Thursday, August 14, 2008

Quiet Lib Dems and outraged Labour

I see the newspapers are still banging on about "The Tories favourite think tank" Policy Exchange and a report they published which said certain northern cities were beyond repair and that everyone should leave for the South.

Cameron condemned the report as "nonsense" whilst the Labour MP Vera Baird said it was "exactly the sort of vindictive, anti-northern thinking that led to the widespread industrial decline of swathes of the north under Thatche.. Cameron can distance himself from this all he wants but he needs to explain why his friends have no faith in the North."

What's interesting is the complete silence of the Liberal Democrats on the report. It couldn't possibly be because the lead author of the report, Tim Leiung is a registered contributer on Lib Dem Voice.

He also served on the Academic Advisory Panel for Gordon Brown's Barker Review of Land Use Planning, whilst his co-author, Policy Exchanges Chirf Economist, Oliver Hartwich worked for the Lib Dem peer, Lord Oakshott before going to Policy Exchange.

So, in short we have a couple of academics who wrote a report who are well and truly linked to political parties other the Conservative Party, but yet the reporting and the blogging leads one to think otherwise.

I really enjoyed this piece in the Guardian though. It comes complete with quotes from Louise Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside such as
This is a counsel of despair and ignorance, harking back to the Tory days of Margaret Thatcher when Norman Lamont told people in the north to pack their bags and leave.
You'd think, given she lives and represents the place, she'd be attacking the local Council wouldn't you? After all, it was two Lib Dems that wrote the report, and Liverpool council is controlled by the Lib Dems.

Hey ho though. What can you do?

Update: Oliver Hartwich has said he has never been a Lib Dem member but has worked for Lord Oakshott.


Alex said...

It was Tebbit not Lamont, not that Labour MPs ever let the facts get in the way.

Anonymous said...

And precisely where was Prescott building houses? Yep, the South East. Where is most of the urban decay under NuLab? Yep, the North.

CROWN said...

was it Lamont? - I thought it was Tebbit

Anonymous said...

Rare for me to agree with Dave, but the last thing we want is Liverpudlians coming south. Hell, build a wall round Merseyside to keep them in until we can find a way to detach the city completely and float it out into the Irish Sea. The 'infamous' Spectator article hit the nail right on the head.

Oh, and before anyone says anything about anti-Northern southerners, I'm a Lancastrian born and bred.

Anonymous said...

It's always worth checking as well as LDV for comment on any particular subject - there's plenty on the Cities Unlimited fall-out there. Including an interesting theory that PX engineered the row with the Tories in order to get the Charity Commission off their backs...

LDV, remember, is a volunteer-run site, unlike ConHome which, I believe, has a permanent paid member of staff attached to it. We blog when we have time in between life and work (and our own private blogs) and anyone who interprets any "silence" as meaning anything in particular will potentially end up misleading themselves.

I did wonder about posting something on this subject today - but, frankly, I haven't had time to read the paper, and I'd see that as an essential prerequisite to making any informed comment about it.

Anonymous said...

Labour MP Vera Baird said it was "exactly the sort of vindictive, anti-northern thinking that led to the widespread industrial decline of swathes of the north under Thatche.. Cameron can distance himself from this all he wants but he needs to explain why his friends have no faith in the North."

You can practically feel the flecks of spittle as she rants away, can't you?

dizzy said...

The other week LDV announced its blogging awards and the email address to send nominations to was a Cowley Street address.

Dave said...

That bastard Prescott OK's the building of 50,000 homes between Croby Kettering & Wellingborough.
Now I get it.
He's going to move Hull to Northants!

Anonymous said...

What I find interesting is that noone has actually looked into the figures and facts to work out if any of it is true in a practical way?

We already know that most companies have a HQ down south while the hard work is done, up north. Surely, this report didn't just take the regional GDP and use that to point at the funny people with?

It will be interesting to see if the figures hold up after a few years of 'credit crunch' focused recession?

I still prefer to live 20 miles from Liverpool earning the UK national wage and only being a few miles from countryside than the southern alternative.

Twice the national wage, 3 hours from a decent, traffic free environment, and a quality of life based on shopping is not my idea of a better life!

Anonymous said...

So it was a LibDem conspiracy? Well, not quite. I have never been a member of any party. Yes, I worked for Matthew Oakeshott, but that does not make me a LibDem (just like working for Policy Exchange does not make you a Tory). I would consider myself a classical liberal.

We asked Tim Leunig to write the report for us. We knew that he was a LibDem but why would it have mattered? We needed a good academic, not a campaigner.

So you can say what you like about our report, but one thing it was not: a party political exercise.

dizzy said...

I do hope you're not suggesting that I was saying the report was a conspiracy by Lib Dems. I'm merely pointing out that the review of the report by the press as being all "tory, tory, tory" doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

The press do not differentiate between PX and the Party. But we are an independent think tank. And that's why neither the Conservative Party nor the Liberal Democrats need to be embarrassed by our report. They can agree with it or they can disagree with it - but I would hope that they read it first before they condemn it.