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Is the middle class prepared for spending cuts?

09:04 UK time, Saturday, 12 February 2011

The middle classes are unaware of the impact of spending cuts that will hit them this year, Ken Clarke has said. Do you agree with his assessment of the state of the economy?

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the justice secretary said that the coalition government should be prepared for possible political difficulty when Middle England feels the full impact. He also claimed that he did not envisage a "quick rebound" for an economy in a "calamitous" state.

Earlier this week, local authorities including Manchester and Birmingham announced large job cuts due to the current economic climate.

Is the country fully prepared for the scale of spending cuts? Will the government pay a political cost once the cuts start hitting home? Have you or your family been affected?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 12

  • Comment number 1.

    What on earth is 'middle class'?

    As a right wing Englishman, am I prepared?

    Yep, bring it on.
    But the axe better fall across the idle, workshy and feckless as well as the wealth creators...

  • Comment number 2.

    Everyone knows (including Ed Balls and Angela Eagle) that we need drastic cuts and that we need them now.

    Nobody wants anything which affects them to be cut and yes there will be trouble ahead when the cuts start to bite, which they will.

    The BBC should ban people from complaining about cuts without making the same people give a reasoned list of cuts they would make themselves, we all want something for nothing but the reality is different.

    We could start this with the Shadow Chancellor. Or maybe Liam Byrne who was the first to say that there was no money left.

  • Comment number 3.

    Preparation for more extensive rebellion within the ranks?

    The big society is already looking like a lost cause, it always was a sop to the middle classes who are beginning to see through the spin.

    If they lose the middle classes they lose their core voters.

  • Comment number 4.

    We knew there would be cuts down to the bone, and we know there's b all we can do about it...so quite frankly, unless the clucking hens of Whitehall take a look out their window and realise they're making the middle class vanish down to the working class for the first time since the Elizabethan period - no houses, jobs or education - we will just have to deal with it as best we can...I'm personally thinking of keeping my money in a safe under my bed!!

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm just as ready as can be! Bring it on! Thanks for the warning Ken. Is HMG ready for the political bascklash when we 'Middle Englanders'give them our thanks and vote them out again? Of course they are and that's why they are in such a hurry to slash and burn our public services so that they can afford to sweeten the pill just before the election...

  • Comment number 6.

    The middle classes can afford to cut back on luxuries unlike most working class people who are already struggling with the basics.

  • Comment number 7.

    Unfortunately we are ALL going to suffer for the ruinous left-wing policies, and the people who are trying to fix the mess will ultimately get the blame

    I sometimes wonder if we should have just let the last crowd to sort it out. The economy would have collapsed totally by now, and the blame would have been squarely placed on the shoulders of the guilty

    PS: No! I'm not a tory

  • Comment number 8.

    I know from experience the Tories will bleed me dry at every opportunity, so yes, I am prepared. Anyone who isn't is a vote short of an overall majority. And that does not just apply to the middle classes.

  • Comment number 9.

    the justice secretary said that the coalition government should be prepared for possible political difficulty when Middle England feels the full impact. He also claimed that he did not envisage a "quick rebound" for an economy in a "calamitous" state.
    .........

    Errrr this is masterful pussy-footing! The UK will take AT LEAST 10 years if not more to recover - possibly taking an entire generation!!

    NewLieMore made such a complete and utter mess of things, the damage is on the verge of being irreparable!

    I suggest folk start stocking up on candles etc - we're in for a long, long spell of "baked beans on toast".

    The next problem we'll have is the socialist idiots in the unions will start stirring up their members oops suckers for mass strikes - which is quite ironic as the unions fund NewLieMore - who left us ALL in this mess!

    I've told my kids to leave as soon as they can - the UK is finished.

  • Comment number 10.

    I have just read the story under this headline on the BBC website and I still have no idea what Mr Clarke is talking about. This is one of the worst pieces of journalism Ive seen as rather than report Mr Clarke's comments,the BBC as usual takes the opportunity to get views from their friends in the Labour Party (Angela Eagle). I suppose I will have to go out and buy the Guardian (isnt it part of the BBC) to find out the real story. Ooooops no, Ive just realised Im middleclass, I had better buy the Telegraph. Let's just remember whatever mess we are in, its the Labour rabble that are to blame for it. This Government has only been in power 18 months, yes its going to be rough but give them a chance.

  • Comment number 11.

    Well if he is warning the middle classes, then by implication the warning must be dire for the working class, as for the rich no warning
    so no reason for them to worry protected as usual.
    Pure Conservatism maintain the Status quo.

  • Comment number 12.

    If the poor cannot pay, welfare for the rich will fall on the middle class. All your years of work will be for nothing, look at the rich man, does he suffer for his mistakes? Does he pay anything to this country? No, the masses must pay so the few can live in opulence. Remember to the rich, taxes are theft and the poor should be taught market discipline by starvation.

  • Comment number 13.

    I would be more impressed by the current, and temporary Chancellor, if he had policies to promote growth. So far ALL that has happened since the last election has been a policy of cuts, mostly based on half truths and misrepresentation. We have repeatedly been told that the problem is urgent, and yet it is now nearly a year on and little has actually been done. The only obvious action has ben to destroy the UK construction business by cancelling, in an unlawful manner, the rebuild of time expired school, and other needed projects.
    The country is now embarking on a policy of making the most vulnerable unemployed, there are no savings in making a road sweeper unemployed, nor a Librarian. We have been down that street before, all that happened was that social security payments had to be increased. It make NO sense to pay someone to do nothing when they could do job for the same cost to the overall economy. Shifting payment liabilities from one account to another is not a way to reduce the UK's debt burden.
    We have repeatedly been told by the PM that the UK has the highest debts, etc. but a study of the debt per capita, by GDP, personal income and several other index listings shows this to be at best an erroneous interpretation. Go look at the figures published on the BBC and other sites to verify this.
    Mr Clarke simply states the truth, there will be a massive reaction to the failure of the Government to pursue a policy to repair the economy. They have the accountants view of life, they may know the price of everything but have no values.

  • Comment number 14.

    7. At 09:34am on 12 Feb 2011, Muppet_Master wrote:
    Unfortunately we are ALL going to suffer for the ruinous left-wing policies, and the people who are trying to fix the mess will ultimately get the blame

    I sometimes wonder if we should have just let the last crowd to sort it out. The economy would have collapsed totally by now, and the blame would have been squarely placed on the shoulders of the guilty

    PS: No! I'm not a tory

    ///

    I agree. We let them get away with it and we have given the current government carte blanche to blame everything on Labour and use it to scavenge what remains of us. If before we didn't deserve everything we get, now we do. PS: I am not a socialist.

  • Comment number 15.

    Ken Clarke is only the latest figure to feed us the daily dose of bad news about cut backs.
    It seems that we are all going to suffer and lord only knows we are suffering enough already with rising prices, rising taxes, unemployment et al.
    My question is "Are the banks suffering?" after all there is lots of talk of bonuses and huge salaries in this sector? We, the tax payer, bailed some of them out so are they just cocking a snoot at us miserable sufferers?
    About time they suffered a bit more or else we pull the rug out!

  • Comment number 16.

    What he is saying is that we must all pay extra tax and they will be many more price increases' ????But the greedy bankers, Hedge funds and all the mega rich tax-dodgers wont pay a penny. The serious cuts to all our services are still in the pipeline, we will are feel the pain soon.

  • Comment number 17.

    Ah here we go. Govt has done the rounds of demonising groups of people from the disabled to NHS Consultants and now its time to start a good old class war. That should really get everyone at each others throats.

    The simple fact here is that the premise of cuts is completely wrong. Every debate, everywhere starts with the commentator (as with this one) assuming that cuts have to be made so which group of people shall we demonise today. The cuts DONT have to be made at all. Its a massive con, probably the biggest one of all time.

