with some of the Coalition’s least popular policies including the austerity agenda.
“At a time when we most need to be pointing out the differences between us and the Tories, in the run-up to the most important General Election in a generation, Nick Clegg has appointed to the Treasury brief the Lib Dem most associated with working with the Tories on economic matters.
“Voters believe Vince when he speaks about the economy because he is authentic - he has consistently called for a deviation from Osbornomics and for greater capital spending. He understood the need to rebalance the economy, away from over-dependence on the casino capitalism of the banking sector. Danny on the other hand, has been a Treasury champion, and notably, he strongly defended Osborne's homes for vote’s initiative in the form of the Help to Buy policy.
“Liberal Democrat activists know that Danny won't be as adept, or as credible, in taking on Osborne during debates. By choosing Danny over Vince, we have just given another gift to the Tories on the economy.”
“The Social Liberal Forum has always encouraged the Party leadership to champion Liberal Democrat, rather than Coalition government approaches to the economy. In 2013, the SLF successfully amended Nick Clegg’s economy motion to ensure that post 2015, the Party’s economic policy will be based on shifting the burden of fiscal consolidation towards fairer taxes, especially on wealth and land. We will continue to push for economic policies which ensure no one is left behind.
“We will continue to represent the vast majority of party members, 60% of whom identify as Social Liberals , even when the party’s leadership fails to do so”.