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The 'C' word

Nick Robinson | 09:30 UK time, Tuesday, 15 September 2009

So Gordon Brown will finally allow the "C" word - cuts - to pass his lips.

Ministers and aides have told him that if his economic argument is to be heard, the electorate must believe in his ability on public spending, and that means clearing the decks on the "C" word.

Gordon BrownThe chancellor prepared the ground this morning by telling the FT of his frustration at what he calls the "game" being played by journalists over use of the "C" word and points to Mr Brown's track record of cutting departmental spending in the past. For example, in his last Budget of 2007.

Peter Mandelson was clearly frustrated by being asked repeatedly to utter the "C" word on the Today programme yesterday. This convinced him and Alistair Darling that they needed to "end the semantic game" as quickly as possible.

The reason that I for one have asked again and again about cuts is because I don't believe that there should be a gap between the government's rhetoric and its own economic forecasts. The forecasts do show that cuts are coming in investment spending - and that, once debt interest and unemployment are accounted for, cuts are coming in day-to-day spending too.

Brown's advisers have told him that if he is seen to be upfront with voters, they are much more likely to listen to his case - that case being that Tory cuts would wreck recovery and would damage public services.

The next act in this drama will be the chancellor's pre-Budget report. It is increasingly clear that Alistair Darling plans to announce a spending package designed to force the Tories to spell out what more they would do, or to expose that they are refusing to do so and have hidden plans.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    The reason that I for one have asked again and again about cuts is because I don't believe that there should be a gap between the government's rhetoric and its own economic forecasts.

    Nick. You've certainly pressed Cameron, Osborne and the Conservatives over and over again, this is the first time you've confided to us that you've pressed the Government about them — and until now, why should you have done? They never had any plans for cuts in Brown's la-la-land.

    Alistair Darling's 'trap' will fail — we all understand perfectly well that the Conservatives aren't stupid enough to commit themselves when they've been denied access to Treasury figures. But so far I'm liking what I'm hearing from them — cutting quangos, ID cards, less public servant non-jobs, smaller BBC — great stuff.

  • Comment number 2.

    Nick:

    So Gordon Brown will finally allow the "C" word - cuts - to pass his lips.

    Maybe, Gordon Brown, that word will come out of Gordon Brown mouth (lips) in the nearby future....

    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 3.

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

  • Comment number 4.

    If this government spent as much effort running the country as they do spinning and weaving every single sentence for their own political gain maybe this once wonderful country could be great again.

  • Comment number 5.

    There is a huge budget deficit - thats a fact
    To rectify that we will either raise taxes and/or cut spending - thats a fact as well.
    Even if we don't cut in money terms if any increase is less than inflation its a cut - thats a fact as well
    So if we have to correct the deficit we will fact cuts and taxes - perhaps just this once our politicians might like to consider honesty - aparently its the best policy ?

  • Comment number 6.

    Gordon Brown is a well meaning man who is trying to govern a UK full of tax evaders, bankers and hedge funds who tried every possible trick to mislead the public and the government. These finacial elite-weasels like nothing more than a quick profit, no matter the consequences for the long-term stability of the economy.
    Apart from tax cuts and cutting public services the Tories have little to offer in terms of better policy which could lead to a sustainable UK economy.
    Even today, after years of asking, we still don't know if Lord Ashcroft, the Tory party’s deputy chairman, is domiciled for tax purposes in the UK.
    Good boy Cameron is too timid to ask Lord Ashcroft questions when it comes to tax evasion and tax avoidance, the Tories are still masters of this trade.
    If UK millionaires and billionaires would be forced to repatriate some of their ill-gotten, often untaxed gains from their beloved tax havens (Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands, Belize, Switzerland), then public spending cuts would have to be much less severe.

  • Comment number 7.

    "Brown's advisers have told him that if he is seen to be upfront with voters, they are much more likely to listen to his case"

    That's his problem right there... he's never been upfront with people, everything he says is a lie. Unless he's going to start this speech with an apology for lying to us about "Labour Investment", nothing will change - he, and is party, are doomed.

  • Comment number 8.

    Despite what Gordon Brown and his patronising, arrogant spin-obsessed cronies seem to think, the British people are quite capable of determining that cuts are required after years of nonsensical excess and incompetence. What people want to hear is not a grudging "C" word - what's needed is an even more grudging "E" word - ELECTION. Caledonian Comment

  • Comment number 9.

    'This convinced him and Alistair Darling that they needed to "end the semantic game" as quickly as possible.'

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

    I recall that it was Gordon that started the 'semantic game' and ranting about Tory cuts - even though these are contained/implied/imputed within/from his chancellor's own budget forecasts.

    Sheer hypocrisy and incompetence!

  • Comment number 10.

    "It is increasingly clear that Alistair Darling plans to announce a spending package designed to force the Tories to spell out what more they would do, or to expose that they are refusing to do so and have hidden plans"

    But surely the spending package should be designed to help the economy.

    Surely the Chancellor should introduce the right policies - rather than the strategic and expedient ones, as Nick suggests he plans to do.

    Is that too much to hope for?

  • Comment number 11.

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

  • Comment number 12.

    Nick - take a break - write a book - just wait for the General Election and LIEBOURS oblivion. This pointless shilly shallying over "cuts" is a waste of time- does ANYONE believe Clown and Mandelson?????? Any sane person knows the UK is broke and generations will be paying for this lots utter failure.

    The Tories may not reveal their plans - why should they??? - would u if u had not seen the books??? - get real and ask some hard questions - we pay u to do that and so far u have failed.

  • Comment number 13.

