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The beginning of a long, long election

Nick Robinson | 09:25 UK time, Monday, 4 January 2010

Christmas is finally over. We are all back to work. The nation is in the grip of a big freeze.

Gordon Brown (L); David Cameron (R)What better to warm our hearts, then, than the publication of an election manifesto, or at least a bit of one, along with the start of a massive billboard campaign and a dossier pointing out the black holes in the opposition's policies?

Yes, folks: it's the beginning of a long, long election, and the two biggest parties have begun setting out their stores. But before you sigh with weary cynicism, remember that underneath all this, some important choices are struggling to get through. How much should government spend, and when, and on what priorities?

The Tories prioritise deficit reduction; Labour what it calls investment for growth. The Tories prioritise spending on the NHS; Labour on education.

You could perhaps, if you ignore the events of the past 12 months, want to turn to economists for guidance about who's getting it right. Turn to the Financial Times this morning, and a survey will give you your answer. Half think Labour is; half think the Conservatives are.

Darling presserLabour HQ, 1004: The chancellor has just unveiled what he claims is a £34bn "credibility gap" in Tory plans.

With not the faintest hint of irony, he claimed he was being "generous" to the Conservatives in his interpretation of their plans.

The estimated cost is based on Tory aspirations to cut some taxes and on hints and nudges that they will increase some spending.

This is a copy from the Tories' 1992 war book, when Shaun Woodward - yes, the man who is now a Labour cabinet minister - helped to run the devastating "Labour's Tax Bombshell" campaign that ended with a surprise victory for John Major against Neil Kinnock.

tax bombshellAt this stage, Labour, like the Tories back then, hopes that this analysis will help journalists to ask difficult questions of Tory front-benchers and that they will fall apart under scrutiny.

Later, they will no doubt use this to justify a poster campaign warning of "Tory cuts".

Anticipating all this, David Cameron this morning will unveil a poster of himself to go on billboards right around the country. Its slogan: "We can't go on like this. I'll cut the deficit, not the NHS."

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    "I'm voting for the puppet on the left"..."really, I think the puppet on the right is more to my taste."

    The big three...varying degrees of bad.

  • Comment number 2.

    just look at Brown . Who would follow him anywhere ? A useless liar who has led the country to disaster _ thak god he will take his party down the same route !

  • Comment number 3.

    How can Labour get away with using the civil service to "cost" Conservative policy? Surely the civil service must be impartial. Alastair Darling should concentrate on filling the huge black hole already in existence dug by his own party... People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

  • Comment number 4.

    Can we have a "None Of The Above" option when we got to the polls on the last possible day allowed?

  • Comment number 5.

    Freeman 1. - is spot on - we're arguing about a two parties that are pretty much agreed on most things - policy wise I don't see much between them
    I think Labout has one huge disadvantage in the election - and he is the PM. I've not seen polarisation like this since the Poll Tax when Thatcher was the PM
    I know its supposed to be about policy - but when the difference is so little , personality has to come into it ..

  • Comment number 6.

    Darling is launching his dossier on the Tories' spending pledges today accussing them of having a £34bn "credibility gap" and claiming that their sums don't add up.

    Err, doesn't he have a £178bn credibility gap?!

  • Comment number 7.

    Never mind the Financial Times... what about the Guardian which has all but given up on newlabour and its apologists:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/01/death-wish-brown-crash-labour

    There is only one way to return this country to growth; to cut the wasteful spending on public services.

    the evidence is evrywhere to suggest the last thriteen years has been a textbook experiment in government failure.... government spending crowding out private sector investment; government spending depressing productivity growth in both public and private sectors; more worryingly government spedning leading to no growth in the private sector at all.

    Newlabour will go down in the history books for a perfect example of how not to govern. How to create an unaffordable client state; how to run gigantic bills up by stealth that had to be sorted out by somebody else; how to disenfranchise most of the poulation with a ludicrous target culture.

    newlabour will also live in the history books for their abject dismissal of all normal functionings of democracy; replaced by sofa government. Decisions to commit troops to foreign lands taken by an inner core of yes men. Diabolically bad government.

    newlabour will be lampooned for their diabolical wars; taking us into needless conflicts in an attempt to impose their view of civilisation on countries. Why would an Islamic state be interested in newlabour's view of democracy? Shocking conceit.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 8.

    Cameron is going to be exposed for the fraud that he is. A PR man who wants to have it both ways. Game on.

  • Comment number 9.

    Having watched and listened to GB I am now, reluctantly, more than convinced that he is a self-dilusionist and a dangerous threat to the future health and well-being of the Nation.

    The evidence is now clear that his tenure as Chancellor (despite what we believed at the time) and now PM has been a disaster for GB as in Great Britain and also for GB. He has failed himself but does not realise it. His search for a global legacy during which he is again wasting yet more borrowed money brings to mind digging and hole.

    Those honest Labour supporters who have both the power and the balls (not Ed, please) should now put Gordon out of the misery of failure that he has yet to recognise and put in place a leader that we can get behind and support.

    Before it is too late!

  • Comment number 10.

    How a party like Labour, which has consistently overspent on its budgets and underdelivered on its promises (go look at the House Public Accounts Committee website if you need convincing) can claim that they could reliably "cost" anything is beyond me.

    But unless the Tories get much more specific about how they are going to dramatically reduce the size and cost (ie job losses)in central and local government then their vague claims about reducing the deficit without crippling growth must remain suspect.

    So do you want Labour, the party of spend much and deliver little or Conservatives, spend less and deliver little? Or is it time to vote for a radical change in British politics and go with a hung parliament for a few elections?

    The current "buggins turn" has failed the UK appallingly compared to say Germany in the last 50 years. I am also reminded of Einstein's definition of insanity "Keep on doing the same thing and expecting that the result will be different". Time for a major change!

  • Comment number 11.

    Vote for the present incumbent of Number 10 and his cabal of cronies? You have to be kidding! This is the man who stuck his Macchiavellian Dagger between Tony blair's shoulderblades. Tony Blair, who despite the Iraq disaster, always meant well. This is the man weho was at the helm of our financial affairs for ten years boasting that he had abolished 'boom and bust'. He is the architect of the most severe recession of all the major economies yet blames everything and everyone but himself. This is the leader who refused to let Darling set out any detail about intended methods of harnessing our currently horrendous fiscal deficit. This is the man who has spun and spun and - sorry to be blunt - lied to the British people since dethroning Blair. More of the same?? God help us!

  • Comment number 12.

    "8. At 10:08am on 04 Jan 2010, doris wrote:
    Cameron is going to be exposed for the fraud that he is. A PR man who wants to have it both ways."

