And lo, Nick Clegg talks about fairness in a time of austerity

In my earlier post about Nick Clegg’s interview on the Andrew Marr show I speculated:

I suspect Nick Clegg went into the interview wanting to talk in some detail about his vision of fairness in a time of economic austerity as each time he half got going on such a topic it sounded like there were well prepared answers starting to come out, but each time also Andrew Marr quickly cut him off.

And lo, what came into my email inbox a few hours later? An email from Nick Clegg to party members setting out exactly that case.

Here it is:

Nearly two years ago, Liberal Democrats chose to do the right thing in the national interest at a time of crisis. We put tribalism aside and the good of the country first.

We didn’t come into politics to make cuts, but with the economy on the verge of collapse we knew we had to take the difficult decisions necessary to get the deficit under control and the country back on track.

And how did the Labour Party react?

They attacked us viciously. They refused to apologise or take responsibility for the mess they created. They opposed every cut and they indulged in cynical scaremongering.

In Sheffield, David Blunkett warned of ‘post-Soviet’ meltdown with people fending for themselves. It was the politics of fear and it was a disgrace.

But now, after nearly two years of opposing every cut, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls say they won’t reverse a single one. Yet they still say they oppose them.


They have gone from being in the wrong place to being all over the place. From denial to disarray.

Many of our excellent councillors lost their seats last May because of the vicious attacks of their Labour opponents. We must not let them get away with it again.

Liberal Democrats approach this May’s elections with a track record of proud, progressive achievements in Government:

  • Lifting a million of the poorest workers out of tax and cutting taxes, not for the rich but for 23m basic rate taxpayers;
  • Making the well off pay their share by raising Capital Gains Tax, a new £10bn bank levy and keeping the 50p top rate of tax;
  • The most generous rise in the state pension for a generation;
  • A revolution in the way we support the children who need help the most when it matters the most, in the crucial early years and throughout their school lives;
  • More apprenticeships than Britain has ever had before;
  • And from this April, the Youth Contract, an ambitious £1bn programme to make sure every 18 to 24-year-old has the opportunity to earn or learn.

Clearing up Labour’s mess is not easy, but right. Let’s take the fight to them as May approaches.

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