At one of the fringe events, around the LGA conference in Birmingham, I had the pleasure to listen to Andrew Neil (still no sign of Diane Abbott).
He gave an analyst’s view of where we are economically and politically. As this was not a party political meeting he pulled the tails of all three parties and even managed to stray into the thorny issue of Scotland and devolution.
Economically, he contends that world economies can cope with Greece, Ireland and Portugal getting into real trouble and defaulting but should it spread in the same way to Spain it will be another financial melt down.
He also pointed out that the budget deficit program HAD to continue. Anything else would see the interest rates for money our country borrows rise by 15%. The current plan has enable the interest rate we pay being held at a very similar level to Germany’s even though our debt is the same as Greece’s.
Politically, he feels that if the economy fails to pick up Labour will get back in and if it does not then the Conservatives will be returned with a working majority. Either way he was very clear, the Lib Dems, have had it. If the economy succeeds it will be seen as a Conservative success so the Lib Dems lose and if the economy fails Labour get back in so the Lib Dems lose.
He also suggested that the coalition will survive, albeit increasingly difficult to sustain until a year before the next election. At that point the Lib Dems will jump ship in order to try to rebuild some credibility as an independent party. Labour do not want to go to the polls early because historically they have never forced a leader to go and the current one isn’t much good at the moment. They are hoping he will up his game, after his voice has been sorted out !!! The Conservatives want to have as much time as possible to improve the economy.
Why are the Lib Dems so unpopular with everyone? It seems it has something to do with broken promises over tuition fees and others. Andrew was clear that he thought the Lib Dems only made these promises, that they latter broke, because they never expected to be in power.
Funny old thing, we seem to hear the same undeliverable nonsense from the Lib Dems in the County Council as they also never expect to be in power. Imagine them running the finances of the council, ha ha.