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Painful time for the PM

Nick Robinson | 17:16 UK time, Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Anyone who's lost their father will know just how traumatic it can be. It feels like a rupture in the natural order of things. Dad is no longer there to give advice and perspective; to laugh with or - at times - at; and to be the head of the family.

Ian Cameron

Of course, anyone who's middle-aged knows that it could happen at any time. In that sense David Cameron is simply living through an experience many are painfully familiar with.

Very few, however, have lived through a few weeks as dramatic and traumatic as the prime minister.

Changing jobs and moving house top the list of stressful experiences. Add to these fighting an election, forming the first coalition in 50 years and having a baby and you feel weary just thinking about it. All this less than two years after the Cameron's buried their child.

So far, despite all this, David Cameron has looked relaxed as prime minister - able to relax, to switch off and to separate the personal from the political, say civil servants who remember how hard Gordon Brown found to do any of that.

He once said of his father that:

"You know the glass with him was half full.. it was overflowing... normally with something pretty alcoholic in it and this great sense of optimism. I think, I hope, I have got my sense of optimism from him."

Inevitably the next few weeks will be a period of grieving for David Cameron.

It will coincide with an intense period of decision-making which will determine the future of his premiership, his government and the country as he draws up a programme of spending cuts on a scale not seen for decades.

He is facing a massive personal as well as a political test. He will need all of his father's optimism.


  • Comment number 1.

    Condolences to Mr Cameron and his family

  • Comment number 2.

    I do not always agree with him but I thik David Cameron - the heir to Blair - has the character to come through all of this even stronger.

    His real problem over the longer term are:

    - some of his Ministers are intelectually or morally weak;

    - the LibDems will increasigly tear themselves apart; and

    - the EU has a greater and greater influence over what it is he can do.

  • Comment number 3.

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

  • Comment number 4.

    These are indeed times of mixed emotion for David Cameron, with birth and bereavement. But from what I have seen of the man so far, he has both the mettle and measure to tackle the challenges ahead – particularly when compared to the motley collection competing for leadership of the opposition.
    And Nick, stop being so dramatic with your spending cuts prose. It’s been overdone and most of the public are well preconditioned to expect austerity laced with sackcloth and ashes for the foreseeable future – so just bring it on and let’s get into it.

  • Comment number 5.

    May the Lord receive Ian Cameron into eternal bliss, and comfort those who mourn and miss him. Amen.

    There are some things even more important than administering the country on our behalf, and I hope David Cameron is given space and time to deal with them.

  • Comment number 6.

    Birth and death, the cycle of life.
    For new baby daughter, congratulations.
    For the death of son, Ivan, sadness.
    For the death of a father in France, condolences.
    Life goes on, and hopefully the pains and joys make us better people.

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

    With regard to my comment at #3 - which breaches none of the published rules.

    I take it that any comment which is unsympathetic towards David Cameron will be removed.

    Surely this should have been opened as some form of condolence book rather than a blog.

  • Comment number 9.

    We were lucky as a family when dad had a stroke with the added complication of having heart problems thrown in to the mix he survived and was able to see the birth of many grandchildren and great grandchildren. We lost him just 2 and a half years ago, but i never feel he is totally gone as i see him everyday in my child. In the smile and laughter, hopefully in time he will too. Until then we send you our love and sympathy. All the best in this horrible time, look to your family to get you through,

  • Comment number 10.

