Coffee House

Lib Dems get worked up about a vote that doesn’t matter

20 February 2013

20 February 2013

It seems I rather underestimated Labour when I said their forthcoming Opposition Day vote on the mansion tax would be boring and unlikely to attract any Lib Dem support. The Staggers reported last night that Labour sources were planning to make the vote as amenable as possible to the Lib Dems by dropping any awkward references to 10p tax rates or any other wheeze that the junior coalition partner disagrees with. Meanwhile Lib Dem sources are saying they are waiting to see the wording before ruling anything out. But the point that this is not a crunch vote that will interest the public still stands, so why are the Lib Dems even bothering to wait for the motion?

The possibility, raised by Vince Cable on Sky News at the weekend, that Lib Dem ministers might be minded to support the motion, makes the party sound rather vain: this is a debate called by the Opposition which has no binding effect on the government whatsoever. The Lib Dems will not add to their bargaining power in the Quad, which is already considerable given the number of MPs they have. It would be an extraordinary suspension of government unity to dance to a tune played not by a Lib Dem campaigning for what they believe is a fair tax but by the Labour party. The Lib Dems have already been campaigning in public for a mansion tax, with a petition to the Treasury and motions at their own conference: if they thought a vote in the House of Commons that handed a political point to their enemies would have any effect, they might have allowed one of their own backbench MPs to engineer such an opportunity before now.

Subscribe from £1 per week


One way to neutralise this would be for the whips to remember their Conservative colleagues’ success in defusing a Tory rebellion over a similar Labour motion on fuel prices in November, and table an amendment that those who passionately believe in a mansion tax could support without having to vote with Labour.

P.S. it would of course be easier for the Lib Dems if they weren’t doing battle with Labour in Eastleigh. The last thing the party needs is a Labour leaflet aimed at the ‘squeezed middle’ saying they’ll vote against a mansion tax.


More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us.

Show comments
  • philgcdr

    UKIP (UKIP.org) SURGE IN EASTLEIGH

    This morning’s Populus poll bears that out. They are in third place with 21 per cent, with the Tories second on 28 and the Lib Dems ahead with 33. But, as the indispensable UK Polling Report points out,if you don’t reallocate some of the undecides to the party they voted for last time, UKIP are doing even better. The numbers then are UKIP 25%, Tories 26% and Lib Dems 31%”

    info: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2013/02/ukip-surge-in-eastleigh/

  • andagain

    Well, this policy proposal does have one other effect: it allows Labour to point out that given a choice between taxing the mansions of millionaires, or the income of the poor, the Tories will always choose to tax the poor.

    If I were Mr Balls, I would be thinking a lot about an income tax cut to be paid for by a Land Value Tax.

  • http://twitter.com/PhilKean1 @PhilKean1

    .
    A little taste of the future after 2015

    Labour and the Liberals working together, now, as I believe they may well be when Cameron loses the 2015 General Election.

    And this cruel, unfair, self-defeating and petty-minded, so-call “Mansion Tax” proposal by Labour is not ONLY a public attempt to woo the Liberals (in the event Cameron manages to close the poll gap and prevent Miliband winning an overall majority), but it is – I believe – a foretaste of the total destruction we are likely to suffer at the hands of Lib-Lab pact, if we are so unlucky.

    Unless someone buys Cameron an instruction book on Conservatism in the next few weeks, which is unlikely, we had better hope that Miliband wins a majority and prevents the nightmare prospect of Liberals in Government with Labour.
    .

    • telemachus

      You prayer will be answered
      Virtually all the LibDem seats will turn red as well as a good few Tory ones
      We will then have joined up government

      • http://twitter.com/PhilKean1 @PhilKean1

        .
        We will know where we stand.

        Labour, though outdated, incompetent, corrupt and self-serving, will NOT inflict as much damage than if they were forced to share office with the Loony-Liberals.

        This gives a chance for a rebuilt Conservative Party – purged of Cameron’s Liberals – to repair the damage and be in a position to win an overall majority in 2020.
        .

        • telemachus

          I do hope the Tories purge the DC liberals
          Then the public will see them for what they are
          I, in truth, cannot see any future for the Tories
          DC will go down in history as the final Tory Prime Minister

          • http://twitter.com/PhilKean1 @PhilKean1

            Then we are finished as a nation.

            • telemachus

              I am very buoyant about our future playing a leading role in taking Europe forward

              • http://twitter.com/PhilKean1 @PhilKean1

                Yes, history has shown exactly how much we were listened to and how great our influence has been.

