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Would-be chancellors' debate

Stephanie Flanders | 14:00 UK time, Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Andrew Neil and I are about to lead a crucial debate with the three men who would like to be Chancellor after the election: Alistair Darling, George Osborne and Vince Cable. Will Mr Darling admit that Labour was wrong to claim to have abolished boom and bust? Will George Osborne admit that back office workers are people too? Will Vincent Cable admit that he doesn't have all the answers after all?

All these questions and more...on BBC 2's Daily Politics at 2.15 pm.

And if that doesn't take your fancy - I've been working on a Reality Check on the vexed subject of "British workers for British jobs".
Read all about it here.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    You should ask him about how honest are his tax cuts going to be????

    For example, they say they will raise income tax threshold from £10,000 which will see people have £700 tax cut and yet they have said openly they would still increase Labour's National Insurance tax which will see someone on £20,000 pay £203 in tax, labour's tax on petrol, alcohol duty and would introduce a tax on airtravel and make capital gains more regressive on the middle class.

    Therefore i would like to know how much of Labour's tax rises will eat into the £700 tax cut for the middle class and the £300 tax cut for the poorest.

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 2.

    Ask them how any "Fair" (quite a buzz word these days) system to cope with the "Bust" can exist without taking into account how greatly beneficial the "Boom" was on an individual level?

    Because I don't see it.

    I just see lies: that inherently unfair systems are somehow "Fair", if called "Fair" by high ranking politicians.

  • Comment number 3.

    The important differences are very little. They present working on this item or that as some fundemental shift when 95% of everything stays the same. What about banking regulations that would prevent what has already happened from happening again. They all walk hand in hand with the bankers.

  • Comment number 4.

    All you need to ask each one of them is to explain the process which results in huge profits for banks.

    What benefit to society are they bringing for such great rewards - and why none of them are willing to ask these questions. Is it because they all have a vested interest?

    If you were brave enough to ask this question you could not get a viable answer. For all their supposed intelligence - not one of them will delve into the mysteries of banking for fear of what they might find.

    Sure we can discuss the 'reward for risk' - but since bailouts have all but eliminated default risk and losses - and the banks clearly mis-priced their risk for a decade - the argument holds no water - and they certainly don't deserve the huge payments they are currently receiving for abject failure of their responsibilities.

    All 3 chancellors will end up propping up banks at our expense (it's already happened) - there is very little to choose between them and they clearly have no new or radical ideas to stem the fall of Capitalism.

  • Comment number 5.

    Who was it that sold off our gold reserves, at low very prices, not so long ago - and what would they be worth now ?? What will we be selling when the next crisis hits ??

  • Comment number 6.

    It would be nice if all parties would publish all their figures in detail showing where they intend to make savings and where they will spend the savings. I accept that a large proportion of the population will not understand these figure but there are a fair proportion of us who will and can make a valid assessment of what is achievable or not.

    Does our vote count anyway as some years ago the boundaries were changed which guarantees more seats to labour than any other party whatever the voting result- One expects this behaviour in a communist state or dictatorship but not in a democratic state.

  • Comment number 7.

    I see that Greece is now paying 7.6% interest on its recently issued bonds. With the increasing UK borrowing levels you should ask the potential chancellors what their opinion is on how long before the UK has to pay similar interest and what overall effect it could have on government spending.

  • Comment number 8.

    Just watched the debate, Steph; you sat next to a wrinkly old enough to be your dad, and both of you picking on a wrinkly old enough to be your grandad ..... while Bodgitt and Scarper got off scot free!

  • Comment number 9.

    Given the now perilous state of pension funds throughout the UK, does Alistair Darling now agree that the Government's 1997 raid on pension fund income through abolition of tax credits was utter folly and resulted in a huge drain on both the private and public sector finances?

  • Comment number 10.

    A friend told me how the Norwegian government had used the offshore discovery of oil in a completely different way from us and had invested the money in companies in several countries. I remembered that the Tories had sold off our oil companies in the Eighties.

    Then I thought that it might be a good thing that they did. Had they not sold the oil, electricity, gas and water companies , British Airways, British Coal, British Steel, Rolls Royce and BAA ,then, instead of unemployment only doubling, it might have tripled. On the other hand, those companies would be providing dividend for us now besides having a greater value.

    Then, I became worried. What will there be available for them to sell off to stop unemployment tripling if they get in this time. Then I thought of Buckingham Palace and the Queen and the Duke. Of course, that is what they will do and that is what they will tell us about in their emergency budget. That is why David Cameron just stood there quiet but smirking on the ITV election show. He could not play his ace card, or should I say Royal Flush, but he knew what a swish move he would make after the election.

    Then I wondered how will they do it? Will it be an auction? What am I offered for this cantankerous old man? Then does the person that you buy actually work for you or is he/she just for you to show off. Do you take them around in your open top Ferrari and tell them to wave to your friends. But it all fits together. The newspaper tycoons, with Lord Ashcroft and the company chief executives would all like a bit of the action. They already own the Lords and are buying the Commons in this election. Murdoch, being an Australian, would think it is a final victory to buy the Pom Monarchy. The clothes company could force Prince Philip to wear their y-fronts so they could advertise ‘by appointment to the Duke’. The airline company could advertise ‘Fly the Queen’.

    It could be the most popular privatisation. I am sure that every citizen that supports the English cricket team would want to buy a share. There could be a popular advertising campaign based around ‘One should tell Sir Sid’. There could be commemorative cups and flags. There would also be a lot of overseas interest if you consider the number of football clubs like Manchester United that are owned by foreigners.

    Judging by some of the comments on these blogs, some people would think it is better to sell these ‘Public Sector layabouts’ into the Private Sector rather than making them redundant. Just think of all the taxes wasted on them and they do nothing, some would say. Then they could become part of the wealth creating sector. At the moment, all the additional spending that that comes from the tourists visiting Britain is seen as the shops etc being wealth creators. Once the Monarchy was in the Private Sector, they would be credited with wealth creation.

  • Comment number 11.

    Well, I thought Vince Cable won the debate again, narrowly followed by Alistair Darling.

    George Osborne looks and speaks like a wet lettuce that is out of his depth. No explanation as to where money would come from for the Tories NI tax cut (again).

  • Comment number 12.

    I watched it.

    None of them talked about how they were going to rebalance the economy so I assume they don't intend to which is what I always suspected in the first place.

  • Comment number 13.

    7. At 3:24pm on 21 Apr 2010, Tim

    8.3% on their ten year bonds - it's a fast moving game now....

    The arrival of the IMF has ended Greece's relationship with the bond market. All future money will have to be raised from bailout / loan money from the EU or IMF.

    It's a default folks.

    It's very interesting that Greece are officially still 'solvent' and yet they pay more for their 'secured debt' than I pay for my unsecured debt.

    The fat lady has begun to clear her throat - where are all the noisy Capitalists to defend their system?

    Capitalism's failure (again) produced the debts which Greece are now defaulting on - where are the supporters of this system? Why are they not trying to tell us it was greece's fault and not the endless loyalty to a contradictory system?

    Silence from them all - until they can find an easy target to blame.

    Borrowers
    The Regulators
    The Government
    The central bank
    The poor
    The unemployed

    They have blamed them all - and not one of them is guilty - they all fail to look at themselves for the true source of failure.

    The system is doomed to fail - they have no answers except blame.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm a back-office worker in the private sector. If an organisation run purely for profit has determined that it needs me in order to function effectively, what makes George Osborne think that public organisations can do without?

