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Two political gambles

Nick Robinson | 11:15 UK time, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Two rival news conferences, two competing economic approaches, two political gambles.

Gordon Brown and David CameronFirst David Cameron, then Gordon Brown made their choices clear this morning. The prime minister is promising what he calls a fiscal stimulus, or what you may recall he used to condemn as an unfunded tax cut. This, he claims, is the right time for this new approach.

Meantime, David Cameron has adopted his rival's shunned old friend, Prudence. He insists that it's irresponsible to pay for tax cuts this way and promises instead funded tax breaks to incentivise businesses to take on new workers.

Gordon Brown is gambling that he will be rewarded rather than punished for a policy U-turn at what is a unique time. David Cameron is betting that there will be long term rewards even if there's short term pain in appearing rather too responsible.

Both men have an interest as presenting this as a big political divide. It may in truth turn out to be much less so.

If the government loosens fiscal policy by just a few billion, that stimulus will be dwarfed by the scale of the recession.

In addition, David Cameron's claim that his tax cuts' promises are all "funded" is about to be put under heavy scrutiny as Labour claim he's implausibly promising to spend £12bn in this way.

UPDATE, 2:30PM: At this morning's Downing Street news conference I asked the prime minister whether he'd be honest with the electorate and admit that taxes would have to go up after the recession. He replied that now wasn't the time to make predictions for several years ahead.

The employment minister, Tony McNulty, was clearer when pressed on the same point by Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics this morning as you can see here.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Can't see the point of tinkering about like this - the recession is coming our way - scientific fact we're taking here ...

  • Comment number 2.

    Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee agreed to have a battle...

  • Comment number 3.

    All David cameron has to do is cancel the ludicrous ID card scheme

    £12 billion at the drop of the hat - no problems

  • Comment number 4.

    I think that when one considers what is being proposed by both Labour and the Conservatives, one has to ask the simple question "who led us into this mess in the first place".

    Would I trust Brown to lead the UK out of recession, given that he was a major player in getting the UK into this state?

    No.

    Brown has screwed up our finances and we are broke. Worse than that, we are hugely in debt, thanks to his policies (PFI not least amongst them).

    If Brown wants us to trust him to lead, he should apply for a fresh mandate - give us a General Election.

    But he won't. He is a political coward.

  • Comment number 5.

    Why is Brown allowed to get away with a single answer to a single question at his press conferences ? Surely, as a serious journalist, Nick, you should refuse to accept a 'non-answer' to your question and should make a supplementary.

    There are so many contradictions in Brown's actions at the moment - all of his intellectual credibility is vanishing, and instead what we are seeing is blind populism. This is NOT leadership - it is the cheapest form of politics there is.

  • Comment number 6.

    The only thing about Gordon Brown's big ideas that I am sure of, is that I will eventually end up paying for them.

    Having spent the past 11 years sneakily finding more and more obscure ways to tax us all, this really doesn't sit with view of the world up to now.

    We can only watch and wait as to what happens .....

  • Comment number 7.

    Nick,

    You miss two key things....

    1. Labour's jettisoned it's fiscal rules, to borrow to invest.

    Not borrow to give away tax cuts. Gordon was only too quick to chide such behaviour.

    Rank hypocrisy and intellectual bankruptcy from Gordom.

    2. Fiscal stimulus is trying to have your cake and eating it.

    So Brown borrows money on behalf of the taxpayer to give money back to the taxpayers he chooses.

    Taxpayers who then spend it and then have all taxpayers pay back the borrowing.

    So it is no such thing as a tax cuts... it is simply deferred borrowing and even more interest to repay.

    In the medium term how is having to provide more taxes to pay back more borrowing any kind of stimulus?

    The prudent thing to do would be to curtail government spending and simply give that money back to the taxpayer.

    But then, wouldn't be admitting that taxpayers spend their money in ways better than government?

    And that would never do.

  • Comment number 8.

    This morning's conference was pure Gordon Brown hyperbole - "we need to renew the global financial system"

    The usual guff without the manner or method of delivery.

    He didn't answer any of the questions because he couldn't; where is the timetable of co-ordinated fiscal policies; how are other governments going to afford it if they haven't been so prudent? Will taxes go up to pay for this at a later date? No answers.

    The man is a fraud. "Collleges of supervisers that will cross national boundaries" More rhetoric and hyperbole.

    Ill thought through, rushed out non policy to try not to look on the back foot after Cameron's announcements. The sham government. Nothing of substance.

    There was also considerable disbelief amongst the questioners that he had actually said anything at all. Because, of course, he hadn't.

    Even Gordon Brown has started to understand there is actual nothing coming out of his mouth anymore except blandishment after blandishment "taking the action that is necessary" Who is? With what? It was breathtaking; by the end you could tell that even Gordon Brown had stopped either believing or understanding what he was talking about.

    Newlabour have become a tragic charicature of themselves of style over substance; lots of photo opportunites with world leaders and no substantive action whatever.

    It's not enough to win an election. I suggest they stay in power while it collapses all around them.

  • Comment number 9.

    @ 1

    And you can't buck science, can you? - given the severity of the downturn (because of the excess of the boom years) monkeying around with tax at this point is like trying to get water to flow up a hill.

    But if it's going to be done, I'd favour a nice simple doubling of the personal allowance, funded by a new higher rate of 50 pc on incomes over 75,000.

  • Comment number 10.

    Gordon Brown has derided Cameron for not having the money to pay for the tax cuts then in the same breath says he's borrowing the money to pay for his...forgive me but does that not mean that Brown doesn't have the money to pay for his tax cuts either? Either Brown is stupid or it's me that's stupid, it must be me.. he's the Prime Minister after all.

  • Comment number 11.

    weejonnie 11:45 is not being bold enough.
    If he wants to save money, start with the ID scheme. Pull out of two wars, reduce civil servant pension schemes, abandon NH computer plans, slow down the new schools program (It never really started), reduce doctors pay, abolish tax credits.

    Did Gordon ever correctly predict the PSBR in the last 10 years?

  • Comment number 12.

    its time these parties gave up there stupid fighting and resolved there differences in order to sort out this countries problems not just blow there own trumpets.

    is it not in the best interest of the people of this country that westminster works towards a single goal with out the media hype or public fighting.

    watching these mp's i get the feeling they are straight out of primary school with there hand bags at fifty paces duels and silly arguements.

    this country apears to be in the hands of childish fools who are cutting off there noses in spite of there faces.

    the BBC should send each mp a copy of the getalong gang as a learning aid to them.

    the only other option is for the people to rise up and demand a change.

  • Comment number 13.

