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Recovery planned?

Nick Robinson | 18:42 UK time, Tuesday, 2 September 2008

This was not the much hailed government economic recovery plan. It will not affect whether the OECD was right today to predict a recession by the year's end. It will, therefore, disappoint those who thought that that was what ministers had spent the summer working up.

Downing Street insists that the talk of an economic plan never came from them. The intention of today's announcements was, they say, simply to target support on those who need help. Behind the scenes the government is struggling to persuade energy companies to fund another package to help the poorest pay their fuel bills and to help everyone to cut theirs by using energy more efficiently.

The chancellor is well aware that the impact of any of these measures could be dwarfed by the impact of economic challenges which he famously said were "arguably the worst in 60 years". He went out of his way today to make clear that he was not saying that we were living through times that were worse than the recessions of the 70s, early 80s and 90s, let alone the Great Depression. It will not be until next month's pre-Budget report that we learn how bad his forecasts are or what changes in economic policy he'll announce in response.

What about the future of Alistair Darling himself? My instinct is that he is now, rather curiously, safer than before his infamous interview.


  • Comment number 1.

    Darling's future? Like the rest of the Labour party, he has no future.

  • Comment number 2.

    Correction: when he's either sacked or kicked out by the voters he'll be given a huge payoff (our money) to keep his mouth shut.

  • Comment number 3.

    Obviously these housing measures were no recovery plan! Nothing could be worse to do than try to force up house prices just as they began to fall as they have needed to for so long. the result of the past ten years of Gorgon's deliberate over heating of the house market. Jollied along before now by state subsidy (our taxes) to the favoured few so called 'key workers'.

    The house market meddling is pure desperate politics, and the complete opposite of what the nation needed.

    I suspect the down beat talk was deliberate to undermine the currency making our goods cheaper abroad. Hopefully for the same reason the Bank of England will now have to do the long overdue thing and raise interest rates as imports prices will go up adding to future inflation. including all those foreign currency based fuels!

    The credit crunch is good not bad, if people have to save again to buy a home that is good. The government should jump at the chance and regulate now to prevent any loan being made for more than 75% of any purchase value. While it is more or less in operation already. Even perhaps all UK home loans must be backed by UK savings funds not international shifting funds.

    People and journalists need to remember, politicians operate in their own interests, getting popularity to hold or get power, they never do the right thing for us.

  • Comment number 4.

    I think, this vindicates my earlier claim that Alistair Darling was safe in his job, and that the government have a plan (approach) for dealing with the big challenge facing Britain.

    Folks won't want to hear this but whether a recession happens or doesn't happen, Britain's economic fundamentals are broken and a subtle but huge challenge faces the country whatever happens.

    Personally, I believe, this "recession" may be the best thing that's ever happened if it helps knock the British psyche into gear and the government is brave enough to deliver the better vision that's necessary.

    You heard it here, first. Etcetera.

  • Comment number 5.

    'they say, simply to target support on those who need help'

    Now then Nick this is a quote from your blog.

    This is not to target support on those who need help, it is to buy votes for the labour party in the forthcoming general election which must come sooner rather than later.

    It will have absolutely no effect on the housing market in the south. This is a disaster because the action they are taking is only putting off the day of reckoning for that little bit longer. It is 2009 when the proverbial will hit the fan, and then the voters will be really pissed off as Darling would say.

    The problem is that nobody is fit and capable of taking Team GB through the economic disaster which will hit the global economy next year. I am not talking the economy down it is how I see the trouble ahead.

    The only solution will be a governmnet of national unity and the army will have to come back from their foreign bases to maintain law and order in the UK. We are closer to meltdown than anybody realises.

    Those of us who have never known anything other the good times will struggle to cope with the new situation, it will be quite an interesting experience.

    Finally, it is about time that the Union was dissolved, there is no need for it anymore.

  • Comment number 6.

    Amazing, isn't it ? During the whole of my lifetime - that's more than 60 years now - successive governments have pumped countless billions into British farming by way of subsidies.No one has batted an eyelid at this dreadful waste of the taxpayers money on a tiny segment of our economy that we dont really need.
    Yet, at the suggestion that the government might make loans (not gifts you notice, loans) to enable our young people - who otherwise haven't got a snowballs chance in Hell of owning their own homes - to enable them to get a foothold on the housing ladder and, all the privileged, wealthy, wingeing Thatcher-lovers come galloping out of the woodwork to condemn it.
    I think it's the 1st sensible economic decision this present government has made. Bravo Gordon !

  • Comment number 7.

    People and journalists need to remember, politicians operate in their own interests, getting popularity to hold or get power, they never do the right thing for us.

    Spot on. Labour's priorities, in order:

    (1) Staying in power.

    (2) Stealing money from those who earn in order to spend on themselves

    (3) Stealing money from those who earn it in order to give away to those who don't earn it. Apparently this is known as 'fairness'.

    (4) Destroying Britain by the looks of things.

  • Comment number 8.

    This is not to target support on those who need help, it is to buy votes for the labour party in the forthcoming general election which must come sooner rather than later.

    By luck or design, this action will calm the economy, and return some clarity and ease to the situation. As clearer and more relaxed minds make better quality and sensitive decisions, so the overall resilience will increase. This will make the economy more supple and joined up, and maximise the chances of getting through intact.

    The bullish and individualistic short-term approach of Britain is failing. As innovation, teamwork, and the long-long view swim into focus, so the alchemists crucible works its magic: leaders shine, the people are happy, and gold falls like cherry blossom petals from the heavens. Unless, of course, you want to be angry and miserable.

    History and the weight of the mob can get in the way of change. Like a terrorist cell, the psychology of Britain is broken and trapped by itself. Looming collapse or an exterior force can help shake things free and propel change. Once folks grasp this the disaster begins to look more like an opportunity. Grab it while you can. It might not come around again for another 1000 years.

    At least, that's my theory.
  • Comment number 9.

    I feel that the country was running rather better when they (the politicians of all shades) were on holiday!

    Alastair Darling will probably survive and the reshuffle will be a rearrangement of the deckchairs on the Titanic as always. We need this recession - economically. It is long overdue and will be much deeper and longer because it has been delayed.

    The old economic paradigms need to change and one needs new economists for that to happen - as it did between 1920's and the mid-thirties. We have hardly started yet.

    #1 and #2 power...

