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Why don't the Conservatives spell out their plans?

Nick Robinson | 18:05 UK time, Tuesday, 8 September 2009

I have spent the day filming behind the scenes with David Cameron on the day he set out to reassure voters that planned Tory spending cuts would begin at the very top.

"Trust me," he said to his wife Samantha as they stacked the dishwasher after breakfast this morning. He was trying to reassure her about something she was worrying about. He was also, of course, articulating his message to the electorate as a whole.

The Camerons dare not say so, but they know they may not be living in their home that much longer if - and it is a big if - the electorate are not frightened off the Tories by his plans to rein back the size of government.

His speech added promises to cut and then freeze ministers' pay; to cut the cost of ministerial cars and to end subsidised food for MPs in addition to already-announced plans to cut the cost of politics.

When I ask him why he's making such a fuss about saving £120m when the national debt is measured in hundreds of billions, his reply was clear: leadership. He is planning to ask others paid from the public purse - including the BBC - to accept pay cuts and freezes.

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I filmed in the office which David Cameron and George Osborne's advisers share; all are under strict orders not to compare it with the West Wing. In this room, they've been discussing plans not just for pay cuts, but also for a new privatisation programme and how to cut government procurement costs - and much much more besides.

So why, I asked the Tory leader, didn't he spell those plans out? Leadership, I suggested to him, was about being clear about the pain that voters - not just MPs and ministers - might have to suffer. Yes, he replied to my surprise, before promising to spell out more detail between now and the election.

We'll be waiting.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    I welcome his input on these matters.
    I am sure the Independent MP elected PM from the floor of Parliament will hold him to his pledges. Even if there are but two or three of his party present.

  • Comment number 2.

    P.S.

    I watched The West Wing there was often but ONE elected person involved in the story.
    Then sometimes a whole two or three. Good thinking Dave.

  • Comment number 3.

    A few years ago, I learnt the hard way never to trust anybody who says "Trust me".

    One might think that that rule could be especially applicable to politicians.

  • Comment number 4.

    And why don't Labour spell out their plans?
    We've had the same old waffle about "tough choices" from Alistair Darling today but, strangely, no sceptical comment from our Nick about that.

  • Comment number 5.

    Oh come on Nick - the public are hardly likely to be "frightened off" by Cameron's plans to reduce the size of Government. It's long overdue and would be welcomed by the majority. It is a much more significant point than the "Cameron to increase cost of M.P.s salad" headline that the BBC seem to think is more important

  • Comment number 6.

    I guess its easy for Cameron to ask others paid from the public purse - including the BBC - to accept pay cuts and freezes and to cut and then freeze ministers' pay; to cut the cost of ministerial cars and to end subsidised food for MPs, when you are sitting on assets worth 10s of millions. He is obviously struggling to get his detailed plans out when he knows it will not affect him but will countless others.

  • Comment number 7.

    It is so obvious why none of them will tell us what cuts will be made before the next election.

    It is really about the number of jobs to be cut in the public services rather than the services themselves.

    The inevitable result of any restructuring anywhere whether public or private.

    Will it be 1 million or even more?

    Not the sort of thing they will want to discuss anytime let alone now.

  • Comment number 8.

    It's nice of load_of_bull (comment #6) to go in to bat for the poor and underprivileged MPs. Only problem is, we don't seem to have any of those.

  • Comment number 9.

    #6 load_of_bull

    The countless others have a clear choice come the election.
    -Millionaires,
    -Those mired in illegality (for current crimes)
    -Independent local trusted non-career 'Jhons/Janes' like themselves.
    You only have ONE choice.

  • Comment number 10.

    Good question Nick.

    It is also applicable to the current government, and of more immediate urgency and importance as they are actually in power at this time, and could be for the best part of the year to come.

    Why don't Labour spell out there plans ? Not just for after the election but for now. We'd love to know about Gordon Brown's great "vision" which he cancelled the expected election for two years ago, in order to set out. Do you know what it is Nick ? Does anyone know what Brown's direction or plans have been so far let alone what they might be in the future ?



  • Comment number 11.

    Each politician realises that rhetoric is fine until each of their advisors realise that eventually any cuts will hit their own constitency.
    Whack the disability crowd and you find that many of those will be on the golf courses of Britain. Cut the Quangoes and you find that most of those employ the middle classes, most of whom are the voters of Britain.
    Hit the uneducated poor,acquisitive crime rises and summers are spent having to police the streets of Britain during riots by the voiceless disenfranchised. Withdraw your troops from war and find a massive diplomatic international backlash, especially from the Americans and the arms industry for whom war is a high profile advertisement.
    Running Britain will not be an envious job over the next few years.
    Hey Ho!

  • Comment number 12.

    Nick:

    I have my own thoughts why, The Conservatives are not able to spell out their plans; Reason one, is that they simply don't have the cohersion in what they are talking about in all due respect....

    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 13.

    ooh is this you getting in with the other side now Labour is finished ,

    Whilst it may appear a noble thing that Cameron calls for a 5% paycut and pay freeze then on, it is chicken feed and lets not forget most of them are millionaires already so it wont hurt them much.

    I wonder what catch phrase he will use

    The last conservative government used "if its not hurting its not working"

    then Labour with "things can only get better"

    and maybe the new one if the conservatives get in ?" trust me"

    the only thing that depresses me is that all along we have been strung along and nothing is better, its hurting, trust me its hurting!

  • Comment number 14.

    Nick

    It is easy to mock things like cutting back on the costs of subsidised refreshments at Westminster as being trivial but the cuts have got to start somewhere and when the cuts start to bite the MP's need to make sure their own house is in order, if they are to retain any credibility.

  • Comment number 15.

    Well, dare one say it, they are so happy to be kicking the beat up fellow down on the pavement, why bother spelling out their own ideas? Why bother if you are winning anyway? It is rather sad to say as I fear what they have in store is more likely to feed the Hedge fund managers (their old school chums, and some of mine I am sad to add)than they are the normal folk out there with real jobs and businesses.

    We are in a pathetic state when the sound bites and popularist media headlines are driving politics. Who'd be bothered about IRA/Libyan compensation if it wasn't for the Libyan fellow being in the news? it's madness, it's foolish, and worrying.

    So let's spell out some of the next government's policies then:

    1. Kill the FSA and give all power to the bank of England. So, lets make sure no one outside of our banking friends can stop us from doing what we want, when we want!

    2. Means test health care. So anyone earning over 10k will have to pay to go to the doctor and over time it will simply mean we live in America. Heaven help us all!