    Politically a smart move by Cameron. But "National Insurance breaks to firms which employ people who have been unemployed for more than three months"? Three months is a pretty short time in which to second-guess redundancies that arise from a shortfall in business income. And what a marvellous excuse to sack three people now and take two back on in three months time scot free. It is unlikely that an employer needing to save a guy's 25k pay cheque will change his mind for the carrot of 2.5k. You'd need to take on 10 'Cameron staff' to save one job. Benefit saving? What benefit saving?

    Fiscally responsible, not necessarily. Good old Tory rhetoric with fiscal vocabulary more like.

  • Comment number 14.

    This mornings conferences were miles apart.
    DC was clear, concise and explained where the money will be saved to make these small (but needed) breaks.
    GB waffled on about the uk/world economic issues and hardly mentioned anything about what he will be proposing to help people.
    We all know there is no money to play with, which is why the Tories plan seems reasonable, however small it is. GB mentioned right at the end, "fiscal stimulas, including borrowing". Those 4 words were enough to convince me he has'nt listened at all and is still hell bent on racking up a load of additional borrowing for a pre-election tax cut bribe, I wonder how many people are still thinking how they will be reimbursed next year for the 10p tax fiasco?? I know where my vote is going after this mornings conferences.

  • Comment number 15.

    @10 wellerman

    If you're stupid, so am I. I thought exactly the same thing.

    I suppose that's what Gordon does, makes us all look stupid.

  • Comment number 16.

    Interesting, but both Brown and Cameron were condemning Clegg's tax cut plans a month ago. How do they compare with the LibDem original in this field?

  • Comment number 17.

    #11 timharkersmith

    I agree with your savings. Although even if we were not heading for a severe downturn somerthing would have to be done about civil servant pensions. All final salary pension schemes ought to have an upper limit cap on a pension. There are some ludicrous figures being bandied about from upper six to seven figure sums - given that we will live longer the future costs are mindboggling!

    I would also add the two replacement aircraft carriers - the Chiefs of Staff in the Armed Forces are not keen as it virtually swallows up future budgets. Ministers are keen for the jobs in labour constituencies.

    Doubtless there are many more.

  • Comment number 18.

    Nick,
    Why not call it what it is;
    Fiscal irresponsibility?

    Next a run on the pound with interest rates going through the roof. We will need to borrow, what will be charged by investors to a financially incontinent country? The government gave a clue when it charged financially incontinent banks 12%.

  • Comment number 19.

    This country is insane.

    Brown has borrowed, taxed and spent his way into recession.

    He now wants to borrow, tax and spend his way out of recession - without a care for value for money or the principles of basic financial management.



    With barely a challenge - the media let Brown get away with smoke and mirrors and lies on a scale that has probably never been seen before (in any country? ever?).


    Why on earth do we allow Brown to remain in office?


  • Comment number 20.

    Nick

    The words headless and chickens enter my head, univited but loud.

    I think we are having to choose between :

    Brown who being in a deep hole of his own making, wants to keep digging in order to preserve jobs and in the hope that the howl won't be too deep to climb out and

    Cameron who wants to dig a new hole for the same reason in the belief that both will be shallower and easier to fill than the already deep Brown one if he keeps digging.

    By the way, I like how Gordon went from years of praising the City whlist insisiting he would not dress up in thier elitist white tie uniform to criticising their irresponsibilty pausing only to join their white tied ranks.

    Also his selling the virtues of the 70 year old approach promoted by Keynes whilst simultaneously telling us this is no time for old approaches.

  • Comment number 21.

    Repeat from the previous thread but probably more relevant here....

    What I think we need, is to get this recession out of the way as quickly as possible. At the moment all we're doing is prolonging the agony by seeking to prop up the price of our insanely over-valued property.

    What we need to do is prompt a rush for the door - get property down to sensible prices. Simple. Announce that from (say) 1st May 2009 any capital gain on property will be taxed at 40%. Ie give people enough warning to get their property marketed and sold. Those who have remortgaged for life's little luxuries like 4x4s, Plasma TVs and all-inclusive holidays in Cancun won't be able to sell without getting a tax-bill they can't pay so they'll be forced to sit tight and pay off their debts. Good, the right folk getting their just desserts.

    That should do the job. Property crash out of the way by 1st May as folk rush to get their money out. Property at a newer, lower, more affordable level. Property speculation discouraged by the thought of handing 40% of any gain to the thieves of Westminster.

    Once our national obsession with property and the 'good' effects of it being insanely over-priced are out of the way we can get on with the business of redirecting our money to more fruitful lines of business.

    As for funding tax cuts. Again. Dead easy. Simplify the tax system and then fire all the civil servants who were administrating the old, more complex system. Should be able to halve the payroll at elast.

    Fire the entire BBC licencing operation. Sell the BBC to Rupert Murdoch or Al Jazeera.

    Fire at least half the DVLC people. Fire everybody connected with ID cards and cancel all the contracts.

    Walk through hospitals firing anybody not in uniform. Cancel all their technology contracts.

    But those would be 'tough' decisions. What we'll get is the easy decisions. Do you hear that sound? That's the sound of the printing presses down at the Royal Mint. That's the sound of all our futures being flushed down the toilet by the agents of arrogance and incompetence.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'm actually with Cameron on this one and I think he's finally done enough to win my vote. Any tax reductions or holidays should be aimed at stimulating business and not simply dished out to taxpayers too terrified to spend.

    If Gordon really wanted to make a difference, perhaps he could find the time to finally take the scissors to the miles of red tape that currently strangles our economy and costs the country billions of pounds a year. Scrapping tax credits and raising the starting tax band would save a couple of billion in fraud, miscalculations and civil servants too.

    As for Browns' hints at tax cuts, what's the point? As a hard working middle income tax payer, I'm sure Gordon (or should that be Alistair – do we still have a chancellor?) won't be aiming any tax cuts at me. And if he does, any reduction will probably only amount to an extras £20 in my pocket per month. But given the perilous state of the UK economy, that £20 isn't going to convince me to go out and buy a new car or kitchen any time soon.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think labour are making a good comeback. As someone who thought they would definately vote Tory I find labour's willingness to change policies (like VED retrospection, 10% tax and toning down green tax initiatives) is appealing.

    The Tories seem to be making very heavy weather of it - where is Osbourne?

    When the Tories do say something its quite depressing and still very environmentally correct - which may of us with real and immediate issues don't want to hear.

    If it carries on like this maybe Brown can make a real comeback.

  • Comment number 24.

    Nick

    Brown is dithering.

    He keeps saying that things are being done, and there will be anouncements about them, but he doesn't say what they are - maybe because he doesn't know yet?

