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Pre-Budget report disagreement between Treasury and No 10

Nick Robinson | 10:10 UK time, Friday, 11 December 2009

I reported on last night's Ten O'clock News that the Treasury had wanted a tougher approach to public spending in this week's pre-Budget report in order to lend credibility to its plan to cut the deficit in half within four years.

The pre-Budget report actually increased the spending plans the chancellor had previously set out in his Budget, despite the fact that Britain faces the worst peacetime deficit in its history.

One reason for this is an aggressive public and private campaign by Ed Balls for a real-terms increase in school spending. He wanted to create a political "dividing line" with the Conservatives, who have promised to increase spending on health in real terms but have made no similar pledge about education.

Mr Balls and Mr Darling

The prime minister sided with the man who was his Treasury adviser during his long period as chancellor. Although Mr Balls didn't get as much as he wanted, he did get agreement for a 0.7% increase in school spending.

What's more, he secured a larger increase in spending on 16-19-year-olds. This was to fund the "September guarantee" of a place at school, college, in training or an apprenticeship for every 16-year-old who wants it - another a programme he has always claimed that the Tories oppose.

Sure Start - the third front in Mr Balls' attack on the Conservatives - has seen its budget protected from cuts.

Compare this with the Health Secretary Andy Burnham, who is having to sell a real-terms freeze in health spending from 2011, which some NHS managers have warned could lead to job cuts.

The disagreement between the Treasury and No 10 was not about the speed at which the budget deficit should be reduced. It was certainly not about Alistair Darling siding with the Conservatives in arguing for the deficit to be cut sooner and faster. It was, instead, about how to ensure that the government appeared to have a credible and convincing plan to achieve its stated objective of cutting the deficit in four years.

For those who like the detail, the PBR stated that current government spending will increase by 0.8% on average from 2011, and not by 0.7% as set out in the Budget.

However, money raised by the increase in National Insurance will - the Treasury claims - keep the government on course to cut the deficit in half in four years.


Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Yep, well we all know what a control freak Brown is. He knows he is on the way out and everything he does now is politically driven. He does not love this country.

  • Comment number 2.

    Once again we see our government serving its own needs over those of the country. It's infuriating.

  • Comment number 3.

    These politicans just don't get it. They are more interested in their careers than whats best for the country.
    What a mess and there's no sign of any improvement. At least the expenses are still getting paid.
    Balls and Brown epitomise what a career self-aggrandising politician is. Somewhere along the way they have totally lost the reason as to why they started in politics in the first place.
    Kick em all out and start again

  • Comment number 4.

    Talk about being between "a rock and a hard place".
    One the one hand the Chancellor wants to convince the international markets that he is dealing with the deficit.
    On the other hand the Prime Minister wants to win the general election next year.
    Can this government achieve both? Probably not.
    Either way the British electorate loses.

  • Comment number 5.

    What a wally Brown is. He has stockpiled millions of pounds worth of swine flu vaccine and nobody wants to have it! What a waste of money.

    How can we trust this bloke? Darling darling should have had the courage of his and the Treasury's convictions and done the decent thing with the pre budget.

    Now here's a thing - was talking to a doctor (medical) the other day who said he would be voting BNP and - amazingly - many of his colleagues would too! How about that. Seems they think Nick Griffin is the ONLY one who actually loves THIS country.

    Me, I am torn between Conservative and BNP. What I think will happen is we will get a Tory government with more than a smattering of BNP. At least they have the courage to tell the truth.

  • Comment number 6.

    Its all about One Man and his side kick. Thats Brown Balls for you so the treasury has 3 leaders then. With 3 faces all pulling in different directinos.

    wonder what are Cabinet minister will be upset by balls getting another 0.7% for pet projects.

  • Comment number 7.

    5 Flamethrower wrote:

    Now here's a thing - was talking to a doctor (medical) the other day who said he would be voting BNP and - amazingly - many of his colleagues would too!

    I'm assuming this "talking to a doctor" was one of your regular sessions. I wouldn't necessarily take his words at face value: they are taught to go along with what the patient is saying as contradicting it can trigger an 'episode'.

  • Comment number 8.

    Isn't there a law against financial ruination of the country for political gain? And if there isn't this should be introduced immediately in the next parliament and be applied retrospectively.

    We are the laughing stock of the world, and now saddled with debt for at least a generation our infrastructure will crumble. All those who vote Labour should be educated out of it! That's what education, education, education should have meant!

  • Comment number 9.

    Will the real Chancellor please stand up! Mr Balls might well be right but for the wrong reasons. His case is arguable on need grounds and not because it may bother the Tories.

  • Comment number 10.

    "lend credibility to its plan to cut the deficit in half within four years" - unfortunately this is not the case - the plan is to cut the annual increase in the deficit by 50% over 4 years.

    There is a massive difference between still piling on debt at half the current ruinous rate and actually cutting the deficit which is the only way to reduce the on-going servicing costs of the debt.

    Reporting on this very important topic should make this clear.

  • Comment number 11.

    We should forget politics for the moment and look at basic economics. And I really mean basic. We as a nation have, for the last number of years spent more than was coming into the coffers. This is despite us experiencing the longest boom period in modern history, even greater than the dot com boom of the 80‘s. We have now managed to rack up debts of some 800 Billion pounds if we do not take the banks into the equation. Hence to reduce the burden of this debt on the pubic purse we need to not only reduce or stop our borrowing but also raise taxes to start paying down our debt. Spending has to be looked at across all Government departments. Something in fact that is not going to happen under this Government if we are to believe the PBR, as spending is forecasted to increase over the short term. Even if we are to believe the somewhat over optimistic predictions of our return to growth the figures do not add up. And this is were we go back to basics, expenditure can not be greater than income. Don’t get me wrong borrowing is not a bad thing for planned expenditure or for short term emergencies. However you know you are in trouble if you are borrowing just to meet day to day expenses. This is just what we have been doing as a nation for the last number of years and when the emergency came our position was exasperated. We now have the greatest national debt since records began and it is just getting worse. By the time we get to the other side of the general election we will be one trillion in debt. Austerity should have been the by word for the PBR, unfortunately if we continue on the road set out it will be poverty that is the word of the day.

  • Comment number 12.

    That Robert Mugabe is a terrible man - only interested in power at literally any cost, even if it means the bankrupting of his own country. Thank god we don't have a leader like that.

  • Comment number 13.

    #5 wrote:

    "At least they have the courage to tell the truth."

    They wouldn't know the truth if it hit them in the face. Your comment is a thinly disguised plug for a really nasty neo-fascist party which only gets votes because the major parties are so useless.

    As for Gordon Brown, epithets fail to describe this careerist who has wrecked the economy and just about everything else that worked in the UK. He'll do and say anything to save his job. We see him swanning around with world leaders with that inane grin on his face, as if he were a successful prime minister, when in fact, imo, he and Blair have been the worst that I can remember, and there have been some dreadful others.

    Nothing will change in the UK until radical constitutional reform is achieved. The entire Westminster setup needs to be bulldozed. Parliamentary has to be sovereignty removed, and vested in a written constitution - ultimately in the People. Both parliamentary chambers must be elected by a system in which all votes count (not FPTP). There should be a supreme court with power to strike down unconstitutional legislation.

