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Big choices

Nick Robinson | 15:30 UK time, Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Phew. That wasn't so painful, was it?

The prime minister has said the "C" word - cuts - and done so referring not just to cutting costs and inefficiencies but also to "unnecessary budgets" and "lower priority budgets".

Gordon BrownTranslated that means public spending cuts across a host of government departments.

This, however, was more tactical repositioning than a historic moment when the prime minister told the country an unpalatable truth.

This was not, in other words, comparable with Jim Callaghan's declaration in the 70s that the party was over.

The "C" word concession was not the big message in his speech to the TUC. It was, instead, the U-turn needed to allow that message to be heard.

He and his government had faced, he said, a series of "big choices" since the financial crisis began.

At each stage - whether trusting the banks to sort themselves out or markets to resolve their own problems or allow the recession to run its course - the government had, he claimed made the right choice to intervene.

Now the country faced another big choice, he claimed, between Tory across the board cuts and his cuts that will not affect front line public services.

With this speech a new phase in the debate opens. The government will be under pressure to show how it can deliver what it promises.

The Tories will face more intense questioning about how they would cut faster and deeper without causing more pain.

So far, only the Lib Dems have come up with proposals that will save real money and cause real pain. The other parties cannot avoid that for much longer.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    This seems more about journalists such as yourself putting words into politicians' mouths than anything meaningful for the economy.

  • Comment number 2.

    And why do we need to make cuts at all, Mr Brown? Surely after 12 years of record tax receipts we have plenty of money saved up for a rainy day such as this?

  • Comment number 3.

    Nick

    The perspective from the Trade Unions might be useful. Again it is odd that Brown invites the Union leaders to Chequers last weekend saying no cuts and then he follows up with precisely that!

    The RBS IT jobs going to India illustrates this perfectly as the RBS Chief Exec said that this move was sanctioned by the main shareholders - the Government. The banking unions are also being hit with Lloyds redundancies so whatever he says now is undermined by actions not taken by him, but they have his blessing. I almost feel sorry for him, but he has been Chancellor for 12 years and he must bear some responsibility.

  • Comment number 4.

    Come on nick, you really didnt believe that he'd come out and say that he had ruined it all and the country did you? All he's done is switch from Tory cuts and Labour investment, to painfull Tory cuts, and painless Labour ones.

    If he does want to start scrapping schemes that are a waste of money though, why not start by getting rid of the ridiculous scheme to protect children that he's rolling out at the moment. That should save a few million and win him back a couple of votes as well.

  • Comment number 5.

    Right, so you can now lie through your teeth for months on end and then claim the moral high ground. Why should the tories have to explain anything. They are not in power, Labour is. It is the goverment that has to prepare the next budget, not DC or his party. Brown has now admitted taxes have been spent rather badly in some areas, so let him produce the master plan as to how his cuts are not going to affect front line services. I don`t believe for one minute that they won`t; but hey, Gordons a fairly straight kind of guy and never lies. He keeps on about his moral compass and his presbyterian upbringing with such a straight face how can anyone not believe him?

  • Comment number 6.

    Nick, saying 'cuts' that may not be painful it really is just plain common sense.

    NO the real pain will come when you ask the real question Nick, 'WHAT' effect will the failure of Quantative Easing have on the pound, what will gordon brown say about that.

    once again the BBC appear to be ignoring the major issues while they try to boost gordon brown.

    Mervyn king Bank of England admitting QE has failed should be bbc headlines, not gordon brown finally being able to say the word 'cut' to the TUC, or perhaps we can look at it another way, the fact that gordon brown has finally said the word 'cut' gives a clear indication of just how bad our country's finance's are in. What we want is the truth, and as our public funded broadcaster, get some of your investigative journo's out, stop pushing your political bias, hmmm maybe not, absolutely worthless, pretty much the same as this government.

  • Comment number 7.

    This was an excellent speech at the TUC conference. Brown is on the road to recovery. He correctly analysed the mistakes of the past. He also promised to support the cleaning up of the unsavoury world of tax havens. There is more than enough capital in the world to re-finance our economies (more than 10 Trillion US Dollars are currently stashed and hidden away unproductively in tax havens and offshore accounts).
    You can find more arguments why stricter regulation and intelligent change in the global financial system will strengthen the UK economy here:
    http://globalinsights.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 8.

    As soon as Brown comes on the TV I turn it OFF, I can't stand to watch him he makes me feel sick, sometimes I feel like crying it takes all my self control not to throw my slippers at the telly.

  • Comment number 9.

    "Now the country faced another big choice, he claimed, between Tory across the board cuts and his cuts that will not affect front line public services."

    >>>>>>>>>>>

    I am puzzled by the PM's misappropriate reference to 'country' - he should have said 'nation', of course, - Does he still mean just Scotland or does he mean NI, Wales, Channel Islands and IOM tax havens or that other piece of land adjoining it called England which lies approx. 2500 km NNW of Libya and has a population of about 53 million.

    Why is Brown so allergic to discussing/mentioning England - look at his previous speeches and see for yourselves!

    Otherwise, his speech was as always complete tosh (to be ultra polite, for once) - he also says he is going to demand 'global action' - I was waiting to see if he was going to apologise for Attila The Hun with us now having some sort of European connection.

  • Comment number 10.

    He still can't tell us straight.

    "cutting costs where we can, ensuring efficiency where it's needed, agreeing realistic public sector pay settlements throughout, selling off the unproductive assets we don't need to pay for the services we do need"

    How does all the above add up to hard choices? Hard choice is cutting stuff you need because you have to - because you have no money left - all Gordon is talking about is what should have been happening over the last TWELVE YEARS - cutting down on wasteful spending and pouring money into a big pit never to be seen again - that's hardly a hard choice - anyone in the country could have come up with that idea.

    Yes he mentions cuts but it's hardly in the spirit of what we need to get out of this hole. "I've told my ministers to CUT out their bad language, my wife is CUTTING out fat from her diet, if you go shopping, CUTTING out coupons from a newspaper will save you money, CUTTING out rubbish things we don't need, CUTTING down and all the negative stuff, CUTTING down on expensive things that don't work...."

