The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement


9:54 am - August 4th 2012

by Jon Stone    


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The Liberal Democrats might feel a little bit hard-done-by at the news David Cameron is ditching House of Lords reform to placate his backbenchers.

Here’s a quick reminder of what was dangled in front of the party to dupe them into giving the Tories a majority.

All quotes are from the Coalition Agreement.

1) No top-down reorganisations of the NHS

“We will stop the top-down reorganisations of the NHS that have got in the way of patient care.” What actually happened: The biggest NHS overhaul in the service’s history.

2) Extending Freedom of information

“We will extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.” What actually happened: The Government ignored existing FOI law for political reasons: a move the Information Commissioner slammed as “unjustified”. FOI law has not been extended.

3) Directly elected Primary Care Trusts

“We will ensure that there is a stronger voice for patients locally through directly elected individuals on the boards of their local primary care trust (PCT). The remainder of the PCT’s board will be appointed by the relevant local authority or authorities.” What actually happened: PCTs were abolished as part of Andrew Lansley’s NHS reforms, announced two months after the coalition agreement was published.

4) Equalising capital gains and income taxes

“We will seek ways of taxing non-business capital gains at a rate similar or close to those applied to income, with generous exemptions for entrepreneurial business activity.” What actually happened: CGT’s top rate is 28%, while income tax’s top rate is 45%.

5) Restore the right to protest

“We will restore rights to non-violent protest … We will introduce safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.” What actually happened: No anti-protest laws have been repealed, and there have been an increasing number of high profile mass arrests of peaceful demonstrators: last week more than 130 cyclists were mass-arrested for holding an event near the Olympic Park, while at a protest last year 145 protesters holding a peaceful sit-in were mass-arrested and harassed by the Crown Prosecution Service for a year.

6) No arms exports to repressive regimes

“We will support defence jobs through exports that are used for legitimate purposes, not internal repression.” What actually happened: At the height of the Arab Spring David Cameron went on a tour of middle eastern dictatorships, bringing with him representatives from international arms companies – who specifically hawked anti-crowd weaponry to autocrats.

7) Value for money from workfare contracts

“We will realign contracts with welfare to work service providers to reflect more closely the results they achieve in getting people back into work.” What actually happened: The Government’s new work programme paid it’s largest workfare contractor A4E £45m to secure 4000 unemployed people permanent roles, with a 3.5% success rate.

8) Limit the number of special advisers

“We will put a limit on the number of special advisers.” What actually happened: The number of government special advisers climbed to its all-time high, and the salary bill has soared.

9) Safeguard academic integrity in university research funding

“We will ensure that public funding mechanisms for university research safeguard its academic integrity.” What actually happened: The Government blackmailed the Arts and Humanities Research Council into introducing the Tories’ “Big Society” as a major research theme in universities.

10) House of Lords reform

“We will establish a committee to bring forward proposals for a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation.” What actually happened: Conservative MPs simply refused to vote for the agreed proposals, and the Government is backing down.

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About the author
Jon is an occasional contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He blogs at The Red Rock
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Westminster

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Reader comments


“Safeguard academic integrity in university research funding”

The Coalition government have cut the funding of Science and Engineering PhD students by one third making universities more dependent upon funding from companies.

2. mike cobleyl

Look on the neoliberal bright side – top-to-bottom outsource of NHS functions to private sector (with new proposal to abandon the fit-and-proper criteria), resulting in massive outflow of revenue streams to the private sector. Job Done!

“The Government’s new work programme paid it’s largest workfare contractor A4E £45m to secure 4000 unemployed people permanent roles, with a 3.5% success rate.” So, the maths: If they had been 100% successful, they would have procured 4000 jobs, taking a little over £10,000 for each one. (And, not being a highly paid civil servant, I don’t understand how this could be perceived as good value) However they only had a 3.5% success rate, so they only procured 140 jobs. That’s a little over £320,000 each. How can such highly paid people be so fucking useless?

