BBC BLOGS - Nick Robinson's Newslog
« Previous | Main | Next »

How not to save a billion

Nick Robinson | 19:18 UK time, Friday, 23 April 2010

How do you save £1,000 million - that's a billion pounds - from a budget of £74 million? That's the question raised by one of Gordon Brown's answers at his news conference this morning. The short answer is - you can't.

Gordon BrownI will come to the puzzling prime ministerial arithmetic in a moment but first a bit of background.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I tend to bang on a bit about whether politicians of all parties are telling you the truth about future cuts in public spending made necessary by Britain's huge budget deficit.

That is the real issue that underlines the row which broke out between David Cameron and Gordon Brown in last night's TV debate about whether Labour's leaflets are lying about the Tories plans and whether the Tories are being about the cuts they plan.

At his news conference this morning the prime minister said that he had had to flush out Tory promises to maintain benefits for pensioners and that "It is right to ask questions and to get answers".

Taking this as an invitation I asked him to tell the electorate "the scale of the spending cuts that you will introduce if you are re-elected and to give the public some indication of what they will mean for ordinary families?"

Gordon Brown responded by listing the figures set out in the Budget for, amongst other things, efficiency savings, and then to illustrate his point he claimed that plans to pay child benefit over the internet "will save £1bn in the administration of child benefit" (see full transcript below).

Thanks to the Economic Editor of the FT, I can now reveal that the annual administrative cost of child benefit is, in fact, just £74m.

The Labour Party admits that the prime minister was mistaken. Apparently, he had in mind estimates of possible future savings from the wider use of the internet to pay benefits. This is a statement the party has just issued:

"PWC estimate that £600m p.a. will be saved by 2012 directly smarter government initiatives, additionally £900m p.a. is estimated to be saved if only formerly digitally excluded people make use of digital Govt services once a month. Gordon Brown was right to point out the large scale savings being planned already by this Government through the Smarter Government initiatives."

This year's Budget says: "HMRC is aiming to pilot a service for tax credit renewals for 2011 and intends to introduce a full online service for child benefit claimants as part of its online tax credit service". Tonight HMRC told me "We have not announced any plans to streamline Child Benefit, nor have we published any estimates of what any streamlining could save".

Gordon Brown simply misspoke, you may think. Perhaps. He did it, however, when asked to be open with people about spending cuts to come.

It's a question leaders of all parties have been remarkably reluctant to address, preferring instead to talk vaguely and sometimes inaccurately about efficiency savings, waste and tax avoidance.

Transcript of exchange with Gordon Brown:

Robinson: "Nick Robinson BBC News. Prime minister you said and I quote, 'It is right to ask questions and to get answers.' So let's have a go. Would you like to tell the electorate, the scale of the spending cuts that you will introduce if you are re-elected and to give the public some indication of what they will mean for ordinary families?"
Brown: "Yes, I have said that. £11bn of efficiency savings by 12..."
Robinson: "How many families?"
Brown: "Hold on, you asked me a question Nick. I'm I'm going to to answer it. £11bn of efficiency savings by 2013. £4bn is being taken out of pensions and public sector pay. £5bn is being taken out of lower priority departments. Now, extra taxes include the national insurance rise and of course, the top rate tax rise.
"We have been clear with people about what is going to happen. The choice will come down to this Nick - if you want your national insurance half a percent cut from the Conservatives in 2011/12 which is worth about £2, £2 or so to an ordinary family, you are not getting in return protection for the police and for the schools of our country and you're not getting the health service guarantees because the health service guarantees for cancer parents and for doctors they're all going to be removed.
"So the issue between the two parties comes down to this - you can have your national insurance cut of half a percent, but you will lose the protection that we will give for policing, and for health and the protections that we are going to give for schools.
"Now I know the Tories say they want to match us on health service spending, but why are they removing the guarantees for cancer treatment and for operations and the guarantees that they'll give for GPs?
"So that's what it comes down to. I've spelt out the figures. I believe families are better off with the proposals that we put forward that mean the police on the streets are still there which means that schools are still getting the investment they need for the future and it means that the guarantees that are there for people for cancer care and for operations and for getting your GP at the weekend and in the evenings as well as during office hours, that these are still there and we're introducing the urgent needs care for people who are in their own homes so that they don't need to have to go into old people's homes. Now these are the things that we can do. I accept..."
Robinson: "What are are your planned cuts? What will your planned cuts mean, not for efficiency savings, but for ordinary people? Well, let..."
Robinson: "Can you confirm that the government plans spending cuts bigger than Margaret Thatcher. So would you like to tell people what those cuts are and how they will affect them? Not efficiency savings, not back office, what cut priorities has a Labour government got if they are re-elected to make cuts bigger than Margaret Thatcher?"
Brown: "I've already said that pensions and public sector pay, we take £4bns out of that. So you can be clear that pay will not rise as it did in the past and we are taking money out of the public sector pensions scheme and that saves us £4bn.
"Let me give you an example of how it will change for people. Child benefit, child benefit will now be paid in the next few years. It will be paid over the internet. People will register for child benefit. They will not get it paid by post. They will not get it paid through a call centre.
"That itself will save £1bn in the administration of child benefit. We will move that into other services so if you are claiming job support, Jobseeker allowance or other services, you're going to have to do it through the internet.
"So we will be cutting the back office services that are necessary to produce the child benefit payments and we will be cutting the costs of transactions of government. Some transactions cost about £20 simply to send a letter. Some transactions at call centres cost about £1 just to have the telephone call.
"If you do it by the internet and you train people up to use the internet so that everybody is making that payment, you are cutting directly the costs of paying these services. Now yes, there will be other cuts because of the regeneration programmes that we're changing. We're making the regional development agencies more efficient in what they do but I've given you some examples of how we will change the way services are delivered and that is one of the ways that we will save money.
"I repeat £11bn from efficiency savings, £4bn from public sector pay and pensions and £5bn from lower priority departments but the difference you know, between us and the Conservatives is very clear, that they are going to put policing at risk and they're going to put schools at risk and they're going to put the guarantees we are giving to the Health Service at risk and I think people will see that by the time the election happens."


Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Not really a story this one Nick.

    He is going to save £1 billion but just that what he said we were saving it on wasn't entirely specific or accurate - framkly if he'd waffled on explaining exactly how the money would be saved then he wouldn't have got any coverage for that either.

    What matters is are the sums right? and they are.

    The Tories have got their sums on NI (written on the back of a fag packet) wrong. They are 'taking us all for mugs' if they think we believe they can offer us tax breaks, for example to married couples, when we know that taxes are going to need to go up after the election under all parties to pay for the debt.

    The Tories also won't specify exactly what they are going to cut, what IT project or public service jobs.

    Labour have shown that their priority is to protect people on low and middle-incomes from the recession.

    The Tories have shown that despite the recession they want to give massive tax breaks to millionaires through changes to inheritance tax thresholds.

    The poor and the middle class of this country can't afford a Tory government that will look to tax them more and give that money to the rich.

    David Cameron and George Osborne are like King John and the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robbing from the poor to give to the rich.

  • Comment number 3.

    Yes, we know Gordon Brown isn't fiscally responsible.

    Pointing out that Brown has said he will make greater savings than he can doesn't add much to the debate: no-one believes him, rightly or wrongly. It's a matter of perception.