  • Comment number 11.

    LONDON, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Sterling fell broadly on Tuesday, hitting a four-month low versus the euro after Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said he was considering cutting the rate paid on reserves which UK banks park at the central bank.

  • Comment number 12.

    GB just cannot face up to reality and it really scares me that he and his team have their hands at the controls for the next few months until we finally get rid of them. I suspect that the problems we see on the surface of this government are a bit like an iceberg and once the whole shoddy mess is uncovered we will be amazed to find that we have only seen the tip up till now. Let us be under no illusions, it is bad and it will get worse for at least the next few months. I am not convinced that the conservatives have all the answers but I KNOW this lot have not got any.

  • Comment number 13.

    As usual, a speech from Brown that was high on spin and low on honesty.

    At one stage he tried yet again to paint himself as the world's saviour and the tory position 12 months ago as the do nothing party (how many time did his cabinet re-brand tory initiatives as Labour ideas?). Then the frankly imbecilic approach of expecting the public to buy the idea that a tory government will just go around saying '10% cut on everything' without considering the consequences.

    Has the Labour election strategy come down to yes we are in a mess but don't forget that the tories want to eat your children?

  • Comment number 14.

    What annoys me so much is that Gordon is only NOW admitting what all of us have known for ages. That there are...

    - lower priority budgets
    - unnecessary programmes
    - inefficiencies
    - costs are too high..

    And that he expects us to vote for Labour again when THEY are the ones who have allowed such a situation to arise, as well as allow the national debt to rise from around 40% of GDP [Golden Rule and all that..] to double that figure.

    What was it that the 'Who' sang ? "Won't get fooled again.."

    The sight of trade union leaders expressing their view that the glass is only half full, and expecting Gordon to fill it up to the top fills me with despair. Tony Blair was a lying warmonger, but at least he had half an idea of what the electorate wanted, and could speak to them in English.

  • Comment number 15.

    Does anyone in the whole country believe a single word that the PM utters? Surely not. The current speaches and all those coming up over the next few months are all just political manouvering in the hope of saving his own job and skin. I think twelve years of spin and spin and more spin is about to catch up with this government and they could well be sidelined for a generation. No doubt Brown and co will find employment with one or two of the banks they (we) bailed out. I'm not convinced the current crop of Tories are much better but surely the people of this country have had enough of the spin, table thumping, half truths and not to mention total incompetancy from this Labour crowd?

  • Comment number 16.

    Well Brown has finally said the dreaded word but why do all these discussions end up as a slanging match between clowns and trolls?

    Clearly there has not been sufficient return on the government's investment over the last term.

    Money has been handed out to the medical profession without getting enough in return - recouping some of that and the vast amounts wasted on IT systems in the NHS and spending it on patient care could be seen as a cut but is actually just good management.

    Cutting back on the SATs test would make further funds available to education and the pupils may learn something apart from how to pass exams.

    Less glass, carpets and steel in new schools and more text books in existing schools is not necessarily a retrograde step.

    Capping council executive pensions to a level comparable to the private sector, so that pensioner's council taxes are not subsidising high flyers pensions.

    Less means testing of benefits and more taxing of benefits would cut the administration costs and target benefits at the right people.

    There is a real debate to be had here about what we level of service we are prepared to pay for.






  • Comment number 17.

    More meaningless platitudes from Gordon Brown which resulted in a very tepid "ovation". And taking Yvette Cooper with him, who along with Ed Balls claims more in expenses than any of the Union members earn annually, surely added insult to injury. Caledonian Comment

  • Comment number 18.

    The first test of Browns new appraoch to public expenditure control will come soon enough when the RPI for September is published.

    If its still negative (as now) State and other public pension obligations
    have to be cut by the new rate.

    I'm sure the elderly poor are up for making an early contributution to the borrowing requirement reductions.

  • Comment number 19.

    my worry about the prime minister is that it has been obvious for some time cuts were necessary but he seems to only admit to these truths when it make political sense.. the challenge ahead is too great for this type of self serving nonsense

  • Comment number 20.

    I wouldn't trust his cuts any more than I trusted his figures for spending in any one of his 10 budgets.
    And in all cases he was wrong, a leopard cannot change its spots.
    once a financial incompetant always a financial incompetant.

    The August polls always point the way.
    What he says now is completely irrelevant to what will happen after May next year.

    Time for that great Euro rock band Europe to re-release thier classic tune to be the soundtrack for the end of 2009, three - four Its the final countdoooooooown

  • Comment number 21.

    What an embarrassment Brown is to the country. Just watched his pathetic showing at the TUC Conference. Why was Yvette Cooper answering questions, can't Brown answer them himself.
    What price union membership if that's all the delegates could come up with, it was as if they were too embarrassed to ask a difficult question.

  • Comment number 22.

    We will protect front line jobs and services says Brown.
    180 firefighters jobs to go in Merseyside and Warwickshire.
    Someone is telling 'porkies' here!!

  • Comment number 23.

    Since the Cameroons are so far ahead in the polls, will the market actually to react to a speech so light on detail from an outgoing ruling party?

  • Comment number 24.

    When will Gordon tell us what is unnecessary and what is lower priority?

  • Comment number 25.

    "Now the country faced another big choice, he claimed, between Tory across the board cuts and his cuts that will not affect front line public services."

    He really does think the population are morons doesn't he?

    First of all Labour were going to find the billions to invest while the Tories would have to cut, and now that they finally admit that maybe THEY will need to cut too Gordon is trying to convince us that Labour will be able to make cuts without harming front line services but when the Tories suggested that it was some how impossible.

  • Comment number 26.

    His speech although long said nothing to enlighten either us or the audience he was speaking to.

    He did what he had to without causing too much damage whilst endorsing his own actions over the handling of the banking crisis and the recession.

    It will be a long while before his handling of either can really be assessed as having been the right thing to do. Much of what has been done has been to push the problems further into the future.

    What he cannot do is accept that the recession would have happened without the banking crisis due to his own lax policies on lending and spending.