    It is still a serious concern to me that the alternative to the Labour party is bereft of ideas or policies and with no experience in running (almost) anything. It would be a tragedy if the country was run in the same way as Boris Johnson is running London - and mainly in Latin! Neither London nor the UK is a tuck shop and Matron cannot come to the rescue when you stab yourself with your wing collar. I would rather have almost anybody other than a band of Etonians running the country, particularly now.

  • Comment number 10.


    One of the worst examples of (3) is surely working families tax credits. Surely, we should never be subsidizing employers, they should pay proper wages, not low wages which then have to be topped up by taxpayers.

    May I also suggest that people look at the situation which is developing in America with regard to the North American Union. This apparaently will be a rival to the European Union and will be made up of America, Canada and Mexico.

    Be afraid dear readers, be very afraid. America is going back into isolation and we will all pay the price. Russia has 'got away with it' over Georgia and America just doesn't give a damn, we, in Europe, can now pay the price for all the years of anti-Americanism.

  • Comment number 11.

    If harnessed, this government's backpedaling and hot air could heat the country over the forthcoming winter of discontent.

  • Comment number 12.

    Great news, the Government has no economic recovery plan!

    It is time for the Labour Twitocracy to step aside before real damage is done

  • Comment number 13.

    I read David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest not too long ago. In it, the government have begun selling the rights to name the incoming New Year, leading to the era of 'Subsidised Time'. There's the Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken, the Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster etc etc etc.

    The question is, how long before Zanu-Labour adopt this bright idea?

  • Comment number 14.

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

  • Comment number 15.

    re: 7

    Instead of taking too much tax and then having to manoeuvre through an infuriatingly complex system to get it back, why don't they just take less in the first place?

    re: 9, John from Hendon

    Labour have wasted too much money, broken too many promises and told too many lies. What happened to their 2005 manifesto eh?

    The Tories have promised to scrap ID cards. For that I'm prepared to give them a chance.

  • Comment number 16.

    Whoops my last post is re: 10 not 7

  • Comment number 17.

    Just go and watch the Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty and see for yourself.

    I think you will find that America is not going to come to Europe's aid. I think you will find that they are fed up with us and all that we stand for, appeasement.

    Before you know it America will nuke somebody, oh and bin Laden will be captured or killed within one month of the November elections.

    You read it here first.

  • Comment number 18.

    Charles E

    "Folks won't want to hear this but whether a recession happens or doesn't happen, Britain's economic fundamentals are broken and a subtle but huge challenge faces the country whatever happens.

    Personally, I believe, this "recession" may be the best thing that's ever happened if it helps knock the British psyche into gear and the government is brave enough to deliver the better vision that's necessary."

    Dear God - or whatever discipline you choose.

    Economic fundamentals are broken?

    There is a "subtle" but "huge" challenge. Surely even you can understand that a huge challenge can't be that subtle.

    Subtlety is a quick nudge here or there, often invisible to the onlooker (a bit like the stealth taxes that Brown achieved with Blair's blessing).

    Huge means everybody has to be aware of it - and someone has to stand up and be responsible/accountable for it.

    If you know what should be done, please drop the insight onto this - or any other - blog, so we can all stand back and appreciate the way forward. No doubt, with your connections, your thoughts will be picked up by the flailing remnants of this profligate government.

    This "recession" will be a good thing.

    Well, heigh, ho. Let's have a street party to welcome a quick recession, so CEH and a bunch of wasters he seems to support can celebrate a brave new world.

    It's odd, Charles, but you certainly don't come across as a person who is open to good policy and delivery, regardless of who happens to be in power. All that Zen stuff seems to focus on a Labour government retaining power - rather than delivering something. For many people, it doesn't really matter which benches the MPs sit on, as long as the outcome is good.

    Guess we'll all have to allow our British psyche to be knocked into gear. Will that be on the NHS, or determined by NICE policy?

    Anyone know what the British psyche is?

    Sounds a bit like Dad's Army to me. People who just don't want to be dominated by outside parties and surely don't appreciate too many local impositions.

    So you hope the government will deliver the "better vision that's necessary".

    If you know what that vision should be, why on earth didn't you propose and force it on this bunch of self-promoters ten years ago, before they abandoned contact with economic reality?

    Any chance you'd share it with us?

    Or do you prefer it at a dinner party with the former heroin addicts who could be more potent than cabinet ministers?

    "You heard it here first". Well, halleluyah (or variants).

    C E H, I don't care which party you root for. Don't really like many politicians.

    Just hate any government that wastes the tax grabbed from "ordinary" people to "invest" in short term and daft schemes.

    Not sure where you think any government should do better. I assume that you want an outcome for the people - not for a particular organisation. But that seems open to question.

  • Comment number 19.


    Thought it was, at least you have corrected your mistake, you know what I'm like when people don't acknowledge the correct source. Well done, and thanks.


    well said, the revolution is closer than many realise. It is nearly time, mind you will this be moderated out because it mentions the word 'revolution' is it subversive?

  • Comment number 20.

    Darling needs to lighten up, tell the truth and stand by comments if he makes them. Looking miserable, not smling, repeating the same answers several times and denying what he has patently said will not do him or the government any favours.

    The 'easy' option for Brown is to swap Milliband and Darling (who would probably be better in one anothers jobs) but Darling has been promoted beyond his abilities. Indeed, the economy needs a new start with a new Chancellor but unscathed talent is pretty short on the ground in the Cabinet.

  • Comment number 21.

    Lets have whip round so that the dears can afford to run a general election and lets have done with it.

  • Comment number 22.

    6: Patthecat

    First - there is no "ladder" when prices are falling - the metaphor implies that the next step is up, when patently it is not.

    Second, helping first time buyers to buy a house now is mad or cruel. They will lose a lot of money within months. With friends like that...

    The best way to help a first time buyer is to give them a list of locally available houses to rent. The stamp duty svaing is equivalent to what they could save in about 2 weeks at current rates of falls simply by sitting on their hands. Waiiting 18 months will save them 40 grand or more.

    Sorry, but giving them taxpayers money which will instantly be lost is the worst idea i've heard all year, which from this bunch of idiots is saying something.

    (I agree with you about farm subsidies by the way, but two wrongs don't make a right!)

  • Comment number 23.

    Economic fundamentals are broken?

    Yup. Checkable fact.