    He also said that he was waiting to see what the rest of the world were going to do so he could try to look like he was leading them !

    He said nothing of substance - just more waffle.

    Cameron, on the other hand, offered brown a range of measures that could be implemented quickly, simply at no cost.

    There really is no competition...

  • Comment number 25.

    The Nation's economy is in an appallingly bad condition and we no longer have the luxury of playing politics with it. This is a national emergency.

    Political sniping will delay doing the right things the party leaders need to come together in a National Government to get things done.

    We have a history of National Governments in extreme circumstances - if the current circumstances of an almost bankrupt banking sector and imminent widespread commercial collapse is not such a circumstance I don't know what is.

    The three kids (Gordon, Dave and Nick) need to get together and work on solutions. The Nation cannot afford them to be working to destroy each other as that will destroy the Nation.

  • Comment number 26.

    The World at One has just given prominence to Gordon Brown's assertion that the Conservative's employment measure is unfunded (even though David Cameron has explained quite convincingly that it is anything but). We are soon going to hear Brown promoting his own measures that he admits from the outset will have to be funded by borrowing.

    So, setting aside Browns "factual inexactitude" in his response to the Conservatives, just what is the difference between an unfunded measure and a measure funded by borrowing?

  • Comment number 27.

    So the Keynesian argument is a dirty phenomenon this week then?
    Any takers on what the hells going to happen nest week?


    GB today (11/11/08):
    Business Secretary Peter Mandelson would propose a new code for banks on business lending.

    Good night everyone. Last one out, turn off the lights.

  • Comment number 28.

    This is Brown's scorched-earth policy: having already wrecked the economy, he wants to make sure there's as much poison in the chalice for the next government as he can.

  • Comment number 29.

    More bovine biological solids, methinks, from our political class.

    Who cares what these fatuous oafs from yesterday have to say? They are becoming irrelevant. Times are changing and changing fast.

    They are still trying to stop a recession. We are already in a recession and the worst has not yet hit. The issue now is whether it will be a deep recession or a slump. As always when in situations where it will be an option of either bad or worse, I opt for worse.

    Yes, we need less tax. Yes, the people need to keep more of their own money in their pocket. But that is a demand that stands for good times as well as bad. Why the sudden change now?

    Will government spending be switched from supporting an ever growing bureaucracy of inspectors, registers, list keepers and box tickers and directed into economic development? Of course not: so what are we talking about?

    Oh yes, change now and Brown-Cameron will keep their jobs. That is what it is all about. No principle, no policy just crude survival.

    Bring on the tumbrils!

  • Comment number 30.

    Novice_boy@15

    Actually reminds me of an old episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, very topical for today of course...I think I'll be Baldrick you can be George and good old crafty Gordon can be Blackadder !!

    Blackadder: Just use your imagination for heavens sake. [thinks] Wait a minute, that's the answer. I can't believe I've been so stupid.

    Baldrick: Yeah, that is unusual, 'cos usually I'm the stupid one.

    George: Well, I'm not over-furnished in the brain department.

    Blackadder: Well, on this occasion I've been stupidest of all.

    George: Oh, now sir! I will not have that! Baldrick and I will always be more stupid than you. Isn't that right Baldrick?
    [standing up] Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    Baldrick: Yeah, [standing up also] stupidy, stupidy, stupidy.

    [Flares are fired, lighting up George and Baldrick.
    Blackadder cowers on the ground.]

    George: Stupidest stupids in the whole history of stupidityness.

  • Comment number 31.

    #22

    But given the perilous state of the UK economy, that ?20 isn't going to convince me to go out and buy a new car or kitchen any time soon.

    Yep. Good point. The same is true of interest rate cuts. The only people who will be encouraged too go out and start spending on consumer unnecessaries or go out and pay the asking price for a house at the moment are the extremely-hard-of-thinking.

    Interest rate cuts and tax cuts are only going to prompt the suddenly awakened UK voter to pay down some of that debt they ran up over the past decade. Gordon Brown might like to join them. Pull in his belt a bit. Cancel all of the miriad pointless projects he has on the go or in the pipeline. Vanity projects that will add no value to UK PLC but will remain as white elephant monuments to his waste for generations to come.

    The only people who will take that tax cut or interest rate cut and go out and squander even more money are the people who we should be reporting to the credit scoring agencies. The extreme end of the lunatic behaviour that got us all into this economic mess in the first place. You can be sure that the guy going on the biggest borrowing and squandering binge in UK history will be the guy who has already borrowed more money than all UK chancellors in history added together. And that was before we went into recession.

    He's only got another 18 months but I confidently predict he'll have trebled our national debt by spring 2010 and that his printing press economics will take a generation of hard graft to get back under control if indeed it proves even possible to pull out of the tail-spin he's kicked us all into.

    We may be looking at a new Year Zero for the UK economy before this is over.

    That's how bad the outlook is with this dementor in charge.

  • Comment number 32.

    Cameron's increasing desperation does not invoke confidence. Scuttling around studios, changing his tune all the time. Just because he speaks well does not mean he has anything meaningful to convey. His measures (today) seem totally inadequate for what most people are having to face.

  • Comment number 33.

    I do hope every one of Gordons Back benchers now shouts at him as they have for every tory tax cutting policy

    "WHERE's THE MONEY COMING FROM?"

    Gordons answer is "The future"

    Next question "What Future?"

  • Comment number 34.

    The future for the tax-payer and his children is looking black (or should that be red ?).

    The future is definitely NOT Brown.

    Roll on the election !

  • Comment number 35.

    Could Denis Healey please have a word in our idiotic leader's ear and tell him to reconsider? We have tried Keynesian stimulus before when facing an economic slowdown on the back of a spike in fuel prices. All this extra government borrowing is likely to do will be to force interest rates and prices up, sending the pound tumbling.

    A few months into something like this and they could be wheeling out a new prices and incomes policy.

    Denis, if you're there, please pick up the phone.


  • Comment number 36.

    Nick,

    we are heading for a repeat of the Great Depression, it will not affect the same people, the economic structure has changed fundamentally, and people will not be on the bread line, but even here in Exeter they are now running an evening soup kitchen. Beggars on nearly every street corner, big issue sales, people trying to get you to sign up to a charity.

    This is the result, soldiers sold down the river, no help with their mental health problems. This is dire, and it won't get any better with the current crop of politicians. We need a change, a fundamental change, because sure as hell the Americans won't bail us out, they will look after their own, they have their own national interests. The solution is not going to come from outside. Foreigners have their own flags, their own national interests, they have elections which they want to win. Get us into the Euro and be quick about it, no doubt we will when the pound and Euro are at parity.