    So this is going to be them attempting to weasel out of ever having denied there would be cuts is it?

    They will try to pass using the "c" words off as a silly journalistic game, patronisingly implying that the media do not really know what they are talking about, and scoff that it was all just a misunderstanding (on our part of course, not theirs). I heard the interview with the P.M's former advisor while I was motivating myself to get out of bed this morning (his name slips my mind), another odious, obnoxious little man who can't finish a sentence without some kind of jibe or dig at the opposition. In contrast, Osbourne, although not my favourate politician, was dignified, mild mannered, and confident, defending his position without seeming to be on the defencive.

    So, labour strategy:
    1) Insult and patronise the Tories
    2) Insult and patronise the media
    3) Insult and patronise the general public
    4) Hope everyone has collective selective amnesia.

    Just how low can these lousy excuses of ministers (and Peter Mandleson) sink? It is an insult to this country that they continue to cling on to their positions by the fingernails to the last minute in the face of overwhelming evidence that we, the public, do not want their greasy dirty mits anywhere near the reigns.

  • Comment number 14.

    6. At 10:26am on 15 Sep 2009, invisiblehandadvisor wrote:
    Gordon Brown is a well meaning man who is trying to govern a UK full of tax evaders, bankers and hedge funds who tried every possible trick to mislead the public and the government. These finacial elite-weasels like nothing more than a quick profit, no matter the consequences for the long-term stability of the economy.

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

    Yes gordon is trying - very trying.

    Its nice to see the politics of envy is still alive and well, along with a sprinkling of New Labours 'not our fault guv, a rich kid did it and ran away!'.

  • Comment number 15.

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

  • Comment number 16.

    6

    Would you like to provide evidence of bankers, hedge fund managers et al attempting to mislead the public?

    I could definately provide you with more than a few of your beloved Gordon doing the same.

    How is it your business where Lord Ashcroft is domiciled for tax purposes? If he choses to spend more of time abroad than in the UK, that is his own decision, and it does not effect his UK income which will still be taxed under UK tax laws. Why should you think the UK is entitled to a share of his non UK income?

    And as for raising the tax on a few high earners, if you bothered to read into the matter you would quickly discover that the extra revenue raised by such measures would be irrelevent.

    And for your information, tax evasion is illegal, tax avoidance is not. Tax avoidance can be something as simple as, say, making sure that you sell shareholdings over an appropriate time period to maximise the use of your capital gains tax allowance.

    Another envious, chip on his shoulder, punish and hate the rich type.

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    oh I do not believe it, the level of political discourse in this country - what on Earth are we coming to? - so he's going to say "cuts" and then everyone's going to jump up and down and point at him and go "nah nah na na nah nah, you've said cuts!" - pathetic - can't stand it any longer - I'm off abroad - somewhere where politics is rather more than a parlour game for the under fives - somewhere like Paris where I can wear a black polo neck and sit around the Left Bank with like minded people having a serious debate about serious issues - promoting the things which are truly important ... equal opportunities, affirmative action, greater respect for traffic wardens, all that ... just hope it's not too late for me

  • Comment number 19.

    It's far too late for Brown to rebrand himself as honest and upfront. All Labour have done for the last 12 years is spin and try to court the media. Reappointing Mandy just goes to prove this.

    I can't see why there is such focus on what the Tory plans are. Labour has a massive organisation in the shape of the civil service to help write and cost spending plans, and so far they have refused to do this. It is unrealistic to think that the conservatives plus a few advisors could come up with a detailed spending review - I'd certainly expect them to wait until they are in power.

  • Comment number 20.

    "The next act in this drama will be the chancellor's pre-Budget report. It is increasingly clear that Alistair Darling plans to announce a spending package designed to force the Tories to spell out what more they would do, or to expose that they are refusing to do so and have hidden plans."

    Have the Conservatives been given full, unequivocal, access to every department's accounts? How can they plan a full budget/spending review without this information...??

    Wouldn't it be nice to have a government that makes decisions based purely on what the country needs, rather than their own political posturing?

  • Comment number 21.

    £60 Billion is forecast as the interest payments on the financial fiasco this Government has presided over.

    My grandchildren will be paying for this disaster,Gordon Brown the man who put the B into Bankrupt.

  • Comment number 22.

    Any more c words available ? Consideration for the anguish being piled on the British public for how much longer may i ask? Call an election before an other c word is uttered Mr brown .

  • Comment number 23.

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

  • Comment number 24.

    So, if the Tories haven't seen the books, and the public haven't seen the books, how do we know how bad things are supposed to be? Cutting when we need to be spending in order to stimulate the economy seems daft. Dave and George, those highly experienced economists, are just going to go berserk and cut everything back to the Dark Ages in the name of Conservatism. Then they can give some tax cuts to their friends.

  • Comment number 25.

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

  • Comment number 26.

    18

    Saga

    You can hardly blame anyone but Brown over this (and it is a little farcical, I agree).

    "Investment versus cuts" etc. ad inf.

    He deliberately tried to mislead the public, he was found out, and now he is trying to laugh it off as a silly game about semantics. Should we let him? Absolutely not.

  • Comment number 27.

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

  • Comment number 28.

    "And as for raising the tax on a few high earners, if you bothered to read into the matter you would quickly discover that the extra revenue raised by such measures would be irrelevent."

    Quite right. The absurd, pointless and ineffective reduction in VAT has cost the excheqour the equivilent of 6 YEARS worth of extra tax which the increase in top rate tax is supposed to bring in. Besides whihc, of course, it won't bring it in. The 'tipping point' for tax avoidance schemes is usually any tax rate above 40%. Every economy finds this. Trying to take more than half of wwhat someone earns (don't forget the 1.5% NIC increase) is objectionable and will lead to a growth in avoidance schemes. What the socialists can't seem to realise is that 51.5% of nothing is nothing.

