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Nick Clegg: Tory benefit plan is ‘Chinese-style family policy’

12 January 2014

12 January 2014

Did Nick Clegg recite his entire Andrew Marr interview from memory? The Deputy Prime Minister managed to cram so many soundbites into his answers that anyone wondering what the months in the run-up to the 2015 generation election will be like will have sunk into a pit of misery at how dull and formulaic it is all going to be. Thank goodness for those trouble-making Tory MPs with their letters who are at least trying to make things a bit more unpredictable, eh?

As well as doling out his favourite lines such as ‘flirting with exit’ ‘the Conservatives have decided to swerve wildly in this direction and that’ and the slightly clumsy ‘we are, indeed, in it all together’, Clegg was trying very hard indeed to keep himself equidistant from both Labour and Tory positions on post-2015 book-balancing. He used the striking line ‘a sort of Chinese-style family policy’ to describe Conservative proposals to limit child benefit to just two children in a family, but wouldn’t start ruling out benefit cuts, saying ‘I will look at all proposals’.

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Here’s his quote on benefits:

‘I think it’s wholly unfair. You can’t say as the Conservatives appear to be saying at the moment that we’re all in it together, and then say the very wealthy won’t make any additional contribution to their taxes if there is a conservative government after 2015 in the ongoing effort of balancing the books. We’re not even going to ask, because they don’t appear to have even suggested this, that very wealthy people who are retired, who have benefits, TV licence, winter fuel payments and so forth, paid for by hard-pressed taxpayers, we’re not even going to ask them to make a sacrifice, the Conservatives appear to be saying only the working age poor will be asked to make additional sacrifices to fill the remaining black hole in our public finances. My view is that is unbalanced, it is unfair, by the way, it doesn’t have much economic logic either. Any mainstream economist I’ve ever listened to says you’ve got to have a mix of yes, spending reductions, the bulk of the spending reductions, yes welfare reform, I’m no slouch on welfare reform, there are lots of welfare reforms we’ve introduced. But also the contributions from those with the broadest shoulders. I’ve a very simple view, you’ve got to start at the top and work down, not start at the bottom and then work up…

‘You can if you want go through a whole shopping list of ideas. I personally for instance think that certainly when it comes to the free tv licence the winter fuel payments for very wealthy pensioners there’s a case to say that some very wealthy pensioners shouldn’t receive those benefits. The Conservatives have talked for instance… I will look at all proposals but some of the ones I’ve seen floated for instance the idea of a two-child policy… well I’m not in favour of penalising the young. I’m not in favour of a sort of Chinese-style family policy saying that the state says well it’s ok to have two children, it’s not ok to have three children, because remember this is…’

But while he is clearly wanting to suggest that a great burden fall on the wealthy and older voters rather than ‘penalising the young’, Clegg still doesn’t want to rule out further benefit cuts. In that sense, he isn’t going as left as some might think. And he had memorised lines on Labour which attacked the party’s economic credibility, just as he has done in the past:

‘I think the fundamental problem for the Labour party, I think they’ve become an effective sort of campaigning opposition party, they pick up an issue here, they pick up an issue there, they go round pointing at things saying “ooh, they’re terribly expensive” and, you know… sure, sure, I’m not, listen, it’s no wonder that opposition politics is easy when you’ve got a government which is having to do some of the most painstaking and unpopular spade work to clear up the mess left behind. Of course, I understand that. But, at the end of the day, I think until they demonstrate more clearly that they’ve understood the lessons of 2008, that what went wrong, their responsibility for it… at the moment I don’t think people trust the Labour party with their money because they so, they messed up on that in such a spectacular fashion in the past, they took their eye off the ball as far as regulating the banks is concerned, they spent money when they shouldn’t have spent money, they didn’t put money aside when they should have done, and that’s a very important point because unless you have stable, strong public finances, you don’t have the foundations upon which prosperity can be built.’

But the point is, as Andrew Marr said to Clegg, the two Coalition parties have run out of things that they agree on and there is very little space for them to go further. Which is why the next few months of Coalition politics at least look quite dispiritingly dull.


