After Just 100 Days, The Penny Is Well and Truly Dropping on How Hard Lib Dems Fought in Government

LIb Dem leader Tim Farron in Kendal, Lake District.  Picture by Jack Hill/The Times.

So writes Tim Farron, complete with American Over-Capitalisation, For the Huffington Post Today (and don’t think too closely about how you end up rolling back tides which were previously blocked…):

Heartbreakingly, week after week, we’ve seen the Tories roll back the tides on a whole raft of policies that we blocked in government.

  • Protection of housing benefit for those under 21 – gone;
  • Protection of child tax credits for larger families – gone;
  • Protection for the benefit rates for people with disabilities and health problems that make it particularly difficult for them to enter the job market – gone.
  • And, tragically, we know the Tories’ ideological, unnecessary welfare cuts will hit the poorest families in the country – mostly hardworking families.

These changes are deeply unwise, deeply unfair and horribly divisive.

On the environment, David Cameron is now free to be every bit as good as his word, and, with a massive downgrade of the agenda that the Lib Dems championed in coalition, he absolutely has. So, we have already seen ten key environmental policies, developed by consensus over many years, watered down or completely scrapped.

  • Support for onshore windfarms – gone;
  • The green deal aimed at improving energy efficiency in people’s homes – gone;
  • Protection for fracking in precious wildlife areas – gone;
  • And the decade long plan to make all new homes “zero carbon” by 2016 – suddenly, inexplicably, gone.

With the UK’s housing stock already responsible for almost a third of our greenhouse gas emissions, the last policy puts it on course to rise to more than half by 2050. It’s hard to see the upside. Sadly, we have seen this bull-headed, unscientific approach spreading through government departments like wildfire.

So, we have a home secretary committed to bringing back the snooper’s charter that we blocked in government. And that is despite the findings of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation that deemed its plans to retain everyone’s internet browsing logs – a move unprecedented across the Western world – as “undemocratic, unnecessary and in the long run intolerable”.

We have a prime minister intent on scrapping the Human Rights Act, despite little information on what it would be replaced with, other than “a common sense approach” which to many of us, including large numbers in his own party, sounds frankly terrifying.

We have a Chancellor who wants to cull £20billion from Whitehall budgets with no clear vision for what public services will remain after departments have had their budgets slashed by up to 40%. And a health secretary who has silently – and without consultation or parliamentary account -kicked the cap on social care costs due to come in next year into the long grass.

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