  • Comment number 15.

    ....and here we have proof that no lie can be sustained for too long....

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/apr/21/portsmouth-119m-debt-football

    What's fascinating is this is the very man who only a few weeks ago said "there are many interested buyers for this club"

    ...so what happened to them?

    This is a common lie being told by all companies in trouble (it's not a Portsmouth thing). However t30 seconds of logical thought will conclude "If I were a rich man, would I be interested in buying a football club with massive (and rising) debts and dwindling revenue"

    Of course the answer is no - at the best of times a football club is a loss making plaything - in these times it's a quick way to loose your shirt.

    Now watch how many other 'recently troubled' companies who apparently had 'much interest in a sale' will come out of the woodwork.

    Football clubs are bought on their potential - and that potential has nose-dived. Even the mighty Liverpool don't seem like a good buy at the moment. Historical performance is not a reflection on future performance - no matter whan your crooked financial advisor says.

    Prepare for some firesales.

  • Comment number 16.

    As somebody of the same age as Andrew Neil I object to the earlier reference to wrinklies. I remind you that we are the largest sector of the population and far more likely to vote. As to the debate, well done for exposing the bogus air of piety surrounding Vince Cable, who would not last long in the pressure cooker as Chancellor (he is even older!). Even Darling is better than him. You did go for him more than the others but that was fair enough given the need for some bubble oricking.

  • Comment number 17.

    #4 WOTW "All 3 chancellors ... clearly have no new or radical ideas to stem the fall of Capitalism."

    Isn't language strange? Anyone reading this (even from WOTW) would think "stemming the fall" of capitalism (which does not deserve a capital C) is a good idea. No: a good idea is to evolve social arrangements that would give as much (or more) stability, respect for private property, and freedom of speech as capitalism used to when it used to, before it got to the cancer stage [see McMurtry].

    Come on man, be subversive.

    [PS for Stanilic. Stability, respect etc. are also means to an end. The blog format does not allow me to expand on the nature of that.]

  • Comment number 18.

    I saw the entertaining Chancellor's Debate on BBC2 with Andrew Neil and Stephanie Flanders and interersting it was. I have just seen the BBC News Channel show a few shots of this debate - it only showed the part where Darling then Cable attacked Osborne on the NIC question. It did not show Osborne's sharp retorts or, in fact, anything of Osborne. Another scandalous display by this increasingly partisan BBC. I have been watching quite a bit of the Parliament channel and recently the person who appears most, it seems to me, is Brown. I hope very much that if the Conservatives get in they really rip into the BBC and scourge this over bloated organ of the Labour party. Perhaps someone from the BBC may want to challenge what I have just said.

  • Comment number 19.

    don't worry Labour and the Lib Dems have a tax for that.......

  • Comment number 20.

    Stephanie

    I have just read you article on British jobs.

    You take a long time to explain the simple fact that the British job market ceased to function at some point. This suggests major disruption to the economic structures functioning in the country.

    The emphasis on East European migration to my mind is absurd: all the Poles and Romanians have done is take up the slack left by the Irish workers when they went home as things became better where they came from. If anyone should be complaining about recent East European migration into the UK then it should be the newly impoverished Irish.

    It became quite apparent sometime around ten years ago that it was very difficult for the less academically endowed youngster to get work on leaving achool. I have never found a satisfactory answer to this question as many of the kids are not layabouts and respond well when treated well. Yet time and again they never got the job. Is this a training issue, a matter of values both amongst employers and employees? I have no idea. Now the worst unemployment is amongst young people aged 16 to 24: many of whom are the first immigrant generation to grow up in this country. This should concern us most of all given the recent French experience.

    Then we have the welfare trap where the difference between receiving the Minimum Wage minus tax and NICS and living off welfare is so marginal that there is little incentive to go to work other than maintaining personal moral standards. The reality is that a migrant from a depressed and damaged country will get a bigger personal gain from a low paid job in the UK than the native.

    Lastly, we have the experience of our industrial sector over the last thirteen years. More manufacturing jobs have been lost in British industry under New Labour than we ever lost under Thatcher. Sure a lot were redeployed into the public sector as a job is a job regardless, but a job that adds value direct into the economy multiplies more wealth for scoiety than sustaining demand through public employment.

    The simple truth is that manufacturing has been neglected by this government, causing long term unemployment and loss of income to both the workers and the Treasury. The policy of favouring the banks has caused major economic disruption elsewhere in the economy and the employment market.

    All many people in this country can look forward to is a marginal living on welfare because the jobs have been allowed to go elsewhere. Workers' incomes have been driven down due to imported deflation and widespread structural economic decline. This neglect is going to cost Labour dear. However, we do need a new economic policy that encourages employment through value adding activity. This is what we need and this is what we should get, but we require a return to sensible economic policies before any of this can happen. We are perhaps some years way from this.

    I do feel that despite the very common articulation of complaints that foreign workers have taken work away from the natives, out time would be better spent asking why the necessary economic and social policies did not exist to maximise the employment of locals first as nobody is going to migrate to a country where they can't get work. The immigration is a symptom of a deeper problem.

  • Comment number 21.

    Voice of Reason.

    You are living in cloud cuckoo land.. Cable he was slaughtered, ( at which point did you turn off or fall asleep)he was found out that he is a lightweight that he is, hiding behind populist headlines. Well done to the questioners for exposing the great Liberal myth in front of the Nation.

  • Comment number 22.

    How Mr Cable can justify massive tax handouts at a time when we the gravest of economic crises and when hundreds of thousands of public sector workers will lose their jobs in the next two years or so, beggars belief?

    Foxyblogger

  • Comment number 23.

    To claim to have abolished boom and bust was just plain stupid (especially from an historian...)
    The better question (for all of them) is how they intend to get the private sector debt burden down to more acceptable levels? Will they use exceptionally low interest rates for a long time (with distorting effects on asset prices)? or will they encourage inflation to let rip? or will they just ignore the issue and, instead, encourage banks to lend more to already over-borrowed customers?
    You could also ask them if they really think it a good idea that (despite the modest correction in the UK) an 'average' house still cannot be purchased by an 'average' wage earner unless they take on more debt than they can comfortably service? - how will they drive house prices down to correct this situation?

  • Comment number 24.

    11. At 3:47pm on 21 Apr 2010, Voice_of_Reason wrote:
    Well, I thought Vince Cable won the debate again, narrowly followed by Alistair Darling.

    ======
    Thought?

  • Comment number 25.

    Clearly Osbourne won the debate, Cable was shown for the false prophet he really is, Darling came across as a nice man, however, a man in need of a reality check.

    Could I also ask why the BBC failed to show the response from Osbourne to Darling?, the BBC news segments have distorted their clips to make Darling look stronger than he really was.

  • Comment number 26.

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

  • Comment number 27.

    18. At 5:04pm on 21 Apr 2010, brian kelly

    Its ok, they won't. Get in that is.

  • Comment number 28.

    13. At 4:50pm on 21 Apr 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    7. At 3:24pm on 21 Apr 2010, Tim

    8.3% on their ten year bonds - it's a fast moving game now....

    The arrival of the IMF has ended Greece's relationship with the bond market. All future money will have to be raised from bailout / loan money from the EU or IMF.

    It's a default folks.

    It's very interesting that Greece are officially still 'solvent' and yet they pay more for their 'secured debt' than I pay for my unsecured debt.

    The fat lady has begun to clear her throat - where are all the noisy Capitalists to defend their system?