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Show comments
  • rubyduck

    Why the f is anyone talking about Clegg ?

  • Greenslime

    The levels of his odious nature are astounding. I’ve seen more backbone in a jellyfish!

  • Two Bob

    So Nick Clegg is bigoted against the Chinese….

  • John McEvoy

    Can Cleggface not string together even one coherent sentence instead of that incoherent soundbite gobbledegook?

  • Two Bob

    Nick Clegg sounds a bit racist against the Chinese….

  • Rockin Ron

    Thanks Isabel. In the normal course of election cycles, we could have expected a General Election this year and it would have suited the Conservatives. But of course in another blunder David Cameron agreed to a fixed five year term and now he is a hostage to whatever happens in the run up to May 2015. By taking away the chance of calling an election on his terms, Cameron has further limited his opportunity for gaining a majority next time. Time to call on David Davies.

    • HookesLaw

      I do not see how an election in May/June 2014 on current polling would have suited the Conservatives, and in the same year as an EU election as well.

      Labour sneered at the LDs expecting the coalition to break up in the face of economic difficulties. The 5 year parliament giving time for the economy to recover was in fact a master stroke. Leaving all that aside I do not see that the economy or politics or democracy is served by the party in power being able to manipulate election timings. its worked to the benefit of both tory and labour in the past of course.

  • manonthebus

    Nick Clegg has manoeuvred himself into a very difficult position. He has prevented the Conservatives from making the constituency boundaries more equitable, he is a strongly pro-EU leader and supports immigration. All of these have set him against public opinion and he must know that his party will suffer for it in 2015. He attempts to face in a variety of different directions and he probably realises that many people will see him as a mere opportunist after power for its own sake, rather than the country’s good. He is clearly desperate.

  • Smithersjones2013

    What is Clegg doing on the TV anyway? He should be back in Downing doing his job cleaning the toilets! We don’t pay him to gossip on TV you know!

  • Chris

    Given that on average the only people having more than two children are immigrants, I think Clegg is quite happy for the people of Britain to pay to be demographically overthrown.

  • Fergus Pickering

    How much money is there in getting the very wealthy, that’s people richer than our Nick, so earning more than £200,000 a year, to give up their bus passes (do such people ever travel by bus, and their TV licences when they are 75? Give us a round figure, Nick. Is it more or less than the bedroom tax? Er…

    • Nicholas K

      Good point, but if you want the Cleggs to be the benchmark for identifying “very wealthy” pensioners, then you need to think more in terms of £600,000 to allow for Mrs Clegg’s earmings, which subsidise little Nick’s dream world. Insofar as there are wealthy pensioners, many of them, fearful of the need to fund the end of their life in a care home that might actually care for them, have already given up far more than the value of a bus pass by keeping money on deposit at less than 1%, thus facilitating Clegg’s lavish public spending plans.

      • Fergus Pickering

        In which case the take would be even less.

  • sarahsmith232

    why won’t my comments upload

    • Wessex Man

      the robot in charge probably thinks you are insulting Hooky!

      • HookesLaw

        Surely not. No one should be free of insult. Just don’t say I don’t have a sense of humour.

        • Wessex Man

          I know you have a sense of humour as do the rest of the people on this site, you regularly have me in fits of laughter, you little old stand up you!

  • RavenRandom

    The man’s a worm he’d sell his soul for power. Spare us from professional politicians.
    I see no problem protecting old persons’ “benefits”, they’ve paid tax for 50 years, they deserve it. The Conservatives have a window here… a window that looks out on those who actually vote. Libs and lab will take your pension.

    • HookesLaw

      Cameron has already said that he will protect pensions. And what happens – Mr Nelson and his class of infants then moan on about ‘rich’ pensioners stealing your benefits and kicking you in the deficits.