    3. Only Etonians allowed on the front benches. That way we make sure no dodgy accents are representing the country.

    Actually that reminds of something that happened last week while I was In Sharm El Shake staying at a very nice(but not the five star they claim it is)hotel on a beautiful beach sat on a Coral Beach. Well At the end of the stay one of the bar men came up to me and asked me where I was from as my English as I sounded, to them, similar to the Germans, but not quite the same. Ok, let me explain. I have a plain middle England, public School boy English, non-accent. It seems all the Brits they encounter are of the Awite mate variety as they keep on putting it! heaven forbid should any of them come to power!!!! I jest by the way!But an absolutely true story.

    What would I do if I were them? Nationalise banking for consumer and Small Business as it's a public service really anyway, open up funding for enterprise and leave everything else alone.

  • Comment number 16.

    Why should the Opposition parties have to commit so far in advance of a General Election. At least the Chancellor of the Exchequer is now muttering about expenditure cuts which is progress of a sort. The focus for questioning on budgetary matters should still be directed to the PM who appears to remain in denial. When I say PM I mean Gordon Brown not Lord Mandelson!

  • Comment number 17.

    Just watched the Tories free prime time election broadcast on the BBC Six O'Clock News aided and abetted by Nick

  • Comment number 18.

    Problem is that Brown and this cronies have created a dependency culture of jobs in public services, so DC has to suggest it is not these people who are going to get a chop.

    Much as MPs did not vote to show their expenses, so workers are unlikely to vote for anyone who suggests that he is going to get rid of their jobs. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas?

    Mrs T was going to cut the government waste but in the 87, I think the Tories trumpeted about how much they have spent on the NHS. Yest we have exactly the same with Labour, but the public perception is that it has got worse.

    Where has all the money gone?

  • Comment number 19.

    I don't blame the Conservatives for not spelling out their detailed plans at this stage, just so long as they tell us come Election time - to be honest, I think it's going to boil down to a straight trinary:

    (1) you want to see the axe swung on the public and non working sector for a mixture of rational (debt reduction) and visceral (hate those useless, pen pushing jobsworths and lazy benefit scroungers!) reasons

    ... then I guess you vote for the Cs

    or:

    (2) you can just about stomach more Brown, and you'd prefer a gentler curve to the spending reductions ... surgery but with less blood, and with a general anaesthetic ... balancing the need to improve the fiscal position with the need to protect jobs (a little bit)

    ... so you vote Lab

    or, of course:

    (3) pretty much all establishment politicians have lost your trust/respect and you simply CANNOT bring yourself to vote for any of them

    ... which means all bets are off (exciting!)

    I'm floating between 2/3 and I would imagine I'm not the only one

  • Comment number 20.

    Nick wrote:

    "We'll be waiting."

    Don't hold your breath, for the very obvious reason that the election is not in the bag - and is the Tory's to throw away! If DC and GO were confident they would spell out their plans - as that don't - they must have serious doubts. Face realities swapping one tory party for another is not going to make much difference is it? Oh, for a party that is not a tory clone, one with real ideas and a real ideology!

    Only yesterday DC had to sack one of his comedians - do William Hill have a book on how many more before the election?

  • Comment number 21.

    Among the many things Cameron said today perhaps the least important was about the Westminster dining facilities... so why does the BBC lead the report with "Cameron would axe MPs' cheap food ".... talk about dumbing down the news.. talk about BBC bias... And to those banging on about millionaire tory MPs look at your own front bench and point out the poor ones! Even the "working class hero" john prescott seems to have done very well for himself on the back of the taxpayer..

  • Comment number 22.

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

  • Comment number 23.

    sagamix and #19.

    Anything is better than (1) or the extreme right getting in: So, I think I'll have to go for (2) as (3) will surely let (1) in by the sort of maddening 'do-anything-they-think-of' overall majority Parliamentary margin FPTP let-in Thatcher and Blair and look what a load of bilge each of those left us with!

  • Comment number 24.

    19. sagamix

    Excellent analysis, and I have to say I agree with your 2/3 stance- can't see the Conservatives and/or Cameron doing Britain any good. As for the article, can't really see anything of substance in his words here.

    Since we don't actually know when the election'll be, it'd be nice for Labour/Conservatives to outline their plans, although I'm happy with how Labour're doing at the moment (Unless It's scottish Labour, in which case, I don't think they're any good at all).

    As for Labour's Manifesto for the election... I may be wrong, but would that nopt be similar to what they're doing now?

  • Comment number 25.

    Saga if you really are floating between 2 & 3 then you may well be the only one!!! I dont know anyone stupid enough to consider option 2 for a microsecond, if you cannot bring yourself to vote Tory then at least help rid us of Labour

  • Comment number 26.

    19#

    Right. So, as you've started the medical analogy, its a choice between..

    1) Experimental, painful drug treatment from a supplier with a track record and you'll probably get better, eventually, but it'll hurt and you'll remember it for a long time.

    2) Get left on a hospital trolley in a corridor in a drug induced stupor until you get killed off by the hospital-borne disease, and your kids get the privilege of picking up the tab for your "treatment".

    or

    3) A one way ticket to one of those nice clinics in Switzerland where its one drink, lights out, goodnight Vienna.

    Some choice.

    I'll take 1 or 3. Probably 3.

  • Comment number 27.

    19#

    Oh and by the way, there was nothing at all visceral about getting rid of the hereditary peers was there?

  • Comment number 28.

    @13 rome

    Here's the only catchphrase that matters "Vote Tory to remove Labour"

  • Comment number 29.

    #19 its the BNP for you then, as ex-lab voters cannot seem to bring themselves to vote Cons so they bypass and go even further right to the BNP, see what happened in the euro elections then

  • Comment number 30.

    So what's happen to the Libya affair?

  • Comment number 31.

    There's no doubt that boyj Parties will make cuts or reduce spending, call it what you will.

    The key is when it starts and at what pace.

    The Tories want to cut as a matter of ideology and would therefore start too soon and run the risk of recovery stalling BUT the simplistic notion that Macro economics is no different to running a household budget (as Thatcher used to say) is just folly. Therefore as many would do in the domestic scenario reducing debt ASAP appeals to middle England/Daily Mail mentallity.

    This is exactly what happened in the Thirties depression but the Tories can't/won't see it because it goes against the "Brown's debt crisis" narrative that's been carefully constructed overe last 12 months.

    IMO not only will the Tory cuts set us back to the under investment dark days of the 80s and 90s they'll also have the opposite effect on the economy that people expect, not to mention the massive increase in unemployment.