    Look at the facts people. The banks were bailed out WITH YOUR MONEY NO MATTER WHICH GROUP YOU ARE FROM to the tune of £172 billion pounds. They used that money to:

    * Shore up their balance sheets
    * Keep their failed dealers / managers and directors swimming in cash

    That money is STILL there. Its just in the bankers pockets, not ours. We as tax payers own most of these banks yet still we see them paying out disgusting bonuses and massive salaries. #1 in this debate goes on about the workshy - well these bankers have not earned a penny of that cash. They are the biggest benefit cheats of all and they continue, like #1 does, to laugh at all of us for being stupid enough to give them billions for free.

    So, forget the cuts. The premise is totally wrong. I do not accept that there needs to be any cuts. As a joint owner of many of the top banks, I insist that they are FORCED to give back as much of the £172 billion as they still have and if that means forcing them to sell their multi million pound surrey mansions, their fast cars and their lavish life styles then so be it.

    Get the money they stole back first and if we did, not ONE cut anywhere would be needed.

    This debate as with countless like it is totally defunct as the premise on which it is based is a government sponsored lie.

  • Comment number 18.

    I am more worried about inflation. In the past 10 days I have received four letters.

    Gas & Electricity rising 30%
    Car insurance rising 22%
    Home insurance rising 9% - (no claims ever made on any type of insurance)
    Broadband charges rising 16%

    Pension will rise 3%! hahaha - just happily accept it in the British tradition and do the same next year!!

  • Comment number 19.

    Interesting

    Just exactly what I have said for many months.

    The cuts are coming - The working class have already suffered cuts - Now the middle class will feel them - I'm glad. Only the rich will not suffer because they can re-arrange their income.

    Nobody doubts cuts are required - Just not so fast and not so deep as Labour has said - Lib-dems joining the Labour Party in agreement.

    No other country is so hell bent on inflicting so many cuts.

    Civil unrest around the corner?? Yes - I think so!

  • Comment number 20.

    I really wish miliband would just keep his mouth shut ([put up or shut up); after all it was partly him and the labour party that got us into this huge mess in the first place.

    Just a pity that it is always the general public who will suffer for a few who made tremenous mistakes and got away with it scot free.

  • Comment number 21.

    Anybody with a basic grasp of maths knows that cuts HAVE to be made and the middle class will bear the brunt of the tax rises.

    Why you ask - there are not enough rich people to make much difference and the poor don't have the money to spare.

    Interestingly the radio station I'm listening to said that in 2004 the IMF warned the UK was spending too much and needed to slow spending.

    The UK pays out £120 million per day in interest and has to borrow over £400 million per day to pay the interest and cover the current commitments - how ever you look at the situation cuts have to be made.

  • Comment number 22.

    Perhaps if Ken Clarke had been PM over the last 10 years, we would not be in this mess now. One of the few MP's who is not afraid to speak his mind honestly. If only we could elect a cabinet ourselves.
    Ken Clarke for PM. Tony Benn for Foreign Office, Edwina Currie for Agriculture, Michael Portillo for Education, Paddy Ashdown for Defence, you get the idea a fantasy cabinet, instead of the lying self serving mongrels we normally end up with.

  • Comment number 23.

    As long as we remember why we are suffering ; because the Labour party wrecked the economy and now the unfortunate few in this country who work for a living and pay taxes will have to foot the bill for their incompetence. If the workshy and feckless lose their benefits and suffer like the rest of us, it will all be worth it.

  • Comment number 24.

    Today increasing theats of more cuts, tomorrow promises for increased spending, due to a failure of not investing enough in our economy. Whoops been here before Mr Clarke whilst you were saying similar things under maggies government.

    Why don't politicians learn from past?

    Where did that saying no more boom or bust?

    No wonder some of us tend not to trust politicians.

  • Comment number 25.

    Dear 'Middle Englanders',
    I can't really imagine how tough it is going to be for you over the coming months and years, but just remember the UK is (still) part of the EU and there are parts of Europe where the economic downturn is not quite as bad. Perhaps you could find yourself a better life abroad. There are plenty of jobs to be had, especially for those who can speak English. If you got a job abroad, there would be one more vacancy in the UK. If you vacate your house, you'd be helping reduce the number of homeless. Do your bit to help the UK economy, by leaving the UK. I'm not suggesting that you leave 'the sinking ship', but that you could help stop 'the ship sinking' by utilising your rights as an EU citizen.
    Here in Poland the economy is booming, food and housing is cheap, and due to half the population being in the UK, there are plenty of jobs to be had.

  • Comment number 26.

    Unfortunately we are all going to suffer for the over expenditure of the previous government. Naturally the Tories will be blamed for everything. People like to have money spent on improvements and it is difficult
    to face up to the fact it can't go on forever.
    Time will tell if paying off the debt quicker is the best way but at the moment I think it makes sense to do so. The international situation is worrying. We are fortunate we have people willing to fund our debt.

  • Comment number 27.

    There's an air of anxiety and dread as people wait for the full impact of this governments spending cuts to hit them. The decions taken by 'call me Dave' & Co will hit people hard producing high unemployment, home loss, poverty and severe austerity for many. Every time a member of this ConDem government speaks on this issue they make reference to it being a deficit they inherited, conveying the attitude that it's nothing to do with them. They portary themselves as saviours; liberators who will rid this country of this debt burden and lead us all to a better future; a modern day Moses delivering us from the ruination created by the Labour government towards a land of milk & honey. I, for one, am fed up hearing this self righteous claptrap pour from their mouths every time they speak. This government will bring this country [and its people] to its knees. They are moving too far, too quickly and the consequences of their folly will be felt by all but the rich - them, their friends and colleagues, naturally.

    The policies being introduced by this government were not part of any manifesto and have not been voted for. We have a rag-tag government founded on the ego of Cameron & Clegg, not one that was democratically elected. On May 7th, 2010, it should have been declared a 'hung parliament' and another election called. This would have allowed all parties to explain to the electorate what policies they would collectively introduce, should a coalition government be formed. This current debacle has provided both Conservative & Liberals with the excuse, 'we can't implement our own manifesto/policies because we weren't given a mandate by the electorate to govern'. Therefore, they have reneged on their party manifesto/pledges whilst admitted they were not democratically elected and do not have a clear mandate from the people to implement the savage cuts and measures they are so arrogantly intending to introduce.

    I agree with Kenneth Clarke, once the devasting effect of these cuts penetrates people will take to the streets in protest and we will experience a period of civil unrest. I only hope the people of the UK, 'walk like an Egyptian', and oust this most odious of governments from office, and soon.

  • Comment number 28.

    I think KC is right - the middle class, average Daily Mail/Torygraph reader does not get it. You can tell from how they back the cuts so enthusiastically; they obviously do not think it will effect them.

    As the very first commenter said - as long as it hits everyone at the bottom and top.

    Since the middle class are the Banker class, it should probably hit them most.

  • Comment number 29.

    9. At 09:36am on 12 Feb 2011, W Fletcher wrote:
    the justice secretary said that the coalition government should be prepared for possible political difficulty when Middle England feels the full impact. He also claimed that he did not envisage a "quick rebound" for an economy in a "calamitous" state.
    .........

    Errrr this is masterful pussy-footing! The UK will take AT LEAST 10 years if not more to recover - possibly taking an entire generation!!

    NewLieMore made such a complete and utter mess of things, the damage is on the verge of being irreparable!

    I suggest folk start stocking up on candles etc - we're in for a long, long spell of "baked beans on toast".

    The next problem we'll have is the socialist idiots in the unions will start stirring up their members oops suckers for mass strikes - which is quite ironic as the unions fund NewLieMore - who left us ALL in this mess!

