"privatisation of parts of the roads network) may yet turn out to be very non-Lib Dem." Liberals don't believe in public ownership over private ownership. The merits of public or private ownerships effects on consumers and the economy is what is important. Liberals believe in a market economy, not a centrally planned economy. What we should be asking ourself is, would a policy lead to private individuals gaining Economy Rent or lead to speculative gains, as is the case with Help to buy (help the asset rich). i.e. Are costs being socialised while profits are privatised. For example Land Tax has long been a principle of Liberal economics and that does not advocate either bringing land into public ownership or keeping it in public ownership, it advocates Taxing wealth created by the community not the individual. If I believe assets should be owned by the state I would join the Labour party.
Alongside today’s launch by Nick Clegg and David Cameron of the government’s Mid-Term Review (Slimmed Down Edition) was the launch of six new policies from the government. Or rather the outlines of six new policies, as the details will each get their own day in the media sun in the next few weeks.
The surprising bonus for the Liberal Democrats in all this? That the six policies have rather a strong Liberal Democrat feel:
We will support working families with their childcare costs.
We will build more houses and make the dream of home ownership a reality for more people. We will set out plans for long-term investment in Britain’s transport infrastructure.
We will set out two big reforms to provide dignity in old age: an improved state pension that rewards saving, and more help with the costs of long-term care.
And as we take these steps to reshape the British state for the 21st century, we will take further steps to limit its scope and extend our freedoms.
That is a pretty decent half-dozen from a Liberal Democrat perspective. All are policy areas Lib Dems are likely to be happy with action being taken on, though of course in some the methods chosen (e.g. privatisation of parts of the roads network) may yet turn out to be very non-Lib Dem. However, the absence of a headline ‘Tory-only’ policy is welcome – usually there’s a mix of those in a government package – and the news of Freedom Bill 2 is a welcome bonus.
Here’s (nearly all of) the debate I had with Iain Dale over on Sky today about all this:
To finish off, here’s the full Mid Term Review document.