21 Sept 2009


The Lib Dems are no radicals
Nick Clegg's latest lurch to the right, calling for "bold and savage" cuts in government spending (Britain needs 'savage' cuts, says Clegg, 19 September) is clear evidence that he is never going to "go radical", much as Polly Toynbee might wish otherwise (A Lib Dem moment? Could be. But only if they go radical, 19 September).

As long-held Lib Dem promises on scrapping tuition fees and maintaining universal child benefit go up in smoke, it's no wonder that David Cameron can proclaim in the Observer that there's "barely a cigarette paper" between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives.

The unedifying spectacle of all three main parties vying to "out-cut" one another, comparing the size and sharpness of their respective butcher's knives, scandalously deflects attention from the real issue. Britain's debt as a proportion of national income isn't particularly high by historical standards. At a time when the number of jobless people is nearing 2.5 million, including nearly a million 16- to 24-year-olds, the subject which should be dominating the headlines is unemployment, not the growing frenzy over the government deficit.

The Green party is the only party advocating a different way forward. Massive investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy would create hundreds of thousands of tax-generating jobs, and address the climate crisis. Tax increases for the very wealthy, plus a crackdown on bonuses and chief executive pay, would raise billions, and start to address the shameful increase in inequality under Labour. Scrapping Trident and ID cards would save billions more.

The Lib Dems have forfeited any right to claim to be a party of radicalism. Voters wishing to cast a positive vote for a radical alternative now have one clear choice – the Green party.

Caroline Lucas MEP

Leader, Green party

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