    Trying to push all the blame onto the global economy as the only way to resolve everything is seen by many to be fighting shy of his own shortcomings. The country's problems can only be sorted out by the country's leaders.

    He spouts the same stale message and is obviously not listening to those who know better. As stubborn as ever.

  • Comment number 27.

    With now an acceptance across the Political devide that whomever forms the next Government after the next General Election will have to reduce the overall size of Public Expenditure by cutting the sizes of the many Public Purses.
    I say "Whomever" forms the next Government, against any opinions that it will be the same old worn-out Political Parties of the last 12 Years of failure in "New" Labour, along with the prior former 18 Years of failed Conservative Policies, meaning that we in the U.K. have suffered in all from 30 Years of lost to us all as Tax-Payers, which today has left the U.K. in the eyes of World, as being Morally Bankrupt.

    Therefore, now after wasting resently further Billions of Pounds by proping-up the U.K.'s one and only Exporting Industry in namely Banking Services, we will now all have too [ as Margaret Thatcher once infamously said - "Tighten our Belts", yet once again ], allowing our next Government to reduce our National Debt of previously Governments own making.

    Of course, any distractions will be from right now onwards, and up to the General Election a Dog-Fight along with the all the hype and slogans that the "other" Parties will cut back to the bone more than we will.

    This of course has me wondering if when by the time the next General Election comes around, that we will have all completely forgotten the Issue of M.P.'s Expenses, where they were, and have been claiming for more than the past 30 Years, by freely taking Public Money for Moats, and Duck-Houses etc:, across the Political devide without not much of a care in the World, and seriously, what has changed in this a very short period of time since then to now to a point whereby any current Politicans can truly be trusted to have the Voters future wellfare as their top priority after the next General Election at heart.

    It is now well and truly overdue in time to Vote and "Cut" out all the current 500 plus M.P.s' from Political Office, to clean the slate, and start over again.

  • Comment number 28.

    Cuts yes but not from current or future defence and not from genuine health care, everything else should be looked at closely.

  • Comment number 29.

    The problem with piecemeal cuts to services is that they develop a lot of anguish and are seen as entirely negative. What we need is a re-structure of the way government works which is leaner, keener and more responsive, less centralised and a great deal cheaper to run. So much of government today consists of interfering and tinkering without achieving very much. All those quangos and regulators and agencies. Is this really the right model to ride in today's world? Is it not consuming more than it delivers?

  • Comment number 30.

    and soon mr Brown will have to face the biggest choice of when to mention the "E" word one that he has bottle on a number of occassions
    He has bullied the labour party But will not be able to bully the electorate any longer

  • Comment number 31.

    Isn't the BBC meant to be independent rather than a mouthpiece for the Labour party?

    Gordon Brown admitted in his speach that he does not yet have any details of the custs that he has only just admitted need to be made, yet Mr Robonson's blog states that " Tories will face more intense questioning about how they would cut faster and deeper". Labour is the party in power, it is for them to take the lead, yet Mr Robinson has failed to highlight the lack of detal from the government.

    It is tempting too say that today was a historic u-turn by labour, but every day sees another about turn.

    Labour spent all summer drawing a (false) dividing line between their impossible investments (spending) and Conservative cuts, and they've just realised that they are on the wrong side of that line.

    Cuts are the inevitable consequence of Labour spending this year's and next year's investment last year (that's what borrowing money is about) - something Labour has been doing since 2000. Now the debt has caught up with them and Gordon Brown's brilliant management of he economy has been exposed as the sham that it was.

  • Comment number 32.

    Brown says he will "cut costs, cut inefficiencies, cut unnecessary programmes and cut lower priority budgets"

    I'm afraid no one will believe this, particularly when only recently Brown was attempting to pour scorn on 'Tory cuts' as opposed to 'Labour Investment' (as Nick reminded Lord Mandelson)

    Brown can't re-write what he has already told us, and no amount of spin will convince the public that Labour know what they are doing. They have had 12 years in office during which time they have INCREASED costs, INCREASED inefficiencies and INCREASED unnecessary programmes.

    Labour inherently believes in Big Government, multi-layered bureaucracy and bloated administration.

    Brown said "My motivation is always to do the right thing by the British people"
    If that is true, then he should call an election.

  • Comment number 33.

    Can't trust the man. No reason to listen to him. It is not he who writes his speeches anyway, it's that girl they reported so he is the actor playing the part - and picking his nose in the wings.

  • Comment number 34.

    WHO cares what he says - Lies, lies, and more lies. Doomed to oblivion in a web of lies and corruption. Roll on 2010 and the end of this idiot and idiotic talentless Govt.

  • Comment number 35.

    Well, big deal. He's used the "C" word. But what the heck does "lower priority budgets" actually mean? If this is what he does when his advisers tell him he needs to be upfront with people, I hate to think what he must be like when his advisers tell him to obfuscate and spin.

  • Comment number 36.




    How can a man who in 12 years have brought this country to it's knees then suggest that only he knows how to restore it?

    Brown is obviously delusional and needs to consider whether he should be should apologise and then resign from public life.
    We are in this mess not only because of the banks but also excessive debt, both Government and private. As Chancellor he encouraged it and the policies of the City.

    "Go" is too polite a word to use.

  • Comment number 37.

    Brown says we have a choice "between Tory across the board cuts and his cuts that will not affect front line public services."

    If we can make cuts that do not affect front line public services then why hasn't he done so already, especially since he's been running a budget deficit for the last 8 years? The answer is that he sees it as the role of government to (directly) employ the masses - the bigger the state the better. During the reign of NuLabour the public sector has grown from 6m to 8m - this is not sustainable, as witnessed by our structural budget deficit of £35 billion (before the recession). The problem is, of course, that most of these jobs do not generate any wealth, they just soak up our taxes and try to deliver Labour's social engineering ambitions.

  • Comment number 38.

    Nick,

    Gordon has mentioned the "C" word, but you are pussy footing around and still haven't mentioned the "L" word.