So the lying Tories lied. Hardly Earth shattering news…

No. 3 is the one that is most telling. It’s specific and seems progressive. But the policy that negated no.1 (and no.3) was all ready to go in the background.
If GPs consortiums were the way to go on commissioning, why say anything about PCTs? What would be their point? Does anyone with good historical knowledge know of any similar deceit in the recent history of parliament that matches this?
I mean if Tories want to privatise the NHS can’t they just say so and be honest with the public? If they had done that in 2010 the 36-37% they polled would not have occurred… I can’t actually get my head around such a monumental lie.

6. jeffrey davies

Well and truelie shafted jeff3

I mean if Tories want to privatise the NHS can’t they just say so and be honest with the public? If they had done that in 2010 the 36-37% they polled would not have occurred.

Well, yes, exactly. Which is why they lied. It seems to be an increasing problem with representative democracy, that a growing number of ‘elected representatives’ obtained their positions by falsely claiming that a vote for them is a vote for progressive action X when in actual fact it’s secretly a vote for slaying all firstborn children under the age of 5 for laughs, or something similar along those lines.
Given that people vote based on the information available to them, if that information is false, the candidate who provided it outright lying, then how can those elected on the back of such falsehoods claim to have real democratic legitimacy?
I often wonder how soon it will be when many other people will suddenly wake up one day and be like the animals from animal farm and looking from ‘democratically elected leaders’ to ‘petty autocratic tyrants’ and not be able to tell any difference whatsoever.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  50. Dave Holloway

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  52. William Hewstone

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  108. Vaughan Gething

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  109. Robert Thompson

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  110. Robert Thompson

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  111. Jon Hind

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  112. Margo Milne

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  113. Petersmam

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  115. Peter Walker

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  116. Marian Jervis

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  117. Nafeesa Shaik

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  118. Martin Warne

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  119. Adam Bond

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  120. AlanW_PoliticsUK

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  121. Glen Pike

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  122. noelleannik

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  123. Steph

    10 most absurd (broken) promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/y6vZjcAR No top-down reorganisation of the NHS!

  124. Jon H

    10 most absurd (broken) promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/y6vZjcAR No top-down reorganisation of the NHS!

  125. Brnch Sec

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  126. Peter Berry

    Ten Coalition Agreement promises the Government immediately did the exact opposite on http://t.co/nsffMjPz

  127. Gemma Tombs

    The utter failures of the Coalition Agreement – http://t.co/DtRQ9rUr

  128. Robbie Court

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  129. Tom Fischer

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  130. SRSH Laur

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  131. Steve Chambers

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  132. adamoxford

    Lest we forget – a breakdown of the 10 coalition pledges and what actually happened… http://t.co/PxwnGBmj

  133. Matthew Watson

    Lest we forget – a breakdown of the 10 coalition pledges and what actually happened… http://t.co/PxwnGBmj

  134. kevin leonard

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  135. Tim Holmes

    10 explicit promises in the Coalition Agreement that the Govt has completely betrayed: http://t.co/zbn5687s A pretty devastating run-down.

  136. Andrew Griffiths

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  137. House Of Twits

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  138. keith ferguson

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  139. keith ferguson

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  140. paul and lynn hewitt

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  141. Lizzie

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  142. Brian Kellett

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  143. Kristy Barker

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  144. ZeenusGadd

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  145. le Dom

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  146. mandy heales

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  147. Ian 'Cat' Vincent

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  148. Pam Lynch

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  149. Penny

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  150. Jack

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  151. Warwick

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  152. Mary

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  153. Juliet Michaelson

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement http://t.co/hWhfWFsb – excellent piece by @joncstone

  154. Randy Bumgardner

    In which the scope of the coalition's absolute lies are laid bare. (via @pocketfulofgeek) http://t.co/kinKS360

  155. meshigener hobson

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  156. Lem

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  157. Ath Athanasius

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  158. Dawn Varley

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  159. Richard Angell

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  160. Manisha R

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  161. Hemellabour

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  162. Pete Bowyer

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement http://t.co/A9z6q35X

  163. Legal Aware

    @Big__Kev Kevin, the Coalition Agreement broke down a long time ago? e.g. http://t.co/cx9vk2lq ht @sunny_hundal