    I've told my kids to leave as soon as they can - the UK is finished.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    I must ask do you actual think about what you wright, the reason it was aimed at the middle class's because it is actual aimed at the
    if you like the hard working, working class and the hard working lower middle class. Most of the Middle classes will notice a mild irritation.
    Yes the Unions are likely to grow in strength, because like all Governments you can only get Tax out of people who you can make pay it,
    basically the two groups I mentioned above, are probably also the most likely to join unions even if they do so reluctantly. When Governments deliberately create tax loop holes for the Wealth, do you not expect them to use it.
    Yes I tend to agree the UK is finished if all Governments continue to be Governed by the City of London and by proxy the US.

  • Comment number 30.

    23. At 09:59am on 12 Feb 2011, kaybraes wrote:
    As long as we remember why we are suffering ; because the Labour party wrecked the economy and now the unfortunate few in this country who work for a living and pay taxes will have to foot the bill for their incompetence. If the workshy and feckless lose their benefits and suffer like the rest of us, it will all be worth it.

    ////

    Yes! Especially the middle class workshy and feckless!!!! I, on the other hand, refuse to line the government's pockets with my hard earned money. I'd rather give it to that poor homeless lady who I see everyday on my way to my office. She is on the streets through no fault of her own, but she is kept there because of the bunch of criminals running this country. If you don't see that and you suffer because of it, it'll be worth it.

  • Comment number 31.

    Clarke is right. If you take the time to look into the details of the debt and the structural deficit the economy is saddled with, it is staggering if not frightening.

    All we hear about is cuts but no one is really talking clearly about the perilous condition the economy is in.

  • Comment number 32.

    FACT: The EU allows member states run a deficit of up to 3% year on year
    FACT: New Labour ran a deficit in the UK since 2001/2002:

    2001/02 +12 144 (surplus)
    2002/03 -11323 (deficit)
    2003/04 -17418
    2004/05 -19249
    2005/06 -13953
    2006/07 -5021
    2007/08 -4651
    2008/09 -49865
    2009/10 -100504

    What this chart demonstrates is that the New Labour "miracle" was based on borrowed money, year on year, and they continue to deny they have any responsibility for the deficit.

    Sure £11 billion deficit doesn't sound bad BUT its still a situation where debt is increasing rather than having a balanced budget and paying down long term debt.

    In 2009/2010 the UK spent over £42 billion servicing debt - a truely ASTONISHING amount of money.

  • Comment number 33.

    David Horton wrote:
    What on earth is 'middle class'?

    As a right wing Englishman, am I prepared?

    Yep, bring it on.
    But the axe better fall across the idle, workshy and feckless as well as the wealth creators...

    ______________________

    So as long as it affects everyone but you?

  • Comment number 34.

    Getting useful information out of a critique is not easy.

  • Comment number 35.

    I feel we need to start again with public services and decide upon only those services which are essential - education, health, law and order and defence of the home country ( NOT other peoples wars).
    These services should be provided by the most efficient provider be it private or public and the vast swathes of bureaucracy should be cut. The public sector is not an employment exchange for labour voters. Like the rest of us - government must live within it's means which means that can only spend the money it collects in taxes and not a penny more - ie NO BORROWING. It will be tough for a while but will ultimately makes us one of the strongest countries in the western world with a small public sector carried by a large private sector leading to a low tax base for all.

  • Comment number 36.

    Labour are being disingenous. They know that if they were in power they would also be cutting. Alistair Darling admitted last March that if a Labour government were re-elected then they would be making cuts greater than anything Thatcher had done. They are just shouting and opposing everything the Coalition do purely for political purposes.
    If we look at the most prosperous and stable European economies, such as Germany and Switzerland, both of which have large financial sectors and were not immune from the financial meltdown, they have deficits of 2.3% and 0.3% of their GDP's respectively. Unsurprisingly they are not suffering major cuts and they didn't suffer too badly during the crisis because their financial situation was always sound (although Germany has the burden of supporting the Euro of course). Not only that, both countries have vastly superior infrastructure to the UK. Compare that to the current UK deficit at over 10% GDP or the US at around 9% GDP and the problem becomes obvious. We could take a US approach by printing and spending money but they are in a very different position to us (higher unemployment, dollar still the world's reserve currency, lower inflation, etc.) but the US is going to have to face the pain of deficit reduction sooner or later or their debt will spiral out of control.
    We have to face facts, as unpleasant as it may be. Much of the last decade's "prosperity" was built on debt and now we have to go through a period of deleveraging, at a personal and national level. In my view it's better to get this over and done with as soon as possible and hopefully (though I won't hold my breath) our future governments and central bankers will do a lot more to maintain a balanced budget, low inflation and increased regulation to reduce the levels of risk being taken on in the financial sector. It's easy for governments to make themselves popular by throwing money around, especially money they don't have, but it isn't so easy to face the unpopularity of tightening up the purse strings, even if that's what needs to be done. I'm just glad that this government has got the guts to accept the unpopularity and live up to its responsibilities. They may not get re-elected but I guarantee that in 5 years we'll be better off economically for their actions.

  • Comment number 37.

    6. At 09:30am on 12 Feb 2011, valtos wrote:

    The middle classes can afford to cut back on luxuries unlike most working class people who are already struggling with the basics.


    Luxuries like children, mortgage, council tax, healthy food, gas bills, electricity bills, car insurance etc, versus basics like SKY+, cigarettes and booze.

    Ooooh, sweeping statement. Bound to annoy someone.

    If bitter left whingers are going to come up with puerility, then they should expect it back.

    This is an issue that affects everyone. This isn't anything to do with class (whatever that is). This is to do with having the will to turn off your widescreen, get off your sofa and do one of the jobs that are currently being done by Easter Europeans because the average 'working class' British person is too proud to do, because their father worked 'downt pit'. Those days are gone and will never come back because the Unions priced their members salaries in neverneverland compared with third world workers.

    This recession is going to last as long as you let it. The problem in this country today is that everyone expects the state to deal with every single challenge that crops up. Blair's legacy of Big State, Small Society. What ever happened to self reliance?

    I don't like Cameron or Clegg (far too left wing) but Cameron is correct in that we, the people, need to start looking to ourselves more. The state should be there for those who 'can't' and not those who 'won't'.

    In fact, things are looking pretty good for the future for us and our kids.

    Why?
    Did we go to Oxford? Inherit money?
    Nope, neither my wife nor I even went to university and we certainly didn't inherit anything. We did something that seems to escape so many people.

    We both worked hard and didn't depend on the state for anything.

  • Comment number 38.

    The term "middle class" seems to mean all things to all men , although it is a term which seems to be more freely used by those who consider themselves to be rather superior- I wonder precisely who Ken Clarke considers to be "middle class" - is it defined by income, morals, size of house, wine or lager drinkers, indoor plumbing or what? I also wonder what, exactly, he thinks would inspire this unrest - I don't see that the cuts alone would be a mega-serious issue - most people can see the need for them - but any evidence of inequality in the distribution of the cuts could well set things off --- we are currently, for instance, seeing Bankers still blatantly wallowing in the trough -which was filled at our expense - inaction by Government on this issue is, I believe, a powder keg waiting to go off - the bankers are not a race apart even if they think they are !
    Another cause for concern is the apparent profligacy of the Government in expecting us to accept cuts to important services, which our taxes are supposed to be paying for, whilst gaily handing out our cash (i.e. the savings ) to any foreign government, dictator, tribal chief , etc. who puts his hand out - WHEN MY FAMILY SUFFERS BECAUSE OF GOVERNMENT CUTS --- THEN CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME! if do-good politicians want to dish out money then let them use their own - not ours !
    Quite why Ken Clarke thinks it will only be the "middle clases" who cause this political unrest is a mystery to me - is he implying that the cuts will be selectively aimed at the "middle class"? if so then my point about inequality is certainly relevant - class is a divisive word and I would hope that the cuts would essentially be related to the amount of "fat" which any individual can afford to do without - this criteria would of course not be popular with our friends the Bankers and all the other fat cats out there - how much fat could you afford to lose Mr. Clarke ?

