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The George and Ed Show

Nick Robinson | 14:55 UK time, Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The George and Ed Show was full of heat but shed very little light.

George Osborne and Ed Balls

 

Ed Balls sneered at the chancellor's "mini Budget", asked whether Britain was growing slower than America because we had the wrong sort of snow and criticised his opponent for spending too long on the ski slopes.

George Osborne sneered at the shadow chancellor for being the second choice of the leader who once did his photo-copying and dubbed him as a "man with a past" rather than a man with a plan.

As for policy... I'm afraid I can't recall a single revealing word from either of them.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    No policy discussion? Shocking

  • Comment number 2.

    Well, you get what you vote for. Dont act so surprised.

  • Comment number 3.

    Ah well. It doesn't really suprise me. I think that there are very few leaders in Europe who have any idea of how to solve this mess we are in, nevermind have any realistic solution.

    I hear from your colleagues that the banks are 'livid' with the Chancellor. Is this 'livid' in "this is a good deal, but we have to show that we don't like it" or 'livid' in the sense of "we are really distressed by this new tax". We shall wait to see.

    In the meantime I guess we can all sit back and watch the politicians take pot-shots at each other. Neither of them are in control of the economic situation.

    I hear that the banks now call the shots on the economy!

  • Comment number 4.

    Wasn't GO third choice for the job? http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2005/may/12/conservatives.whitehall

    And is there a possibility that these two men may lead their parties into the next election?

  • Comment number 5.

    There is a blank sheet of paper where labour policy should be.

    Thye have already explained this.

    It's grim up north London...

  • Comment number 6.

    YAWN!!!

  • Comment number 7.

    Sounds as if you're getting rather hacked off with Westminster politics, Nick. Not ideal for a person in your job. Would you like me to take over? (I have the time).

  • Comment number 8.

    Talk is cheap.

    Ed Balls - who cares. Labour failed and have no power, what they say is irrelevant until nearer an election.

    George Osborne - words and hot air count for little. The big issue is the results.

    Lets see the next lot of growth and unemployment figures. Will we see his much heralded private sector surging to the rescue as he keeps on promising?

    Or will the economic collapse continue?

  • Comment number 9.

    So we spent all morning being told by the labour posters that osborne should be trembling in his boots at the prospect of the 'titan' intellect and vastly superior knowledge of economics?

    What do we end up with?

    Ed Balls is a weather girl. We get a snow report from the US.

    There is one glaring omission from all of the posts fo all political persuasions... we have seen before a man who waited for so, so long to do the job he always wanted and then turned out to be a dud when he got in. And they are giving us this formula all over again in Ed Balls.

    Oh dear.

    It's grim up north London...

  • Comment number 10.

    I think this is marvellous. A discussion that could have been understood by Cheryl Cole - personal comments and no substance. Was the discussion chaired by Dermot O'Leary? And were we waiting to hear what Simon Cowell said?

    The election was 9 months ago. Let's argue about how we plan to get the future we want and stop the name calling. What this proves is that we have a classic Catch 22 situation. If you think you know how to run the country, then by definition you are totally unsuited to do the job, because it is too complex to be achieved by a single pre-conceived master plan. But you will only get elected if you convince enough people that you do know how to run the country better than someone else. The sad thing is that someone has got to run the country and the electorate have to choose between between career politicans who think they know how to run the country.

  • Comment number 11.

    Try to be patient Nick.The confrontation between the Harvard alumna and the Bullingdon Club Bingo Caller will develop in the months ahead.Lots will be revealed.

  • Comment number 12.

    7#

    Not to mention the left wing sycophancy and the ability to write derivative dross thats just been handed over by a spin doctor.

    You dont even need to be telegenic.

    When can you start?

  • Comment number 13.

    Looks like the politicians are doing the sniping themselves, doesn't bode too well for the the media intelegensia when men from the opposite side of the tracks resort to the same name calling, we don't need political editors to tell us what is going on.

  • Comment number 14.

    Nick, It's a shame I missed that debate. It could be worse I suppose - they could have actually talked about their stupid policies and their wrong solutions to the wrong problems. I'm waiting for a Guy Fawkes to blow them all up.

  • Comment number 15.

    Can't find this interview on the site: where is it?!

  • Comment number 16.

    7 Saga

    Good idea. That will silence the Daily Mail who worry so much that the BBC is biased towards the left. The BBC has a duty to be impartial and we all know that on the streets on Hamstead you are indeed known as 'Mr. Impartiality'. I recommend the appointment to the House.

    btw - How's the God Children? Bet they would like to see their Daddy on the TV every night downing beer and smashing up placards? Might even get to sit next to Ian on HIGNFY once in a while.