    Gordon has been telling Lies for months and now he has had to undertake a "U" word.

  • Comment number 39.

    The prime minister said he would "cut costs, cut inefficiencies, cut unnecessary programmes and cut lower priority budgets".

    But he said Labour would not "support cuts in the vital front line services on which people depend".


    I can't quite work out how that makes Brown/Darling cuts any different from what other people would do.

    Indeed, if that first sentence had been the main focus for the government since 2000, the nation would have had quite a lot of money in the bank.

    Why should it take a global economic crisis to jolt Brown into recognising that lots of stuff that parliament has votedthrough was ill-judged, ill-considered, poorly legislated and - in many cases - ignored as soon as somebody jumped up and said "I passed a law!" as though that meant anything.

    Any way, a good start. Bit more honest than before. Bit late, but...

  • Comment number 40.

    7. At 4:03pm on 15 Sep 2009, invisiblehandadvisor wrote:
    This was an excellent speech at the TUC conference..........
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Amazing, I've heard of rose coloured spectacles, but now there appears to be a rose coloured hearing aid too!!

  • Comment number 41.

    He knows he's holed beneath the plimsole line his party had it .Torpedo shots have taken him out, and out he should go yesterday, if not sooner
    il ask him why he won't call an election Mr brown there are no more life rafts left and if there were its woman and children first come on Harriet and Hazel jump in before your pushed.

  • Comment number 42.

    Ha ha, he's been building himself up for that one. It's just a shame he's missed his queue!

    Just wondering who he thinks his actual audience really is?!

  • Comment number 43.

    #7

    Oh, I see. It's all the fault of tax havens. These secretive off-shore places that are so secretive you know all about them and how much money they have invested there.

    If Brown had access to anything like that amount of money, all he'd do is fritter it away like he's done with the piles of cash he's had over the last 12 years. No wonder people keep money off-shore if bringing it to the UK would result in it being wasted on the latest "initiative" from brown.

    "correctly analysed the mistakes of the past"??? Brown is incapable of admitting he's made a mistake. Even when he said he was going to change (remember that cringeworth speech made to the Labour MPs?), in reality he's changed nothing and will continue to blunder along until he's consigned to the dustbin of economic history where he belongs.

  • Comment number 44.

    invisiblehandadvisor 7 (and also referring to your posts in the previous thread which is now closed)

    The real and immediate reason for the current debt crisis is the fact that the government has maintained expenditure despite the collapse in tax revenues. I am a little surprised that this point fails to make it into your "analysis" - indeed that is, to my mind, what distinguishes your posts from true analysis and puts them into the category of propaganda.

    It would have been perfectly valid for you, for example, to remind us that some of the current government projects are predominantly being executed by foreign staff employed offshore - and so these projects can be cut right now (indeed, could have been cut months ago) without any damage to the UK economy at all, and indeed with significant benefit through the considerable amounts of money saved. A few examples are ID cards, certain big NHS computer projects and the children's register.

    I have to ask - did you not mention all this because you didn't know, or because someone asked you not to?

  • Comment number 45.

    Phew what a relief GB saves the world once more!

    Well at least I can relax now knowing that my business will be protected, my hard work rewarded, my bank generous and my quango's fully staffed!

    Well done Gordon you know you can have my support. As soon as I have finished wearing it.

  • Comment number 46.

    After 12 years of throwing money at problems, wasting unknown amounts of public funds; after sleepwalking into this present economic mess, we have a vague promise from the PM that Labour is going to continue investing and then make painless cuts in non-essential services at some appropriate time. And astonishingly, the unions rather like the sound of it.

    And I thought the era of fairy stories had come to an end.

  • Comment number 47.

    Nick, you really must come off the fence before the Labour Party Conference. From what you say that the Prime Minister said, note that it is not 'Quoted Speech', which impies that it is your view, a slightly more Government friendly tone than your earlier blog today.
    You will obviously do what you want but in carrying on this way, you may lose respect. If we get a Conservative government next year, I for one would still hate to lose you. By maintaining your present stance, you can hold the new administration to account, or can you?

    WHERE ARE THE MODERATORS?

  • Comment number 48.

    No7 Invisible.
    How refreshing.What a wonderful contrast to the views of the politically thick Tory bloggers that attempt to swamp this site

  • Comment number 49.

    7

    Arf.

    Watching Brown's government is like watching a train crash, only more painful and more horific. Road to recovery? You could not be more disconected from reality.

    You have either the memory of a goldfish, or carefully selective amnesia. How can you not remember Brown boasting of his "light touch" regulation over the ten previous years. The lack of regulation was his ill informed decision, for you to spout this drivel now, I am given to question if you have any sort of understanding of what you are on about.

    You seem to think that just confiscating the money you need from places you don't like would be acceptable. Aside from the obvious idiocy of this as a concept, how would you propose that this money is used to "refinance an economy" as you so incomprehensibly suggest?

    I've got to say, I don't like to put people in boxes, but I can't be the only one to notice the paucity of the contributions from those still desperately clinging to their support of labour.

  • Comment number 50.

    #9:

    Surely you know why Gordon Brown refers to a country?

    Great emperors rule great empires
    Great kings rule great kingdoms
    Gordon Brown rules a great country

  • Comment number 51.

    Gordon Brown has simply reminded us that all governments cut services and sell-off assets that are no longer required, and seek efficiency gains in those that are. Just as businesses do.

    That contrasts with the Tory Story that they will cut public services immediately to bring government spending closer to our currently depressed tax revenues. The Brown contention is that such drastic cuts would not only harm long-term investment in education etc, but depress consumers' spending too.

    So there's the clear choice. Tory cuts that would pay down debt but depress consumer spending vs Labour caution that would keep sales up at a critical time in the hope that recovery would bring a return to normal levels of tax revenue.

  • Comment number 52.

    I like the comment about cutting 'lower priority budgets'.

    A little known fact is that when parliament votes resources to departments, the paper document shows the departments ranked in order of priority to government.

    Apparently the lowest priority is 'House of Commons: Members'.....I look forward to wholesale cuts.