                And judging by the astronomical amount the British and European economies have declined against those of our foreign competitors, we have much decline to look forward to.
                .

              • Andy

                Taking Europe forward ?? So you want to lead Europe into another bloody war ? A typical fascist attitude, because that is where Europe is heading with its ‘single currency’.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Yes indeed, joined up Fascism.

  • Ron Todd

    If we did get the mansion tax how many public sector bosses and funny handshake types would end up in houses valued at £1999999.99 and paying nothing, while neighbours in smaller properties had £2m valuations?

  • Colonel Mustard

    This is absolutely typical behaviour of a party that has shown itself to be an opposition in government. If and when they form a coalition with New New Labour it will be interesting to see if they are as puerile and irresponsible or whether their natural affinity is with the authoritarian collectivism and oppression of national socialism.

    • Andy

      Spot on. Typical of the LibDems. Tories should never have gone into coalition with this bunch of unprincipled, dishonest and dishonourable shysters.

      • David Lindsay

        In that case, they would never have been in office again, since even this is their last ever go at it.

        • Fergus Pickering

          I am amazed t what you know, Fraser. Are conservative-minded people a dying breed or is it not a natural human emotion? Or perhaps it is only natural to think as you do.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Sorry. I meant Lindsay and I wrote Fraser. These Scotch are bloody ubiquitous. I do hope they leave.

          • David Lindsay

            I mean supporters of the Conservative Party. They, yes, are literally a dying breed.

            • http://twitter.com/PhilKean1 @PhilKean1

              Is that Liberal-left “disinformation” – or do you actually believe that?

              If you do believe it, then you disappoint me.

              My opinion is that the British people are generally Conservative-by-nature. If ONLY they had a real Conservative Party to vote for.
              .

              • David Lindsay

                It’s a fact. Beyond dispute. The heritage Tory vote from 1992 is largely and increasingly dead, and it has not been replaced. Next to no one under 40 would consider voting Tory in a million years.

                For one thing, conservative of what? If it is of anything with which most British people grew up, then the very last party for which they would vote is the party that wants to dismantle it all, and which is doing so now with wild abandon.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  You are correct. We are trying to change, dismantle and reconstruct an NHS where 1200 people died unecessarily in one health authority alone. We are trying to dismantle and reconstruct a welfare system that makes living off the efforts of hard working people without lifting a finger an alternative career for the lazy and feckless. We are also trying to dismantle and reconstruct and education system whose qualifications are currently deemed worthless by potential employers (I speak from direct experience) and which turns out students who are impractical and have no breadth of knowledge. Most of all however, we are trying to save this country from the likes of you and your “it is a fact, beyond dispute” absolutist opinions and your vile intolerance of any alternative opinion.

                • Andy

                  ‘an NHS where 1200 people died unecessarily in one health authority alone.’

                  You mean were murdered in one health authority alone. Lets see the Police and the CPS do their duty and bring some of these killers to justice.

                • http://twitter.com/PhilKean1 @PhilKean1

                  .
                  You mention – “since 1992”

                  – conveniently neglecting to mention that the Conservative Party has been run by and for the convenience of the Liberal-left since 1990.

                  If you give us Conservatism, we will come !
                  .

                • Andy

                  What he doesn’t mention is that even in its glory days (sort of 1997) the Labour Party could not muster as many votes as John Major did in 1992. They only got a landslide majority in 1997 because of the way the boundaries are drawn, which is still a major factor.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Oh yes, the people of Southern England in particular are crying out for an inexperienced, Marxist sixth-former and his economically illiterate sidekick to lead us all from the wilderness and then divest us of our hard earned income and our homes as a thank you. Furthermore, should Scotland vote for independence you are going to struggle to form a majority of any description. But keep on dreaming it is what you are good at.

        • Andy

          Without Scottish and Welsh Labour MP’s (of which there are far too many) they, the Labour Party, which you seem to adore, would never hold office again.

    • DWWolds

      It won’t be New New Labour. It will be Old Labour. Remember the 98% top rate of tax? That’s the way we would be heading.

      • David Lindsay

        No, we wouldn’t be. But that would be hugely popular in Britain now, never mind after another two years of David Cameron and George Osborne.

      • Colonel Mustard

        When I used the term “New New Labour” I meant Old Labour re-invented but distancing themselves from both New Labour and Old Labour in their usual shape-shifting charade to deceive voting idiots. Of course they are the same people – communists telling any lies to gain power.

Close
Can't find your Web ID? Click here