    Very true Doris....well I hope he is exposed for what he is.

    Unlike Brown who is already exposed as a bumbling, financial lunatic.

    The question is, will you and the rest of the the British people have the guts to try something different (and the Lib Dems do not count).

  • Comment number 13.

    #number 3

    Treasury costing of opposition policy has gone on for a long, long time and the reports are available on the Treasury website. They are carried out by officials and are not seen by ministers or approved by them.

    http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/foi_opposition_costings_241209.htm

    I don't recall the Tories complaining about the quality of the work the Treasury does in these costings.

    More often than not the Tories provide to give enough information to the Treasury for an accurate assessement to be made.

    But even when given accurate figures they refuse to use them For example Boris Johnson continuted to maintain one of his transport policies would only cost something like £ 8 million when Transport for London costed it as £ 100 million. A figure he did not later dispute but continuted to use the old one.

  • Comment number 14.

    The major issue is : do we want to see 5 more years of Gordon and his elves, they who have destroyed our economy....or

    do we want change. The majority of people want change, labours only hope was to oust Gordon,and then they could have pushed a change agenda themselves.....bringing back lord mandelson, was the final nail in labours coffin, and while he is at the fore front of labour thinking people will shun whatever policy they come up with.

    The ongoing inquiry into the iraq war is going to weekly remind people of the Governments failings.

  • Comment number 15.

    Turn to an economist for guidance?

    Really Nick! There are some recently who have taken you to task for bias. I appreciate that you and I do not have to agree but I do need to remind you that it has been said that if all the economists in the world were laid end to end they would still not reach a conclusion.

    Most of us who still manage to retain responsible roles in the real economy know enough about economics to get by. We can see that our current difficulties to some extent derive from a surfeit of economists, or, as a former Chancellor of the Exchequer once remarked `teenage scribblers in the City'. Those who can do, those who can't become economists in the City.

    The most troublesome thing about the coming election is that all major parties have engaged in the common conceit of not telling the public the truth about our very dire financial situation. I can well understand why the leaders of the Establishment wish to cover up their continued failure but all the dissimulation is now wearing more than a bit thin.

    As an elector in the Buckingham consitituency I have been denied by all the main parties of the right to vote on the issue of our economy at the next election. This will not stop me from asking awkward questions from all candidates I encounter in both my travels and sojourns. I recommend that all electors confront all political parties and candidates for a truthful statement of our economic situation. If all you get is the same bland nonsense then don't vote for that person.

  • Comment number 16.

    10 yewlodge wrote:
    How a party like Labour, which has consistently overspent on its budgets and underdelivered on its promises (go look at the House Public Accounts Committee website if you need convincing) can claim that they could reliably "cost" anything is beyond me.


    Overspending and underdelivering are unfortunately par for the course when it comes to government. The key choice facing the electorate is whether Cameron's plans to reduce the deficit faster and sooner will have an adverse effect on the economic recovery. Many economists think they will. For me, the prospect of an inexperienced Conservative team implementing a counterproductive economic strategy will be enough to keep my pencil away from the little box next to David Cameron's name come the election.

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    Give it a rest, Nick, I'm fed up with election talk alread. The public can't get much warmth from false election promises in this cold winter.

  • Comment number 19.

    16 pdavies65

    "The key choice facing the electorate is whether Cameron's plans to reduce the deficit faster and sooner will have an adverse effect on the economic recovery."

    "For me, the prospect of an inexperienced Conservative team implementing a counterproductive economic strategy will be enough to keep my pencil away from the little box next to David Cameron's name..."

    Happy new year PD!

    One of the things you have to remember is the proportion of government expenditure, particularly on what have been called "grand projects" (such as, but by no means limited to, ID cards), that is contracted with foreign companies and which principally use imported labour. These can be cut without the slightest negative impact on the UK economy.

  • Comment number 20.

    Anyone who votes for Mr Brown is clearly dillusional. How can a Labour Government who has blundered about with the fiscal grace and dignity of a bull in a china shop possibly be expected to right the wrongs it created?
    Wrongs such as turning our economy into a 3rd-rate (literally) European embarassment, dependant on a financial services industry that is not given room to flourish, paid for with a mountain of debt that was primarily used to pay for government programmes that were hideously inefficient.
    To be quite honest, I really don't care if David Cameron is a toff or false; if he can cure Gordon Brown's predicament (which seems as likely to happen as Brown actually winning the election), then he's good enough for me.

    Why is Brown trying to incite a hung parliament? Merryl Linch and the other ratings agencies have already said that a hung parliament would be a huge catalyst for the lowering of the credit rating. Is this what Brown wants?
    Hopefully the great British public will open it's collective eyes and stop being so ficcle in it's voting, and maybe realise what a mess Labour has made, and is continuing to make.

  • Comment number 21.

    Sadly for Mr Darling, the Tories have a reputation for financial ability that goes well beyond anything that Labour can drum up. The bombshell resonated as people were reminded of the financial lunacy of the left. That message will not work so well the other way and could even be counter productive.

  • Comment number 22.

    I see GB was already talking about it will take 10 years to recover from the mess he left, but it was interms of pinalising the poor and trying to blmae that on DC. Often in his vaste expanse of word you can discover some truth and that it will be at least 10 years to get out of this mess.

    We have a bloated public service with falling producivity and a private sector that is taking all the pain. I'm for the chop end march and not much prospect of work around the corner.

    John moulton reconds that we are going to have a L shaped recession , ie we fall and never recover for a very long time. We will either keep spending and totally wipe this country out with massive social and political ramifications like the rise of the far right or we get to crips with the black whole that it real a present and created by Gordon,

    and have a chance to recover before I draw my pension in 20 years time
    because that is the scale of the abyss we face, and having 2 budgets this years will not help , all just to save one man's job.

  • Comment number 23.

    You said :

    "The Tories prioritise spending on the NHS; Labour on education".

    Then NuLab have a serious problem, as the party that privatised University Education.

  • Comment number 24.

    NOTHING HAS CHANGED!...THEY DON'T GET IT!

    All three main liberal democratic parties still, in principle, support unfettered free market anarchy!

    ...and those responsible for the worst financial crises ever have still not been brought to justice. They have literally been allowed to get away with the biggest fraud in history...Scot free!

    I'll be voting BNP in the forthcoming GE.

  • Comment number 25.

    With all the talk of growth etc, from labour can they explain how can this be when we manufacture very little in these islands?

    The communications revolution will ensure that many of the larghe fiscal bodies that have used London as a base will move. The technology will enable them to work from whereever they want, so tax revenues will fall both from individuals and corporations.