    When tax rates fell in the 80s the wealthiest paid MORE as a percentage of their income as they stopped indulging in tax avoidance schemes.

    But Brown cannot resist making a 'statement'. The fact that it will drive away businessmen and forcce others to avoid tax is beside his point, which is that Labour just cannot stomach wealth and success.

  • Comment number 29.

    "Brown's advisers have told him that if he is seen to be upfront with voters, they are much more likely to listen to his case - that case being that Tory cuts would wreck recovery and would damage public services"

    Only our worst leader in living memory would need to waste yet more public money on advisers to point out what should be blatantly obvious.

    So, who will the electorate listen to on this matter? The man who has spent months summoning up the courage just to say the "dreaded" word or, the opposition who, like most of the adult population of this country, know that we cannot continue to hemorrhage the financial future of the next 2 generations whilst Gorden Brown attempts to save his political neck.

    His 10 years in charge of the nations purse did more than anything else to put us in this parlous state and only those with a vested interested still trust him to get us out of it.

  • Comment number 30.

    Its obvious that cuts must be made, by which ever party is in power come the next GE. Browns refusal to say the C word just makes him look like a small little child who's terrified of being found out when they've told a lie.

    For once I actually agree with Saga though that this is such big news.

  • Comment number 31.

    24#

    Ah, another rebuttal unit login. Must be a piece-meal competition going on for tickets to the Labour conference. Whoever posts the largest amount of hackneyed class-warrior, dog-whistle, dumbed down garbage gets a trip to conference!

    Second prize: Two trips to conference.....

  • Comment number 32.

    18. At 10:53am on 15 Sep 2009, sagamix wrote:
    oh I do not believe it, the level of political discourse in this country - what on Earth are we coming to? - so he's going to say "cuts" and then everyone's going to jump up and down and point at him and go "nah nah na na nah nah, you've said cuts!" - pathetic - can't stand it any longer - I'm off abroad - somewhere where politics is rather more than a parlour game for the under fives - somewhere like Paris where I can wear a black polo neck and sit around the Left Bank with like minded people having a serious debate about serious issues - promoting the things which are truly important ... equal opportunities, affirmative action, greater respect for traffic wardens, all that ... just hope it's not too late for me

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

    Good luck and all that saga, but how can you possibly promote both equal opportunities and affirmative action?

    Equal opportunities does what it says on the tin so to speak.

    Isn't affirmative action where as a white male I must now be overlooked for a job simply because in the past white males had it easier than other groups, so for no fault of my own I have to pay for their ease of employment?

    if this isn't what you mean by affirmative action, then please do tell.

  • Comment number 33.

    18. sagamix
    oh I do not believe it, the level of political discourse in this country - what on Earth are we coming to? - so he's going to say "cuts" and then everyone's going to jump up and down and point at him and go "nah nah na na nah nah, you've said cuts!"

    As bad as saying the Tories are "foaming at the mouth" and "drooling"...
    One size fits all.
    Brown has constantly REFUSED to admit that he will have to make spending cuts, hence the (somewhat schoolground) reaction.

    ***

    6.invisiblehandadvisor
    Re Offshore funds, tax evasion, money laundering etc.

    Look these up: Lord Puttnam, Lord Paul, Lord Hamlyn, Abe Jaffe, Lord (Swarj) Paul, Lakshmi Mittal, Uri David... to name a few.
    New addition: ACL Blair?

    All Labour, definitely not the preserve of the Tories, invisible.

  • Comment number 34.

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

  • Comment number 35.

    #18

    Excellent spinning. Brown said that the choice was between "Labour investment and Tory cuts". Now he admits cuts will be necessary. So either he knew this all along and was lying ealier or he (alone) failed to understand the need for cuts.

    Either way it doesn't show him in the best light does it?

    So what can we do to spin this one? Oh, just say it doesn't really matter and it's all a bit childish.

    Nice try but it's just another example of Brown's lack of honesty and of his incompetence. I would have thought a floating voter such as yourself could at least bring yourself to see this.

  • Comment number 36.

    "Aaaaaaaaaaaaand Cut!"

    "Apologies Mr Speaker, ...

    ... I meant: I recommend this budget to the House!"

  • Comment number 37.

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

  • Comment number 38.

    24

    If all else fails, lets exaggerate and reductio ad absurdem.

    Both sides are going to cut. But Tory cuts will take us back to the dark ages, Labour cuts will usher in a new age of enlightenment.

    Because eveyone knows that when you are broke, the only way to get yourself out of debt is to spend more.

    A certain gamblers (il)logic at the head of our government methinks.

    Tax cuts to their friends? Of course, much better to tax those who work and just hand the money to those who don't.

  • Comment number 39.

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

  • Comment number 40.

    "Brown's advisers have told him that if he is seen to be upfront with voters, they are much more likely to listen to his case - that case being that Tory cuts would wreck recovery and would damage public services.

    “The next act in this drama will be the chancellor's pre-Budget report. It is increasingly clear that Alistair Darling plans to announce a spending package designed to force the Tories to spell out what more they would do, or to expose that they are refusing to do so and have hidden plans.”

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

    On the assumption that both the PM and Chancellor will now start to set a programme of cuts in public expenditure, it seems there argument will be “Labour cuts good, Tory cuts bad.”

