LIB DEM MANIFESTO LOWDOWN: RADICAL CLEGG'S PLEDGES


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Election overload much? Here come the Lib Dems to our rescue. Their manifesto is a welcome 57 pages, pointed and succinct. Speaking of which, they also have at least 5 glossy photos of Clegg in various poses.

Ok, we get it Nick, you the party leader.

Now the manifesto between Labour and Conservative was pretty similar on foreign policy issues (hyperlink to the two), so much so that often labelling and rhetoric doth the difference make, e.g. immigration comes under ‘Crime’ for Labour, ‘Change the economy’ for the Tories and ‘Community’ for Lib Dems. Just sayin.

However it is this idea of community which the Lib Dems have really run with, and even more so than the Conservative vision of a fastidious community army, it is a more inclusive global community to which the Lib Dems gesture. There is also much more talk of global values and world efforts than the previous two manifestos. And their emphasis on working together with Europe, which Labour and Tories calculatedly side step in their pledges, shows that their ambitions depend on regionalism for their execution.

Their green ambitions are solid, progressive, even radical—perhaps made easier when you have less chance of making power—but they are important by their very articulation. For instance, like team Labour + Tory, they also support a green investment bank, but also mention bigger loans for home energy improvements. Elsewhere, a defence review promises to look into the use armed forces in areas affected by climate change. Unsurprisingly the green credentials are a big hit over at Greenpeace et al--a tax on financial transactions and on emissions from aviation and shipping could help support developing countries’ efforts to cut emissions. And there are many more good ideas besides—see below.

We also want to hear your thoughts. How do you think the pledges will affect Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ghana?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS MANIFESTO OUTTAKES

Introduction

Britain must work together with our partners abroad if we are to have the best hope of meeting the challenges the world faces.

We believe in freedom, justice, prosperity and human rights for all and will do all we can to work towards a world where these hopes become reality.

Above all, climate change is the greatest challenge facing this generation.

Securing Britain’s future with global action

Liberal Democrats will work through the European Union to deliver a global deal on climate change.

We will transform the armed forces, meeting the nation’s obligations under the military covenant, and conducting a full defence review to ensure they are equipped for modern threats.

We will push for better global financial regulation.

We will strive for global nuclear disarmament, showing leadership by committing not to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system on a like-for-like basis.

We will meet the UK’s obligations to the developing world by committing to spending 0.7 per cent of GNI on aid.

And we will put Britain at the heart of Europe, to ensure we use our influence to achieve prosperity, security and opportunity for Britain.

tackling climate change

We will set a target for a zero-carbon Britain that doesn’t contribute at all to global warming – making the British economy carbon-neutral overall by 2050, reducing carbon emissions in the UK by over 40 per cent of 1990 levels by 2020 as a step on the way.

Liberal Democrats will:

• Begin a ten-year programme of home insulation, offering a home energy improvement package of up to £10,000 per home, paid for by the savings from lower energy bills, and make sure every new home is fully energy-efficient by improving building regulations.

• Set a target for 40 per cent of UK electricity to come from clean, non-carbon-emitting sources by 2020, rising to 100 per cent by 2050, underpinned by guaranteed price support; and ensure that at least three-quarters of this new renewable energy comes from marine and offshore sources.

• Set out a clear renewables routemap to 2050, covering grid access and investment in electricity networks, and develop new incentives to promote renewable heat.

• Transform the electricity networks into a dynamic electricity grid that can better connect and integrate new, clean energy technologies particularly through the better use of sub-sea connections, leading to the development of a European Supergrid.

• Invest up to £400 million in refurbishing shipyards in the North of England and Scotland so that they can manufacture offshore wind turbines and other marine renewable energy equipment.

• Launch an ‘Eco Cash-Back’ scheme, for one year only, which will give you £400 if you install double glazing, replace an old boiler, or install micro-generation. If you choose micro-generation, you will be able to sell the energy back to the National Grid at a profit, with a more attractive feed-in tariff than under current government plans.

• Set aside extra money for schools to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. They will pay back the loan over time from energy savings, creating a rolling fund to help insulate all public buildings.

• Invest £140 million in a bus scrappage scheme that helps bus companies to replace old polluting buses with new low-carbon ones and creates jobs.

• Block any new coal-fi red power stations – the most polluting form of power generation – unless they are accompanied by the highest level of carbon capture and storage facilities.

• Reject a new generation of nuclear power stations; based on the evidence nuclear is a far more expensive way of reducing carbon emissions than promoting energy conservation and renewable energy.

• Improve energy efficiency in the commercial and public sectors, by strengthening the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme and requiring companies and government departments to report on their energy use and set targets for reducing it. We will set a 30 per cent energy efficiency improvement target for 2020, and will commit the government to the goals of the 10:10 campaign as a first step.

leading the fight against climate change

Liberal Democrats are committed to securing a legally binding global agreement on limiting the increase in global temperatures to below 1.7 degrees Celsius. We believe that such an agreement must be based on reducing emissions overall, while equalising emissions between the developed and developing worlds – the principle of contraction and convergence. Strong and credible EU ambition, with effective UK leadership, are essential for achieving a global agreement, so that total greenhouse gas emissions peak no later than 2015. Liberal Democrats will work within Europe and internationally to give renewed urgency to global efforts to combat climate change.

We will press the EU to:

• Promote the transition to a low-carbon economy in Europe, by moving unilaterally and immediately to an EU emissions reduction target of 30 per cent by 2020, adopting new long-term targets and policies for clean energy and energy efficiency; and expand investment in energy technology innovation, within Europe and internationally.