    As for the rest, if you're just going to put words in my mouth or insult me, I'll ignore you or close my browser window.

    Have a nice day.
  • Comment number 24.

    One only had to hear the cheery chipmunk talking nonsense on the PM prog tonight to realise that the Govt has as no idea of how to get out of the mess they are in.
    The whole thing is a walking disaster brought about by years of spin and deception. I hope the voters will know what to do when the time comes. They seem to at the moment. Lets hope they hold their nerve.

  • Comment number 25.

    #15 power..

    You actually trust the Tories to do what they say on ID Cards? I don't.

    ID cards do not bother me too much as I am of the firm belief that as they are presently envisaged will not work, even if the technology can be made to function (which having many years senior experience and several formal qualifications in IT I serious doubt - about a 10 per cent chance I say) also there is no plan for data subjects to fix errors and there will undoubtedly be huge numbers of errors and the database will be very unreliable, out of date and full of rubbish

    I'd settle for no Etonians and and ID joke although the waste of money will be truly gigantic and in that you have a point. But my problem with the Tories is that like Boris Johnson they will hire people with no vetting or pay them no salary. They after all came up with the insane PPP/PFI in the first place! I also recall a NHS reorganisation that got rid of 'excess' hospital beds in London when in truth there we far too few! It is their faulty judgement that worries me.

  • Comment number 26.

    why isn't there an economic recovery plan!?

    every other country is announcing significant measures to mitigate the problems.

    ....oh yes just remembered.... Gordon left no money for a rainy day.

    the government have spent the summer trying to come up with a plan..... well some smoke and mirrors cos we are cash strapped as a country.

    the tinkering with stamp duty was all they managed to come up with. upon seeing public reaction to the absurd plan they now disown it as "not the economic recovery plan".

    feeble government.

    policies only designed to save gordons skin.

    government that confuses short term tactics and long term strategy.

    new labour. please crawl under a rock and die. where you belong

  • Comment number 27.

    re: 25

    It's not so much that we need to get the Tories in, it's that we need to get Labour out. Labour are a tax and spend government (and a corrupt one at that) and leave our country in tatters every time they get voted in. The as yet untried Tories are the only realistic alternative, and they will have to do.

    I agree, the ID cards scheme won't work judging from Labour's track record, but that they want to pursue it is enough reason to get rid of them because it shows what their priorities really are: power and control. And think of the money that will be wasted on it for it just to fail anyway...

  • Comment number 28.

    Charles E H

    "Economic fundamentals are broken."

    "Yup. Checkable fact."

    Both are your comments.

    But what do they mean?

    And where could I (or other posters) seek enlightenment, so we can look at the checkable facts?

    Have you offered NewLab, or any other party which may come into an executive role, some guidance?

    This isn't about any party being in "power" is it? It's about looking after people and the nation and spending money wisely.

    Just hope it's not another journalist's bit of per-word statememts.

    Simply point us to where we should be and many will follow.

    I have no idea who you really are.

    Didn't like some of your comments on Bhuddist sites, but I guess that's your way of letting off steam.

    I worked with a significant Bhuddist. Good guy. Didn't know what his politics were and didn't care.

    You seem to drag Zen into every situation and offer economic insights which I doubt you could substantiate.

    Get a little more real.

    Most of the posters here are fairly open to a vision for life, but many are unhappy with a state that digs deeper into our pockets and resent, or at challenge, why a state apparatus should insert itself into every aspect of private life.

    So, do us all a favour.

    Where do we find the facts about the
    broken economic fundamentals?

  • Comment number 29.

    Hey Charles E H,

    I suspect that you were unhappy with my reflects on your posting.

    I don't think I put any words into your mouth.

    I took extracts from your posting and added my own reactions.

    That doesn't seem like insulting anyone.

    I would genuinely like to understand the background and detail that you hint you are aware of, which (should that be that?) could help to transform the UK, politically and economically.

    If you know what should be happening, doesn't it seem a little selfish to keep it to yourself?

    Or are you just another consultant, offering a bit of a tease before signing a lucrative - and normally useless - contract with central government?

    OK. That was possibly insulting. But you do attract it!

  • Comment number 30.

    "who otherwise haven't got a snowballs chance in Hell of owning their own homes "
    Actually the best thing that can happen for first time buyers is that house prices fall back onto historic trend - i.e. a 30%-40% fall from peak (we are already about 10% off peak so another 20% minimum still to go).
    We have this madness in Britain that high house prices are REALLY GOOD. That's like saying expensive cars are really good. Actually it is much better if house are REALLY CHEAP!
    It will be better for everyone in the long run if house prices are at a reasonable level, so once we pay our mortgages we actually have some cash left over to spend!
    The past 10 years has seen politicians and the media (including dare I say it the dear old BBC) embark on a mad programme of persuading us that your HOME is an INVESTMENT - rather than the place in which you live.
    I would rather have a really low mortgage because of really low house prices, and then save or invest my spare cash in assets which I can realise and re-invest depending on market conditions. Persuading people to put as much of their income as they can afford into their home, as an investment, is madness because you cannot realise that investment without giving up the place where you live.
    It's just very sad that people are beginning to realise this only after the end of a massive cheap-credit fueled house price bubble. Anyone who bought big into the housing market in the past 4-5 years, or who remortgaged to get spare cash to impress the neighbours is in for a very unpleasant time, because today's announcements will do very little to help them.

  • Comment number 31.

    8. At 7:46pm on 02 Sep 2008, Charles_E_Hardwidge wrote:

    By luck or design, this action will calm the economy, and return some clarity and ease to the situation. As clearer and more relaxed minds make better quality and sensitive decisions, so the overall resilience will increase. This will make the economy more supple and joined up, and maximise the chances of getting through intact.


    Charles, energy prices have rocketed this year. People have less and less spare cash in their pockets, so they have less to spend. This means less income for retailers, which means less hours for their staff, which means less money for them. Public transport fares have gone up, depsite these companies receiving heavily subsidised fuel.

    And don't go on about "people living beyond their means". Most people do not buy plasma tvs etc.

    Housing does little at the moment to balance the economy. What is needed are reasonable tax cuts not aimed at political aims, but the country's economy as a whole.

    Added to all of this, the pound in plummeting thanks to the lack of confidence in the Chancellor.

    We are all getting contradictory statements issued by members of the Cabinet. And to top it all we have Milliband acting the tough guy with Russia.

