Saturday, 24 May 2014

What might be achieved over the next year...if...

...we drop the pilot overboard in a timely fashion..


And by timely I mean in the next few weeks. We could muse upon who a new Leader might be but whoever it is I feel it is important that that person NOT become Deputy Prime Minister and that the party takes its distance from the Tories both on policy and style and also physically by NOT having our Leader sit cheek-by-jowl in the House with the PM and his cohorts. We need some distance and their is absolutely NO way that that distance can be made by having constant photo opportunities with the PM no matter much that may have massaged the ego of the outgoing incumbent. Neither is it desirable that our Leader address and justify Tory policy as has been done at DPMQ time. 

We will NOT justify policy of anything but our own ministries and we will not justify policy retrospectively if it was not made by LibDem incumbents. 

Joint appearances should be kept to a minimum, if not totally eliminated.

There should be a portfolio reshuffle with us gaining, controlling and reshaping ALL those ministries that our ours in our image. 

Ministries should NOT be shared with Tories except where they are thematically focused sub-ministries, such as rail transport. 

The great failing of the initial Coalition negotiation was that the party regarded the allocation of Ministries in the same way as a (bad) Monopoly player regards the board. We ended up (as the eventual losers in Monopoly do) with a big collection of low-rent properties and lost our shirts every time we went round and landed on Mayfair and Park Lane. No more Old Kent Road for us...

It is not too late to remedy this. The Tory incumbents at Environment and Local Government are the runts of the Tory pack and have shown themselves to be incompetent (the floods) and inadequate over the very long term. This is what we should demand.


Portfolios:

Housing & Development

Local Government and Communities

Environment

Energy and Climate Change

Business, Innovation & Skills

Culture

Pensions

Rail Transport

Scotland

Treasury (the junior minister)

Wales (the junior ministry)

The Admiralty (just have to give a plug for my personal interest) 

What? No education?! No Europe?! No foreign aid (sorry International Development)?! No Home Office?! Yes, you read correctly... 

Allocation:

Housing & Development - Vince Cable - shrinking the upper threshold for Right to Buy to $350K. Initiating a construction surge in one and two bedroom units to defang the Bedroom Tax issue. 

Local Government - Tim Farron - to reactivate the base

Environment - Norman Baker

Energy and Climate Change - Ed Davey, despite his tendency to hobnob with the oppressors of the energy consumer. The new focus should be on shutting out and disenfranchising rogue operators. No rises above inflation. Encourage local government to enter energy distribution.

Business, Innovation & Skills - Jeremy Browne!

Culture, Media & Sport - Nick Clegg

Pensions - Steve Webb

Rail Transport - Anyone but Baroness Kramer (the deaf-mute and invisible current "representative" of the LibDems at Transport)

Scotland - Alistair Carmichael

Treasury (the junior minister) - Danny Alexander

Wales (the junior ministry) - Baroness Randerson

The Admiralty (just have to give a plug for my personal interest) - suggestions?

The rest of the junior ministers are pretty invisible and ineffective where they are located. It would be better if they were the junior ministers at "our" ministries. 

Hoped for Outcome

With economic recovery in train the biggest threat to recovery is the ridiculous and irresponsible over-heating of the property market being fanned by the Right to Buy program. Vince Cable can expand his dialogue on this, shrinking the upper limit and staking out the LibDem claim to be economically responsible. Unemployment is on a downtrend and real incomes are upticking. This will bring credit to us if we create a cogent policy dialectic   and this is where Vince Cable would win hands down over the current leader. At the same time we need to stop looking like ciphers or glove-puppets of the Tories. The current leader is unable to effectively make that dichotomy because essentially he is "cut from the same cloth".   

Basically the goal is to get support back to 16% by May 2015, maintain all our current seats (losing 2-4 to Labour maybe) and taking 5-10 from the Tories.