    Prime Minister Cameron does seem very robust, this is true, and hopefully he is. Certainly a lot to deal with, politically and personally, at present. The statement "a son first and PM second" reminds me of Gordon Brown's on exiting Downing Street: "I'm leaving my second most important job to concentrate on my first ... a husband and a father". This sounds nice, and gets us all nodding sagely, but is it correct? When GB said that, I was nodding along with the best of them but then I thought about it. Not really true, is it? It was more important for Mr Brown to be a good PM than to be a good husband and father (preferably all three, of course, although we can only vouch for the first). Ditto here - I'd say Mr Cameron, having taken on the awesome responsibility of national leader, is a Prime Minister first and a son/husband/father/friend etc second. Same goes for the Milibands with their oft repeated (and slightly Kray like) "nothing is more important than family" mantra when questioned about running against each other; sure they say this for public consumption - they more or less have to, it's what we expect and want to hear - but it's not true. The Labour leadership is more important to both of them. Or, put it another way, if it's not more important to (say) David Miliband to become Labour leader than it is to stay in Ed's good books, then that's a little odd. Question for anybody who doubts what I'm saying: imagine you're from a very normal, non affluent family and you have a chance (e.g. because you're in the right place at the right time) to become mind-blowingly rich and famous. You know - you just know - that this will alienate you from your nearest and dearest, there'll be a barrier which can't be overcome and key family relationships will never be the same again. You'll be a worse husband/son/brother (or female equivalent) from this point onwards. But you get a choice. You can choose to pass up the riches and the fame if that's what you want. Do you do this? Stay just the way you are. Or do you choose to be a star?

  • Comment number 11.

    With regard to comment 8 only a fool would post a negative comment about a person whose father had just died and wonder why it had been removed!

  • Comment number 12.

    jon @ 8

    Yes, disappointing to see that go. No room for "groupthink" on here.

  • Comment number 13.

    To quentinM (comment 7.)

    You are mistaken and with respect 'you' seem to be the one making a political comment. I thought Nick's piece was pitched very well and was not political.

    David Cameron has just lost his father and Nick was quite rightly showing respect and restraint. His point about Gordon Brown was based upon the opinion of senior civil servants and not about political point scoring. People cope with loss and stress in different ways - that was the point.

    I am sure that David Cameron is not worried about what anybody thinks at the moment. He has my deepest sympathy.

  • Comment number 14.

    Condolences .

  • Comment number 15.

    Very sad to read of this - Losing a parent is bad enough, but to have to go through it when you are in one of the most high profile jobs in the world must be awful. Deepest sympathies.

  • Comment number 16.

    Sorry to hear about your loss Mr Cameron may you know no more pain Your father was a diamond to you and 'Diamonds are Forever'

  • Comment number 17.

    I detest the majority of the Condems policies. But as a human being, I have massive sympathy with David Cameron and his family. Professionally and in his family life, he's faced huge stress over the last few years and borne it incredibly well. Best of luck and best wishes to him and his family - this time must be incredibly difficult.

    Now. Nick. Are you so bored and lost for stories that you have to keep digging up the corpse of Gordon Brown? A little less Tory side from your reports and blogs would be welcome.

  • Comment number 18.

    sad day for david cameron and his family but a blog? on this?

  • Comment number 19.

    I lost my father when I was nine. Be forever grateful you had your fahter for such a long and loving time. They live on in your heart if they leave you with special memories.

  • Comment number 20.

    Once again condolences to Mr Cameron and his family.

    Don't be too hard on Mr Robinson. Of course I think he has a bit of a Tory bias. That is why the BBC mandarins have/encourage him to present the sorts of stories we have been seeing since the election.

    It is the BBC's way of dealing with the Tory critique (not without some justification) that many of the BBC's staff have a left/labour bias. And there are some issues coming up between the Government and the BBC in the next few months where the BBC will want to show it is dealing with this complaint and is sensitive to the Government's agenda.

    That seems a rather limp and lazy response to the current position of the BBC. Ultimately the real threat will come not from Cameron but from Murdoch. In my opinion there will only be so much change Cameron will be able to justify with an austerity agenda. Rupert will want much more than that.

    In my view the BBC's Political Editor should be tackling more substantial and significant material. How about an hour long television documentary on the influence of Rupert Murdoch and News International on both New Labour and the Cameron Conservatives? I think that would be truly important and insightful political analysis.

  • Comment number 21.


    I agree entirely...

    My condolances to the Cameron family...

    I do, however, feel that apart from expressing simpathy there is nowhere for this thread to go, and is thus probably not a fitting subject for a political blog.

  • Comment number 22.