    So we have a non manufacturing non financial based economy. With my limited knowledge of economics what will support Brown's excessive public sector.

  • Comment number 26.

    I suddenly want to be very annoying and bring up Fox Hunting.

    Although this issue will, quite understandably, be very low on most voter's list of priorities, there is one aspect of the argument that is useful in an election campaign.

    "Would you trust childcare and the NHS to someone who supports using dogs to rip a fox to shreds for fun?"

    Okay, a little contentious perhaps, but following on from the expenses scandal, voters are genuinely worried that they may be voting for someone who is really unsuitable for the job. So perhaps each candidate should answer a list of such questions - especially ones where the "right" answer may be against the party line!

  • Comment number 27.

    7. rockRobin7.

    “There is only one way to return this country to growth; to cut the wasteful spending on public services”.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Only partially correct since this needs to be matched – indeed exceeded – by private spending & investment for genuine growth.

    We also need to increase manufacturing capacity to help settle our appalling balance of payment deficit problem.
    Where do you think the Chinese have found all of their money to lend the US & invest in African infrastructure?
    No problem with balance of payment deficits in the People’s Republic.

    Back on topic, I agree with 1. Freeman:
    “The big three...varying degrees of bad”, or as I would say, six of one & half dozen of the other – what’s an honest voter to do?

  • Comment number 28.

    #20 and others. Everyone seems so negative and a little mindless in following the misleading information put out by the media. And before anyone says anything about spin - it is the media that create the need for spin by looking for sensation and controversy rather than fairly boring facts and successes. Any government has limited control over the economy and in fact this government has not done badly at weathering a fairly brutal storm that affected EVERY country in the world. As it stands at the moment our national debit (as % of GDP) is about the same as France , less than Italy, USA and Japan. The reason for incurring this debt at this time was because the alternaitves were much worse - mass unemployment. It could be argused that ALL economies should have seen the storm coming and done more to prevent it but it seems a little harsh to blame the UK government alone.

    Freedom and rational thought our rare and precious and I for one will not resort to ridiculous generalisations and statements about parties and party leaders.

  • Comment number 29.

    Unfortunately for me, David Cameron comes across too much like a youngish Tony Blair. Dont want to go down that route again......

  • Comment number 30.

    I dont think Brown has a chance , no charisma , remember he waited over ten years to become P.M. and his acceptance speech was made up from his old school motto , I will do my best , I nearly wet myself when I saw that speech , if that was the most inspiring thing he could think of after waiting over a decade for the job then I feared the worst and sadly have been proved right.
    there is not a lot to challenge Brown mind but even a toff like Cameron should be able to topple this goverment

  • Comment number 31.

    Nick writes, 'The beginning of a long, long election'

    In reality, it won't be that long... it will just feel like it!

    The problem is this out-of-control spendaholic PM can still inflict further damage in the short time he has left knowing full well that it won't be his party that has to pick up the tab.

    Scorched Earth!

  • Comment number 32.

    "Would you trust childcare and the NHS to someone who supports using dogs to rip a fox to shreds for fun?"

    I know the line between vermin and some humans can be a little blurred but that does seem a tad spurious. :)

  • Comment number 33.

    26 "Would you trust childcare and the NHS to someone who supports using dogs to rip a fox to shreds for fun?"

    Or, would you vote for a party that spent more time in parliament banning fox hunting than it did debating the legality of invading Iraq and Afghanistan?

    Or, how would you justify to a starving child in the third world why you were spending time, money and effort on saving an overgrown rat rather than spending that same time, money and effort on saving the child's life?

  • Comment number 34.

    We'll probably end up with a hung parliament, which will raise the depressing prospect of economic inertia against a background of ongoing puerile electioneering. Great. Caledonian Comment

  • Comment number 35.

    Cheer up, we only have another 5 months of this phoney war.

    The problem is that the in general terms the electorate are too economically illiterate to understand the scale of the spending cuts that are required to deal with the deficit. Therefore honesty can only lose the election. In fact, I am not sure that any of the major parties will have the will to make the necessary cuts, whoever wins. It will only be when it is forced on us by the IMF.

    Brown is completely deluded and fiscally incompetent. He is now an embarrassment to himself and his party.

  • Comment number 36.

    I agree rockrobin 7.

    This morning I saw the very unconvincing Darling performance this morning. Talks about credibility but would not address the questions of tired old Labour and the huge deficit. despite repeated questions from you Nick he failed to say which departments would face cuts in expenditure. They are not being honest and that is an issue for their own credibility.

    It was also interesting that Darling and Byrne went on and on about Tory promises, ignoring Brown's performance and comments on The Andrew Marr Show. When a jounalist pointed out that Darling had said that the Tory party had "Promised" to remove the 50% tax rate and remove the additional 1% increase in National Insurance. The reporter pointed out that on page 37 of the tired old labour document, the evidence provided was a comment by Cameron that this was an aspiration and not a priority. Darling called that a promise!!!!

    Tired old labour does have some significant history in production of "dogy dossier's" to make a case.

    I see that the labour party staff are on the blog again with new names. Some only registering as long ago as 3rd January 2010; it is so sad and pathetic, especially when they use terms such as "old time bloggers" they really have no knowledge of what the "old time bloggers" of all views have been saying as they have been registered only 24 hours. So pathetic and so very sad.

  • Comment number 37.

    The chancellor has just unveiled what he claims is a £34bn "credibility gap" in Tory plans.

    Nick

    if they can use the civil servants to draw up Dodge dossiers why can't they conduct a spending review so that they can tell the truth about the real costs of 12 failed year?

    The real question for me is are you the media going to protect us from all of this stupid spin by nailing the lies contain within?

    All it takes is for you to not run with the blatant lies and don't keep on forcing them down the peoples and opposing parties throats.

    Your question to the perpetrator should be

    WHY DO YOU NEED TO MISSREPRESENT YOUR OPPONENETS MESSAGE WHEN YOU ARE NOT BEING STRAIGHT YOURSELF?

    You could do this and kill this spin at birth but I doubt you will as you all love to run with this rubbish as I have watch for years.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE strangle such rubbish at birth this election is too important to my children's future.




  • Comment number 38.

    19 jrperry wrote:
    Happy new year PD!

    One of the things you have to remember is the proportion of government expenditure ... that is contracted with foreign companies and which principally use imported labour. These can be cut without the slightest negative impact on the UK economy.


    So what is that proportion, then? And are you suggesting that it should be axed whether or not the foreign companies concerned are offering the best deal for the UK taxpayer - which is presumably how they won the tender?