    Look at the situation come January. See how many people have had their gas/electricity cut off or their homes repossessed.

    If the economy recovers it will be by luck, not design.

  • Comment number 32.

    The bit about Downing Street denying that they ever suggested a 'recovery plan' was been considered speaks volumes! Don't know about you, but i have been hearing all summer from various ministers and commentators, GB included, about the much vaunted 'recovery plan'. This has taken the form of various 'leaks' that allowed the dithering GB to gauge what the likely public reaction would be. Unfortunately, most of the public reaction has been negative for the very reasons #22 metioned so he has run out of time and had to release this!

    I'm sorry but would have laughed if it were not so serious. Forget for a moment what the actual policy is. If the PM seriously believes that a £1billion intervention, in an economy that annually 'turns over' £1.6trillion, is going to be effective then he is dangerously deluded.

    And don't think GB has stopped raising taxes. Tax relief on unoccupied and industrial properties have been scrapped to increase venenue. As a result, large numbers of perfectly viable buildings are being demolished to save cash strapped business owners from going under. Unfortunately, this makes expanding quickly again once good times return more difficult as new premises have to be built...a large capital expense.

  • Comment number 33.

    Aren't you moderators supposed to be moderating? What on earth are you doing? Get back to work!

  • Comment number 34.

    I've dug out my deck of Tarot cards and asked the question: what will happen to Nu-Labour? Let's see what the future holds... Now, after a good shuffle the cards are as follows. I've copied and pasted the interpretation from a website:

    Card 1, The Past: The Tower

    The Tower is an unsettling card. Fire, lightning, falling on jagged rocks - definitely looks like trouble! Card 16 will not be welcomed by those who dislike change. It represents a sudden, dramatic upheaval or reversal in fortune. Usually change is gradual, giving us time to adapt, but sometimes it is quick and explosive. This is the action of the Tower.

    Card 2, The Present: Seven of Swords

    On the Seven we see a man tiptoeing away from society (the colorful pavilions). He's taken some swords and seems rather pleased with his successful heist. He gives the impression of having secret, solitary plans.

    Card 3, The Future: King of Swords

    The personality of the King of Swords is a combination of the positive air energy of the Swords suit and the active, outward focus of a King. He is a man of intellect who can absorb and work with information of all kinds. [....] In readings, the King of Swords asks you to take the kinds of actions he might take. For example: telling the truth, thinking up a solution, communicating well, or judging fairly.

    Card 4, What To Do: The Chariot

    In readings, the Chariot often appears when hard control is or could be in evidence. At its best, hard control is not brutal, but firm and direct. It is backed up by a strong will and great confidence. The Chariot can mean self-control or control of the environment.

    Card 5, External Influences: Strength

    In the past, a person with inner strength was commonly said to have character; he or she could be counted on in the darkest moments. Card 8 represents this energy of quiet determination. Strength is not a flashy card, but one that is solid and reliable.

    Card 6, Hopes & Fears: Five of Pentacles

    This card can also be a sign of material and economic setbacks. There is no doubt that life is harder when we lack money or a decent job. When we are struggling to make ends meet, all other problems are magnified. Even if we are comfortable, we can still feel insecure, afraid that misfortune will take away all that we have worked for.

    Card 7, Final Outcome: Five of Cups

    The Five of Cups is about loss. On this card, we see a figure draped in black and covered in grief. He so dominates the card that it is hard to look beyond him. The Five of Cups refers to that time when the pain of a loss is most acute. This man is looking only at the overturned cups in front of him. For now, he cannot acknowledge the two cups that are still standing. Later, when he has healed somewhat, he will be able to see all that remains. In readings, the Five of Cups can alert you to the possibility of a loss and its associated emotions - sorrow, regret, denial. The loss could be great or small. It could be tangible (money, possession, relationship, work), or intangible (dream, opportunity, prospect, reputation).

    What does it all mean?

  • Comment number 35.

    #34 pttp

    It means you were bored out of your mind waiting for the night shift of mods (or perhaps mod) to do some modding.

  • Comment number 36.

    re: 35

    Lol it does mean that yep, but it also means that Darling was right: Labour are toast. (They were the actual cards that came up!)

  • Comment number 37.


    While I've been doing some work, I've had the TV on - Republican convention.

    I liked Laura Busha's line -

    "I'm so proud that the first female Vice-President will be a Republican woman"

    She must have been taking English lessons from Dubya!

  • Comment number 38.

    OK. That was possibly insulting. But you do attract it!

    You need to take responsibility for your own thoughts and actions, not build up a straw man and give me a backhand swipe. It just puts you in the same class as the hoorays and time wasters.

    Without being frivolous or mean, this is why Britain's economic fundamentals are broken. The history and culture, or character of Britain, and its economics and society has its wires crossed.

    Doubtless, some PhD types and regular folks will gnash teeth and tear clothes but it's true enough, and things like PMQ's and the feral media don't help. If you want change, first, you have to change yourself.

    Calm helps. Be still, then act.
  • Comment number 39.

    Recovery plan what recovery plan are you on about ..... save Gordon Brown, save Alistair Darling, save Labour, save the Country.

    Darling has just put his underpants on over his trousers gone for the Kryptonite, but no its not there , Gordon's in the cupboard looking looking for the Batmobile but the Joker Ed Balls has taken the key,.... but what's this on the horizon it's Little Hazel with her wand yes can she save them no she's just disappeared ah ah its the smoke and mirrors which way should the run be continued.

    The fairy tail for Labour is well and truly over, and as they say reap as you will sow, the spin and borrow have come home to roost and they have nowhere to turn.

  • Comment number 40.

    Mike, it's comments like your which have emptied this blog and make the BBC look a little suspect. I suspect, it won't do Nick's career much good in the long run either.

    If leaders and wannabes walk and talk like barbarians, it's not much of a hop and a skip to suppose they are barbarians. But, nobody listens until it's too late.

    If there is going to be a recession, quite frankly, I hope it's the mother of all recessions cuz nobody learned enough from the last one. Say it ain't so.

    The worst revenge Gordon Brown could deliver is to resign, and leave Britain and the Tories to deal with their own karma. Deep down, you know it's true.

  • Comment number 41.

    Darling should go - NOW.