    Oh and the Brown remark was irrelevant and inappropriate considering the tone of the piece as a whole...

  • Comment number 23.

    Cassandra - dead right, preferably debated with Murdoch himself!

  • Comment number 24.

    Nick - why can't we have Rup on Any Questions?

  • Comment number 25.

    I have more confidence in David Cameron tham many of his ministers. I fear that some will take advantage of his eye being taken of the ball. The next couple of weeks are going to be awful for him. He cannot be expected to have his mind focussed on making the cuts in the right way whilst he is going through this. He should delay the result of the spending review for a couple of weeks. The decisions cannot be left to George Osbourne at a time when his leader's instincts are some what dulled. A delay would not be seen as a sign of weakness under the circumstances.

  • Comment number 26.


    The snowball has started...see the latest piece on the Guardian site.

  • Comment number 27.

    I agree that personal bereavement is not a fit topic for a political blog. And the Camerons, not 'the Cameron's' sadly buried their son less than two years ago.

    Condolences to David Cameron and family.

  • Comment number 28.

    I sit here after getting back from a hard day’s work to be told by my Wife that Ian Cameron had died. When I left this morning he was just unwell.
    I sit here after watching all the VT's with eyes glazed over trying to wonder how I will feel when my Father dies.
    I am a Conservative voter through and through.
    The important thing is I would be feeling the same way were it Gordon Brown's, Tony Bair's, or any other Labour party leaders Father that had died.
    The BBC rightly removed any negative comments because very simply, Family comes way, way above politics in the great scheme of things.
    David Cameron is a very decent Human being as are most people and at the moment with all he's been through, he doesn't need negativity.
    Could I/we please have some condemnation for the comments at 8 and 12?
    There is only one word for it and that's Pathetic.
    RIP Ian.
    Condolences David.
    Nice piece Nick. As someone else said, very restrained. Thank you.

  • Comment number 29.

    Firstly, my condolences to Mr Cameron. I too have a sense of grief tonight at the loss of my dear Auntie.


    "It is the BBC's way of dealing with the Tory critique (not without some justification) that many of the BBC's staff have a left/labour bias"

    The BBC waged a war for 18 days and nearly 9 hours over Lord Ashdown. The guy's standing has been questionable yes. It was a good news story, yes, but the BBC pre-election were like a pack of rabid dogs with an uncontrollable appetite for anything Tory. So many questionable decisions and events during Brown's era, were given the light touch approach. Frankly any change in political compass will show what an embarrasment they are.

    All I ask for is for them to be the bastions of impartiallity. Present all issues with careful, but impartial vigour.

    Having watch Nick's relentless nit picking of Cameron and the Tories for the Months pre the election it will be of great disappointment to see any change in party line.

    Almost hypocrisy for (Budget) money.

    ps. Nick sit on the fence more please. That's the best place for the BBC Political editor. Not the garden on the left for ages only to climb over to the "other" side with new owners.

  • Comment number 30.

    Nick - You're getting paid shed loads so get your apostrophes right! (Both)The Camerons buried their child.

  • Comment number 31.

    I like David Cameron and wish him and his family strength at this time. From an old socialist

  • Comment number 32.

    "Family comes way, way above politics in the great scheme of things." - Andrew

    Not sure about this. Given the following* (for a hypothetical tory or labour leader) ...

    (a) great PM but inadequate father, or
    (b) great father but disastrous PM

    ... which is more important in, as you say, the grand scheme of things?

    I'm not saying you're wrong, just that it's an okay thing to discuss - given Nick's done a blog on the matter.

    * not that it's an either/or, of course - both is ideal.

  • Comment number 33.

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

  • Comment number 34.

    It is easy to trot out the platitudes and be overly sentimental. I guess the upbringing and steel that got Cameron to the position he is in will help him cope - but it still hurts like crazy.

  • Comment number 35.

    This is an entirely personal matter and not appropriate for a blog discussion.

    Condolences to the Cameron family on their sad and unexpected loss.

    Shame on Robinson and the BBC for making it a matter of public discussion.