  • Comment number 53.

    Cherie Blair plans to be Gordon Brown's secret weapon at the election.

    It does look like the funny season has already started. Not much of a secret if it's splashed across the front page of a newspaper.

    Please, please, please Cherie, I beg you, bring your hubby along with you. It would be a perfect to have Teflon, Duff, Meddleson and Ali on the front seat when NuLabour crashes next year.

    I don’t drink, but if the above architects of NuLabour are on the front seat when the crash happens, I will make an exception!

    Roll On 2010 - It can only get better

  • Comment number 54.

    'This, however, was more tactical repositioning than a historic moment when the prime minister told the country an unpalatable truth.'

    I normally agree with you, Nick, but on this one I couldn't disagree with you more. it IS a historic moment, because for the first time in his long political career Gordon Brown has come clean about the economy. And he has only done it now because he has been forced into it by the decisive arguments of the Opposition. Tactical repositioning? That's Mandelson talk!

  • Comment number 55.

    So there you have it.
    Up until now the choice seemed to be between Labour, who promised to maintain spending, & the nasty old Tories, who said that they would cut it.

    I now consider a merger between the Tory & Labour parties entirely feasible since there are no real noticeable differences between them.

    By the time these guys have finished, even the lefties will be looking back at the Thatcher years with fondness.

    It will be more than the milk this time.

  • Comment number 56.

    I think it speaks volumes when the lead item on the news is Gordon Brown simply saying what everyone else in the country has known for a year or so. It says much about him that it has taken him this long to acknowledge what even his own statistics have been indicating. I don't think it really changes anything though, we are where we are, and reality is all around us, irrespective of Gordn Browns point of view.

    Unfortunately, increased public spending is not just more difficult because of the recession, but because the role of the public sector is ever expanding. Public sector growth is Gordy's dream policy, to the point where we would all ideally work in the public sector. Then we could be grateful to him !!! Recession or not, it would eventually have to reach the point where it was no longer sustainable. It could even be argued that we reached that point long before the recession took hold. My council tax rises 4.9 percent - just below the max of 5 percent - year on year on year - no sign of a recession at the civic offices in my city !

    Unfortunately, Gordon Brown seems to think that everyones money belong to the state, and that he can spend it spend it better than us. So he aims to tax us to oblivion, allowing us only a bit of pocket money to live on.

    It's interesting that Gorodn Brown's comments yesterday about him not being the type of person who like to borrow a lot of money or run up debt on a personal level. He seems to have no problem spending other peoples money doing just that. He's obviously more careful with his own money though. A case of "do as I say, not do as I do" - breathtaking hypocritical double standards.

  • Comment number 57.

    Well first and foremost, he finally admits what the Tories have been saying for months.
    Secondly, he plans to make cuts by reducing waste..............11 years in power and still more waste to cut, what he really means is jobs to be cut that people and particularly the media will not notice.

    It's his fault we are where we are and yet again, we the electorate must suffer for his incompetance.

    If only it was May 2010.

  • Comment number 58.

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

  • Comment number 59.

    "As soon as Brown comes on the TV I turn it OFF, I can't stand to watch him he makes me feel sick, sometimes I feel like crying it takes all my self control not to throw my slippers at the telly."

    Why certain people really shouldn't be allowed to vote. You're meant to be voting for the party, and it's policy.

    Now which leader has the whitest teeth

  • Comment number 60.

    "At one stage he tried yet again to paint himself as the world's saviour and the tory position 12 months ago as the do nothing party (how many time did his cabinet re-brand tory initiatives as Labour ideas?). Then the frankly imbecilic approach of expecting the public to buy the idea that a tory government will just go around saying '10% cut on everything' without considering the consequences"


    Unless you were born in 1997, I'd suggest that you should really know that Labour are far more likely to protect front line services than the Tory party.

    This is based on about 100 years of political history.

    The tory party, in power, are always under huge pressure to make tax cuts. The only way this is possible is by making huge savings elsewhere on expenditure.

    The Labour party, in truth, are under next to no pressure to make these same cuts. And hence, don't need to cut as much.

  • Comment number 61.

    "I think twelve years of spin and spin and more spin is about to catch up with this government and they could well be sidelined for a generation"


    David Cameron is an ex PR man, who lines up photo calls of him cycling to work (with his briefcase following in a limo) in order to show he is "big on environment".

    His number 2 is the ex editor in chief of a red top newspaper, who made a name by quoting the "friends" of various celebrities.

    It's all spin dear. It's just the fact that Cameron has a better communications team.

    And hence people like you are convinced that Brown is the only one avoiding the truth

  • Comment number 62.

    what no picture of Winston Churchill then ? perhaps one walking around
    during the blitz , with gordon walking around the blitz'ed economic ruin
    with the punch line "Our great leader surveys the damage that he has caused by brilliantly spending the kids inheritance money"

  • Comment number 63.

    "Isn't the BBC meant to be independent rather than a mouthpiece for the Labour party?
    "

    Tony.

    Attacking the independence of the BBC is a common tory party tactic. And by doing it, I'd suggest that your own posts are hardly un-partisan either.

    To claridy, reporting a big TUC conference, and telling us what happened is not biased.

    Complaining that someone has reported a TUC conferenence without saying "Browns a LIAR!" "Get nu labour out" probably is.

    The whole issue with tory voters and the BBC is that it tells you how things are. Not how you want things to be.

    It's why most tory supporting newspapers message boards are moderated. So tory readers don't have to see any sort of left wing point of view.

    Just be glad the BBC is giving you the oppurtunity to take part in a political discussion.

    Most left wing voters don't get this oppurtunity on tory newspaper message boards. We are moderated out

  • Comment number 64.

    This debate is so absurd it's not true!!

    Even now he can barely bear to mention the word cut - and that is only in reference to the budget defecit.

    It's not the defecit that needs cutting, it's the total debt. This means that the budget must be cut by at least £175 billion IMMEDIATELY so that there is something leftover. This is so we are actually repaying some of the trillions that Gordon has run up on OUR behalf. Even then it would take more years than I care to bother calculating to actually repay the national debt.