  • Comment number 17.

    'As for policy... I'm afraid I can't recall a single revealing word from either of them.'

    We all know what the coalition policy is. Clear up Labour's mess. As for Labour policy - well...err...umm...let me think now...don't rush me...err...anyone ???

  • Comment number 18.

    11 IPGABP1

    Try to be patient Nick.The confrontation between the Harvard alumna and the Bullingdon Club Bingo Caller will develop in the months ahead.Lots will be revealed.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Alumnus dear boy, unless he no longer lives up to his name.

  • Comment number 19.

    Phoney war dear boy! Wait for the stream of statistics on the economy over the next few weeks that should set the right balance between growth spoilers and deficit fudgers.

  • Comment number 20.

    Yes we are 9 months into a new Government and whilst the public really do understand the country, through little fault of their own, needs to repay the debts, the polititians continue to play at schoolboy name-calling and leave the real hard decisions to other people.

    All the despair about closing libraries etc and other local services are the difficult decisions for local councils to make, not the Westmonster crowd of which ever side of the floor they sit.

    And today, with Boy George's new announcement to up the tax ob the banks by £800m, well, still a drop in the ocean by those who really caused the problem in the forst place. And Ball's proposition... lets keep paying the debt charges and make us all pay even more over the longer term.

    Difficult decisions? No boys - your just scared of taking the big decisions on the banks profits and bonus culture as they might take thrir ball and run away somewhere else. Call their bluff and lets see what really happens - that's what people want and not all this political jestering.

  • Comment number 21.

    Mr N @ 16

    Thank you. Yes, I'm considered pretty mainstream round here and I reckon I could bring a certain je t'aime moi (non plus) to the screen. Nick, for all his qualities, can't do that.

    Don't agree with Fubar (12), though, about NR lack of visual appeal. He has a look which does work.

  • Comment number 22.

    George is on a roll.

    First of all he handles the economy, then he handles the banks, and now he handles Ed Balls. Already the best chancellor we've had since the previous Tory chancellor.

  • Comment number 23.

    "Clear up Labour's mess." - jobs @ 17

    Don't for a single minute think this has gone unnoticed.

    What happens when a person knowingly uses a discredited phrase, Jobs? What happens to that person? Do they lose a little piece of their heart & soul each time?

  • Comment number 24.

    No18 AS71.
    Some people think he is a big girl's blouse.

  • Comment number 25.

    Fubar_Saunders 12

    :)

    Given some of Nick's efforts you could be forgiven for thinking Saga had already taken over.

  • Comment number 26.

    sagamix 23

    Does that mean if I say it often enough I turn into Ed Balls ?

  • Comment number 27.

    I've seen it all.

    Having watched the class act Osborne not so much as flinch at Mr Angry Balls, I think we know which way this contest is going.

    He huffed and he puffed and he heiuffed and he puffed; where's the policy, Ed?

    George Osborne played Ed Balls like a fiddle.

    It's grim up north London...

  • Comment number 28.

    23 - "What happens when a person knowingly uses a discredited phrase, Jobs? What happens to that person? Do they lose a little piece of their heart & soul each time?"

    Dunno, saga, why not look in the mirror before you come on here, trot out your usual meanderings for a few hours then have another look in the mirror and see if you can see any difference.

  • Comment number 29.

    Osborne seemed very conscious of the occasion, Robin (27), didn't he? Far more so than Balls. Got the impression Balls was more comfortable in his own skin. More natural, if you like. WYSIWYG. Still, credit where it's due, he's a man who knows when he's on TV - Osborne - no question about that. What happens when the cameras aren't around, though? What happens then? I dread to think.

  • Comment number 30.

    This blog entry is about political personalities and, for public consumption, Osborne and Balls act out their presumed roles.

    However we read that when they meet in the HoC corridors, they stop and chat and are quite pleasant to each other.

    Whereas, we are told, Cameron and Ed Milliband ignore each other when they meet privately in the corridors of power.

    I would have been surprised about that because every old Etonian that I have met (about six) has been exceedingly polite but last summer I fell into conversation with a (five star) hotel manager, and he told me that whilst Frank Bruno and Lee Evans (a comedian) were brilliant guests, David Cameron was very unpleasant and arrogant and quite the worst.