    There is a fighting chance that the electorate won’t be taken in by this, particularly after all the twisting and turning and endless contorted spinning it has taken the Government even to get to this point.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm getting a strong sense of déjà vu with some of these recent posts.
    Like they have been lifted from a previous blog.
    Brownhog Day?

    The sooner election day arrives the better. Then we can get on with our lives...rioting, strikes, collapse of the Western world, anything for a change.

  • Comment number 42.

    And there are no Tory boys here. You are talking at two expats and a person who will do absolutely anything to get Gordon Brown and his sullied useless cabinet out and stop them wrecking this country's economy.

    Nice attempt to divert from the real argument here by blaming it all on people who try to pay less tax.

    People in pig ignorant houses should not throw manure. A lifetime spent in financial study and practice, and I forgot more yesterday following a mediocre drinking binge than you will ever have the capacity to learn.

  • Comment number 43.

    To those of you who suggested certain C words and rhyming couplets , a big thank you for covering my key board in coffee.

    To Sagamix, I do hope the Westbank is as blinkered as you, otherwise you may find the French a little daunting!
    People of action , the French!
    They don't hang about giving it " sacre bleu!" "merde!"
    They get up an blockade things until the Government complies with their wishes.
    After all , what is the point of electing an MP to represent your wishes and then finding the b^%%er merely toes the party line and ignores them?
    Over Iraq for instance?

  • Comment number 44.

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

  • Comment number 45.

    Cant to wait to hear how GB wriggles out of this one. Suggest the BBC blogging department staff up for the impending rush of comments.

    When you you take a step back from this debacle what a load of tosh this situation is. Petty politicking, deceipt and arrogance is what i see. What an embaressment we are to the world. Contrast the direct plain speaking of Obama in the last few days to what our bunch of losers spurt out. We are no longer 'Great' Britain. I am ashamed. Really ashamed.

  • Comment number 46.

    So Gordon Brown has been told/advised that he must use the word 'cuts' if he is to be believed about his plans for the economy. By implication this would suggest that he had no intention of mentioning the word at all if left to his own devices. Twill be interesting to see in what context he uses it and what the body language reveals whilst he makes his utterance.
    As for Alistair Darling's plan for a pre-budget report designed to make the Tories reveal their intentions my ghast is flabbered!!! Surely any budget strategy should be based on what is good for the economy and thus the Country, not, as Darling seems to be doing, just a means of getting the oppositon to show their hand.
    For all our sakes please get this deluded, corrupt shower out of Government soon.

  • Comment number 47.

    @invisiblehandadvisor, you might wanna have a read of this and conlcude that the few billion tax revenues from tax exiles will not really help you out that much:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8004567.stm

    And my best guess is that the UK's structural fiscal position has actually worsened since the OECD put out the referenced forecast for the strucutral deficit which equals 4,250 pounds per annum per person working in the private sector.

    PS Your hero Brown was already running a deficit close to 3% of GDP before summer 2007, gearing the budget cycle towards planned elections in the autumn of 2007, but then sudddenly Cameron made a half-decent conference speech and Brown subsequently lost his bottle.

  • Comment number 48.

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

  • Comment number 49.

    So Gordon is finally going to catch-up with reality and use the "C" Word, and make a "C"risis out of a Drama???

  • Comment number 50.

    Nick, I think that if they are being childish by talking of a semantic game, you should play them at their own game, and invest in a QI-style 'hooter' alarm to be triggered whenever the 'C-Word' is mentioned.

    Or maybe even a US Network TV style 'Ooh-la-la' voiceover and pixellation whenever the 'C-Word' is mentioned, just like they us to keep 'F-Bombs' away from sensitive American ears...

  • Comment number 51.

    The Government should set out clearly, no equivocation, just how it intends to deal with the economy.
    Spend less time on second guessing the Opposition and let us know their plans. I am fed up with hearing Cabinet Ministers moaning about the Tories will do this, that and the other. When asked what they will do, ie what CUTS? they will not even mention the word. Your prompting may cause them to reconsider and print another HYMN SHEET.
    However, old habits die hard, they do not trust us the Tax Payer. When they do maybe a new mindset will be adopted, somehow I doubt it. They are too concerned with not giving a straight answer to a staight question.
    When the Government sets out its stall, honestly, no spin, then they may be able to question the Tories.

  • Comment number 52.

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

  • Comment number 53.

    Don't bottle it, Gordon! Just keep spending way beyond the country's means for another few months and you can leave an almighty mess for those nasty tories to sort out. You can blame it all on them!

  • Comment number 54.

    Gordon says a word! Still pandering to virtual people? A little triumphant maybe?

    It seems contrary to the views expressed here on "NuLab, the public like media manipulators and propaganda merchants like the Tories. The media with stories like this are obviously the same. You appear to have rolled over to let Cameron tickly your belly.

  • Comment number 55.

    @53

    Dont encourage the man to stay! Deary me we need him out now, its going to be hard enough to sort the mess out, let alone with another few months of crazy schemes to waste money in the name of "anything but cuts".

  • Comment number 56.

    Brown, Darling, Mandelson et al. are meant to be sorting out the dire financial problems currently affecting UK plc. Cameron, Osborne etc are meant to be holding the Government to task and making sure they do this. Instead we keep hearing supposedly intelligent grown up men and women debating what words to use!!
    It would make the perfect Monty Python sketch called the "My cuts are better than your cuts" scene.
    Meanwhile the Country goes to h*ll in a handcart - unbelievable!!

  • Comment number 57.

    I followed the headline, tune in to see Gordon say the C word, almost as exciting as the first lesbian kiss in a soap opera .