    No doubt there will be some of the usual trolls announcing that a national debt where the interest alone is equivalent to our education budget is a good thing....

  • Comment number 65.

    "Cuts are the inevitable consequence of Labour spending this year's and next year's investment last year (that's what borrowing money is about) - something Labour has been doing since 2000. Now the debt has caught up with them and Gordon Brown's brilliant management of he economy has been exposed as the sham that it was.
    "

    Sarkozy, Obama, will more than likely annouce either sweeping cuts, or tax rises in the next year as well.

    Is this Gordon's fault as well?

    Or is it just tory voters trying to turn a global recession into party politics?

  • Comment number 66.

    My take on things.

    Firstly, expect the raft of tory voters, on here, as per usual. Making their special effort to shout down any meaningful debate with about a hundred "he lied, labour out, this man is vile" blah blah blah.

    I think even the simplest of people are starting to work out that message boards are targeted to make party political attacks. Not actually discuss what has been going on today.

    If you can get through those, there are some interesting comments on here.

    Firstly, unless you have been without any media outlet in the last 3 months, you'll realise that Labour have been making this exact same argument for months. Them saying "cut" is hardly some bold statement.

    It's always been "we need to make cuts, but not as much as the tories do"

    And it probably always will be. Dave C has various tax pledges to meet, and donors to please. Brown probably doesn't.

    I think Brown and Mandleson has got the message out pretty clearly. Cuts are inevitable, but they will quite obviously be bigger with the tory party.

    I think you'll find that that is being very very candid. And the dishonesty has come from the tory party on this one.

    It's really insulting people's intelligence for people like Cameron to argue that the tory party are going to in any way match Labour pledges on public services.

    Purely because the Labour party is a party built on protecting public services. It's consistently done so throughout every turn in office.

    Why? Because it's voting public largely work in it.

    The tory partie's history is the exact opposite. They've consistently attacked public services, in order to fund tax cuts to the middle classes.

    Britain's history has been a cycle of the labour party building up public services, and the tory party dismantling the work to cut costs.

    So really - I realise that Brown has maybe wavered around the c word, but is Cameron any better for trying to convince a centre right party, is suddenly big on the working classes?

    Brown doesn't like saying hard things. Cameron simply tells you what the voters want to hear.

    Which is actually better?

  • Comment number 67.

    "WHO cares what he says - Lies, lies, and more lies. Doomed to oblivion in a web of lies and corruption. Roll on 2010 and the end of this idiot and idiotic talentless Govt."

    Ron, I think you'll happily admit that Cameron's policy is to basically tell voters exactly what they want to hear.

    He's apparently leading a party who's big on industrial business, but also big on the enviroment. Big on middle class tax cuts, but also big on preserving working class public services.

    I'll argue that Cameron is just a good pr man, with a good pr team, who thinks that getting into power is just telling people what his think tanks have told him that they want to hear.

    You know, that's Tony Blair my friend. And he's not even as smart as Blair.

    I know who I prefer on the old honesty front. Brown may not like saying certain things, but Cameron's just Blair/Mandelson reincarnated

  • Comment number 68.

    More meaningless waffle from a man who is completely out of his depth economically, possibly out of his mind, and totally bereft of any sense of integrity or culpability for dragging this nation to the brink of banktrupcy. He surely must realise that his government is now so incompetent ,without direction, and so detested by the people of this country that all the nation asks of him now is the opportunity to remove it from office before it totally destroys the economy. Not since the nazi march across Europe in 1940 has the wellbeing of Britain been so at risk, and sadly this risk is from within by it's own government.

  • Comment number 69.

    "How can a man who in 12 years have brought this country to it's knees then suggest that only he knows how to restore it?"

    You were obviously born in 1998, so have no idea what went on before then.

    I can inform you that the country was already on it's knees when Labour took over.

    They raised it off it's knees, and taught it to fly for a few years. Now it's back nearer the ground.

    But the "Brown knee level" is still a fair way higher than Majors

  • Comment number 70.

    I will create 21,000 apprenticeships in the public sector.
    I will increase the minimum wage year on year.
    I will make 7 billion available for job creation.

    I will control spending and cut un-necessary expenditure.

    I will rehearse my speeches more carefully in future to make sure such contradictory statements do not occur again.

  • Comment number 71.

    Before any rabid lefties start asking how the budget defecit can be removed....

    Close all public sector final salary pension schemes
    Call a draw on Iraq and Afganistan and bring our troops home
    Cancel ID cards
    Cancel Trident
    Cancel the NHS database
    Leave the EU
    Give notice to 25% of civil cervants and no not police, nurses, teachers etc I'm talking about the unnecessary pen pushers (yes we'd still have to pay them benefits but that's cheaper than a salary + pension)
    Give us the bonfire of quangos that was promised...

    and above all stop being so damn wasteful with our money

  • Comment number 72.

    50. At 5:38pm on 15 Sep 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:
    #9:

    Surely you know why Gordon Brown refers to a country?

    Great emperors rule great empires
    Great kings rule great kingdoms
    Gordon Brown rules a great country

    ===

    Ah, the "C" word!

  • Comment number 73.

    "I can't quite work out how that makes Brown/Darling cuts any different from what other people would do."

    Labour are funded by the public sector. There are cuts they simply can't make.

    This does not apply to the tory party. Who are funded by big business, and the upper/middle classes.

    Their allegiance is to cutting taxes.

    Politics is cynical. It's just a case of helping the people that fund your election campaign.

    Labour helps the unions. The tories help big business.

    Labour generally try to preserve the public sector as a "thank you" to the unions, but don't bother making big tax cuts.

    The tories have no one to thank in the public sector, so cut what they want, to fund their tax cut "thank yous" to big business

  • Comment number 74.

    "You will obviously do what you want but in carrying on this way, you may lose respect. If we get a Conservative government next year, I for one would still hate to lose you. By maintaining your present stance, you can hold the new administration to account, or can you?"