    I've nothing against cutting "grand projects" in times of austerity, although I'd quibble with your assertion that imported labour has no benefit to the local economy.

    And happy new year to you too! Politically, it's shaping up better for you than for me, I'd have to say. But five months is a long time in politics ...

  • Comment number 39.

    Before attcking the Tories spending cuts could Darling tell us what Labour's are.
    Does Darling buy things when he his shopping without knowing the price, no of course not, so why do we not know what Labours spending cuts are. Maybe the truth is so bad they cannot tell us.

  • Comment number 40.

    26#

    "Would you trust childcare and the NHS to someone who supports using dogs to rip a fox to shreds for fun?"

    What, like the Honourable Member for Vauxhall, for instance???

  • Comment number 41.

    Credibility gap!!??

    What about the 20% population increase under Labour and the 34% reduction in Hospital Beds! Net loss of 4 Hospitals and all this despite an 11% increase in in-patients!

    Now there's a credibility gap!

  • Comment number 42.

    17#

    Eww, someone a little hyper sensitive in the moderators department over nicknames... in the words of he who must obviously not be named except in reverential tones, arent you in danger of taking your politics a little too seriously?

  • Comment number 43.

    28., sarantium.

    Right you are – so GB had no control over the UK Public borrowing or spending that has ballooned out of control.

    Certainly had no control over the increase in public service jobs that all parity’s agree is now unsustainable?

    He had nothing to do with the deregulation of the banks either or the toothless FSA – don’t blame me Gov’, it was those American’s who did it.

    Surely we can agree on something here – Brown doesn’t seem to be in control of anything, so clearly he is surplus to requirement.
    Do I see a cost cutting opportunity here?

  • Comment number 44.

    Just to prove that labour still dont get the message about what we can afford.

    During July, August and September, despite the economic downturn the ranks of the public sector grew by an extra 23,000 workers.

    New team please...

  • Comment number 45.

    37#

    "Your question to the perpetrator should be

    WHY DO YOU NEED TO MISSREPRESENT YOUR OPPONENETS MESSAGE WHEN YOU ARE NOT BEING STRAIGHT YOURSELF?"

    Hear, hear. Very well said and unfortunately, a question that is likely to go unanswered.

  • Comment number 46.

    Re 37 and 45

    Encore hear hear - and it should be put to all politicians who do it!

    Can you imagine Andrew Marr etc doing it? And it being Paxman's only question!

  • Comment number 47.

    Nick

    this dividing line between the parties can be be condensed down to one question.

    Which is the biggest threat to the UK economy?

    Start paying of the debt early and have a longer recession? (which is by no means inevitable)

    Or

    Keep spending and suffer a Sovereign Debt Crisis? Which would wipe out every pensioner savings and mean they will have to fall back on the state. A Stirling devaluation which would spark inflation. All this would lead us to the Irish and Icelandic situation.

    The cost of each of these outcome are not equal the threat of a debt crisis and the collapse of the UK economy is of a far greater magnitude and should be avoided at all costs even the possibility of a longer recession. Q.E.D

  • Comment number 48.

    The choice seems to be as follows:

    1. Vote Labour for a group of known incompetents.
    2. Vote Tory for a group who's competence in office is unknown and untested
    3. Vote for a minor party (this includes LibDems, UKIP, BNP) as a protest and thereby risk someone other than your least worst choice of real contender getting in.

    Hardly an inspiring choice - but I think that as a the pencil hovers over the ballot paper, more people than expected with go with option 2.

  • Comment number 49.

    #44 That means 23,000 more Labour voters.

    After all you don't vote out your meal ticket.

    Clearly this is how Labour plans to win the next election - recruit voters by recruiting more civil servants.

  • Comment number 50.

    pd65 38

    I'll leave the exact proportion of contracts placed with foreign companies / imported labour as an exercise for the reader - too early in the year to get into details like that! But here are some cost examples, just a random list:

    ID cards £16bn (LSE estimate).

    Road building - even the current project to replace central reservations (part of the so-called "economic stimulus" is worth £0.7bn and is 80% contracted outside the UK.

    NHS Supply Chain £1.6bn (DHL).

    Most of the Olympic building contracts are with foreign companies and labour - more than £15bn.

    NHS computer projects - £5bn.

    I am sure that you are right in asserting that these contracts were won on the basis of appearing to offer best value to the taxpayer. However, that is in the context of devolved budget management, where, for example, the impact of placement of the contracts on tax revenue and benefits payments (the advantages of staffing a contract with local people currently receiving benefits) are not taken into account by the public bodies placing the contracts.

    I shall be interested to read any arguments you have that significant benefit to the local economy accrues from contracting foreign labour.

    The point is, of course, that the concept that you are repeating, that any early cutting of government expenditure inherently harms the prospects of recovery of the UK economy, fails the detail test.

  • Comment number 51.

    Could someone tell me what would happen, if no one voted in the next election?
    Has our non written constitution got a "non written clause" which covers this event?
    It's strange that we have contracts for everything, but do we have a legally binding contract which enforces a UK government to keep it's election pledges (promises), no!
    What happens if only one person votes, would parliament exist??, whoever that person voted for would have a majority, of one, thats democracy working is'nt it?
    I've been working in China for the last 2 years, & the average person here has no more influence on government decisions than voters in the UK, one big diference however is that the UK government is voted in by the people, the Chinese government is not, however the Chinese government is comitted, ultimately, to improving the peoples lives, the Chinese status in the world & business community.
    I am a firm believer in democracy, fairness, equality, discipline, hard work, imagination, flair, talent, individuality, but politicians seem to be grinding this out of our society. Not everyone is equal, look at Usain Bolt, people are born with diferent talents,he can run quickly, some people can empty bins quickly. you need a "degree" (according to Labour), for either job.
    It's called natural selection, you cant make a silk purse from a sow's ear, so let people within reason, find their own level of accomplishment & happiness, & lets move forward.
    I think that the people in the UK should be in a position to make MP's afraid, but we aint,.... are we? Maybe we should'nt turn out on voting day!!

  • Comment number 52.

    "WHY DO YOU NEED TO MISREPRESENT YOUR OPPONENTS MESSAGE WHEN YOU ARE NOT BEING STRAIGHT YOURSELF?"

    Iagree , an excellent question so why do the BBBC political pundits not ask it?
    I have lost count of the interviews I have endured of Labour ministers telling me what the Tories will do , how they will "wreck the economy"(splutter!)
    I find it quite incomprhensible that the Tories would tell any Labour minister anything, so how do they know?And why are they allowed to spin, obfuscate and lie in answers?
    Do no TV interviewers have the guts to challenge?
    And don't give me Paxman, he obviously has grown smug over his own publicity in one Michael Howard interview - which ,by his own admission was a time filler .