      • Holly

        In other words..
        Stuff the old, and give all the benefits to the young…
        That way we won’t have to clamp down on immigration/European diktats.
        BRILLIANT!
        I bet Labour wish they had thought of that eh!
        And they expect us to vote for them to boot!
        I’m off for a lie down.

        • HookesLaw

          I am not quite following you. Cameron has said he will protect pensions for all these people who have spent a lifetime paying for them but all he gets for his trouble is to be attacked by the Spectator who side with labour.

          • Holly

            I wasn’t referring to Cameron.
            He is so off my Christmas card list at the moment, the least said about him the better.
            And he has until the Autumn to do something drastic, to
            EARN my vote.
            Hang on till 2015/17 just does not cut it.

  • Andy

    Clegg really is a moron.

    What we should do is abolish child benefit altogether. If you can’t afford to raise a child don’t have one.

    • telemachus

      Clegg is no moron
      However he is a has been
      Coalition will have deprived him of the LibDem mainstay the protest vote

      • Andy

        So he most certainly is a moron because you think he isn’t.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Yes, but he will have been in government. When was the last liberal to be in government before this lot? Lloyd George?

        • HookesLaw

          And he is going about seeing that he will cease to be in govt – whereas if he had concentrated on treating Labour as the opposition rather than his govt partners then he might have had a chance of having some proportionate influence in power.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …and we can say the same thing about your buddy Call Me Dave. Fortunately, both of these socialist muppets are going to be cashiered, in 16 months time.

    • Chris

      Look at the demographics. The only ones having more then 2 children are Muslims. What Clegg is saying is we should pay to be replaced by Muslims demographically.

      • Andy

        Yet another reason to abolish it I would have said.

      • HookesLaw

        Muslim fertility rates are falling.

        • Chris

          Westernised yes. But labour allowed vast immigration of first cousins from pakistan and vast amounts of Somalis.
          We are in serious trouble.

          • HookesLaw

            Muslim fertility rates are falling all over the world.

            • Crumbs

              So what? In the context of immigration, Muslim reproduction rates only have to be slightly higher than everybody else (and for each new generation to be recruited into the religion, which violent cults are particularly good at), for the proportion to continue to increase.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Here’s a few sound bites relating to the Libdems:

    “Prostrating themselves at the alter of ‘ever closer union'”

    “Indulging in the politics of whoredom”

    “Facing both ways simultaneously”

    “Sweeping the bottom of the sewer”

    And after the next election

    “Who?”

    • telemachus

      And like all whores the LibDems are about to be discarded to outer darkness

      • Fergus Pickering

        Oh come. Some whores do very well indeed. Why in France they move in with the President.

        • Holly

          Don’t think that’s quite right.
          I was under the impression it was all quite secretive, and those involved would not be happy if this had happened.
          Or even been suggested by the French President.

          • Fergus Pickering

            I wsn’t talking about THIS French president in particular, though he appears to be living with two women and had four children by a third.Just shows that being short, fat and bald needn’t cramp your style.

            • Holly

              HEY!!
              Can you see me!!!!????
              Only joking, I’m tall.
              See ya later.
              Not that I will see ya later ‘cos I don’t know where you are, & I’ve GOT to wash up now.

        • HookesLaw

          Don’t forget Italy.

          • Fergus Pickering

            God Heavens, how could I?

      • Smithersjones2013

        Is that where they are cuddling up to Ed Balls. I assumed it was somewhere on the dark side

  • ButcombeMan

    More than all this, what hit me were his manipulative deceits about EU exit.

    He just does not get it.

    So hated and distrusted is the EU now, by British people, that even if it did mean a slightly less rich country (and I do not accept his description or his prospectus, what about all the investment into non member Turkey?) many, probably a majority in Britain, would certainly vote to come out, if there was a vote now.

    The Leaders of all 3 main parties, MUST be forced to listen .

    We MUST all vote UKIP in the May elections.

    • Holly

      First we MUST have some sort of idea who will be the following…
      The Chancellor
      The Home Secretary
      The Education minister
      The Justice minister.