    The Conservative wouldn't want the BBC to have an "accident". Aren't you being needlessly ambiguous. Shouldn't you just say to the BBC Toe the line or the Conservatives will privatise you.

  • Comment number 75.

    "This was an excellent speech at the TUC conference..........
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Amazing, I've heard of rose coloured spectacles, but now there appears to be a rose coloured hearing aid too!!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That's probably because he actually watched the conference with an open mind.

    He isn't on here, on some partisan "gordon out no matter what he says" tory rant

  • Comment number 76.

    channel 4 dispathes last night was interesting.

    10 years of 50% target for univerisities was producing vastly more people than required with almost the wrong type of qualifications,
    and most not getting a job as a result and being deep in debt

    How much money has been wasted on this target that would have been better spent on other areas etc

  • Comment number 77.

    All this from the "man" who sold our gold reserves when the
    price was at rock bottom.
    How he even existed as Chancellor for so long, beats me!

  • Comment number 78.

    "The real and immediate reason for the current debt crisis is the fact that the government has maintained expenditure despite the collapse in tax revenues. I am a little surprised that this point fails to make it into your "analysis" - indeed that is, to my mind, what distinguishes your posts from true analysis and puts them into the category of propaganda.
    "

    What complete rot. Britain has had high levels of debt for most of it's modern history.

    It's just the fact that in a global recession, they were no longer able to service it at the same levels anymore.

    The levels of debt Britain had in the 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, with inflation are basically the same.

    Saving banks and jobs added a bit more to the pie, but it's pure party politics spin to just say that the majority of Britain's national debt was acrued in the last 12 years.

    I suggest you read with an open mind. Don't just spout out Cameron spin

  • Comment number 79.

    "Watching Brown's government is like watching a train crash, only more painful and more horific. Road to recovery? You could not be more disconected from reality.

    You have either the memory of a goldfish, or carefully selective amnesia. How can you not remember Brown boasting of his "light touch" regulation over the ten previous years. The lack of regulation was his ill informed decision, for you to spout this drivel now, I am given to question if you have any sort of understanding of what you are on about.

    You seem to think that just confiscating the money you need from places you don't like would be acceptable. Aside from the obvious idiocy of this as a concept, how would you propose that this money is used to "refinance an economy" as you so incomprehensibly suggest?

    I've got to say, I don't like to put people in boxes, but I can't be the only one to notice the paucity of the contributions from those still desperately clinging to their support of labour.
    "

    Bearing in mind you attack almost every blog, regarding Labour, with basically the same tone, no matter what I'd suggest that you're maybe not approaching this tory I mean story in a non-partisan way.............

    If more people voted on policy, and not just trying to get "their guys" in, we'd have probably have had a decent leader in the last 60 odd years

  • Comment number 80.

    done some research for a change, and guess what? - turns out that compared to most of our nearest and dearest in Western Europe, we have neither a "bloated" public sector nor a particularly generous benefits system - au contraire, in fact - looks like it's one of those urban myths

    ah well

  • Comment number 81.

    51. At 5:47pm on 15 Sep 2009, leftilkley wrote:
    Gordon Brown has simply reminded us that all governments cut services and sell-off assets that are no longer required, and seek efficiency gains in those that are. Just as businesses do.
    That contrasts with the Tory Story that they will cut public services immediately to bring government spending closer to our currently depressed tax revenues. The Brown contention is that such drastic cuts would not only harm long-term investment in education etc, but depress consumers' spending too.
    So there's the clear choice. Tory cuts that would pay down debt but depress consumer spending vs Labour caution that would keep sales up at a critical time in the hope that recovery would bring a return to normal levels of tax revenue.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    No there isn't a clear choice. Your conclusion is based on two unknowns:-
    1. That the Tories will immediately cut direct front line services. There's no evidence for that.
    2. That you trust Brown's assessment of what would happen if such cuts were made.
    Based on his record I wouldn't trust him to buy a bag of chips!!

  • Comment number 82.

    Can I please have a pint of what post 7 has been drinking?

  • Comment number 83.

    During the run up to the 1997 election, Labour used as its theme tune, 'Things Can Only Get Better'

    As 'cuts' are now on the agenda, perhaps the last album from The Clash (originally released in 1985) would chime better with today's voters.

  • Comment number 84.

    I think anyone with any poltical sense probably realises that public sector cuts, under a tory government will probably be a lot more than anything under Labour.

    Purely because, historically, it's always been that way.

    Although, some people may actually believe that Cameron is both left, right and centre, on the political circle, I can assure you that that's probably little more than the "Blair" school of getting into power.

    Simply telling people what they want to hear, and attacking the opposition as "sleazy old fashioned liars".

    I can assure you, once safely in, his allegiances will probably move nicely back to the right, just as Blair's did to the left.

    I struggle to believe how anyone actually thinks Camerons New Tory movement is anything more than a bad rip off of the new Labour thing.


  • Comment number 85.

    So this is McBust's latest brainwave: (a) we can't cut current spending because it'll risk damaging the recovery; (b) but when we do cut spending later it'll be only on unnecessary programmes and inefficiencies.

    But this means either (a) we don't know that there are unnecessary programmes and inefficiencies, but we suspect that they are - in which case, why not find out what they are now and cut them immediately?, or (b) we know for sure that there are unnecessary programmes and inefficiencies, but we will not cut them just yet.

    Either answer must be correct.

    Therefore the Government's economic strategy boils down to this: we will carry on spending money on unnecessary programmes and inefficiencies for a little while longer, because it'll help the recovery.

    You don't know whether to laugh or cry.


  • Comment number 86.

    #53 Myblog

    Cherie Blair plans to be Gordon Brown's secret weapon at the election.

    Whoops! Wrong URL - First time I have made that kind of cock-up.

    Alas for almost 2 years Duff has stumbled from one cock-up to the next, it’s getting very difficult to see where one cock-up ends and the next one begins.

    How's that for a recovery?

  • Comment number 87.

    "Unfortunately, Gordon Brown seems to think that everyones money belong to the state, and that he can spend it spend it better than us. So he aims to tax us to oblivion, allowing us only a bit of pocket money to live on."