    I am sick to death of journalists NOT doing their job, not investigating and merrily regurgitating Labour press releases masquerading as journalism.
    I'm equally sick to death of those too cosy with politicians to even bother looking in depth at certain on going mishaps.

    I wonder if we will hear more of the " Bill of Rights " defence of politicians who have nicked from the public purse?

    Integrity ,Justice and Honesty , thy name is neither politician nor journalist.

  • Comment number 53.

    #50 - just so stupid a point, sounds like a BNP argument. These so called 'foreign' companies employ a UK workforce (if they have the right skills etc), as do UK companies employ foreign nationals both on UK contracts and contracts won overseas. Its called a free market economy - all alternatives dont work as they generate waste, stifle innovation and ultimately dont benefit the vast majority of people as the USSR found out.
    I'm a UK citizen and pround to work for a 'foreign' company.

  • Comment number 54.

    Just stop spending.

    This is a preposterous debate.

    You don't tolerate a discussion from an alcoholic about whether it's the bottle of vodka or the bottle of scoitch he will stop drinking every day; so newlabour should shut up about who is cutting what and where and get on with a wholesale cut in public spending.

    The only black hole this morning is the 178bn newlabour black hole created by the fiscal incomnpetence of Gordon Brown.

    Call an election. Now.

  • Comment number 55.

    Nick writes Later, they will no doubt use this to justify a poster campaign warning of "Tory cuts".

    Labour just don't get it, do they?

    People WANT cuts! They want the waste to stop.

    Ordinary folk understand perfectly well when managing their own finances that spending money you haven't got and running up unsustainable debts is not a good thing to do. Printing money as this government has done is a fraud.

    Time and time again Labour has proved it cannot be trusted with the economy.

  • Comment number 56.

    Don't we have a choice between the current lot who've demonstrated that they will screw up and wreck things, and the other lot who might screw up and wreck things? So that's definite fail on one side and possible fail on the other.

  • Comment number 57.

    I see none of the 'new faces' from yesterdays blog have re-appeared. Curious concerted effort from the NuLabour supporters, but they don't seem to have the stamina.

    Still as long as they turn up on election day to depress us for another 5 years...

    I am still trying to work out why NuLabour are going to wait until after the budget for the election?

    There must be something they are hedging their bets on... I am guessing a slight recovery, but surely it can't be a friendly budget?

    Can it?

  • Comment number 58.

    @ Diabloandco, post #52

    "Iagree , an excellent question so why do the BBBC political pundits not ask it?"

    Probably because if they did, they'd have to ask it virtually every single time they interviewed any politician, from any party, on any subject. And then have ask it again every time that politician answered (or, more likely, avoided answering) a question during the interview.

    Modern politics is about misrepresenting your opponents' messages whilst spinning up your own position. It's shameful, but that's the way it is; but this point in time, we ought to be expecting it.

    If journalists were to attempt to directly call out politicians every time they engaged in this sort of behaviour, they would end up doing little else.

  • Comment number 59.

    I see few distinctions between Labour and the Conservatives. However, this does not mean I will be voting on personality, which is what many here seem to be resorting to.

    The Conservatives will repeal the fox hunting ban. For me, this is unacceptable.

    I will vote Labour. My family will vote Labour. The majority of my friends will vote Labour.

    Let the battle commence.

  • Comment number 60.

    16. At 10:36am on 04 Jan 2010, pdavies65 wrote:
    10 yewlodge wrote:
    How a party like Labour, which has consistently overspent on its budgets and underdelivered on its promises (go look at the House Public Accounts Committee website if you need convincing) can claim that they could reliably "cost" anything is beyond me.

    Overspending and underdelivering are unfortunately par for the course when it comes to Labour government.

    -----------------

    Fixed it for you.

    I know 13 years is a long time, but lets try not to apply their incompetence to every past political party to reach government. Certainly don't remember Thatcher doing much in the way of overspending.

  • Comment number 61.

    26, yeah and fox hunting was one of the bones that TB used to hold the back benches into line on other issues, you really want a party that does that then , no thanks

  • Comment number 62.

    I hope Mr Cameron does focus on the NHS, but I hope he gets the details right. I was talking last weekend to a very disheartened hospital doctor. He was in the middle of a three-day night shift duty, but stayed up long enough to be wished a Happy New Year.

    His duties these days include covering the backs of imported consultants. These foreigners have CVs that claim 10+ years of experience, yet they know little of our hospital procedures and cannot speak English. They were hired on the basis of their CVs. They cannot do anything meaningful without direct support from "juniors." The juniors are really worried about patient safety. Their management take note of concerns, but take no action.

    Work that cannot be handled in the hospital gets passed to private sector companies that are contracted to handle the volumes. These seem to be able to hire whomever they can - often from overseas. It appears that surgeons arrive, do work, go away. The fear is that they are damaging patients.

    Finally, with all this cheap, imported labour in the NHS, the qualified, competent UK doctors are having to compete furiously for a small number of consultant posts.

    The whole thing sounds so demoralizing.

  • Comment number 63.

    @ DistantTraveller, post #55;

    "Ordinary folk understand perfectly well when managing their own finances that spending money you haven't got and running up unsustainable debts is not a good thing to do. "

    *cough* collapse-of-the-banking-system-due-to-mismanagement-of-toxic-debts *cough*

    Huh? Me? No, nothing... just clearing my throat. Ahem.

    Sorry; I do largely agree with the other three statements you made. Just had to jump in and point out that the one I've quoted, above, is actually a load of nonsense.

  • Comment number 64.

    "I will vote Labour. My family will vote Labour. The majority of my friends will vote Labour."

    Will you be urinating on your ancestors gravestones too? You know...just to follow up on the metaphorically version.

  • Comment number 65.

    #54 RockRobin7

    so newlabour should shut up about who is cutting what and where and get on with a wholesale cut in public spending.

    True, but Labour cannot be trusted to wield the axe where it is most needed. They do not understand the difference between money well-spent and money wasted. They are so wedded to their culture of micro management, government interference, big Statism, targets and bureaucracy that they cannot see that it is their whole approach that is wrong.

    If the choice is 'Tory Cuts' or 'Labour Investment', Tory Cuts will win every time. The fact that Brown thinks 'Tory Cuts' are a vote-loser merely shows how out of touch he is. People will vote for the party that will save the taxpayers most money.

    As for 'labour investment', that is just a joke!