      The 2014 European elections will not have any bearing on Clegg, Miliband or Cameron’s plans for our future.
      IF, (and it’s a BIG IF) Farage is serious about getting MP’s into the UK Parliament he has to start acting like he does, by letting other’s who will play vital roles have a look in with the journo’s.

      • James Strong

        Yes. we need to become more familiar with potential UKIP ministers. Farage should be putting other spokesmen forward in important policy areas now.
        It’s not something he has avoided completely, only on Friday a UKIP representative was on Any Questions, but there is plenty of room for more exposure of other senior figures.
        I will be voting UKIP.

        • HookesLaw

          And getting a Labour government.

          • Holly

            How do you know that?
            UKIP policies are nearer core Labour voters, than Labour have shown to be, once in government.
            The Lib Dems have done worse, over the last couple of years in by elections, because of UKIP.
            Labour, along with the MSM, have overblown the potential loss to the Conservatives, while making out Labour & the Lib Dems will keep all their share of core votes….
            All complete rubbish.
            The majority of the public are sick of the three main parties, because for the last thirty-odd years they have done nothing for the British public, and offer nothing but the same,(with a few tweaks here & there) in the future.

            Over the next twelve months, the politicians, and businesses, (because of the politicians) will be putting everything off until after the General Election in 2015/17…

            What good is that to the people of this country?

            • HookesLaw

              So UKIP is left wing?

              If the majority of the people are sick of the three main parties why are their polling figures what they are? Given labour’s poll figures its preposterous to say that UKIP if they succeed in their anti tory aims will not prevent a Labour victory.

              • Holly

                Probably because they are usually asked questions about the three main parties, and their leaders….
                Is Cameron better looking on camera than Miliband…Erm…
                yeah!
                Using that yardstick to decide who to vote for is why we are where we are with our ‘choice’ of politician.

                We the voter will be the one’s who decide who we want to be in charge, and Labour have been up their own dark place before over polls…And as far as I know, the equally smug BBC, were CERTAIN of a Labour victory, and they were using exit polls.

                Just goes to show what we say, and how we ‘come to our collective senses’ while in the polling booth, are two VERY different things.

        • Holly

          And will this ‘UKIP representative’ be Chancellor, Home Secretary, or any other vital cabinet minister we have a right to know about?

          Having let one of your ‘reps’ out,(after normal folks have gone to bed) to talk on a two-bit, BBC programme, is a country mile away from telling your prospective voters who’s who, and what each ‘who’ would be doing in a UKIP government.

          Fill ya boots on polling day.

      • HookesLaw

        The point is that a wider UKIP would have the same compromises to make as any other wider mass appeal party. it would not be UKIP any more.

        • monty61

          This is a fair argument, but their starting point for co-operation and indeed their walking out point would be somewhat different to the Lib Dems.

          • HookesLaw

            No ones would be. They like the EU because they thmselves have nom prospect of power in the UK. if the Eu were to move to a more right wing view then labour would not like it.

            • Wessex Man

              erm, what on earth are you jabbering on about now?

              • Holly

                I think he means….
                IF Europe changed, from being a dictating, bureaucratic nightmare for the population of the member countries….
                And were to become, simply a ‘trading vessel’ for the member countries, and give back a LOT of Parliamentary control to the individual sovereign governments…
                Labour, the Lib Dems, and the ‘general lefty mob’, wouldn’t be such over- zealous cheerleaders for our membership to continue….
                I could be wrong though.

                • HookesLaw

                  I mean that Labour hated the EU when they saw it as right wing. But now they see it as left wing they like it.
                  Meanwhile only one party offers the prospect of a referendum on the EU and UKIP are conspiring against them.

                  The EU needs reform, and our relationship especially with the emergence of the Europzone needs changing. if we do not like what results in 2017 you can vote NO. this seems entirely sensible.

                  But no one should be under any illusion – if out of the EU we will still be obeying single market rules we will still have to deal with the EU. It is a gross lie to pretend that being out will be much different.

                  UKIP are clearly channelling themselves to be an anti immigrant anti black pro white male intolerance party.

