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Wednesday, 22 April, 2009

Sarah McDermott | 16:06 UK time, Wednesday, 22 April 2009

"A government that made such large claims for the quality of its economic stewardship hardly deserves to survive such a debacle."

That was the verdict of Martin Wolf, the Financial Times' seasoned commentator to today's Budget. Tonight on Newsnight we devote the whole show to analysing one of the most important budgets in living memory. Could the Chancellor pull off the almost impossible task of convincing the nation that public finances were really under control? And what does it mean for our economy and our politics if he cannot?

Newsnight Economics Editor Paul Mason and Political Editor Michael Crick lead the charge as we take apart the fine detail and measure the impact inside and outside the commons chamber. We'll be putting the thumb screws on politicians from all three parties' treasury teams to try to learn what Mr Darling got right and what he got wrong. And our panel of political insiders will be reading the runes on a Budget which, if it fails, could prove terminal for the government's electoral prospects.

All that and more at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    Get on Max Keiser... Let's hear his opinion...

  • Comment number 2.

    lead the charge?

    oh dear.

    given the credit crisis was due to a false belief the political class [and the media] all signed up to [except perhaps the revolutionary socialists] that the market mechanism is the best arbiter and so needed a light touch of regulation the question to ask those in the political class is do they now renounce that false belief?

    with the privatisation of the post office and royal mint rather than say into a partnership or co op model its clear the govt still believe in it. And what about cameron? does he renounce it as the ideal model for delivering services?

    given the city has sunk the uk into generational depression is it worth it? Is it a benefit to the uk? if the profits are privatised and the losses socialised? what kind of economics is that? i'm sure it has a name. Oligarchy economics perhaps? which gets to the root of what has been going on.

    woolfie might be right but who does he think was right? who would have done different? didn't hear cameron insisting for more regulation of the city?

    so what we have is electioneering and the credit crunch is the football. this is why we need an election now not after 12 months of drift and dither. whoever is to make the tough choices that will affect a generation should have a mandate to do it?

  • Comment number 3.

    I saved.

    I did not speculate on property, on BTLs or holiday homes.

    I did not buy a second home in the sun to rent out. I did not fill my house with electronic gadgets nor did I go on several holidays per year.

    I have been unwell but, because I saved, I get not a penny from the State.

    I did not buy fast cars nor have I frequented Westminster lap-dancing clubs. I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between cocaine or sherbert. I wouldn't know how to go about getting a high-class hooker or be arrogant enough to consider myself a 'Master of the Universe' whilst piddling the savings and pensions of millions down the drain.

    My taxes, my bills, everything I pay for in life is now about to rise. In many cases it has already risen.

    I am not alone. I am one of millions in this country - the prudent and silent majority who are now suffering for the excesses of others... and the incompetence of regulators and politicians.

    Those who caused this mess will not be signing on at the dole office. They will not be living in fear of losing their homes nor having to work till they are 70 because their pensions have been wiped out.

    I am British so I am slow to anger but I am getting angry now.

    I think millions are begining to get angry.

    We have been shafted and yet those who caused this are walking around scott-free. Something is very wrong indeed with this country.

    This budget is not just about figures, vast sums of debt and politicians' egoes. It is about real people and real people are going to suffer for years ahead.

  • Comment number 4.

    if its a charge i'm expecting lots of this

  • Comment number 5.


    "A government that made such large claims for the quality of its economic stewardship hardly deserves to survive such a debacle."

    In case nobody has noticed yet, ideologically, and practically in terms of policies, the alternative major parties (to remind everyone, that's a) The Conservtive Party with the blue rossettes and green tree, and b) The Liberal-Democrats with the yellow rossettes and err....yellow torch) are also free-market, Liberal-Democratic deregulating, 'freedom-peddlers'. So we don't have any real choice at present, it's all just cosmetic. All other parties are deemed 'laughable' or nasty evil-doing nationalists/statists (cf. evil like Iraq, Iran, the PRC, N. Korea, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe etc), which the USA/EU, and all right-minded freedom-loving equalitarians who know what's good for them, go to war against econonomically or militarily in order to spread err..'choice', and consumerism, and err... sub-prime mortgages backed by CDOs etc...

    Can we please hear someone tell us what our true alternatives are to the faux opposition parties?

    PS. This was a good idea.

    Mrs Thatcher and her friends (Hayek, Popper, Friedman) said it was evil-doing and inefficient - odd that - the Germans didn't agree - but they were thee evil-dooers who made Hayek etc flee....;-(

    PPS. Most of us humans are ever sogullible and at the last 30 years especially... geeting ever more stupid, ironically via education x 3 to boot.

  • Comment number 6.

    I wonder if Darling or Brown can offer financial assistance or words of advise to people who are not 50+ or under 25, but who have been laid off from the city. Intelligent and highly qualified people, who have significantly and honestly contributed with true talent and hard work. People who have never been part of the distasteful bonus culture and have been prudent and saved for years to be able to buy a decent home in London, and are now without a job, with zero prospect of finding one in the current climate given that the remaining city workforce is dominated by insecure, unqualified sycophants – who will fight tooth and nail to keep their jobs. These people relied entirely on the interest of their savings as a source of an income. Unable to still buy a decent home with no prospect of a decent mortgage now without the job and no income from interest on their savings, they are really caught between a rock and a hard place. These people are not pensioners or under 25. The current budget offers 35+ year olds nothing. Such over qualified yet principled city people, who incidentally were not casualties of the crunch but of their conscience and who were made redundant when voicing and expressing horror and distaste, are being rapidly phased out. What monetary help can Brown or Darling offer such people? Has anyone bothered to find out how many such people exist? And if they can be of any help in highlighting and routing out the diseased UK banking system to restore a meritocracy?