    =========

    I thought the Greeks were in debt because they spend vast sums on their public sector, including their armed forces (or do they use Mercenaries?) and don't raise enough in taxes. Can't see how that is simple 'Capitalism'.

  • Comment number 29.

    18. At 5:04pm on 21 Apr 2010, brian kelly

    Actually I feel the need to slide further off the fence on this one.

    As someone who would gladly pay double the fee for the service that the BBC provide I find this sort of nonsense offensive. Perhaps somewhat sadly I also watch quite a bit of coverage of the Parliament channel and put it to you that your contention is dogma.

    A simple review of the historic programming schedules puts the lie to this claim. Much of what is covered comes from committees and almost none of it gives a platform to Gordon Brown.

    The idea of institutional bias in the BBC is a Conservative myth. Let me guess, you vote Green?



  • Comment number 30.

    11. At 3:47pm on 21 Apr 2010, Voice_of_Reason wrote:
    Well, I thought Vince Cable won the debate again, narrowly followed by Alistair Darling.

    George Osborne looks and speaks like a wet lettuce that is out of his depth. No explanation as to where money would come from for the Tories NI tax cut (again).
    ===========
    NI Cut? You mean your lot have already raised NI?

  • Comment number 31.

    A hung parliament could work but it depends on the majority party constituents?

    Labour has never taken the UK economy out of a major recession and is probably incapable of doing so and the current Labour government wears 'inertia' as its badge of incompetence.

    Inertia of all forms and varieties would spell disaster in a hung parliament if Britian e.g. fails to act decisively in cutting the UK budget debt/deficit and/or fails to spend UK taxpayer money with real efficiency.

    Foreign bond investors are not generally a bunch of passive 'white-knights' - they are vicious financial parasites and vultures who always want their pound of flesh and others will also take great delight in attacking sterling if the bond yields and interest payments are not achieved - so as to cash in on the resulting currency volatility.

    Ironically, Britain is more exposed here - because of of our own 'over-grown' City of London financial sector!

    Failure to act and cut the deficit is inertia - inertia even in an amicable but do nothing hung parliament will spell disaster and a further visit by the UK, in disgrace, to the IMF, as Ken Clarke has indicated. This is what I think Ken Clarke is referring to but I think there is over-reaction to his comments today as the position on this has been clear to many politicains, analysts, economists, journalists for some time. Is it really the 'big surprise'?

    This is not scaremongering - this is setting out the price to the UK of continuing governmental failure - this is the price of political, economic and policy 'inertia'.

    The EU and EU member states are not going to help the UK - we're on our own.

    Its the potential for 'inertia' - that is the concern - not a hung parliament in itself.

  • Comment number 32.

    14. Tim wrote:

    "I'm a back-office worker in the private sector. If an organisation run purely for profit has determined that it needs me in order to function effectively, what makes George Osborne think that public organisations can do without?"

    Very simple, as he, like most politicians, hasn't run anything in his life - he has no idea how anything runs. Silver spoon from his dad, Sir Peter George Osborne, 17th Baronet - apparently he did work as a clerk (if his wiki entry is correct) entering death statistics for the NHS and that is about it.

  • Comment number 33.

    #13, #15. writingsonthewall wrote:

    "The system is doomed to fail - they have no answers except blame."

    But we have some of the answers here don't we!

    Except, as all of our answers require admitting that almost everything economic done since the late 1970's is essentially part of the problem or just bunk, neither of the main parties dare admit the truth! (Particularly in the run up to an election!)

  • Comment number 34.

    #23. molieres wrote:

    "how will they drive house prices down to correct this situation?"

    Quite right - a very pertinent question.

    To which I would like to add how do you encourage saving when for most modest savers the returns are negative?

    The economy has to be rebalanced and to use the language I have used before we have to de-leverage private debt and that is a far bigger problem than correcting the public finances. But they dare not talk about it. I tried discussing this problem with an external director at the Bank of E. yesterday and as soon as he realised where the conversation was going he made an excuse and left - 'they' know how big a hole we are in, but they are scared to talk about it - we have wimps in change!

  • Comment number 35.

    #20 Stanilic: "The immigration is a symptom of a deeper problem."

    yes, Stanilic, and even deeper than you think. One of the things that I cannot tolerate is the mantra that if an immigrant is skilled enough "Britain needs her/him"; I have heard such stuff from LibDems and in fact from anyone who wants to remove immigration restrictions.

    But if you think about it, and I am surprised no thinkers on the left have cottoned on to this, liberal immigration policy is a weapon of colonialism. Clearly, prospective immigrants are the best and brightest (or at least the most ambitious and aware of opportunities elsewhere) in their countries. By letting them in, the West certainly is acting morally and in its own interest. But there is moral and there is moral. There is "locally" as we say in my trade or tactically moral, amnd there is "globally" and strategically: by draining the best brains and ambition from countries which can do with these, we are keeping them down (one reason why the middle class can never arise there). The argument for open borders for people who "deserve" it is so solid that anyone who would point out this fundamental flaw (it is a flaw even though it is true that if there is a really hot property (!) potential immigrant and country A does not let her in, there will be a country B that will oblige so that both country of origin and A would "lose out") will be branded a racist and a xenophobe. Not acknowledging this flaw and the consequences of policy especially for the third world is hypocrisy. And the demographic facts in the West have nothing to do with it.

    What the West should be doing (and again, in my trade I know of moves in the right direction) is helping to create conditions so that the best can be nurtured locally.

    [Obviously the above has no bearing on do with bona fide political asylum seekers, just economic migrants.]

  • Comment number 36.

    Stephanie, why would Gordon Brown admit to abolishing boom & bust? Even if you say we are now bust, I never got the impression we were in a boom.

  • Comment number 37.

    When are politicians going to mention the unbearable cost of our benefit system. Our social system is constructed in such a way that it favours those who do not work and are better off not working. I think the basis for any social policy should be constructed so that it should never be possible to be better off for doing nothing than by working for a living.
    Plus it should never be the case that for who save for their retirement should be worse off than those who do not.
    Mowcopmike

  • Comment number 38.

    #11. Voice_of_Reason wrote:
    Well, I thought Vince Cable won the debate again, narrowly followed by Alistair Darling.


    Are you a football fan? If so, who do you support? Manchester United or Chelsea? Maybe it depends who is currently top of the league?

    Your posts do make my day. I'd love to know your background and employment. You seem to live in a surreal bubble of deluded happiness.

    I wish I could place a bet on how long it takes for you to switch to voting LibDem from your (currently) beloved Labour.

  • Comment number 39.

    How many non British born immigrants have entered the UK in the last 10 -13 years - can we get this one right first?

    5.something million?

    The jobs, housing and benefits services etc that they have - could have gone to British born nationals living in the UK - True or false?

    The immigrants might not have actually taken a job or hospital appointment in the sense of e.g. that's my office chair, that's my leg operation, get out of my house

    .... but they have taken these jobs, services, benefits that could have gone to British born nationals and there is no mechanism to show whether the economic or any other benefits of having these immigrants outweighs the cost of having these immigrants.

    Some British born people have lost out significantly - and so as the British taxpayer.

    Game set and match - Simples! They're not just taking our jobs - they're taking the ****

  • Comment number 40.

    Stephanie,
    I watched your chancellors' debate today, and was pleased to see Vince having to defend his proposals. I'd quite like a tax cut, its a pity a nation milked dry by Labour cannot afford it.