    Yet another reason to question how the poll tax of £3.2 billion per annum is being utilised by Thompson and his cohort to do little than line their pension pots.

  • Comment number 36.

    Agree with everyone who feels this isn't an appropriate subject for a political blog.
    We don't need Nick Robinson to explain how Mr Cameron will be feeling today.
    Of course the Prime Minister will be deeply affected by the loss of his father, and one can only hope that he is up to the task of making difficult decisions in the days ahead.

    But, really Nick, we didn't need you to tell us that did we?

  • Comment number 37.

    Sagamix- Ok, yes I'll give you that. It IS ok to discuss.
    I will say this. I still think Great Father, disastrous PM is way better than the other way around. Why? Because you are only a crap PM for a maximum of 5 years before we throw you out, but you are a Father for a lifetime and that way more important. I actually admired Tony Blair for a lot of things he did and thought he was a pretty good PM for the first few years at least. But Brown?? Nooooooooo. Now there was your disaster! Did it matter? No, he wasn't in long enough for it to matter.

    I disagree with those on here who are saying there shouldn't be a blog on this subject. I actually think it's positive to see that, for once, that vast majority of people are offering condolences rather than slagging off as so often happens on these pages. In some ways it HAS been a book of condolences with most people putting their political persuasions aside. This is good to see and gives you a bit of faith in the Human race particularly in this day and age.

  • Comment number 38.

    of course its always sad when someone loses a parent or a loved one. Although as his and his governments policies will cause misery to millions and unnecessarily in my opinion, im finding it hard to really give a monkies. if their was someone down my road whos father died that i didnt know i would feel a bit sad for them but i dont really know them. im sure there will be people that will commit suicide or have their lives ruined due to redundancy or worse as a result of CON policy. that is wrong. i feel for them much more.

  • Comment number 39.

    condolences :(

  • Comment number 40.

    #38 Lefty

    I really pity you if you feel more sorry for someone who has lost their job over the someone who has lost a parent

    The gulf that is left when you lose a parent is huge, nothing compares to it - nothing

    At least you are being honest

    Me personally - I would feel more sadness for the person down the street who's father had just died than the person down the street who just lost their job

    You can get another job - you can't get another Dad

    Pathetic. I use that word because the mod's wouldn't like the other ones I want to use

  • Comment number 41.

    Having lost my dad last October, my sympathies go to the Cameron family as I can understand the feeling of loss.

    It is, however, an odd topic for a political blog. That said, let's hope no-one trys to turn it into a droning diatribe full of cliches about how the "downtrodden masses" will suffer under the "evil tory mill-owners".

    Oh, too late. Post 38.

  • Comment number 42.

    Condolences to the Camerons but I don't really see why this is a political matter particularly.

    That said, all the Labour trolls using this as just yet another excuse to have a pop at the coalition really just demonstrate the level that political debate has sunk to at their party.

  • Comment number 43.

    40. At 08:39am on 09 Sep 2010, mightychewster
    41. At 08:41am on 09 Sep 2010, AndyC555

    On consideration, I think the core issue here is that this topic should NOT have been placed on a political blog.

    However, it has been.

    I remain content with a view that honest condolences and sympathy are due to a grieving family, people who have not chosen to place themselves in the public eye nor harm others. However PM Cameron's unsympathetic conduct with regard to other people places him beyond reasonable expectation of sympathy from others.

  • Comment number 44.

    Jon @ 43

    Sympathy is a human response which you either feel or you don't. It isn't something people earn, like a promotion.

    I think it's natural for NR to acknowledge Ian Cameron's death on his blog; it is a major event in our Prime Minister's life. But I think we need another thread as soon as possible, because this one feels a bit intrusive.

  • Comment number 45.

    43 - "However PM Cameron's unsympathetic conduct with regard to other people places him beyond reasonable expectation of sympathy from others."

    It is a credible arguament that Gordon Brown's mis-management of the economy has brought the country to its current position. That didn't stop me from feeling, on a personal level, sympathy with GB when he lost his child.