    In the meantime, all those pensioners who retired to mainland Europe are suffering alright now, serves them right for deserting a sinking ship. A ship which they are responsible for holing.

  • Comment number 37.

    I think all Tory commenters on here should go and see a doctor. Their comments do nothing to help a serious situation. All the bile against a man who is seriously endeavouring to help Britain our of this global mess. Is it so imperative that Cameron and osbourne take over the reins as what i can tell is that these two are clueless to know what to do. All they do is change policy every day and jump on every bandwagon that's going. God help us all if they ever get elected but i know in my heart the people of Britain will never let this happen.

  • Comment number 38.

    Surely the point is that at the same time as borrowing increases, there has to be far more time spent looking for savings on government expenditure. The public sector has expanded at a far faster rate that the rest of the economy over the last ten years, funded it is now clear, on unsound money.

    There has to be an acceptance on the part of all political parties that government expenditure will have to be cut. Clearly there will then be great gnashing of teeth about cuts in services, but quite frankly, if the private sector is shrinking, so should the public sector. One means of reducing expenditure, without significant reductions in services would be reducing civil service salaries.

    Anybody earning over, say, £25,000 accepts a 5% reduction in salary to a minimum of £25k. GPs, senior MPs and top mandarins on six figure salaries can take a greater hit and at the same time institute wholesale reforms of pensions. Add this to the cancellation of ID cards, NHS data contracts, etc. and before you know it, you've got a significant saving. At the same time, the 'real' economy sees that the public sector is prepared to take its share of the pain.

    None of this will avoid the necessity for increased borrowing, but without it, there is very little chance of any political party getting support for a spend now, pay later approach.

  • Comment number 39.

    Nice work wellerman.

    If only Gordon could admit his faults so readily, instead of blaming everyone else.

    On a general note, why is there not more public outcry at the bloated public sector (no pun intended). This is not only grossly expensive now, but has the potential to impact finances for decades to come with all the taxpayer funded, index linked final salary pensions that it provides.

    Is DC scared to speak out because under Gordon it's inflated numbers now carry real voting clout?

  • Comment number 40.

    @37

    I've been to the docs, he says all is fine with me therefore now you need to go to be checked as the fault probably lies with you

  • Comment number 41.

    You start your piece with the mention of (rival) press conferences.I think you will find that Browns is a monthly conference,and Camerons is the (rival).





























































  • Comment number 42.

    @41

    Your post is like GB's heed

    Mostly empty space!

  • Comment number 43.

    #37
    "All the bile against a man who is seriously endeavouring to help Britain our of this global mess."

    Bile? I don't regard him high enough to give him bile. It's his personal mess. What do you think he deserves? A round of applause?
    Oh and I liked how he found time while "endeavouring", to slate the beeb and Ross/Brand, but that wouldn't be jumping on he bandwagon would it?


    "God help us all if they(Tories) ever get elected but i know in my heart the people of Britain will never let this happen."

    If Labour get a fourth term, you are more than welcome to him. My wife and I will be emigrating.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think Cameron will be proved to have taken the right position on this in the long-term.

    Brown's argument seems desperately close to someone who is prepared to do anything to temporarily prop up the economy in order to give him just enough time to call an election before worrying about the dire consequences of his actions.

    I still don't think some people have grasped quite how bad this situation is. When you have one of the highest budget deficits in the world AND one of the highest tax burdens in our history (the exact level is of no consequence) that dynamic is so difficult to get out of. Each year we add more and more to the stock of debt and so more and more has to be spent on debt repayments and less and less on productive things. But when we come to try and pay off some of the outstanding debt by raising taxes all we'll end up doing is stifling employment and growth and incomes: and so the budget deficit persists for longer still.

    That is why it is so important that we don't treat the economy as a never ending overdraft like so many labour chancellors have in the past.

    We must accept that houses in this country are overvalued and people in this country have taken on too much debt. That has to be reversed. Painful but necessary. Endless borrowing only postpones greater problems for tomorrow.

  • Comment number 45.

    #37 wumper

    Thanks for your post.

    Just two comments:

    He created this mess in the first place and the only thing he is seriously endeavouring to save is his rather flabby skin.

    Anti-Labour does not imply Tory. However I will be voting for Cameron at the next election, unless my doctor advises me otherwise.

  • Comment number 46.

    I can't help thinking form reading your post that Brown is simply just gambling and that he has done too much too wrong to stop the slide the way we all know things are going. He'll call an election next year probably because by 2010 we'll all be unemployed and be wheeling out madame Guillotine calling his name.

    No one with a brain in this world should give Brown more than the time of day and directions back to his constituency.

  • Comment number 47.

    Thanks David i will now sack all my workforce and then re-employ them. What a nice little earner.

  • Comment number 48.

    Re magic 43 I will come and wave you off.

  • Comment number 49.

    37 Wumper

    Firstly - it isn't just Conservatives giving Brown a kicking.

    Secondly - Brown's irresponsibility has been one of the major contributors that has got us into this mess.

    Thirdly - Brown's strategy to escape recession, is in many ways, the same policy that have got us into dire straits in the first place.


    If only there was a grassy knoll outside 10 Downing Street.......



  • Comment number 50.

    #48 :-)

  • Comment number 51.

    Wumper

    "Cameron and Osborne..... All they do is change policy every day...."

    So Wumper, if you want to sound like a purveyor of the facts (rather than Labour Party spin), name me a single business, employment, industrial or economic policy that the Conservatives have proposed, say, during the course of the last six months, and then subsequently dropped.

  • Comment number 52.

    Nick,

    Aside from political u-turns, when our Prime Minister stands at a press conference and says "I’m always honest with the British public" then uses a fake (and let us be clear, it is fake - see the ONS: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=206%29 debt number as a justification that "Whatever else we want to argue about, let us be clear that we start from a low base in public debt", where on earth are our leading journalists - some of which are employed at the expense of the license fee payer - to challenge him?

    The failure at least ask the questions, let alone to hold this Government to account, is a disgrace.

  • Comment number 53.

    re jrperry 51 recently Ossie the oligarch said "the cupboard is bare, therefore tax reductions cannot be made" That policy didn't last long did it?

  • Comment number 54.

    Can't wait for Gordon Brown to give me a tax cut. I can take it straight to the bank and pay off some of my fixed rate mortgage.

    With GB having crippled savings rates by acting the hard man with the banks I'll need a return on this money!

    If I had the option I'd get out of this country before Gordon's chickens come home to roost.

  • Comment number 55.

    Gordon Brown is slipping into a very low strategy indeed. It is bad enough that Brown & Blair have "bought" votes through handouts in previous elections, this time Brown should be ashamed of the fact that his government spending policies over the past 10 years have been the major cause of the current financial mess.

