Thursday, February 17, 2011

Liverpool Labour Party "No to coalition cuts"

I missed the photo as I was at the pink and black triangle wreath laying at St John's Gardens, but what a great photograph and what a great banner! And I really enjoyed the march and the speeches at this Joint TUC rally last month.


Gliberal said...

Perhaps me and my Lib Dem friends could stand on the steps on St. George's Hall with a big banner saying Liverpool Lib Dems "NO to Deficit Deniers".

Louise Baldock said...

Now that really is "Glib", Gliberal.

You could of course try doing that, although I dont know how many of your Liberal Democrat friends would want to get behind such a banner, given some of the things the leader of the official opposition in Liverpool has had to say about the cuts?

And then we come to that horrible phrase "Deficit Deniers", with its unfortunate echoes of "Holocaust deniers".

I have a mortgage on my home, it has 10 years left to run (thankfully). It is a big debt, the biggest I have, the biggest I will ever have in fact, and for most people, like me, their mortgage remains their biggest debt.

It is at least twice the size of my current annual income. Probably I am more fortunate than most as I understand many people owe four times their income, but then I have already spent 15 years paying it off.

Now the interesting thing is that my lenders are happy for me to spend 25 years paying off this big debt, and they are happy that I have 10 years left.

They have not asked me to pay the whole lot in the next couple of years, just so that they can balance their books, handily in time for the next AGM (for that read General election).

Despite adverts on the TV to the contrary, they are not in a rush for me to fund "bubbly for the next shareholders meeting".

There is no doubt there is a huge national debt. Most of it caused by propping up the banks so that when you and I next went to the cashpoint, the machine did not spit out a note saying "Sorry your money has disappeared into a black hole caused by some greedy bankers who played fast and loose with your money, sucker".

However, nowhere does it say about national debt "It must be settled just handily before the next General Election so that the Tories and LibDems can give out nice big fat tax cuts so that we can guarantee more votes next time round and secure that second term".

The Coalition might have decided to spread the repayments over ten years or twenty years or any period of time that they chose.

They have chosen five years, with the bulk of the repayments being made in the first two years.

If my mortgage lenders did that to me, I would have to sell my house, or take in a lodger, or do even more about advancing my income earning potential.

But they dont do that because they dont think it is realistic.

This country is not able to repay the national debt in one Parliamentary cycle, just as I would not be able to pay my mortgage off in that same period.

And we will all be brought to our knees by this tactic.

But hey, what am I complaining about? We are all in this together, right?

It's either the politics of naivety, or the politics of cynicism, you choose.

Gliberal said...

Well I guess my point is, there seems to be an awful lot from Labour in regards to "unfair cuts" "too fast, too soon" etc etc. Curiously enough, I just finished reading Mandelson's book 'The Third Man'. No literary masterpiece by any means, and he paints himself more as sinned against than sinner - have you read it? In it, he did reveal some campaign stratergies of your party from 2010 concerning said cuts and above phrases. If you want a pick of naivety or cynicism I suggest you pick up the tome. Alternately I would suggest Cllr. Anderson's interview to the BBC during Sunday's protest.

In the spirit of your open account of your own financial burden, i'll share with you my own. My debts relates to my collosal student loan I willingly allowed myself to be burdened with in my efforts to further my education. It is currently the same amount any undergrads attending the top Uni's will face once the current laws come into effect. Get down to the nitty gritty and I realised this debt would have been much more managable under the new laws. And dig deeper into the fine print of any of these cuts and as a rule of thumb it is generally the same case - tough, but designed to be managable. And fair. You can thank the Coalition terms for that.

I'm quite enviable of you having a mortgage. I honestly don't think I shall be in a position to buy my own house. I'm a single guy on a good wage and thats pretty sad. Do I think the Labour govts management of the economy contributed to this? Yes, in short. I'm sure you and I could debate that one for hours but you'll know the arguments for and against that point as well as me.

Relating to this, i'm glad you can bring yourself to admit there is a "huge national debt". Unfortunately your reasoning for it is totally off the mark. That debt was there long before the propping up of the banks by Mrrs Brown and Darling. That is, I am afraid, undisputed. Your govt inherited a healthy exchequer, and Britain still had the security of the gold mark before it was sold off in the first term by the then Chancellor. The Third Man himself makes some observations on this that was rather illuminating.

Whilst you and your fellow activists gleefully paint a dire sitution with your banners and trigger happy outrage, you are playing right to the naive, quite cynically for electoral gain.

You are absolutely the last people to lecture the electorate on financial judgements.

I'll leave you with this though: Would my lib dem friends join me behind the suggested banner? Lets just say those who make cynical judgements behind closed doors about keeping the current group leader of the Liverpool party in play, or with future ambitions themselves, would be absent. Oh Louise, May will be SO much fun politically in Liverpool :-)

Louise Baldock said...

Hi Glib, I thought I might quote from Richard Kemp here

"The local government settlement will take a major hit in this coming financial year and further, smaller, cuts in subsequent years. This front-loading means councils do not have the lead-in time necessary to re-engineer services on a lower-cost base and ease staff cuts without forced, expensive redundancies. Inexplicably, local government is also being denied the opportunity to spread the cost of reorganisation and downsizing over several years — at no cost to central government — which just makes even bigger in-year cuts inevitable The Secretary of State’s role should be to facilitate necessary savings while promoting the advance of localism and the Big Society. Unfortunately, Eric Pickles has felt it better to shake a stick at councillors than work with us."

As to your personal financial situation, it is very difficult for any young people or single people to get onto the home ownership ladder, and as a single woman I am lucky that I bought a house before the prices went up so fast. You have my sympathy. It is for those reasons that I support affordable housing projects so that where new houses are built using any kind of public funds, they must include a variety of methods of purchasing, including rent/purchse shares or rent to buy, and also am a member of a housing association that provides good quality housing for rent for those who are not able to or do not wish to buy somewhere.

As to your final comment, trying to read between the lines, it would seem that you are suggesting that the LibDems might not be entirely united in Liverpool about the approach to a shared budget.

I cannot say I am surprised to hear this as the splits in the local party have been clear since the last two local leadership challenges. There has also been an increase in the number of split votes in the council chamber. I await your fun times with interest!