  164. navi

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  165. navi

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  166. suerose

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/9hBfHEMb via @libcon

  167. suerose

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/9hBfHEMb via @libcon

  168. Robin Green

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement http://t.co/A9z6q35X

  169. Robin Green

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement http://t.co/A9z6q35X

  170. Chris Fowler

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/MmslMuin via @libcon

  171. Chris Fowler

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/MmslMuin via @libcon

  172. Arun Mehta

    Jone Stone: "The Ten Most Absurd Promises In The Coalition Agreement." http://t.co/tDdFlxhQ via @libcon

  173. Arun Mehta

    Jone Stone: "The Ten Most Absurd Promises In The Coalition Agreement." http://t.co/tDdFlxhQ via @libcon

  174. Jim

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  175. Jim

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  176. Conor McQuillan

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ML9K9rVZ #fb

  177. Conor McQuillan

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ML9K9rVZ #fb

  178. Gerry

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement http://t.co/hWhfWFsb – excellent piece by @joncstone

  179. Alex Braithwaite

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/bs48dlwa via @libcon

  180. Diana MH

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/bs48dlwa via @libcon

  181. Rory I. Sinclair

    Brilliant read: The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement. Exposes so many lies. http://t.co/U5BoZjiR

  182. Jackie Rabie

    Not worth the paper it's written on. Why the coalition agreement may as well be a work of fiction – http://t.co/BkyNrZTQ

  183. House Of Twits

    RT @MitchellAT Not worth the paper it's written on. Why the coalition agreement may as well be a work of fiction – http://t.co/9fFgGoOS

  184. Richard Brooks

    RT @MitchellAT Not worth the paper it's written on. Why the coalition agreement may as well be a work of fiction – http://t.co/9fFgGoOS

  185. Chris Penberthy

    RT @chris_coltrane Brilliant read: The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement. Exposes so many lies. http://t.co/aGUa2x74

  186. West Country Radio

    RT @chris_coltrane Brilliant read: The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement. Exposes so many lies. http://t.co/aGUa2x74

  187. punkscience

    Brilliant read: The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement. Exposes so many lies. http://t.co/U5BoZjiR

  188. Matthew John White

    Eesh.. Some nice bedtime reading. The ten most absurd promises the Coalition Agreement. http://t.co/t3Q5E4aV It's time isn't it.

  189. Steve Anderson

    Brilliant read: The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement. Exposes so many lies. http://t.co/U5BoZjiR

  190. Zahra Alijah

    RT @chris_coltrane Brilliant read: The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement. Exposes so many lies. http://t.co/aGUa2x74

  191. Nathan Grrr Johnson

    @udohulk RT @sunny_hundal The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement http://t.co/lt2DJJOw – excellent piece by @joncstone

  192. Sam Dodsworth

    Brilliant read: The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement. Exposes so many lies. http://t.co/U5BoZjiR

  193. Rob Earls

    Brilliant read: The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement. Exposes so many lies. http://t.co/U5BoZjiR

  194. Jon Stone

    @IainDale To be fair to Clegg, the Tories have broken quite a lot of coalition agreement themselves. Hardly sancrosact: http://t.co/Aclfoj72

  195. Chris McCray

    @phermn @JulieJuliejune e.g. 5) Restore the right to protest: http://t.co/UbUvQyOI So you have to meet first. Erm, where?

  196. SWL « Blog Archive « You Took That Well

    […] unparalelled power of the […]

  197. Chris Nelson

    @TheFarm2012 We're all together now. The coalition aren't even in it together. http://t.co/X32pEwPQ

  198. Chris Walsh

    RT @chris_coltrane Brilliant read: The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement. Exposes so many lies. http://t.co/F3CEyJDj

  199. Jack A

    Most absurd promises in the coalition agreement. Stupid naive Lib Dems are responsible for this contempt for democracy http://t.co/PnIXFcTQ

  200. Molly

    Brilliant read: The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement. Exposes so many lies. http://t.co/U5BoZjiR

  201. Stephen Watt

    http://t.co/aGf7FaXl Oh dear

  202. Jay Thompson

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  203. Scott Macdonald

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  204. Cab Davidson

    A quick look at the promises made to the Lib Dems by the Tories in return for coalition. And how many have been broken. http://t.co/grTVemTW

  205. Alex Proctor

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/8TEpBrqv via @libcon

  206. mitchell321

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/8TEpBrqv via @libcon

  207. Scott Macdonald

    @ryanstenhouse Unlikely. Ten coalition agreement pledges – and the outcome. http://t.co/aZP3ahwZ Bring on a general election.