    Until this happens we will have more of the same, regardless of which party is in power. The current system guarantees each of the two parties a spell in government when the electorate eventually gets sick and tired of the mess created by the other. It will happen again next year.

  • Comment number 14.

    ft @ 5

    Patricia! - name change, views no change.

    And this is a good one ... just the sort of thing I used to look forward to, back in the old days.

    So tell me, is it possible these days to insist on a Fascist Doctor? Is there a good supply?

  • Comment number 15.

    Sorry NEWS CORP.
    The other thing is to look at where new money is being spent and to tax that.....what about a 0.25p texting tax?.....or a windfall tax on ringtones,personal registration changes,insurance payouts (2.5%?),CFD stamp duty tax, and even a Google tax of 0.1p per search from a UK computer.A Twitter tax? A 2p Facebook levy?Or an Amazon tax to pay for libraries and community bookshops?
    What about an EBAY tax too? And a clamping tax so that half of the money goes to the govt?
    Also what about cocaine and heroin and marijuana and ecstasy taxes.....the police know where all the drug dealers are.....could the Inland Revenue not get a cut too?
    Has the day come when the only way to get tax out from the black economy would be to get rid of cash?
    There are so many people now who do not pay income tax that the only way to get them is to tax turnover and consumption.

  • Comment number 16.

    "Britain and France to give 1.5 billion to global warming fund" - no probs there then, just drop 1p on NI that should be fine. Lets make sure we are committing plenty of cash abroad we are a 'world-player' after all.

    What nonsense. I have no issue with funding developing countries to stop greenhouse gases, just take it from the aid we give elsewhere, such as to the EU for example!

  • Comment number 17.

    Nick. The Irish seem to be prepared to get a grip with a similar problem. Why aren't you / the BBC drawing comparisons for the education of the masses.

    Based on the bond market movements yesterday the money men are getting nervous about the apparent unwillingness of the government to face reality. Any increase in the rate at which the government can borrow will blow an enormous hole in the already barely credible assumptions we are apparently working on. The markets would have appeared to have been giving us a period of grace with the election in the offing but with this PBR and the publicly funded media frantically talking up the possibility of a hung parliament to avoid the hated Tories taking the reins with a clear workable majority that period of grace is likely to be cut short. Any period of trying to sort out a hung parliament and the fiscal policy to be adopted is likely to prove disastrous. One suspects that those in the know are already placing their bets, and I do not expect they will be for a happy outcome for the Great British public.

  • Comment number 18.

    178 billion - Treasury's forecast for deficit this year and next (Economist Roger Bootle is plumbing for 200bn, which would equal almost 8,500 pounds per person working in the private sector)

    100 billion (more than 4,200 per person working in the private sector) - OECD's estimate for the UK's structural budget deficit is 100 bn

    Implication: halving the deficit is not much of an achievement because it merely is the reduction of the deficit to its structural level, the level in line with trend economic growth, the level after a bounce back in tax revenues and lower unemployment benefits spending.

    And don't forget there is much wishful thinking hidden in the PBR, not in the least in the expected growth of 3.5% in 2011 and decent economic growth in the years beyond. The UK's finances will not be recession-proof when the next crisis hits.

  • Comment number 19.

    'Brown & Balls Certified Wrecking Company' coming to a town near you soon! No spiteful demolition too big and no quarter given to common sense or that old fashioned concept of the truth. Yes, Brown & Balls are more than happy to turn up with their political wrecking ball and completely annihilate your fiscal and physical infrastructure. Your town will never look the same again. Bristling with insincere pledges about the national good (byword for saving their own pathetic little necks come May next year) they will implement any twisted scheme that may help them clutch onto power a little longer. Even the old Eastern Bloc leaders would have balked at their utter contempt for their fellow countrymen.....sorry Harriet, and of course countrywomen.

  • Comment number 20.

    "sagamix wrote:

    So tell me, is it possible these days to insist on a Fascist Doctor? Is there a good supply?"

    The closest I know is a nursing student who is a member of the (F)UAF (an unelected group which claims to be against facism but seems to use the same methods as the BNP - a party they oppose!)

  • Comment number 21.

    Gthecelt wrote:
    Isn't there a law against financial ruination of the country for political gain? And if there isn't this should be introduced immediately in the next parliament and be applied retrospectively.


    Actually yes there is a process of impeachment but it requires the speaker to agree to a debate and the HoC to vote and agree to impeachment.

    In the unlikely event of the government being defeated in the division the Commons will witness the most dramatic event in the Palace of Westminster in modern times: the prime minister will be arrested.

    The Serjeant-at-Arms will take custody of Mr Brown and hand over the prime minister to Black Rod in the House of Lords, where he would be likely to be granted bail.

    Black Rod would then be ordered to the House of Lords where he will inform peers that impeachment proceedings have started.

    He would then tell the Upper House that the articles for his impeachment will be presented to them "in due time."

    When the articles are formally presented to the Lords, peers will set a date for the trial.

    Westminster Hall - the traditional courtroom for great enemies of the English establishment including William Wallace and Thomas More - would probably be the venue for Mr Brown's impeachment trial.
    The Lords would act as jury, and the Commons would put forward 'managers' to act as the counsel for the prosecution.

    The prime minister would be able to put his case and call witnesses.

    When all sides have presented their evidence, the Lord Chancellor, who presides over the trial, would ask the peers whether the prime minister is guilty or not guilty on each article of impeachment.

    The bible of Parliamentary practice, Erskine May, describes the procedures: "The peers in succession rise in their places when the question is put, and standing uncovered, and laying their right hands upon their breasts, answers, 'guilty', or 'not guilty', as the case may be."

    If the prime minister is found not guilty, impeachment is dismissed.

    But if a guilty verdict is returned the drama continues.

    Judgement is formally declared in a sitting of the House of Lords.

    Black Rod would march to the Commons and invite the 'managers' to hear the judgement.

    The prime minister would also be called to the bar of the Lords to hear the Lord Chancellor pronounce the decision.

    MPs have the final say on sentencing.

    Calling a general election will not prevent the wheels of impeachment turning. The allegations survive both the end of the Parliamentary year and even dissolution.

    It is a pity it will not happen.

  • Comment number 22.


    So Brown paid back 500 Quid for painting a shed in his back garden in Fife as it was inappropriate to claim on his ACA. But as Guido points out quite correctly this lying thieving PM does NOT HAVE A SECOND HOME. His flat in London is in his "wife's" name and is rented out to A.N.Other. 10 Downing Street is a grace and favour house in London, he weekends in Chequers also a grace and favour country estate so he has no council tax or utility expenses to pay on these. When he travels abroad (and that is a lot btw) the taxpayer foots the bill for hotels and 5 course meals (or is it 6 or 7 courses?).

    Perhaps you might want to raise this with him?

  • Comment number 23.

    I though Ed Balls had £2bn sloshing around in DCSF of funds he said could be found through efficiency.

    Oh silly me he said that on camera as a moment of spin.......

