Politics like life involves compromises

I must admit I never expected a coalition, but at the end of the day it is probably the least worst alternative.

We could not have done nothing. There is a country to be run.

Supporting a Conservative minority government would have been possible but it would have been fragile, most Liberal Democrat policies would not have been enacted and there was the consdierable risk of another election within 12 months.

A coalition with Labour would have been ideal for many supporters but was never practical due to the parliamentary numbers and lack of support from the Labour party itself. A coalition with the Conservatives, although difficult should lead to many Liberal Democrat policies introduced (such as the £10k income tax threshold) and Conservative policies curbed (marriage tax allowance and inheritance tax threshold increase). All the details have still to be announced but this is what coalition government gives you compromise, hopefully of the important and best things for the country.

It’s also why voting for what you want, can make a difference. Although the electoral system is still against the Liberal Democrats, we can point to the 23% of people who voted for our policies when we were negotiating with the Conservatives, it gave us weight to get what our supporters wanted.

I don’t know what the road ahead will be like but at the very least we can say Liberal Democrat policies will have been delivered, we have experience of government and that coalition government can work (hopefully…).

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A fair tax system – income tax threshold increased to £10k

Nick Clegg on Monday outlined Liberal Democrat reform of the tax system to increase the income tax threshold to £10k a year, meaning that 3.6m people will be taken out of taxation and a tax cut of up to £700 a year for most working people and £100 for pensioners.

The proposals will make a huge difference to many people, especially those on low incomes, our proposals will make a bigger difference to ordinary hardworking people than the Conservative scrapping of the National Insurance increase and their marriage tax allowance. The Conservative proposals would give c. £300 back a year, or £450 a year per couple, compared to £1,400 per couple under the Liberal Democrats (married or not).

The change to the tax system will help to remove the poverty trap (which can be removed further in the long run with a local income tax to replace the council tax) encouraging people to work, as well as a great assistance to young people first starting work. The £10k income tax threshold has been welcomed by Lord Digby Jones and Norman Tebbit, not usual Lib Dem supporters, but policies which get cross party support is always good. 

The policy will cost £17bn a year, but will be funded by a mansion tax on properties over £2m, aviation tax on flights not per passenger, changes to the pensions tax relief for higher rate tax payers, aligning Capital Gains Tax with Income Tax to reduce the rich from tax avoidance and anti-avoidance measures.