    Beware Voters Beware

  • Comment number 32.

    "So why, I asked the Tory leader, didn't he spell those plans out? Leadership, I suggested to him, was about being clear about the pain that voters - not just MPs and ministers - might have to suffer. Yes, he replied to my surprise, before promising to spell out more detail between now and the election.

    We'll be waiting."

    Yes, Nick, just as we've been waiting for months and months for Brown to spell out how he plans to get us out of the mess he led us into.

    Seems that Darling is starting to be a bit more honest. That must be a shock!

    If Mandelson starts doing the same, the whole edifice will crumble. If any Miliband burst into honesty mode, we'd all be amazed.

    Hey, ho.


  • Comment number 33.

    19 sagamix

    "I'm floating between 2/3 and I would imagine I'm not the only one"

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

    Or put another way - more of the same or do nothing...... is this your way of trying to improve the way we are governed ?

    A vote for new Labour would simply endorse the utterly dreadful way we are governed, and send the message that more of the same is required. New Labour can't change, or they would have done so already if they could as they are actually already in power. Or are they this inept intentionally? They are completely and utterly finished, with no direction, vision, plans or prospect of improvement. And have been for ages now. From Dubya to Libya - you couldn't make it up!

    As for "I'm not the only one", given the usual standards you seem to be pretty much in a world of your own to me.

  • Comment number 34.

    I think the problem goes quite deep at the moment. Both the Tories and Labour Party realise that the next government are going to have to make some very unpopular decisions in the next 12 months, which are going to affect the country for years to come. Unfortunately, both parties are just window dressing (i.e. talk about their spending cuts and not those they will impose on everybody else) to an extent that sooner rather than later voters will start getting really angry with them, which will result in the "mother of all protest votes".

    Basically, they still "Don't Get It!"

  • Comment number 35.

    Who would be so foolish as increase your debts when you owe so much?
    The Keynesian alternative, to increase spending in a recession when debt is rising and tax receipts falling is counter intuitive and lacks public support.
    The conservatives will be populist and cut spending when the recovery is fragile and reversible.
    When and how to cut is a matter of fine tuning, and should not be subject to judgements based on ideology rather than economics.
    Economic crises are not an act of God,they are man made.

  • Comment number 36.

    I understand the need for clarification from DC and the conservatives, but it is the present government in power whose policies need to be put under the microscope. In the area of cutting spending, it is Nulabor who need policies other than that of spending their way out of this hole, knowing full well that the debt will have to be paid back, irrespective of any general election outcome. To give away policy to appease the media, is to hand Labor the distractions they so desperately need, as their own policies have in part led to this mess. If labor had to make sweeping cuts in public services, how would this be seen, or reported?
    Whoever is in power, will have to make some very tough choices, but with the present lot in power, one gets the impression that it will be all sound bites and not much else. DC should not cave into demands for policy, especially when it is clear that these will be stolen and used. If anything, Labor should spell out their plans for cuts in services, and stop trying to turn attention away from themselves. They are in power now, not the Tories, so less speculation on DC's policies and more on the failure of Labors.

  • Comment number 37.

    "leadership"?

    Is this just calculated talk and spin, just like Blair before he was elected.

    Is Cameron a man who says what he means and means what he says as well as will to lead by example?

    More importantly, would he be allowed to do what he thinks is right by powerful people with vested self-interests??

  • Comment number 38.

    I think DC is right to say that cuts should begin with the government but he may have a problem making this transparent to the public. How will we know that politicians are less well off as a result. Also he seems to be taking on MT's policies of 1979, and we know where that led after a few short months. Riots. I don't think debt is as bad as the politicians keep saying. We own a substantial portion of the banks now, and that will be sold off eventually. I hope DC and his crew aren't reckonning on taking any credit for the money returned from the banks!

  • Comment number 39.

    #31, Eatonrifle wrote:

    "There's no doubt that boyj Parties will make cuts or reduce spending, call it what you will.

    The key is when it starts and at what pace."

    Darling said today that he/Brown and Co will reduce the current UK borrowings by 50 percent within four years.

    So, just in this year we are borrowing GBP175BIL. So he takes out GBP20BIL per annum?

    And, apparently, this would be removed from "cost" - not "spend".

    Sorry, Eaton, isn't that what the nasty Tories said should be done a while ago?

    Government costs too much. You don't need a First Class degree in PPE - or even history - to work that out.

    I'm just fascinated about the overall costs that will be genuinely removed from government areas and not simply shifted to some QANGO.



  • Comment number 40.

    I agree with strictly pickled

    Cameroon is in opposition until the next election. Strategically he doesn't have to spell out anything until the manifesto for the election is written.

    Meantime, however, we have an elected government who don't appear to have a coherent plan, but I only see them actually being held to account once the election arrives. So the good ship Great Britain continues its drift in the stormy world of the world economy, and the government seems set on making an enemy of the US too

  • Comment number 41.

    The plan needs to be to renegotiate the Lisbon treaty, get something in return for our given up subsidy other than hot air, then start to encourage business back to this country by cutting red tape and bureaucracy put in by Labour.

    Simples.

    Cameron spells that out in quick time before the election he will be on to a winner beyond his dreams. Yes it will be tough for a few years, but with belt tightening we should get back to being a good economy in good time.

  • Comment number 42.

    Why don't the Conservatives spell out their plans?
    Because they don't have to? Because they haven't worked them out yet?
    Or because, more likely, their plans don't really matter. As Alfred Hitchcock would have said, they are the 'MacGuffin' in this drama, which is that governments lose elections rather than opposition parties win them.
    To continue the metaphor, the government have lost the plot and the public have seen their act too often. We are now on "Labour 12: The Reckoning", all the actors are looking tired and the male lead, Gordon Brown, is looking too old to get the girl any more.
    A promising young pretender waits in the wings for his turn in the spotlight and the whole cycle will begin again until the public gets tired of him also. We can boo and cheer as much as we like but individually we can't do much except be part of the audience.
    Sit back and enjoy the show - it's only politics.

  • Comment number 43.

    It's not the future TORY plans that worry me Nick, it is their failure to be an effective SHADOW Government and I will give you just 3 items which are close to my heart.
    1. 6 PFI school in Exeter are unfit for purpose and are unsafe and the TORIES don't give a damn.
    2.The Chad/Cameroon Pipeline (CCP) has been operating in a legal void for 7years and is an environmental and safety timebomb and the TORIES are on record (Hansard Answers)with approx 100 question about the legality and safety of the CCP but failed to follow up the matter.
    3.Millions of tonnes of contaminated cement have been sold to the South West with grave consequences to the Taxpayers and the Tories haven't asked a single question.
    Shadow governments have a role to play and a duty of care and I am not satisfied the Tories have taken their remit seriously over recent times.
    I am sure your bloggers and my good friends at Andrew Neils Blog could give you dozens of other issues where the Tories have failed.