    The bigger issue is the Lib Dems. Their savings measures deserve the greatest scrutiny because they are the only ones being taken seriously by the electorate at the moment, it would seem. Their sums don't add up, and they should not be allowed to glide along claiming to be 'different' and to represent 'real change' when they are the same or worse as their rivals.

  • Comment number 4.

    The estimate of £1 billion of savings from the internet payment of child benefit is simply wrong.It is an indication that claims for so called efficiency savings by all parties are wildly optimisztic.

    Once elected,the savings will morph into job cuts,they must not be done in a panic or public services will be butchered.

    It is essential all parties are open about the scale of cuts nnd where they will fall.Brown is too optimistic, especially in the light of the chancellor`s warnings,the Tories have targeted particular services on specialist advice, but are coy on releasing the information.As for the Lib-Dems,they have made implausible assumptions on the assumption they will not be the government,in the current climate who knows.

    I hope that Mr.Brown`s "Missspeak" will be the signal to open up the debate on the scale and direction of cuts.In a mature democracy the voters should be party to the real thinking of the contenders.

  • Comment number 5.

    Brown is in reality back to "Tory cuts v Labour investment"

    Despite (to his credit) Darling's warning of massive cuts to come, Brown is seeking to give the public sector, which he increased by about 1m, the impression that there will be no job losses under him should the country be stupid enough to re-elect Labour.

    With a much reduced, ageing private sector expected to finance an ever burgeoning public sector there comes a stage where the knicker elastic snaps.

    Ken Clarke, Osborne and Cameron need to ensure this message is understood loud and clear because unless it is clearly established that Labour are lying the Conservatives will be blamed by Brown Balls Whelan and associated hangers on, who will no doubt orchestrate strikes protesting against the beastly "baby eating Tories" for having to take serious steps to repay Brown's deficit and £1.5 trillion debt not to mention off balance sheet PFI borrowing.

    It cannot be emphasised enough that this is Brown's debt, Brown's debt bubble, Brown's PFI borrowings that have to be resolved and I fear the Conservative leadership have, to date, failed to nail the debt mountain to Brown's tattered reputation

  • Comment number 6.

    What about the 30% or so that do not have access to the internet - will they be excluded from applying for benefits. So maybe that is how Mr Brown will get a £Billion from benefits! Something tells me that benefit claimants are over represented in the great 'unwashed' off-liners.

    I thought the government were keen to make savings on GovIT any way. Doesn't this exchange epitomise the dishonesty of this obsolescing under cover tory politician.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    No 2 Voice of Reason

    "He is going to save £1 billion but just that what he said we were saving it on wasn't entirely specific or accurate"

    So basically he can say anything he likes, no need to be specific or accurate. I was brought up to believe that is called lying, don't need to be the son of a Church of Scotland minister to see that!!

    So I can take it that everything else Gordon has said during this campaign has neither been specific or accurate. What a joke. In an interview with you Nick, Gordon said he always tells the truth, unless it seems he chooses not to be specific or accurate.

  • Comment number 9.

    #2. Voice_of_Reason

    Misnomer of the year!

    Maybe you should change it to Voice_of_NewLabour?

    "The Tories also won't specify exactly what they are going to cut"

    I think you'll find that "The Liebers won't specify exactly what they are going to cut" is the real issue.

  • Comment number 10.

    Watched the debate - clear Cameron win coming back from last week's less than convincing show - Cleggy all the vacuous smarm was there to see , all PR and stuff all substance. Brown - actually much improved but still got loser tattooed on his forehead.

    Still going to be a hung parliament - disaster awaits.

    The show moves to the economy - So its cuts now or more later. Brown is simply disingenous if he thinks that 2011 wont have to see very severe and frankly long overdue cuts to the public sector.

    Trident - The Generals seem to say no replacement required -fair play maybe not but whats the alternative - a review? . I say a cull of the Generals and admirals should come from such a review. Its faintly ridiculous to have twice as many Admirals as there are ships in the Navy. Similarly more Generals than brigades in the Army.

    All parties need "to get real" on our place in the world. We are an long dead imperialist power which has tried since WW2 to punch above its weight. We simply are at best a second tier power with no right to keep their set at the UN security council. Leave policing the world to those that want to flex their muscles. We are in no position to spend £5 billion on a war in Afghanistan which has no strategic importance to Britain. If we want to secure our country - bring the boys home and stick them on border contol in the UK.

    Its also beyond rational understanding that we are borrowing billions to then lavish largesse without end upon so called third world developing countries. Do we continue this because we have some misplaced sense of guilt about how we "abused" our former dominions? If so what a crock. We paid any debt long ago. Now we have to look to our own interests and giving aid to countries like China and India when they are net financiers of our growing national debt is simply moronic!

  • Comment number 11.

    Please, please, please can somebody (Nick Robinson)in the press question these politicians so that we get to a better understanding about what they have actually done to this country.

    Gordon Brown is the architect of a massive debt; we are paying huge interest payments and headed towards bankruptcy.

    How can Mr Brown and the whole NL outfit be allowed to get away with hiding such financial irresponsibility?

    UK Bankruptcy Analysis

  • Comment number 12.

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

  • Comment number 13.

    #8 JohnDrake


    To mispeak like this - child benefit instead of tax credit renewals - is fairly easy.

    Its not lying to make a mistake - Labour have said he misspoke and corrected it.

    The end.

    Mountains and molehills again.

  • Comment number 14.

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

  • Comment number 15.

    The latest UK GDP figures show the fragility of economic recovery here,meanwhile the OECD estimates that growth in Europe,the USA and Japan will ease back in the first half of 2010.

    Meanwhile sovereign debt threatens European fringe countries,Greece,Portugal and Spain.

    The flight into financial services by Britain,the USA and Germany reflects the inability of its manufacturing base to compete with cheaper Chinese and Indian imports.

    It`s effect has been to exarcerbate income and wealth inequality, which has grown in all of these countries in the past twenty years,while the manufacturing base atrophies and a huge underclass is created dependent on the state.

    The huge surpluses generated by financial services needs to be ploughed into advanced manufacturing,-biotech,aerospace,green and environmental technology,alternative energy,nuclear and pharmaceuticals.New science based technology will created new industries of the future.

    To produce innovation on this scale would require collective effort in which the state will play a major part in combination with private capital.It has happened before.The technologies underlying the second industrial revolution were pioneered by the state in time of war.Radar led to electronics,the bomb to nuclear energy.penicillin produced a revolution in the control of infection,the computer technologies associated with enigma were the seed bed of the computer.

    With this revolution will come new markets and new sources of employment for a re-skilled workforce.The degradation of skills associated with the decline of traditional industries can be reversed.But it requires forward thinking and a new relationship between politics,the state and capital.

  • Comment number 16.

    I, for one, m more confused than ever. I didn't bothr wih oost 1! My brain was already hurting! Mr Brown is in dire need of some serious help before he takes his yr6 SATs this year (if the headteacher's willing!) Messrs Cameron and Osbourne seem not much better as they appear to have no firm ideas only the same vague "efficiency savings" whilst Mr Clegg ditches Trident (in several years time!) whilst giving away billions now. Its obvious cuts will be needed. Wy can't one of hem come clean? With regard to this "online only" proposal how much will be SPENT on setting it up and which (foreign) companies will get to set it up and run it? Who's going to train the not computer literate and where will hey get paid?
    Seems all parties are thinking "on the hoof", and not clearly.