    Many on here commented at the time I seem to recall that he could find £2Bn just like that!!! I believe that part of his "cunning plan" was to get rid of Assistant Head Teachers from the schools. What happened to that idea?

  • Comment number 24.

    The other thing which is needed is more transparency in what we are actually paying other words that just as we need to know what ingredients are in what we are eating,we need to know what costs a provider of a good or service has incurred and what the margin of profit is and to tax it accordingly...... if Goldman has made 10bn profit there must be rampant overcharging for the service they the service or good itself should be taxed higher.
    For example Mulberry declared a 57% profit margin on their bags yesterday on the to me that shows that the bag is way overpriced and so should be taxed at about 30%.
    If someone has 100,000 quid to spend on a Mercedes, THEY SHOULD PAY ANOTHER 100K IN TAX ON IT.
    If someone is stupid enough to spend 300 quid on a Wii or DSI, they should pay another 300 quid in tax.
    Let's call it a Twerp Tax.

  • Comment number 25.

    The ongoing debate about spending cuts is excellent news for Labour.

    Deciding what to cut goes to the heart of your political and social priorities and really flags up the difference between left and right.

    As increasing numbers of right-wing bloggers urge the government to cut overseas aid, social security and environmental budgets, the left-wing strategist rub their hands with glee. No more having to explain to the scetical grassroots how PFIs can be reconciled with core Labour values. Suddenly, it's the core values themselves that are in the front line - and under siege from the traditional enemy. Nothing invigorates a leftie more than that. The cohorts of apathetic and disenchanted Labour supporters now have a reason to get out and vote.

    We've back to proper politics at last. Great, isn't it?

  • Comment number 26.


    Gordon Brown says that reports of a rift between himself and Darling are completely wrong. Does this mean that our son of the manse PM (armed with his moral compass) is trying to mislead us? Surely not?

    Or does this mean your story is a load of Balls? I fear so. Just look at the supportive, even affectionate look, Balls is giving to Darling in the picture which accompanies your piece. He looks as though he is about to seranade with a romantic. Move Over Darling. perhaps ?

  • Comment number 27.

    Public Debt - what we have and are borrowing to fund the bank bailouts, budget deficit etc. Deficit - the amount a Government is spending over and above its income, regardless of how that income is obtained.

    So the Chancellor plans to halve the deficit in 4 years time? This means we will still be spending more than we earn. This also means that the Public Debt will continue to grow. Is this prudent?

    Answers on the back of a postage stamp to:- Nick Robinson, aka Sagamix(sorry saga, couldn't resist it), c/o BBC, London

  • Comment number 28.

    Dear Nick

    It's good to know that there has been a political discussion in government about the merits of a VAT increase (regressive) as opposed to a NIC increase (think of it as a premium, not a tax - oh and BTW it's progressive).

    We need more lateral thinking/reporting about the tax aka revenue base itself.

    Much more interesting then tittle-tattle currently making the headlines are the implications for government revenues of international moves led by our Prime Minister Gordon Brown to tax bank bonuses, change the culture of capitalism, and lay the ground for taxing financial transactions. Funding the deficits arising from world-wide banking imprudence might look rather different if this global approach succeeds.

    Peter Kenyon

  • Comment number 29.

    Is giving more money to education throwing good money after bad ? We probably have to borrow the money to give anyway.

    Fed up with further discussion of budgets and deficits I was looking at the BBC News Front Page and wondered how it would look in Chinese so I hit the Chinese button. The page didnt turn Chinese as I expected instead I got a Chinese news page also with lots of world and western reports on matters that didnt get a mention on the page for English consumption. I am sure Cunfucius would have a saying for this.

    Must try the other languages some time.

  • Comment number 30.

    General Election? To all those hopefuls there does not have to be an election next year. The Monarch has to dissolve (what an apt and wishful word) parliament but an election does not have to be called for, I think, 2 more years. Existing laws etc would remain in place for the first year and then in the second year all tax raising orders etc would cease to be in effect.

    Perhaps one of our posters, maybe someone from the main party central offices who may or may not populate this blog, could correct and advise?

  • Comment number 31.

    If the media, the voter, the financial analysts all believe Labour is not telling the truth over cuts, then who are Labour hoping will believe them.
    If Labour is confident that the voter wants them to remain in power why not call an election now.

  • Comment number 32.

    Once again people believing the tory machine,
    The torys have no answers just a lot of whinging,
    what are the alteratives from the torys i think they have nothing creibel
    to offer.
    This is the whingingist opperstion party in history,that because Camoron has nothing to offer.

  • Comment number 33.

    Why do political commentators /interviewers keep talking about "the deficit being halved in four years". This is completely wrong.

    All that is being halved, assuming all the ambitious favourable expectations of a discredited government and treasury come good, is the ANNUAL BORROWING required to fund the country, starting from a truly horrendous current requirement of 178 Billion.

    The ACTUAL DEFICIT will continue to increase throughout the four year period to 1.5 TRILLION.

    Unfortunately it is the ACTUAL DEFICIT on which interest will be charged and on which capital repayments will have to be met.

    For goodness sake focus on the ACTUAL DEFICIT. This is the debt being laid down for future generations to deal with. It is no consolation at all that the increase in the debt might slow down in future years.

  • Comment number 34.

    25. pdavies65:

    "The ongoing debate about spending cuts is excellent news for Labour."

    "Deciding what to cut goes to the heart of your political and social priorities and really flags up the difference between left and right."

    "We've back to proper politics at last. Great, isn't it?"

    Great. If you want to perpetuate the old two party politics and end up with the same old b*lls*it. Vote Blue/Red because if you don't the bogeyman will win by default. Even though they're morally bankrupt... we'll vote for them. Political and social policies my a**e.

  • Comment number 35.

    #14,#25 be very careful the might not vote labour but will prob vote
    BNP and that is the real legacy of the last 12 years. A boom boom economy lead to a rise in the BNP, now that takes some doing.

  • Comment number 36.

    So here we go again.

    Who do we believe the Prime Minister, or whoever in the Treasury that leaked the story.

    Well the former does not have a very good track record on veracity does he. Maybe give him the benefit of the doubt and say he has been rather opague with some of his answers. How about his second home? that is in his wife's name. He spends the week in a "Grace and Favour" residence as he does at weekends. So if he only owns one home how can it be his second home? No wonder he wants to pay back the money he got caught with his hand in the till, summer house repainting. From the picture I saw this morning you could have bought the shed and had change out of £500.

    I vote we believe the mole; any one want a wager on how much will be spent on the witchhunt to uncover his/her name. Or if the police will be allowed to search parliamenary offices?

    As a lapsed member of the Church of Scotland I find Mr Browns references to the Manse and his moral compass reprehensible. I at least can still recognise the truth, more than he does.

  • Comment number 37.

    I didn't watch the 10 o'clock news last night and it seems I owe you an apology for insinuating on an earlier posting that you wasn't first to learn about the disagreement between Oliver & Hardy and the Chancellor.
    I also thank you for bringing this subject up but I would suggest that your future reports pay more attention to the following ABSOLUTE TRUTH
    contributed in a previous discussion:

    "Since I am not an economist I will quote Mervyn King again:
    "There must be elimination in large part of the structural deficit over, say, the lifetime of a parliament which is the period for which a government is elected. Anything beyond that is a statement of intent or hope rather than a plan to which someone can be held accountable."