  • Comment number 39.

    I can't believe some of the comments on here....you all seem to accept that cuts are needed. Why do you believe everything your governments tell you? The truth is that many of the cuts are unnecessary...the Tories have always made cuts in public services etc...it's got nothing to do with the nation's debt. Any excuse to hammer the poor who they despise.

    If this country really is skint then how come it can bail out other countries, increase foreign aid and pay substantial amounts to the EU? I think your government is taking you for a ride.

  • Comment number 40.

    Sheeple the lot of you.

    what should we cut, who should suffer - bla bla bla. baaaah baaah baaaah

    Get half of what the bankers stole back and you wipe the defecit out
    Get the whole lot back and we have a massive surplus

    The reason why there is a defecit is we GAVE £172 billion to a bunch of failed thieves that infest the city of London. They (with their friends in the govt) conned you all into thinking that if we didnt give them all our cash the world would end.

    Now they have you all running round, bleating about which group to demonise today - of course youre hapy as long as its not you or someone you care about.

    Maybe we need a lesson from the Egyptans and what having a backbone means.

    WAKE UP !!!!

    Arrrggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

    [rant over, if you did publish it BBC Mod - thank you ;-) ]


  • Comment number 41.

    #2 Rich York is an ad man's dream as he waffles:

    "Everyone knows (including Ed Balls and Angela Eagle) that we need drastic cuts and that we need them now....(snip)....The BBC should ban people from complaining about cuts without making the same people give a reasoned list of cuts they would make themselves, we all want something for nothing but the reality is different."


    Good to know you have been listening to the Tory propaganda wagon which appears to have suckered you, a lot of others, and the BBC (otherwise they wouldn't be so sure about these items would they?). But, even if I am in a minority of one, I don't think drastic cuts will help us one little bit. Indeed they will simply make matters worse.

    The UK needs growth, big time, and now. It is not going to get it by putting between 0.5m to 2.5m (depends on who you believe and where you do your research) out of work at the same time as fiddling tax law to seriously benefit those with offshore money and UK business. Yep, the City of London is still a tax haven and will be all the more so with Dave and Georgie at the till. And not one pence of that money will go to the Exchequer to help our plight.

    So "everybody", but chiefly you, can be suckered all you like, but they ain't folling me.

  • Comment number 42.

    Sir,

    I find Ken Clarkes comments somewhat offending.

    Is he saying that the middle class are so thick that they do not understand the impact of the cuts or that they have been done in such a duplicidous manner that not even the authorities understand them.

    Please explain

  • Comment number 43.

    1. At 09:23am on 12 Feb 2011, David Horton wrote:
    What on earth is 'middle class'?

    As a right wing Englishman, am I prepared?

    Yep, bring it on.
    But the axe better fall across the idle, workshy and feckless as well as the wealth creators...
    _______---------------------------------------------------------------

    And you would know about hard work would you, I say this as I make a reasonable living as a Engineer that at times involves hard work,
    but mostly relies on me using my nous and what I would describe as
    working in a largely convivial atmosphere in surprisingly manufacturing.
    Quite often hard work when not involving physical labour, can be a hindrance to motivation and peoples constructive work. You should just be thankful that you have a good brain and not be so arrogant. Don't forget the Right Wing Englishman's love of the service sector had a good deal to do with this crisis.

  • Comment number 44.


    Is the middle class prepared for spending cuts?

    No.

    Do you agree with Ken Clarke's assessment of the state of the economy?

    Yes.

    It's my opinion, the cuts so far have been disproportionate.

  • Comment number 45.

    It doesn't matter which of these mythical 'classes' you fall into, none of us are really prepared for the complete and utter failure of the current administration to even attempt to meet its obligations to the citizens of this nation.

    And they are not prepared to cope with the reaction of their employers when we do realise.

  • Comment number 46.

    Hit the middle classes , don't make me laugh. in the week they have given themselves huge bonuses in the city for Clarke to say the cuts will affect them is a joke.

  • Comment number 47.

    33. At 10:15am on 12 Feb 2011, bambam75 wrote:

    David Horton wrote:
    What on earth is 'middle class'?

    As a right wing Englishman, am I prepared?

    Yep, bring it on.
    But the axe better fall across the idle, workshy and feckless as well as the wealth creators...

    ______________________

    So as long as it affects everyone but you?


    ____________

    What a totally silly comment. Can't you read?
    Of course it is going to affect me. All I ask is that it affects EVERYBODY, fairly.

    Why should those who CHOOSE to do nothing not face the same hit that we are facing? There are plenty of people in genuine need without the addition of a massive tranche of people who choose not to contribute.

    And yeah, I do know what I'm talking about. I worked for six years in a Unemployment Benefit Office/Jobcentre. Did any of you?

    Well I'm sick of funding those who's life is one long whinge as they sullenly queue with their hands out.

    And no, I'm not a banker these days, or even a high rate taxpayer (I wish). What I am is a realist, unlike so many people who seem to think that Labour would have done anything different.

  • Comment number 48.

    "35. At 10:17am on 12 Feb 2011, Bassman wrote:
    I feel we need to start again with public services and decide upon only those services which are essential - education, health, law and order and defence of the home country ( NOT other peoples wars).
    These services should be provided by the most efficient provider be it private or public and the vast swathes of bureaucracy should be cut. The public sector is not an employment exchange for labour voters. Like the rest of us - government must live within it's means which means that can only spend the money it collects in taxes and not a penny more - ie NO BORROWING. It will be tough for a while but will ultimately makes us one of the strongest countries in the western world with a small public sector carried by a large private sector leading to a low tax base for all."

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Here, here, if you stand for Parliament, you'll get my vote.

  • Comment number 49.

    What on earth is 'middle class'?

    As a right wing Englishman, am I prepared?

    Yep, bring it on.
    But the axe better fall across the idle, workshy and feckless as well as the wealth creators...

    ------------------
    You have missed the point entirely.While you can cut the services and increase indirect taxes disproportionately on the poor (which presumably you favour) and which is being done,you can only increase direct taxes and tax related benefits from those who meet the criteria.Now as the Tories and their Lib Dem chums are the bankers friends the target therefore has to be in the band of earners from around 30K to 100K ,preferably with kids as there is more to screw out of them and kids can't vote. While maintaining winter fuel allowances and free TV licences to multi millionaire retirees

    Yes children, the middle class,the working class, the unwaged ,normal pensioners will all feel the axe ,the wealthy will simply get wealthier.

  • Comment number 50.

    40. At 10:22am on 12 Feb 2011, TerryXT wrote:
    They (with their friends in the govt) conned you all into thinking that if we didnt give them all our cash the world would end.


    Completely agree.
    We should have let them go to wall. It was a huge lie and many people fell for it.

    AND, I agree that the government should insist that our money is paid back. Before a penny in bonus, stock or share options is handed over.

    However, there is an underlying premise in your whole comment that kind of implies that this was Tory driven? Don't see that at all. It seems to have slipped everyonee's mind, but Brown and Balls and the rest of the New Labour morons agreed to the bailout.

    Despite may people best efforts, this is on thing that cannot be blamed on the Tories. Whether the recession was caused by the bank bailout or whether it simply exposed Labours extravagant spending (my belief) is not the issue. The simple fact is that we, the owners of the bank should insist on getting our money back first.

    And everyone should write to Cameron and his glove puppet and order him to do it. He works for us.