    I protested, based upon my own experience of old Etonians and said that could not be correct and tried to probe further - but this fellow would not be drawn other than to say that he "was definately not a fan of Cameron". Maybe 'Dave' was having a bad party conference.

    This is just hearsay and tittle-tattle - I don't really care as I am not in Dave's direct employ and anyway he cannot be anywhere near as bad as Gordon Brown, who must have been a total nightmare to work for, young Matthew Parris actually wrote recently in a Times column that Brown was insane, which is pretty strong stuff.

    Maybe it helps to survive the No. 10 cauldron if our dear leaders are not quite the full shilling.

  • Comment number 31.

    That's interesting, John (30), how Mr Cameron compares unfavourably on interpersonal skills to Lee Evans and Frank Bruno. Interpersonals are extremely important. It's particularly interesting, in fact, since Brown's perceived lack of such qualities, in contrast to Cameron, was a major election issue - perhaps a decisive one. If this is right - and you're right - it could well be that we've elected a Prime Minister in error. And it's too late now, of course. Can't get rid of him for quite some time.

  • Comment number 32.

    I guess one must seek out this episode to try and assess matters of tone without enhanced narrative additions.

    For preference, I'd prefer my reports unadorned with such opinionated extras.

    But if we must have them, one has to applaud them being applied equally.

    I wonder how the twitter crowd will be spinning it all?

  • Comment number 33.

    sagamix @23

    "Clear up Labour's mess." - jobs @ 17

    Don't for a single minute think this has gone unnoticed.

    What happens when a person knowingly uses a discredited phrase, Jobs? What happens to that person? Do they lose a little piece of their heart & soul each time?
    --------------------------

    I think that you'll just have to take it on the chin saga.

    It certainly isn't the coalition mess that needs clearing up, and Labour aren’t exactly making the 'clearing up' very easy are they? Constant howls of 'its not fair!' etc....

    And, I seem to remember Labour blaming the ‘last Tory government’ right up until the 2010 election.

  • Comment number 34.

    Odd one, Andy (28), I don't think Vibrant Progressive Analysis can be described as "meanderings", do you? It's a first though, I'll give you that.

  • Comment number 35.

    J. Bull @ 33

    Yes, I suppose. All that "Thatcher's fault" nonsense when looking at our ills twenty odd years later - no more than 25% in my book - but I'm trying to fight that sort of tribalism on here. Don't see why we can't be a bit less like the House of Commons and a bit more like the senate in ancient Rome. Maybe even adopt a similar dress code.

  • Comment number 36.

    It's easy to see why Fat Ed's wife uses her own name,she won't want to be associated with the word , considering that's all that comes out of Ed.

  • Comment number 37.

    Not a great performance by Balls!

    It was a bit like watching the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ trying to blow the brick house down. He huffed and he puffed, but then started hyperventilating and very nearly passed out.

    Don't think that Osborne will be too worried by that!

  • Comment number 38.

    31. sagamix wrote:

    That's interesting, John (30), how Mr Cameron compares unfavourably on interpersonal skills to Lee Evans and Frank Bruno. Interpersonals are extremely important. It's particularly interesting, in fact, since Brown's perceived lack of such qualities, in contrast to Cameron, was a major election issue - perhaps a decisive one. If this is right - and you're right - it could well be that we've elected a Prime Minister in error. And it's too late now, of course. Can't get rid of him for quite some time.
    ========================================
    Some interesting points raised here saga. I'm sure the usual suspects will correct you in that we don't actually elect a prime minister, so I'm not going to go there. But at least in the case of David Cameron, he became PM as a result of general election, which is more than can be said of Gordon Brown - this may also have been a "decisive" factor for Gordy and his party.

    As for Frank Bruno and Lee Evans, they may well be or have been talented individuals in their own fields, I'm not 100% sure they would perhaps be ideal choices for a PM or cabinet positions now, but they would certainly have improved Gordys PG Tips advert of a government - no question about that.

  • Comment number 39.

    George is delivering a budget statement in a few weeks. He's not going to let details be drawn out of him by bullying bluster, so one to him. Until Balls deals with Labour's debt legacy in a realistic manner, any criticism of government economic policy will sound delusional at the least, not to say hypocritical.

    @sagamix35. The ancient Roman dress code has been trialed by Mrs. Speaker, the notorious Labour activist. Media response seems to indicate that the idea needs further development.

  • Comment number 40.

    This article from The Guardian puts this whole political debate in a rather different light.

