I was campaigning yesterday and when we were done, we retreated to a local pub to unwind, debrief and, of course, discuss politics. As part of this I approached the barkeeper, who indicated that I have almost no chance of getting elected in the constituency because “there are too many rich people” and “you need to come back when the Lib Dems have some actual ideas”. OK, I thought, I can do that. So here’s a list of five major policy ideas that the Lib Dems have (note that these are not necessarily exactly in line with my personal manifesto, which is open and transparent already, but represents the motions that the party has agreed at Federal level).
1. Electoral Reform
The Lib Dems support democracy, in that we believe that all voices need representation at government level, not just the least unpopular party in a constituency. In practice, this means that it is necessary to introduce proportional representation so that everyone’s vote matters and safe seats are a thing of the past.
This has a knock-on effect that political parties will need to get much better at co-operation, negotiation and long-term views, as coalition governments will become the norm rather than an exception.
Lib Dems believe that everyone in the UK has a right to good quality healthcare free at the point of service and funded by taxes paid by everyone (see below). This includes ambulance services, which are currently atrocious, and social care, which has the potential to take all assets carefully acquired over an entire life of work and taxes.
Lib Dems believe that everyone deserves a quality education, and that as a society we are better off educating as many people as far as possible. As such, the party centrally support the abolition of university tuition fees, increases to the funding of schools in general, and the creation of an educational fund which encourages people beyond normal university age to take up some form of education to improve their overall knowledge base.
Without question, the Tories have doubled-down on the idea that immigration is a crime rather than a cry for help. The Lib Dems believe that the UK isn’t doing anywhere near enough to help asylum seekers, and on to of that the plan to ship migrants to Rwanda is frankly disgusting and economically prohibitive. Instead the Lib Dems believe that immigration is generally a positive for the country, in that immigrants often do jobs that those in the UK do not want to do, e.g. fruit-picking, cleaning, etc. Frankly these individuals should be welcomed, not demonised.
We Lib Dems acknowledge that the current tax system is designed to be unfair. Capital – or wealth – is taxed at a much lower rate than income, meaning we effectively reward those who already have their fortunes while penalising those who work to build a similar fortune. The idea of a progressive tax system is to ensure that those with the broadest shoulders carry the largest load, but our progressive system utterly falls apart for the highest levels of wealth, where often almost no tax is paid at all on the largest of estates in the form of either capital gains tax or inheritance tax.
As a first step to redressing this, the Lib Dems believe that harmonising capital gains tax with income tax is an improvement in fairness and will capture more wealth, taking some of the burden off income-earners.
As an aside, I believe this doesn’t go far enough, and I would like to see further harmonisation with inheritance tax, the abolition of most allowances and tiers, and the introduction of the universal basic income to provide the progressiveness.
Conservatives have failed miserably when it comes to house building and infrastructure required to support that. Part of the increased tax take from the ultra-wealthy above could easily be used to build more housing, which in turn would take a lot of pressure off the immigration system. As part of this, we would need to acquire some of the 30-50% of the UK currently owned by landed gentry, but this seems less of a problem if said estates are required to actually pay tax like normal individuals.
This wasn’t really much of a challenge. Frankly, the Lib Dems have a huge number of policies, and it is only by listening to the Conservatives or their client media that you could ever think that this wasn’t the case. In fact, looking at the last General Election, it is quite possible that the Conservatives had the fewest ideas with the least amount of actual analysis, resulting in a very short wishlist of ideas that had no analytical backing whatsoever (oddly reminiscent of the “true Tory Budget” announced by Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor which had to be almost wholly walked-back by Jeremy Hunt).
I imagine there are criticisms that could legitimately be levied against the Lib Dems, but lack of ideas is definitely not one of them.
So yes, next time you feel like announcing that the Lib Dems don’t have ideas, think again. We do. Lots of them.
Ian, thank you once again for your support. It means a lot.
Thank you so much for [creating this petition] and so amazingly quickly!!!
You did a brilliant job on both the blog and petition. Some of the NHS staff were even impressed with the speed at which you addressed this, and I have had varying positive comments from friends who have read your post.
Hazeena A – Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner Resident
Having worked with Ian I can say that I found him incredibly transparent and honest which I think would be rare and much needed in today political arena. He is also very clever, direct and a great communicator.
Sheena Y, former co-worker
Ian is a very smart individual, but more importantly is honest and truly cares about people.
He is an unselfish individual and would absolutely have the public’s best interests at heart.
Andy H, brother
I met Ian a few months ago for the first time and straight away I felt confortable with him and I thought: ” Ok I would trust that guy”.
Luca M, fellow speakers’ club member
Throughout the 12 years I have known Ian, he has always demonstrated to be very bright, kind and upright. I’ve seen all of these attributes in his personal life, for instance, in our sport association he volunteered as treasurer where he improved the overall system and costs as well as championing charitable giving & generous donations. He’ll definitely make a difference in a bigger role in politics.
Francisco V, fellow jū jūtsu instructor and friend
You have the moral integrity and high standards in all aspects of the requirements of your potential constituents. You will stand up to injustice and defend those deemed to have had injustice against them. You are committed to environmental change and to look after the less well off in society.
Irene H, mother
First and foremost, your personal ethos of kindness and care for others is your top qualification. That you are also highly driven with a need to be productive, and understand very complex matters such as financial systems, makes you stand out.
Graham C, fellow jū jūtsu instructor and friend
You are one of the most principled people that I know. You are committed to making changes that support the most vulnerable in our society and you don’t give up when you know you’re fighting for what’s right.
Unlike the rest of us who are disillusioned with the lack of honesty, morals, and the unfair and outdated ‘public schoolboy network’ displayed by this government, you have decided to stand up and make a difference.
Your constituents couldn’t have a better candidate.
Helen C, Aunt
Having known Ian for a number of years during which we worked closely as Financial Advisers, I am confident that he would make an excellent MP. Ian is an intelligent man who has the ability to absorb, understand and manage complex information quickly; I have, on many occasions, witnessed him do this whilst retaining the ability to explain it, in a manner which is easy to understand.
I have seen Ian display the courage of his convictions on a professional level, where he has put the clients needs before that of the company and have no doubt he would carry this attitude into public life.
Ian and I have disagreed on politics in the past, but he has always listened carefully to any position and taken time to offer a thoughtful response. If he became an MP I am sure his constituents would benefit from an effective and hard working representative.
Miles H, former co-worker