    With regard to the cuts; utterly unwelcome, but completely necessary. Again due entirely to the ineptitude of Blair, Broan and Balls.

  • Comment number 51.

    I think Ken Clarke has finally lost the plot - time he spent more time with his family methinks.

    Don't patronise me Clarke; the Middle Classes are well aware of what lies ahead, we've been shouldering the burden long enough to have plenty of experience.

    It's about time 'The Others' took their share of the pain - you know... the ones who've never had a job; who see a benefits as a lifestyle choice; who whinge and whine whenever they have another sprog that their benefit funded house isn't big enough.

    As long as the cuts hit us all equally I'm happy to carry on paying my share - what I'm not happy to do is pay the share for 'The Others'.

  • Comment number 52.

    Whulst to an extent the middle classes enjoyed some benefits under labour -there is an attitude why souldn't I have some of the benefits of the low paid tax credits child benefits etc- the condems are really now showing their true colours. Many middle class cant afford private education and the school rebuilding program is cut- they will visit libraries many now to close, aspire for their children to go to university and these are the class who contain the floating voter who will now feel alienated by the top public school elite running the tory party, a party who used to represent many of the aspirations of the middle class. remember even that great middle class bastion the national trust is uneasy about forest sell offs. The middle class however now see the supper rich and banker classes-whose lifestyle was maintained by a hugh bail out by the tax payer- showing no signs of suffering.
    They realised cuts had to be made but not at this rate and the opinion polls reflect this-But there are 4 years to go unless the spineless lib dems actually pull their support and start to reflectv the views of those that voted for them and make the tories continue as a minoritory government.
    The situation is unless the very wealthy are shown to be in this is well, will be unrest- the fire extinguisher thrower was a middle class lad - not an anarchist after all that the red tops spouted and this was only the beginning- Despite what Middle class Dave spouts about the biggest defecit in europe not mentioning the fact this defecit is a problem of all western countries and the Uk has a larger population and economy than many other countries- the middle classes who will tend to be educated and will see through these distortions of the figure and will feel highly uneasy.
    Will cameron look at the opinion polls and a flagging approval rating and change tack No the Eton lads not for turning even when the cities start burning

  • Comment number 53.

    48. At 10:38am on 12 Feb 2011, Clive Hamilton wrote:

    "35. At 10:17am on 12 Feb 2011, Bassman wrote:
    I feel we need to start again with public services and decide upon only those services which are essential - education, health, law and order and defence of the home country ( NOT other peoples wars).
    These services should be provided by the most efficient provider be it private or public and the vast swathes of bureaucracy should be cut. The public sector is not an employment exchange for labour voters. Like the rest of us - government must live within it's means which means that can only spend the money it collects in taxes and not a penny more - ie NO BORROWING. It will be tough for a while but will ultimately makes us one of the strongest countries in the western world with a small public sector carried by a large private sector leading to a low tax base for all."

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Here, here, if you stand for Parliament, you'll get my vote.


    _______________

    Same here. Good comment

  • Comment number 54.

    I don't think we could define a middle class easily, and I don't think KC's comment is of any consequence- it's a long time since he was Chancellor.

    Perhaps we're not all aware of exactly what's going to happen, but as one who worked through the madness of industrial unrest and high inflation of the 70's, it has to be a better than that.

    Perhaps this time we will get some long overdue reform of the sacred cows of the public sector. I will not criticise the state employees- the problem as always is with the employer, unwilling to take difficult decisions- successive governments have failed us all.

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    I adore the coalition government's idea of “Merlin”. After the job cuts, one gets offered an opportunity to start up his/her own business. I can feel that our government is working hard to help our nation out of recession.

    However, I think that they should review the law of bankruptcy to avoid the abuse.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    The idea that the working class should be punished by the government by something that was caused by greedy financial institutions is something that people should shout a bit louder. The fat cats and their Financial institutions caused us to loose our jobs and then they have the audacity to threaten people with court proceedings for credit card debt and take their homes away as well. They are not suffering, as they have already started earning their bonuses.They should have been made to cough up funds for years to come, for ruinning peoples lives. The politicians are only in it to fill their pockets as we have seen with the expenses debacle in which most of them got away with it. Honest politicians are like UFO's (try finding one).It's a disgrace how the financial institutions have got away with it! The working class are being unfairly punished and there will come a time when people will take no more of this and make their anger felt.There are just so many lies by the politicians that their credibility has been lost and I for one have nothing but contempt for them!

  • Comment number 59.

    >> Aneeta Trikk wrote:
    "The UK needs growth, big time, and now."

    This is true.
    Unfortunately, there is "no money left" for government to invest much, and which other countries are going to invest in us, with £172 billion of debt?

    Get the debt down, then you have more money to invest, and you are a safer bet for other outide investment.


  • Comment number 60.

    17. At 09:50am on 12 Feb 2011, TerryXT wrote:

    While your assumption is correct about the £170 billion lying on the balance sheets of banks, it is clear you are a left wing labour supporter.

    The issue the government are dealing with is the defecit, not the national debt. The national debt is what we owe, about £1.4 trillion. The defecit, which is what labour are responsible for because of the over generous benefits, ridiculous unfinanced spending plans,i.e Aircraft carriers, and civil service non jobs, is the difference between the government liabilities and government income and stands at over £150 billion per annum. Because of this the government has to borrow, as labour were, to cover this debt, which increased our national debts.

    These cuts are looking to reduce the defecit so what comes in is more than what goes out. Only then can we pay off our colossol national debts which were generated because of Nuliebor, and most of this is made up of what we have given the banks as well as underwriting their balance sheets.

    I am sick of people like you on these debates who have been brainwashed and dont have a clue whats going on. The recession was global, but the banks ARE NOT, I repeat ARE NOT responsible for the defecit, Newliebor are. End of story.

    Now that the record is straight, we need cuts to sort out this awful mess and this means getting rid of smoking cessation co-ordinators, diversity monitors etc, NOT front line cuts, though some will be inevitible becuase of the depth of the deficit left by that shower Newliebor.

    If we are to bebate this, lets look at FACTs not Newliebor lies.

  • Comment number 61.

    49. At 10:41am on 12 Feb 2011, steve wrote:

    What on earth is 'middle class'?

    As a right wing Englishman, am I prepared?

    Yep, bring it on.
    But the axe better fall across the idle, workshy and feckless as well as the wealth creators...

    ------------------
    You have missed the point entirely.While you can cut the services and increase indirect taxes disproportionately on the poor (which presumably you favour) and which is being done,you can only increase direct taxes and tax related benefits from those who meet the criteria.Now as the Tories and their Lib Dem chums are the bankers friends the target therefore has to be in the band of earners from around 30K to 100K ,preferably with kids as there is more to screw out of them and kids can't vote. While maintaining winter fuel allowances and free TV licences to multi millionaire retirees

    Yes children, the middle class,the working class, the unwaged ,normal pensioners will all feel the axe ,the wealthy will simply get wealthier.


    Sorry, but your comment is predicated on your predjudices and preconceptions.

    I fully accept that the cuts must be proportionate. All I am asking is that EVERYONE contributes, according to his/her means.

    So, if I see my net income drop by 5% (not unexpected) I would expect to see the same percentage drop for those who do not contribute.

    A 5% drop in my income is £100 per month. For someone on full rate Jobseekers allowance, a 5% drop is thirteen pounds a month. We both pay VAT, they will get housing costs paid for, I have a mortgage.

    You really want to continue this argument? Or do you consider that asking everyone to contribute according to their means is unfair?

  • Comment number 62.

    6. At 09:30am on 12 Feb 2011, valtos wrote:
    The middle classes can afford to cut back on luxuries unlike most working class people who are already struggling with the basics.

