Ming the witless has delivered his party conference speech. I’m not impressed.
(1) “A quarter of sixteen year olds drop out of education with no qualifications.”
False. The correct figure is 1 in 20, not 1 in 4.
(2) “The gap between rich and poor is wider than at any point under Margaret Thatcher.”
Vague, as he doesn’t define his terms. But the ONS gives us some harder figures, which tell a different story. Table 27 here looks at the disposable income ratios of the 10th decile to the 90th, and of the 25th to the 75th.
In both 2003/04 and 2004/05, the gap between the 10th and the 90th was smaller than in any year since 1987; the gap between the 25th and the 75th was smaller than in any year since 1986. (I grow increasingly bored of refuting people who say that there’s been no redistribution and no fall in poverty under Labour. Luckily, I have a massive boredom threshold.)
(3) “…there will be no peace in the Middle East while the Palestinians are subject to daily humiliation, settlements are expanded on the West Bank and the Palestinian people have no viable homeland they can call their own. As long as this continues, Israel’s legal and moral right to live in peace behind secure and recognised borders will be undermined.”
This is either stupidly worded or a despicable apology for terrorism. Certainly, Israeli treatment of Palestinians and occupation of land is unjust. And, as a matter of observable fact, it undermines Israel’s practical ability to “live in peace behind secure and recognised borders”. But there can be no acceptable grounds for denying that the people of Israel have an inalienable “legal and moral right” to do so. I hope for the Lib Dems’ sake that it was stupidly worded.