  • Comment number 7.

    tawse 57.......come the revolution......

  • Comment number 8.

    # 5 JJ

    "Can we please hear someone tell us what our true alternatives are to the faux opposition parties?"

    Celtic Lion is an alternative, but the media don't want to give us air time yet.

    Ecolizzy has been researching some of our back catalogue and has discovered the full truth is not being told by the media.

  • Comment number 9.

    tawse57 (#3)

    An excellent post, and, I suspect, accurate in estimating the plight of the silent old-school generation.

    But sadly, the rest, which the main parties concern themselves with these days (or so it often seems from what's see in demand on TV etc), think that demographic to comprise 'mugs', or probably don't think or care much at all. How else do we explain Ross, Brand and the rest of the anarchistic/nihilistic 'entertainment' we've had for years (and that's just the BBC!)? :-(

  • Comment number 10.

    #3 Me too!

    Nice nostalgic link posted by JJ (" PS This was a good idea"). I remember it well and probably waved my little Union Jack wildly at the sentiments expressed by those we placed our trust in at that time.

    Being forever a patriot I always hang out my Union Jack and St George's flags on 23rd April; guess I'll hang them at half mast tomorrow.

    Notice that I claim to be a patriot, since being nationalistic is frowned upon, if not actually illegal now - but wasn't it one of those 'nasty nationalistic groups' that has been warning us about the decline of this nation for the past decade?

  • Comment number 11.

    WHERE TO START (The posts are getting better and better!)

    I feel the need for a country-wide 'Passport to Pimlico' revolt. I am fantasising a total voting boycott AFTER Parliament dissolves, such that the evil-doers could not return to Westminster and no top idiot could use No 10 or any G and F home (or is that rigged?)
    We would be ungoverned and, probably, a lot better off.

    More realistic, is to demand an abstention box on the voting slip (I forget who blogged that here first) as I have already done, to three parties, and various individual MPs. Though I have been told to push off (this being a democracy) I guess a bandwagon might get rolling in 'these difficult times' powered by the anger of ordinary citizens and, come the election, a massive abstention vote could send a irrefutable message to those returned to Parliament, with no real mandate. The message would, of course, be: we want to SPOIL PARTY GAMES.

    Action: Lean on your MP for an abstention box. When you are told they are not interested in such a blatant piece of democracy, acquaint your local papers with their view. It might just gather weight countrywide (though not with Newsnight).

  • Comment number 12.

    The budget now has much less relevance of old. The decisions are now spread across a range of announcements during any year. The result is, as we have now seen, that its impact on the markets is minimal; as we should, at a time of uncertainty, hope for. Even so, it has a important psychological role; and Darling (and perhaps rather less Brown than previously?) seems to have done wahtw was necessary. At one extreme it was more honest about the magnitude of debt than before, and at the other it gave us more progressive taxation for the first time in a quarter of a century.

    Politically, with the 50% tax, it painted the Tories into a corner which will cause them some difficulty.

  • Comment number 13.

    The worrying fact is that Cameron and Osborne don't seem to have any cohesive solution either. They spend a lot of time making cheap snipes - but where's their strategy? Ken Clarke outshines both of them - but I suspect he's seen as the old geezer. Vince Cable is quite convincing but both he and Clarke seem to acknowledge the difficulties Darling faces.

    Cameron and Osborne are constantly mocking Brown - but the fact is their policies would not have avoided the present crisis either - and it could be argued might have been worse.

    Perhaps its time for a national government.

  • Comment number 14.


    "a safe pair of hands"
    Brown spent every penny in the boom, and is more bankrupt than any other country in recession. Utterl unsafe

    "stop boom and bust"
    Brown encouraged the bubble with light regulation and despite all the warnings and red flags of overheating he sure went bust

    "irresponsible bankers"
    Brown makes bankers look like beginners. Hi irresponsibility regards being over-confident, not heeding warnings, not setting aside savings, not spending too much and being prudent.. this guy breaks the bank from every angle, and the some

    when there's a recession on consumers and businesses have cut spending and increased savings. Basic schoolboy stuff. Brown maintains spending levels from obese Govt levels of boom time and funds it by increasing debts to the highest of all Govts combined since WWII

    This Budget is utterly irresponsible and economic suicide for this country from a Labour team that is bankrupt and a bunch of clowns. The spending is so grotesque Brown and Darling are having to screw our children to pay for their incompetance. It shouldn't be bankers houses that get bricks thrown at them, these politicians need to be banged up in jail NOW

  • Comment number 15.

    #3 tawes57

    I agree with every word you say, where on earth have we gone so wrong in this country. We seem an utterly gutless, mere shadow of our former selves! : (

    Jean, Barrie and a certain Lion appear to have lots of answers but few believe them. We seem to be like a load of lemmings, running to our doom. :o(

  • Comment number 16.