    If this is true (seems very plausible sadly)it is dynamite and the BBC must surely pick up this story and put it in the mainstream.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/07/tax-city-heist-of-century

  • Comment number 41.

    39. At 7:34pm on 08 Feb 2011, grumpyoldman58 wrote:
    "George is delivering a budget statement in a few weeks. He's not going to let details be drawn out of him by bullying bluster, so one to him. Until Balls deals with Labour's debt legacy in a realistic manner, any criticism of government economic policy will sound delusional at the least, not to say hypocritical."

    Delusional? Mr.Osborne`s economic thinking is the conventional wisdom of 1929 and look where that got us.It revived with Mr.Friedmann and Mrs.Thatcher,while the jury is out on that one,no-one pretends that supply side economics was a brilliant success.Low growth compared with what preceded and followed it,mass unemployment,de-industrialization and two major recessions.

    The privatisation of public utilities is held up as some sort of success story as if the ability of private companies to collude and extort monopoly profits from consumers in the form of energy bills,water bills and rail fares are policies done on our behalf.

    With no utilities left to sell,the present government is intent on flogging off the state itself, beginning with the sale of public land,-the national forests,quickly moving to further privatisation of local authority services,Hammersmith and Suffolk are pioneers in this regard,then going on the NHS as the jewel in the public sector crown.

    The economic theory behind Mr.Osborne`s thinking is irrelevant to the cynicism in which public assets are being sold to support private capital.Where his policies go beyond cynicism and are delusional is to subject the econony to ideas which not only pre-date Keynes and the great depression,but pre-date classical economics itself, because Marshal,Sidgewick,Jevons,Pigou, were not theorizing in a world of giant multi-national monopolies and globalization but in a world of small and medium businesses regional and national in scope.

    As Keynes remarked,"Practical men who believe themselves exempt from any intellectual influence are often the slaves of some defunct economist."




    ,

  • Comment number 42.

    I have to share this with you:Keynes writing of conservatism:

    "They offer me neither food nor drink — intellectual nor spiritual consolation... [Conservatism] leads nowhere; it satisfies no ideal; it conforms to no intellectual standard, it is not safe, or calculated to preserve from the spoilers that degree of civilisation which we have already attained."

    And on a Tory prime minister:

    "There was an attraction at first that Mr Baldwin should not be clever. But when he forever sentimentalises about his own stupidity, the charm is broken."


  • Comment number 43.

    Ed Balls has nothing to tell us about the economy.

    As a former advisor to Gordon Brown, he is part of the problem, not the solution.

  • Comment number 44.

    "Gordys PG Tips advert of a government" - pickled @ 38

    Now this phrase ... not to single you out or anything, since it’s not untypical ... but this phrase illustrates well the sort of thing I feel we should move away from. I’m fully aware not everyone (of right OR left) is kindly disposed towards New Labour but I do think we should try for a balanced assessment of their record. Thirteen years after all, a long time in the Big Job of running Britain, and they did it - they did that Big Job – and the very least they deserve now is a balanced assessment. So, yes, a little disappointing on education ... the wretched private schools dominating more than ever ... but yes too a significant improvement in the National Health Service. Yes a failure to tax enough to fully cover the spending, but also yes a very significant improvement to the National Health Service. A touch lax on border controls? Sure. But such a more open and diverse and tolerant and all round cooler society than we used to be. And the City of course, the big one, what a mistake (!) to leave them to their own devices – but let’s be honest and admit that “market-knows-best” was the Grand Consensus, not a NL policy. Etc Etc and I won’t go on; my point is only that we have to score them 7/10, something like that, and it’s neither appropriate nor fair (even if you go more 6/10, or even 5) to compare them to a bunch of chimps acting the fool.

    End of rant.

  • Comment number 45.

    I reckon Balls couldn't be bothered with putting all his effort in quite yet - bit more of a slow burner.

    He's dealing with an economic illiterate who thinks shaving 15-20 basis points from our borrowing costs constitutes saving our credit rating. He's dealing with someone who can't move on from the election mantra of "Labour's mess" - Tories in 1997 left the country in £350bn of debt and no choice but to run deficits in good or bad times to sort out the disastrous public services and morale.

    Osborne is so desperate for some good headlines just now he 'surprised' us all with his pathetic £800m additional bank levy.

    Balls doesn't have to rush, he's going to have plenty of time and opportunity to look good up against Osborne in the future.

  • Comment number 46.