  • Comment number 44.

    "Eatonrifle wrote:
    Beware Voters Beware"

    I agree there is a lot to beware - New Labour still could be re-elected and that would be a total disaster and the country might never recover.

  • Comment number 45.

    Cameron and Robinson on TV tonight - very entertaining. Cameron looks like he is crying out to be considered 'Sincere'. I think the Tories have a problem with the next election and they are very worried. They want the common, average man and woman, and every teenager turning to the voting age, to take them as a serious alternative to Labour. In reality, however, there is very little difference between them.
    My concern is that I would vote Tory if Cameron stopped putting on an act to the camera - he might convince people of his show, but I suppose all that matters to him is he convinces enough people. Playing with MPs' pay and benefits may sound like a great policy when MPs' expenses were the headline issue 3 months ago. What we want to know is how is this man going to lead the country for future news events?
    My MAIN concern is the incompetent Osborne. I will say it now, and I'll bring this back if the Tories do win the next election, this country is in serious trouble if Osborne is left to look after the public purse - Or will we be OK if he leaves it to all his public school mates and puts it all into private hands - yeah we'll be OK then !!!! OH DEAR.

  • Comment number 46.

    Sorry people you will just have to bite the bullet.This saga will go down in the portals of history as a lesson of lessons Will be learn't
    Remember the Fraze its been used enough by new labour over the past 12 years?some very harsh lessons indeed Because these are going to hurt especially the pension fiasco Wait till that one kicks in This also goes into an open door policy letting in more people than you have jobs for ,And at the moment people are asking where am i going to get gainful employment at my age with all these that have flooded the country ah well another fine mess you got me into Olly.Scratching the top of his head.Remember him?

  • Comment number 47.

    'Why don't the Conservatives spell out their plans?'
    Because they don't have any.

    That's why the Tories are even keener to keep Brown in place than spineless Labour: they prefer an opponent who's holed above the water-line.
    Read why at www.notbornyesterday.org/brownhealth.htm [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 48.

    Everyone, especially the media keep asking the opposition parties of their plans for the future. I seem to remember one ACL Blair and his cronies were asked the same questions in 1996/97. The answer was always the same: “Wait until the election and then we will tell you.” I believe it’s known as, ‘keeping one’s powder dry’.

    If the opposition parties expand on their policies now, it gives the government a chance to either use them or – as is more usual for this present mob – deliberately misrepresent them. Remember JG Brown’s; “do nothing Tories”? He then decided that some of what they came up with was a jolly good idea and used them, (after of course, saying in was a total load of dung and would never work).

    If I was Cameron or Clegg I would keep schtumm until JG Brown plucks up the courage to call an election.

    Sláinte Mhath

  • Comment number 49.

    Why no detail?

    Firstly any detailed policy announcement will either be rubbished by the Liebour propaganda machine or be stolen by this excuse for a government, or both.

    Manifestos are the place for detailed policy.

    Cameron has made his general thrust quite clear - try and balance the books by living within our means and rebuild this country from the disaster of the last 12 (will be 13 by the time of the General Election).

    Roll on May 2010

  • Comment number 50.

    "Trust me ( I'm a pretty straight sort of guy)". Was that not the saying of one T.Blair, back in those heady days of 1997? Many of you are either too young or have bad memories to recall that.
    I remember it only too well. For reasons that spelt disaster for me and my dependants.

    My small but all important financial commitments, meant all. I could just about manage as things were in September. Then Blair and Brown got to work; up and up went the interest rates, so much so that eventually I had to dispose of my assets, never to be able to afford them again.
    By that time Brown had decimated my pension. There are those that do not want a change of Government, I really struggle to understand WHY?

  • Comment number 51.

    The problem for the Conservatives (and for Labour) is that generally the public want high quality public services and low taxation. The truth is taxes have to go up and expenditure, including services, has to be cut. Neither party is willing to be frank and both talk in metaphors, because they fear the electoral consequences. The third area , cutting the size of central government will put many tens of thousands of civil servants out of work.They all have votes.Sooner or later events will catch up and then they will have to come clean.

  • Comment number 52.

    50. b-b-jack

    Yes, Blair did say that, and he turned out to be a bad Prime Minister.

    However, by the same token, I feel Cameron and his party of (some) inexperienced MPs (almost all in the cabinet) will not be a good PM. Dave and Tony are hugely similar- both poular, both good at soundbites, both fresh faces with a fresh cabinet in a party that was previously struggling after an eventually unpopular previous administration. I'm not a betting man, but I think that the similarities may continue to their powers of doing "good" in Parliament for the UK, apart from a handful of good deeds. After two or three terms, a Scandal will probably come and oust Cameron, paving the way for a person who has been wating to take over for years and is a better leader, yet not as popular, thus leading to a swing in the direction of the other parties.

    Doesn't make me feel any better about having a Conservative government soon, though.

  • Comment number 53.

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

  • Comment number 54.

    They will not tell us how we are going to pay for the mess they have created, because if they did that we would not vote for them. I remember the Thatcher years, this is no different. Do you think New labour was any different from old labour, or New tory any different from old Tory. God help us all if either party get in at the next election, how I wish for true change. Depending on which party gets in at the next election will determine which section of society will pay for the mess.

    It says it all when a tory front bencher gets demoted for moaning about his loss of fringe benifits, think it but do not voice it, until we are in power that is. As the old saying goes `Its hard to teach an old dog new tricks`

  • Comment number 55.

    #44 MarkWE Wrote
    I agree there is a lot to beware - New Labour still could be re-elected and that would be a total disaster and the country might never recover.