    Nick . . . next time you speak with Brown/Darling ask them the true UK debt exposure including PFI. I would like to see the UK plc balance sheet as it really is rather than Brown's interpretation of what he has decided the public will be told.

    I totally agree with David Cameron. Tax cuts can only be funded from reduced spending in other areas. It is time for some major projects to be cancelled. ID cards would be an excellent start point. Reassess the government contribution to the London Olympics and so on. Like all good households there are times that you have to cut back and UK plc has definitely reached that point.

  • Comment number 56.

    Hold on just a minute.

    One Party is offering FUNDED tax cuts.

    Another is offering UNFUNDED tax cuts.

    This is a no-brainer.

    Living beyond our means got us into this mess. Yet more UNFUNDED policies (for party political advantage) must not be allowed to be rewarded.

  • Comment number 57.

    ref. 7. has got it in one.
    Substantially reducing the cost Government by scrapping projects such as IT systems for the NHS,ID cards and closing down the miriade of Quango's who employ highly paid but non added value consultants would be a good start to reduce costs.
    Then advise ALL Government departments,including Government itself that their 2009 budgets are going to be slashed by 10% from budget proposed in 2007 for 2009.
    The Ministers of State can then get in a huddle with their respective senior servants to find the savings required to fulfil the reduced budget objectives.
    There would then be no need to increase borrowing to fund the tax reduction.

  • Comment number 58.

    I realise it is current fashion to deride everyone for coming up with ideas and political point scoring is never far away from bipartisan commitments to try and make the changes needed to protect our economy and nation from melt down but are we not forgetting one all important matter?

    Confidence

    Confidence is what drives behaviour, confidence in the future, confidence in your employer, your market, your government, your suppliers, your partners, your media.

    The captains of the universe have been found wanting at best, criminally arrogant at worst with a dose of condescension thrown in for mere mortals for good measure.

    People, real people that together process and deliver the macro economic energy and funds that drive our society have simply lost confidence in institutions, the politicians, invisibles are just that and people now crave substances not illusion, hence the trend towards battening down the hatches and clawing your way through this downturn in UKplc fortunes along with the rest of the world.

    If we are to fix the future it is all about fixing the underlying issue of confidence, not tweaking round the edges with fiscal stimuli that provide a brief boost as opposed to a lasting change in the fundamental values of our societies approach to fiscal and social responsibility.

    Show me a plan that does that and i will show you a plan that last beyonds Christmas

  • Comment number 59.

    'Both men have an interest as presenting this as a big political divide. It may in truth turn out to be much less so. '

    One of the essential presentation skills is to argue in opposition to others so as to make a strong impact.

    Behind the patina of slick words, both men have similar well-hidden motives and goals--a truth is truer than whatever is said to be true by them.

  • Comment number 60.

    Quite a gamble indeed Nick, by both leaders in question. However, based on what I've read, I am more inclined to agree with Dave than Gordy! Also, the PM's assertion of "being honest with the British public" is fast turning into a farcical one! He's clinging on to power with hit n' trial-like muddled ideas. Really disappointed with the way the country's being run at the moment.

  • Comment number 61.

    Gordo keeps banging on about how low our national debt is at 37.7% compared to many other Countries. What he keeps hidden of course are all the off-balance sheet debts that the tax payer is actually committed to repaying.
    PFI Debt: £100 Billion
    Public Sector Pensions: £1,025 Billion
    Northern Rock: £10 Billion
    Plus of course the latest round of bank bail-outs and guarantees.

    Now, my math isn't so great, but I reckon all this adds up to nearer 100% than 37.7% of GDP.

    Now, he wants to borrow even more for an election bribe. This man either has no shame or no sense. Either way he needs to be removed.

  • Comment number 62.

    Wumper - your post 53.

    You are confusing an unfunded tax cut like the kind of thing we are told Mr Brown is about to announce (which we can't afford) with a fully-funded employers' incentive (fully funded, because what the government pays out to the employer, it gets back times three in no longer having to pay benefits to the new employee).

    I saw your post 47, but let's ignore that - I'm sure you realise iyou were being daft, and anyway Cameron covered that one this morning.

    So, have another go. I'm still waiting for policies in the last six months that the Conservatives have proposed and then dropped.

  • Comment number 63.

    52 DGlazebrook

    Absolutely. I totally agree.

    The media are spineless.

  • Comment number 64.

    Whumper, 53: rather than resorting to paraphrasing Osborne's speech, why don't you read the extract, http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/sep/29/georgeosborne.toryconference.

    "The cupboard is bare. There is no more money. Tax revenues have collapsed. Unemployment costs are rising. Borrowing is out of control. Labour has done it again.

    It's no good talking about the big up-front tax giveaways we might like to make, or the big spending increases it might be nice to have. Because I repeat: there is no more money."

    Its quite clear that Osborne isn't saying "there will be no tax cuts" but rather that there is no money for unfunded tax cuts.

  • Comment number 65.

    Here's something to consider. In the run up to the 1992 GE, Norman Lamont borrowed billions to fund a temporary cut in VAT so as to offset Poll Tax bills. For this he was castigated by Labour, including it's Trade and Industry spokeman Gordon Brown. The Tories defied the odds and narrowly won the GE, then the bills for Lamont's splurge came in and they had to impose a range of tax hikes, including putting VAT on fuel. Mike Smithson of politicalbetting.com will tell you that the polls of that period showed that the Tories had bounced back after Black Wednesday and by early 1993 they were level pegging with Labour until the 1993 budget, after which their poll ratings went off a cliff and never recovered. Contrary to common belief, Black Wednesday didn't sink the Tories, it was when they had to cover the cost of their pre-election splurge. Is history about to repeat itself?

  • Comment number 66.

    re: 57, gavin_humph

    Couldn't agree more. All of Nu-Lab's rotten schemes are untrustworthy, ineffective, staggeringly expensive and terrible value for money, just like their creators.

  • Comment number 67.

    Nick,

    Someone - maybe even you- have got to take the PM to task over his problem with honesty.

    Here are 4 lies you can tackle in one big "honesty interview":

    1. Your own question today was dodged - why can't he be honest with the public about taxes needing to rise with his policies?

    2. "I did not say and end to boom and bust"

    3. "We are in a unique position to weather the recession"

    4. UK debt is only X% of GDP.



    If you tackle all the lies together - he may slip up and tell the truth about one of them.

    That in itself would be a good start.

  • Comment number 68.

    re jrperry 62 Do you think we are all naive? I have already spoken to a local employer who has stated that if he waits just a short time then he would be able to sack a quarter of his small staff (all manual workers)and employ replacements with a different job description. I think you doth protest too much, it surely cannot be down to the latest opinion poll can it?