    What a shame there's something lacking in your make-up that you cannot bring yourself to offer the same sympathy to the Cameron family.

  • Comment number 46.

    44 - I agree.

  • Comment number 47.

    Jon #43 & #8

    You disagree with his policies and don't like his personality. There are thousands of more appropriate places to express your views. Technically not breaking house rules does not mean tactless inappropriate comments should be allowed. Grow up.

  • Comment number 48.

    40. mighty.
    Me personally - I would feel more sadness for the person down the street who's father had just died than the person down the street who just lost their job
    You can get another job - you can't get another Dad
    Pathetic. I use that word because the mod's wouldn't like the other ones I want to use
    of course if you read my post properly thats not what i said. maybe read it properly next time. perhaps after school and not during lesson time.

  • Comment number 49.

    like i said its always sad when someone loses a loved one or parent. i know how i felt when i watched my dad die. however there are quite a few people who will have their lives ruined and end their own life in some cases as a result of this govts extreme austerity measures. there wont be any tribute blogs for these people. mr cameron and mr cameron senior have led very good lives. david camerons policies will ensure many others will not. i note when i have mentioned depression and suicide rates in this country down to financial hardship, some morons on here (45) cry "bleading heart lefties). what a joke you are c555 (mr build camps for the unemployed).

  • Comment number 50.

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

  • Comment number 51.

    The father being the head of the family yeah Lady harman would not agree with that though.

    #49 many fathers have killed themselvers as a result for the last HMG policy in the family courts many more than from a rescession so where was your voice then ?

  • Comment number 52.

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

  • Comment number 53.


    Whether you like him or loathe him shouldn't make a difference in feeling some compassion towards him losing his father

    I re-read your post twice, and I still infer from it the view that you feel more sympathy for someone who has lost their job over David Cameron losing his father, after all that is what you wrote; or maybe they didn't teach me to read in school? They did however teach me punctuation and grammar

    I do agree this isn't really a blog topic - better to stay on more familiar ground

    Sorry about the loss of your Dad, it's horrible losing a parent

  • Comment number 54.

    Best policy is to remain silent if one has nothing civil to say on the matter.

    Agree with pd @44.

  • Comment number 55.


    You just cant help yourselves, can you. If your political pride and deep rooted hatred cannot allow you to express sympathy, then as having been bereaved in the same way, you could at least show empathy.

    GB for all his faults, spoke at PMQ's approximately a year ago about the passing of Ivan Cameron with real empathy and sincerity. Despite everything else, I have to acknowledge this and applaud him for it.

    But if all you know is hate, you will never know empathy.

    Another blog Nick. This is a going to go down a cul-de-sac very quickly.

  • Comment number 56.

    45. At 09:55am on 09 Sep 2010, AndyC555
    47. At 10:03am on 09 Sep 2010, ian_pa

    Sorry disagree. I can not consider PM Cameron's suffering as an issue for my concern.

    I await any comment from him that suggests he feels the smallest sympathy for ordinary people regarding the harm which he is deliberately causing.

    This is a political blog - political comments should be anticipated.

  • Comment number 57.

    The death of a parent is always a profoundly sad experience. Sadly Nick has however linked this ocurrence to his continuing attacks on the personality of the former PM. This shows a lack of judgement and taste. For goodness sake Nick, Gordon Brown is now out of office, can we please move on.

  • Comment number 58.

    #56 Hopefully DC will reiterate the importance of his father and the Father in Family Life. That will iritate the left

  • Comment number 59.

    55. At 12:20pm on 09 Sep 2010, Fubar_Saunders

    Wondered when you would turn up.

    I had little time for Gordon Brown. But regardless of his lack of competence, his stated intention was to REDUCE suffering caused by the the bankers. We continue to bear the costs of his frenzied attempts.

    Cameron has the stated intention of destroying people's lives. It is not the product of a lack of competence, it is a deliberate policy acknowledged by his glib comments about 'pain'

  • Comment number 60.

