One set of issues, two different ways of looking at them

Perhaps this pattern is too neat, and certainly the evidence needs marshalling. Yet there seems to be an answer too little talked about to two of the major right-wing policies that Conservatives and keen on and make Liberal Democrats nervous about being in coalition with them. An answer, moreover, that Liberal Democrats would welcome.

Start with immigration – which Conservatives look for all sorts of ways to cut.

What fuels much of it? Job creation in the UK which is seeing large number of non-UK nationals secure new jobs. (Compare the first quarters of 2011 and 2012 and employment went up by 49,000 for non-UK nationals but down by 43,000 for UK nationals.)

That in turn means that the positive impact of job creation on the welfare bill is massively curtailed. New jobs are great, but when they are also heavily filled by new entrants to the workforce, they do not do nearly as much as they might to reduce welfare costs. Cue therefore also Conservative calls for cuts to benefit levels and entitlements to get welfare budgets down.

Start however fixing things at the other end and it all looks loaded with rather more positive potential: sort the education and skills problems which see so relatively few of the new jobs filled by UK nationals and that job creation will cut welfare costs and not trigger further immigration. Welfare monies saved and immigration reduced, in a way that should make Liberal Democrats welcome rather than fear the process for it is all based on giving people more control over their lives and the skills to have more opportunities.

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