    43. At 9:05pm on 08 Feb 2011, DistantTraveller wrote:
    Ed Balls has nothing to tell us about the economy.

    "As a former advisor to Gordon Brown, he is part of the problem, not the solution."

    Try this exercise,substitute George Osborne for Ed Balls in your sentence? Sounds just as dim witted doesn`t it?

  • Comment number 47.

    "44. At 9:16pm on 08 Feb 2011, sagamix wrote:
    "Gordys PG Tips advert of a government" - pickled @ 38

    Now this phrase ... not to single you out or anything, since it’s not untypical ... but this phrase illustrates well the sort of thing I feel we should move away from."

    Yes, we could put that phrase away in a box, along with 'clowns', couldn't we saga?

    Hmm...hypocrisy...isn't that when you take someone to task for using silly names when you do the same. What say you, saga?

    Anyway, back to the box. After you put 'PG Tips' and 'clowns' in the box, could you do us all a favour and climb in after them? Pull the lid down behind you.

  • Comment number 48.

    TheGingerF @45


    >"I reckon Balls couldn't be bothered with putting all his effort in quite yet...Balls doesn't have to rush, he's going to have plenty of time and opportunity to look good up against Osborne in the future."

    Hello Ginger

    I can't quite see the logic of that statement! Why could he not be bothered? What exactly, is the advantage exactly of this slow start...why would he deliberately decide to look bad on debut?

    As it was, he seemed plenty bothered to me, mainly about the jibe about being second choice! He also seemed very exited, so exited in fact, that he could hardly get his words out fast enough, or loud enough.

    All in all, not very good!

    Are you sure that he is the superstar that you thought he was?

  • Comment number 49.

    # 46 btyhers

    "Try this exercise,substitute George Osborne for Ed Balls in your sentence? Sounds just as dim witted doesn`t it?"

    I'm sorry you feel it is 'dim witted' to point out that the last Labour government left our economy in a total shambles (as Labour always does). I'm also sorry you feel it is dim-witted to point out that Balls was part of that government and an advisor to Gordon Brown, probably the worst Chancellor and Prime Minister we have ever had.

    The fact that Labour is still in total denial about their inept mis-handling of the economy, the years of tax and waste, selling off our gold reserves at the bottom of the market, giving up our EU rebate and getting nothing in return, botched London Underground PPP, the Nanny/Surveillance State, HIPs, ID Cards, RIPA etc etc, proves (if we ever needed proof) that they remain totally unfit for government.

  • Comment number 50.

    NR: 'The George and Ed Show
    As for policy... I'm afraid I can't recall a single revealing word from either of them.'
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Says it all.

    As does the photo.

    (Bet you get some complaints, Nick, about being biased against N.Labour and Ed B.!)

  • Comment number 51.

    JohnB @ 48

    No precise logic intended John and I don't think Balls is a superstar - but he will over the next few months (and unfortunately years) expose Osborne's many faults and mistakes.

    PMQs and yesterdays Treasury equivalents are an exceptionally poor barometer to judge things - impact from govt measures will be the best way. Unfortunately for the govt that is how most people will end up deciding who to vote for - Balls will certainly not have to be a superstar to force that point home.

  • Comment number 52.

    However, it is rather pleasant not to be continually bombarded by spin.

    Remember what it was like when Mandy and A. Campbell were at full throttle ... ?

  • Comment number 53.

    Well it didn't take long for all the reasons Balls is a liability to politics in this country to and should be consigned to its waste basket to come to the fore.

    Instead of debate about what is happening and what might be the best way forward - we end up with personal abuse, time no doubt wasted by public employees writing snide remarks for the Chancellor to respond with and vaccuous discussion. Complete waste of their time and effort.

    Can someone not take both of them out the back of Parliament, give them a ruler and they can have their faux alpha male micturating contest against a suitable wall out of public sight.

  • Comment number 54.

    4. At 3:20pm on 08 Feb 2011, PTD wrote:
    Wasn't GO third choice for the job? http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2005/may/12/conservatives.whitehall

    And is there a possibility that these two men may lead their parties into the next election?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    A 50% possibility. GO is proving to be a surprise. Dave is turning out almost exactly as I suspected.

    Just heard Liam Byrne; he is already pitching for the job of the one on the right.

    Can't imagine that Balls can make a pitch for N.L.Leader after he has been beaten and then sacked by Miliband.

  • Comment number 55.

    46. At 11:10pm on 08 Feb 2011, bryhers wrote:
    43. At 9:05pm on 08 Feb 2011, DistantTraveller wrote:
    Ed Balls has nothing to tell us about the economy.