    55. At 12:20pm on 09 Sep 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:

    Another blog Nick. This is a going to go down a cul-de-sac very quickly.

    Agreed - this is not a suitable topic for a political blog.

  • Comment number 61.

    pdavies65 44

    Yes it is right that NR responds to Ian Camerons death.

    In answer to you on the previous subject.

    pdavies65 94

    As you seem to be too lazy to do your own homework before passing comment, Canada and Sweden are good examples.

  • Comment number 62.

    i have spent months on here detailing the misery and distress that people suffer as a result of low pay, financial hardship and the the associated stress that goes with it (even DEATH). now under this govt and primeinister its going to get worse. and each time you mock and poke fun and mock again. and now you of all people talk about empathy. more hypocritical and inane you could not be.

  • Comment number 63.

    54. blame
    i dont think i have said anything wrong.
    but if we look at the word civil
    ci·vil·i·ty (s -v l -t ). n. pl. ci·vil·i·ties. 1. Courteous behavior; politeness. 2. A courteous act or utterance. civility [sɪˈvɪlɪtɪ]. n pl -ties ...
    this in my opinion is the opposite to what david cameron stands for and what this govts actions will mean to so many people.

  • Comment number 64.

    53. mighty.
    i said its sad. so is the suffering (and sometimes death) as a result of political decisions. decisions that alot of the time are not required and are simply driven by unintelegent right wing mentality. perhaps someone for no apparent reason may kick you to the ground. how much empathy would you show them. a bit maybe. maybe you should get up and hug them. that would be the civil thing to do.

  • Comment number 65.

    And my 95 please, Susan. Absolutely crucial - for you, for me, for everyone - that you respond to that.

  • Comment number 66.

    Agree we need a new blog.

    Maybe we should have more than one BBC blog on the politics page. What about a regular piece by Laura Keunssberg (the BBC need more women bloggers) or Andrew Neil. The busness page has Stephanie and Robert.

  • Comment number 67.

    "Cameron has the stated intention of destroying people's lives."

    Utter, childish, dog-whistling, bilge. Not worth the bandwidth wasted on transmitting it.

    YOU say Cameron has this stated intention, NOT Cameron himself or any other member of the coalition.

    NO UK political party, let alone a mainstream one, would ever have such a stated intention.


    Indeed it would, considering how often a certain relative of Lord Longford has tried to maintain otherwise...

  • Comment number 68.


    No, youve spent months waving your Thatcher shaped corn-doll in the face of anyone who is in close proximity and howling about how we're all doomed, especially the poor and the downtrodden, who would do well to hide their babies under the floorboards, lest the tories come along in their Bullingdon outfits to eat the firstborn of every family.

    You havent had a single fact of a single redundancy, of a single repossession, of a single thing, to back it up.

    All you've been doing is scaremongering, running around like a headless chicken on a grand scale, shouting "the tories are coming, the end is nigh, run for your lives".

    Detailing misery and distress?? Dont make me laugh.

  • Comment number 69.

    Slightly off topic I know, but this potentially is interesting.. Wondered how long it would take for this decision to be made....

  • Comment number 70.

    Somebody was asking me the other day about the EU Finance Minister's meeting over here.

    This might prove interesting.

  • Comment number 71.


    "so is the suffering (and sometimes death) as a result of political decisions. decisions that alot of the time are not required and are simply driven by unintelegent right wing mentality."

    Uh-huh.... You mean like Iraq and Afghanistan for a start?

  • Comment number 72.

    Susan-Croft @ 64

    Thanks for your straight answer. Yes, Canada and Sweden both cut spending to rescue their economies. I guess we could quibble over whether the cuts were massive and immediate. In both cases, the austerity measures had popular backing and political consensus behind them.

    Canada is an interesting, and often quoted, example. You're right, they did make significant and quite rapid cuts in spending to good effect. Two factors to bear in mind, though. Firstly, they cut interest rates at the same time, in order to maintain consumer spending. (We can't do that in the UK.) Secondly, their main trading partner, the US, was experiencing rapid growth at that time. (Our main trading partner, Europe, is stagnant.)