    I had a drink with a client last night who imports leisure equipment from the USA and has just taken delivery of a huge shipment. His comments on Darling's statement about the British economy are unprintable, other that "If he wants me to go under he is going the right way about it."

    He now has to pay in US dollars for the goods which are sold to the trade. His cost has risen hugely since ordering and he can't increase his price to the customers. Add to that the huge rise in containers to the UK and he is making a big loss.

    OK, that is business, but Darling's comments have affected the exchange rate badly. It was incompetent management, and if he worked for a company he would be sacked.

    I'm only glad I was on holiday in France a couple of weeks ago.

  • Comment number 42.

    There is no recovery plan, and won't be one. The instinct of Mr Brown and his colleagues as recession fears grow is clear - protect the core vote. So no effort will be spared to cushion benefit recipents from the economic gales that will affect the rest of us. Meanwhile the economy will go to pot.

    Sad, isn't it, that this generation of political 'leaders' have so little to offer?

  • Comment number 43.

    #20 is right about switching Miliband and Darling, but for the wrong reason. Brown might well do this, but in order to ensure that Miliband is associated in the public mind with economc recession and disaster. Chancellors rarely make good PMs....which maybe Gordon knows?

  • Comment number 44.

    Mike, your business pal is a thickie or you're spinning that anecdote heavily. If you run too close to the wire and get your fingers burned who's responsible for that? It's like those jerks who buy houses or run up credit card bills beyond their means. Unsound decisions lead to unsound practice. One tap and the whole thing falls down. You wanted freedom? You can't handle freedom. Don't blame other folks for your own ignorance, greed, and short-termism.

    But, that's the Tory party all over. They have no policies, sense of context, or long-term vision. They're the hamburger and fries of politics, and why Boris Johnson and his Eton pals try to narrow perceptions by turning civilised politics into a scrum. You don't want calm reflection cuz folks would never buy into what you're selling. You want fear, anger, lies and hype so vulnerable folks are an easy touch at the voting booth.

    Calm is good for the public, business, and the media. Don't believe me? Ask any experienced military commander or housewife in a shopping mall. They know the value of keeping your head even if Masters of the Universe, and their friends and allies don't. Man, I am disgusted with the Tory leadership example and their followers because it's destabilising and corrosive. It destroys value and upsets people, and that's not the right or fair thing to do.

  • Comment number 45.

    Charles, are you saying then the so called recovery plan has failed before it kicks in, I thought you would be still looking through your rose coloured glasses or are the turning orange.

    The BBC suspect, what do you mean, are they biased?

    Labour has manipulated the press for years, no I'm wrong they have been spinning spinning without substance and now they are in downward spiral and are taking the country with them.

    Alternative, I leave that to the voters and as was one said you can fool some people some of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time and this is new labour.

  • Comment number 46.


    The BBC reproted that the PM had said that there was a big economic plan about to come in.

    The BBC then reported that the Treasury denied that they knew anything about such a plan.

    Now you say:
    "Downing Street insists that the talk of an economic plan never came from them"

    Well why don't YOU tell US where the BBC got the story from?

    YOU don't need Downing Street to tell you - you KNOW who told you.

    Who told the BBC there would be a big new plan?


  • Comment number 47.


    Just read your latest posting, you appear to be educated, but if Labour is not working and even you admit we are in trouble then what alternatives other than voting them out do you suggest.

  • Comment number 48.

    I notice that my comment @14 which referred to the usual prolix rubbish written by a regular contributor was 'referred to the moderators'.

    A thin-skinned, pompous and censorious attitude typical of this government's supporters.

  • Comment number 49.

    mikethebiscuit @47,

    You confuse education with character and judgement.

  • Comment number 50.

    49 MaxSceptic

    Then we look-forward to Charles's response to be able to see his character and judgement.

  • Comment number 51.

    Labour is not working and even you admit we are in trouble then what alternatives other than voting them out do you suggest.

    There's claims and emotionalisms from some folks but that's not something I'm too interested in getting into. Really, their comments stand or fall on their own. The big issue is that calm is useful. Indeed, calm is a precondition to building sensible decisions and consensus. It may not be what some folks call a "plan" but I'll buy that for a dollar.

    If Labour have any issues, I think, their communications director needs a kick up the ass, and Polly Toynbee should throw a bucket of cold water over herself. Man, doing these folks jobs for free is stretching things a bit. Learn to skunk works a narrative and look beyond the frikkin obvious will'ya.

    To be honest, I don't think the Labour party needs defending. Sure, they got themselves into a tailspin but the basic sense and direction is there. Ministers are getting a clue and putting their best foot forward, and allowing that to develop is the lazy and better option. Effort follows focus, and the rest works itself out. Look, no hands Ma!

    Calm and patience is useful, grasshopper.
  • Comment number 52.

    “What can Labour do?” cry the apologists.

    They could begin by realising that, until circumstances change, they are in the role of the government, and could start acting like it. There are some hard decisions to take, most of which should have been taken already, but better late than never.

    We have a number of problems, not least that our ‘economy,’ is intrinsically weak, overloaded, and venerable to the winds of change which are beginning to blow around us.

    We have insufficient manufacturing and agricultural capability, a massive dependence on oil and most of our food is stocked and sold on a ‘just in time basis. They say that society is two meals from collapse. In this country that would be about half a day.

    We have chronic imbalances in our population including a top-heavy level of old people, a huge group who are economically inactive and a large guest worker community.

    All in all, we are massively at risk of almost total, instant social disintegration from a concatenation of seemingly benign causes. The ship of state is steering straight to the rocks at high speed, and the Captain is skulking in his quarters, scared to go to the bridge. It is now a question of ‘when,’ not ‘if.’

  • Comment number 53.



    But the the Tory party has history and that history is littered with poll taxes and other horrors.

    Selecting a government is always the choice between competing evils but I could never support a Tory party as it is always a slash and burn party that acts only for its friends- no matter how plausible an Etonian is their front man.

    We can afford the NHS even though Churchill wanted to abolish it. We can afford public services.

    Public services should not be wastefully run and the ID cards and the NHS and many other computer systems are very badly conceived - but I put that mainly at the door of the Treasury with their PPP/PFI fiddle in the national accounts.

    This fiddle enables the use of outsourcing at a hugely inflated cost to the Taxpayer to appear to be cheaper today when it is mortgaging the future. This stupidity started under the Tories and has been carried on by Labour. Again another reason to avoid all Tories like the plague!