    I think it is important, from now on, to realise that the electoral campaign has been launched and anything that NuLab announces going after June 2010 should be taken with a great deal of scepticism (to say the least). While you are at it perhaps you could find out where about in the budget are hidden these extra billions that Gordon has volunteered for the next three years (a day after the PBR) to save the world.
    Is it sheer lunacy or is he trying to buy himself a job with our money like his predecessor did?

  • Comment number 38.

    re: #3 Angry-Of-Ilkeston

    This quote of yours is fantastic:

    "Balls and Brown epitomise what a career self-aggrandising politician is. Somewhere along the way they have totally lost the reason as to why they started in politics in the first place."

    Print it on T-shirts and bags, and sell them at Camden Market. You'll earn a packet!

  • Comment number 39.

    "scarlerow20 wrote:

    Once again people believing the tory machine,
    The torys have no answers just a lot of whinging,
    what are the alteratives from the torys i think they have nothing creibel
    to offer.
    This is the whingingist opperstion party in history,that because Camoron has nothing to offer."

    Maybe people believe the "tory machine" because they have had enough of the Labour party lying to the public and treating them for fools.

    Question for you, did you go to school under the Labour government?

  • Comment number 40.

    Not only school but university too, I'll wager.

    That is the result of the Education, Education Education pledge of the Labour party.

    Who should we believe? Not the illiterate ramblings on here or the words of our so called leader. Did he save the world? or was that the Annie Lennox song?

  • Comment number 41.

    If we filled the Houses of Parliament with jelly and then let it set and then, somehow, lifted the actual building up, we'd be left with a giant jelly in the shape of the Houses of Parliament!
    That would be quite something and I don't think many people would notice any major differences in the way the country was being run.

  • Comment number 42.


    Doesn't the new Supreme Court have any impact on the impeachment process? The law lords don't sit in the HofL any longer, though they didn't previously vote by convention anyway.

    Expectations of politicians are low for a reason- AD et al are hardly doing anything to rebut the presumption by their conduct in this latest PBR farse, are they?

    Especially when we bundle (yet more) expenses issues into the analysis.

    Its perhaps no surprise that there would be some disagreement as to how, how much and where make cuts...if indeed that has been going on. Rather than an education vs AD contest I see it far more as a Gordon Brown/AD battle. The Treasury had always been GB's baby afterall?

    Couple of other points here Nick;

    'The pre-Budget report actually increased the spending plans the chancellor had previously set out in his Budget, despite the fact that Britain faces the worst peacetime deficit in its history'.

    We aren't in peacetime though are we? What is the current military spending running at- we are already hearing grumblings re the appalling NATO effort in Afghanistan?

    'It was, instead, about how to ensure that the government appeared to have a credible and convincing plan to achieve its stated objective of cutting the deficit in four years'.

    The government hasn't come out of this looking as though it is credible, has a credible or a convincing plan, or looking like it has any objectives (other than the election) let alone that they can achieve them. Actually the government has come out of all this looking as though there's not enough in the pot, no conviction to cut spending and reduce borrowing and it also looks like there's internal indecision as to whether they can win the next election.

  • Comment number 43.

    #25 pdavies65 wrote:
    "The cohorts of apathetic and disenchanted Labour supporters now have a reason to get out and vote."

    I can understand that Labour's recent reversion to "class war" has invigorated the Labour leadership, MPs, and no doubt activists.

    Of course New Labour was successful when it built an electoral coalition from a wider section of the community, wheareas now it does seem Labour is operating a 'core vote' strategy. The danger for Labour is that it may not appeal to voters in key marginals.

    Of course you mentioned attitudes to spending cuts rather than class war. I don't know what the attitude of Labour activists will be, but I hardly think they are going to enjoy campaigning on a platform of real reductions in future public sector wages, and I've noted the negative Trade Union response to this.

    The last few weeks have seen a modest improvement in Labour support so for now perhaps their strategy is working. We'll see what the reaction to the PBR will be (continuation of this trend, or reversal).

  • Comment number 44.

    I really can't believe it.

    If (please God it doesn't) GB was to win another term, Darling wont be Chancellor - he probably wont even be in Government.

    So why didn't he do the honourable thing and tell the PM (Pompous Muppet) where to go (and what to do!!) and give us a PBR that was good for GB (Great Britain) and not that waster Brown.

  • Comment number 45.

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

  • Comment number 46.

    expat @ 38

    I dunno ... Tattoos yesterday, T shirts today ... it's all getting quite edgy on here! Wouldn't recommend Camden Market, though, as the place to sell tops with THAT slogan on. Tories are rather thin on the ground at Camden Market. They tend to get picked on, I'm ashamed to say.

  • Comment number 47.

    #3 wrote

    "Balls and Brown epitomise what a career self-aggrandising politician is. Somewhere along the way they have totally lost the reason as to why they started in politics in the first place."

    Don't know about Balls, but I believe Brown remains utterly sincere in his desire to help the disadvantaged. I've always been convinced of that.

    Where it all goes wrong is his choice of method: tax us to death (preferably by stealth) and hose the money at benefits and public services. It hasn't done any good, and indeed there is mounting evidence that actually it has done harm, with the rich/poor gap wider and social mobility lessened.

    He won't change, and that's why he must go.

  • Comment number 48.

    Isn't it about time that somebody in the Labour Part stood up and told Brown he was a liability and he needs to go?

    The democracy in this country is based on a collegiate party system an not a dictatorial presedential one. Ted Heath went when he lost favour with the party as did Maggie, Harold Wilson and others why does Brown think he is different.

    He must actually believe he is a super hero and did sve the world.

  • Comment number 49.

    Flamethrower. Congratulations.

    I made a bet with my wife (a non-medical doctor) in the spring as to when the first chump with myoptic hindsight would pipe up and berate the horrendous waste of money on flu vaccine if the pandemic didn't turn out to be as bad as it could have been.

    You win the prize.

    This government has wasted huge amounts of money on lots of things (e.g. GPs' bonuses), but this is not one of them.

    Labour pretty much know they will not win the election and are looking to minimise loses. The Conservatives are being vague to avoid putting off those whose main motivation for voting for them is to not vote for labour.

    Both parties will be in zero-policy mode for a few months.

    Then there will be loads of scrabbling over headline-grabbing issues which, at the end of the day, only represent a small amount of overall budget (migrant worker benefits, death duties), and a lot of votes will be mopped up by one-issue parties with no risk of ever having to do anything about it.

  • Comment number 50.

    "32 scarlerow20 wrote:
    Once again people believing the tory machine,
    The torys have no answers just a lot of whinging,
    what are the alteratives from the torys i think they have nothing creibel
    to offer.
    This is the whingingist opperstion party in history,that because Camoron has nothing to offer."

    How can we doubt that more needs spending on our education system?

  • Comment number 51.

    The question is, who was the "leak". Coulson, Cameron, Osborne or Clegg?