    Sweden is indeed something of a success story. Not only is their economy growing, but they also have much higher tax rates than we do in the UK - the second highest in the world, in fact - and a generously funded welfare state, with outstanding maternity and paternity benefits!

  • Comment number 73.

    As a newby to these blogs, I am at a loss to understand why threads get closed down when they are still clearly active. Does anyone understand the logic? The cuts seem to be such an important topic worthy of debate and a post such as sagamix's #93 is one of those. It seems as if any posts "off topic" will be deleted by the moderators so there seems little point in trying to continue that debate.
    Still in keeping with this topic, one can only feel for the PM at this time. Yet I sense that this thread cannot reasonably encourage debate.

  • Comment number 74.

    67. At 1:45pm on 09 Sep 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:

    YOU say Cameron has this stated intention, NOT Cameron himself or any other member of the coalition.

    NO UK political party, let alone a mainstream one, would ever have such a stated intention.

    You just started defending the tories - knew I'd get you to do it in the end.

    UKIP? - you old closet tory

    Cameron has a stated intention to put millions of people out of work. That will destroy their lives and their families' lives. You don't sound very sympathetic - sure sign of a tory.

  • Comment number 75.

    62 - "i have spent months on here"

    Is it really that short a length of time? It seems like years, decades even. Centuries, maybe even millennia.

  • Comment number 76.

    What we're touching on here is whether one accepts one's political opponents have good intentions - i.e. they want what's "best" for the country but it's just that either (i) their definition of what is best, or (ii) their methods of achieving it, are wrong. I happen to think, on the whole, this is true as regards British politics but plenty of people on both sides don't agree. Our Belgian correspondent - the Muscles in Brussels - doesn't, for example. Who can forget how Labour supposedly flung open our borders in order to gain votes and to annoy right wingers? Mmm. Well I don't go along with that sort of thing; prefer to believe people (even Conservatives) are acting in good faith. Possible exception, however, for George Osborne who I suspect is keen to make big spending cuts very quickly mainly in order to become famous.

  • Comment number 77.

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

  • Comment number 78.

    74 "Cameron has a stated intention to put millions of people out of work."

    Just so we can get this into context. Labour were talking of the need for cuts as well. How many redundancies do you think they would have made had they been in power?

    One or two?

    Or maybe many more?

    Or maybe they'd have gone to the magic money tree to keep everyone in a job for ever?

  • Comment number 79.

    #70 - that was me - much appreciated.

    Can anyone tell me where there is a BBC statement regarding the objectives and organisation of the blogs that they host? Surely there should be one somewhere.

    I get the feeling that historically blogs grew in an organic fashion and the BBC is now trying to (re)organise/structure them.

  • Comment number 80.

    pdavies65 72

    Perhaps it was wrong of me to allow you to do your own homework after all. You are way behind the times. Sweden did indeed get itself into serious fiscal difficulty with the welfare state, much the same as Britain has. Taxation rose to pay for it. However the Government realised that high quality services can be achieved after sharp cuts, at the same time as lower taxation, as there was so much waste. Therefore gradually after serious cuts to Government spending taxation is being lowered. The lowering of the wealth tax, the reduction in public spending and the lowering of taxation in general has proved highly successful in growth rates for Sweden. Tax when I last looked was reduced from 57% to 47%.

    Canada is much the same, despite your claims that it is different. Both made massive sharp cuts to their economy and are aiming towards flat tax as the outcome of lower taxation measures. Both have seen good growth since taking these actions.

    There are of course other Countries who have embraced the same action and have seen similar outcomes.

    Stop living in denial.

  • Comment number 81.

    Any bright ideas on how we can get people paying a bit more tax, Andy?

  • Comment number 82.

    7oaks 73

    93 on the previous blog is from Andy not Sagamix I believe, so I am sure he will be grateful for your obvious appreciation of his contributions.

  • Comment number 83.


    Touche, Saga.

    I see what you're getting at and its a fair retort.

