Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Clegg: It’s not smaller government I believe in

It must be party conference season, because it's getting hard to keep up with all of the lunacy.

Here's the latest from Cleggy,
People who avoid and evade paying their taxes will no longer get away with it either. We all read the headlines about benefit fraud. We all agree it’s wrong when people help themselves to benefits they shouldn’t get. But when the richest people in the country dodge their tax bills that is just as bad. Both come down to stealing money from your neighbours
So the message is loud and clear: Just as the public sector must be made affordable, the banks must be held to account. And tax avoiders and evaders must have nowhere to hide.
Oh dear. First, tax evaders are breaking the law, whereas tax avoiders are not, so it's more than a little scary when Clegg suggests that tax avoiders must have nowhere to hide. Second, it's sickening to hear Clegg suggest that it is somehow immoral to want to hold your own money back from Leviathan. By avoiding tax you're not "stealing money from your neighbours", you're stopping them from stealing from you (or rather, stopping the government from stealing it on their behalf, and wasting large portions of it along the way).

After all, says Clegg, "It’s not smaller government I believe in ... Labour rattled on about decentralisation, but they held the purse strings tight. We are different; we are liberal"
I want to make something crystal clear about the coming Spending Review. It is not an ideological attack on the size of the state. There is one reason and one reason only for these cuts: As Liam Byrne said in that infamous letter: there isn’t any money left.
Not much wiggle room there. It's exactly the opposite of what Mark Littlewood has been saying.

There are two possibilities here, neither of them good:
  1. Clegg is lying to the Lib Dem activists at his party conference
  2. Clegg really does believe that the state shouldn't get any smaller
It will be very interesting to see how the rhetoric compares at the Conservative conference. Remember these posters?

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