  • Comment number 17.

    Well imagine if he'd said 'Oh hold on a minute, let me check my notes. You know the amount of data involved in running a country is huge so sometimes I have to look things up, being human, you know' Would that have been OK to the media?

    I think not.

    Now when it comes to Mr Cameron. He's been on radio 4 telling us all (without realising it) that our MPs haven't yet understood their jobs. Their jobs are to carry out our wishes and if we send back a hung parliament, then that means we want them to sit down, get on with the job at hand. We are not sending them back to squabble. If that is the best they can do, then perhpas they should withdraw from the election.
    Responding to a World At One listener, Conservative leader David Cameron explained his fears for a hung parliament, saying it would result in MPs "horse-trading each others' jobs and careers and buying this policy and selling that policy".

    He added that the potential outcome would affect policy: "The people who'll lose out are the people who want us to sort our economy out and keep our interest rates low."

    So, he failed to say he'd insist his party MPs do as their voters wished! Incredible lack of responsibility in his very own little broken community of Tory politicians! Unable to do the job they are paid very well to do! What do they need, training?

    Oh, the irony!

  • Comment number 18.

    Historically Labour have a very poor record of paying off debt, once again should Brown be re-elected I am sure he will prove history right again. Prepare for an IMF bail out.

  • Comment number 19.

    #9 MadCow

    So you can tell me exactly which IT projects the Tories are going to cut then and how much that will save?

    Go on then...enlighten the electorate.

    The truth is the Tories haven't given any detail to their 'savings' which means that we can't analyse which good projects we will lose and how many jobs will be lost.

    I happen to know a lot of people who work in software development whose jobs depend on many of the government contracts that are currently under development. Often these IT projects will save money and improve service and efficiency.

    Cutting them before they are completed may well be very short-sighted - particularly as it may not save much money due to penalty clauses and the taxpayer ends up not getting what he's paid for.

    The Tories say they are against waste but then suggest they instantly 'waste' taxpayers money by cancelling these projects when they get in.

    In the words of GB - "Get Real"

  • Comment number 20.

    No 13 V of R

    Sorry you're correct, just another mistake, Gordon's career has been littered with them hasn't it. I could list them all but it would take me till May 7th and by then it'll all be over.

    Seems to me this is no time for someone so prone to making so many mistakes, never mind a novice.

  • Comment number 21.


    I enjoyed your reply to 'Nickys' and 'kevinb's comments.

    I would like to refer a lot of people replying to many of the political topic blogs to the BBC "what I would do if I were prime minister" video by Sam,UK. He's the one with the headset. He explains that he would educate people so they knew what they meant when people make statements like "I want to leave the EU" or "I want to send all immigrants home". So they would know the repercussions of actually carrying out these wishes.

    Likewise, maybe some people could be educated about Hitler and Mussolini. They clearly did not cover this topic well enough in school. Possibly something to do with the cuts on education by the Thatcher government.

  • Comment number 22.

    #13. Voice_of_Reason

    I'm sure you'd like it to be 'The end', but it isn't.

    Your 'Dear Leader' may 'mispeak', but don't you think it's a bit convenient that he never 'mispeaks' in a way that is negative to Labour?

  • Comment number 23.

    19. Voice_of_Reason.
    i am watching paxman cameron and when it comes to gets flakey...
    paxman is pushing for detail on cuts and is being answered with a wash of smooth evasion.
    this is the truth. the majority of people who vote conservative wont be effected by faster and deeper cuts and this is the imoral sham of some tory voting.

  • Comment number 24.

    Just plain incompetence. This is a sign off the legacy Labour has left us.

  • Comment number 25.

    People generally no longer read the Bible. Their religion generally relates to what their parents religion was. They often have no idea what their holy book contains. That could easily be considered indoctrination rather than faith.

    However, there is a new religion. The religion of the tabloid. People read their newspaper or Tabloid (Sun, Mirror, Express, Mail, Mirror, Sky) every day, and read it as if it is the truth. It unfortunately, generally is not. It is generally a slanted view of the truth, as conveyed by a Party or individual with a personal benefit.

    Tory tabloids, spilling bilge and rumour, are by far the largest source of information these days. The Tories should really have 80% of the vote, if slanted news stories were accounted for. So they are distinctly not doing well, all things considered.

  • Comment number 26.

    Not really a story as he made a mistake and has surely corrected himself?

    Now, if Brown pretending to be such a nice man and a gentleman and well educated had INSTRUCTED his staff to maliciously smear the opponent who is performing much better than him and is standing equal in the polls with him (in spite of not having the HUGE advantage of 85% of the newspapers supporting him and on a budget 10 times greater).

    Brown made a genuine error, while Cameron smears and you Nick Robinson having recognised your mistake in claiming there was no sign the smears were on the instructions of Cameron, now know this was untrue and Cameron WAS responsible.

    This is surely a far more important story as it PROVES CONCLUSIVELY to every voter that:-
    A) Cameron and Tory Central Office play dirty (and anyone considering he is a nice guy should take a SERIOUS LOOK and think twice and indeed thrice!)
    B)the symbiotic umbilical chord between the Tory Party and its rich and powerful supporters (many of whom are tax exiles) and the unfairness of the media in the UK, and the serious dangers this poses to our democracy and parliamnetary system
    C) throws into serious question the ethics of the journalists and whole raft of Editors involved and just how rattled they are
    D) shows just how rattled the rest of the Establishment is that its arrogant assumption that its the Tory Party's turn and its whole army of businessmen, advisers, politicians, peers and freeloaders to assume power.

    It is surely finally time Nick to end the Labour-Tory stranglehold on power and for the BBC to try to ensure that it retains it's right to independence.

    NB in the Paxman interview on BBC 2 just seen Cameron make three mistakes in what he has said and several serious falsehoods eg on the Northern Rock collapse where Cameron now says he preferred someone else to take it over, yet previously NO COMPANY was willing to take it over and Cameron said he would let it collapse. Hence Cameron is telling Paxman and us viewers a serious untruth.

    The truth is that Cameron was wanting Northern Rock to collapse (please remember that anyone who had moeny in that bank)and opposed to the 2 rescues of the UK banking system.

    That would have meant everyone with a bank account would have lost it as each bank collapsed in turn both here and worldwide (as it would have been frozen for years and bank account owners lost much of their money), most people would have seen their employers collapse, see their jobs go, property values collapse, many people evicted from their homes, the High Street and cities turned into a WASTELAND and GROUND ZERO, and most people forced to scavenge off the land.

    Cameron, Boy Wonder Osborne and Ken Clark have all proven their UTTER INCOMPETENCE over dealing with the nation's financial and economic affairs because all they are are trustafarians whose inherited wealth and privilege proves they have nothing in common with ordinary decent hardworking people

  • Comment number 27.

    <RICHPOST>Sorry Mr. Robinson but you really are stretching things.<br><br> Mr. Brown does say in almost the same breath “We will move that into other services….” I watched the news conference and it was clear enough. It was obvious to me that he was talking about 1bn for all of the services not only child benefit.</RICHPOST>

  • Comment number 28.

    Should we expect any different?

    Gordon Brown was telling us for ages there would be NO cuts?
    Now Labour are saying the cuts will be harsher than under Thatcher.