  • Comment number 69.

    I'm afraid for Gordon the game is up.

    To quote Lord Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang:

    "Had your chance. Muffed it!"

  • Comment number 70.

    Brown sulked, manoeuvred and plotted until he got into No 10. He is not about to sign his own eviction order by telling the truth. His craving for power is to great.

    The only option would appear to be concerted action by the public such as civil disobedience to get rid of this man.

    Mugabe is almost acting like a gentleman compared with this Scottish buffoon.

    Go Brown. Go now. Go quickly.

  • Comment number 71.

    Nasty little rant from ADB123 at #70. We do pay a price for free speech and for allowing these people airtime don't we?

  • Comment number 72.

    David Cameron's proposal to reduce tax on taking on new employees is probably no more "funded" than Gordon Brown's fiscal stimulus.

    The tax cut is funded when employers take on people only because there is a tax cut. Which is unlikely in most cases.

    This being the case, the more effective proposal is the one that generates the biggest change in behaviour - ie getting people to spend more.

  • Comment number 73.

    jonathan crook, 67. This is absolutely required and is the only way to hold GB to account. But how to bring it about, save an election? If we have to wait until 2010, 'we're all doomed' as Pte Fraser might say....

  • Comment number 74.

    Nick,

    How these tax cuts are funded IS exactly the difference.

    Brown is habitually incapable of cutting government spending, that would impact his core vote.

    Cameron wants to limit further exposure to the taxpayer of more borrowing, borrowing that the taxpayer will have to pay for one day. It is completely sensible to reduce taxation on jobs to avoid the double whammy of losing income tax revenue and paying out dole money.

    Brown will pursue unfunded tax cuts because he doesn't care how the Conservatives will pay for it if they win the next election.

    Neither will he show any compunction in hiking taxes if Labour wins that election. A leopard doesn't change his spots.

    Even his first tax 'cut' was anything but, it was a raid on those who could least afford to pay.

  • Comment number 75.

    So we're going form the 'age of irresponsibility' to the 'age of unfunded fiscal irresponsibility'.

    Nice one.

    Notice the tactic of the usal newlabour apologists to stay away and watch what the reaction is to Gordon Brown's 'non policy' so the spin doctors can then give Alistair Darling his 'narrative' when he present s the pre-budget report?

    It's all part of a grand newlabour spinning plan. Completely transparent now we know their tactics. Bit useless whent he economy is imploding by the day.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 76.

    Nick
    "At this morning's Downing Street news conference I asked the prime minister whether he'd be honest with the electorate and admit that taxes would have to go up after the recession. He replied that now wasn't the time to make predictions for several years ahead. "

    The short answer was NO. Dishonest so and so.


  • Comment number 77.

    Mike Smithson of politicalbetting.com will tell you that the polls of that period showed that the Tories had bounced back after Black Wednesday and by early 1993 they were level pegging with Labour until the 1993 budget, after which their poll ratings went off a cliff and never recovered.

    See. That's my recollection. All we ever hear about was that the Tories were slung out for 'sleaze'. But they weren't. They were slung out for breaking their promises on tax.

    They promised faithfully prior to the 1992 election that there would be no tax rises. They felt safe promising this because they were widely expected to be drummed out of office. Only a real incompetent could possibly have lost to John Major. Luckily Labour has a long and proud history of incompetence and they had just the man for the job. Neil Kinnock.

    On the back of their shock victory they then found they had to raise taxes to balance the budget. And you're right. It was this about face that nailed them.

    That's why Gordon Brown used every trick in the book in 2001 when the Tories had got wind of his NI increases prior to the General Election. He was repeatedly asked on talk-shows by the likes of Paxman and any other time he inadvertently strayed near a journalist if he had any plans to increase NI.

    And it is his disingenuous response that alerted me of his corrupt black soul. His response was of the ilk 'I won't answer that question because otherwise we'll be here all day/night answering questions about any of the other 300 taxes that are constantly under review'

    And about a week after the election victory what did we get? An increase in NI.

    So, Gordon didn't technically lie. He just didn't tell the truth. Nor could he be made to tell the truth. There is/was always some excuse why he couldn't answer the question with a straight 'yes' or 'no'. Or he simply talks through or past the question.

    'Gordon Brown, are you not concerned about the runaway price of house?'

    'I am pleased that as a result of the prudent fiscal policies I have pursued that more people are confident in the long-term prosperity of the country to commit to buying their own home'

    'Huh?'

    'Sorry, times up - next question...'

    A technique he continues to use to this day. So when he quotes the ONS statistics it will be a number that he has taken great care to plant at the ONS in the first place. A number less than 40%. It'll be a number that excludes all kind of things and, on examination or questioning, the ONS might disclose exactly what has been excluded to arrive at the fantasy figure but Gordon Brown will skate over that and announce 'According to the ONS blah blah...'

    So, on one level he's strictly telling the truth. But only after having taken great pains to rig the parameters.

    Same with the rigged unemployment figures. Same with the rigged inflation numbers. Same with the rigged GDP figures. The rigged NHS statistics. All rigged. Same with the '45 minutes' claim in fact.

    Sure, there is a document alluding to 45 minutes that was produced by the cloak and dagger guys. But only after they'd been told to go and produce a document that would 'big up' the case for war. No, not good enough. Rewrite it. That's better...

    'Look, our secret service tells us that the Iraqi's are ready to deploy WMD in 45 minutes....'

    Similarly the so-called Hutton enquiry. Convene an enquiry with such restricted frame of reference that it was a waste of time from the start.

    It's how this government operates. It decides it wants to do something. It commissions a 'survey' or 'report' taking care to pack it with people who can be relied upon to produce the 'right' answer. Then it produces this 'independent' report as justification for what they were planning to do in the first place.

    As for increasing taxes to balance the books in the unlikely event of a Labour resurgence and general election victory. I doubt that very much. They've shown no aptitude for balancing the books for the past eight years and clearly they've no intention of balancing them for the next 18 months.

    If, by some unprecedented wave of postal ballots, they get re-elected then this is the end game. It will be the end of the currency. They will simply print money indefinitely.

    Works for Robert Mugabe.

    Winston Smith would be proud.

    George Orwell really was a genius wasn't he?

  • Comment number 78.

    Wumper post 68

    I think you must be getting very confused. Your "local employer" who you have just "spoken to" is going to have to wait not just a "short time" but until after the next GE before he can try his little trick with attempting to fiddle an employment incentive. Which would fail anyway, I think. Can you really imagine that such a scheme would be implemented without some kind of safeguard against pirates?