• Boost investment in clean energy by reforming the EU emissions trading scheme – bringing in a tighter cap on emissions, auctioning as many allowances as possible, and encouraging other European countries to increase the use of reserve prices in allowance auctions.

• Engage with major emitters and deepen diplomatic co-operation between the EU and emerging economies and developing countries, provide enhanced fi nancial support for low-carbon solutions and lead international efforts to promote the transfer of technologies that will help to tackle climate change.

Work for the adoption of ‘quick win’ measures that could be initiated within the next few years such as reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

At the UN level, we will support the provision of UN Adaptation Funds for developing countries, financed from international emissions markets, such as a cap-and-trade system for international emissions from aviation and shipping.

protecting the global environment

Humans are living beyond the ability of the planet to support life; more than 60 per cent of the basic ecosystems that support life on Earth are being degraded or used unsustainably. Co-ordinated international action and effective global institutions are necessary to help create a sustainable future and improve the quality of life of all the world’s citizens.

Liberal Democrats will:

• Work through the EU to make sure that the environment is fully integrated into the objectives of international institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation.

• Work to increase the resourcing of the UN Environment Programme and improve the enforcement of international environmental treaties.

• Protect the world’s forests, not only to reduce carbon emissions but also to preserve this crucial reservoir of biodiversity. We will argue for an international target of zero net deforestation by 2020; support a new system of payments to developing countries to enable them to reduce deforestation; and adopt at EU – or, if necessary, at UK – level a new law making it illegal to import or possess timber produced illegally in foreign countries.

Work with other countries to develop an international labelling system for the environmental impact of products, helping consumers choose those with the least impact on resource use and pollution.

meeting Britain’s obligations to the developing world

Liberal Democrats will:

• Increase the UK’s aid budget to reach the UN target of 0.7 per cent of GNI by 2013 and enshrine that target in law. We will hold the G8 to its Gleneagles pledges on aid, including on the 0.7 per cent target.

• Work with other countries to establish new sources of development financing, including bringing forward urgent proposals for a financial transaction tax and a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions from aviation and shipping.

• Support reform of the global financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF.

• Ban banks from facilitating the transfer of funds obtained by corruption. We will crack down on tax havens which allow individuals and corporations to avoid paying taxes to developing countries.

• Ensure that the developing world is prepared to deal with the consequences of a changing climate. We will ensure that adaptation and mitigation measures are financed by industrialised nations on top of existing aid commitments.

• Prioritise health and education programmes which aim to promote gender equality, reduce maternal and infant mortality, and restrict the spread of major diseases like HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. We will focus effort on supplying basic needs like clean water.

• Support a global fund for social protection to help developing countries build viable welfare systems.

• Push for a renewed international effort on debt and support 100 per cent cancellation of the unpayable debts of the world’s poorest countries. We will also take measures against ‘vulture funds’ and lobby for similar action at international level.

equipping Britain’s armed forces for the 21st century

So we will ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent more effectively on equipping the forces for the tasks of the future, not old Cold War threats. We will:

• Hold an immediate Strategic Security and Defence Review (SSDR to ensure that Britain deploys its resources to face the most serious threats to its citizens’ security and well-being, including non-military challenges such as climate change strong Treasury involvement, review all major defence procurement projects through the SSDR to ensure money is being spent effectively. We will not purchase tranche 3B of the Eurofighter.

• Rule out the like-for-like replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system. At a cost of £100 billion over a lifetime it is unaffordable, and Britain’s security would be better served by alternatives. We support multilateral nuclear disarmament and will ensure that the UK plays a proactive role in the arms reduction talks starting later this year.

• Reinvigorate Franco-British and wider European defence co-operation to ensure procurement costs are kept low.

standing up for liberal values around the world

We will:
• Make the EU use its collective weight effectively in other areas of foreign policy. Britain can have a far stronger voice on relations with Russia, China, Iran and the Middle East peace process when it joins with the rest of Europe.

• Be critical supporters of the Afghanistan mission. The military surge must be accompanied by a strategy to ensure a more legitimate government, tackle corruption and win over moderate elements in the insurgency. We will continue to demand a strategy that involves other players in the region. We believe that a successful strategy will stabilise Afghanistan enough to allow British troops to come home during the next Parliament.

• Support the establishment of an International Arms Trade Treaty to limit the sale of arms to dangerous regimes and work for a full international ban on cluster munitions. We will ensure that British arms are not sold to states that would use them for internal repression. We will require arms brokers to register under a code of conduct and revoke the licences of those who break the code.

• Support action by the international community to stop Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. We would follow a diplomatic route of active engagement, and are ready to back targeted sanctions, but we oppose military action against Iran and believe those calling for such action undermine the growing reform movement in Iran.

• Hold a full judicial inquiry into allegations of British complicity in torture and state kidnapping as part of a process to restore Britain’s reputation for decency and fairness.

• Remain committed to the search for a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A sustainable solution can be reached in the context of two separate Israeli and Palestinian states, mutually recognised and internationally accepted within borders which are secure and based on the situation before the 1967 conflict. We condemn disproportionate force used by all sides. We believe Britain and the EU must put pressure on Israel and Egypt to end the blockade of Gaza.

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Comments

LDs taking climate change seriously is important. Their advocacy of Contraction and Convergence [C&C] with 'renewed urgency' in that cause is too.
State of play with C&C is here: - http://www.tangentfilms.com/AF.swf
C&C resource document is here: - http://www.tangentfilms.com/C&C29Sept.pdf

In line seven is missing the link to the other texts also maybe add a link to the libdems orginal manifesto?!?