    The most incredible thing though is not that the 'iron chancellor' could be so wrong, or blatantly lie, but that the media never take him to task over whatever verison of the truth he is spinning.

  • Comment number 29.

    #19 Voice_of_Reason

    The truth is that the Liebers haven't given any detail to their planned cuts!

    How can you be so easily fooled?

    btw, I actually work in software development in the real commercial world where keeping people in their job even though they are totally inept would be a foolish thing to do. Guess that's why you think it's a good idea.

  • Comment number 30.

    With regards to gold-plated public sector pensions I would like to put forward the idea that the amount of money that the tax payer presently puts in to top-up these pensions should, in future be divided equally and paid to all pensioners via the state pension. In this way all pensioners would benifit and not just a few. The present system is grossly unfair and I am disappointed that none of the main parties seem to want to discuss this matter because I suspect they fear losing votes from public sector workers.

  • Comment number 31.

    Brown has form recently, on lying to various people about various figures...defence spending, this , other things, it is just getting to be the normal scenario

    He is becoming more and more desperate, and possible even he is beginning to realise that time is running out, and in two weeks, the unelected PM, will be PM no more

    There is no way Labour can get a majority, and without that Brown is toast

    It is still possible to have a Labour/Lib Dem coalition, although Brown would NEVER be in charge of that

    Interestingly, there is no way the Labour Party can depose him as leader, although the Queen can invite anyone to lead the government, should there be a coalition

    Anyone I have ever worked with displaying the incompetence Brown has, would at the very least need to improve

  • Comment number 32.

    @19 Voice of (fairly illogical) Reason

    Efficiency savings couldn't be easier. How about the seven (yes seven) new NHS regulatory bodies that have been set up under Labour to add to the two that already existed. Of course the top managament of each takes home well over 100K, and often 200L. How about the 29 new "initiatives" launched by Labour in the Education sector. The 2.3 billion on a failed NHS IT system, 5.4 billion on an ID card system (Home Office figures) might be a target. Maybe the fact that the Treasury administration costs increased sharply under Mr. Brown from 90 million to 160 million between 2000 and 2003 (and are currently 175 million) might also reveal a certain lack of control over the spending of public money.

    This all smacks of a waste of public money, public money that Gordon Brown was responsible for. He had 13 years to put his ideas into operation and they have failed miserably. He doesn't deserve to show his face again let alone be elected as Prime Minister. If there was any "reason" to your "voice" then you'd be appalled by Labour's profligacy (even before the financial crisis) and ability to run up debts while denying any responsibility for them. The Tories haven't been in power for the past 13 years in case you hadn't notice, so stop trying to blame them for Labour's mistakes.

  • Comment number 33.


    Not sure why you mention me in your post

  • Comment number 34.

    Buffoon @ 29 wrote:
    The truth is that the Liebers haven't given any detail to their planned cuts!


    Is that German or a weak joke?

  • Comment number 35.


    Amongst your frenzied rant you said nobody wanted to buy Northern Rock


    Darling prevented Lloyds Tsb from buying Northern Rock

    Look it up, before repeating more claptrap

  • Comment number 36.

    cameron has given alot of speaches on income inequality. independant research to which he sometimes refers
    paxman commented on the fact that in these speaches cameron refers to income inequality throughout history but never metions the 1980s when income inequality rose higher than any other decade. he also tied in with this the conservative inheritance tax policy which gives tax breaks to millionaires. camerons answer was that hard work and achievement shouldnt be punished. paxman does giving tax breaks to millionaires do anything for income inequality!
    cameron will never represent the vast majority on average incomes or below and anyone who cant see this must be absolutely crazy.

  • Comment number 37.

    2. At 7:43pm on 23 Apr 2010, Voice_of_Reason wrote:
    Not really a story this one Nick.

    He is going to save £1 billion but just that what he said we were saving it on wasn't entirely specific or accurate -
    Miaooow, and I thought you were a socialist (you said 'we')!

    Brown NOT entirely specific or accurate! Well I never, shiver me timbers, and vote for Nick Clegg, wot a surprise. The son of the Manse not specific and not accurate - my God (well not mine, I'm an Atheist, maybe Brown's God - although I think he's called Mammon, or was it Beelzebub, or was that Mandelson, but you know what I mean) I couldn't be more shocked if I found out Clegg was a public school Toff just like Tory Blair and had spent his life in Politics and wasn't a whiter than white straight kinda guy come into politics just to clean up (he is in it to clean up?)!

  • Comment number 38.

    26. Nicky

    Last night you got fair beating by Gerry (who by the way,if you bothered to read other peoples postings you would know by now is not a Tory) and quite rightly so.

    Obviously the lesson hasn't been learnt. This very blinkered view on the world is very worrying and whilst having an interest and a voice is very comendable please tread carefully.

  • Comment number 39.

    So how many mis-speaks make a lie. . . .

    Start the list with double/triple spending announcements from c.1997/98,
    through 10p tax rate sting hidden away in the small print,
    to this £74m rounded up to a cool £1billion, or £1,000m as seems favourite today.

    While we're examining figures, I believe that today's GDP increase of 0.2% was calculated to be about £600m of addition to the economy and compared disparagingly against £6billion cuts in waste, renamed as removals from the economy.

    Does anyone have the interest payment on current debt which should be truthfully set against this £600m, so called, proof of recovery.

    Of course there are so many more mis-speaks to mention in between that it almost becomes a Voice Of Treason.

  • Comment number 40.

    4. At 7:57pm on 23 Apr 2010, bryhers wrote:
    The estimate of £1 billion of savings from the internet payment of child benefit is simply wrong.

    Brown is too optimistic,
    Some one said a Week was a long time in Politics, it looks like 24 hours in this instance.

    Brown Optimistic? Thats a bit like saying the Maquis De Sade was a little eccentric!

  • Comment number 41.

    To all the Labour fringe madmen who think that there won't be any public sector cuts under Labour...

    Check out Darling's comments of today

    Then tell me that there won't be cuts under Labour

    Wake up

    There will be big public sector cuts under any government, and VAT will be 20% under any government

    We may even have the IMF involved under any government due to Brown's incompetence, leading to 6% interest rates within 12 months

    So, when people say vote conservative to reduce the risk of this, my advice would be to listen

    Anyone who thinks we are out of the recession is in denial

    It is starting to get worse, £23bn borrowed in one month, GDP pathetic...unemployment rising sharply, particularly long term and young

    The growth forecasts are just fiction, and without the growth, Labour's economic hole is almost as big as the hole in Brown's economic credibility

    So the deficit is vital, as is reigning in the ridiculous overspending

    At least if the conservatives slip back, and we do have a labour/lib dem pact, under Johnson with Cable as chancellor, then we can finally put the 'blame it all on the conservatives' myth to bed

    Unfortunately that will lead to the country being destroyed in the process

    One consolation will be the fact we were right all along, as we chew our crust of bread in the soup kitchen queue

    Brown has a lot to answer for

    Sooner he is officially not PM the better

    His sulking will made Ted Heath look reasonable

  • Comment number 42.

    @26 Nicky - What a load of rubbish. As George Osborne said yesterday, Ken Clarke was a billion times better a Chancellor than anyone Labour put forward. After all, Brown had to promise to follow his spending plans for the first term to gain any credibility pre-2000. The difference between the Tories and Labour is that the Tories would have nto plunged us into debt even before the finaicial crisis. This would have meant more room for maneouvre than Brown/Darling had and would not have meant borrowing anything like the 162 billion Nu-Lab are currently borrowing every year.