    "As a former advisor to Gordon Brown, he is part of the problem, not the solution."

    Try this exercise,substitute George Osborne for Ed Balls in your sentence? Sounds just as dim witted doesn`t it?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Extremely dim-witted. Very well written, that one!

    Chuckle of the Day Award!

    [But I don't think you intended that way! ;-) ]

  • Comment number 56.

    29. At 6:00pm on 08 Feb 2011, sagamix wrote:
    Got the impression Balls was more comfortable in his own skin. More natural, if you like. WYSIWYG.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Another wonderful post.

    But he's not very happy about it, is he?

    Iguana comes to mind. It looks like he's changed position so many times, he's trying once again to work out the exact tint and depth of colour to try to paint N.Labour and GO so that he can sit comfortably on it in his shade ... er, I mean ... shadow.

    (Wooo! The needle on my schadenfreude meter is heading towards the red zone!)

  • Comment number 57.

    37. At 7:22pm on 08 Feb 2011, John_Bull wrote:
    Not a great performance by Balls!

    It was a bit like watching the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ trying to blow the brick house down. He huffed and he puffed, but then started hyperventilating and very nearly passed out.

    Don't think that Osborne will be too worried by that!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    LOL. Great post.

    Had my radio volume set very low but still cringed. The wallpaper trembled!

    Hey! Wait a minute, I haven't got wallpaper. Charmer Ed must have been rattling the house next door!

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm amazed that people are critical of any politician's behaviour. Why do we expect leaders to emerge from within a system that takes graduates from university, with no life or business experience, and allows them to control and manipulate ever increasing funds and major policies, when their life experience to date hasn't equipped them to run a successful street corner sweet shop! Members of parliament should have a minimum age of 30, come from the workplace, preferably in management, know how to relate to people and lead by example. They should be already successful leaders. The (effectively) two party system breeds cross party contempt, avarice, nepotism and ineptitude. All members should be independent, and centrally funded, equally. As a so called 'middle class' person who has read manifestos and voted for both major parties, I despair for my children's future if Balls and Osborne are typical of what is to come in terms of leadership.

  • Comment number 59.

    Ed Balls known in the Treasury as the man who has a worse attitude and temper than Gordon but with less charisma.....

  • Comment number 60.

    This is clearly trivia compared with today's revelation about tory funding.

  • Comment number 61.

    49. At 00:53am on 09 Feb 2011, DistantTraveller wrote:
    # 46 btyhers

    "Try this exercise,substitute George Osborne for Ed Balls in your sentence? Sounds just as dim witted doesn`t it?"

    "I'm sorry you feel it is 'dim witted' to point out that the last Labour government left our economy in a total shambles (as Labour always does). I'm also sorry you feel it is dim-witted to point out that Balls was part of that government and an advisor to Gordon Brown, probably the worst Chancellor and Prime Minister we have ever had.
    The fact that Labour is still in total denial about their inept mis-handling of the economy, the years of tax and waste, selling off our gold reserves at the bottom of the market, giving up our EU rebate and getting nothing in return, botched London Underground PPP, the Nanny/Surveillance State, HIPs, ID Cards, RIPA etc etc, proves (if we ever needed proof) that they remain totally unfit for government."

    There is a debate going on about the future of the economy between government and opposition and in the country.The parliamentary theatre between the chancellor and his opposite is a distraction from the alternatives facing us in an uncertain future.

    If the present government is to survive you will see many changes in economic policy.The opposition will also need to change as new challenges are thrown up.We need foxes as well as lions in government,big political temperaments like Mr.Balls and fixers like Mr.Cameron,heir to Blair.

    I understand from "The Times" that Mr Cameron and Mr.Osborne have a well thumbed copy of Mr Blair`s biography, so not all of his time in government was wasted.Charisma,-the gift of grace,-is a dangerous political commodity and this is what the Bullingdon twins hope to imbibe.Its demonic element is unlimited power which requirea a Faustian pact.These two have it with the ghost of Thatcher, so beware their capacity for destruction.



  • Comment number 62.

    61. bryhers

    'I understand from "The Times" that Mr Cameron and Mr.Osborne have a well thumbed copy of Mr Blair`s biography, so not all of his time in government was wasted.'


    Could be that they're referencing it to avoid making the same mistakes?


    (Just indulging in some wishful thinking....)

  • Comment number 63.