    Today in the Times was a striking graphic showing a graph of private sector employment and public sector employment. One steadily falling, and the other steadily rising, over the last 10 years.

    Surely this is one of the most important issues of this election, the fact that year on year our ability to fund ourselves has been destroyed by a combination of government policies, and completely masked by public sector employment based on borrowing from all our futures.

    This is of course the "structural deficit" that you tried to get George Osborne to admit to what he meant by "removing the bulk". This is hard wired into our economy and has nothing to do with the credit crunch and recession. The Times article estimated 600,000 jobs needing to be lost in the public sector.

    What the general public simply don't understand is that these 600,000 jobs have never been affordable for the last 5 years. We and our children have been paying for them out of our future taxes.

    Maybe the ultra positives on this forum (who all seem to also be in the "I'm all right Jack" camp) will one day wake from their dream and realise how much poorer we are as a nation than they have been brainwashed to think.



  • Comment number 41.

    A question to J_f_H: if the returns on savings are negligible, does it not make sense to pay off debts? My savings do nothing, so I am paying more of the mortgage and will also increase my monthly payment of the student loan of one of my children. If everyone did that 1) would this not willy-nilly lead to some deleveraging of personal debt and 2) help a bit when the interest rates go up (when indeed it would make sense to save).

    It would have been very nice if at least one party encouraged this deleveraging instead of pushing savings money into consumption.

    Or am I getting something wrong here?

  • Comment number 42.

    #37 says "Our social system is constructed in such a way that it favours those who do not work and are better off not working."

    As much as I don't like benefit fraud, I feel this point is given too much weight. I earn a paultry £16k per year, full time, in the public sector (and yes, I do actually work)... I find life just about bearable, but to claim being on benefits favours me??? I don't think so... If i claimed housing, job seekers, and even disability benefit, I'd be earning about £8k per year, at best (I have no assets or savings). So this argument is nonsense...

    The biggest problem in Britain is that everyone expects to earn £20k plus, regardless of what skills they have. When they discover they can't, they get lazy, and sit around earning not much, but then they ain't doing much either.

  • Comment number 43.

    The public sector is bloated, inefficient and unsustainable. No matter how much we might like having it.
    When one of these guys gets honest enough to admit this and make a plan to cut it back so we can start REDUCING the debt that Gordon Brown has accumulated on our behalf instead of merely slowing it's rate of growth, then my vote will be decided.

  • Comment number 44.

    I'm seeing comments that blame Gordon Brown and his government as being soley responsible for the situation we are in at the moment. It would be worth the time of these people to think about the rest of the world being in precisely the same situation, too. Its time to lay the blame where it actually belongs; on the shoulders of the corrupt American banks and the greed of banks in general. They triggered this current world collapse not Gordon Brown.

    I'm not even a socialist either. Amazing isn't it?

  • Comment number 45.

    #35
    "What the West should be doing (and again, in my trade I know of moves in the right direction) is helping to create conditions so that the best can be nurtured locally. "

    An example would be helpful.

    The trouble is a lot of these countries have never fully recovered from colonialism. Their ruling classes copied their colonial masters well; so many dictators in Africa took the well trodden route of 'Son of a Chief' -> public school -> Oxbridge.

    Perhaps we should leave them alone and not patronise - they will get there eventually.

    By economic migrants I assume of course that you are not referring to people from the EU member states.

  • Comment number 46.

    "But Britain is an aging society: our population isn't growing very fast" - is a sanitised version of saying we've killed 600 unborn babies day every day since 1967 in the UK and now we've run out of people so we have to import them – it’ s that bad.
    With more jobs unnecessarily requiring graduate entry - funded by student debt - meaning that you have to remain in debt and so full time employment and childless till your early thirties (despite the media image, it’s not school girls who kill the most babies in abortion chambers it’s women in their early to mid-twenties, the perfect age for new motherhood – i.e. it’s not ‘Oh I didn’t know where babies come from, we should have started sex education a 3 rather than 4 years old’ nonsense it’s ‘money’ that’s the big factor) and even then, you stand little chance of getting on the property ladder and getting an adequate pension... and then if you do get a good job you get taxed to death because 'you’re rich' as you have a ‘high’ income (to buy a decent family flat is £225K to £275K so either both husband and wife need to work full time - i.e. no babies - or else the husband needs to earn so much he pays 40% tax + 20% NI, this higher rate was meant for the super rich not the average family man) yet they live in dingy rented accommodation while – ‘poor’ people with ‘low income’ live in virtually free council housing and jet off on holiday round the World every year on their high disposable income - this is a little short of the genocide of the middle class but as so many key marginals depend of the votes of ‘the poor’ this is never going to be an election issue.
    In the same way that the silly out-of-date pre-machine age financial system we use, backed by Chinese Imports ‘bought’ using Chinese Debt - so not yet ‘bought’ – ‘paid for’ at all yet (we nearly pay the same in interest to the Chinese every year as we do on our defence budget) has wrecked our industrial base better that the Chinese air force could have using bombs, our ‘essential’ population is also being wiped out. Our working class is being replaced by an unemployable druggie class, our middle class simply can’t afford to breed anymore – the last remaining chance is having a multiple deformed IVF baby before as you approach 50 : kidneys too small, lungs not formed well... 'we accept credit cards' ... or we could use NEFS - ('Net Export Financial Simulation').

  • Comment number 47.

    Re 20 Stanilic wrote
    More manufacturing jobs have been lost in British industry under New Labour than we ever lost under Thatcher.
    ------
    Are there any official figures to substantiate your claim?
    I am told by “Call me Dave” (and he would not lie) that the public sector has grown by the thousands. If this is true, how can your claim be anything more than a figment of your imagination?

  • Comment number 48.

    #41
    "Or am I getting something wrong here?"

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

    Yes you are but I sympathise.

    Our western economies are a bit like the 'hamsters wheel'. We have to keep peddling away (consuming) to avoid the spectre of unemployment.

    All western economies are like this too varying degress. The German economy is slightly less so. Exporting is king and consumption not so marked; leading to a lot of critiscm that the Germans, by not stepping up consumption, are not helping other economies in Europe.

    If de-leveraging in the UK shifted resource from consumption into exports fine. Unfortunately we don't do exports do we.

    '..so I am paying more of the mortgage and will also increase my monthly payment of the student loan of one of my children'

    Should have bought him/her an iPad instead and done your bit for consumption. Well it would help the USA.

  • Comment number 49.

    31. At 7:25pm on 21 Apr 2010, nautonier wrote:

    Labour has never taken the UK economy out of a major recession.

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

    Labour got Britain out of the oil crisis of the 70s by developing North Sea Oil' Unemployment was reducing when the Tories got in and doubled it. Then the Tories created their own crisis by the ERM debacle where they wasted billions of taxpayers' money defending the pound and then capitulating.

  • Comment number 50.

    Stephanie, can I suggest that you try to question Vince Cable on his plans to remove higher rate tax relief on pensions?

    The current plans to restrict higher rate tax relief for people earning over £150k, have been designed to ensure fairness between private and public sector, defined benefit and defined contribution and employer and employee funded schemes.

    Assuming the same principles of fairness apply to the lib dems plans (and they are keen on fairness), a public sector employee in a typical public sector pension scheme earning £45k a year can expect to receive an additional tax bill of 20% on a deemed pension contribution of 20% of salary, possibly more. That is £1800 a year, leaving him or her over £1000 a year worse off after the rise in basic rate threshold has been taken into account.

