Saturday, 20 June 2009

Nick Clegg makes tough choices.

At the one day conference at the London School Of Economics earlier this year, Nick Clegg was proposing that we make radical cuts in public spending. He informed us that we will have to make "tough choices". Soon afterwards Steve Richards told us that politicians often talk about tough choices, without themselves making the tough choice of telling us what they are.
Since then those choices have been made. The first is that the party is no longer committed to a policy of "We-will-cut-current-public-spending-by-£20billion-and-reassign-some-of-it-to-our-existing-priorities-and-anything-left-will-be-tax-cuts", and now the party is no longer committed to replacing Trident. In other words there is not much scope for cuts, but we can cut Trident.
Both are good moves, and what I have argued for on this blog.
I can now look forward to the next general election with the same enthusiasm as I had at the last general election. Last time it was opposition to the Iraq war that made it worthwhile. This time it is opposition to Trident. If only we had not wasted all those years up until now on the wrong track. Now we have just 9 months to get our new message across.


Barrie Wood said...

It would be great if the 'Trident re-positioning' was due to conviction.Instead I fear financial implications have swayed Mr, Clegg.

I'm interested to hear of the 'hard choices' Clegg feels we have to make. His last sally into the economic sphere was less than impressive, as you indicate. That he thought the state pension was around £30pw was hardly impressive either.

GoodLiberal said...

It's good campaigning but bad policy. We have a disarmament conference under NPT next year, and others have a real interest in trying to get us to disarm. The Russians, for example, see Britain and the US's nukes as a composite capability which they have to balance against. If we give something up, we're likely to get the Russians to give up something in return.

The sensible course for a government would be to say that renewing Trident is under active consideration and then scrap it after putting it on the table at the talks in 2010.

Doesn't make for a neat Focus leaflet, though.

Left Lib said...

In answer to Barrie, I think you have a point but I still believe the latest development is a good sign. It was really Ming Campbell who pushed the previous pro-nuclear policy, and with him out of the way the party is now free to find its moral imperitive.

Left Lib said...

In answer to Good Liberal, I really think that the economic pressure on the US and Russia to strike a deal will far outweigh any potential British contribution to the NPT. In any case the idea that the UK has to make a special effort to buy weapons unilaterally in order to reduce them multilaterally seems to be rather far-fetched even if the economic conditions were more benign.