Sunday, November 23, 2008

Learning from the Lib Dems

Now that the Green Shift sadly seems to be a thing of the past, I think looking at this:;show example of Green Liberalism is worth doing.

The Lib Dems under current leader Nick Clegg have taken a refreshing turn towards economic liberalism, away from trying to copy "Old Labour" policy ideas. This over-arching economic liberalism is reflected in the "Green Tax Switch", which while in terms of actual policy, is quite similar to the Green Shift, but is presented quite differently. My personal favourite parts:

It's about using taxes in a new way to change behaviour, not to simply raise money for the Government.

This is why the Liberal Democrats have argued for fairer and green taxation, but not for higher taxes overall.

Green taxes will continue to yield substantial sums to the exchequer if they do their work properly, and there must be a clear understanding that this revenue is handed back to the taxpayer in tax cuts on activities that we are not trying to penalise such as work effort.

The plan is presented as one of a tax cut with environmental benefits, not vice versa. I think in selling the Green Shift that is an area in which we allowed the Conservatives to paint us into. Any future policies which build Green Liberalism have to be based, first and foremost, around helping individual Canadians save money and helping build a free-market economy for the 21st century. Note that when it comes to actual implementation, the very first thing mentioned is:

We will give everyone a green income tax cut of 4p giving people more of their hard-earned money in their pocket.

Not a lecture on how great the environment is, not how Canadians have to look into their hearts and social conscience, but telling people you will have more money in your pocket. The plan is presented as part of the overall package of less government intrusion in your affairs, responsible spending, and building towards tomorrow. We Green Liberals in Canada can learn much from our liberal cousins in the UK

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