Sunday, June 27, 2010

Half of Liberal Democrat voters ready to defect after VAT rise.

Almost half of the Liberal Democrats supporters are ready to desert the party over it's U-turn on Vat, according to a new YouGov/Brand Democracy survey.

That doesn't surprise me at all. The letters pages of progressive newspapers have been filled with disgruntled Liberal Democrats saying that they were ripping up their membership cards ever since this budget was announced.

And Clegg's excuse for this betrayal - that the figures were much worse than the coalition presumed when taking power - simply doesn't wash with anyone with half a brain cell.

The poll results will spread unease in party ranks as MPs prepare for a Commons vote on Tuesday on George Osborne's emergency package of cuts and tax increases. They will also raise fears about the coalition's ability to survive for a full parliament as the austerity programme tests the patience of ordinary Lib Dem supporters.
The Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander, sounded like a Tory when he attempted to explain why Vat had to rise:

"The Liberal Democrat manifesto was clear that we aimed to eliminate the deficit solely through spending cuts, only considering further tax rises if necessary on grounds of fairness," Alexander writes.

"With the structural deficit £12bn larger than Labour claimed, we could have filled that black hole with more spending cuts. This would have made it impossible to protect the most essential services, so the VAT rise was unavoidable. Raising income tax would reduce the rewards for work at a time when hard work will lead the recovery."

There it is again... The implication that people on benefits are not there because they cannot find a job, they are there because they are lazy. Which is why it is preferable to cut benefits rather than to raise income tax. Cutting benefits might encourage the lazy buggers to actually go out there and get a job; that certainly appears to be the skewered Tory logic being put forward here.

Among supporters of all parties, 34% said the VAT hike had put them off voting Lib Dem. A total of 25% of Lib Dems would be less likely to vote for the party again as a result of the budget decision to freeze child benefit for three years.

There will be more uncomfortable reading for Liberal Democrats today as a new study exposes the scale of pain the emergency budget is likely to inflict on the country's poorest families.

The study by economists Howard Reed and Tim Horton says those earning under £14,200 will be hit six times harder than those at the top of the pay scale, earning more than £49,700.

I've been saying this ever since this budget was announced; the Liberal Democrats will be the ones to pay the price for this, because Tory supporters will love this budget as it plays right into their prejudices. It plays into their ridiculous belief that the unemployed are unemployed through choice, because they choose to live a life of Reilly on benefits.

Liberal Democrat voters are not that naive. And Clegg has, for reasons I will never be able to fathom, gone against everything which his base stands for.
Ed Miliband, who has accused the Lib Dems of betraying their traditions by agreeing to slash the size of the state, said: "If this poll is an indication, the Lib Dems face extinction as a progressive force. Lib Dems MPs have a chance to vote against the budget on Tuesday, but if they fail to do so and lead their party into oblivion, the Labour party must reach out to their voters, and build the progressive movement for the future."
The notion, as put forward by Osborne, that departments can expect to cut themselves back by 25% is simply potty. Many of these departments offer essential services, it is simply impossible to imagine that a reduction of 25% could be found in any major Whitehall department without chaos ensuing.

The worst thing for the Liberal Democrats is that this is the reaction merely to the idea of what this budget proposes. It will only get worse for them once this budget is implemented and we start to hear stories of the actual suffering that these barbaric cuts are bringing about in real people's lives.

If the Liberal Democrat MP's have any sense, they will vote this budget down before it does irreparable damage to their party's reputation.

Click here for full article.

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