    Growth will never return to previous levels because lending and credit availablity will be at lower levels.Hence we have to get used to GDP to be 1.3%-1.5% after 2018- when the economy will grow for the first time. Also, the car scrapage scheme is a short term fix and after March 2010 car demand will return to lower levels than today. We about to reach a Minsky Moment both for the UK economy and consumers. There is more disasterous events to come this autumn.

  • Comment number 17.

    No one seems to be able to quote accurate figures to a thousand billions or so: the estimates also change from month to month.
    The bankers should be able to help us with estimates: they created the problem. They could help us even more if they gave some of it back.
    It is rather dismaying to watch the politicians being wise after the event – nothing seems to change except the “dole” queues.

  • Comment number 18.

    Wanna know who I'd like to see on Newsnight discussing the budget?!

    Barrie, Jean and Celtic Lion. Barrie is so cynical about politics he would crush the government. Jean is so well informed about education, she could explain our country's dumbing down. And Celtic Lion, who has worked out where we are going wrong economically, socially, and environmentally.

    Why not have these experts on, instead of the usual suspects?! : )

  • Comment number 19.


    barrie (#11) "(The posts are getting better and better!)"

    OK.... but here's a question. Is the writing getting better or the presentation of reality and the means to better handle it? Too many appear to judge what they read by how well it reads or how good it sounds. Too many put too much effort into ensuring that what they have to say reads or sounds appealing (or, more often, that it doesn't appear unpleasant, regardless of whether it's accurate. What is it that matters? I reckon I know what matters, but I know what matters isn't attractive to many people. Until/unless they come to terms with the subtle lure or abuse of negative reinforcement in the wrong hands, matters will I fear just get worse... and worse ...and worse without them ever really appreciating how and why they help render it so.

  • Comment number 20.

    Briefly wondered why the media was being so wildy scathing about this budget (compared, say, to the views of callers - i.e. relatively normal people - I've been hearing) - then realised of course, of course, that you all fall into the £150,000 plus bracket (several times that, in some cases). I suppose you'll have to cut back on the artisan-baked dog biscuits and ivory back scratchers.

  • Comment number 21.

    The days of technocratic obfuscation must surely be at an end. Nothing I have heard from the Government or the Tories gives me any confidence in their ability to sort this bloomin' mess out. Political point scoring is soooo passe now and frankly, shows the game for it's irrelevance. Mind you, so does the idea that we live in a 3 party system.

    It is quite clear now that no politician is capable of management of anything other than their subsidised lunch orders. Oh, and starting wars - every PM has to have a good war. Whether it is a failure to invest in the 80s and 90s or a failure to regulate the finance industry in the 00s, politicians cannot run the company, sorry country. Ego is not a management skill. Glibly delivered talking points do not persuade, they merely enrage.

    Could we please get some professional help in now to do the right thing by and for the country. The only person with a modicum of common and business sense is Vince Cable, despite being an MP.

    Watching Mr Darling's budget statement whilst typing this, my first reaction is that it should be about fixing the problems of yesterday. False confidence is bad acting and nothing more. Unrealistic forecasting, whilst noble and well- intentioned so as not to scare off the money, is a lie which should not be the next benchmark.

    The IMF, which after all is a world expert, staffed by experts, suggests that Mr Darling's ideas and projections are not based on anything other than hope. Hope for political change is an American sentiment, which worked recently for the right reasons. Mr Darling is not American. Nor does he inspire confidence.

    Mr Brown's vision has proven to be a veritable Marianas Trench - less boom and bust, more Unusual Tropical Heatwave and Nuclear Winter.

    Perhaps it is time for a change. Red and Blue have outstayed their welcome. The first party to redesign their affiliation in a gentle, warming shade of purple, probably has my vote, unless I'm hungover on the day.

  • Comment number 22.


    This lot could not govern a banana republic in a banana famine.
    They are THE WRONG KIND OF POLITICIAN. Surely that was apparent listening to that little Treasure Ms Balls? Or just bring to mind - if you dare, for that way madness lies - Hazel the Lollypop Lady. One is a party-line-motormouth and the other has turned optimism into an unnatural and degrading torture! If these are the good women of Labour Governance, small wonder the men are as they are. I shall not go there.

    National governance - of course. But made up of mature individuals of integrity.
    It could be done, but the Turkeys will not help US have a Happy Christmas.

  • Comment number 23.


    "They could help us even more if they gave some of it back."

    I kept asking if anyone knew what modern money is - no one did. I think I have the answer:

    Money, like 'life' in a 'living' thing, only has any reality while the 'system' is viable. Of itself, it has no existence. When its organisation breaks down, a body no longer exhibits life, and, similarly, banking suddenly has no money. In neither case has anything, actually, gone anywhere!

  • Comment number 24.

    Vince Cable seemed more up for the key topic tonight than Jeremy Paxman did - is Jeremy eschewing public sector numerical nitty gritty? Same happened with Paxman interviewing Clarke couple of days ago. Is it just me seeing this? Newsnight was pretty good on the borrowings today but I suspect the programme would be even more of an inspiration if it had a dedicated in-house PSBR team. The BBC needs to be sure its programmes are resourced-forward (wish I owned the Beeb). Paul Mason looked fatigued – what meanie slotted him a USA trip just before budget day?

  • Comment number 25.