    NR it upto you lots as jurno to cut the spin out and get down and dirty
    part of the failure of the last 14 years. You only have yourslefs to blame. You get paid a lot of ££££££££££££ to do your job.

    I'll do it for 50% and get more answeres than you would

  • Comment number 64.

    60#

    Oh you mean this?

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]


    Yeah, more hollow Grauniad flannel... Journalistic manure to keep on attracting the flies of a similar nature.

  • Comment number 65.

    #61 Bryhers,

    Don't tell me - hoof prints have been seen in the garden at 10 Downing Street after DC and GO were seen there chanting in a pentangle?

    Demonic elements, Faustian pacts - great stuff, keep it up!!

    #55 Up2Snuff - sorry mate 'Chuckle of the day award' has just been snaffled...

  • Comment number 66.

    I'll try again, shall I, mods?

    96#

    All that reading would be far too much effort, jh when in no particular order:

    a) Its not what he wants to hear

    b) It doesnt suit the agenda

    c) Its far too much like hard work and

    d) Having read it he knows then, he'd look like a bit of a misinformed populist.

    Much easier to keep on throwing scraps of red meat and acting as a tethered goat for (and I use the expression very loosely) like minds.

    Better for the ego, eh?

  • Comment number 67.

    I watched Balls and Osborne last night, and I have to say even I was disappointed in the performance of Balls. It was as if all the pressure to be good, worked against him, and he came across as just Brown really. However, the message Balls is trying to sell is too difficult for even him to be able to put over in a realistic way. There is too much evidence against his policies for anyone to take him seriously. Until Balls admits that their Government caused the economic crisis in the UK, I think it will be difficult for him. This is where Alan Johnson was much better, because dispite the fact he was virtually illiterate with regard to economic matters, he was still able to wrong foot Osborne now and then.

    However, there seem to be some problems for the Coalition coming down the line. By allowing Councillors to make the cuts they want with a smaller budget, they are cutting the wrong projects. This is seeing the public losing many services they care about most. Therefore, the public is losing faith in Camerons Big society. With a public that is so wedded to the state should provide already, this is very bad news indeed. Some kind of guidance as to what Councils should cut and should not, needs to be imposed very quickly.

    It seems investors are very puzzled by the mixed messages coming from the Coalition. On the one hand Cameron talks about growth and on the other says no tax cuts can be afforded. They feel the vision is meant to be Conservative and yet the policies are socialist. Also they mistrust the taxation policies of the Coalition, especially because Osborne suddenly introduced extra tax on the banks without prior warning. I notice Osborne this morning rushed to reassure investors that this would not happen again. I doubt this will do the trick.

    The banks are asked to lend a set amount to small business. I wonder if the Coalition is expecting them to fund small business that is actually failing already. It seems to me that they maybe. There has not been the demand on the banks to lend to good business. If they are expected to fund poor business models, this will see many more toxic loans, which will in turn cause the banks problems with their balance sheets once again.

  • Comment number 68.

    67. Susan-Croft
    'However, there seem to be some problems for the Coalition coming down the line. By allowing Councillors to make the cuts they want with a smaller budget, they are cutting the wrong projects.'


    Hello S-C, yes it does appear a bit of an own goal giving a stick to opposition-led councils to beat them (coalition) with.
    The 'Big Society' will only ever stand a chance if a) it's funded properly and b) the majority of councils are on board. Unless this is a cunning plan to get rid of all opposition councils.

  • Comment number 69.

    60. At 08:43am on 09 Feb 2011, jon112dk wrote:
    This is clearly trivia compared with today's revelation about tory funding.
    =========================================================================
    Or as Robert Preston puts it;

    "Are hedge fund managers the Tories’ trade unionists?"


  • Comment number 70.

    # 61 bryhers

    You say "There is a debate going on about the future of the economy between government and opposition and in the country.The parliamentary theatre between the chancellor and his opposite is a distraction from the alternatives facing us in an uncertain future."

    Yes, obviously there is a debate going on - but not sure why you felt reference to the culpability of Ed Balls in the last government was 'dim witted' (#46) Perhaps it was a knee-jerk reaction to leap to the defence of the previous failed administration...

    As to your reference to the 'Bullingdon Twins', don't you think that's a bit of a distraction? As you probably know Ed Balls also went to a private school as did many Labour politicians.

    As for Cameron being the 'heir to Blair' (as you mention), that was certainly an incredibly foolish claim for him to make, particularly as Blair's popularity inevitably slumped to an all-time low as the New Labour project crumbled into disarray. That was over 5 years ago. Hopefully Cameron's new Director of Communications will help him avoid such gaffs in the future.