  • Comment number 54.

    Thanks for the clarification, Nick.
    Like many, I was led to believe the government was working on an economy plan and this week would see its roll-out.
    Instead we got too little too late for the housing market.
    And that came on the day when the OECD report paints a very gloomy picture for the UK economy.
    What are needed are profound measures to tackle the deep-rooted causes of the economic recession.
    Instead we get in-fighting and a few housing crumbs. What a let down.

    If Brown was a banana, he would slip on his own skin.

  • Comment number 55.

    Darling is irrelevant as is all of the govt, when it comes to sorting out the mess that is now UK Ltd.
    Their claim to have any control over the economy has always been erroneous; they control only how our taxes are spent.
    UK has little effect upon the world economy and our own is so screwed through borrowing, over administration and lack of real wealth creation that we must just wait out the storm and hang onto relevant coat tails.
    The future is very fraught in my view and will be so until we get a real democracy working. You know one where there is a vocal opposition!! Again in my view, we will not see sound, real politics in this country until we scrap the whips and allow MP's to speak with their own voice.
    Radical I know but essential if we want to stand out from the crowd of weaker nations within Europe.
    How about enforced voting with a choice of none upon the ballot paper as a start. That would at least give the govt a true picture of what people think of them.


  • Comment number 56.

    “53 (John from Hendon) said
    I put that mainly at the door of the Treasury with their PPP/PFI fiddle in the national accounts.

    This fiddle enables the use of outsourcing at a hugely inflated cost to the Taxpayer to appear to be cheaper today when it is mortgaging the future. This stupidity started under the Tories and has been carried on by Labour. Again another reason to avoid all Tories like the plague!”

    I fail to see the logic. The Tories proposed PFI, and were vitriolically opposed by Labour, especially Patricia Hewitt. As soon as they got their hands on the levers of power however, Labour turned their coat and adopted PFI, and then hugely expanded the intended scope. The Tories never intended that it would be so wide ranging, nor did they believe that our future should be mortgaged so completely.

    If anything, the Tories would, if they ever got the chance, reduce the scope of PFI.

  • Comment number 57.

    The Thatcherist ideas continued by Labour out of fear of the South of England are failing.

    But Cameron and chums are suggesting that they are not Thatcherites. I think though they are trying very hard to suppress their instincts. How many times have we heard the phrase "Fixing the roof when the sun shines." Who does that? a Thatcher! Psychololical leakage I wonder. Still they've probably been saving up for a rainy day so they can patch up the problem.

    So Cameron wants to do to Society what Thatcher did to the economy. Lets hope he doesn't do the the economy what Thatcher did to society. Sounds a bit like social engineering anyway. I thought Conservatives didn't like that?

  • Comment number 58.

    re: 57

    Your support of the dead duck is laughable wilky!

    So Cameron wants to do to Society what Thatcher did to the economy. Lets hope he doesn't do the the economy what Thatcher did to society.

    Brown's beaten him to it.

    Sounds a bit like social engineering anyway. I thought Conservatives didn't like that?

    I'd call it 'cleaning up eleven years' worth of destructive, politically-motivated tinkering.'

  • Comment number 59.

    My worry at the moment is the fact that good old Darling is aware of how many financial institutions are going cap-in-hand to the government for 'emergency loans': Loans we'll never get to know about. Now, given this, it sort of puts his recent views on New Labour's 'man the lifeboats' economic prudence into perspective. Also all this stuff about cheap loans, well, house builders are already doing it for new buyers, but hey're having to do the loans themselves. The housebuilders can now rely on good old UK PLC to do the loans for them. How nice.

  • Comment number 60.

    58 power to the people

    Wolfie smith a dillusional character from a 1970s sitcom used that catchphrase.

    Sorry I don't take you or this site very seriously anymore. You keep on reassuring each other of your intellect and saviness with phoenix and whoever. If you are so certain of a Conservative victory. What are you doing here? You have no influence whatsoever and you are not Nick Robinsons best mate.

  • Comment number 61.

    re: 60

    this one's for you, wilky:

    The Nu-Labour lot have begun
    To realise their 'plans' are undone,
    So in Westminster village
    They frantically pillage
    Cause the Tories have already won.

  • Comment number 62.

    As per usual another spectacular own goal from Gordon Brown's absurdly expensive PR team; paid for by yours truly the Great British taxpayer.

    So now we have the unique spectacle of a government leaking that it will announce a rescue package and then disappointing all comers because it has run out of money.

    Now even the dumbest of PR advisors would surely tell Gordon Brown that the first way to dissappoint is to allow the expectation to exceed the fact.

    When historians look back and judge this period of history they will howl with derision at the seeming determination of the man to run himself, his party and the country into a brick wall.

  • Comment number 63.

    At 07:55am on 03 Sep 2008, Charles_E_Hardwidge wrote:

    "The worst revenge Gordon Brown could deliver is to resign, and leave Britain and the Tories to deal with their own karma."

    That is an astonishing comment. So the bad 'karma' is due to the Tories and Britain? How exactly? Have they been running the country for the last 11 years? I suppose the electorate is at fault for electing this rabble but time will sort out that mistake.

    I think you fail to understand that people dislike this government because it has failed, in the same way that the Major government failed, and we will take the same revenge on the politicos that we did in 1997 by kicking them out of office en masse.

  • Comment number 64.

    #60 dhwilkinson wrote:

    "If you are so certain of a Conservative victory. What are you doing here? You have no influence whatsoever and you are not Nick Robinsons best mate. "

    I was unaware that this site was restricted to;

    1) Those certain of a Labour victory.
    2) Those not certain of a Conservative victory.
    3) People of "influence"
    4) Nick's best mates.

    I was nulabouring under the impression it was open to all with an interest in UK politics.

  • Comment number 65.

    Most bloggers on here get the gist
    Of why Gordon Brown won't be missed.
    But there's always a few
    So I'll give them a clue:
    He's a champagne socialist.

  • Comment number 66.

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

  • Comment number 67.

    Things are pretty bad now and they are about to get worse. Our utility bills will be sky-high this winter and it's the pensioners I feel sorry for.

    Our homes are falling in value and our cars will go the same way after the new VED tax brackets are introduced.

    This isn't a rescue package - it's just a further Labour catastrophe in the making.

  • Comment number 68.