    And woe betide anyone in a final salary scheme who receives a promotion. The tax bill on the increase in the accumulated pension entitlement for an employee with 20 year's service will, in the first year, be more than the value of the promotion itself!

    This would affect senior classroom teachers, senior nurses, some university lecturers, police inspectors etc. So why has no-one asked Vince to explain this policy?

  • Comment number 51.

    Cable's comment on the "Mugabe school of economics" is here:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/vincent-cable-confiscating-savings-from-the-poor-is-both-stupid-and-cruel-1231923.html

    He is warning of the dangers of monetary expansion. He does not say "monetary expansion is always bad", he says it

    "may prove to be necessary but will have to be managed with great skill and care"

    This seems like an entirely reasonable statement. Where is the flip-flop on this point? That particular attack seemed like a very cheap shot.

  • Comment number 52.

    #46
    " and then if you do get a good job you get taxed to death because 'you’re rich' as you have a ‘high’ income (to buy a decent family flat is £225K to £275K so either both husband and wife need to work full time - i.e. no babies - or else the husband needs to earn so much he pays 40% tax + 20% NI, this higher rate was meant for the super rich not the average family man) yet they live in dingy rented accommodation while – ‘poor’ people with ‘low income’ live in virtually free council housing and jet off on holiday round the World every year on their high disposable income - this is a little short of the genocide of the middle class but as so many key marginals depend of the votes of ‘the poor’ this is never going to be an election issue."

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

    And the award for most depressing post goes to...

    The middle classes are rather hung up on buying. This has played a part in the snobbery of ownership and treating people who rent as 'losers'.

    Look to Europe and you will see this is not the case. Perfectly normal respectable high earning people rent - it is almost the norm.

    A 'roof over ones head' is a fairly basic human right and not too complicated, and it need not consume all of your disposable income. Just stop the masochistic snobbery.

    A delegation from outer space observing the citizens of the UK in how they go about organising the basics of society might come to the conclusion that the natives are either retarded or masochistic.


  • Comment number 53.

    # 48: did not understand what you think it is I am getting wrong... I seem to be deleveraging and also helping my daughter to deleverage. iPad is not available in the UK. I myself do not look at anything not Linux anyway.

    #45: For the example I had in mind see www.aims.ac.za

    The chief's son who went to Oxbridge sometimes returned back for better or for worse.

    "By economic migrants I assume of course that you are not referring to people from the EU member states."

    You got me there. I am not sure I don't, if you are including Eastern Europe. It is not clear to me that it is moral to cherry-pick the best academics, doctors, engineers in Poland. It is legal of course, and self-interest of a Polish engineer certainly coincides with the interest of a British company in employing him (see my mails on the Labour educational debacle), but does it coincide with the best interests of Poland and the EU in toto? Or are we saying "There is no such thing as society" when it refers to Poland? This business of local vs global is tricky.





    # 45

  • Comment number 54.

    You clearly haven't been watching the Parliament channel too closely since the election campaign began - I have not seen one Select Committee debate as it is all about the election - although in 'normal times' Select Committees predominate. Odd that. Let me guess - you're clearly not a 'green' so it isn't really surprising that you find the BBC output worth twice the current tariff.

  • Comment number 55.

    #44
    "Its time to lay the blame where it actually belongs; on the shoulders of the corrupt American banks and the greed of banks in general. They triggered this current world collapse not Gordon Brown. "

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

    The Tory Boys on this blog tend to do a Nelson on this one 'I see no banking collapse'.

    The reason of course is they have motive (tax cuts from WeAreAllInitTogetha) and opportunity (an election).

    Like him or loathe him (I loathe him) Gordon Brown did a pretty good job on steering us through the worst effects of the worst recession since the thirties.

  • Comment number 56.

    Look, this debate should be about one thing - who is going to sort out our budget deficit and long term debt. There is no other game in town. Foreign workers taking British jobs, too much welfare, ageing population, blame the Bankers and screw them etc etc are only parameters in our future.

    We are running a deficit of around £160 billion a year. Even when this halves (if it does in 4 years) our deficit will be twice what Brown was suicidally running at in 2007. Our debt will climb to 100% of GDP by 2015.

    Regardless of who was to blame we are deep in the clarty. The debate has to be about the brutalities of what has to happen. Look at the Irish to get some idea. We have to reduce Govt spending drastically and the issue will be who will tackle best the incentives to grow the private sector while the public sector is reined in.

    Constant bleating about our lost manufacturing sector doesn't help. Japan has a huge manufacturing base and a whopping debt of 200% of GDP. So the debate has to be short and long term. How do we reduce the deficit drastically in the life of the next parliament and how to we focus on ours and our kids futures. We need some proper strategic planning not sound bites and instant reactions to news items. I bet we don't even get near the issues for fear of frightening the horses!

  • Comment number 57.

    #53
    "# 48: did not understand what you think it is I am getting wrong... I seem to be deleveraging and also helping my daughter to deleverage. iPad is not available in the UK. I myself do not look at anything not Linux anyway."

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

    You are not doing anything wrong. It is a logical course of action for those in the position of being able to do it.

    The unemployed are not in that fortunate position. A tad difficult de-leveraging on £64.30 JSA.

    My post was a tongue in cheek reference to how dependent we are on consumption. Once the hamsters wheel stops turning it is very hard to get it going again.

  • Comment number 58.

    I think we need a few facts for the election and the average person:
    1. The more you earn the more tax you pay.
    2. The more you earn the less you take home as a percentage of your gross salary.
    3. The electoral system is unfair if more votes do not yield more seats.
    4. Part of the blame for the economic crisis must be Gordon Brown's.
    5. Rising prices of petrol are mainly due this time to the fall in value of the £ and new taxes.
    6. The fall in the value of the £ has to be partly attributable to Gordon Brown.
    7. There has been an International crisis but it has not affected all countries equally as the falling exchange rate shows. Britain has done less well under Gordon Brown.
    8. Increases in employment over the last few years have been mainly in the public sector. This is one cause of our current monetary problems.
    9. 13 years is long enough for one party to govern.
    10. Lib-Dem promises of vast tax cuts has to be seen as suspect and desperation.
    11. The Euro is attractive when on holiday but voting for a party committed to join has to be seen as suspect.
    12. Not planning for a replacement to Trident has to be seen as suspect.
    13. Safety had to come first regarding the volcano dust scandal, but where was the government leadership. Once again dither.
    14. May 6 is too far away

  • Comment number 59.

    55

    What poppycock

    £168bn deficit

    £1.4tn debt by 2015

    2.5M unemployed..highest for 14 years

    The number in employment down again to 2005 levels

    Almost 750,000 unemployed for more than 12 months, and statisctically 5 times more likely to die than return to work

    8.16 economically inactive, highest ever since records began in 1971

    If that is success...then you have pretty low expectations

  • Comment number 60.

    23. molieres wrote: "how will they drive house prices down to correct this situation?"
    34.John_from_Hendon wrote: "To which I would like to add how do you encourage saving when for most modest savers the returns are negative?"

    A high deposit requirement for residential mortgages during periods of property boom and a low deposit requirement in periods of property bust (c.f. reserve requirements for banks). Among intended consequences one might be to align the tendency to treat a home as a savings device with the business cycle. During bust value could be extracted from a property as deposit requirements are reduced, but during boom this would be more difficult.

    (Even in desperate times Andrew Neil provides a laugh with the boom and bust question, it clearly can't be answered - never had it so good to never had it so bad, would not go down to well with anyone - keep up the humour AN it may be all we have left. And if you can get post-neoclassical endogenous growth theory into a question before the election then I will chuckle again.)