    Being less than scrupulous in my composition and contaminated in my motives, JJ, I feel I belong among those you castigate. Where I do not fall down, is in doing shock-horror routines in the face of hard truths. Keep 'em coming. I'll pick the ones I like. (:o)

  • Comment number 26.

    Having just caught Wednesday 22nd's 'Newsnight' on the BBC iPlayer, I would like to congratulate the people "behind the scenes".

    The graphics were beautiful, and the camera-work was top-class - especially in the introduction.

  • Comment number 27.

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

  • Comment number 28.


    Spanner7337 (#14) Remember Michael Howard on what he SAID he was told he could and couldn't do? Write that larger as an engineered policy of anarchism (in the true sense of the term politically).

    The people who run the country (ho well is moot these days) on behalf of the rest of us are our Civil Servants, not politicians (the latter are largely mouth-pieces, how else could they move from department to department with such ease - as the underlying professions take years to master?). With our battered Civil Service playing second fiddle ever more to the markets and private interest, The THoird Sector etc, should we not be looking more closely into who paid the piper to encourage yet more sleep at the wheels of government? Yates made little progress, but we could have heard more more. Now he's head of counter-terrorism...

    If not, what is there to learn? Just how to find easy scape-goats, catch red-herrings?

  • Comment number 29.


    Job done then?

  • Comment number 30.

    ecolizzy (15;18) "We seem to be like a load of lemmings, running to our doom. :o("

    As the record shows, my friend Adrienne and I have been trying to get Newsnight to cover what the critical drivers of this mess have been for a few years in this blog now. Undoubtedly we scare some horses, but if we didn't think it was scary stuff worth attention, we wouldn't have bothered in the first place, certainly not with such persistence. Denial is a terrible thing - see negative reinforcement.

  • Comment number 31.

    barrie (#22) "One is a party-line-motormouth and the other has turned optimism into an unnatural and degrading torture! If these are the good women of Labour Governance, small wonder the men are as they are. I shall not go there."

    Women are far better with words than they are with reality, men the reverse. This shows up very early in tests (7 yrs of age, KS1 and persists even through to higher Education choice of subject). It's why there are no female Fields Medalists and Nobels (especially science) are rare for females. Natural Selection shaped sexual-dimorphism (not just for humans). Normal males show more shame when their words and reality are vulgarly 'akimbo'.....they seem to know that such behaviour is a harbinger of danger, and punish offenders when they err for health and safety reasons! Sadly, as I've said many times in these blogs, some males are more feminized and some females more androgenised than others, which makes such talk treacherous in high places where these anomalies are, sadly, most apparent.

    Healthy, normal humans know this is all true. Why do exceptions, i.e minorities have such power?

    It comes down to the properties i.e. the inequalities/non-linearity of the Gaussian distribution I suggest. Minorities are not equals and may not be all that small if one thinks of mean differences and the upper tail. Shunt a culture your group's way and....over time, you're quids in.

  • Comment number 32.

    We seem to have a Kamikazi Cabinet with nothing to lose, gambling with everything the public they are meant to be serving has, against the slim hope that all they have caused will be redeemed.

    It's like a mammoth game of Black Maria (Hunt the, er, Queen of Spades at school), with our kids ' futures the losers no matter what, with these clowns seemingly still in with a chance of winning.

    That is a concern, and one I'd like the political 'reporters' I am required to co-fund address, rather than polishing a Trabant Urban Recreational Device as the piece of scrappage it is, or focussing obsessively on a cheap piece of pointless, ineffective and divisive core voter pleasing.

  • Comment number 33.


    ANNOUNCEMENT - 'Quids Inn' shall henceforth be known as the 'Fat Chance Saloon'. Reliance on alcohol to function (at all) will continue to be the underlying ethos of the clientele, and booze-tax will be increased as a guaranteed source of income to pathetic governance.

    No one should be in any doubt that the old ethos of the Quids Inn - the 'alcohol culture' will continue. This will ensure new jobs galore in the brewing and health sectors. Hurrah!

    PS Hazel Blears has been asked to see if reality checks can be cashed to fund anything. Her report will be delivered as a stage show in a collaboration between Simon Cowell and Richard Branson.

  • Comment number 34.

    Are comparisons with WWII accurate or useful?

    I notice many people making comparisons between now and the end of WWII. After WWII we had a shattered indebted country but by contrast I suspect we were optimistic, doubtless tired, mourning but proud of the heroic effort we had made. And we were substantially bailed out. Sadly, this time we're entering the new era as a nation in shock, depressed with an ill-prepared frame of mind. Heads are bowed, some despairing and we're squabbling about whose fault it was, and who should pay.

    Tis more contrast than comparison.

    These circumstances beg more inspirational leadership.

  • Comment number 35.

    Every ill-thought out word, every naff forecast made, every moment we take our eye of the ball, the cost of servicing our new debt mountain hiccups by 10, 20 even 50 basis points. This might not seem much but with £200 billion in debt, even 20 basis points is £400 million (each year). Some schools or a hospital lost because of an uncouched forecast or other ministerial wooliness (yesterday's 120 basis point debt market reaction was much worse).

    I suspect we face stiffer competition than usual in the debt markets (from other indebted governments) so we do need to be extra well-behaved, and show a very robust, detailed set of books and generally keep our house Turner-esque to get our bonds away competitively. The cost of doing things badly is huge.

  • Comment number 36.