                • Holly

                  Just what I said.

                  Farage is only playing to the UK audience so he can keep his cushy lifestyle.
                  I hope the public realise he is just using our genuine concerns about the NUMBERS of immigrants coming here, when things are tough enough for us, and he has tried to twist that into something it is not.. That we are against any immigration full stop.
                  We are not. (well I aren’t)

                  Now I am not ‘clever’, but I’m not ‘thick’ either, and I DO think about this a lot, my own take on Farage is…

                  IF Farage was really intent on forming a UK government, (because that is the only way he could do what he says he wants to do) why has he faffed about until now?
                  And even though the European elections are important to him, and the party, he still insists on being the only person from UKIP we hear or see.

                  I would like to hear some of the other people in the party, and what THEY genuinely think of Farage’s handling of things so far.
                  Do ANY UKIP bods want to form a UK government?
                  Or are they happy to go along with Farage, until he’s re-elected over there, then disappears for a few years, until he needs re-electing over there again.

                  Someone from UKIP needs to speak up, this could be their one & only opportunity to tell us who will be who, and what will ‘who’ be doing.
                  Half a dozen party political broardcasts shown over the next year, so we could get to see who, the potential UKIP Chancellor, Home Secretary, Education minister etc, would be….
                  God if Labour can offer us Balls & Miliband,with straight faces, I’m blooming sure Farage has people in mind for these positions.
                  I would vote UKIP in a heartbeat if it wasn’t for Farage.
                  He is the worse type of trickster…
                  I am not dissing UKIP, I am dissing Farage the trickster.
                  He is just like my dad!
                  Talk the birds out of the trees, my mum used to say, but a no good trickster.

                • ButcombeMan

                  You are ranting. UKIP is miles from “forming a UK government”.

                  UKIP is at the moment not much more than a pressure group for change.

                  Nevertheless it deserves support.

                • John McEvoy

                  Why do you write plain nonsense?

        • Holly

          Or,
          Farage could let other people tell us what they would offer us on other vital stuff we Brits are concerned about, like the economy, health, schools, crime & justice…

          The very absence of people who would fill these positions makes me come back to my original opinion…
          Farage does not want to ‘rock the boat’ too much, just enough to get him re-elected over there.

          If I am wrong, has anyone got a hat I could eat?

          • Wessex Man

            Holly, I suggest you visit the UKip site, UKip support has jumped enormously since Cameron promised a referendum before the last election and didn’t do it and is now only promising a referendum if-if he gets the terms that the EU have already told him he won’t in 2017 if-if he is re-elected.

            UKip intends to fight every seat at the next General Election and are already working up policies to put into the manifesto with people willing to fight in every seat.

            That is the real reason that Hooky and his fellow travellers are so worried, every time they try to smear us we pick up support.

            There is now far more to UKip than Nigel Farage, only the left wing loonies of the BBC want to view Ukip as a one man band and the loonies of the right, The Daily Mail wish to portray us as racist. Desperate times for them both.

        • Two Bob

          Getting tougher on immigration has a widespread appeal across the electorate.

          77% want more done on immigration. 60% SUBSTANTIALLY more.

          • HookesLaw

            I want lower immigration. But when the number of jobs available have increased by something like 2 million in recent years and we have more people in employment than ever – BUT we still see millions unemployed and parked on other benefits then the big problem we face is not economic migration its getting our own people into a job seeking mindset.
            Immigrants are not taking ‘our’ jobs. ‘Our’ workers are refusing to take them.

            There is one political party in parliament wanting to cut benefits and wanting to cut employment and voting UKIP will not help it retain power. Failing to support the Conservative party is just cutting off your nose to spite your face.

            • Andy

              Which means we need yet more radical welfare reform.

              • HookesLaw

                And we need to support the government – the tory end of the govt – to get it.
                The point of this article is to show that Clegg and the LDs oppose it. It would take a brave man to suggest that we could get benefit reform with either a Lab or a LibLab government.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …or from their soulmates, your socialist Camerluvvie buds.