    Strange remark about the latest opinion poll - can you explain?

    Anyway, where's your list of Conservative U-turns. You seemed to be say they shouldn't be taken seriously, because going back on policy is all they do, so you must have a long list of them.

  • Comment number 79.

    # 71

    It worked for Labour with the Poll Tax riots against the Thatcher government, didn't it?

    Or was that acceptable because it was against the Tories?

    What about the Notting Hill race riots? Did they not achieve what the minorities wanted?

    Sometimes, when the Government refuses to listen to the public, it takes a good kick to make them listen. Sadly, that seems to be the case with control freak Brown and his cronies.

  • Comment number 80.

    Presumably Andrew Neil on today's Daily Politics was pressed for time which was why he was unable to allow Osborne to complete his plausible responses. Perhaps El Gordo can be tomorrows guest and be subject to a similar brusque manner whilst being compelled to explain his economy with the truth. The only economics Brown understands.

    Conversely, Tony McNulty's comments were revealing, wriggling like a worm on a hook regarding future debt repayment followed by his completely transparent attempt at defending Gordon Brown's misleading utterances. I would have said bare faced lying but don't have faith in the moderators.

    Perhaps Nick Robinson at some point reasonably soon can adopt a similar technique to get at the truth.

  • Comment number 81.

    79 Youngerap

    The media don't seem to want to challenge Brown's lies.

    The opposition parties don't seem to be able to "pin the tail" on the donkey (even though that must be the easiest thing to do in the world - seeing as Gordon's finger prints are all over the economic crash)


    Maybe - it is time for the people take to the streets......

  • Comment number 82.

    #80 Ilicipolero

    Maybe the BBC's new strategy against the Tories is to talk over them so that they can't elucidate any policies and then to say 'we haven't heard any policies from the Tories'. I have seen a bit of this already and we still have probably over a year to the general election.

    The strategy against Michael Howard in the run up to the last general election was almost as sneaky. That is, bombard him with question after question on immigration, the final question being 'why is your campaign so negative and so obsessed with immigration?'. Then give some raving lefty the last word just to remind the population how horrible the thought of a sensible immigration policy would be.

  • Comment number 83.

    #81.

    What worries me is precisely that... the rioting and civil disorder at the time of the early 80s recession was awful.

    This recession hasn't even started yet and things are "lowest since records began" already.

    The portents aren't good.

    This might be a crisis that started in the US but it's Brown as Chancellor and PM over the last decade that have made the effects here all the more worse.

    The media are utterly failing to hold this man to account. He's having a 'good crisis' instead.

    Great, tell that to the 2,200 Virgin Media staff that are going to lose their jobs.

    Tinkering with VED and winter fuel payments mean nothing and will do nothing to help get us out of recession just deeper in more debt.

    Do what Vodafone did today... cut out the 'non-value', the £60bn on quangos, the £10bn on pointless IT (ID Cards).

    And give us our money back.

  • Comment number 84.

    Like I've been saying for some time now: there's going to be one almighty reckoning for this mess.

    The politicians are panicking. Meantime, they're throwing up smoke screens to cover the fact that they're clueless about how to dig us out of the hole into which they're still furiously digging us (and which they conveniently marked out by unleashing the debt boom).

    It takes just one common-sense-fuelled peep at what's going on here to realise that our glorious political leaders are now steering us into the biggest financial black-hole in the known universe. Gordon Brown is, therefore, in his element.

    The politicians are being tossed around by events. They're taking short-term actions which they dress up as clever, considered policy decisions. They haven't the faintest idea how we'll ever recover from the self-inflicted disaster now being engineered before our very eyes.

    We'll start paying the economic and social price for all this in the next 12 - 24 months. Our children will pay the price for a generation, mark my words. The end of cheap energy will be the next steam train to smash into our economic and social systems - and our politicians haven't even begun to think about the impact of that.

    I hope this marks the beginning of the end of our current political class and their outdated systems and deceitful relationship with us ordinary citizens.

    Let's see what Barack Obama can do for this messed up world, shall we? Meantime, Brown, Cameron, Clegg and their ilk are history - and patently useless to boot.

  • Comment number 85.

    Just a few documented occassions when Gordo said "no more boom and bust"

    "Mr Deputy Speaker we will not return to boom and bust." (Budget speech 2001)

    "No longer the boom-bust economy," he said on 27 September 2004.

    "In any other decade, a house price bubble would have pushed Britain from boom to bust," he claimed a year later on 26 September 2005.

    "No return to boom and bust." (Budget speech 2006)

    "And we will never return to the old boom and bust." (Budget speech 2007)

    No mention of "Tory" in any of 'em...

    When will you BBC journos pull him on this?

  • Comment number 86.

    The opposition parties don't seem to be able to "pin the tail" on the donkey

    The pin was hovering right over his big fat backside a few weeks ago. He'd just got back from bailing out the banks and announcing a co-ordinated interest rate cut with the yanks and the EBC.

    All we were waiting for was the BBC to report the facts. Pin the tail on him.

    Ie Gordon Brown has been forced to bail out the UK banks. This marks a new nadir of incompetence for the Labour government as the fiscal and regulatory policies it has pursued for the past decade are revealed to be fatally flawed. There is growing calls within the Labour party for a change of leadership and a challenge is expected within days.

    What we got from the independent BBC was 'Failure of Thatcherism'.

    How's that for 'media narrative'?

    If we'd got wind of Pravda presenting news like that in the old USSR we'd have fallen off our chairs laughing at how the poor dumb saps were being kept in the dark and fed horse manure. But it happens over here and nobody bats an eyelid. Indeed it is repeated in the print media the following day.

    Mandelson is definitely back. He must have tapped the vast Hoover-like resources of the secret services and showed the editors of newspapers and journalists at the BBC all the video tapes they wouldn't want to be shown to their wives. It is the only conceivable explanation. That or outright death threats.

    How could the failure of a decade of this Labour governments regulation and fiscal policy be reported as a failure of Thatcherism? What the hell is going on?

  • Comment number 87.


    #76 skynine

    Interesting that.

    Whenever David Cameron says he is unable to give promises on tax changes until his party has a chance to examine the books, Gordon Brown always says the Conservatives have no policies!

  • Comment number 88.

    I listened to Tony McNulty's comments. He seemed straighforward and on the ball.

    Exactly what the pre-budget report will say is a matter of speculation and, I'm sure, it's still being worked on. 'Fiscal stimulus' paid for by future growth can be written off as just another debt mountain but by giving a boost now the very worst recession can be avoided and recovery brought forward.