    Now you could argue that they have said "reduction" "reduce" or many more words that mean the same, I'm a simple engineer "keep things simple"

    More than anything I want Brown, Cameron,Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond to speak the truth and nothing but the truth, tell it how it is, dont sex it up , we can handle it, and if we dont like something we will tell you and likewise if your doing well we will let you know, stop listening to the press, think tanks, opinion polls etc, get out from behind your desks , walk the walk and speak to us, get every single mp out of Westminster and round the country asking and listening
    simple really

  • Comment number 58.

    Is it sad that my first thought on seeing this article was "I wonder how the commenters on Nick's blog will respond to this?"

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/4/20090915/tuk-any-leader-better-than-brown-dba1618.html

  • Comment number 59.

    The only "CUT" I'd like to make is the jobs of these imbeciles.

    Brown is a foll

  • Comment number 60.

    54 dhw

    Presumably you are incoherent with rage for some reason. Calm down and have another go, so that we can have some idea of what you are on about.

  • Comment number 61.

    "If UK millionaires and billionaires would be forced to repatriate some of their ill-gotten, often untaxed gains from their beloved tax havens (Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands, Belize, Switzerland), then public spending cuts would have to be much less severe."

    Morally you are right but the reality is that would not happen. tax havens will always exist and unless the americans and canadians and europeans and every other g7 country had a standard policy on such individuals ( tax rates , allowances etc) they will simply move to the best package

    Yuppies means upwardly mobile.

    Middle Working Class Britains still fund this country to pay for the benefits for those who can't and more worringly wont work and to pay for the state

    It'll be a simple choice at the election massive tax rises under the labour ( to go with the large rises since 1997) or a mixture of cuts and rises under the tories. Labour can't idealogically cut public sector costs as they are bankrolled by the turkeys who don't vote for xmas ( me included)

    That why the Opinion Polls say what they currently say .. discredited government in its death throes!

  • Comment number 62.

    Ok, let's have a dose of realism here, people.

    There ARE going to be cuts. In case anybody failed to notice - we just spent an ENORMOUS amount of public money propping up failing banks. Far more than we could afford to spend, far, FAR more than we actually had.

    (And before the usual partisan hacks start up about "NuLab" or "Lefties" or whatever - I don't recall David Cameron or Nick Clegg exactly falling over themselves in their hurry to object to this bailout, at the time. In fact, I don't remember them objecting AT ALL. In fact, I seem to remember both of them were pretty clear that there was no other choice and that they supported the proposals. So if any of you are gonna pipe up with "If only the Tories/LibDems had been in charge and not Labour, things would have been different" then please don't waste your time expecting a response to your nonsense - not from me, anyway).

    So now, that money has to come back from somewhere. Sure, some of it may well come back from the banks themselves; but that's not at all guaranteed. And even if it all comes back, there's still a hell of a short-fall.

    So; whichever party comes to power, they're going to have to raise the cash by either cuts in public spending, or by raising taxes. Or, more likely, a combination of both. None of them want to tell us what they would do, this side of a general election; because we're not gonna like the answers to that question, and they think that if they're honest about the situation and their plans this will prevent us from voting for them.

    Well, I dunno about you guys - but in my case, for one, it's having the OPPOSITE effect. Every day that goes past without them outlining some sort of plan as to where and how they're going to raise this money - and I mean, an actual PLAN, some DETAILS, not just some wishy-washy nonsense about how some cuts will probably be needed coupled with insistence that the other parties would definitely screw things up and ruin the country if any of them get into power - deepens my dislike and mistrust of these people. Certainly, I'm not going to vote for ANY of them unless they have the respect for me to tell me, in advance, what they're going to do if they get into power.

    And I'm clearly not the only one who understands this;

    "Brown's advisers have told him that if he is seen to be upfront with voters, they are much more likely to listen to his case..."

    So it appears that Brown's advisers have some degree of common sense, even if Brown himself is woefully lacking in this department. Somebody needs to tell the Conservatives, Lib Dems, and everybody else this, too.

    And before I go - to address those of you going on about "the Tories can't say anything because they haven't seen the figures" - can I just say, what a load of old nonsense. Again, I hope you're at least fooling yourselves with this one; 'cos you certainly ain't fooling me.

    They have enough information (apparently) to criticise the government on every spending plan and fiscal policy it's announced. What - suddenly, now it comes to talking about what they're going to do in the future, they don't have ANY information and can't even give us a clue what they're going to do? Like, they've forgotten all the plans that Labour have made over the past 5 years, for instance, that they (and the Lib Dems) have objected to because they're going to cost too much??? Really???

    Then do we really WANT this bunch of amnesiacs and idiots in power...?

    They're lying to you, people. And you're buying it.

  • Comment number 63.

    37#

    It is becoming rather tiresome repeating yourself, I know. Lord knows, I have done it many times on this blog.

    But, as your login is a new one, let me put some flesh on the bones for you.

    You know how you can easily be identified as an astroturfer? Put in its most simple form, you think that everyone that opposes New Labour, everyone who differs, must be Conservative. It is this rabid "brook no dissent, internal or otherwise, nanny decides what you will talk about" attitude that should cost you dearly. It is akin to a Soviet ships political officer holding discussions amongst the officer cadre as to which is their favourite Lenin speech. There is only your way and no other way. You will not accept any other idea, school of thought or doctrine unless you can either pass it off as your own idea all along, or you are shamed into it.

    You're also never to blame for anything, it is always someone elses doing. You dont accept that there may be better ways of implementing or executing an idea or plan. There is never any contrition, except for what you were never to blame for in the first place.

    Happy so far, sitting there at your PC at LabourList HQ? Good. Glad to see you're keeping up.