    Here is an idea : shouldn't our leaders be breaking out the charisma gel to rally the nation somehow – get a team of luminaries and populist figures to focus the nation on the paying down the debt? A running total billboard (like charity TV gigs or the one that used to be in Time Square) and a reality TV series showing inspired business types creating new national revenue streams....

    Isn't there half an idea there?

  • Comment number 37.


    Brrrrassa (#35) "Some schools or a hospital lost because of an uncouched forecast or other ministerial wooliness (yesterday's 120 basis point debt market reaction was much worse)."

    So, with all this debt and imminent cuts in Public Expenditure, there's even more scope for anarchistic anti-statism and PPP/PFI?

    Whichever way one looks at it (or so it seems to me), the public get to fund New Labour's/New Conservatives's/Liberal-Democrats' sponsors now that the banks have been recapitalised. Who will the banks be lending their new money to if not those who are investing in PFI projects - but I repeat, whose money will they be borrowing .....;-)

  • Comment number 38.

    The morons who run BBC Radio 4 & 5 think the nation is as obsessed by the 50% tax rate as they are.
    I hope that by the time Newsnight is broadcast you will not be extending the disingenuous use-the-budget-to-attack-the-Tories theme by asking a member of the opposition for the trillionth time whether they will reverse yesterday's announcement.
    Will you get it into your thick skulls that the answer is : No, not immediately, or at any other knowable time, because there are other more pressing priorities caused the catastrophic mismanagement of our economy.

  • Comment number 39.

    I think we now have a 'Dr. Pepper' government: "What's the worst that could happen... that we haven't already done?"

    At least on some channels they might need to pay for that message to be carried uncritically.

  • Comment number 40.

    Prince Charles gave publicity to the work of the New Economics Foundation that global systems would crash on the climate change models only in 100 months.

    These were based on climate only analysis on the economic forecasts before the crash.

    To get out of the recession Governments, are borrowing from this future to increase consumption.

    We have to look at a whole system model not just climate and include pollution, species extinction, ( eg bees pollinate our crops and earthworms ensure fertile soil), social and political chaos etc, as well as the climate only scenarios.

    This brings the extinction horizon of 100 months given by HRH much closer.

    Then you had the increased destabilization, created by politicians by increasing economic consumption and growth on the planets ecological systems, and the extinction horizon moves even closer.

    HRH figure then becomes potentially 43 months. With large scale human deaths and social chaos there will not be enough to maintain nuclear and toxic chemical facilities. Poisoning of the biosphere and extinction of all higher life forms for 100 million years.

    It was discussed last year in Paul Mason's blog that the economist Galbraith consider Government's in the 29 depression reacted to the problems that had already occurred and made the situation worst.

    Hawkeye Pierce introduced Pro Jay Forrester, an influence of mine, who said in complex systems very often the outcome is the opposite than that was intended.

    ie by trying to stabilize the economy you destabilise the planets bio sphere and ecosystem. Extinction of all higher life forms.

    Please allow a team to run the planet for the next 3 or 4 year who know what they are doing. The politicians can have it back once the mess is sorted out.

    Let them run the planet with the opposite values than be proposed now ie increasing economic growth. Let them use love, wisdom, compassion, respect for all life and the journey of creation.

    If know one else wants to take on the responsibility I'll co-ordinate the team. I love this planet and all life that is part of it and don't want to see a 4,500 billion year journey end in the next few years.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 41.

    :p Nothing unexpected in the budget - usual booze/cigarettes/petrol up and we all knew about a 50% tax rate too. One of the few good things to come out of it were an increase in pensions, although pensions will be taxed at a higher rate, so not sure how many pensioners will be gaining from that!

    Excellent Newsnight - as always - particularly with my favourite trio of Dan/Peter/Olly with Jeremy :o)

  • Comment number 42.

    basically the govt kicks the 'problems' into the future after an election. So we get 12 months of drift and dither. which is self serving rather than public service?

    banks got us into this the banks should, over the long term, bear the biggest cost? with a super tax on profits as long as the extra debt taken on to deal with their doo doo exists?

    SATS. govt bears false witness for its own ends? surely they have no history of that?

    Political generalities vs specifics. No one taking the change agenda? If its over for the govt why are the hanging on?

  • Comment number 43.

    'They've ruined Britain'

    Was having Yevette 'does my brain look thick in this' Cooper the only front bencher that Labour could offer up for Newsnight?..who next....Prescott.. Is he still doing the rounds. Looking forward to his nuggets of wisdom.
    I am no economist but does Darling expect us to believe his forecasts. Does he really believes growth will go north albeit small in 2010. I find his predictions staggeringly over-optimistic. Well maybe if we all start borrowing and spending like we did 2/3yrs ago. Darling has forgotten to factor in the banks change in direction regarding products offered...there ain't any as the banks/financial institutions are all too busy sorting out their own bad debts and wondering can they survive the year without drawing too much attention to their ever increasing dodgy balance sheets...maybe they can repackage some and sell them on. You know what they say..once a banker, always a banker.
    Seriously, its really bad and using Labours form: ie predictions and using the formula x + lie + deny + imperial to metric=.......we'll all be going over the cliff about next Saturday afternoon - 3ish. Just got time to cancel that Virgin media contract, their customer service is a nightmare.
    P:S Cameron:killer speech...Killer Cameron. best speech I've heard from him in a while.