    At least where that was concerned, I had some sort of paper trail through the press, a lobby group and downloaded pdf's from the governments own website to back that accusation up though, rather than just pumping my veins full of vinegar like Jon, or waving the voodoo doll around like lefty10.

    Speaking of Mussels... might be time for some this evening along with a nice Alsace white.

  • Comment number 84.

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

  • Comment number 85.

    28. At 9:22pm on 08 Sep 2010, Andrew wrote:

    Could I/we please have some condemnation for the comments at 8 and 12?

    Well, no, I'm afraid not. As we don't know what the original comments were, we have no reason or basis on which to comment on either 8 or 12.

    That's one of the problems with censorship. It's same as people demanding that we reject the BNP and at the same time not allowing us to hear what they've actually said.

  • Comment number 86.

    66. At 1:43pm on 09 Sep 2010, Cassandra wrote:
    ...the BBC need more women bloggers...

    Why is their gender relevant (unless the purpose of the blog was merely to discuss gender-politics and similar woman's hour stuff)?

  • Comment number 87.


    er hem. Let's not forget what Sweden is also famous for...

    Supplying the German army with iron and steel throughout WWI despite declaring themselves 'neutral'.

    Allowing the Nazis to travel through Northern Sweden to invade Norway when they had supposedly declared themselves 'neutral'

    Going nuclear free in the eighties and digging a tunnel under the Baltic sea to exactly the halfway mark between Sweden and Finland to bury their nuclear waste.

    The most prespcriptive laws on the sale of alcohol in the whole if Europe only recently removing the obligatory declaration of one's National Insurance number with all purchases of alcohol.

    One of the most concentrated distributions of wealth in Europe with the vast majority held by only four families.

    The assassination of a Prime Minister in broad daylight in central Stockholm.

    The practise of eugenics until shortly after WWII

    And you think this is a model we should emulate?

    Maybe not.

    It's a great time to be a tory...

  • Comment number 88.

    78. At 3:20pm on 09 Sep 2010, AndyC555

    Labour was desperate to minimise job losses of people who might vote for them - this is why so much was spent.

    But this is historical discussion of a failed and departed government.

    The tories are excited by the opportunity to make thousands jobless and transfer the money to their wealthy backers in the city. Glib comments about 'pain' demonstrate that they understand the consequences of their actions but feel no sympathy. Excuse me if I lack sympathy when they themselves experience a little 'pain.'

  • Comment number 89.

    73. At 2:24pm on 09 Sep 2010, 7oaks wrote:
    Does anyone understand the logic? The cuts seem to be such an important topic worthy of debate and a post such as sagamix's #93 is one of those. It seems as if any posts "off topic" will be deleted by the moderators so there seems little point in trying to continue that debate.

    This is not really the blog to frequent if you want to feel valued as a customer. Or to engage in a meaningful, flowing debate.

    ...Great blog, Nick. My condolences to Mr Cameron.

  • Comment number 90.

    "93 on the previous blog is from Andy not Sagamix" - 82

    Don't be so bizarre, Susan - anyone can check in two seconds flat and see that you're fibbing again. Not only is 93 mine, so (more importantly) is 95. And did you notice who 95 is addressed to? Yes, that's right. It's a question for a blogger by the name of S. Croft, isn't it? Perhaps you can ask her when she might be crafting a reply.

  • Comment number 91.

    Susan_Croft @ 80

    It is your homework that is awry - Sweden has the second highest tax burden in the world today. And the economy is still growing.

    Write out fifty times: "I must not correct other bloggers' facts unless I have checked them." By tomorrow morning, please.

  • Comment number 92.

    Robin @ 87

    That is an untypically naive comment. You could produce a litany of shameful acts from any country's history; it doesn't mean we have nothing to learn from them. Or are you suggesting that if we model our economic policy on Sweden's, we will end up assassinating our Prime Minister?

  • Comment number 93.

    Hoping that piece of slapstick (87) would grab you the last post again, Robin, weren't you? (like on the previous thread). Doesn't seem to have worked, though.


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