    Right. Lets take your original post shall we?

    "...trying to govern a UK full of tax evaders, bankers and hedge funds who tried every possible trick to mislead the public and the government."

    Considering it is a matter of record that New Labour were intensely rich about people being very wealthy and that there have been numerous connections between Hedge funds that support Labour and have given them money, not to mention the amount of bankers and financiers that Labour have ennobled and invited into positions of government and the fact that the current PM, the former chancellor, crafted a taxation regime so welcoming to their type of business, this statement of yours is nothing more than hollow, dog-whistle politics designed to appeal to the lowest common dumbed-down denominator, ie the Labour core vote in the former nothern industrial wastelands who would vote for a chimp if it wore a red rosette.

    "These finacial elite-weasels like nothing more than a quick profit, no matter the consequences for the long-term stability of the economy."

    Funnily enough, I dont disagree with that statement. But, what I do have trouble with, is who exactly has had their controlling hand on the tiller for the last 12 years? Who could have regulated their behaviour? No, Dont tell me, I know already!!!! It was Margaret Thatcher right???

    "Apart from tax cuts and cutting public services the Tories have little to offer in terms of better policy which could lead to a sustainable UK economy."

    Well, to me that sounds infinitely better than following Gordon and Hattie into hell in their handcart. Pardon me if I like the idea of that.

    "Even today, after years of asking, we still don't know if Lord Ashcroft, the Tory party’s deputy chairman, is domiciled for tax purposes in the UK. Good boy Cameron is too timid to ask Lord Ashcroft questions when it comes to tax evasion and tax avoidance, the Tories are still masters of this trade."

    I've got two words for you.

    "Geoffrey" and "Robinson".

    Oh, actually, on reflection, I've got a few more than that... Try "Blair" and "blind trust" (you think he's gong to hang around in UK and pay Gordy's 50% rate? Hah!) You might also want to consider the name "Philip Green" and also while you're at it, you might want to look up "Lakshmi Narayan Mittal", "Nigel and a certain chap who owns a yacht called Deripaska, who seems to be a very good friend of the man who has more government titles than anyone in history.

    "If UK millionaires and billionaires would be forced to repatriate some of their ill-gotten, often untaxed gains from their beloved tax havens (Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands, Belize, Switzerland), then public spending cuts would have to be much less severe."

    If. If, If. If your tax regime wasnt as turgid as it is, if your system of lax regulation wasnt as woeful as it is... it is your rules, designed by Gordon which has allowed this to happen. Who else is going to force them? Dont tell me...... Not Maggie again, right??? Public spending cuts would have to be much less severe if Gordon hadnt micturated every single cent up the wall in the great pursuit of the top job.

    Now. Run along back to Labour List. Nothing to see here.

  • Comment number 64.

    #27 Fubar_Saunders

    OMG, Harriet Harman in a position of power and responsibility... scary thought :-(

    Actually, the whole NuLab mentality has become frightening, look at what Ed Balls is trying to defend. Let's hope he makes a full U-turn.

  • Comment number 65.

    #15

    Yes, that's the very word that comes to mind.

  • Comment number 66.

    @ sagamix, post #18

    "...promoting the things which are truly important ... equal opportunities, affirmative action, greater respect for traffic wardens, all that ... just hope it's not too late for me"

    Umm... sorry to be the one to break this to you. But given the three things you seem to think are actually important right now, then yes. It's far too late for you.

  • Comment number 67.

    So does one take it from Gordon Brown's latest reincarnation (how many is it now?) that little Eddie Balls and his ambitions for a scorched earth policy have run into the mud?

    How can it be? Little Eddie Balls and his super talented Yvette who always know 'the right thing to do'. Is it now right to cut rahter thanto spend? Are little Eddie and Yvette to be thanked for their contributionand cut? Only time wil tell.

    As for the very dea that the newlabour party announcing cuts will put the tories on the back foot; the tories have been twelve months ahead of this game and have nothing to aplogise for and nothing to explain; they simply piled on so much pressure that the government cracked.

    Now the governement should go; if newlabour is not for spending money then what is it for?

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 68.

    Rome
    " More than anything I want Brown, Cameron,Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond to speak the truth and nothing but the truth, tell it how it is, dont sex it up , we can handle it, and if we dont like something we will tell you and likewise if your doing well we will let you know, stop listening to the press, think tanks, opinion polls etc"

    The innocence of youth. Are you a green?
    We would have no need of polticians, then, what would we all talk about?
    Whilst you're at it, could you ensure that all women behave rationally and only change their minds after careful consideration of the available information?

  • Comment number 69.

    Gordon Brown, the man that brought an end to boom and bust and replaced them with bankrupt.

    Well done Gordon, well played sir.

  • Comment number 70.

    57. At 12:19pm on 15 Sep 2009, romeplebian wrote:

    ...........More than anything I want Brown, Cameron,Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond to speak the truth and nothing but the truth, tell it how it is, dont sex it up , we can handle it, and if we dont like something we will tell you and likewise if your doing well we will let you know, stop listening to the press, think tanks, opinion polls etc, get out from behind your desks , walk the walk and speak to us, get every single mp out of Westminster and round the country asking and listening
    simple really
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Fully agree with everything you have said in this paragraph but.... it won't happen!
    In order for it to happen politicians would have to accept that most of the population of the UK has a far clearer picture of what effect the current economic situation is having on people who live in the real World.

  • Comment number 71.

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

  • Comment number 72.

    There is a whole world of difference between saying and doing. NuLiebour have spent the last 10 years saying one thing and doing another- that's why we are in the mess we are in now.