    I wish people would wake up. The fact that the tory media machine was going to relentlessly go after a PBR in the media is one of the biggest certainties in the world.

    Blair did the exact same thing in 1996. Just flooding the press with supposed leaks, and "Don't trust them, they are too sleazy blah blah blah".

    Why do they do it? Probably because they want to muddy the waters, and make people forget what was actually said in the speech.

    That and keep gossip on the front pages, rather than policy. The last thing Cameron probably wants is a debate on the merits of tax rises.

    I'd really advise reading Alaister Campbell's blog if you're interested in how the media works in regards to politics.

    He actually predicts most media responses pretty accurately, months before they happen.

    Especially on "class war". I read an article of his last year suggesting that the tory media would circle the wagons around Cameron, and bring up the "class war" subject, as soon as Brown dared to attack Cameron on the inheritance tax thing

  • Comment number 52.


    I don't think you would. You'd get a jelly reflecting the inside of the HofP. What you'd have to do is coat the outside of the HofP with plaster, then knock down the building from the inside, then turn the plaster mould upside down, then fill it full of jelly, wait for it to set then turn the mould the right way up and let the jelly slide out...

    It's a good idea, though. What flavour were you thnking of?

  • Comment number 53.


    "I can understand that Labour's recent reversion to "class war" has invigorated the Labour leadership, MPs, and no doubt activists."

    To be fair John, the class war you speak of is a mere media invention to protect Cameron.

    Alaister Campbell predicted the move months ago in his blog, "as soon as anyone tackles the inheritance tax policy".

    The issue is that Cameron wants to give a tax break that only 2% of the country are eligible for, in a time of recession, when the rest of us are getting tax rises.

    In effect, the 2% of the country won't get tax rises, as they will get it back in a combination of corporation tax cuts (tax cuts for share holders) and inheritance tax cuts.

    So, there is an obvious argument of "taxing the poor to protect the rich".

    As I said however, when you own the media (as Blair did before) you can fight off very real policy debate, by just rounding them all on the accusers.

    So every time you have your own policies attacked, set every paper in the country on them (well other than the Mirror and Beeb) on the "class war" footing.

    People don't have an issue with class. Blairs the biggest toff of the lot. They have an issue when toffs set policies, to blatantly help out their own types.

    It's not Cameron's fault. Part of getting the tory leaderships is making promises to back benchers and big business. They aren't his polciies. More the price of admission.

    But they are obviously open to attack. Just as Browns attitude to spending is.

    The fact that a leader is probably going to get away with cutting taxes to 2% of the country, while raising taxes for the rest of us, is a classic example of the part the media plays in "king making".

    I'd suggest, honestly, that our leadership is decided on a combination of 3 things:

    1: The economic climate (boom times, Labour tend to do well. Less money, Tory austerity)

    2: Who the media chooses to back

    3: Which leader gives big business the best deal.

    Leaders in truth don't get in on policy (aka Blair). It's just who gets the roughest ride in the media.

    I'm sure Major would have beaten Blair, and Brown beaten Cameron if the media traffic was "Blair/Cameron are sleazy liars, dishonest, blah blah blah"

    Depressing but true.

  • Comment number 54.

    "Gordon Brown says that reports of a rift between himself and Darling are completely wrong. Does this mean that our son of the manse PM (armed with his moral compass) is trying to mislead us? Surely not?"

    3rd more likely option. Tory media machine trying to cause mischief, at a time of a big government announcement

  • Comment number 55.

    43 JH66 wrote:
    "Of course New Labour was successful when it built an electoral coalition from a wider section of the community, wheareas now it does seem Labour is operating a 'core vote' strategy. The danger for Labour is that it may not appeal to voters in key marginals."

    Key shmarginals. If you don't get your core vote out, you've got no chance. If you do, you will at least ensure it is close.

    To continue the thread (well, only my thread really) I think Labour can also console themselves that there is little evidence in electoral history that parties get booted out of power following a recession. We had recessions at the start of the 1980s and 1990s, and yet the Tories were re-elected in '83 and '92. They lost in '97 after several years of steady growth under the economic stewardship of my favourite Tory, Ken Clarke. It just goes to show ...

    Of course, there are always other factors.

  • Comment number 56.

    As for the politics of the economics. I have to say, the debate isn't really happening, as the media are only giving us one opinion.

    As in, in regards to the IFS report on the parties approach to cutting the deficit.

    They were pretty scathing of Darling. Stating that he hadn't revealed the true extent. But at the same time, they were equally scathing of Cameron's policy as well.

    In short, they said neither had a real clue. And neither had been that honest so far.

    The ratings they hand out, for policy. Labour's (chance of success in cutting the deficit) got 25%. Cameron's got 16%. So in essence, they basically hinted that "cutting the debt immediately" statistically, has less chance of success (!!) than concentrating on growing the economy.

    The tories have had an IFS report saying their "cut now cut fast" idea is basically doomed to fail.

    Labours isn't much better. But do the voters get to read about the former? Does any of this reach the media? Of course not. So we remain on the same path?

    As for the IFS, from what I got from the report, again, the media play tricks. I've read headlines of "20% cuts". Insuinating that there will be 20% cuts in each department.

    The cuts will actually be a more palatable 6.9%. The 20% they refer to is actually the figure for 3 years of cuts combined. That's the time scale the IFS thinks we will need to make a dent into the deficit.

    So 6% cuts. Not great. But no "the sky is falling in" sort of stuff. Again. Tory media, tory objectives. The objective being to convince us all that we are doomed.

    The IFS also state categorically that tax rises will be needed, across the board, to tackle the deficit. And stated that the top 10% will have to be taxed heavily to get back on track.

    Do we hear anything about the fact that tax rises are actually more important than cuts? Of course not. We read that even a 0.5% rise is too much.

    When in fact, that's actually the first positive move either party has made in regards to solid commitments to fixing the problem.

    It's a media war. Brown not wanting to highlight cuts. Cameron not wanting to highlight tax rises.

    Cameron has more media support, so cuts dominates the agenda. When in fact, taxing is going to be just as big a part.

    Why did Labour announce tax rises early, and break ranks. I'd probably suggest that it's mischief making of their own.

    If the media aren't playing ball, by putting tax onto the agenda, then just give them no choice, by putting it into your manifesto.

    This move will just put pressure on Cameron to make his taxation plans crystal clear before the election. Or appear flimsy on the economy (the same attack he used on Brown for cuts - as in, be honest, or be labelled flimsy)

    Something he really doesn't want to do.

    Future. Expect Labour to attack Cameron on his lack of taxation plan from now until the election.

    And further pressure when basically every economc think tank states that tax rises will be neccesary

  • Comment number 57.

    interseting that #45 has been bogged out and no reasons given

  • Comment number 58.

    #55 and those of the "good day to bury bad news" types do not engage in that type of activity

  • Comment number 59.

    Mike @ 51

    "The question is, who was the "leak". Coulson, Cameron, Osborne or Clegg?"