    ========================================


    Appearances can be deceptive. You can find people in a relatively large house which is unheated, eating very basic and meagre meals, and unable to find a buyer for their house. They too can find their homes repossessed.

    Unfortunately, spending cuts the middle classes do make on any luxuries will probably impact upon many of the working classes.

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    Well it is a relevant point, just maybe some middle classes are not aware of the consequences that lay in wait. Notice I said some middle classes. There is lower middle class, upper lower middle class, middle class, upper middle class and upper upper middle class. Think Im joking well this list comes from a GVR survey.

    I dont think there are lower classes these days as they were defined say 50 years ago. The definition of lower class is today undefinable where does one draw the line of I know my place. One has aspirations to achieve, one has the essentials of life cookers washing machines, hot and cold water on tap. So maybe the middle class is as the above and Charles is right. Flat caps and smoking like chimneys doesnt exist any more or just maybe the flat caps have gone.

  • Comment number 65.

    Aww the poor middle classes

    Guess its going to be 2 weeks in Margate this year instead of Thailand.
    and dinner parties every 3 months instead of every month.

    Oh and a hint for everyone pleading poverty and 'having no money'
    poverty is having to decide if you pay the rent or buy food or buy kid's clothes
    Not having to cancel your sky movies subscription.

    But seriously, why not look at your outgoing and see where you can make savings

    Do you need mobile phones for everyone at £15/month, can you get by on the cable companies 'L' package instead of 'XL' ? how about resetting the heating system so it runs for 2 hrs a day instead of 4?
    Do you need the latest 3D HD LCD 62" widescreen TV 18 months after buying a 52" HD LCD TV?


    oh and yes I was once unemployed , then stuck in a min wage job were the priorities were rent, food and having £10/month left over.... then described by middle class whingers as 'workshy' and 'feckless'

  • Comment number 66.

    Wow, we still have a middle class in this country? And there was me thinking that we had been reduced to a two tier social structure, the so called 'Upper Class' and the rest of us somewhere down in the gutter propping up the rest. Well, I live and learn ;)

    On a more serious note I don't think the so called Middle Class is ready for what is about to happen to them. Those that still manage to fall into this band will find themselves heading down and out and trying to make ends meet in a manner, they have till now, been able to avoid.

  • Comment number 67.

    So the inevitable is happening. The Middle Class, after years of avoiding buying anything made in the UK because it's not 'clever' or 'smart', are going to have to start paying for all the debt those imports have cost the economy. The Working Class are already paying, having lost their jobs with the near total collapse of manufacturing and/or working on the minimum wage, yet the Middle Class are merely going to have to cut back a bit - and man do they whinge! Welcome to the real world of cause and effect.

    When your situation is having to sell you house for peanuts because the roof needs repairs (£62 a week on the dole isn't going to help there) rather than having to 'worry' about paying the school fees, or having a new car, or this years model kitchen then you might just, possibly, start to grasp how the rest of us have to live.

  • Comment number 68.

    The whole economic system is based on flawed principles, and the very people who profit from it, caused the crash, yet still get their bonuses, while the vast majority now have to pay for it by massive reductions in services of all kinds, at all levels.
    Bank chiefs on million pound salaries will get million pound bonuses for bankrupting their banks, and then the government that bailed them out with our money, whilst we who actually do some work, get cuts in pay, lose our jobs, and get reduced services from local and national government.
    When the cuts really start to bite, and so called 'middle England really begins to feel the effects, there will be uproar.
    Hopefully, the usual English reaction of simply grumbling and getting on with things as best we can will not apply this time.
    We now have the example of what has happened in Tunisia and Egypt fresh before our eyes.
    People power in the UK can achieve what has been achieved in North Africa.
    It is time for a gentle revolution to remind the politicians that they are there to serve, not to be our masters and that this is a sovereign nation, and not a vassal of the multinational banking corporations.

  • Comment number 69.

    50. At 10:42am on 12 Feb 2011, David Horton wrote:
    40. At 10:22am on 12 Feb 2011, TerryXT wrote:


    I knew there'd be a greedy bankers post!

    Before greedy bankers, back in 2004 the IMF warned the Labour government they were spending too much money, and Labour withheld information from the IMF. They were hushed up by the Treasury (and Ed Balls). So not only did public spending escalate, but financial regulations were not set in place - so the banking crisis actually could have been avoided, but for Labour.

    Whatever we think about Egypt and democracy - we clearly had none number Labour, who should be held criminally accountable. MPs are meant to act in the best interest of the country.

    So I think every one of us on here either become upper or working class according to our means, and makes every Labour MP middle class and lets them stew. (My very democratic father always insisted that if you worked for a living you were working class.)

    I am sorry. I do not like some of the things the coalition is doing. But according to this report from the IMF, Labour acted fraudulently.






  • Comment number 70.

    Probably not. Especially when they see £4 billion wasted on an airplane that never flew, an aircraft carrier with no aircraft, a billion on the M25 (regarded as unnecessary) billions handed out to other countries, billions bailing out Banks we shall be very lucky to see returned and a whole list of excesses which must come close to the national debt. Then we have a clever official telling us they are very afraid controlling MP's expenses will deprive the poor the opportunity of becoming members of parliament. You couldn't make it up what a laugh. Poor members of parliament.

  • Comment number 71.

    Ken Clarke is one of those old school MPs who think that the population need nannying because they are not in the exalted position that he is.
    We are not thick, anybody who has an ounce of sense knows the dire financial situation that the country is in. What he fails to grasp is that it is the fault of our MPs who didn't macro manage the country properly which has led to our impoverishment.
    I am disgusted with overfed, over paid politicos pontificating about the plight of the population as though it has nothing to do with Westminster.

  • Comment number 72.

    1. At 09:23am on 12 Feb 2011, David Horton wrote:
    What on earth is 'middle class'?

    As a right wing Englishman, am I prepared?

    Yep, bring it on.
    But the axe better fall across the idle, workshy and feckless as well as the wealth creators...

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm not allowed to reply to this man the moderators (selectors of what they like) didn't like it. I didn't swear or write anything personally offensive. I'm going to sit in a square until the moderator steps down.

  • Comment number 73.

    It looks like the middle classes will have to stop shopping in Waitrose and lower themselves to go into sainsburys, tesco and m&s. they may have to give up one of the bmws or mercs or even the 4x4 that mrs middle class uses to take the kids to school. they may have to stay at home on one of the bank holidays (when most of us have to work) and not fly off abroad. it looks like they are going to be hit hard.

  • Comment number 74.

    67. At 11:07am on 12 Feb 2011, Richard wrote:
    So the inevitable is happening. The Middle Class, after years of avoiding buying anything made in the UK because it's not 'clever' or 'smart', are going to have to start paying for all the debt those imports have cost the economy. The Working Class are already paying, having lost their jobs with the near total collapse of manufacturing and/or working on the minimum wage, yet the Middle Class are merely going to have to cut back a bit - and man do they whinge! Welcome to the real world of cause and effect.

    When your situation is having to sell you house for peanuts because the roof needs repairs (£62 a week on the dole isn't going to help there) rather than having to 'worry' about paying the school fees, or having a new car, or this years model kitchen then you might just, possibly, start to grasp how the rest of us have to live.

    =======================================


    You clearly do not understand that some of the "middle class" have had the experience you are describing here. You have obviously never grasped how anyone else lives either.

    Or when they lost their homes did the middle class become working class?

  • Comment number 75.

    Is the middle class prepared for spending cuts?
    THE GOVERNMENT OF THIS COUNTRY AND ITS RICH BOYS DONT HAVE A CLUE HOW WE NORMAL FOLK HAVE TO SURVIVE AND WHAT WE HAVE TO DO TO KEEP ACHIEVING THIS SURVIVAL.
    IT IS SICKENING TO THE CORE OF MY HUMANNESS THAT WE ARE FORCED TO BE THIS WAY WITHOUT SAY.!!!!!!

