Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rewriting the LibDem case

The other day, I laid into how the LibDems were planning to present their messages for the forthcoming general election. I think there are some decent ideas and principles that have gone into crafting the LibDems' policies, but their new campaign slogan, logo and "Four steps to a fairer Britain" just don't do anything for me. (Of course their presentation might do wonders for everyone else; who knows?)

So I thought I'd have a go at re-crafting the messages, using their website as a source. Inevitably the way I've crafted this represents what I see as strongest in their case. I might try the same with Labour and Conservatives too. We'll see.

LibDem Steps Revisited

What are the key problems facing the country?
  1. the economy
  2. the threat from climate change
  3. social problems
  4. bad bureaucracy stifles schools, hospitals, the police and post offices

1. What are the problems with the economy?

People are struggling with spiralling debts, food prices and energy bills. The country is in debt, growth is stalling, inflation is rising, and jobs are at risk.

What are you going to do about the economy?
The LibDem plan is to cut wasteful government spending such as ID cards and bloated IT projects. We will get the banks lending sensibly, close unfair tax loopholes, and make polluters pay. And we will give the economy a boost by cutting taxes: no-one will pay income tax on the first £10,000 they earn.

2. What is the threat from climate change?

Science is telling us that unless politicians act firmly now, the planet is going to become a much more unpleasant place to live. Severe storms and flooding will become much more common. Food and water will become much more expensive. And human health will suffer. Many politicians pay lip service to the need for action. Others stick their heads in the sand. We need to act now to avoid costly climate change.

What are you going to do about climate change?

The LibDems have ideas to create hundreds of thousands of green jobs. For example, we plan to upgrade disused shipyards to make offshore wind turbines, creating 57,000 jobs. Only a green road to prosperity can safeguard our future. The LibDems will also work with the EU and others to make sure action is coordinated and doesn't disadvantage Britain.

3. What social problems need to be tackled?

Four million children are living in poverty. One in five young people are out of work. Millions of pensioners struggle in the winter to keep warm. There are more laws than ever before, but the fear of crime remains. Levels of inequality are worse than under the Tories. This is a disgrace, and is storing up social problems for us all.

What are you going to do about these social problems?

The LibDems will give a fair start for all our children, by giving schools £2,500 extra for each pupil from a low income family. We will create paid internships to give young people a start on a career ladder. We will cut the costs of pursuing further and higher education. And we will make it easier for pensioners to get the help they need.

4. How is bad bureaucracy stifling schools, hospitals, the police and post offices?

A lot of money has been invested in health and education in recent years but too much of that has been wasted on central bureaucracy. Doctors and nurses are forced to spend time trying to meet government targets rather than caring for patients. Government ministers tinker with how schools are run rather than solving the problem of why so many children are leaving school without the knowledge and skills to be successful. The police are forced to spend too much time form-filling. Vital post offices are closed without communities having a say.

What are you going to do about bad bureaucracy?
The challenge is getting better public services with less money. As liberals, we want to free public services from Whitehall's dead hand. Let local people have a say in how the NHS is run and stop hospital closures. Let communities decide on post offices and police priorities. Put power back in the hands of the people.