    Surveys are showing that people have got over the initial shock of the finance crisis and some calm is returning. By getting peoples attention and diverting it into developing business vision and liquidity the chances of growing the economy are higher. Simply, leadership on this issue is a matter of finance and psychology.

    Huge potential still exists for new technologies and markets. By stimulating a more positive, flexible, and patient approach this potential can be developed in businesses and communities. But, that can't come from leadership alone. That requires people to seize the opportunity and it helps if you're having fun.

  • Comment number 89.

    economic theory suggests that an expansionary fiscal policy (eg a tax cut) that coinsides with an expansionary monetary policy (drop in interest rates) as we have already had, can stimulate growth without pushing up inflation.
    This was the obvious decision to make when facing a recession, but it will be interesting to see if macroeconomic policy theory will apply pin practice for the uk economy in the next year or so.

  • Comment number 90.

    How dare Mr McNulty suggest it is a moot point that they don't know how they are going to pay for these massive borrowings! Of course it is going to come from higher taxation. Our main source of income is the banking sector, and currently that is on its knees. It won't be allowed to take the risks and therefore make the profits it was making in previous years, so receipts will be down. We are therefore heading towards a recession the likes of which we have not seen for many generations.

    Responsible government in difficult times should be scrapping expensive big ticket projects such as ID cards. These are not going to employ many and should be put to one side for the time being. That should be the top of the list of things to scrap by the tories - well it is but they should be harping on about it.

    Finally all credibility Brown had with the economy has gone. He is claiming he has made things better but he has just written a cheque with no view of how things are going to be resolved. That is the reality

  • Comment number 91.

    Wumper

    The problem with you is that like all Labour supporters you are failing to see the point. Your comments seem to be a straight lift from Tony McNulty`s performance on the Politics Show anyway. Gordon Brown is not the hero he is the villain. He is the one who was crowing about low mortgage rates etc when credit was cheap and boasting that there were more people under Labour who now owned their homes. Little wonder - they were borrowing beyond thier means in the expectation that their houses would rise above the value of their mortgages so if things went belly up they they could sell and pay off their debts with no problems at all. Nothing in this life is a certainy and any bozzo - but apparently not this wonderful ex labour chancellor - could not see that this country was spending beyond its means and ibcurring debt on an epic scale and when the day of reckoning came we would be found to be penniless. Now the daft hapeth (GB) wants to borrow more so that people can continue living the high life. We are in debt up to our eye balls and the time has come for it to be paid back - does GB not get that? His policy of reducing tax/ increasing tax credits to the poorest families in the UK - as they are the ones who will spend any increase and not put it aside in savings - is bonkers. What products are they going to buy which will get this country moving again? Are they going to stimulate the housing market? No. Are they going to get car manufacturing going again by buying new cars? No. Are they going to buy quality products to get our High Streets going again? No. Are the middle classes going to be the mugs who are going to have to pick up the tab for all of this? Yes. David Cameron`s ideas are the best way forward: but he must really ditch George Osborne who looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights today when intereviewed by Andrew Neil who quite honestly made him look an incompetent twerp. There is no doubt now with Mandy leaking his proposal to keep all the remianing Post Offices open plus tax bribes for the core of labour voters we are heading for an election in early part of 2009.
    GB dare not hang on until the whatsit really hits the fan. But a warning shot to David Cameron that his party had better start behaving like an opposition or he will suffer an election defeat - albeit marginally as there are enough people who think Gordon can do no wrong with the economy and to be quite honest DC has been sitting there quitely hoping GB will fall flat on his face. Unfortunately with Mandy and Alistair back in the driving seat this probably wont happen. Even if it does his spin machine will ensure it won`t seem as he has. DC needs to put in some good performances asap and put some clear choices to the electorate as to what it will meanif they voted Labour or Conservative. Time I think is runnnig out and GB will cut and run for a short election which will be at his dictation not DCs.

  • Comment number 92.

    Whilst I'm not convinced that Gordon Brown's unfunded tax cuts are the way forward, David Cameron, once again, proves that he and George Osborne haven't got an answer.

    Firstly, the Tories claim that all of their tax cuts are funded..... what rubbish!

    Secondly, if they're so keen on Barack Obama perhaps they'd realise that 'trickle-down' economic policies are no longer in vogue. It's time that the very rich pay their fair share in tax so that everyone else can stop paying it for them.

    I STILL THINK THE NEWCONS ARE FAKES.

  • Comment number 93.

    BBC Pledge watch.


    The BBC has a new Internet article examining recent political pledges.

    Last week it was" Lap-Tops", this week "Vicars".

    Maybe next week it will be "Boom and Bust".

    Blair Vicar pledge

  • Comment number 94.

    Can you please stop peddling the myth that the bottom part of the economic cycle is a "unique time".

    The prevailing logic seems to be that Gordon Brown ended the economic cycle, or as he liked to call it "boom and bust", and that therefore the current situation is in someway different from the previous downturns in the economy. It isn't.

  • Comment number 95.

    #88

    Huge potential still exists for new technologies and markets.


    Even if that were true, which I doubt, unfortunately we no longer have a manufacturing base to take advantage of these wonderful opportunities. You sound like Hitler pushing non-existent armies around the table a week before the Russians enter Berlin.

    This idea that everything will be alright if we just think positively and give wise Gordon another twelve years to sort it out is presumably a result of having nothing better to say. In that case, might I suggest it would be better to say nothing.

  • Comment number 96.

    Nick,

    so we can take it then that the recession will last for several years then can we?

    I hope that others pick-up on Gordon Brown detaching his brain from his lips.

  • Comment number 97.

    Nick,

    the reason why Brown did nothing about inflated Cuty salaries was because he was the beneficary through the tax system. Imagine being given a million poundbonus how much of the actually went to the Treasury through taxes. He was desperate then and he is desperate now.

  • Comment number 98.

    81 - jonathan_cook

    Tory toffs take to the streets.

    I can't wait, hilarious!

    TALLY HO!

    Bill McFadden

  • Comment number 99.

    #37

    Surely the point is that we have to say something because the policy of the labour group at the moment seems to be that you said nothing at the time. Therefore if you said nothing then you must agree with me. Well some of us did say things years ago but were not listened to.

    I now know how Churchill must have felt in his wilderness years. Nobody listens, well they are now, only they don't like to hear the message.

    Of course we will have to pay for this through our taxes, only Gordon will be long gone, don't know where, don't really care, only he must go and go soon before the damage is irreparable.

  • Comment number 100.

    #28 (Basil Brush) - scorched earth indeed, capping off a long list of destructive policies.

    Reminds me of Jimmy Cagney at the end of White Heat - "Made it Ma ! Top of the world !" - as the balloon goes up

 

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