  • Comment number 76.

    As a minority white male, who works, pay taxes and is law abiding.

    I am sure I will be hit the hardest to support the lazy, the work shy and those guests or our country who have choosen to over stay thier welcome.


  • Comment number 77.

    72. At 11:19am on 12 Feb 2011, proudtobeacumbrian wrote:
    1. At 09:23am on 12 Feb 2011, David Horton wrote:
    What on earth is 'middle class'?

    As a right wing Englishman, am I prepared?

    Yep, bring it on.
    But the axe better fall across the idle, workshy and feckless as well as the wealth creators...

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm not allowed to reply to this man the moderators (selectors of what they like) didn't like it. I didn't swear or write anything personally offensive. I'm going to sit in a square until the moderator steps down.

    ==========================================

    Shall I arrange sandwiches?

  • Comment number 78.

    If the warning is dire for the middle class, then what does that mean? class isnt about finances or how rich you are, or where you live, its what you were born into being in terms of family standing. I know a lot of lower class people who are 'rich' and a couple of upper class who are 'poor' financially.
    I really wish the government would reign in the sound bites, its annoying when they dont get the facts right!
    If they mean middle income families then yes these cuts are going to sting, but what about those who it is already stinging? yet MORE pain..?

  • Comment number 79.

    Middle England revolution! What you going to do, stop buying the Daily Mail? Stop having a go at immigrants? Blockade the golf club?

  • Comment number 80.

    Looks like the middle clases are being softened up for what`s to come. I think the gov have realised that their plan isn`t working out. They were hoping that the private sector would take up the slack of job cuts in the private sector but they`re taking job cuts too and consequently employment is marching inexorably upward. Prices are rising which is fuelling inflation. Wages are frozen which means less consumer spending which will mean more small businesses going to the wall. Yep, they have badly miscalculated the situation and are steeling themselves for civil unrest. Had they put in place plans for growth then a lot of pain could have been avoided but just by focusing on cuts the economy will plummet into a second recession and government spending will increase substantially with the consequence the deficit will never be brought under control. Bad economics and bad government.

  • Comment number 81.

    This post typifies the ludicrous notion of class - I know people from all walks of life. We have "middle class" professional jobs but live in a house that is considerably smaller than or Plumbers and our childminders (who is married to a builder). The nonsense idea that going to University will lead to a well paid job is the greatest deceit of the last 10 years.

    We live next door to two young people who have a baby and are renting because they can't afford to buy - the reason for this is the housing crisis and the proliferation of buy-to-let landlords (which are destroying this countries social fabric). We are selling our house, and the only viewers have been investor buyers (not one single FTB). Very soon all of the available housing stock will run out and we'll end up with a generation homeless, saddled by debt and resorting to crime as a last resort. Housing rents are three times higher than the Continent, so the government is complicit in allowing this to persist.

    Successive governments blame each other for financial mismanagement - but it seems that this periodic failure of economic management is something that both parties suffer from. If these parties planned for recession then we may not always be in the same mess.

    Then we hear about prices rises from utility companies, and old people dying because they can't afford to heat their homes and I realise that Britain isn't great....it's a mess

  • Comment number 82.

    77. At 11:22am on 12 Feb 2011, ruffled_feathers wrote:

    72. At 11:19am on 12 Feb 2011, proudtobeacumbrian wrote:
    1. At 09:23am on 12 Feb 2011, David Horton wrote:
    What on earth is 'middle class'?

    As a right wing Englishman, am I prepared?

    Yep, bring it on.
    But the axe better fall across the idle, workshy and feckless as well as the wealth creators...

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm not allowed to reply to this man the moderators (selectors of what they like) didn't like it. I didn't swear or write anything personally offensive. I'm going to sit in a square until the moderator steps down.

    ==========================================

    Shall I arrange sandwiches?


    ------------------------------------

    I`ve got a flask of coffee and a tent. Want to go camp out in parliament square?

  • Comment number 83.

    "Is the middle class prepared for spending cuts"? is the HYS question.

    'Googled' the term middle class - lots of results, yet could not find that old government 'official' class rating information from the 20th century after WWII.

    However, as a child from a 'working class' family I had to leave school at fifteen to work. No problem, as I loved the work, independence, my own money and sense of belonging.

    My employer who saw potential, encouraged me to further and then higher education. I think the term 'deferred gratification' summed it up - you had to sacrifice to achieve that third stage of education (tertiary). It was a culture shock for me as I truanted so much at school - however, my brain caught up very quickly. I suspect there are a lot of young people out there today who have quick minds and a thirst for knowledge, yet are left out the loop?

    These employers still exist today - although they may be confined to a few, not certainly not all, large supermarkets and other large companies - who often don't blow their own trumpet?

    Nevertheless, not everyone with 'academic' ability or potential, want higher education. Many are happy or fulfilled with being self-employed with knowledge from their family business - with high earnings too, with no interest in being a 'wage slave', whether they attend private or state education.

    So, I would suggest that Ken Clarke is probably right in many ways, yet wrong in some ways. The class system is more confusing today because the UK is more like America and class - money - new or old - the old money loves the new money and it's celebrity obsession.

    Unfortunately, the independently wealthy, such as Winston Churchill was academically poor, but his style of education and connections made the man.

    Disturbingly, the Prime Minister; Deputy Prime Minister and the Chancellor - in spite of the financial dilemma - are not actually out of touch at all - but simply choose to be.

    It would be interesting, with all the debacle STILL going on about MPs' expenses if the independently wealthy MPs stopped claiming for expenses they don't need in order to balance the books for MPs who do?









  • Comment number 84.

    Can someone tell me just when the term 'middle income' was replaced with 'middle class' ?

    It seems to me that anyone working and earns slightly above the average wage is now termed 'Middle Class' - why is that ?

  • Comment number 85.

    36. At 10:19am on 12 Feb 2011, suchan104 wrote:
    "Labour are being disingenous. They know that if they were in power they would also be cutting. Alistair Darling admitted last March that if a Labour government were re-elected then they would be making cuts greater than anything Thatcher had done......"
    -------------------------------------------

    But would Labour be cutting though? Darling was a voice of moderation in Labour, and notice he is nowhere to be heard among the opposition now.

    I suspect Labour might do one of two things now if in office (or a combination of):
    1. Increase taxes across the scale. And this would have to impinge on everyone not just the 'rich' to raise the sums required, anything else and the amounts raised would not be sufficient. But this would hamper recovery as 70% of UK GDP is consumption and higher taxes would remove money from people's pockets before they had chance to spend it.
    2. Borrow more and for longer. This would require higher interest rates on state borrowing (higher risk requires higher reward), and in turn require domestic interest rates to rise (meaning higher mortgage and business borrowing costs), or, a fall in value of the £ vs the $US, leading to higher imported inflation (all commodities are priced in $US), but either way leading to hampered recovery by taking more money out of people's pockets, whether through debt servicing costs or imported inflation cost.

    I guess they would mainly go down the higher borrowing route, trying to copy the US, without taking on board that the $US is the global reserve currency and the £ is not, and loss of confidence in the markets would lead to a UK financial crisis/collapse within a few months of a Labour govt taking office.

  • Comment number 86.

    More to the point, are the bankers prepared for spending cuts?

    Sorry, they are exempt from hardship of course.

  • Comment number 87.

    #59 TheWalrus999 wrote:

    Aneeta Trikk wrote:
    "The UK needs growth, big time, and now."
    ******
    “This is true.
    Unfortunately, there is "no money left" for government to invest much, and which other countries are going to invest in us, with £172 billion of debt?