    I have no wish to be pedantic but, New Labour have never been elected. At least they have never appeared on any voting slip in my area. Labour has, and it is they who have been awarded most seats in Parliament. (I was going to say ‘were elected’, but as more voters have voted against them, I don’t feel that is correct). They are still the same mix of rabid Socialists they ever were. More centralisation and the vast increase in the unelected qangocracy and ‘public’ workforce, to enforce their (and the EUSSR) edicts, and the telling us all that: “we know best, and, if you have the temerity to disagree with us, we will tell lies about you or your family, smear you and use vile innuendo against you even if you are in our party”.
    Since 1997, the trust in politics and politicians has taken a veritable nose-dive. Less people can be bothered to make the trip to the polling station. Who is to blame? I have no doubt there are some who’s knee-jerk reaction will blame ‘The Evil Thatcher’, they blame her for everything from the weather to the Roman invasion. Sorry, this time it is the “Cheshire Leader”, (all inane grin and no substance) ACL Blair, in cahoots with Mandelson, Campbell, Balls, Harman etc. And there are some people on this blog want to vote for yet another 5 years of this?
    All those on this blog who are posting dire warnings of ‘The End of the World’ should JG Brown fail to be re-elected, please, give us the proof not the benefit of your vivid imaginations.
    As yet I do not know who I will vote for...I do know it will not be the present lot unless they start being honest with me. I finished my formal education (Secondary Modern, not Grammar), before Wilson and his band of Visigoths dismantled our education system so please, STOP TREATING ME LIKE A MENTAL DEFICIENT AND BE HONEST WITH ME!
    Keep smiling...it takes less effort.
    Sláinte Mhath

  • Comment number 56.

    I can think of a good way to solve some problems: it's called "Proportional representation". If we used it, the parliament would have a greater variety of views- generally, no more than (and I'm trying to make an educated guess here) 35% of the MPs would be from any one party. Result? Better representation of the UK and (hopefully) better laws and debates.

    The main argument against it is that minority parties'll gain more seats. That's only bad in the case of extremist parties. Let's look at an example. In the Scottish parliament (where PR is used), we have no extremist MSPs, so I think that argument may not be entirely valid.

    Of course, we could (or should) get rid of whipping too. That'd stop opposition of policies for the sake of opposition (That is, MPs thinking that, just because they're in an opposition party, they must oppose everything the government puts forward). Freedom of expression would hopefully ensue and therefore help in the case of a minority government.

    Unfortunately, I doubt any of the main parties would allow these changes. They might remove some of the power from the big parties.

  • Comment number 57.

    If Brown calls an election, not just Cameron, but every party in Britain would then declare their hand.

    So what and who are we waiting for?

    The answer is 'Gordon to make a decision'.

    After all it is the Labour Party who should be making the running, not the Opposition.

  • Comment number 58.

    Nick Robinson:

    I saw this part of text His speech added promises to cut and then freeze ministers' pay; to cut the cost of ministerial cars and to end subsidised food for MPs in addition to already-announced plans to cut the cost of politics. How, is David Cameron going to achieve this idea and goal without making enemies in his own party and the opposition...If he wins the Next General Election...

    NB: I am not a political operative in the United Kingdom...

    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 59.

    He is planning to ask others paid from the public purse - including the BBC - to accept pay cuts and freezes.

    =

    I'm confident this will not affect your objectivity Nick.

  • Comment number 60.

    Some people seem to have heard an awful lot more than Cameron said...I heard some waffle about cutting the cost of government which he will not get away with for one minute ..neither will he reduce the pay levels of MPs..he must try to remember they are not his MPs they are elected by us and there exists a body to decide their pay...I for one do not want cut price government run by some rich bloke who certainly does not need any more money..most MPs have to earn their bread like the rest of us..in the end I also heard too many requests to trust him and whn someone says that I run...seen too many " trust mes " disappear with the goods

  • Comment number 61.

    "So why, I asked the Tory leader, didn't he spell those plans out? Leadership, I suggested to him, was about being clear about the pain that voters - not just MPs and ministers - might have to suffer. Yes, he replied to my surprise, before promising to spell out more detail between now and the election."

    ===

    Leadership is about being clear about the pain that voters might have to suffer. Well put Nick.

    As "Jimmy" Brown denies even that cuts in spending will have to be made, against all the evidence and against the views of his own Chancellor, "Flipper" Darling, maybe this question should be directed at Brown, who is self-evidently lacking in leadership.

  • Comment number 62.

    Camerons big plan to get elected was to hold the Tory party together long enough for Labour to become unpopular - as all Governments do. Hague et al only failed because they were too early.

    No wit, no deep thought, no intelligence needed. Even a millionaire Etonian can do it - though Osborne might struggle a bit.

    So, the reason theres no detail has been released is because they have not thought much further than getting power, having some fun and then grabbing non-executive directorships when the going gets tough.

    What do you expect from people who took Politics, Philosophy and Economics combined degrees?

  • Comment number 63.

    Nick,

    To quote from your colleague's - Paul Mason's - blog about Darling's speech...

    "Naturally there are going to be a lot of Callaghan namechecks in a Callaghan Lecture, but for some reason Mr Darling did not choose to make any great exploration of what actually happened when Callaghan and Dennis Healey slashed public spending."

    I'm not very impressed by any government (whatever colour) that believes it should intrude into the lives of the population as a whole. While they dance in the shadows for personal benefit.

    The simple approach from Cameron would be to say "I won't do what Blair and Brown did".

    I doubt he'll have the courage to say that.

  • Comment number 64.

    When I turn on BBC news at 10 and find Nick Robinson (a past President of the Oxford University Conservative Association and past national chairman of the Young Conservatives) interviewing David Cameron I find it difficult not to come to the conclusion that Nick and David are working hand in glove. How can such a conservative supporter as Nick Robinson be considered impartial in his treatment of the current Tory leadership? By the way, whilst I'm having my moan, is there any truth in the rumour that Nick Robinson once helped out at Tory central office and at one time attempted to become a Tory candidate?

  • Comment number 65.

    Lets see, just tackling 645 people on the state pay roll shakes 120m from the savings tree. Extrapolate that saving out to the 4 million public sector people and we are talking about really really big savings. I wouldn't knock it.

    Every time I have a meeting with the public sector, I come back to my scruffy offices and I feel bad for my private sector employees because there is just no way on earth I can match the working conditions, terms, salaries and hours that the public service get, and yet we all get hammered for taxes at every level to support the public sector gravy train.

    There is a new us and them in this country, it cannot be allowed to stand.

  • Comment number 66.

    Sad fact is the vast majority of the country are, at best, just totally demoralised with the ruling classes right now. Understandable really given what they've done with the power they've had.

    In my working lifetime of Callaghan, followed by Thatcher, Major, Blair and now Brown I started out hoping that one of them would, "do the right thing" for the ordinary man or woman. I remember watching Thatcher's, "Where there is despair, may we bring hope, where there is discord may we bring harmony," speech on entering No10 at the time. Her policies would sort out industry and the economy, it was suggested. Tackle the unions etc. Meanwhile, as an 18 year old, I was unemployed for nearly a year because of these policies and the industrial meltdown that went with them. It's personal experiences like these, shared by millions of others that JUSTIFIABLY make us deeply suspicious of politicians and their motives. There have been plenty of other dubious policies in-between, Matrix Churchill affair, 45 Minutes scandal and sexed up dossiers, immigration facts and figures covered up, attitudes like releasing dire government news on days when there was some sensational news story, MP's expenses more recently and the "confusion" of Redacting!