    65 heraldicus

    You deliberatly misunderstand me. Let me explain once.

    In this country we have freedom of speech for ALL.

    On this Blog we have freedom of speech for people with opinions the regulars approve of. The person I made the comment to suggests I go away because I am in the minority. I disagree.

    I consider myself to be part of the vast majority of people in this country who don't vote Conservative.

    "I was nulabouring under the impression it was open to all with an interest in UK politics."

    Yes that includes me CEH and Grandantidote. UK Politics isn't just about fighting for a Conservative victory.

    'nulabouring' Fantastic pun. You people are hilarious. I wish I could come up with material like that. How about NegaTORY. Thats because they are so negative. Do you see? No thats rubbish actually they both are. At least its not Zanu_Labour. Thats really embarrassing.

  • Comment number 69.

    Fear is a powerful emotion.

    When looking at something like this, what are the underlying motives of those attempting to pull the levers?

    We know that there are a significant number of people out there who took advantage of all that 'cheap' money that the banks were only too willing to lend in recent times.

    So we have ordinary folk who find themselves,in the space of just a few years, 'owning' a dozen properties and owing the bank two million pounds or so.

    Now, much of that money was loaned on short term deals, which are now expiring and the borrowers are finding that the marketplace for money right now is not very competitive.

    Especially if the loan-to-value (LTV) has now changed such that the borrower is forced to pay an even higher rate of interest.

    Result .. buy-to-let landlords start going bust ... and their properties come onto the market.

    So, the question is partly, does the Government fear some sort of systemic failure caused by this particular pack-of-cards collapsing?

  • Comment number 70.

    60 Power_to_people

    Thanks for the poem
    I have come to the conclusion that you are a vogon Who has watched an old episode of Citizen Smith. (the TV signal has only just reached your planet) and you have assumed the character of Wolfie Smith as your disguise thinking that is an example of a normal human. Don't you think we have enough hyperspace bypasses? Your type are polluting the universe.

    Sorry off topic I don't have a crystal ball like the BBC so don't know how to respond to this. Theirs is faulty anyway What happened to the leadership challenge? maybe they should take it back and get it fixed.

  • Comment number 71.

    Oh no, baby's just done a nulabour in his nappy and I only changed him 5 mins ago!

    * * *

    I should've read the instructions first, I've made a right nulabour of this!

  • Comment number 72.

    68. At 12:40pm on 03 Sep 2008, dhwilkinson wrote:

    “I consider myself to be part of the vast majority of people in this country who don't vote Conservative.”

    A valid point. In the 2005 election 67% (approx) of the votes were not for the Conservatives. However, 65% (approx) of the votes were NOT for NuLabour either. Therefore, it is equally valid for me to say;

    I consider myself to be part of the vast majority of people in this country who don't vote Labour.

    As things now stand it is more likely that more people will not be voting Labour than those not voting Conservative.

  • Comment number 73.


    For a second there I thought that Charles reallly would take it personally and just minimise himself, but als, that was mere wishful thinking, somewhat similar to those that believe that Brown and his band of no-hopers are doing the right things for the long term benefit of the UK.

    Perhaps Charles and his ilk would like to tell me what the Brown plan is for the long term security of power and energy for the UK? Better still, in what way was Brown acting in the long term interests of the UK when he introduced the 10% tax rate to then abandon it a short time later? Finally, can I believe Brown when he says that he has taken the right decisions, yet all of the evidence suggests that the gulf between rich and poor is getting wider despite his interference through the New Deal and Tax Credits?

    I suspect that if we were now asked to mark the report card for New Labour and Brown, the only positive thing we could say would be that they are still in government after 11 long years. However, like all pupils, New Labour will have to face the big bad world sometime, and thankfully we don't have too much longer to wait.

  • Comment number 74.

    Hey, If I'm gonna be a special adviser or a frikkin media star, show me the money!

    You pay, I say.

    *cheesy grin*

  • Comment number 75.

    73 smfcbuddie

    As one of CEHs Ilk I would like remind you that the energy security issue is the fault of the person who used to mend the roof while the sun shined. Thatcher.

    She closed all the mines in her class war with the unions. Who privatised the power generators so they were motivated by profit not expensive Research and Development into Clean Coal and other alternatives but instead used Cheap short term profit Gas power stations. The gas is running out now but not to worry they can put the prices up and increase inflation. The Government is always there to use as a punching bag so you can pointlessly vote conservative for the sake of it. It wont change anything except the spin might make you feel better.

    Every problem we are facing can be traced back to Thatcherism and the continuation of it by Labour. For fear of upsetting the south and the Midlands. We need a new middle ground. a new political idea. A proper mixed economy structure. Maybe 'not for profit' companies instead of nationalisation.

    The west felt pretty smug when communism failed and judged Capitalism to be THE system to follow. Maybe they are both wrong and the answer is somewhere inbetween. Sorry to be so Liberal lefty pinko or whatever.

  • Comment number 76.

    "This was not the much hailed government economic recovery plan."

    Of course it wasn't; how can you come up with a recovery plan when you're in complete denial that there's any problems at all in the national economy? Brown/Darling are still saying:

    1) All our problems are 100% down to "global conditions" alone.

    2) Nobody in government has any responsibility for anything whatsoever.

    3) The government has no ability to effect any change whatsoever.

    "Downing Street insists that the talk of an economic plan never came from them"

    Brown or Darling having any economic plans? Don't make me laugh; the only plan they have is their scorched earth policy of trying to ruin the country as badly as possible so that the tories have a hard time in 2010.

    They clearly just make it all up as they go along, listen to absolutely nobody, have absolutely no understanding of how economics works, and just make the situation 10 times worse with each action/inaction.

  • Comment number 77.

    They clearly just make it all up as they go along, listen to absolutely nobody, have absolutely no understanding of how economics works, and just make the situation 10 times worse with each action/inaction.

    Man, you're a monument to irony.
  • Comment number 78.

    77 CharlesEHardwidge.

    Your summary in your last posting, spot on for the current Labour Government . Yes, your judgement and experience do come across could not have put it any better.

    Or is this just starting your Karma Party.

  • Comment number 79.

    Or is this just starting your Karma Party.

    I hear it's a good way to get more chix and loot.
  • Comment number 80.

    #56 Constable_Shoe


    "If anything, the Tories would, if they ever got the chance, reduce the scope of PFI."