  • Comment number 43.

    Kevin @ 31 wrote:
    He is becoming more and more desperate, and possible even he is beginning to realise that time is running out


    This is, of course, wishful thinking. Brown is in a much better position than anyone would have predicted a few months ago. Cameron is failing to shine and Clegg has stolen his limelight for those primarily interested in change. Polls are averaging at best a six point lead for the Tories which is lower than it was a year ago and simply not enough to be confident of any kind of victory, given the eccentricities of our voting system. If Cameron fails to deliver an overall majority on 6th May he will be condemned by those in his own party who have never approved of his repositioning of the party towards the centre - probably around 80% of their existing MPs. (We can assume the new intake will be more pro-Cameron.) They will point out, quite rightly, that if he can't trounce a 13-year-old government trying for an unprecedented fourth term with an unelected PM in the midst of the deepest recession since WW2, he is not up to much.

  • Comment number 44.


    I appreciate you think that rich people should give all their money to you, yet it is not correct to say it is a tax break

    The IHT proposal is to take LESS from these people, the proposal is not to give them even 1p

    As it happens, IHT is one tax which you can plan for, and the very rich pay next to nothing

    The money is kept in families by older single/widowed people marrying cousins etc to keep the money within the family

    I understand that the left wing think the world owes them a living, but why should people who have more just be taxed as a punishment to suit the left

    I would be grateful if you could answer the question, as whilst I know it is popular to just attack the rich, I would love to understand what the underlying hatred is for?

    There is always someone better off, and someone worse off than all of us, except the richest person in the country and the poorest

  • Comment number 45.


    Have you been watching 2012 recently, and got in a muddle?

    You seem to be giving away the ending in your post


    In case people don't want to know the ending

    As someone who will be voting Conservative, I encourage you to conserve some dignity, and stop making false accusations which you have plucked out of the air

  • Comment number 46.

    #29 MadCow

    The people I know work in the 'commercial' world too and bid for government contracts as well - all the time you show up your thatcherite ideology that everything the state does is always bad.

    In actual fact the state can help lift people out of poverty, the state can help create and sustain jobs and the state can encourage communities to prosper.

    The market has its place - but it can't do everything - and it can't provide our economy and society with fairness.

    If Labour had left things to the markets then millions more would have been unemployed and all our banks would have collapsed. Thats what your wonderful deregulated markets would have led us to if the Labour government hadn't intervened.

    In years to come, history will look back on this government as the one that saved our economy from ruin.

  • Comment number 47.

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

  • Comment number 48.

    #32 suchan104

    I'm just trying to blame the Tories for their own mistakes.

    They were wrong on Northern Rock, they were wrong about deregulation, they were wrong about nationalising the banks.

    The Tories have been wrong throughout the banking crisis and they are wrong now to suggest that we should pull resources out of the economy this year.

    Most of the economists agree that they are wrong on this point and suggest that if they take the action they have indicated then we are likely to see a double-dip recession.

  • Comment number 49.

    Gordon Brown doesn't need to be honest. The mass state dependency his party has created (through immigration, welfare and public sector employment) guarantees a Labour win at the General Election.

    As for "efficiency savings" and spending cuts - forget it. Labour's solution is more tax. The hard-working, self-reliant people of this country are going to be bled dry.

  • Comment number 50.

    No 26, Nicky wrote:

    “NB in the Paxman interview on BBC 2 just seen Cameron make three mistakes in what he has said and several serious falsehoods eg on the Northern Rock collapse where Cameron now says he preferred someone else to take it over..”

    Lloyds TSB made an offer to take it over, which was turned down because LTSB wanted some financial back-up guarantees.

    DC asked in the Commons why Eric Daniels’ offer had not been accepted to which GB said that no offer had been made. An outright lie, which was accepted by the public as verbatim at the time, but in the passing of time since turns out to be par for the course.

  • Comment number 51.


    I understand you are anti Conservative, great

    However, my point was about how desperate Brown is

    Do you accept there will not be a majority Labour Government?

    If you do, Brown is toast, it is that simple

    Clegg will not work with him

    Mandleson is trying to hang him out to dry, and the only chance he has is a Labour majority

    In trying to marry Nick, he overdid it, underestimated Clegg, and has been destroyed by his inability to adjust and accept he is not the Messiah (or even a very naughty boy)

    I hope you can be honest in your reply on that

    As far as Cameron is concerned, ever since the Sun came out in support of the Conservatives, and particularly since the attack on Brown's handwriting, he has lost the momentum, becalmed, in the doldrums (rather like the old sailing boats, where the term was pinched from)

    He did ok debate one, and won last night

    IF he doesn't get a majority, yet gets the most seats (which is odds on by a big margin at every bookies) he may well be able to steal back the political momentum by offering Clegg PR to form a pact

    I know it seems unlikely, it is possible, though, just

    If Lib Dems and Labour form an alliance, then it cannot happen with Brown, Clegg will not work with him

    Putting that to one side, if there were that alliance, Cameron would be vulnerable, however there is every chance that the labour party would also be on the verge of a civil war, so it would possible be all to play for in a subsequent election within 12 months or less

    PR would help the Conservatives in Wales and Scotland, and despite the comments of some on here, more people voted Conservative than any other party in England in 2005

    So I agree that Cameron is in a sticky position, possibly

    It is none the less, somewhat less sticky than Brown, who might as well be covered from head to toe in superglue, and then have doughnuts stuck to him, so sticky is his position

    He is bound to lose his temper again during the debate on the economy next week

    That will be the final nail in his political coffin

  • Comment number 52.

    Jon Rachel, you say all newspapers smear equally (previous theme) and get over it

    Sorry but thats untrue. The Lib Dems have no proprietor in their pocket and Labour have maybe 15% of the press in their pocket. The Tories have 85% and as we have seen can order their newspaper editors around at the drop of a hat.

    As for kevinb claiming that Lloyds TSB wanted to buy Northern Rock that is absolute twaddle. Either the memory is going or you are confusing it with Sir Victor Blank agreeing to takeover HBOS. The only way Northern Rock was of any interest to anyone was if the govt had been prepared to give guarantees WELL BEYOND those that the Chancellor gave when they eventually had to nationalise it.

    Sadly after trying to read your hundreds of 'barking-style' statement posts (backed up with nothing more than your opinion) to all and sundry I put your knowledge of business/finance as pretty low.

    After all, you still seem incapable of doing a quick percentage calculation to prove up the 80-90% (I orignally said) or approx 85% I estimated as the Tory press. Why not admit I am right and you are wrong.

    You seem absolutely obsessed with a round the clock fact free commentary

    I know you seem to spend most of the day blogging and have done for the past week. Why not get out into the sun and fresh air?

  • Comment number 53.


    The interest payments on the debt this year, are expected to be just under £29bn, rising to about £43bn in 2011

    These are the budget forecast figures

    We will be going past £1tn of debt just before the Olympics

    Perhaps we need to add a 6th ring to commemorate that achievement

    Maybe call it the Brown ring

  • Comment number 54.