    None of the above Mike. If you ask your source at NuLab HQ you will discover that the leak came from "friends" within NuLab.
    I would bet on a certain Lord Mandy (who has gone very quiet since the EU Foreign Office fiasco) or Balls himself to let everybody know how powerful he is and to improve his chances to take Alistair's job.
    As a faithful NuLab you should know that these things are not unusual within your party (as in any other party).

  • Comment number 60.

    "Mike wrote:

    Especially on "class war". I read an article of his last year suggesting that the tory media would circle the wagons around Cameron, and bring up the "class war" subject, as soon as Brown dared to attack Cameron on the inheritance tax thing"

    It doesn't take Mystic Meg to predict that if Labour attack Davie and Georgie because of their wealthy background that the Tories would accuse Gordie of trying to start a class war.

    It is just cheap politics, and the IHT issue is actually based on a falsehood (knowing Labour's reputation that isn't accidental!) The impression Labour gives is that the only people who benefit from the IHT cut is people who have estates worth a million - where the Tories are changing the tax in such a way that nobody with an estate less than a million pays.

    This is not a tax cut that would just benefit millionaires as Labour implies - it actually benefits anybody with an estate of more than about £325,000 (which when insurance policies and housing costs are taken into account is not THAT much)

    Looking at the following figures IHT would be payable on the average detached house!

  • Comment number 61.

    #52 AndyC555
    The only flavour I can think of is fruit and nut. I'm not sure they do it but a great big, wobbly, fruit and nut flavoured jelly seems just the thing.

  • Comment number 62.

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

  • Comment number 63.

    I see that our supreme leader has pledged £1.5bn of our increasing debt to help third world countries fight the effect of global warming.

    A laudable aim if we could in fact afford it.

    Asked where the money is coming from he said it was already budgeted for???

    No doubt from Mr Balls wedge!

    Dear Gordon certainly likes splashing our borrowings around the World.

  • Comment number 64.


    Because of course, no-one had ever wanted to get rich quick before 1979, so Maggie must have invented that. All the previous investment failngs like the South Sea Bubble, Tulip mania, the Wall Street crash and so on were caused no doubt by a surfeit of philanthropy.

    But to answer your ridiculously loaded question (which isn't really a though at all) I think that had she known that Blair and Brown would take the sound financial footing they were given in 1997 and wizzed it up against a wall whilst dismantling the banking regulatory framework that would have prevented the banking crisis, Maggie might have shed a tear or two.

    Or maybe sent the SAS, Blair and Brown on a holiday to Gibralter.

  • Comment number 65.

    Wasn't Balls destined to be chancellor when Brown tried to sideline Darling last year ? Looks like he got the job after all or at least gets to overrule the chancellor. Aren't the figures for debt that the government kicks about, ommitting to mention the mounting and continuing debt from the various idiotic PFI schemes and the growing deficit in the public pension schemes? Or is it better to just forget these things in case they go away of their own accord.

  • Comment number 66.

    No: 62 - saga

    Nearly right but it was the taking full (and now we know too profligate) advantage of her free market economy by those who followed her, and in particular Gordon, that the seeds of despair rather than aspiration flourished. Whilst the City boomed ---- you know the rest!

    But the question you pose is thought provoking - pity MT could not now answer it.

  • Comment number 67.

    "61. At 1:37pm on 11 Dec 2009, Poprishchin wrote:
    #52 AndyC555
    The only flavour I can think of is fruit and nut. I'm not sure they do it but a great big, wobbly, fruit and nut flavoured jelly seems just the thing."

    I commend your answer to the House. Henceforth, Brown's tenure in office will be known as the time of "the great big, wobbly, fruit and nut flavoured jelly parliament"

  • Comment number 68.

    #62 if she would have realised that TB+GB would have create the mess of the regulatory environment in 1997 , then I'm sure that she would have put in place the means to stop the chancellor turning a blind eye to the city, just so that he could get the golden goose egg to spend in a profligate fassion.

    for it was Mrs T that cleaned up the 1979 IMF mess bequeuthed by said old_labour governement, although it took 18 years a 2 recessions to final sort the mess out and once agian allow Nu_laobour to trash it.

    maybe she should have brought legislation in to prevent a labour governement but that would be too far.

    Although Brown, Balls stil lhave time to try it on in this country as a national emergency messure as a result of the run on the pound and the massive debt that could only be sorted by a super hero, and there is only one of the ibn town Galaticous Brown "the destroyer of plant" best get the silver surfer on standby then

  • Comment number 69.

    Once again, this government is proving itself to be utterly (please insert appropriate word here as i don't think there is probably a word available to describe how useless our government is).

    The government has wasted the boom years and now they're all fighting over protecting their own departments. This is putting politics first when we should be putting the nation first. Look back on history and you find the cycle of boom and bust yet here we are in a bust period and all the government can talk about is which budgets are to be protected from cuts.

    In another decade by the time we've possibly managed to stabilise our overspending we'll probably reach another bust period recessionary cycle, which will ruin us further.

    This government put us in this mess and they seem to want to keep us there, they may as well just declare the country bankrupt now.

    Look at this entire country's infrastructure.....the entire infrastructure within our country is severely outdated in many respects and without adequate infrastructure there's no point worrying about how much we need to invest in technology when our power supplies are unable to cope. Our entire country needs an overhaul and this government has always put itself first with their SPEND, SPEND, SPEND on EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION. Clearly the spending has gone on educating themselves to keep the masses as ignorant as possible.

    Wake up Gordon, your world is nothing but a fantasy while we, the people, are forced to live the nightmares of reality.

    Our country is spiralling out of control, what we need is not vague electioneering, we need every MP to acknowledge the fact that tackling the debt is the top priority for the country and its future on the international stage.

    Its like Afghanistan and Iraq, no plan, no objectives, no consideration of consequences, etc. Clearly our politicians need to experience the real world.

    The broadest shoulders should bear the greatest burdens...fine then, ban expenses claims, tax the MPs whenever they don't listen to or represent the people or when they prove themselves to have an IQ of less than 10, let's also freeze their pay and hmmmmm, right now can't think of much else but there's a nice start on cleaning out Parliament.

  • Comment number 70.

    #62 how is this allowed when is so blantently off-topic and others get "off topic" removed. Is it that you are special just like gordon brown?

  • Comment number 71.

    "sagamix wrote:

    would she still have done it?

    Do you think?"

    It all depends on what you refer to - if you mean "Would she have still broken the Unions?" My answer would be yes as we would be in a far worse place if she hadn't. We would probably be forced into paying thousands for a single lump of coal because the Union wouldn't allow us to import it from other countries. The threat of strikes and union power would leave our industries (we would probably still have some) producing items that were both expensive and low quality. The country would not be an attractive place for foreign companies (like Honda) to open factories so investment in our industry would dry up and nobody would want to buy our own products anyway as they would be expensive and low quality (as mentioned above)

    The railways probably wouldn't be much different - they wouldn't be privatised so we probably wouldn't have some of the newer, better trains (most of the money the government spent on the railways would likely end up in wages) the cost for a ticket might be lower though (although you would run the risk of not actualy catching a train if the workers striked for not having hobnobs with their tea break)

    Energy costs might be higher - a strong union would force us to have more coal powered stations (and the cost of coal would be high because the miners would be earning more - with a threat to strike unless high wage demands were met)

    So I you are talking about breaking the power of the unions I think she just might.