    As opposed to the "every man for himself" tory alternative. Lucky for some (if you happen to live on some family estate).

    At least Gordon is pretty obvious with his plans, and allegiances.

    David Cameron is trying to convince people that he is left, right, centre, for industry, for enviroment, hard on immigrants but the same time liberal.......

    You know he's just a walking oxymoron.

    The tories poor majority (if they even get in) will be based on the fact that he's a very hard man to put your trust in.

    He talks a good game, but is the political equivilant of Labour having Peter Mandleson as PM

  • Comment number 88.

    "I now consider a merger between the Tory & Labour parties entirely feasible since there are no real noticeable differences between them."

    Best point of the day. There is no difference

    Uk politics is now US politics. Not voting for policy or party, but who has the whitest teeth, is quickest to the draw verbally, and who can bang out the most buzz words.

    There is no left or right anymore. Just a bigger centre, that dips it's toes into both sides of the pond now and then.

    As actually choosing a side, would mean upsetting some voters.........

    You know, it's hardly cooincidence that the last two elected leaders are probably going to be Blair and Cameron. Who could probably be the same person, with the same policies.

    Although to be fair, Blair was a pretty smart political operator at his peak. He destroyed the 90s version of Brown, Major, in a couple of years.

    Camerons got the smile, but I'm not sure he has the same political nouse. The fact that he's going head to head with Brown, and people are still not convinced says a lot.

    Tony vs. Cameron. PR man versus used car salesman.

    I think Cameron is just thanking his lucky stars that he only has Brown to contend with.

    If you look how Blair handled Hague with ease. And seriously Hague is 10x the political operator that Cameron is.

    Not to speculate, but isn't it odd that Tory go all "new labour" after Blair steps down?

  • Comment number 89.

    @7

    Really? You're still going on about these tax havens are you? There is no possible defense of Brown he has brought this country to its knees and is now telling us that he can lift us back up again? The man does not think on the same level as the rest of us.

  • Comment number 90.

    #59 Mike_Naylor

    sheesh Mike, 13 posts in less than 40 minutes.

    Are you going for a record?

  • Comment number 91.

    should we fear cuts due to the fact that they will happen no matter who runs this countries economy.
    due to the nature of this countries mp's over spending was always on the cards and thus massive cuts will be the result of the country being into so much debt, we the voting public only have ourselves to blame for it was us that voted this government into power.

  • Comment number 92.

    IN OCTOBER 2007 Gordon Brown decided against a snap election, in order to lay his vision for Britain.

    BY SEPTEMBER 2009 it is clearly spinelessly U Shaped.

  • Comment number 93.

    Is Gordon Brown the worst Prime Minister in living memory?

  • Comment number 94.

    I see that the cuts have started already, labour can now only afford one troll!!!

    Well done Mike Naylor, thats an awful lot of posts. Most of them are still awaiting moderation but I'm prepared to bet they are all absurd tory bashing posts or perhaps praising Gordon Browns honesty and economic genius?

  • Comment number 95.

    Better get in quick before 'last orders' strikes again, like they did on the last post. Why does that happen, so often, and so exclusively here?

    58. At 12:20pm on 15 Sep 2009, PhyrexianReaper
    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/4/20090915/tuk-any-leader-better-than-brown-dba1618.html


    I must say I was erring on NOTA (None Of The Above), but that was a tad anarchic.

    Not much better, but ABOLISH (Avoid Brown Or Live In S[ocialist/Scots/Simpering/Schizo/younameit) Hell has an appeal. Briefly.

    I'd really rather we have anyone mildly honest and competent to help run this country.

  • Comment number 96.

    #63 thats ok but what happens when you are purple in colour large amounts are moderated out by the BBC under the off topic agenda.

    when clearly others are talking along the same lines , when people ask you a direct question thats left on , you post a reply only for it to fall into the off topic black hole that is conviently used by the moderators ?

  • Comment number 97.

    69. At 6:45pm on 15 Sep 2009, Mike_Naylor wrote:

    "How can a man who in 12 years have brought this country to it's knees then suggest that only he knows how to restore it?"

    You were obviously born in 1998, so have no idea what went on before then.

    I can inform you that the country was already on it's knees when Labour took over.

    They raised it off it's knees, and taught it to fly for a few years. Now it's back nearer the ground.

    But the "Brown knee level" is still a fair way higher than Majors

    lmao!!!

    Perhaps you can explain ho wthe country was on it's knees in 1997?! Golden inheritence would pretty much cover the economic position Gordon fell into and he still ruined it.

    Be a good troll and try and at least use some fact. Incidentally, quality has far more value than quantity, 15 posts on this blog are yours. Labour all over, our investment in blogging has produced x% more posts than those evil tories blah blah blah!

  • Comment number 98.

    @80 saga

    Not publishing or providing references to this research then?!! I'd be interested to see it, most reports that support this government seem to take 4 years and cost 16 million!!!

  • Comment number 99.

    Mike_Naylor: various posts:

    Mike,
    Forgotten citizen can remember a certain James Callaghan making savage cuts during his final year.
    My chemistry practicals disappeared down the u-bend of Labour cuts as poor old Jim tried his best to balance the books & show Joe Public that they could be trusted with our money.

    Alas, it was all in vein & “you know who” sailed to victory.

    Jim & Gordon have so much in common.

    Don't be fooled, Labour can make cuts, but do they know the wheat from the chaff?

  • Comment number 100.

    It's interesting to compare Gordon's speech to the TUC with President Omaba's speech to Wall Street on Monday. In front of his ideological comrades Brown was full of praise for ever-increasing Government intervention in the economy. At one point he claimed that up to 500,000 jobs had been saved by his actions, the kind of claim he has been making, in various forms, for the last 12 years.

    Obama said: "I've always been a strong believer in the power of the free market. I believe that jobs are best created not by government, but by businesses and entrepreneurs willing to take a risk on a good idea."

    Labour's actions actually destroy jobs, not create them. Labour (The State, Big Government) isn't working yet again.

 

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