    Both Labour and former Tory administations have been so disgustingly vile towards ordinary people, I'd be ashamed to be British if either of them got into power again.

    The reason being? For one of them to be elected, the orinary British voter would have had to put one of them back in, when they had the choice not to! Maybe now you can appreciate my deep scepticism at suggestions above that a Cameron, Conservative government, would be some sort of saviour. In 10 years time, if this actually happens, the one thing I can promise is you will look back and have to admit you were deluded today! (Probably just blinkered by Labour's abysmal performance, understandably, and no previous experience of Tory rule?)

    The Tory/Labour hegemony HAS to be broken, because it IS broken and bad for ordinary people!

    What ordinary people need is one purposeful objective (nothing to do with making a few big business people richer,)that gives them some proper control over their lives. The objective would be to make the whole country work towards it. That's all! Above all it would be about giving people the power to obtain their own personal sense of freedom, (from say being a slave to some typically ungrateful boss that had an unmaternal mother in their early life, for example?)

    Cameron may have some "smaller government" idea, but is that it??? That's the big Tory deal?? Because come off it that's no big deal at all, certainly not one that would justify giving all that power to someone. This is your life that's being glossed over. Do you really think that little of yourself and even if you do, you could try and change it with an X, in a box, on a piece of paper? Try just being a little bit of a rebel, you never know and no one will ever know it was you!

  • Comment number 67.

    Why does nobody talk about nett savings?

    How much, for example, of the 120 million DC is proposing to save through cutbacks at Westminster will go out from the other hand as benefits to ubemployed drivers, chefs, kitchen porters and so on? Does anyone actually know.

    All very trivial no doubt unless, as someone has suggested above, this is a preliminary sortie to test the waters for a cut of a million or so of public service workers. Now I am no great fan of QUANGOS, political advisers, consultants, NHS administrators and the like. If someone were to argue that many of them are doing jobs that should never have been created, I will be the first to shout amen. But creating no new unnecessary employment in the public sector is one thing, dumping a million or more on the dole queue is another. So before we start glibbly talking about the huge sums of money that can be saved, can we first know what it is all going to cost?

  • Comment number 68.

    Dennis_Junior:

    This speech is about trying to get elected, not about honesty or accountability. I might find a seed of respect for Cameron if he came out and said how he intended to stop the rich bankers from stealing from the poor. Has he any idea how much misery has been caused to so many by so few? Does Cameron care? Of course not he's all right Jack. Poor people have lost their jobs, houses and savings and will spend years trying to get back to where they once were. Meanwhile the bankers, most of whom will vote conservative and can't wait to get 'the Eton lot' back in, have hardly missed a lunch break. Bonus culture rules OK, while Cameron looks on smiling, assured of the votes of his his rich banker friends. I'll listen to Cameron when he takes on the Bankers - I should live so long!!

  • Comment number 69.

    Every political commentator knows why Cameron can't give detail to his plans for the cuts obviously necessary following the fiscal debacle this Government is responsible for.How can any other prospective Government possiby give such a prescribed account of how the cuts will be made until it is in power and has access to the actual state of the finances New Labour's time in office has damaged this country with? Yet,the commentators go on trying to sustain unproductive debate and to make capital out of the reluctance in order to sell newspapers or maintain current levels of dissatisfaction. Why are we so unsophisticated in this country? Why is the level of public debate so immature and sensationalist?My guess is it's due to being a first past the post mainly three Party system. Perhaps proportional representation would of itself increase the objectivity and common sense in political discussion and rid us of the puerile approaches of most political commentators.

  • Comment number 70.

    There are some really big questions this announcement raises. Number is one is how a man who hopes to be PM doesn't get the relatively simple distinction between Parliament and the Government. If you are PM you do get to make decisions about ministerial cars. You don't get to make decisions about MPs' catering - that's not in your job description.

  • Comment number 71.

    64. At 11:03pm on 08 Sep 2009, sportyNickWho wrote:
    When I turn on BBC news at 10 and find Nick Robinson (a past President of the Oxford University Conservative Association and past national chairman of the Young Conservatives) interviewing David Cameron I find it difficult not to come to the conclusion that Nick and David are working hand in glove. How can such a conservative supporter as Nick Robinson be considered impartial in his treatment of the current Tory leadership? By the way, whilst I'm having my moan, is there any truth in the rumour that Nick Robinson once helped out at Tory central office and at one time attempted to become a Tory candidate?

    ===

    Nick biased in favour of the Tories? Ha!

    You are new here, aren't you?

  • Comment number 72.

    68. At 11:26pm on 08 Sep 2009, sportyNickWho

    Just in case you missed it, it is Labour that have been in power for the last 12 years, who have spectacularly failed to control the banking sector, and who have sucked up to the City in return for a huge tax take.

    Just who was it that brokered the deal between LLoydsTSB and HBOS at a cocktail party, conveniently pushing aside competition concerns, and wrecking a fine, staid bank in the process?

  • Comment number 73.

    Looks like we finally do get a choice come election time. The Conservatives who will start at the top and work down from there, saving the electorate money.

    Or Labour, who talk a good game, promise spending cuts without service cuts but can't explain why they didn't do it 11 years ago, won't say where they will cut, and as soon as anyone else mentions cuts start bleating about teachers and nurses.

    It's pretty obvious really. Cut administrators, hire real workers. Cut the people who do nothing but measure endless targets, hire people who will do something useful. A nurse is cheaper than an administrator.

    And while they are at it, cutting the perks that MPs enjoy but the rest of us would be taxed on or disallowed is a good way of leading by example. I'm sick of the government banning things but exempting themselves.

  • Comment number 74.

    endangered_species:

    If you want to start culling at the top of organisations (£120,000,000 / 645 = £186046.512) why not start with the bankers and their bonuses? You would save a factor of at least 100 times more money and do a lot less damage.

  • Comment number 75.

    Yellowwbelly1959

    Well some Tory sympathisers would say that wouldn't they. New does not equal wet behind the ears.

  • Comment number 76.