            • rubyduck

              Carry on slagging off our people and I’ll be voting UKIP in 2015 as well as 2014.

      • ButcombeMan

        Not for 2014 and without a sitting MP. A vote for UKIP in the May elections is not about forming a UK government. It is about something far more important. It is about our basic freedoms and democracy. It is about expressing our national will. The Cleggs and the Mandlesons want to prevent that. The Cameroons want to procrastinate.

        It is vital they all feel the will of the British people.

        • Holly

          I might be missing something here, but haven’t we had MEP’s for a while now, and going by the situation we are in, I don’t think ANY of them, have ANY intention of biting the hand that feeds them….A very hearty sum by the way.
          This is their ‘stepping stone’ to the life-long cushy lifestyle.

          So to me, electing UK politicians, to something I disagree with, while they enjoy the perks at our expense, seems a bit self defeating.
          I am just going to poke myself in the eye with my pencil…
          The above line is another example of doing something stupid, that I don’t agree with…
          So which, if any, stupid decision do you reckon I should do first?

          • ButcombeMan

            You ARE missing something.

            We are going to have MEPs if we vote UKIP, or if we do not.

            Better I suggest, that we have UKIP MEPs who will rock the boat than we have another batch of Clegg type mindless, & rootless clones, the “Europeople”.

            One would not start from here but we have to.

            Europe needs leadership from several countries that will challenge the machine.

            The UK needs once again, to lead the resistance in Europe. This time to the corrupt, undemocratic nonsense that is the coming European superstate.

            UKIP can take votes from everywhere in May.

            • Holly

              I agree that we are going to have MEP’s regardless of who we vote for, but, what good is ‘rocking the boat’ when the bods governing other member states….
              A- Are not UKIP
              B- Do not take any notice of the ‘boat rocking’ (same as now, even when the ‘boat’ nearly sank, and is still miles away from dry land))
              C- Vote against UKIP.

              Now, IF the UK have more MEP’s than any other member state, and they ALL voted the same way, maybe, we might, see some changes.

              I dislike Europe as it is, and our politicians have dragged us to the position we are in, but I do not remember, until very recently,(weeks) much kicking and screaming from the politicians, the public, or any genuine attempt by Farage to sell UKIP as a plausible UK government, which by the way, he is going to have to form, if he is to impliment any of the policies he professes to offer us.
              He can change nothing over here, from over there. And without the backing of a government back here in our Parliament, he is the ‘Euro’ of politics.
              All we have had from Farage/UKIP, is….erm…..Farage!
              How many years have the party been going…..And after everything that both Labour and the Conservatives have signed us up to since our last referendum…..Simply not good enough I’m afraid.

              • ButcombeMan

                So resistance is futile then?

                I am sick to death of LibLabCon who will not listen to the will of the people, who lie and cheat, who promise a referendum then retreat.

                I have had enough.

                I am not going to take it any more, especially from slime like Mandelson and Clegg.

                I am not prepared for my great grandchildren to live in a European dictatorship, a massive superstate that does not listen to its people.

                • Wessex Man

                  Well said, the Germans now have anti-EU party as do most of the Northern European Countries, as for what can we do, well UKip MEPs supported the ban of deep sea trawling off the Scottish coast and the Conservatives voted to maintain it, source Stuart Agnew UKip MEP Agricultural and Fisheries Spokesman.

                  Thers a great deal more to UKip than Nigel Farage but the BBC would rather you didn’t notice that!

    • Donafugata

      Fortunately Martin Schulz, President of the Euopean Parliament has today decreed that any moderation to our immigration policy is non-negotiable.

      Great, now we know and Camoron must desist from stringing us along with empty promises.

      So, when are we having the referendum, next week?

      • HookesLaw

        And the authority of Schulz is??

        • Wessex Man

          Your depths have got deeper since I was last on these pages Hooky.

          Donafugata has already said that he is the President of the European Parliament, still carry on you remind everyone reading your comments to vote UKip in May.