  • Comment number 44.

    mistress76uk (#41) "particularly with my favourite trio of Dan/Peter/Olly"

    Imagine a three armed person with glove puppets.;-)

  • Comment number 45.

    thecookieducker (#43) " does Darling expect us to believe his forecasts."

    I don't think he (or his masters) are too bothered about what we believe. They market what they say, I suspect, for those who live their lives less critically, ....and they are legion :-(.

    Bear in mind the Gaussian distribution.. They do.

  • Comment number 46.

    Whilst most of the quasi religious commentators are focusing on the token 50p tax rate for those on over 150k ( should have been 50p on over 50k to do any good ) Panda has sneaked in extra private tax. Funds for useless new wind farms ( 550 million ) are to be paid for ROC obligations via everyone's energy bills, extra percentage increase not specified.
    Road Fuel Tax Escalator reintroduced, all to pay for the borrowing required to fund the virtual welfare state for the stock market parasites.

  • Comment number 47.

    The Tories and Lib Dems may have missed the point:

    "The Tories said the entire Budget was a "fantasy", while the tax rise broke with a core New Labour pledge."

    Was the issue its obvious they will lose the next election and they will, irresponsibly, leave the voter sensitive tax rises on lower income earners to the next government?

    On the other hand most think Brown is detached from reality and too hooked on spin to believe the catastrophe he is confronted.

  • Comment number 48.


    "British National Party (BNP) chairman Nick Griffin has defended a party leaflet which says that black Britons and Asian Britons "do not exist".

    The BNP's "Language and Concepts Discipline Manual" says the term used should be "racial foreigners". "

    Do we thank Searchlight for the Language and Concepts Discipline Manual or one of Griffins many rivals?

    How long before the internal ideological divides spill over?

  • Comment number 49.

    On the BNP Language and Concepts Discipline Manual - what does it say about the bouncy castle they have (as per "BNP Wives" on Sky) at their conference-in-a-field?

    Leaders first, inferior pig dogs second?

  • Comment number 50.

    If Obama has after all opened the door to possible prosecutions on officials who pushed through torture does this suggest that Cheney may be shuffling in his seat with regard to the Iraq reconstruction tendering processes (as reported on Panorama some time ago)?

    Also is their any sign that the South African election will free up energies to tackle the problems in Zimbabwe that impact SA more and more?

    More of the same? Sad if so.

  • Comment number 51.

    Well as usual Vince Cable spoke the most sense about our current situation and the budget.

    I haven't noticed the over £100,000 wage people complaining much yet. (Newsnight presenters all seemed quite chirpy!;oD) I think that means that they won't be paying the 50% tax. With the new tax not being brought in for months, it gives the accountants some time to find ways around it. Corporation tax springs to mind! ; )

  • Comment number 52.

    Tanya Gold in the Guardian:

    "There was story in the newspapers yesterday about Nazi cows. Yes. Nazi cows. As opposed to Maoist cows. There is a breed of cattle, formerly extinct, that Hitler apparently wanted to revive because it has significance in Teutonic myth. It was his favourite cow - an über-cow, as opposed to an ünter-cow - and it needed to be given a Liebenshed. And now one has been found living in Devon. According to one newspaper, this cow is "a symbol of the Nazi vision for world domination"."

    Is this yet more evidence of the cunning of the BNP?

    Whilst we gaze in awe at their bouncey castle at their conference-in-the-field they hold annually nobody notices the presence of another "master-cow" in the background?

    My God its over for democracy!

  • Comment number 53.

    Ah Number One I see you have been reading the BNP site, so I went to have a look. I notice you didn't mention that Manchester City and some London councils are considering giving muslim children their own muslim celebration days off from schools. Apparently attendance is so bad at some Manchester schools, because of the muslim religious days, that they are considering more holiday time off for those children. I wonder when the Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist , Wicca and Jedi children will be taking their extra days off.

  • Comment number 54.

    thegangofone (#48)

    According to the BBC, the document asserts:

    "These people are 'black residents' of the UK etc, and are no more British than an Englishman living in Hong Kong is Chinese.

    "Collectively, foreign residents of other races should be referred to as 'racial foreigners', a non-pejorative term... The key in such matters is above all to maintain necessary distinctions while avoiding provocation and insult."

    The manual describes the BNP's "ultimate aim" as the "lawful, humane and voluntary repatriation of the resident foreigners of the UK".

    Which is, prima facie, not only false, but offensive to Black and Asian Britons, and is, as I understand it, contrary to both UK law and EU law. Only a very small minority of people would endorse such views I suspect, and that won't matter as it's teh lw which counts.

    The BBC goes on to quote Griffin as saying:

    "We don't subscribe to the politically correct fiction that just because they happen to be born in Britain, a Pakistani is a Briton. They're not; they remain of Pakistani stock.

    "You can't say that especially large numbers of people can come from the rest of the world and assume an English identity without denying the English their own identity, and I would say that's wrong," he added.

    "In a very subtle way, it's a sort of bloodless genocide."

    Which again appears to be (at least in the first part) legally false. If people are born here and are given citizenship, they are as British as anyone else in the eyes of the law, and that's what matters.