    At 9:31pm on 23 Apr 2010, DevilsAdvocate wrote:
    4. At 7:57pm on 23 Apr 2010, bryhers wrote:
    The estimate of £1 billion of savings from the internet payment of child benefit is simply wrong.

    Brown is too optimistic,
    "Some one said a Week was a long time in Politics, it looks like 24 hours in this instance.
    Brown Optimistic? Thats a bit like saying the Maquis De Sade was a little eccentric!"

    The quote is Harold Wilson`s and reflects the short termism of political life.

    All parties are too optimistic about what can be achieved with efficiency savings which are a code for unemployment.More honesty over the scope and direction of these savings would make for a a more informed debate and choice.

    The secrecy surrounding this fuels Cleggs rhetoric about the two old parties,unfortunately he`s right.But is the electorate mature enough? It`s the question posed in Dostoevsky`s story "The Grand Inquisitor", who advises Jesus that people were not ready to see their idols challenged.Or as Freud remarked. "All authority is based on the credulity of love."- We transfer to people in authority the trust we placed in our parents as children.

    It is only by ridding outselves of infantile attachments we can grow up emotionally and politically.

  • Comment number 55.

    So the PM has admitted that he's going to rais the Pension Fund again?

    Many of us from the NHS put in 6% of our earnings into the pension pot, now we're told they're just going give them away? When we go to collect our pension, and find there's nothing there & have to collect benefits for low income, where's the money coming from then?

    Another 'quick fix' raid to bail themselves out today. Tomorrow is somebody else's problem.......

  • Comment number 56.

    I can not understand the logic ie that there will be Public Spending Savings (ie CUTS)but there will be no Job cuts?.How Long can GB Ltd keep on borrowing Monies to Pay such a large Public Sector Wage Bill .Labour gives the impression that it can keep on borrowing to buy our self out of recession because the Public Sector workers are paying Tax and NI and not drawing government benifits.It wont be long before the lenders will insist on Higher rates of interest as their risk level goes up. GB Ltd must work its way out of this mess and stop buying votes by give away policies.I have to live within my means why do Labour and the Liberals think they can run GB Ltd any different.This has now made my mind up.BUT please I ask all of you caste your vote.Dont let people gain power by default. Den the Man

  • Comment number 57.

    I am astonished that nobody has commented on the reality of public sector pensions.

    Public sector employees have always paid into the pension fund at the agreed level for the benefits they get in retirement.

    The primary cause of the problem is that the employers; councils, NHS, Government HAVE NOT put aside the money necessary - it was a "painless" way of cutting public expenditure and warmly embraced by Thatcher & co.

    We then have a decade of Tory cuts where public sector employees were sacked, or in many cases given early retirement, and suddenly we have a pension pot that is being hit by extra unplanned retirees and far fewer people paying in. Add in the odd stock market crash and the problem becomes a crisis, BUT it is the employers fault, NOT the employees.

    Lots of big companies also took "pension holidays" which ended up biting them in the backside.

    By the way, I have no public sector pension entitlement

  • Comment number 58.

    13. At 8:25pm on 23 Apr 2010, Voice_of_Reason wrote:
    #8 JohnDrake


    To mispeak like this - child benefit instead of tax credit renewals - is fairly easy.

    Its not lying to make a mistake

    Dig Dig Dig Dig Dig Dig Dig in a hole the whole day through,
    to Dig Dig Dig Dig Dig Dig Dig is what we like to do.
    we make up stories by the score
    and a hundred porkies, sometimes more,
    we don't know what we do it for
    we just dig dig dig a-dig dig
    - in a hole, - in a hole, where a million spinners troll!

    Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho its off the scale we go!

    all due acknowledgments to Sleazy, Dopey, and Grumpy at Nu Labour headquarters.

    *Please note any similarity between Labour trolls and the seven Dwarves is completely accidental, and frankly unbelievable,the only similarity is that both exist in a fantasy realm.

    **Get your tickets now for the last performance of the Nu Labour Pantomime, next Thursday. Show closes on May 6th Also note that it is not a misprint that ALL Trolls in the Labour pantomime are 'Grumpy' or 'Deluded' (Special Guest appearances by Tory Blair and Cleggy - not the FAMOUS Cleggy from Last of the Summer Wine, but the other one, Louis Theroux's mate.)

  • Comment number 59.

    52 - Nicky

    Your knowledge on all matters astounds me.

    Happy now

  • Comment number 60.

    Never mind the Billion - ask him about the Trillion!

  • Comment number 61.

    lefty @ 36

    "Cameron's answer was that hard work and achievement shouldn't be punished."

    Missed the interview but David misses the point by the sound of it. Tax is not about "punishing" people, it's about raising the money required for public services, infrastructure, environmental protection, internal and external security - and doing so on an ability to pay basis. If you do it properly you forge a more equal, more prosperous, more civilised and generally happier society. Don't see why we can't all get behind the idea. Maybe one day we will.

  • Comment number 62.


    You are unable to take in anything people tell you

    I am not confused re Lloyds TSB

    Check out your facts, before writing your inane garbage

    As far as adding up and maths is concerned you are again deluded

    There are 9 newspapers

    4 Conservative


    2 Neutral


    3 Left leaning


    Percentage wise, that is




    Now go and try and see if you can apply to join the real world

  • Comment number 63.

    mrnaughty2, you allege "fair beating" from who?

    If Gerry (do you mean Gerrymander?) seems to remain blinkered and of the view that a 300 yr old electoral system which anyone getting 1 vote more than the next highest have an effect, while all the rest are wasted votes and get thrown in the bin (ie get no say even if they represent 80 or 90% of the electorate) is a travesty of justice.

    I am only asking that each person's vote has the same effect. What could be simpler and fairer than that? Why should Lord Muck's or Citizen Kane's vote count and mine and that of 35 million other electors NOT.

    Is this a democracy or not? If so, every voter's vote should count equally and each party get their share of the national vote rewarded in the compostion of parliament.

    Having the current antique system where Tories can get 35%, Lib Dems 40% and Labour get 25% and Labour get the most MPs is a total lottery, just as if the Tories get 35% and win every seat in the Commons

    A little consideration and respect for your fellow man's opinion and a little less 'Tory grabbing' and "the Nasty Party" and maybe the Tories might be liked and trusted a little more, even if it is run by inexperienced trustafarians who have never done a solid day's work in their little lives.

  • Comment number 64.

    54. bryers

    Harold Wilson also said "They won't to know whats going on, I'll tell you what's going on, I'm going on". or words to that effect. We are moving into GB territory i.e the economy. If GB can demonstrate he has a clear credible plan for the deficit then we could just see the biggest come back of all time and GB could just be going back to Number 10. The next week will be make or break for GB and it will interesting viewing.

  • Comment number 65.

    Brown is a liar.
    Brown has adopted Liam Byrne's ridiculous smile.
    Brown lies about what the other parties will supposedly do.
    What kind of mindset does anyone have that will vote for Brown.

  • Comment number 66.

    Kevin @ 51

    I don't in fact agree that a majority Labour government is the only scenario in which Brown might survive. If he does substantially better than might have been expected a few months ago - ie there is no overall Tory majority - then he will be difficult to unseat and does not appear to be the 'stepping down' kind. Clegg may in principle be unwilling to work with Brown, but who knows how the negotiations might pan out? He might compromise if he's offered the right deal. As Groucho Marx said, these are my principles - if you don't like them, I have others.