          • HookesLaw

            What power does he have?

            • the viceroy’s gin

              It’s amazing the propaganda you spew. And you don’t seem to mind being a target of abuse for it. Amazing.

      • Two Bob

        “Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament”. Never heard of him before, never seen his name on any ballot papers.

        • Wessex Man

          how true, doesn’t mean though that he and the Junta rule everything that spews out and becomes law in this country with Call me Dave and Clegg over licking his toecaps!

        • Donafugata

          Too bad, two bob.

    • monsieur_charlie

      Voting UKIP is all about giving the other party (LibLabCon) a good kicking.

      • Holly

        Voting is about putting a collection of people into OUR Parliament.
        It is not about giving the other party a good kicking!

        UKIP is about one bloke, Farage, and he wants YOUR vote so he can stay exactly where he is.
        He has copped lucky that the mood in the country has changed, and we are now, for some unknown reason, being allowed to air our long held concerns about the number of people coming here, and what they are allowed once they get here.
        We have always been angry at all the powers given away to Europe, but on all past occasions we have been smeared and shouted down.
        Why is it now that UKIP are the threat?
        Could there be an election looming?
        Farage & UKIP have been around for years, and for years we have had the same concerns, it is only because of the European elections, that he has wheeled himself out. Which does my head in, because most of us can not stand it, yet we are all clamouring to vote for MEP’s to sit over there, yet when it comes to our own elections we sit on our backsides.
        Nothing can get sorted out over here, from over there.
        I could be wrong though, and Farage/UKIP will do very well in the European elections, get loads of MEP’s and we could be having our referendum by the end of this year.
        It is all a load of bull, to make us think we have ‘had a say’.

  • James Strong

    Did Clegg recite the interview ‘from memory’?
    Well, you journalists encourage that kind of thing when you laud politicians for speaking ‘without notes’.Some journalists seem to quiver in ecstasy when that happens. All it means when the politician speaks ‘without notes’ is that the politician has learnt the speech by heart.
    That really is not the best use of a politician’s time.

    • Alison Piearcey

      Given all the other rubbish they get up to, I think it’s an excellent use of their time.

      • HookesLaw

        The jibe about ‘from memory’ was nothing to do with speaking without notes. It was analogous to Clegg blathering away on autopilot without in fact thinking.
        The reality is that politicians can extemporise and can make cogent speeches from brief notes. Its part of the job and not a memory exercise.

        • James Strong

          It is indeed part of the job to make a speech without notes when a pol. visits a factory, speaks to a constituency meeting or similar.
          But that’s not what the journos cream themselves over.
          They go all a-quiver when someone does it on stage at a party conference, with this relatively recent feature of walking around the stage. On those occasions it most certainly is an exercise in memorisation. And it is a waste of time.

          • HookesLaw

            if yon want to moan at the idiot press who want to retain the ability to smear and be above the law then you are pushing at an open door.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …yes, we know what you socialists always like to do about a free press.

      • James Strong

        One of the best comments in recent months. I did, as the youngsters say, lol.

  • James Strong

    There is nothing at all ‘Chinese’ about limiting child benefit to 2 children.
    There is no suggestion at all that people will be limited to 2 children, only that the taxpayer will not continue to give money for the children.
    You want children fair enough; you pay for them, don’t expect or force me to pay for them.
    I know politicians have to spin their ideas, but Clegg is going into the area of saying something that he fully knows to be untrue.
    Of course, he is not the only politician to do that.

    • Colonel Mustard

      It’s part of the dishonesty. Clegg talks about wealthy pensioners not needing benefits but he doesn’t talk about wealthy parents not needing child benefit or the simple matter of choice that no-one is forced to have more than two children. It is all about the approval and disapproval of coded groups.

      So a simple proposition that child benefit is number limited is turned into a grotesque accusation that the Conservatives are somehow proscribing families from having more than two children.