    Whether it's good for the country/economy to welcome large numbers of relatively low-skilled and relatively uneducable people from S. Asia or Africa when we have an indigenous below replacement level TFR and differential fertility is another matter. One would have thought that that might have been curtailed by the new points system, although I have my doubts. Griffin may have a valid point in his last sentence though, it's all a mater of birth rates in the end.

  • Comment number 55.

    My personal opinion -

    Labour's Reign

    Mr Brown headline news "Tax rise not end of New Labour"

    He really does not get it , the £1.6 billion that will raise a year is not going to make a dent in the debt mountain

    2009 £175 billion
    2010 £173 billion
    2011 £140 billion
    2012 £118 billion

    Why don't they tell us the truth , there are going to be cuts across government departments for a decade and higher taxes for the middle and low earners (because we are the masses, the rich can go elsewhere) , including the 20% or even 22% VAT after the General Election.

    What is the interest repayments on this debt , is it more than the education and defence budget put together each year ?

    And if to add insult to injury , a few hours after Mr Darling announced his growth forecasts the IMF issued contradictory predictions.
    What means the governments borrowing figures are all wrong and we will be borrowing £200 billion this year.

    Was it not the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Alistair Darling) who took the Bank of England Bill (the creation of the FSA) though Parliament in Nov 1997 ?

    No reward for failure ?

    Yeah right !

    Call a General Election !!
    Someone should call a Vote of no Confidence in the Commons ASAP !

    WSC quote -

    “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results."

  • Comment number 56.

    Steve-London (#55) In the Labour funding saga (which oddly went nowhere), who was New Labour tapping for funding? Who benefitted from light-touch regulation? Who's now paying for the effects of light-touch regulation? Who will the money which taxpayers contribute to bail out the banks be loaned to other than those borrowing from the recapitalised banks in order to profit from PPP/PFI exploitation of the state silver?

  • Comment number 57.

    Labour are the Mr Micawber of economics...'waiting for something to turn up' is their mindeset, that's OK with me as long as they don't come up with Blue Streak as the Tories did in the fifties and bankrupted us for a generation. NuLab will discover that Trident is a goner with all the money disappearing faster than a Brown smile and as the scramble starts for the lifeboats in the key marginals the bruvvers will cut up rough to secure a few crumbs before the Nobs get in

  • Comment number 58.

    leftieoddbodd (#57) "as the scramble starts for the lifeboats in the key marginals the bruvvers will cut up rough to secure a few crumbs before the Nobs get in.."

    They've got you at it too it seems. It's a false choice. The Conservatives are no better, which is why they sound so impotent-with-bluster. They can see New Labour has implemented their policies and they've seen them blow up in their face. Each time the Conservatives are asked what they would do, they have to strangulate their own words, because the policies they're seeing is disarray, are their anarchistic polices of deregulation (you've seen them argue over the dispatch box about this!). The Lib-Dems are the same, even if Vince is impressive, he doesn't have any viable policies as Liberal-Democracy per se doesn't work, people are just ripped of through it. We effectively have a one-party Liberal-Democratic system these days, they're all below replacement level in terms of TFRs which is biologically very bad news, and for once, all three parties now know that they are conceptually bankrupt. They don't know what to do as I read their behaviour. What New Labour (and Clinton in the US) did as members of the Socialist International (Rose and Fist club) was just made it all worse for themselves and everyone else by unleashing greedy markets - the idea of markets determining value by barter is fine, but that's not what we got - we juts got anarchistic casino-capitalism and gangster-like venality.

    I suppose we could ask China if we could become an overseas Province like Martinique's a French Department.....but I'm not sure they'd have us, we're too Bolshy! ;-)

  • Comment number 59.

    The rats were allowed to run riot, the pied piper was called in just seconds before the house got deluded out of existence. Lets just hope Brown goes over the cliff as well, no doubt with a sleazy handful of emails leaking out all over the place. No matter what or who is in power we now have pay back time, so we pay and Brown pays.

    Up date on Captain Paxman.

    "The pants extend life, the pants expand consciousness, the pants are vital to space travel."

    Captain Paxman's last reported words as he fell at the Battle of the Budget Presenters. His collection of some 25,00 pairs of pants to be donated to MIT - each one will be connected by fiber optic cable to form an *enhanced pants array* able to give far reaching insight into mans deep insecurity of their under pants - thought to be at the very heart of human male conflict.

  • Comment number 60.

    #59 Street Photo Being

    But did you see The Apprentice last night and Captain Pants Man

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 61.


    Final paragraph beyond price photo. A Dali painting in words!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 62.


    Thanks Barrie. Hadn't gone into the detail before you pointed it out.

    But there again neither had Broon (as we say up here) or his darling.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 63.

    I've found a metaphysical solipsist!

  • Comment number 64.


    Sorry Barrie re Boon and Darling I thought you ment the final paragraph in this. From #60.

    Have to agree with you re Pants Array #59. Due to the dumbing down of science, ie knowing what an array of pants would look like. Few know would be able to get the Dali vision.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 65.

    Nice to see all the politicians and the BBC political presenters back from their Easter holidays with their nice sun tans - hope they all enjoyed the skiing or the Carribean while the rest of us were working- poor Vince Cable he is the only one who has been here working too.

  • Comment number 66.

    KingCelticLion (#60) "But did you see The Apprentice last night and Captain Pants Man"

    Can you guess what sorts of people I reckon these programmes a) attract onto b) are made by and c) appeal to?