  • Comment number 61.

    #56
    "The debate has to be about the brutalities of what has to happen."

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

    What 'brutalities' do you have in mind.

    The deficit is a ticking bomb. Do we hire a skilled bomb disposal expert or go for a cruder solution (with the consequential toll on jobs).

    The Irish have managed to reduce the deficit; unfortunately they have reduced GDP as well. Theres an Irish joke in their somewhere.

    'Japan has a huge manufacturing base and a whopping debt of 200% of GDP.'

    Japan is still a major economic force with a key presence in the new technologies.

    A ticking bomb is better than an explosion.

    We need to focus on the deficit without the hysteria and using it as a recruiting Sargent for attacking the public sector.

  • Comment number 62.

    #55 Richard Dingle

    "Like him or loathe him (I loathe him) Gordon Brown did a pretty good job on steering us through the worst effects of the worst recession since the thirties"

    In the wrong direction, however, as will be apparent in the next phase of the Great Crisis. Time to pay the piper for all that borrowed loot, chaps. It's about to be payback time. If you don't pay up, they'll send round the heavies from the IMF. It's common knowledge. Even Kenneth Clarke has said so.

    Enjoy the spending cuts, if you can manage to elect a government to implement them. Then watch it fighting with the government in Scotland, as the latter gears up for the Scottish general election in 2011 . . . and the referendum on independence, of course.

  • Comment number 63.


    50. At 9:48pm on 21 Apr 2010, osborne_reynolds wrote:

    Stephanie, can I suggest that you try to question Vince Cable on his plans to remove higher rate tax relief on pensions?

    The current plans to restrict higher rate tax relief for people earning over £150k, have been designed to ensure fairness between private and public sector, defined benefit and defined contribution and employer and employee funded schemes.

    Assuming the same principles of fairness apply to the lib dems plans (and they are keen on fairness), a public sector employee in a typical public sector pension scheme earning £45k a year can expect to receive an additional tax bill of 20% on a deemed pension contribution of 20% of salary, possibly more. That is £1800 a year, leaving him or her over £1000 a year worse off after the rise in basic rate threshold has been taken into account.


    Sorry, I got that calculation wrong. The tax charge would be 25% of the net pension contribution, not 20%. And for an older employee, or in a pension scheme with a lower retirement age, the deemed pension contribution could be as high as 1/3 of salary. Which would make a tax payment of £3750, or £3050 taking into account the rise in basic rate threshold.

    And I didn't point out that the eligibility rules for restricting tax relief to employees earning over £150k are based on salary + employer contribution. Applying this principle means that you could be a net loser if you are earning as little as £40k. eg £40k salary + deemed employer pension contribution of £8k => 25% tax payable on £4.5k => £425 worse off.

  • Comment number 64.

    #56 dontmakeawave,

    "Look, this debate should be about one thing - who is going to sort out our budget deficit and long term debt. There is no other game in town."

    There lies the true rub. There are far more games, both nationally and internationally, that are and need to be played than the deficit. That's the true reason that this whole election is a farce.

    Just answer me this question - what do you propose to do when you've cut the dedbt? As no party is addressing this issue then there is no point for any of them.

  • Comment number 65.

    #58
    "9. 13 years is long enough for one party to govern."

    ======================================================================
    Are your rules retrospective.

    If so can we get rid of the worst 5 years of the last Conservative government (they had 18 years).

  • Comment number 66.

    Since we are giving our results of the debate, in reverse order (4th) VC, (3rd) AD, (2nd) GO, (1st) hmmm. Anyway given the three possible election results; Lib-Lab coalition, Lab-Con coalition, Con majority together with the impossibility for the media to tie the parties down on this or their sacrosanct policies, then, as Ken Clarke highlighted, the threat of inertia in at least two of these is troublesome. Is the Fiscal Responsibility Bill sufficient? The hands of the parties need to be tied so that their incentives align to the country's. If the media could ask the would be PMs and Ch of Es to sign up to such an incentive then the inertia may not happen e.g. incumbent parties could be deducted 10% of their vote at the subsequent European and General Elections if debt goes over 60 or 70% of GDP (c.f. a football club entering administration and being docked points).

  • Comment number 67.

    # 59 kevinb,

    Now please explain to me how, by cutting even more jobs in the public sector you propose to reduce the levels of either unemployed or economiclly inactive?

    Now don't tell me that Osbourne's recovery plans are practical - even you must see that they will not work. BTW neither will Darling's or Cable's.

    On a humerous tack. Can anybody tell me who is responsible for Osbourne's hair styling? Now there is one person/firm that needs to be inactive!!

  • Comment number 68.

    #59

    We are in (or were) in the worst recession since the 1930s.

    Your post seems to ignore this. It is how we manage our way out of it that is the issue.

    '2.5M unemployed..highest for 14 years'

    If you are saying that 14 years ago unemployment was higher than it is now in a smaller recession you are making my point for me.

  • Comment number 69.

    Can someone please tell me the point of these debates at 2.15pm. How many people saw them?

  • Comment number 70.

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

  • Comment number 71.

    #28 >>Can't see how that is simple 'Capitalism'.

    It is "Capitalism" because the Ministry of Truth said so and the Ministry of Truth cannot be wrong by definition, no matter how much they chop and change !!

  • Comment number 72.

    #35 >>[Obviously the above has no bearing on do with bona fide political asylum seekers, just economic migrants.]

    The questions is how to distinguish bona fide political asylum seekers from just economic migrants ?? That's the question that still vexing the Aussie authorities right now !!

    The British question is - how do you distinguish between the hundreds of planeloads of "students" that arrive and immediately disappear into the wilds of various cities to work rather than attend real studies ??

  • Comment number 73.

    #41 >>A question to J_f_H: if the returns on savings are negligible, does it not make sense to pay off debts? My savings do nothing, so I am paying more of the mortgage and will also increase my monthly payment of the student loan of one of my children.

    JfH and I have our little "tussles" but in this, I support his view !! What you may have missed are the many over-55s who have paid off their mortgage (after 30 years of slaving away to do so), have kids that are old enough and earning enough to pay their own way, *AND* are saving for a little nest egg that, hopefully, will *NOT* be robbed by the Chancellor in the same way as he robbed their pension pot(s) !!

    Then there are the over-65s who relie on their savings to supplement their state pensions *AND* keep up with inflation and devaluation of the quid !!

    Finally, if this ridiculous rate of interest continues for long, people might find it better to withdraw their savings and invest in gold !! This iwll have an immediate effect of reducing or destroying any liquidity that Our Glorious Leader tried to inject into the economy with his 200 billion quid's worth of QuEasy money !!

  • Comment number 74.

    41 trylpuzzled

    "so I am paying more of the mortgage and will also increase my monthly payment of the student loan of one of my children"

    Unless your mortgage is less than base rate +1% which is what the student loan rate is capped at, you will be much better paying off the mortgage. The current student loan interest rate is 0% until September as it is based on last year's inflation figure.

  • Comment number 75.

    #42 >>I earn a paultry £16k per year, full time, in the public sector

    I just watched a programme where 6 British spend, spend kids were sent to Africa to experience the mining of sapphire first hand !! They discovered that the miners there earn the *Princely* sum of 1(ONE) quid for a long day's back-breaking work !!

    So, exactly how paltry is your £16K per year compared to their £1 per day or £365 if they work the whole year without breaks or holidays ??