    However, if you are talking about setting London up as one of the most important cities in the financial world she might think twice - or at the very least she would have put a proper lead on the banks (of course when the alternative history version of New Labour got in they might remove the lead and set up an alternative version of the FSA which was just as useless!)

    Overall would we be better off - I am really not sure. We might have suffered a double whammy and got hit by the credit crunch AND still have to deal with powerful unions throwing their toys out of the pram for the smallest slight.

  • Comment number 72.

    #62 allowed #45 not allow for no apparent reason ????????????????

  • Comment number 73.

    We do not need tax rise or cuts or spending rises or cuts what we need
    to systemic reviews of where the money is going.

    My suggestion is reform of the Family courts, put children first, see BBC3 08/12/2009 alisha dixon Who's your daddy programme.

    This would save billions of wasted ££££££££££££££££££££££ on judges, courts , solicitors make avalialb ethe tax payers monies for other programmes. I could also have save £25K to which I could have spent in the real economy.

  • Comment number 74.


    That's certainly an interesting analysis of the IHT position. Can I ask who you think the Labour party changes in IHT were aimed at? You get the full benefit if you're a couple with assets of £650,000. Perhaps it's aimed at unemployed people who have been thrifty with their dole money?

    The amount raised in IHT really is tiny in comparison to other taxes but we had reached the point where many hundreds of thousands of people were coming into the IHT net. You only needed a property in excess of £300,000 or so, which is hardly a castle in the south east. So the Tories recognised it as a burden (the burden being that you needed a wee bit of careful (entirely legal) tax planning to improve things and so they saw that the tax was a bigger pain to people than was recoevered in revenue & did something about it. Then labour did something about it too.

    then labour trotted out their tired old cliches about tax breaks for the rich (which ought to read giving people a decent incentive to work hard) and the rest, as they say, is history.

  • Comment number 75.

    #62 saga,

    Had Tony and Gordon had known (oh I don't know, say 12 years ago..) that our national debt would be the highest it's ever been, the population at it's most dissilusioned, parliament at it's sleaziest most gut wrenchingly greedy ever

    Would they still have taken all that money and spent it? Would they have deregulated more? or would they have put a little away? If they had know all that back then....

    My bet is both would have carried on down the path they wanted. Both Maggie Thatcher, Tony Blair and (to a greater extent) Gordon Brown would not really listen to council, they knew (in GB's case still knows, or thinks he does) what is best. Regardless.

    Hindsight is the best of all isn't it? But we can never make use of it. We can only make decisions based on what we see in front of us

    For what it's worth my opinions of Maggie are polarised. I admire her for her determination in dragging the country round and I admire her for breaking the stranglehold the unions had (but I think she went a bit too far) and then I dislike her for the poll tax and many other things. She was the right woman for some of the time she was in charge, but whe carried on too long. She wasn't right in 'normal' times though, too tough and too much

    I admire Gordon for his self belief, he really genuinely thinks he does things for the best; but I think his major problem is that he doesn't take advice and he wants his own way (Maggie was of the same mold I believe) and no matter what arguments may be presented he just won't listen. That is the problem with Gordon. I don't think of him as a bad man, I think he genuinely wants to help people but he has the wrong way of doing it. He is a control freak unfortunately

  • Comment number 76.

    To get back to the point after a lot of drifting posts, was there a rift, well very probably, as control freak Brown is in 'rat and sinking ship' mode and will do anything to survive even at the expense of our country. His enemies in his own party will bury him after the election defeat.
    Once he's kicked out, who wants to bet how long it will be before a juicy EU, UN or other such unelected body offers him employment. Probably overseas as no self respecting British organisation would dare to touch him.

  • Comment number 77.


    I think we know who referred 62.

    I missed it. Shame. Looks to have been a good one, from the reaction.

  • Comment number 78.

    #3 and #47

    Hello from deepest and a very frosty part of Scotland.

    There has been a trend in Scotland to churn out professional politicians, especially Labour politicians. They are an absolute embarrassment and continue to be a problem. You're probably aware of a sea change that has been happening in Scottish politics with a shift to a more nationalist viewpoint. This continues to evolve and makes for interesting times up here. One of the driving forces behind this movement is the realisation among the voting public that Scottish Labour politicians are not all they appear to be.

    These Scottish Labour politicians view Westminster as a destination to aspire to, with the Labour party as the vehicle of choice. Professional politicians! Brown is one of these. I can assure you that he doesn't care about people; only his career and ego. I say this with confidence as I have yet to see any Labour politician in Scotland show the slightest decency; the performance of their politicians in the Scottish Parliament has to be seen and heard to be believed!

    Anyway, to my point. Ditch Brown, and never trust any Scottish Labour politician. They are all self serving individuals, with absolutely no shame. This should influence your decision on voting intentions come the GE. If a party is "Scottish light" then they should be seriously considered ahead of the other choices. I'm a Scot and profoundly embarrassed and ashamed of the behaviour of these people. They've ruined England's economy and seriously damaged your society. At least we here in Scotland have the ability to take some decisions, through the devolved structures, to effect change. that's a luxury that the English do not have, and that is a disgrace, in my opinion. Best of luck for the future.

  • Comment number 79.

    "pdavies65 wrote:


    I think we know who referred 62.

    I missed it. Shame. Looks to have been a good one, from the reaction."

    It was actually a pretty good question and the only reason I can imagine it was removed was because it was slightly off topic. However, it would have allowed for the chance of a good debate and isn't that why we are here?

  • Comment number 80.

    IR35 survivor @ 70 and 72

    "#62 how is this allowed when so blatantly off topic and others like #45 get removed. Is it that you are special just like Gordon Brown?"

    We're ALL special, Survivor, all of us.

    Anyways, someone (you?) has referred it now - Meanie Mooch!

    Have to warn you (or whoever) I'll stop doing my "Thought For The Weekend" if this is what happens. You'll be sorry then.

    But okay - ON TOPIC - National Debt. It's a rum carry on, isn't it? We should bear in mind, however, that debt at 40% of GDP is not one of the Laws of Science. Could quite well be that we can carry a higher equilibrium level than that. Depends on various factors. What factors? Well, all sorts of things.

  • Comment number 81.

    Despite an upcoming General Election, how much longer do these crooked Mps think they are going to last.? I cannot believe this latest expenses news. On top of that we have to put up with a megalomaniac PM who does not seem to understand anything and a cabinet of weak self aggrandizing individuals. When does labour learn that there is no "I" in team? Balls is an utter idiot besotted with himself.Darling seems "intelligent", but is hampered by a PM who is a political coward and other ministers who hide in the woodwork. The best thing for Darling would be to resign, in the house and scupper Brown/Balls/mandelson right there and then(like the Tories did to Thatcher). It might bring down this ludicrous government or bring on an election.Now is the time for Cameron to strike -hard and often and put this coming election out of doubt. Or maybe it is time for we, the people to march as the countryside march straight into the Parliament buildings, take it over and literally kick ALL the MPs out.What a load of treasonous, crooked lot they have become

  • Comment number 82.