    We couldn't trust Gordon to pick the winner in a one-horse race.

  • Comment number 66.

    It's pretty depressing that when we are on the brink of national bankruptcy all some Labour supporters want to bring up is fox hunting!

    I don't like fox hunting and I don't see the point of doing it, but all Labour has done is to bring in an unworkable law primarily to let their bank enchers think they were getting payback for the Miner's Strike and the Tolpuddle Martyrs! The Tories' position is to let Parliament have a free vote and then try to find a compromise position, foxes are a serious pest in rural areas and all but the most militant animal rights nutters agree that they need to be controlling and this usually means killing them.

    Now can we get back to real issues please?!

  • Comment number 67.

    Indeed the standard of journalist questioning is poor...two standout examples, both around IHT....

    Labour keep talking about the proposed Tory IHT changes, criticsing them for only helping the rich...but LABOUR have introduced the transferable nil rate band which benefits maried couples by £130,000 if as a couple they are worth £650,000 or more....So Labour have introduced an IHT change that helps the rich yet critise Tory plans to introduce an IHT plan that helps the rich.....I have heard the critisism repaeted endlessly by Labour politicians but not ONCE has the hypocisy been pointed out by an interviewer....

    Recently, there has been criticism by Labour of Tory plans to change the tax system to make married couples better off in terms of tax than unmarried couples or single people...but what do the recent labour changes to IHT achieve? They make married couples better off in terms of tax than unmarried couples or single people. More hypocisy from Labour and again not ONE journalist has pointed this out!

    If there are any journalists out there, where is your research? Why aren't you making these points....or in other words why aren't you doing your job?

  • Comment number 68.

    #59 Ah - I knew they wouldn't let me down. Lets focus on the irrelevant and ignore the important.

    Fox hunting over economy, education and health. Nice to see Labour supporter priorities haven't changed from the populist ignorance of the suburban majority.

    The fact that your party of choice has bankrupted the country and subjected us to 10 years of recessive activity pales into insignificance next to the health and wealthfare of vermin.

    If all Labour supporters are so shallow, then this country is doomed.

  • Comment number 69.

    59. Morganss

    "The Conservatives will repeal the fox hunting ban. For me, this is unacceptable.

    I will vote Labour. My family will vote Labour. The majority of my friends will vote Labour."

    So the economy matters little but you are concerned enough about a large rat to vote one way or the other?

    Do you do any active campaigning on fox hunting or do your friends? If so can they answer one question I've neer had an answer from on hunt opponents. You spend time, money and effort on being anti-hunt. How would you explain to a starving child in the third world why you weren't spending that time, money and effort on helping the child?

  • Comment number 70.

    I'll be voting for whoever makes the biggest cuts in the massively bloated public sector.

  • Comment number 71.

    "It's shameful, but that's the way it is; but this point in time, we ought to be expecting it."

    Im not disputing what you say, but isnt that good enough reason to demand a change to it?

  • Comment number 72.

    66. At 12:58pm on 04 Jan 2010, JPSLotus79 wrote:
    It's pretty depressing that when we are on the brink of national bankruptcy all some Labour supporters want to bring up is fox hunting!

    --------------------------------------------

    I agree a bit sad. Sadder still is that the legislation passed is so shoddy and incompetent that hunting is more popular, more people take part now and more hunt meetings are held each year. Although meetings are monitored by the police and anti hunt groups I believe no successful prosecutions have ever been made as said legislation is unworkable. Last time I looked Labour still has a significant majority in the HoC and given the paucity of business in the HoC to be done before the election, you do have to wonder why Labour does not want to fix this mess!

  • Comment number 73.

    1004 update a £34b credibiltiy cap, well that better than the £180b that Nu_lab are pilling on year after year wonder what they will call that if/when they are inopposition, PMQ is going to be really funny when say Cameron says Debt will only be a extra £120b this year rather than the £180 of the last labour gov. Guess Brown will stand up an say it was all is good work then.

    ok when and whom will be the next labour leader. Will GB lead them to a small victory and then they oust him whats the odd on that , then we have another unelected PM until enough MP's die to force an election.

    what new on the by-election when the MP died at christmas, when is that going to happne ?

  • Comment number 74.

    #63 Khrystalar

    The toxicity was the result of some people running up unsustainable debts, that is true, and not all people manage their finances wisely. Also, sometimes people (or businesses) can get into debt through no fault of their own, particularly when the economic climate is bad. When someone defaults on a debt, it can have a domino effect - so we shouldn't be judgemental.

    However, we do expect better of our government, particularly when they are spending our money, not their own.

    Debt is not in itself the problem. A properly financed loan, based on what can be afforded with a reasonable schedule for repayment is perfectly acceptable. But this Government's spending is out of control. The level debt is unsustainable and will damage future growth. The reason they don't care is because they know it won't be their problem. Leaving a big mess for the Tories to clear up is part of Labour's tradition!

  • Comment number 75.

    #59 foxes are still dying , they are just being shot instead.
    all it has done is replace one form of death with another thats all

    why is fox hunting a major issue all of a sudden given the vaste issues facing the country,

    you want more free range eggs well the fox are going to have to go then

  • Comment number 76.

    59#

    Whilst I am virulently anti-hunting, but that execrably drafted and even more poorly executed single piece of legislation is no justification for keeping the current incumbents in office. It doesn't work, the old bill cannot be bothered enforcing it and the hunting community flagrantly disregard it with impunity.

    Sorry, but I would venture that you, your family and friends will vote Labour for no other reason than tribalism. Its what you've always done, its what your forefathers have always done.

    Remember, Blair didnt promise to ban it, he promised to allow a free vote on it. Cam is doing nothing different although he will no doubt have his own agenda, relying on the weight of the Countryside Alliance vote... Brown could care less about wildlife, unless it could vote.

  • Comment number 77.

    "People want cuts"
    I can see where you are coming from, but really?
    Are you prepared to lose your job, income and home to help UK PLC then?
    Maybe we had too many years of the good times and we have nationally forgotten what it was like for unemployment to be out of control.

  • Comment number 78.

    "The chancellor has just unveiled what he claims is a 34bn "credibility gap" in Tory plans." - Which Cameron described as "junk", and said he had found £11bn of errors in it within ten seconds of seeing it.

    It's interesting that there is no link to Darling's dossier (said to be 140 pages long) anywhere - not on the BBC, on the Guardian website or any Labour website that I looked at. I think if Labour were confident that their claims would stand up to scrutiny, then the document would be easily available. The fact that it is unobtainable tends to support Cameron's description - Darling's claims are junk.

  • Comment number 79.