    Yes, sportyNickWho (64), it's all on Wikipedia. The days of impartial political reporting by the BBC are gone, and the likes of Robinson (and Peston) are distorting public opinion without, it appears, any proper controls from their bosses. Astonishing though it is to see Nick allowed to give vent day after day to bitter and spiteful jibes against the PM,while flattering DC, and for him to be given even more airtime during the long run up to next May, I (and many others I know) are on the brink of giving up on watching/listening/logging onto the BBC altogether. never thought I'd have to witness such a thing in this country.

  • Comment number 77.

    Yellowbelly1959

    And what would the Tories have done??? Easy to say - 'Something different' but what??

  • Comment number 78.

    MinnieSouris

    Thank you. Good to know I'm not alone.

  • Comment number 79.

    64. sportyNickWho wrote:

    By the way, whilst I'm having my moan, is there any truth in the rumour that Nick Robinson once helped out at Tory central office and at one time attempted to become a Tory candidate?

    =

    Sporty
    Is there any truth in the rumour that Shaun Woodward, Labour, St Helens South and Secretary of State, NI, was once a Tory front bencher?

  • Comment number 80.

    #68

    Most of his speeches are about getting elected and appeasing Joe Public. The average earning employee still in financial services are probably very relieved they still have a position and want stability not diversity. Would they vote conservative? Plans to split up Lloyds Group (who are spending ten of millions on integration with HBOS) are one of just a number of popularist ideas served up for the angry man in the street but totally unworkable. Binning the FSA is a kneejerk reaction to the real issues that caused the financial meltdown and doesn't focus on the root cause associated with obsessive risk taking with investments, bad lending and greed.

    More worryingly, Cameron and Osborne have also repeatedly opposed fiscal stimulus and economic support that would lead to lower growth and more unemployment, leading to more debt and less money for services.

    With the slowly recession easing, the emphasis today has switched to the allocation of public expenditure, something that may not be that important in normal circumstances but the finanical downturn now dictates otherise.




  • Comment number 81.

    Nick, You ask Why don't the conservatives spell out their plans? The answer as you know is very simple. The voters in the UK have been lied to for so long they would be frightened by the truth. The Labour machine has told people they can have ever expanding Welfare, NHS, Education Defence, Services etc. To be fair they have delivered more spending and more service but they haven't explained they are racking up over £100 Billion a year which has to be paid for. The interest alone on the debt is heading to £40Billion a year.

    The voting public have yet to fully grasp the idea that they must pay for the mountain of government debt. No opposition can engage in the detail of "how" until the voters have grasped the fact that the debt is massive, unavoidable and to a great extent Labours fault.

    The Labour government are still, and may i say with your support, playing the game of pretend there is no structural debt.

    The bulk of the debt racking up is not fiscal stimulus it is structural debt. Paying more for civil servants, services and pensions than a state like the UK could ever afford.



  • Comment number 82.

    spare us the lies @ 66

    you could try and change it with an X, in a box, on a piece of paper

    yes but where goes the X? ... anywhere but LabCon, you're saying? ... or should we actively try and give the LibDems a breakthrough?

    endangered species @ 65

    There is a new us and them in this country, it cannot be allowed to stand

    what, so we bring the public sector down to the level of the private sector? - the "Politics of Envy" raises its ugly head yet again

  • Comment number 83.

    "Why don't the Conservatives spell out their plans?"

    Simple; because people like the BBC would report it with a pro-labour spin, and this has already been proved with how the BBC dealt with the NHS issue.

    Whenever anyone mentioned the NHS possibly being in need of some kind of reform, the BBC reported it as those nasty tories who want to get rid of all the doctors and nurses, rather than a logical step in trying to cut red-tape/costs but keeping front-line services intact.

    Here's a simple hypothetical example to illustrate the point of how you can save money on the NHS without effecting frontline services at all:
    A PFI contract might currently cost the tax payer 100quid for supplying a biro on-loan to a receptionist, with a further 200quid per year after the first year to maintain its ink. Tories come along and say to the receptionist: "No; you've been had. Tear up that PFI contract. Never pay those contractors again. Get your office junior to go down to Staples and spend 2quid out of petty-cash on a bundle of biros. And when the biros run out get your office junior to go down there again and get some more. I'm not giving you a hundred quid for a biro. Stop. Think. Use a bit of common sense, or find another job."

    Save enough money, and organise things in a better way, and you end up with better front-line services for less money; you can then spend your savings to repay government debt or put towards even more frontline services or both.

    They won't spell out their full plans because they know how the BBC/Guardian/Labour machine would spin it.

  • Comment number 84.

    #68, sportyNickWho wrote:
    "Dennis_Junior:

    ... I might find a seed of respect for Cameron if he came out and said how he intended to stop the rich bankers from stealing from the poor. Has he any idea how much misery has been caused to so many by so few? ... Poor people have lost their jobs, houses and savings and will spend years trying to get back to where they once were. Meanwhile the bankers, most of whom will vote conservative and can't wait to get 'the Eton lot' back in, have hardly missed a lunch break. Bonus culture rules OK, while Cameron looks on smiling, assured of the votes of his his rich banker friends. I'll listen to Cameron when he takes on the Bankers - I should live so long!!"


    Sporty,

    I seem to recall that it was Gordon Brown - not a Tory party member - who stitched up a deal for LloydsTSB to take over HBoS and waived competition rules.

    Think that Gordon and Darling rescued RBS. And, despite huge government (OUR) ownership, failed to impose some sort of discipline on the rewards payable.

    I rather remember Northern Rock being bailed out by Gordon.

    Not quite sure why you think that the Tories have been the bankers' friends for the last 12 years. Brown wanted growth in that sector - and was happy with massive paymenmts - because it provided a simple way to collect taxes.

    Lots of people blame the Thatcher "Big Bang" approach for the reent chaos. But I can't spot too many major financial services blow-ups until around 2000. Gordon decided to break the Treasury/BoE responsibility for oversight of financial institutions.

    The FSA knew that many institutions would get into difficulties. What did they do? Diddly-squat. Who created the FSA? Gordon.

    I blame Tory policies for lots of things. But they were rather a long time ago.

    If poor people struggle, it's because this government allowed borrowing to get completely out of control.
    Of course Brown isn't responsible for banks trading junk between themselves. But he could have said that mortgage lending and credit offerings should be controlled.

    BROWN chose not to do that. If he could tax the resulting money flow, as he did, it meant he could spray cash onto rather rediculous schemes.

    What's that got to do with any opposition party? It's only the party in power (Labour for a decade plus) that has their hands on the controls.

    You want to get angry because poorer people are going to find it tough? Me too. Just who has been in power for the last 12 years, while all this stuff bubbled up?