    81 "When does labour learn that there is no "I" in team?"

    As Brown would be quick to point out, there is no "I" in 'team' but there is a "me".

  • Comment number 83.

    62 Saga

    I would love to join all the comments on Saga's post but cannot because it has been removed.

    We now have many posts offering their comment on 62 which has gone so
    now nothing makes sense.

    72 IR35_Survivor

    As you are getting hot under the collar about moderation perhaps you are the one to use Article 10 of the Human Rights Act which gives us all the right to hold and exchange lawful opinons without interference from a public body?

  • Comment number 84.

    Hello all,

    As I don't feel it appropriate for me as a foreigner to comment on a domestic topic of yours, especially one that I know next to nothing about, I would just like to inform you, Khrystalar, that my response to your very kind and flattering post #189 on the '"Why's Gordon Smiling?" thread is at #219 if you're interested. Also, I'd really love to know your thoughts, if you will, to my post #45 on the '"One More Heave" thread. I think that that thread is now closed to commentary, so should you decide to respond, your doing so anywhere would be great. Thank You so much.

  • Comment number 85.

    Ladies and Gentlemen ......Consider for a moment that our National Debt which all agree is huge and going to keep getting bigger was the Coach in a coach and four. The driver (GB) who has always held the reins loosely has finally dropped them. He has also sabotaged the brakeman's (AD)lever so that it has snapped off. The whole lot are now speeding downhill to certain disaster. The poor horses (us) have only one chance of survival i.e. they swerve and cause the coach to fall over . The driver and brakeman are flung far away and never seen again. Meanwhile a new driver (DC) and brakeman (GO)appear to put the coach back on four wheels and lead the horses and coach slowly back up the hill . By the time they reach level ground the horses will be knackered but at least they will have a future to look forward to which is better than being crushed by the coach at the bottom of the hill when , finally exhausted , they couldn't run anymore.

  • Comment number 86.

    #78 Captain

    Thanks for the comments, we do need a change of politician don't we? There are far too many career politico's nowadays and I think this breeds the kind of behaviour we are seeing more of now - the old 'stab anyone who gets in my way in the back' type of politician

    I do think GB told the chancellor what he was allowed to do - he may be PM now but I don't think that he has ever let go of his old job. GB seems incapable of allowing anyone to get on with their job without interfering. For what it's worth I think Alistair Darling wanted a more serious PBR in which he would have stated how to deal with the deficit - but it's nearing election time isn't it?

    Self serving to the core - what happened to putting the country first?

    PS - good luck with the independance thing! We just want to be heard here in England but no-one is listening, and haven't been for a while..

  • Comment number 87.

    The deficit was created by bailing out the banks who now are flush with cash and pay large bonuses. Maybe some of the bad notes that the government assumed should be returned to the banks as they have the funds to cover the losses that have been placed by the government in the taxpayers books. The deficit could be reduced simply by requiring the banks to assume some of the costs for the problems they created. The bailout was supposedly to stablize the financial system and that apparently has been accomplished and therefore should be able to assume some amount of the bad notes they created.

  • Comment number 88.

    53. At 1:17pm on 11 Dec 2009, Mike wrote:

    The issue is that Cameron wants to give a tax break that only 2% of the country are eligible for, in a time of recession, when the rest of us are getting tax rises."

    Im confused Mike, the AVERAGE house price in the southeast is just 30k less than the Inheratance Tax treashould. Only between 1/3 and 1/2 of the households in the southeast contain married couples. So as it stands approx 10-20 is % of southeast househoulds will have to pay the Tax on the owners death. The same applies to most house price hot spots around the uk.

    It does NOT effect just 2% of the population!

  • Comment number 89.

    85 pdavvers

    Could you please provide a summary of yr post 85 as am unable to get through it even on third attempt.

  • Comment number 90.

    #3 (Angry_Of_Ilkeston)
    "Balls and Brown epitomise what a career self-aggrandising politician is. Somewhere along the way they have totally lost the reason as to why they started in politics in the first place."
    And precisely where is the evidence that their reasons for starting in politics were anything *but* "career self-aggrandising"?

  • Comment number 91.

    #84 PursuitOfLove
    'As I don't feel it appropriate for me as a foreigner to comment on a domestic topic of yours, especially one that I know next to nothing about...'
    I wouldn't worry too much about that, it doesn't stop anybody else!

  • Comment number 92.

    Just ask yourself one question, do you believe anything Brown says?

  • Comment number 93.

    Just a thought.
    The EU is pledging £7.5 billion to help developing nations combat AGW. Of which the UK share is £1.5 billion.
    The EU has 27 member Countries.
    Now forgive my simple maths, but how is £1.5 billion a one twenty-seventh share of the total?

    Or is Gordon once again 'Leading the World' in being stupid with our money?

  • Comment number 94.

    7. P Davies

    I was speaking socially to a doctor. I was not the patient much as it would please you to think I was! This was and is a friend and acquaintance who did not let out this information lightly I can assure you. It may shock you to hear it but then you may need to know the truth.

  • Comment number 95.

    As the general opinion seems to be that the PBR was a purely political ploy designed to retain or win votes, did anyone else notice the piece on BBC local news yesterday which said that Richmond-on-Thames local Government grant for next year was worth £150 per head of population, whilst that of Hackney was worth £1078.
    Be interesting to see by how much their respective Council Tax bills increase next March.

  • Comment number 96.

    50. Andy

    True! Whoever wrote that was either drunk or extremely pawly eddicated don't you think?

    They have one thing though - guts to write on here!

  • Comment number 97.

    Prediction - when this lot get chucked out and we find out the truth behind the headlines / lies we've had thrown at us since '97, we will be aghast.

    The fact this Administration retains any support at all would suggest that the spin job has been successful, that people are happy being conned or are too scared to acknowledge the truth, and also how difficult it is to overcome an incumbent.

    I have long passed the 'numb' stage with this lot, and only hope that, when out of office, the true nature of what have inflicted on this Country will penetrate their self-delusion and vanity. Fat chance!

  • Comment number 98.

    95 Zydeco

    I'm glad to see a bit of redistribution going on. It's what a Labour government is for. Well, one of the many things.

    I wonder how many bankers live in Richmond. Quite a few more than in Hackney, I'd say. They've already had one hand-out from you and me, I don't think they deserve another one, do you?

  • Comment number 99.

    "pdavies65 wrote:

    95 Zydeco

    I'm glad to see a bit of redistribution going on. It's what a Labour government is for. Well, one of the many things."

    Big problem is that this Labour Government seems to have redistributed money from taxes on hard working people to their summer houses and second homes.

    Although to be fair it isn't just the government that has been redistributing money the opposition has too.

  • Comment number 100.

    94 FT
    Scouring the recently leaked database of BNP members, which I always keep to hand in my control centre, I am pleased to report an almost complete absence of medical doctors on the list.

    Not that there should be any correlation between medical training and your political views. But as a Jew, I wouldn't feel entirely at ease going to see a Nazi doctor. They've got previous, if you know what I mean.


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