Despite governing in the most difficult economic climate in living memory, Nick Clegg and his team have take some key decisions that will have a real impact on people’s lives.
It’s that time in the life of a government…mid way, when political commentators analyse and take stock of the success or otherwise of the incumbents occupying the seat of power in Westminster. How have we fared during this time and how will we begin to sell our message to the voters in time for May 2015?
David Laws writes an interesting article in the February 2013 issue of AD LIB entitled “half-term report’. In it, Laws argues that everything that we have done so far has been directed towards a single purpose, which is to “help each person, at each stage of life, to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations”.
He writes a compelling case for why we as Liberal Democrats should be proud of what we have managed to achieve during the past two and half years, and why we should be going out there with a more positive attitude on the doorsteps, and why we should be shouting from the rooftops. I totally agree – I find too often a sort of negative attitude with some colleagues who are almost too embarrassed to be out there campaigning. They hold on to some sort of guilt at being in government and having to make uncomfortable and difficult decisions. Well, I’m afraid that is the burden of responsibility that the electorate has bestowed upon us and if we don’t rise to the challenge in making those difficult choices, then we may not be trusted again…not very soon at any rate.
David Laws lays out quite clearly what some of those successes are:
- Expansion of support available to young families, with 15 hours of free childcare each week for every three and four year old child, and from next year, the poorest 40% of two year olds.
- The Pupil Premium has given teachers an extra £2.5 billion to support young people from the poorest backgrounds.
- Youth unemployment is now falling – we have put in place the Youth Contract, a £1 billion scheme to help young adults to get work, an apprenticeship or education.
- Making the tax system fairer for those in work by raising the income tax threshold to £9440, giving more than 20 million working people a tax break of £600, while taking two million people out.
- Implemented the biggest ever rise in the state pension, which by April this year will mean that we have increased it by £650 since coming to power in 2010.
So let’s pat ourselves on the back for a change and accept that our Parliamentary and ministerial teams have approached government in a resolute and determined manner. And that we as a party have so far successfully held our nerve in what has proved to be a very difficult and challenging two and half years. Let’s continue to work towards an equally rewarding period between now and 2015 so that we can face the electorate head on with a proud record of achievement.