    What evidence do you have for this assertion? I know of none at all.

    The Tories created PFI/PPP with the help of the Treasury - everybody who can do simple arithmetic knows and knew it was and is only supported by the logic of the madhouse.

    I would need very firm evidence that the Tories intend to cease to use this off-balance sheet financial to believe your assertion. Please supply chapter and verse.

  • Comment number 81.

    75 dhwilkinson

    You are spot-on about energy security. The governments of the last 20/30 years have been content to wallow in an excess of cheap oil and gas and now the tank is running on fumes.

    Energy security is fast becoming a global concern once again and I'm afraid it looks set to last. David Cameron would like you to believe that Labour mismanagement of the economy (I would call it negligence, perhaps..Like a parent spoiling a child) is to blame and that he's the Right Man to fix it.

    Well Mr Cameron, have the crack-team of Tory scientists been working hard on a replacement energy source that is as efficient/economical (relatively speaking..) as Crude Oil/Natural Gas....Which will complement our exisiting global infrastructure? No? Then move along please..

    It's high time politicians said to-hell with popularity, banded together and delivered the message that has been propagated by many experts throughout the last 50 years.. A peak oil situation is inevitable and we are overdue for it!

    This is so far past giving homeowners the odd break here and there and providing tax 'incentives' to people who drive 'polluting cars'....It makes me laugh to see the electorate AND the politicians continuing with Business As Usual, all the while sleep-walking into the largest challenge that the human race has seen, arguably, in it's entire modern history.

    I would not recommend for people to adopt a nihilistic, hopeless attitude towards the situation.. But I would expect most reasonable, intelligent people to understand that Britain does not operate in a vacuum, and that our fortunes are sadly not entirely in the hands of the people we democratically elect..

    Vote Brown out if you must, vote Cameron in if you feel there's no other alternative, but don't expect a single thing to change..It'll just get worse.

  • Comment number 82.

    Re 75

    And there was me thinking that Gordon / Tony had been in power for eleven years! Carry on having a bash at previous governments if it makes you feel better, but the point I made was that G Brown cannot now be seen to be a man that takes the long view, no matter how much Charles protests otherwise. How many power stations has Gordon set in motion? When did he realise that existing power stations were coming to the end of their lifespans? Considering the fact that he has extended government intervention into every area of life in Britain, how come he felt powerless to intervene in the operation of the energy market?

    So do you have any evidence to contradict my point, or are you just going to have another go at the Conservatives?

    Meantime, we have rising inflation, rising unemployment, a falling pound, rising government debt, increasing strikes by unions, etc. No doubt these are all seen as part of the long term strategy, certainly Charles seems content. If so, good plan - it seems to be working. Quite what the intended outcome is from all this, I would be intrigued to know.

    All the best

  • Comment number 83.

    82 smfcbuddie

    I've had a bash at the thatcher Government, this government and the penny pinching over paid whingers that make sure that whoever is in power this country is not allowed to make any progress that will cost any money. As I say what happens to Crime when you say their is "no such thing as society". What happens to banks when its employees live in a culture of individuality they do whatever it takes to get their bonuses no matter what happens to their employer and what happens to energy security when you close the means for a petty dogmatic fight with the unions develop a profit motivated Energy generation motivated by profit less motivated by maintaining Energy security and research and development.

    Labour continued Thatcherite policies to keep people living the Thatcherite dream voting for them. Well here is its conclusion. Enjoy! Vote for whoever you like the result will be the same. our political and economic system is stale and needs renewing.

    It makes a change from being just here to have a go at labour. It is original thought rather than yet another whinge.

    Its called balance, a thing that the BBC used to be proud of. Not on here though. The political editor often seems to be playing to his fanbase, a rock star of political editors. A kind of reverse Bono.

  • Comment number 84.

    my comment @83 has been moderated. So I will have another go. It wasn't that bad but probably unfair. Sorry. I'm Catching an angry computer virus mutation from this site. I apologize and withdraw that comment.

    This site is full of comments having a bash at this government most of them are just the same mindless drivel rehashed several hundred times and I dare to suggest in the negative as your fellow campaigners have suggested in the positive in your terms that the last Conservative government has had an influence in the long term of current events.

    and about "this the Government is has been in power for 11 years?" is that reply on some kind of prepared list? I've made the same point several times in 2 blogs and in each I criticise Labour. We non campaigners can do that sort of thing we are free spirits unhindered by party dogma.

    Why is it the you can say what you like no matter how pointless, nasty and repetitive but with we others you try to tie our hands?

    Conservatives obsession with privatisation led to this mess and Labours fear to do anything about it because of votes middle england carried that philosophy on. Who's fault is it? Britains fault a pointless bunch of whingers and complainers is what we have become. Oh no I doing down the Country. I musn't do that unless I'm trying to get Trendy Dave into power, sorry about that!

  • Comment number 85.

    Trendy Dave is a featherweight who will only end up in No. 10 because of Labours incompetence. Looking at the current batch of politicians I wouldn’t employ a single one of them (apart from that Liberal guy who liked a dram too much).

    The job of the Foreign Secretary has gone to an inept schoolboy, the leader of the opposition has never lived in the real world, if he did he wouldn’t be spouting on about hugging hoodies and the climate; instead he would be concentrating on halving taxes and getting the idle to work (I nearly typed back to work but most have never bothered to work).

    That silly woman in the home office (or whatever it’s called today) claims that we are all barking as actually there is no crime out there.

    Gordon Brown (need I say more).

    We should make the minimum criteria to become an MP something like;

    10 years in a proper job (no academics, union leaders, or civil servants)
    Ability to swear allegiance to your constituents and not to whichever party they have schmoozed up to
    The ability to live on the salary they are given and the cost of a monthly second class return rail ticket back to their constituency

    If we had the above criteria how many of that inept lot would still be there ?

  • Comment number 86.

    As I understand it, based upon the BBC, 'recession' is 6 months of negative growth. For the last 5 months the BBC has been saying this is the definition, and reporting month upon month of negative growth. My maths may be imperfect (after all, I've only 2 A Levels in maths), but doesn't that mean 1 more month and we are in recession; 5 + 1 used to = 6.
    Ergo, why wait till the end of the year for the recession?

  • Comment number 87.

    Amazing isn't it how after all this time GB is completely blameless for our present mess and it is all down to poor Margaret Thatcher!


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