Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Looking beyond the cuts.........

When the budget cuts were announced last week, no doubt many a Liberal Democrat felt a shiver running down their spine. The weekend newspaper analysis was very sobering, hostile in many areas. Have we got in to something we would have better been staying out off?

Very often, when a government is in trouble, or has a serious error in judgement, things unravel quickly over the next week or so, with reporters finding all sorts of inconsistancies and pulling arguments apart. They smell blood and know when to strike.

However, they have not got going this time, and there have been two bits of good news since the cuts were announced.

Firstly, Vince Cable announced his plans to simplify pensions in the UK, potentially giving a £140 flat rate pension to everyone in the country from some time after 2015. This is a very significant announcement, potentially being a huge benefit to women in particular, and possibly a massive 1.6 million pensioners overall. There is a lot of development needed in this yet, and early days, but many people will have sat up and noticed this and have been greatly encouraged by it. If we could deal with the deficit, we would have a lot more time and money to bring forth worthwhile reforms like this. They go hand in hand.

Secondly, we heard today that the economy grew 0.8% in the last three months, much better that expected.

How Labour protested at the good news.....!!!!

Confidence is everything. BBC Economics editor Stephanie Flanders made a really important point. It is fear that is our biggest enemy going forwards, not the Coalition government getting the balance of cuts and economic development wrong.

Fear can be fostered by politicians and newspapers saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Reading the weekend papers again today, one thing is clear, especially here in Scotland. We have to beware of talking ourselves in to an economic slowdown. No matter what the economy does over the coming months, both the Nats and Labour will be telling us how bad things are going to be.

We need to persevere, and keep a proper perspective. If we can do that, people will understand what is a stake in all this. Others might talk the country down, but you wont find us doing that.

We can see beyond the immediate issues, and will endeavor to persevere with what we know is right.

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