  208. marilyn

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/iLMjHM3S via @libcon <All lies!

  209. jo sharpen

    Brilliant read: The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement. Exposes so many lies. http://t.co/U5BoZjiR

  210. Rachel

    The ten most absurd promises from the Coalition: http://t.co/dtFqFpfL (via @chris_coltrane )

  211. knox overstreet

    The ten most absurd promises from the Coalition: http://t.co/dtFqFpfL (via @chris_coltrane )

  212. Teeko the Stargazer

    The ten most absurd promises from the Coalition: http://t.co/dtFqFpfL (via @chris_coltrane )

  213. Michael Keane

    The ten most absurd promises from the Coalition: http://t.co/dtFqFpfL (via @chris_coltrane )

  214. Nissemus

    The ten most absurd promises from the Coalition: http://t.co/dtFqFpfL (via @chris_coltrane )

  215. flaccid hands

    The ten most absurd promises from the Coalition: http://t.co/dtFqFpfL (via @chris_coltrane )

  216. susan penhaligon

    I know Olympics on but read! RT @TiernanDouieb: The ten most absurd promises from the Coalition: http://t.co/1WD41ONw (via @chris_coltrane )

  217. Pat Kelly

    I know Olympics on but read! RT @TiernanDouieb: The ten most absurd promises from the Coalition: http://t.co/1WD41ONw (via @chris_coltrane )

  218. kernowspringer

    I know Olympics on but read! RT @TiernanDouieb: The ten most absurd promises from the Coalition: http://t.co/1WD41ONw (via @chris_coltrane )

  219. les wilkins,

    I know Olympics on but read! RT @TiernanDouieb: The ten most absurd promises from the Coalition: http://t.co/1WD41ONw (via @chris_coltrane )

  220. Bill Dixon

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/yjztoHgS via @libcon

  221. Maureen Michaelson

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement http://t.co/xarxbJNh

  222. Chris Boyle

    Ten Coalition Agreement promises the Government immediately did the exact opposite on http://t.co/nsffMjPz

  223. Kaiser Of Crisps

    Top 10 Biggest Coalition Agreement Lies http://t.co/qysEOOhc No 3 should be cause for impeachment #NHS

  224. Ben Jennings

    Top 10 Biggest Coalition Agreement Lies http://t.co/qysEOOhc No 3 should be cause for impeachment #NHS

  225. Little Howard

    Top 10 Biggest Coalition Agreement Lies http://t.co/qysEOOhc No 3 should be cause for impeachment #NHS

  226. Jon Stone

    Today marks the halfway point of the Coalition, so here are the top ten broken promises in the Coalition Agreement: http://t.co/Tb0IrhNR

  227. Beth Penfold

    Today marks the halfway point of the Coalition, so here are the top ten broken promises in the Coalition Agreement: http://t.co/Tb0IrhNR

  228. Liam

    Today marks the halfway point of the Coalition, so here are the top ten broken promises in the Coalition Agreement: http://t.co/Tb0IrhNR

  229. Georgie Laming

    Today marks the halfway point of the Coalition, so here are the top ten broken promises in the Coalition Agreement: http://t.co/Tb0IrhNR

  230. not1plebfish

    Today marks the halfway point of the Coalition, so here are the top ten broken promises in the Coalition Agreement: http://t.co/Tb0IrhNR

  231. Richard Holmes

    The ten most absurd promises in the Coalition Agreement | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/J5q31lnC via @libcon

  232. Asa Thorpe

    Today marks the halfway point of the Coalition, so here are the top ten broken promises in the Coalition Agreement: http://t.co/Tb0IrhNR

  233. Catherine Collins

    @markthomasinfo @fleetstreetfox Because today marks the halfway point of the Coalition,top 10 broken promises in it: http://t.co/3WiA101e





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