    Can you also see how they are 'bad for the economy' not good for the economy? The fired woman rather sums it up unwittingly in the second like video you provide.

    The media/entertainment industry is a magnet for these types and the media/entertainment subversively reinforces this in our culture. It doesn't create it in my view, but it does select and focus it.

    Others are bemused.... but they are the normal ones...

    Can you guess what the word is which best describes those most attracted to all of this?

  • Comment number 67.

    #66 JJ

    I just treat them as a freak show, surely they can't be serious, can they? I hope not.

    Is this the answer?

  • Comment number 68.

    When those twelve Pakistani students were arrested, it was opening news on 9 April Newsnight. But when the same individuals were released, only a passing reference could be hardly found about them on the 22 April
    bulletin or afterwards.

    It is not the first time details were splashed over by the Newsnight when arrests of Muslim young men are made. However, every time the arrestees are released owing to absence of evidence, the news show fails to acknowledge this fact. Is it because some on the show tend to over-sensationalizes the arrest a bit out of proportion?

    No doubt such irresponsible and uneven coverage causes undue stress and discomfort to many and should be dealt with balance, sense of proportionality and evenhandedness in future.

  • Comment number 69.

    KingCelticLion (#67) "I just treat them as a freak show, surely they can't be serious, can they? I hope not."

    Many of them are you know, and some cause others serious distress in life. I mean serious. They wreck lives, some never knowing what's hit them.

    "Is this the answer?"

    Yep, got it in one :-) But, look up NPD, BPD and ASPD as clinical disorders rather than just narcissism per se, as we're all a little narcissistic - that's just healthy self-esteem in small doses.

  • Comment number 70.

    #69 JJ

    I can't equate the self satisfaction of the me me me attitude with the level of difficulty of the tasks they are given. Especially when they claim to have all these high academic qualifications.

    When I was 19 the senior quality control engineer had compassionate leave to go to Canada for 6 weeks. So I ran the QC and Standards Room in his absence, I had a college project to do and asked the Chief metallurgist for an idea. He had a brain wave and I put MOD research through college projects. This was very serious stuff. How do you hide secret high level research. Get a 19 year old to do it as a college project. I was just expected to do these things as a matter of course. So you just quietly get on and do what yhou are asked to do. So I can't understand why they make such a fuss about is relativly simple nothing.

    Like the car valeting. I had no work so applied for a job as a car valeter. It was a sub contract for a major Audi dealership which started the day I started.

    The second day I turned up was only me ( there had been an accident on M6 and the minibus bringing the rest was delayed which I din't know at the time). On my second day on my own I opened up and within minutes I have twenty cars lined up. I have a Metro and I have more than a £ Million of cars I have never driven before.

    I have to put the 9 am pick up at the front the the 3 pm at the back. The A8 MD's car which is going to be used as a demo 2nd as it needs a roof to tyre, bumper to bumper valet and I have to make time before the others turn up. I have 500 bhp S6 to move. All these are computer interfaced. Manuals, autos, semi autos,flappy paddle, none of which I have any experience of. You just don't get in these cars and move them. You have to over ride immobilisers. You have to over ride new users computers given you a guided tour. I could go on. I had to establish the most effective CPA, critical path analysis, for one person to do the work of 7.

    This was what was expected of me as a £5.70 an hour valeter. So as Shania Twain said them lot of buffons, "Don't impress me much". Welcome to the real world.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 71.

    @KingCelticLion - I just started out doing [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] Car Valeting in Leeds, I've been doing building work (Brick Laying) for the last 5 years but it seems to have more or less collapsed, here at least. Got to do something to pay the mortgage. Earning enough to live.. that's enough for now. Until the economy gets back on track.


  • Comment number 72.

    #71 Tony

    Wow you've dug a post from the past. Hope you found some affinity to it from someone whose been there.

    originally I was a metallurgist but by the twists of fate ended up as a construction site labourer, without a trade. The stared doing General Op work.

    Then they found out I could do shuttering joinery. The brickies always requested me. We were on a water treatment plant in the Peak District (Maccelsfield). The floor was sloped in all directions to take water to the nearest drains. The brickies had to do the dividing internal block walls. As they had a spec for a 10 mm mortar bed it was proving difficult.

    They asked the agent if they could have a starter wall built. The agent asked me. I drilled the floor put the rebar in. Made the shutters up to 300 mm. Poured the concrete. Took the shutters down. marked it out with a laser level. Chalk lined it. Then the hard part. Holding a Styl at 90 degrees, trimmed the lot.

    The brickies were impressed everything was within 5mm of datum. So with a 10mm spec mortar bed. They could put all the internal walls in without one horizontal cut on any block.

    It was Dec/Jan in the peaks 1000ft+ up. I was ground working up to my knees in mud, snow, sleet and rain all day. Everytime the brickies needed shuttering, cutting etc doing, they always requested to the agent that I did it. So it got me out of the elements for a while, enough to give me a break from the mud.

    The valeting is OK. let the clothes do the work. If your used to work once your shoulders get used to it, polish on polish off. Make sure you get ambidextrous. Do as much work with both arms. saves the back.

    It's just another of those little adventures life throws at us. Enjoy the day.

    What are the odds someone would reply to a car valeting post on a NN blog? cheers

    Celtic Lion


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