    Get the debt down, then you have more money to invest, and you are a safer bet for other outide investment.


    And so it is no time to be relaxing tax law on offshore money thus ensuring even less money is taken from UK businesses with offshore connections. And so it is no time to be introducing Merlin which does nothing to shake up the banks or their mates in the City. And it is no time to be finding money for hare-brained schemes like “free schools” etc etc. The deficit is in largest part due to the investors who couldn't wait to get their hand of cheap, dirty, tainted money, and yet, they are being pandered to once again as this Government do exactly the same as previous administrations have done – bolster a poor economy with imagined high asset values. If we were a good bet less than three years ago we are still a good bet now.

    But with the present encumbrances in Downing Street it will all end in tears.


  • Comment number 88.

    Can one deduce from this that the upperclass will not be suffering? What is the middleclass, maybe Ken Clark should be more specific.

  • Comment number 89.

    He`s off again when is Cameron going to get rid of this stupid man !! what right has he got to talk about middle class he is rolling in money the same as most mp`s and could not care less about who stuggles , loses their job etc , O yes he`s the expert who wants to release everybody , goodbye Mr Clarke lets get rid of another taxpayers millstone .

  • Comment number 90.

    For years under Labour we had great expansion of the Public Sector, mainly with the creation of a whole host of 'Non-Jobs'.

    So now, when councils are told they must cut spending, what do they cut ? All these useless, non-jobs ? No, libraries, toilets, leisure centres etc.

    The councils are behaving like a load of mardie school children in the playground and stamping their feet because teacher has taken away their ball.

  • Comment number 91.

    At 10:17am on 12 Feb 2011, Bassman wrote:
    I feel we need to start again with public services and decide upon only those services which are essential - education, health, law and order and defence of the home country ( NOT other peoples wars).

    I agree, except that education should be privatised and paid for only by those who have children - the more children the more they pay, and health likewise.

    Also the judiciary should be brought down a peg or two, lawyers need not be paid the amounts they are out of public money. Make ALL courts open and public, especially family courts.


    The only public sector function we need is law and order. Everything else can be profit making. For the very poor, make them do productive, wealth-generating work for their subsistence.
    Compulsory private healthcare will pay for the incapacitated. For the poor, that will be paid for from the productive, wealth-generating work they are made to do in order to get their subsistence. They of course are free to find a better job.

    This will remove the whole culture of the public sector in a stroke. A culture which takes for granted that those of us who generate wealth somehow owe them a living. We don't.
    Restrict immigration, ( definition: all people from beyond these shores) so that there is productive work for our own poor and more job opportunities.

    Let banks fail.
    If we have a central bank, let it be a plc or don't bother. (Anyone know who owns the bank of England? names of individuals, please)

    Cut taxes, hugely. No VAT, fuel or drink tax, and no more than 10p in the pound income tax for everyone. Remove Health and Safety and all labour laws so that it becomes economically possible to hire more people. Easier to fire people too, but easier also to find another job. Also easier to start new businesses.

    Have a stronger police and military - so that if the EHCR disagree with parliament over something and want to fine us, we can simply shrug, refuse to pay, and carry on with our democracy.

    Have a complete bonfire of quangos. Let all art and sport be self-funding.

    This of course may never happen because now, there are more voters working for the state and supported by the public economy than there are in wealth-generating businesses, who pay for all of it, so they will vote for a bigger state. However, eventually the whole thing will implode. It may therefore already be too late to stop this happening. Once the majority are being paid for by the minority, democracy becomes not just "the worst form of government apart from the others", but the force behind an inevitable train crash.






  • Comment number 92.

    82. At 11:27am on 12 Feb 2011, corncobuk wrote:
    77. At 11:22am on 12 Feb 2011, ruffled_feathers wrote:

    72. At 11:19am on 12 Feb 2011, proudtobeacumbrian wrote:
    1. At 09:23am on 12 Feb 2011, David Horton wrote:
    What on earth is 'middle class'?

    As a right wing Englishman, am I prepared?

    Yep, bring it on.
    But the axe better fall across the idle, workshy and feckless as well as the wealth creators...

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm not allowed to reply to this man the moderators (selectors of what they like) didn't like it. I didn't swear or write anything personally offensive. I'm going to sit in a square until the moderator steps down.

    ==========================================

    Shall I arrange sandwiches?


    ------------------------------------

    I`ve got a flask of coffee and a tent. Want to go camp out in parliament square?
    ========================================================================

    Great, but nowt fancy mind, wouldn't want to deprive the middle classes. Happy Shopper Coffee and jam sandwiches, See you in Parliament Square.

    Hang on, don't they arrest you for protesting in this country, while applauding demonstrators in nations where it suits them?

  • Comment number 93.

    Asterix-in-Poland you are so right - I spend quite a bit of time in another EU country, and the standards of living are so much higher on average than in the UK. Bigger houses for a start, lower rents and better food.

    Sure, there are problems in other EU countries, but if you consider that 14% of British people live in poverty compared with 6% in France and 14% in Bulgaria, then it slowly dawns on you that the UK is far from the opportunity bubble that UK politicans and press would have you believe. The UK is akin to an offshore branch of a bank that purposefully punishes the poor. Hear that again? Purposefully punishes the poor because of the intrinsic economic bias against people on low incomes (high rents, high energy and food costs).

    I know loads of people who have moved to other EU countries and never moved back - there is a reason for this. Quality of life is not just about having a high paying job, it's about avoiding public drunkeness, crime, and TV that doesn't always insult your intelligence.

  • Comment number 94.

    81. At 11:24am on 12 Feb 2011, laughingjkings wrote:
    This post typifies the ludicrous notion of class - I know people from all walks of life. We have "middle class" professional jobs but live in a house that is considerably smaller than or Plumbers and our childminders (who is married to a builder). The nonsense idea that going to University will lead to a well paid job is the greatest deceit of the last 10 years
    .........................................................

    What do you call a middle class job these days? I'm working class but I have people working for me that call themselves middle class because they like to think they are superior.

  • Comment number 95.

    There is a "Lull before the storm" brewing in which the so-called middle class will wake up soon and find out how savage this government's cuts really are. Rapidly rising food costs, utility bills and petrol are only the beginning and the V.A.T. increase on top of ALL the many service cutbacks will make life very difficult for those who still have a job! Meanwhile the wretched bankers are stuffing their trousers with salary increases and bonuses as if they had NOTHING to do with the state of the economy! It is enough to cause an Egyptian style clamour for a much fairer system and a general election this year.

  • Comment number 96.

    76. At 11:21am on 12 Feb 2011, Slave to the System - I am not a number wrote:
    As a minority white male, who works, pay taxes and is law abiding.

    I am sure I will be hit the hardest to support the lazy, the work shy and those guests or our country who have choosen to over stay thier welcome.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    This got through!!! What did I do Mr/Mrs?Miss/Ms moderator?

    Oh, I expressed left leaning views. Sorry.

  • Comment number 97.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 98.

    If its going to be bad for the middle classes just imagine what its going to be like for the mentally ill the sick disabled sheltered housing residents the homeless the poor.
    I myself am will hear on Wednesday if my PCT are going to continue to fund the ONLY medicine i can take that allows me to have some life.
    If this is removed i will become bedbound not even capable of making it to the bathroom.
    So Georgie Boy and call me Dave or even I agree with Nick what exactly are you going to suffer?
    I may as well be dead THANKS.

  • Comment number 99.

    Another greedy bankers post?


    I know a banker, and er, he is greedy! He has bought 12 properties in the last 5 years and deprived young first time buyers of opportunities to buy, because he is not the only person doing this. He openly admits that he wants to make as much money as possible.

    Envy? No. Just an understanding that there are people out there who just want to make money.

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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