    - "I complained I had no shoes until I saw a man with no feet" - an old English saying !!

  • Comment number 76.

    #46 >>....the Chinese air force could have using bombs

    Just being pedantic but the Chinese do *NOT* have an air force. They have PLA air divisions whose planes don't have the range to reach Britain. And the only two aircraft carriers in Chinese waters are actually giant casinos so that the rich can fly in on their helicpoters to enjoy their gambling in peace, untroubled by the unwashed masses !!

  • Comment number 77.

    RD

    "The deficit is a ticking bomb. Do we hire a skilled bomb disposal expert or go for a cruder solution (with the consequential toll on jobs).

    The Irish have managed to reduce the deficit; unfortunately they have reduced GDP as well."


    You have missed the point with the Irish. They tackled the deficit head on as they were heading into recession. It remains to be seen whether we have done a better job than Ireland in managing the deficit. Spending money we didn't have so that we only had 6 quarters of negative growth is going to either mean lower growth in future GDP and/or a W shaped recession.

    The difficult problem of the recession calls for more sophisticated solutions than a 'clunking fist'.

  • Comment number 78.

    Did I hear Caroline Lucas say the other morning that we are paying less tax to day than when we were under Margaret Thatcher?!?

    Am I hearing members of the IFS predicting that the UK will outstrip Germany and France growth wise in 2011 which I assume to be on present data.

    Is this an illusion because the vast majority seems to think otherwise though I'm not sure how they "know" this? The Government have all the figures and they are not made public, yet every one else seems to think they know them better.

    When I listen to interviews I hear general statements overriding particularities and vice versa, I hear parallel arguments being used to give the impression of meeting the questions, I see the media narrowing down issues (£6b) which are then expanded out of context. I hear respected bodies figures being rubbished without explanation. I hear politicians saying what we need to do ...yes we all know what they need to do. What we want to hear is how they are going to do it.

    I can't help feel that these debates are all expertly manipulated and nothing seems to be addressed heaad on!

    Last night's debate Lab narrowly takes the lead Lib dems next and Cons remarkably faultered.

  • Comment number 79.

    #47 >>Should have bought him/her an iPad instead and done your bit for consumption. Well it would help the USA.

    Definitely *not* !! IPads are made in China !! So are the "secret" 4G IPhones, one of which was "lost" in a public place in America and was handed to a tech web-site who promptly exposed all the "new features" that Apple was so eager to hide until they've sold zillions of IPads !!

    It seems that 4G IPhones can do all that IPads can do and more. So what price IPads now ?? Media studies and Marketing; you just gotta love em !!

  • Comment number 80.

    #55 >>The Tory Boys on this blog tend to do a Nelson on this one 'I see no banking collapse'.

    Can't see what isn't there unless one is hallucinating !! Both HSBC and Barclays did not crawl to the government to beg for the Queen's shilling !! And Lloyds TSB wouldn't have had to if it wasn't forced into a shotgun marriage with that "premier" Scottish bank, HBOS !!

    So, I can see banks collapse but I see no Banking Collapse and I'm not even a "Tory Boy" !!

    >>Like him or loathe him (I loathe him) Gordon Brown did a pretty good job on steering us through the worst effects of the worst recession since the thirties.

    ...which he encouraged/created when he was the Chancellor, in the first place !! And I'm definitely not his fan either !!

  • Comment number 81.

    #58 >>14. May 6 is too far away

    Only 12 more shopping days till May 6th !!

  • Comment number 82.

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

  • Comment number 83.

    #75 ishkandar,

    That point is both irrelevant and totally unkind. There are not many bloggers on here who earn so little even if they are retired.

  • Comment number 84.

    Reducing the deficit is relatively simple; just freeze recruitment in the public sector until the pips squeak. No job losses, just gradual contraction over 10 years. The public sector is full of excellent people completely de-incentivised by both hues of Government (Conservatives were just ruthless, unguided and sapped morale, Labour are completely controlling and sap the purpose of delegated authority) So, in conjunction with frozen recruitment hand out delegations of authority to management to manage the gradual decline and leave them alone to either deliver or fail. Oh, two more things - create the power to sack those that fail and for measures of effect? - ask the public what they think of the service and pay for an independent organisation to manage the collection and presentation of progress. Could someone please grasp the nettle and stop evading a bit of pain.

  • Comment number 85.

    #80
    "Can't see what isn't there unless one is hallucinating !! Both HSBC and Barclays did not crawl to the government to beg for the Queen's shilling !! And Lloyds TSB wouldn't have had to if it wasn't forced into a shotgun marriage with that "premier" Scottish bank, HBOS !!"

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

    The banking sector was bailed out.

    Banking is very inter-connected. We are in a 'banking crisis' induced recession. Period.

    Without substantial government help (UK, USA, in particular) the fear was that there would have been a domino effect.

    Brown did not cause this recession. He did a lot of questionable things in the years before.

  • Comment number 86.

    82. At 08:28am on 22 Apr 2010, you wrote:
    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

    I'm intrigued to know why
    Do I get sent a reason ?

  • Comment number 87.

    OK I guess my comment must have been perceived as campaigning or about candidates instead of issues. I'm not sure this is being applied consistently but to paraphrase:

    Having seen the headlines today in the Sun, Telegraph, Mail and Express and was wondering if the british people how the british people will react.

  • Comment number 88.

    49. At 9:44pm on 21 Apr 2010, Fairsfair wrote:

    31. At 7:25pm on 21 Apr 2010, nautonier wrote:

    Labour has never taken the UK economy out of a major recession.

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

    Labour got Britain out of the oil crisis of the 70s by developing North Sea Oil' Unemployment was reducing when the Tories got in and doubled it. Then the Tories created their own crisis by the ERM debacle where they wasted billions of taxpayers' money defending the pound and then capitulating.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Labour did not develop North Sea Oil - private enterprise business developed the oil system and it took 15 years+ to develop.

    The other issues are well covered previously and you've got your facts wrong as a socialist twist on history - I'm not going to waste much time on this - if we had not received a Conservative victory in 1979 Britain would probably crashed out as bankrupt.

    However, ee now have a much worse position than in 1979 - Do you realise this? I don't really think that you do.

    The politicians will not tell us but we are going to go through now is going to be worse than the aftermath of the failed and disgraced Labour Callaghan government - the early 1980's scenario may well now be the best that we can now hope for ... that a credible and financially responsible government is appointed to try and rescue our economy.

    You obviously are unaware of what is coming - how serious things are - Black Wednesday was a mess you are quite right to say so ... but the government took control and responsibility restored confidence, stability, and the economy recoverd strongly under Kenneth Clarke's competent management - as mistakes and government lesson learning go - the scales are tipped right down with labour and the copper brass weighing pan will never raise again again on Labour's side!

    An socialist spendaholic government always spells disaster - that is the lesson of history - not just in the UK but globally - that is what we have now - a government that is unfit for office and has failed repeatedly.

    Please get your facts rights and if I were you I would buy a crash-hat because it is going to be a very rough ride!


  • Comment number 89.

    35 trylypuzzled

    People have been moving about the planet ever since there were people. Like all mammals we tend to migrate to where the grass seems greener. In my view this has to do with the size of a local population and its available resources.

    In our technology in this country there seems to be no correlation between the size of the population and the available resources largely due to the fact that food is imported.

    We have reached the unsustainable point in my view where the number of people outstrips the supply of food and space. This suggests that local supply chains must apply and that we train a person who is already here up to do any necessary job. It is something we used to do in the UK but not any more largely due to the short term spivvy attitudes that have persisted amongst our leaders until very recently.