  • Comment number 67.


    You are unfortunately not quite right

    This is what has been, and is meant, by saying that such schemes are unfunded

    There have been no pension holidays involving public sector schemes

    So, sadly, whilst there is a public sector issue, ie they will need to be cut, you are barking up the wrong tree

  • Comment number 68.

    44. kev
    I appreciate you think that rich people should give all their money to you
    there you go. childish nonsense and not what was said....sigh.
    why dont you read the link and the information that the equality trust provides (by the way, there is other independent research that concludes the same thing). anyway, david cameron and all the main parties agree with this research and it has been discussed in the house of lords by all parties. cameron sais he wants monnetary inequality to be adressed but it is the absolute opposite to give a £200,000 tax cut to the 3,000 richest estates in the country. this point cannot be argued. they are facts. of course you could change the subject and skip the question. you could site jelousy or envy or attacking the rich etc etc etc...but this is not the point and offering extreeme arguements in defence that dont answer the point is a clear admission of an inability to accept the facts. the facts being that cameron sais he want to help the low paid and address income inequality..and then has a policy that does nothing to address the isuue, moreover it just sticks two finger up at it and makes it worse.

  • Comment number 69.

    Please, please, please can somebody (Nick Robinson)in the press question these politicians so that we get to a better understanding about what they have actually done to this country.

    Gordon Brown is the architect of a massive debt; we are paying huge interest payments and headed towards bankruptcy.

    How can Mr Brown and the whole NL outfit be allowed to get away with hiding such financial irresponsibility?


  • Comment number 70.

    kevin @ 41

    "To all the Labour fringe madmen who think that there won't be any public sector cuts under Labour"

    Nobody thinks that, Kevin.

    Do let me know, by the way, if you need another explanation of how a public spending cut this year, without a balancing tax cut this year, implies deficit reduction (so less aggregate borrowing) this year and thus money taken out of the economy ... this year.

  • Comment number 71.


    That Brown is a pathological liar, is not, sadly, news. The utter disaster that is the UK now is testified to by the fact that ANYONE should vote for this one man Fifth Column.

  • Comment number 72.

    How on earth did these "back offices" get so big in the first place?? As a pub landlord I am always looking for ways to cut costs without reducing the quality of the service I provide. I can assure you this is done on a daily basis otherwise I would have closed my doors a long time ago. Why this is not undertaken in government & only mentioned in the face of an election baffles me. What worries me is that now the Labour government has created these jobs it will be very difficult to uncreate them without massive increases in unemployment producing an even bigger tax burden on the already overtaxed. I do not have all the answers but it seems to me the best way would be asking the civil service to work that little bit harder as we in the private sector have done during an incredibly difficult time. When I look in the jobs section of the local paper & see that around 75% are local government it is no wonder that in times of hardship the country very quickly runs into trouble.

  • Comment number 73.


    Insanity seems to be getting the better of you....

    Made up fantasy delusion 1 (starring Nicky)

    Real world 0

    Own goal in the first minute

    Nicky was taken off injured, with a sprained sanity gene

  • Comment number 74.

    nicky @ 26

    "Cameron and Tory Central Office play dirty"

    Mmm. Awful smearing of Clegg by the Tory press yesterday - particularly the WW2 thing - and I'd just hate to think it could have the intended effect. What I'd like to see is it backfire completely; I remember how the "letters to soldiers" poison in the Sun did exactly that, so perhaps it will.

  • Comment number 75.

    Sagamix - 61

    Up to a certain point I agree with you but surely we need to decide where the starting point is.

    Is it 1) these are the serices we need so therefore this is how much it's going to cost and so this is how much we need to raise in taxes?


    2)This is how much tax we can/want to raise and so this is what we can afford so these are the services we can have?

  • Comment number 76.

    #62 KevinB

    More than a bit economical with the truth there Kevin.

    Times and FT are not neutral - they are soft-right newspapers in comparison to extreme right of the Telegraph, Mail and Express. You also forgot the Star and the News of the World and the Metro that are all right wing.

    Mirror is as bad as the Sun but for Labour.

    The Guardian is Labour / Liberal

    Independent is Liberal

    Thats 9 Tory papers to 1 Labour newspapers, 1 centre-left newspaper and 1 Liberal newspaper.

    And we haven't even started on all the right-wing local papers up and down the country.

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.


    Thanks for the reply

    Two points

    1) It isn't difficult t remove Brown, it is impossible. Unless he jumps, he can't be pushed

    2)You are right to say a deal with Clegg is possible with Brown....00.0000000000001% is possible, although everything points to Brown needing to go for that to happen

    I am not trying to be picky, but Brown is getting worse in the polls, not better, and when Salmond sticks the boot in on Sunday, that won't help either

    So how do you see him doing better than a few months ago, in your view, what does that look like

    Labour have 346 seats at the low do you think he can go and not get a talking to from the men in cloaks (Voldemort)

  • Comment number 79.

    Mr N @ 38

    "Nicky, last night you got a fair beating by Gerry"

    Surely not.

  • Comment number 80.


    I agree it is a bit childish, as childish as a lot of the anti-Tory comments made by many, including yourself, so we are all guilty of that on occasion, apart from Nicky, who is likely to win a lifetime achievement award for his/her/it's efforts

    So please, if you want to discuss it at a higher level, could you answer the questions I asked you, as I genuinely ask them, not to be sniping

    The IHT proposal (right/wrong to one side) is not a tax rebate, it is just taking less tax, there is a difference

  • Comment number 81.

    So do I get a lesson on Saganomics about the selling off of gold, or the usual mealy mouthed evasion of a topic where (once again) you are totally wrong.

    You're right, tax shouldn't be about punishing people. Shame Labour don't see it that way. Why else would they introduce revisions to pension relief and increase the top rate of tax? Already, people are looking at alternatives to pension contributions and ways of avoiding the top rate. It's happening in droves. I used to spend a lot of time making sure businesses could grow eficiently, now I spend my time planning on the tax efficient withdrawal of money from businesses. It's what my clients want.

    Darling knew this. He admited that when he chose 50%, he had no idea how much extra it would bring in. It was a political move. It will cost more to administer and result in less tax collected, few businesmen even bothering. I already have two clients retiring early. 1 3 years early, the other 5 years. They just don't see the point in working hard if they have to give more away than they keep.

    You just can't accept reality. Neither can Labour.

  • Comment number 82.

    I thank the 'orrible mumber f'givin wee...
    48. At 9:48pm on 23 Apr 2010, Voice_of_Reason wrote:

    #32 suchan104

    I'm just trying to blame Labour for their own mistakes.

    They were wrong on Northern Rock, they were wrong about regulation, they were wrong about de-nationalising the banks.

    Labour have been wrong throughout the banking crisis and they are wrong now to suggest that we should put resources into the economy this year.

    I agree with t'orrible mumber.

    I give wee t' right 'orrible mumbers...

  • Comment number 83.

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

  • Comment number 84.


    I don't always agree with Gerry, as he is all over the place with his thinking(not meant in a negative way), so sometimes we are on the same wavelength, sometimes we are not

    He was anything but blinkered in his posts to you

    He was sharp, and took you to the cleaners

    And back again for a double-wash

    Then hanged you out to dry

  • Comment number 85.


    Have you put something in your cocoa?