    53. At 12:29pm on 04 Jan 2010, sarantium wrote:
    #50 - just so stupid a point, sounds like a BNP argument. These so called 'foreign' companies employ a UK workforce (if they have the right skills etc), as do UK companies employ foreign nationals both on UK contracts and contracts won overseas. Its called a free market economy - all alternatives dont work as they generate waste, stifle innovation and ultimately dont benefit the vast majority of people as the USSR found out.
    I'm a UK citizen and pround to work for a 'foreign' company.

    ------------------

    Excellent. A point you don't understand, cry "racist" at the poster.

    Or maybe go back, reread, and try a little harder.

  • Comment number 80.

    Only a £34 billion credibility gap? Surely that's small change compared with the gap in the Labour governments finances.

    That said, the idea that Cameron is going to look after the interests of the NHS as his main priority would be laughable if it weren't so tragic. I'm old enough to remember what the last Tory government did to the NHS.

    It's a good thing that there are other parties to vote for apart from the deeply discredited Labour and Tories. It's just a shame that so many people never seem to think of voting for any of them.

  • Comment number 81.

    "It's pretty depressing that when we are on the brink of national bankruptcy all some Labour supporters want to bring up is fox hunting!

    I don't like fox hunting and I don't see the point of doing it, but all Labour has done is to bring in an unworkable law primarily to let their bank enchers think they were getting payback for the Miner's Strike and the Tolpuddle Martyrs! The Tories' position is to let Parliament have a free vote and then try to find a compromise position, foxes are a serious pest in rural areas and all but the most militant animal rights nutters agree that they need to be controlling and this usually means killing them.

    Now can we get back to real issues please?!"

    ------------------
    I was simply making the point that I wont be voting on the basis of what Gordon Brown looks like, but rather on something that I feel quite strongly about. This doesn't mean that I'm not interested in the economy. I just don't expect any significant change to occur on that front should the tories win the next election.

    You might not care about fox hunting, but I do. I'm not going to make generalised comments on what the nations wants, just on something that I do. Somebody commented on the fact that 'the nation wants to cut spending'. He certainly doesn't speak for me.





  • Comment number 82.

    How can New Labours promise to prioritise education be taken seriously? 13 years ago their priority was "education, education, education". What's it going to be 13 years later "education, education, education.....errr, education". As a prioritised programme it is good to see that the standard of schools has increased, but a crying shame that the standard of education has fallen so dramatically during this same period (please don't bother quoting statistics about improvements in grades, just talk to an average recent school leaver).
    Guess it's just another New Labour promise that they can make knowing that they don't have to worry about delivering on.

  • Comment number 83.

    48. At 12:03pm on 04 Jan 2010, James Rigby wrote:
    The choice seems to be as follows:

    1. Vote Labour for a group of known incompetents.
    2. Vote Tory for a group who's competence in office is unknown and untested
    3. Vote for a minor party (this includes LibDems, UKIP, BNP) as a protest and thereby risk someone other than your least worst choice of real contender getting in.



    Surely that was essentially the choice in 1997, and the electorate went for Choice No 2 then. Why should the electorate feel any different this time round, especially when in 1997 the economy was at least in a very sound state, compared to the meltdown we are about to expereicne in the next few months.

  • Comment number 84.

    #57:

    "I am still trying to work out why NuLabour are going to wait until after the budget for the election?"

    It does seem odd on the face of it, doesn't it? The budget can only reinforce in the voters' minds what a complete mess Labour have made of the economy. However, my theory is that Gordon Brown is motivated by only one thing: clinging on to power for as long as possible. He knows he's going to lose the election whatever happens, so given the choice between losing badly in March or losing catastrophically in May, he prefers the latter.

  • Comment number 85.

    Nick,

    If Labour are protecting education why did Mandelson write to higher education chiefs advising of a 500 million cut in budgets?

    Is that protecting education?

  • Comment number 86.

    #79 - I understood the point you were trying to make, but in a free market you have to let local devolved budget management play its course. For example when you go shopping do you consider whether your money goes to a local employer who needs the business.

    What does "NHS Supply Chain £1.6bn (DHL)" mean ? DHL employs 1800 in the UK.

  • Comment number 87.

    The scary thing about all of this mud-slinging is that Gordon, David and Nick are supposedly 'the best we have got'. Leaders? I dont think so.

    Gordon is an embarassment and a dangerous one in the extreme, David is well meaning but has a lot of maturing yet to do(lucky thing!) and Nick the same.

    Is this it?

    Oh my godness, this is the nightmare scenario. We are reaping what we have sown. Ah well. Shame. It was a great country.......once. Not now.

  • Comment number 88.

    #77 "Maybe we had too many years of the good times and we have nationally forgotten what it was like for unemployment to be out of control."

    You think Unemployment is 'in control'??!!!??

    There is little or no help for businesses and private enterprise out there. Oh yes, the government will tell us how they are giving x amount to support businesses. Cleverly neglecting to tell us how little the banks are actually supporting businesses in trouble.

    As soon as a business gets into trouble, it becomes a risk. Under Labours business support scheme that gives the Banks the excuse to pull funding and make more 'unemployed'.

    The unemployment cycle has far from started. Hiding the truth by creating unaffordable public jobs will not make this go away. There has to be a reckoning and I for one will glad to see the smug Labour smiles disappear when it finally happens, especially when the price will be so high.

    But the whole thing about unemployment is that it is craftily hidden behind Youth schemes, training and benefits schemes which hide the truth about how many are genuinely out of work.

    This government has cleverly and deceitfully manipulated all the statistics to make things seem better than they are. I know because I was made to work with some of their formulas, so I know what they do.

    Only the true die-hard Labour supporters fail to see the truth in front of them, and not one will see that they are in-part to blame for it.

  • Comment number 89.

    Complaining that Brown is a liar etc.. is a little short sighted, what he has managed to do is bring the country through a recession without it turning into a depression. You could argue that it was the labour party that got the country into the problem in the first place yet I have no recolection of the conservatives wishing to put government restraints on the banking system before the crash?!! Clearly blaming the government for a problem that originated in america and was out of their control would be incorrect. We all know that the appalling state of the economy is due to margret thatchers insstance on selling off any public wealth at hugely deflated prices during her drive for free market capitalism. Yet people still are calling for the tory party to be put back in and increase the rich poor divide.

    One thing is for certain, the way to reduce the deficit is not a decrease in tax and an increase in public spending.. This should be obvious yet people continue to be suckered in to the cameron mirage. What a conservative success will result in will be an increase in the budget deficit, and a list of unfulfilled promises. As for camerons claim that 'health inequalities are as bad as victorian times' - he should probably take a history lesson.