  • Comment number 90.

    we hear a great deal about budget cuts or no cuts in the short term

    but what vision do each of the parties have about the size of government by say end 2014 (which seems to be at the limit of the present government's financial forecasts)?

    how many LESS public servants will be on the government payroll by end 2014? do we get to mrs thatcher levels or even lower?

  • Comment number 91.

    #86 DevilsintheDetail,

    The simple answer is NO. You are supposed to read the House Rules again and interprit for yourself where you may have contravened them.

    I was once ruled against for using direct quotes from one poster back to him/her but no advice as to why his/her original was acceptable and mine was not!

    I was once removed because my message doubted Wayne Rooney's level of intelligence!

  • Comment number 92.

    47 SirReausThought

    I love it when people fall back on that hoary old principle of `official figures'. I can recall back in the Seventies when the `official figures' in the former Soviet Union declared that only 700 people died during Stalin's purges.

    The fact that manufacturing employment in this country has declined faster under New Labour than at any time previously in our history has been known for a number of years.

    I have just heard Ken Clarke make exactly the same point to Peter Mandelson in a discussion on Today this morning. Mandelson did not contradict Clarke as he knows the point is valid.

    I do recommend that you listen when two such very able politicians debate issues of interest as it is always very informative. I am neither a Labour nor a Tory supporter but I will always stop and listen to either of these two men because they are both a class act. One bluff: one polished; both refereed by John Humphries. A truly delightful contrast as well! It was classic BBC value this morning, well done Today!

  • Comment number 93.

    The programme was pretty pointless really, the three amigo's spelling out their versions of how they really intend to restore the economy to some sort of sense would be electoral suicide.
    The Government did not bail out the banks, they bailed out the fools who borrowed excessivly and the fools that let them, the governments themselves. Now goverments will no doubt hand over more public money to bail out fools who transport those travelling beyond their means, we need a good dose of personal responsibility dished out not more tv types hectoring those too frightened to tell the truth.

  • Comment number 94.

    #90 noel wrote:

    'we hear a great deal about budget cuts or no cuts in the short term

    but what vision do each of the parties have about the size of government by say end 2014 (which seems to be at the limit of the present government's financial forecasts)?

    how many LESS public servants will be on the government payroll by end 2014? do we get to mrs thatcher levels or even lower?'


    I get the impression that the conservatives view is about 15 months, labour about 14 days and the lib/dems didn't think they would have any say and so don't have a timed plan.

    I don't care what the vision is as to where they want us to be in 2014, I want to know where they want us to be in 2020, 2030 and beyond, and then I want to see a viable plan with measurable milestones as to how they think it can be achieved.

    Anything less is just short term nonsense.

  • Comment number 95.

    Stephanie,

    I wonder what you make of the failed German bond auction yesterday, where they failed to sell the €3 billion 30-year bonds (it was about €500 million short).

    It would have been interesting to have put to the chancellor's debate whether this makes them even more nervous about the ability of the UK to sell a whopping £500-600 billion of bonds over the next 4-5 years to fund our deficit.

    (Then of course there is another £200 billion or so the next few years after that, although that will be the next government's problem in 2015)

  • Comment number 96.

    The three wise men: hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. I see we are still in the realms of the mushroom election where we will be kept in the dark until they deign to tell us our fate. Government by IMF well, bring it on, at least they will tell us what's required. A good show otherwise. You did your best to draw them out and they did manage to get quite animated towards the end even it was only to argue amongst themselves. Regards, etc.

  • Comment number 97.

    nautonier ,

    "You obviously are unaware of what is coming - how serious things are - Black Wednesday was a mess you are quite right to say so ... but the government took control and responsibility restored confidence, stability, and the economy recoverd strongly under Kenneth Clarke's competent management - as mistakes and government lesson learning go - the scales are tipped right down with labour and the copper brass weighing pan will never raise again again on Labour's side!"

    That paragraph is one of the biggest loads of sphreical objects written on this blog. If you truly look at the legacy of Clarke's management of the economy it can be summed-up in one phrase - look after today because tomorrow does not matter!

  • Comment number 98.

    80. At 07:43am on 22 Apr 2010, ishkandar wrote:

    "...which he encouraged/created when he was the Chancellor, in the first place !! And I'm definitely not his fan either !!"

    ...which was a continuation of Tory policy from the 80's.

    Once again, Tory memories - not so good. Just because the Tory party have decided to put on a wolfs coat now there is public demand for tighter regulation - doesn't mean it's not the same Tory sheep underneath!

    ...or are you going to argue the Tories are not the party of Economic liberalism in some bizarre denial of truth?

  • Comment number 99.

    If this story is true (and lets be careful it's been reported by SKY) - this is a very pertinent reason why financial regulation of the free market will always fail - or cost so much the public pays more for 'protection' against firms than the firms value to the public.

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Willie-Walsh-Criticises-UK-No-fly-Zone-Planes-Flying-After-BA-Boss-Plays-Game-Of-Brinkmanship/Article/201004315611447?lpos=UK_News_Right_Promo_Region_2&lid=ARTICLE_15611447_Willie_Walsh_Criticises_UK_No-fly_Zone%3A_Planes_Flying_After_BA_Boss_Plays_Game_Of_Brinkmanship

    Basically the same happens in banking when new regulations are drawn up the bank fly their metephorical planes at the UK and demand to be let in.

    This is what is wrong with this country, Governments who are too easily dictated to by big business (and you will notice the Airline industry used the media mouthpiece to conduct their complaints) and who are essentially blackmailed with 'bad press'.

    Is this the fair society we all imagine? - forget the rights and wrongs of the airling ban - this is the act of someone who disagrees with the rules and intends to break them - no matter what the cost to humanity

    Despite the claims of "we're doing this for the stranded customer" - anyone with any sense can see this is purely about money.

    It's the same approach with the banks - "Don't tax us or we will be forced to charge customers more" - note they haven't said "Pay ourselves smaller bonuses" or "stop buying the shareholders bubbly" etc. but have tried to issue a defence of "we only care about you Mr customer"

    Surely we can all see the lies here - I mean if you can't then you simply provide a conduit for them to stick their Gold bars.

    The truth is then clouded by the bank apologists who think their interests lie with the banks - which they may do at the moment - but they are too stupid to realise that there is no loyalty in business and when the chips are down - they will be dropped like a stone.

  • Comment number 100.

    95. At 10:10am on 22 Apr 2010, jonearle wrote:

    "I wonder what you make of the failed German bond auction yesterday, where they failed to sell the €3 billion 30-year bonds (it was about €500 million short)."

    I wonder if they even bothered to look - and you're right, this is going to be a bumper year for Sovereign debt - and when there is a lot on offer then investors tend to get very choosy.

    Inflation expectations, likelihood of default and future interest rates are all factors - and the UK is well placed to provide no comfort on these factors whatsoever.
    Inflation - is likely to sit between 'high' and 'rampant'

    Default risk - it's unlikely we won't need a bailout from the IMF - simply because the tactic of devaluation to improve exports is not going to work when there are so many other industrialised nations doing the same (race to the bottom)

    Future interest rates - Well from the last MPC meeting there are members who are already getting jittery and think rates need to be raised sooner rather than later.

    The only saving grace is there are many other countries in the same (or worse) position.

    It's like a relegation dogfight - there are no 'winners' merely 'better losers'

 

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