High praise indeed for Danny Alexander in today's Scotsman, where David Maddox suggests that he should be the liberal hero of the 21st century as Lloyd George, architect of the People's Budget was for the 20th century.
Danny comes in for a lot of stick.Chief Secretaries to the Treasury spend their lives saying "no" to people. Given the financial bourach he had to clear up when he took office caused by chronic overspending by Labour in the good years. He's the guy who's had to not just say "no" to every Department, but he's had to tell them that they've had to make some fairly eye watering cuts.
Despite that, Maddox argues, Danny's done his bit for those at the lower end of the income scale:
Yet when history looks back at this coalition, which one of the two will emerge as the true hero of Liberalism? The answer will be Alexander. It seems that in tomorrow’s Budget he will have persuaded the Tories to take many millions people out of income tax altogether by accelerating the progression to a £10,000 threshold. Little will do more to encourage people to work rather than stay on benefits.
Amazingly, he will also have persuaded the Tories to go against their nature and pursue the rich by closing tax loopholes and avoidance schemes. And he will have played a role in bringing down the deficit, reducing the cost on future generations.
A quick look back to the 2010 Lib Dem election manifesto shows that these were the top priorities of the party, ones which make the tax system much fairer.Not bad praise.
Where I take issue with Mr Maddox is on his berating of the Almighty Vince. He points out the relative popularity between the two and accuses Vince of privatising the Post Office, which he hasn't done. Surely stopping the closure programme and giving them more of a commercial future is a good thing as Stephen Tall wrote on Liberal Democrat Voice a few weeks ago. And we all know what a nightmare tuition fees was but the net result is that those students on the lowest incomes will see their payments cut by £74 a month.
Vince totally deserves the adoration of the party faithful, but we should give Danny more credit for doing a hellish job well.
And not, as some might wish to do, feed him to the pandas.