  • Comment number 90.

    Firstly,Gordon Brown bashers lets understand that the UK,s demise is a result of the policies pursued by Mrs Thatchers Government. ie de-industrialisation, unfettered capitalism, and the move towards a service based ecomomy. But this does not get New labour off the hook as they simply continued to pursue those policies. The problem for Mr and or Mrs Average and their families is whare do we go from here as it is us who have had our standard of living held back and taxation increased during the low inflation, low pay rise, cheap imported labour economy that the rich, powerful and influential have enjoyed since the 1980's. As far as I am concerned there is little to choose between the Tories and New Labour for Mr Mrs Average. We will end up paying the biggest price for the failed policies of the last 30yrs Both Tory and Labour!

  • Comment number 91.

    #77 jaydeehibee

    you wrote:

    "People want cuts"
    I can see where you are coming from, but really?
    Are you prepared to lose your job, income and home to help UK PLC then?
    Maybe we had too many years of the good times and we have nationally forgotten what it was like for unemployment to be out of control.


    I doubt anyone would want to create unemployment, but Labour's wrong assumption is that jobs can be artificially created by spending money we haven't got. Running up huge debts and printing money may create a rosy illusion in the short term, but in the end the problems have only been postponed. Also, by ignoring the huge level of waste, the problems are actually increased.

    Long-term employment and financial stability go hand in hand. A castle built on shifting sands cannot be expected to last. To protect jobs, we need a sound economy. With labour, it's all smoke and mirrors.

  • Comment number 92.

    Nick, it does not have to be a long long election, just stop reporting all this partial 'media packaged good news only' information and the predictable he says this and the other says thats not true as being important or a valuable contribution to the national debate over what will be an important choice sometime later in the year.

    Without the full text of a manifesto policy from any party the overall programmes cannot be assessed - the small print detail is what is important and where the bad news is always to be found in politics.

    As to your update, Darling has enough problems to deal with rather than wasting time doing fantasy mathematics with the oppositions plans. We all know the figure is a load of codswallop and the time I spent referring to it was more time than it was worth. The time you spent could have been better used.

    I hear that an actual policy may have been partially published by the Tory party as opposed to a series of unaffordable popular aspirations (i.e. we want to be nice but can't afford it) , that seems more newsworthy.
    Perhaps you could compare the Government and Opposition policies on the matter in an impartial manner for us in a future blog ?

  • Comment number 93.

    "The chancellor has just unveiled what he claims is a £34bn "credibility gap" in Tory plans."

    How can anyone trust the labour party on figures, when every budget it has done in the past 13 years has proven to be a wildly inaccurate?

    Sad thing is there are people thick enough to believe the labour lies.

  • Comment number 94.

    53. At 12:29pm on 04 Jan 2010, sarantium wrote:

    Its called a free market economy - all alternatives dont work as they generate waste, stifle innovation and ultimately dont benefit the vast majority of people as the USSR found out.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yeah because the free market models worked soooo well hasn't it??

  • Comment number 95.

    85/86

    Well said but I suppose that is an investment for GB, or perhaps a truth to unpalatable for him to bear. The first of many down right lies.

    But do DHL report a profit and pay corporation tax in the UK? do they make anything which we can sell to generate revenue? NO. They pay cheap labour and pay the least possible amount to the Uk exchequer.

    We need proper jobs people that make things not manufacture junk banking bonds.

  • Comment number 96.

    89. At 1:51pm on 04 Jan 2010, MRRIGHT

    You also need a history lesson if you believe that the "rich poor divide" has not become larger under the current regime. Whether or not the poorest have got poorer certainly the richest are richer.

  • Comment number 97.

    #89 MRRight - er wrong

    How interesting - another newbie? Very pro-labour.

    Me thinks there might be a campaign building here.

    "One thing is for certain, the way to reduce the deficit is not a decrease in tax and an increase in public spending.. This should be obvious yet people continue to be suckered in to the cameron mirage. "

    Actually, that is how you increase a deficit, which has been Labour's manifesto from the beginning.

    If memory serves the Conservatives have been talking about tax rises and reductions..... or is that you prefer to pretend that Labour's mistakes should now be those of your oppositions.

    I know, why don't you blame the Tories for inventing a WMD story to start a regime change as well, keep things on a even keel.

  • Comment number 98.

    MRRIGHT no wonder you use upper case your myopia must be significant.

    Thatcher left office approximately 20 years ago. Labour have been around since '97. Come come, not even GB himself would swallow that one

  • Comment number 99.

    80 Disgusted...

    and what exactly did the tories 'do' to the NHS?

    As it has now been revealed by an independent survey that the NHS is a whopping 4% better after a tripling of spending per annum...is it impolite to sugggest that all newlabour have done is over resource an already over resourced public sector body and achieved little or no result?

    It is not the tories who introduced ridiculous targets that are met by GPs not accepting appointments with greater than 48 hours notice. Neither is it the tories who kept people off waiting lists in order to make sure the waiting lists were kept down.

    The NHS is the same over staffed, over resourced lumbering giant of an institution that it was when newlabour came to power; it does its job and good for the NHS. The idea that the NHS has protected status at a time when the whole economy is in trouble is farcical; it's a rationed service in the first place. Any protesters to the contrary have no evidence; it is neither free at the point of delivery nor open to all and it never has been. Treatments are routinely withdrawn or denied at the whim and or judgement of NHS professionals. Target setting is waste of time. Tripling its budget is a waste of money. Giving it protected status is a gross act of delinquency on the part of any government if not one giant guilt trip.

    'Our wonderful NHS' will turn out to be about as true when people come to use it as 'our wonderful Royal Mail' - good when they feel like delivering.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 100.

    #81 Morganss

    "Somebody commented on the fact that 'the nation wants to cut spending'. He certainly doesn't speak for me."

    Well, I wrote something similar about people wanting cuts (#55) but I accept I don't speak for everyone. Nevertheless, I believe that most people do understand we cannot go on spending money we haven't got. If Brown believes that people will be put off by 'cuts', he is mistaken. Most people also know that there will indeed be cuts whoever wins the election - so Brown is making a false argument.

    The real issue is where the axe will fall. The aim should be to cut waste, not frontline services.

    To pick up on your other point, I am also against fox hunting. Unfortunately the legislation has proved to be badly drafted and difficult to enforce, but I would not support re-legalising this barbaric practice. I think David Cameron has made a huge mistake opening this can of worms and has badly misjudged public feelings. As a matter of conscience, I would not vote for a candidate who would support fox hunting.

 

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