    Loads of people on here, and more relevantly Gordon Brown himself, in the embers of hs non-elected term as PM, says so

    Get real

    No, I need no lectures from you, self-appointed blog tsar sagamix

  • Comment number 86.

    76 - It's not that Tory supporting businessmen decided to buy up all the newspapers. Newspapers are owned by succesful, hard-working businessmen and to such, the tory party is the natural home.

    Hey, why don't you and sagamix work really hard, build up a successful business and then use the profits from that business to buy or set up a newspaper? Then you could say whatever you liked in it. Sagamix could write the editorials, you could stand on the corner and sell it.

    Why don't you do that? It's the 'work really hard' bit that put you off isn't it? Or maybe you just don't think of yourself as the 'succesful' type? Is that why you promote the role of the state so much? So the state can look after you?

  • Comment number 87.


    Is Voice of reason a kind of ironic name, like Ronnie giant Corbett?

    For goodness sake, the Sun was a labour rag for years, it only jumped ship recently

    The Times and FT are not supportive of either main party, and will declare shortly before the election

    I didn't forget the star, it is not a newspaper I would include as being a newspaper

    The Metro is a free paper, and only available in London, so hardly a national paper

    So, apart from nit picking, you agree, which means that your protestations and absurd percentages were heading towards Nicky territory


    To prove your talking cobblers, if the media conspiracy was true, which it isn't, you just have a bigoted view, then Cameron would be 30% ahead

    You really do need to stop being so obsessed

    In all of this, the thing that actually annoyed me was the misuse of percentages

    Along with the misuse of adverbs, it is a sign of poorer education

  • Comment number 88.

    suchan104, clearly you either don't remember the situation or you are unwilling to accept the economic truth. Cameron and Osborne and Clark were advocating leaving the banks and building socieites to go to the WALL.

    When they collapsed- and every UK, US and every European bank would have failed- can you tell me how you would have got money out of your bank account. How do you think your employer would have financed his working capital? I suggest if you work in the private sector you ask your Finance Director or CEO or any public company what would have happened if the banks collapsed as was CERTAIN.

    Telem 1- I made the point that there was no offer made and certainly not without any govt guarantee. Why therefore on earth would the govt have guaranteed the debts of Northern Rock, ONLY to see LLoyds TSB come to the govt seeking billions more to cover the bad debts of Northern Rock. It is utter nonsense to think that by the govt giving an unlimited guarantee to Eric Daniels that would have somehow stopped the US banking crash after Fannie Mae/Freddy Mac and AIG and Lehmans went down.

    Sadly Cameron and Osborne's (and your) comments are and were UNWORKABLE AND SHOW HOW YOU WOULD HAVE CAUSED GROUND ZERO, which to give him credit BROWN AND DARLING following VINCE CABLE'S recommendations were enacted, THANK GOODNESS

  • Comment number 89.

    63. nicky.
    apologies if you know this already..... but gerrymander posts under other names aswell. in the past he has also been perry neeham and also bill de zas. probably a few more aswell. he was/is? also a regular blogger on conservative home and ian dale (con blogg). he has in the past for one blogger taken up and tried to dominate large sections of blogs. so with this in mind you would have to ask about his motives, credibility and integrity.
    a) why would someone use multiple usernames
    b) why would this person say he is not a consrvative voter but continually attack anything not conservative and never attack the conservatives?
    agenda...conservative activist?
    looks that way

  • Comment number 90.

    PD @ 43

    "They will point out, quite rightly, that if he can't trounce a 13-year-old government trying for an unprecedented fourth term with an unelected PM in the midst of the deepest recession since WW2, he is not up to much."

    Indeed. I can still see him squeezing home (and if he does, he may - who knows - prove to be an excellent PM) but there's no doubt he's proved to be a big disappointment thus far. No vision, no inner strength, no principles other than second guessing public opinion; saying what he thinks people want him to say - ducking and diving (if old etonians can do such a thing) as he tries to progress a political project which has no objective other than to grasp power. He thought it was a slam dunk - that it was just the Tories' turn at the wheel - but now has to work for it. Quite right too. When I say he's been a disappointment I mean to me too, funnily enough, because I thought they'd made a great choice when they plumped for him as leader. Still seems a decent enough sort but, you know, so's my barber.

  • Comment number 91.

    The problem with the LAbour and left wing mentality is they want to be in control

    Whereas the Conservative mentality is to free people from control

    This is true of every aspect of policy

  • Comment number 92.

    of course success always means wealth in your book. so much you have to learn. i feel very sorry that in your life their seems to be no soul, just day after day concerned with money and tax advice.
    and telling anyone on here who questions todays society obsessed with material goods and wealth that they must be jealous, envious, on the dole, a loser, a communist...with such venom and discust etc etc etc.
    so sad

  • Comment number 93.

    Lloyds bank take over bid of Northern Rock

    Article here from Times

    So overtures were made

  • Comment number 94.

    #36 he also tied in with this the conservative inheritance tax policy which gives tax breaks to millionaires.

    Actually EVERYONE with an estate over £325,000 gets a tax break (or rather their estate does) - Only millionaires will PAY Tax.

  • Comment number 95.

    61. At 10:14pm on 23 Apr 2010, sagamix wrote:
    lefty @ 36

    "Cameron's answer was that hard work and achievement shouldn't be punished."

    Missed the interview but David misses the point by the sound of it. Tax is not about "punishing" people, it's about raising the money required for public services, infrastructure, environmental protection, internal and external security - and doing so on an ability to pay basis. If you do it properly you forge a more equal, more prosperous, more civilised and generally happier society. Don't see why we can't all get behind the idea. Maybe one day we will.

    Hmmm, tax is not all about making the 'Pips Squeak' then Saga?

    I wonder what Party said that?

  • Comment number 96.

    Sorry Nick this really is a non-story. He made a mistake and corrected it. Do you really expect any politician to be on top of the numbers? No it's in their interest to be vague. The real numbers issue is all the "off balance sheet" stuff PFI et al that they never talk about, but then again neither did Enron, Lehman Bros, Northern Rock and where did they end up.
    Re posting 10: Clear Clegg win coming from last week's success-Cameron all the vacuous smarm was there to see-Brown actually much improved but still got loser tatooed on his forehead.
    WE HAVE TO GO WITH HOPE this time the neanderthals have had their chance!

  • Comment number 97.

    "In actual fact the state can help lift people out of poverty, the state can help create and sustain jobs and the state can encourage communities to prosper"
    Exactly - perfect Tory Philosophy - Big Society.

    The State can encourage people to stay in poverty, the state can destroy jobs and the state can cause the disintegration of communities through multiculturalism, 24-hour binge drinking, control etc

    Perfect Labour philosophy.

  • Comment number 98.


    More rants, more capitals

    Is this what they mean by CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

  • Comment number 99.

    61. saga.
    its the part of the conservative brain that cant comprehend a "happier society". something about this makes them padlock their wallets and recheck that their safes are locked. of course as you know almost every other european country has a wealth divide..but not nearly as bad as in the uk. so if it works there it can work here... knackered and reading back on my posts i see my spelling is hence i bid you goodnight comrade.. lol

  • Comment number 100.

    It is not very strange getting a figure wrong during a conversation, cuts will be made whoever wins the elections, the clear thing is it will be very difficult to make these cuts, it seems that the budget is already tight enough.


Page 1 of 6

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.