    Why should we believe them now, after all they have been dragged kicking and screaming to this point.

  • Comment number 73.

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

  • Comment number 74.

    If the C word can be spoken now then can we expect the E word soon as well (that's Election Gordon, in case you couldn't work it out!).

  • Comment number 75.

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

  • Comment number 76.

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

  • Comment number 77.

    Cut is the new buzzword of Blimpy Gordon Brown.
    Underhanded and cruel, he's a very unpleasant man.
    No lie will be spared as he clings to his crown.
    The country ,in the end, will be left carrying the can.

  • Comment number 78.

    So the truth is that Brown considers the British people to be sheep like fools who can be fooled most of the time.
    But he has now been informed that no one is now fooled by his Emperors cloths.

    So he moves and now admits he was miss-leading the electorate trying to paint his opponents in an untrue light.

    But the new position and you will hear it from every spin department turned out Liebour spokesman is "Tories Drooling over cut". One word Desperate.

    They really must have such contempt for the average intelligence of the voting public.

    I'm sure some of these people used to work making up GMTV quiz's

    Are any of us really as thick as they think we are?

    Oh come the joyous day when there will be a line of ex Liebour MP's heading for Job Centre Plus.


  • Comment number 79.

    I have no issue with Brown supporters trying to divert criticism by pointing fingers at shady bankers and tax dodgers. But they singularly fail to explain why as chancellor for over 10 years he spectacularly sat on his hands and did nothing to address their dealings and ill-gotten gains. Presumably because for most of his tenure he was only too happy to sit back and enjoy the ride - with just the odd muttering and reference to Prudence!

  • Comment number 80.

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

  • Comment number 81.

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

  • Comment number 82.

    #18 sagamix

    I'm thinking maybe, rsspectfully, you miss Robinson's point.
    For months, Brown, Darling, Mandelson and others have used the word "cuts" as a stick with which to beat the Tory party.

    Now, at long last and far too late in the game, Brown etc have been compelled to come clean. This is the only way in which Labour could have ended the "semantic game" alluded to, a game they perpetuated as a misguided scare tactic.

    Enjoy Paris if you make it, I've lived abroad now for five years and the semantic games the politicians of my host country play make even someone of disingenuous Brown's legendary ineptitude seem somewhat amateur, which of course, he is.

  • Comment number 83.

    Let’s reminisce for a moment: -

    Labour’s 1970’s spell in office had the following consequences: -
    • A broken economy.
    • Enormous national debt.
    • A chancellor going cap in hand to the IMF.
    • Rubbish uncollected in the streets
    • The dead left unburied.
    • Unions out of control, hell bent on striking to bring the nation to its knees.

    Now let’s look at the present: -

    • A broken economy.
    • Record levels of national debt.
    • Quantitative easing – money created out of thin air.
    • Immigrant baby boom costing the tax payer 1 billion per year.
    • EU rebate traded in so Tony Blair could become EU president.
    • Unions out of control, striking to bring the nation down.

    When will the electorate learn from its mistakes?
    • Stop voting in career politicians with no business experience.
    • Stop voting in labour councils, like Gateshead council who go on tax payer funded holiday’s to Japan (between 1989 and 1992).
    • Make your politicians work for you not the other way around.
    • Demand value for money from all public services – stop paying huge salaries to poorly educated individuals in the public sector.
    • Reclaim our British heritage. Labour didn’t ask the UK permission to turn it into a multi-cultural ghetto.
    • Ensure that there is a clearly defined job description for a Politician.

  • Comment number 84.


    This is more about political posturing than having the economy of the country at heart.

    Just another round of nasty Tory versus nice New Labour. It boils down to timing and the issue of when the dreaded axe should start to fall. The ploy is to try to defuse doubts over the dithering government until after the election.

    Uttering the C-word so late in the day after such a muddled mess is meaningless when any trust has been blown away.

    Isn't it more significant that this comes on the day when The Times Populous poll reveals voters want "literally anyone" but Brown as leader?

    http://theorangepartyblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/voters-turn-c-word-on-brown.html

  • Comment number 85.

    RE: 18. sagamix

    " so he's going to say "cuts" and then everyone's going to jump up and down and point at him and go "nah nah na na nah nah, you've said cuts!" - pathetic - can't stand it any longer "

    You've missed the point. This is a complete (and humiliating) reversal of New Labour's position. Prior to this point, Brown has been parroting the line about "Tory cuts versus Labour investment", and I supposed he imagined that we would believe that public spending would just grow and grow - rather like Pinocchio's nose. Now it turns out that, by his own admission, he was telling a pack of lies, and there will in fact be public spending cuts under a New Labour government. Brown has been blatantly lying about public spending for months and is now admitting as much. That is a big deal. If he has been lying about something so central to New Labour's political identity, how many other things is he lying about?

  • Comment number 86.

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

  • Comment number 87.

    I do agree with everyone on here who thinks that the actual utterance of a single word will bring about the end of the world is right

    It's complete nonsense to put so much emphasis on the use of a word (whatever it may be) What I would like to see is much more emphasis on formulating a proper plan to pay back our massive debt - and I don't care what words are used in the plan! You can make some up as long as the job gets done

    Cuts will need to be made, be they Labour or Conservative or Liberal. You can dress it up as much as you like and try to spin your way out of it but we need to save money to pay back debt. It's quite simple really. There will be services that are cut or reduced and this will affect the public - however - we are in a recession! Sometimes that means we have to tighten our belts and reduce our standard of living until the good times return

    What on earth can be wrong with that? Everyday folk are doing the exact same thing here and now, spending less on luxuries and paying off debt. I only wish the government would do the same thing to some degree

  • Comment number 88.