      No-one challenges them on this because the media are signed up to the approval/disapproval coding racket and whilst this country is obsessed to the point of hysteria with children, ‘wealthy pensioners’ as a stereotyped group are increasingly being resented. The precise criteria for ‘wealthy’ or ‘poor’ is ambiguous too so it is impossible to compare an asset rich but cash poor pensioner couple to a younger working couple both earning good salaries but having their lifestyle choice children subsidised by the taxpayer.

      • monty61

        Wealthy parents (and some not so wealthy) have already had child benefit removed.

      • telemachus

        He doth protest too much about perceived injustice to pensioners
        Their time is gone
        Their danger lies in their conservative mentality and rejection of the radical egalitarian agenda

        • Colonel Mustard

          Remora. Ageism.

          You too will become old. Your time will be gone too.

          I hope that your karma catches up with you soon.

    • HookesLaw

      You are right it is a wild hysterical comparison from Clegg. it emphasises thast when poush comes to shove the LDs cannot hide ot run away from their nessential wetness and wishy washyness.

      • telemachus

        Hooky
        I am pleased to see that you have revived the wishy washy liberal epithet
        They are about to return to the Grimond Rump which was when this was coined

        • HookesLaw

          Well you are at least right there. The LD or ‘Liberal’ vote has traditionally been about 6 – 8 %.

          • Two Bob

            About half the support UKIP enjoy…..

            • HookesLaw

              The LDs got their support at general elections.
              But the point you do not like to own up to is that if the left consolidate their support and the right splits then the left will get in. In case you had not noticed it is Europhile left and the Tories are promising a referendum in 2017. Supporting UKIP will merely let in Labour after the tories have done all the hard work on the economy.
              All UKIP are doing is crudely playing a race card.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Well, lad, if you don’t want a “split”, then perhaps you socialist Camerluvvies shouldn’t split the UKIP vote.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …nor can their soulmates, you Cameroons.

    • telemachus

      In truth the benefits argument is a red herring
      As Isabel said he is after sound bites
      However he is a spent force, devalued in the public mind and there will be no “agree with Nick” this time round
      This time round we will have UKIP splitting the vote in Tory marginals such that a Labour majority is guaranteed and the LibDems will be a true irrelevance

      • Wessex Man

        Oh dear, are you so blind you won’t see that in the Labour heartlands UKip are rapidly catching up and nowhere is now safe for the ‘established’ Lab/Tory/Lib/Dum congealed numpties now in charge.

        • telemachus

          UKIP are to peak at the forthcoming European Elections
          After that they will be on the wane by May 2014 such that the only effect will be the split in vote of the Tory marginals
          *
          Take off your rose tinted glasses
          They will crack

          • Wessex Man

            I rather think it’s you who is wearing blinkers.

          • Colonel Mustard

            “Take off your rose tinted glasses”

            Some sweet irony there.

          • Fergus Pickering

            How do you KNOW all this? Is it in the entrails of Milibum’s daddy?

      • Andy

        A Labour majority is guaranteed because you have gerrymandered the electoral system. If the constituencies were of equal size you wouldn’t get a majority. And why should Scottish MPs vote on English affairs ? The Tories have a majority of 61 seats in England.

        • Holly

          Labour thought this about Scotland, and Bradford West..

          There is nothing guaranteed about the 2015 General Election, for any of the three main political parties.

          Many on the left see the Tory-led policies as driving the country into the ‘abyss’.
          All we have to do is to decide whether we want a Labour ‘abyss’, or a Conservative ‘abyss’.
          Or indeed neither.

          • Alexsandr

            and look at thursdays by-elections in haverhill and bury st edmunds. UKIP could well get MP’s in the East.

            • Holly

              I did, and they could.

    • sarahsmith232

      Miliband has jumped on this bandwagon as well. Just goes to show how far away from any understanding of personal responsibility the Left has got. Think that everyone will look to them all, our Great Leaders, when making decisions on how many. if our Great Leaders state Yes, you may have more than 2, we will be only too willing to comply with their wishes.
      Most on the Left are suffering from some degree of a messiah complex, another e.g of it, if you ask me.

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