  • Comment number 85.

    TheBlameGame 79

    A question is rarely an answer to a question.

  • Comment number 86.

    billbo9 81

    If some of us heard the truth we might even vote for it.

  • Comment number 87.

    Politicians just don't get it as far as the public mood is concerned and by this example, Mr Cameron still doesn't get it.
    Now were he to recognise how unfairly biased some of our taxes were ... and set out politically appealing targets by which he could correct the balance, then I think he might gain credibility.
    As Nick suggested, the promised savings in parliamentary costs are but minuscule in the light of our national indebtedness and cutting minister's pay by 5% will hardly be seen as radical; on the other hand, if this is leading towards cutting the pay of Joe Public by a similar percentage that, in many cases, would be catastrophic.
    Those who gained most from the financial debacle we are going through are not only still wealthy, but in most cases are still employed. And that sticks in the craw of the poor, who suffer most at times like this.
    And what hurts even more is that it is a Labour government who are largely responsible for situation and who seem unwilling to put forward ideas of how to cope with it. Why? Because the upcoming election has tied their hands.

  • Comment number 88.

    30. SurreyABC

    oh that is old news

    the new news is

    oooh bombs found

    ooh bombs might have blown up on planes

    ooh we are in deep doo doo

    terrorists could strike at any time

    the usual wag the dog stuff to make us feel insecure so they dont think we will notice what they are up to really

  • Comment number 89.

    fairlyopenmind 84

    And David Cameron would do.... What????

  • Comment number 90.

    People talk about "cuts" on here as though it can all be done and not affect critical services.

    It means your;
    Police
    Hospitals
    Roads
    Armed Forces
    Social Services
    Schools
    Mental Health Support
    Prisons
    GPs
    Probation

    The list is endless but it comes at a price.

    Everything we (sadly) take for granted being decimated through ideology by people who by virtue of privelage by birth don't need public services.

    Cameron and Osbourne will be a disaster for this country. Even worse than Thatcher. Wake up people, we're sleep walking to destruction of essential services to 99% of the population. The 1% include Dave and George

  • Comment number 91.

    83 Getrid said

    Here's a simple hypothetical example to illustrate the point of how you can save money on the NHS without effecting frontline services at all:
    A PFI contract might currently cost the tax payer 100quid for supplying a biro on-loan to a receptionist, with a further 200quid per year after the first year to maintain its ink. Tories come along and say to the receptionist: "No; you've been had. Tear up that PFI contract. Never pay those contractors again. Get your office junior to go down to Staples and spend 2quid out of petty-cash on a bundle of biros. And when the biros run out get your office junior to go down there again and get some more. I'm not giving you a hundred quid for a biro. Stop. Think. Use a bit of common sense, or find another job."

    =========

    That would be a great example except for one minor problem;

    Its complete fantasy taken from a brainwashed Tory Sycophant.

  • Comment number 92.

    Eatonrifle 91

    I don't think brainwashing was involved.

  • Comment number 93.

    91. Eatonrifle

    "That would be a great example except for one minor problem;
    Its complete fantasy taken from a brainwashed Tory Sycophant."

    no; just a realist who sees that we've been getting conned the last 12 years. the labour response to the hypothetical 100quid biro PFI contract would be "great; look; we've increased spending on the NHS by another 100quid so we must be doing the right thing"

    You've missed the whole point, as has the rest of labour; your response is a typical labour one in that you ignore logic/reason and just try to criticise people who offer a different view, but you don't listen to the arguments at all.

    The next election will be a good indicator of just how many people disagree with simply throwing as much tax payers' money as possible at anything that moves. That approach doesn't work; it bankrupts the country as it's unsustainable. It just doesn't make logical sense and can never ever work. That's not an ideological thing, it's just a fact. You can't spend more than you earn for more than a certain length of time without going bankrupt.

  • Comment number 94.

    # 48; Where is the evidence with all due respect, that David Cameron is mentioning the cuts in the BBC....

    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 95.

    Nick, you ask Why don't the Conservatives spell out their plans?

    The answer is obvious. They don't need to spell out anything. People will vote for them simply because they are NOT New Labour - so they might as well keep their options open.

    If people want to know how bad things have become in New Labour's Nanny State, look no further than this story as reported by the BBC. At first I thought it must be an April 1st joke, but no. It's real!

    No wonder this country's going to the dogs!

  • Comment number 96.

    Whoever gets in is going to have to make some cuts, most people are agreed on that.

    The first thing they should cut is the National Programme for IT ( NPfIT ), this is the NHS database that has so far cost 12.9bn and has not even finalised the structure of the patient record. This project was started in 2002 and by 2007 was four years behind schedule (what were they doing ?), a further 2 years have elasped and the project is now 5 years behind (believe it or not they see that as some kind of improvement)

    Sack the remaining contractors (two have already jumped ship) and ask the people (very politely) behind MySociety.org if they will take it on.
    I have no doubt that they would have a workable system up and running within 18 months for less than an MPs expenses.

    The next thing they can cut is the National Identity Register and the associated ID card, costs on this are (as usual with government IT) rapidly escallating out of control. The could ask MySociety for help with this project but MySoc have principles and would say no.

    Another one they can scrap is the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) for snooping on everyones emails and phone calls.


    That is just 3 projects, the savings would be in excess of 36bn pounds which would nearly pay for the interest on what GB has borrowed so far.


    Of course none of the parties will do this as there are too many vested interests applying pressure.


    As to who to vote for, option 3 and the KoolAid is looking more attractive everyday

  • Comment number 97.

    #95 DistantTraveller

    "No wonder this country's going to the dogs!"

    Has greyhound racing really become so popular?

  • Comment number 98.

    #97 oldnat

    Ah yes, reminds me of an old Benny Hill sketch

    "My brother thinks this country is going to the dogs"

    "And where is your brother?"

    "He's gone to the dogs..."


    Well, I suppose you had to be there!

  • Comment number 99.

    I wonder why the bbc continuously demand what the Tories will do in the next government while not doing the same for the government (who have all the facts), and the LibDems who are content to only criticize the Tories?
    For once a politician is correct - Lack of Leadership is the main reason Britain is bottom of the European league on economic recovery.
    12 years of being "led" by a politico martinet and then a compulsive Stalinist ditherer, both without tangible leadership abilities, have eroded our values and our entry into the 21st century.

  • Comment number 100.

    moderated off again no doubt - but why can't Mr Robinson even disguise a tiny bit his blatant Labour bias ? Reporter ? Not I'm very afraid !

 

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