    83#

    Laudable, but all achievable in the lifetime of one parliament, eh I-Z? If only the sheeple had the gumption, rather than responding only to the faint shrill sound of the dog whistle emanating from No10.

    Maybe they'd vote for it if Peter or Katie or Kerry Katona explained it?

  • Comment number 89.

    @81

    The thought of Balls in a position where he would be a potential leader of the country is indeed a sobering one, on the plus though by the time that Gordy leaves Labour won't be voted in again for many a year no matter what prefix they put before Labour noone will be that stupid again for a while.

  • Comment number 90.

    force the Tories to spell out what more they would do, or to expose that they are refusing to do so and have hidden plans.

    Nick, that sounds like the old question "When did you stop beating your wife?"

  • Comment number 91.

    What a terribly sad comment on the state of politics when the top political story of the day is that Gordon Brown is going to give a speech in which he will be honest.

    Of course that is a big news story, but it really shouldn't be.

    And why on earth does he need advisers to tell him to be upfront with voters? If his instincts are to spin and obfuscate and he only tells the truth on rare occasions after consulting his advisers, then I really despair.

  • Comment number 92.

    Have to agree with a lot of what people above have said (Fubar Saunders and Invader Zim in particular), others, you merely have to laugh and shake your head at... (invisiblehandadvisor). Accordingly I'm skipping all the technical stuff and jumping into my main and most important point (which I'm reasonably sure you all haven't mentioned yet...

    G Brown was never ever elected by the people as PM. His 3 years in charge have certainly been difficult, but it shows the flaw in our political system - that we weren't able to put in charge the right person to manage it. Gordon has been way out of his depths for the last year or so. Labour should have got rid of them when they had the chance.

  • Comment number 93.

    We, as a country, borrow £1pound in every £4pounds that is spent by our government.
    It is utterly incomprehensible to me why Labour intend to continue this trend. You cannot continue to roll up debts like this ad nauseam.
    That £1pound needs to be earned by this country or else cut or a combination of both.
    If we as a country want to spend more on public services then taxes on wealth creators need to be reduced in order to stimulate good old fashioned making stuff and selling it abroad.

  • Comment number 94.

    At 12:43pm on 15 Sep 2009, newthink wrote:

    Gordon Brown, the man that brought an end to boom and bust and replaced them with bankrupt.


    Let's be fair here, boom, as promised, has sunk without trace.

    It's only bust that's still going strong....................50/50 ain't bad.

  • Comment number 95.

    #62:

    Excellent post!

  • Comment number 96.

    91. At 1:38pm on 15 Sep 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:
    What a terribly sad comment on the state of politics when the top political story of the day is that Gordon Brown is going to give a speech in which he will be honest........
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Whoooah!! Hold on there, he hasn't made the speech yet. We wait with bated breath to hear in what context he uses the 'c' word and what other guff he surrounds it with to make it look like the best thing since sliced bread. What is certain is that he will use the word reluctantly and will probably need to wash his mouth out afterwards at the earliest opportunity.
    We already know that Gordon and truth cannot be used in the same sentence, so anything he does say this afternoon must be taken with a very large pinch of salt.

  • Comment number 97.

    If the Labour party's strategy for fighting the next election is simply to spread fear about what a Conservative Government might do its a foolhardy approach. I think that the electorate is more sensible than Lord Mandleson imagines.

  • Comment number 98.

    Tory cuts vs Labour spend always sounded dishonest and evasive when Labour`s own spending plans showed cuts were envisaged.
    However the issue was always one of timing as the blue book made clear.Mr.Brown may have assumed a level of economic literacy among his opponents which was not there,it is hard a credit an intelligent man with that degree of obfuscation when it is contradicted by his own published projections.
    If it was bad faith then he will pay a heavy political price.
    But timing is crucial:cut in a recession and you deepen it.Wait for recovery and you are in a better position to pay your debt.On these grounds I cannot support the Conservative party.

  • Comment number 99.

    @ excellentmad_hatter, post #90

    "Nick, that sounds like the old question 'When did you stop beating your wife?'"

    Indeed it does; although in this case, it's an entirely appropriate phrasing of the question.

    Once again - cuts NEED to be made. You know this. I know this. Labour and the Tories and the LibDems know this.

    Ergo, either the Tories - all of the parties, for that matter - spell out exactly what they're going to do, and how they're going to do it. Or we need to assume that whatever it is they're going to do, it's so appalling that they have to keep it secret in case the electorate find out before the election.

  • Comment number 100.

    Nick, you mention the chancellor's "frustration at what he calls the "game" being played by journalists over use of the "C" word and points to Mr Brown's track record of cutting departmental spending in the past

    I think part of the problem for Gordon Brown is that he has seriously misread the public mood. People WANT cuts, and will actually vote for whichever party promises to make the biggest reductions in government waste.

    Where the axe will fall is of course another matter. Nobody wants a reduction in front-line services such as the NHS or education. (But even here, there are opportunities to spend our tax revenues more efficiently rather than just chucking lodasamoney at a problem)

    We keep coming back to wasteful projects such as ID cards and trident, but also more recent Labour nonsense such as the so-called Independent Safeguarding Authority.

    Labour only understands 'Tax and Waste' which is why they will be soundly trashed at the next election. It's far far too late for Lord Mandelson to talk about spending 'wisely'. No one believes a word Labour says on any topic. This isn't just about being dishonest and the corrosive culture of spin - but true to form, Labour has once again proved itself to be institutionally inept.

 

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