  • Comment number 71.

    I hope I am not reflective of the general middle ground, working, tax-paying bedrock of this country right now, as my apathy knows no bounds. I am sick to the back teeth of the Balls and Osbornes of this pathetic under performing, political dogs breakfast. Reading some of the comments above fills me with dread, as people play with words, like a game, with inane political or academic posturing. Get real. Blairs memoirs mean NOTHING, they are just the self serving platitudes of a guilt ridden but still greedy individual. Brown, Osborne, Cameron and Clegg, all mean NOTHING as individuals. Wake up and smell the coffee. We are close, very close, to being so deep in the mire we will never recover, joining Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Greece as the terminally ill sick men of Europe. Regardless of which party or leadership is currently in or out, previous long years of excesses and weaknesses are catching up with us. There is no time for party politics, cross bench posturing or spin based career development at the country's expense. The country cannot afford it! Do something useful. STOP 18 year olds buying drinks in bars with newly obtained credit cards, and then STOP bankers paying themselves millions in bonuses for facilitating this fraud. FORCE banks to lend, properly, as in Canada, where any mortgage with less than 20% deposit must have a corresponding insurance policy against default, by law. STOP immigrant workers coming here for two years, registering UK born children, then going back home and claiming family allowance, paid overseas, until that child no longer qualifies. STOP MEP's excesses. In fact STOP federalisation of Europe and disband Brussels (have they learned nothing from the USSR, Yogoslavia, Czechoslovakia and the bubbling racial and cultural Pandora's box that is the USA). We need a leader to emerge who can unify the country and restore common sense, and right now I can't see that person. In the meantime we all need to get behind a coalition and leadership that nobody really wants, but we cannot afford to de-rail until that leader emerges.

  • Comment number 72.

    44 sagamix
    "Gordys PG Tips advert of a government" - pickled @ 38

    "Now this phrase ... not to single you out or anything, since it’s not untypical ... but this phrase illustrates well the sort of thing I feel we should move away from. I’m fully aware not everyone (of right OR left) is kindly disposed towards New Labour but I do think we should try for a balanced assessment of their record. Thirteen years after all, a long time in the Big Job of running Britain, and they did it - they did that Big Job – and the very least they deserve now is a balanced assessment. So, yes, a little disappointing on education ... the wretched private schools dominating more than ever ... but yes too a significant improvement in the National Health Service. Yes a failure to tax enough to fully cover the spending, but also yes a very significant improvement to the National Health Service. A touch lax on border controls? Sure. But such a more open and diverse and tolerant and all round cooler society than we used to be. And the City of course, the big one, what a mistake (!) to leave them to their own devices – but let’s be honest and admit that “market-knows-best” was the Grand Consensus, not a NL policy. Etc Etc and I won’t go on; my point is only that we have to score them 7/10, something like that, and it’s neither appropriate nor fair (even if you go more 6/10, or even 5) to compare them to a bunch of chimps acting the fool.

    End of rant."

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

    Thanks for the reply here saga. It's nice to see that your post starts with a request for "a balanced assesssment" and concludes with "End of rant" - such contradictions and are an inherent part of your progressive literary style, which we have all come to know and love. I was going to mention your use of the word "clowns" in a similar manner to my use of "PG Tips advert" but AndyC555 has already beaten me to it in post 47. Again this inconsistency is very much (an enjoyable) part of your own personal style.

    By "Gordy's PG Tips advert of a government," I was actually referring not to 13 years of New Labour, but to 2 years or so of Gordy as PM. But I concede that Gordy as chancellor was a central player in the government before this, so perhaps it is inappropriate for me to ringfence New Labours failure in this restrictive manner. Having looked at the points you make, I don't disagree with them, but I feel you are grossly understating the level of incompetence and failure of the previous government.

    It all started so well with Tony Blair and a landslide victory, having successfully tuned into the hopes and fears of the electorate - only for him to fail to deliver on so many fronts. New Labours stint started with pledge for politics to be "whiter than white" and ending with what some MPs themselves describe as the "manure parliament".

    Reassuring also to see private schools and undertaxation are still central to your thinking. We've already discussed private schools several times on here, with you eventually having to resort to the "cooking souffle" course of action. Undertaxation is an interesting concept, and I'm not totally dismissive of this per se. I've always believed that most people would not mind paying a bit more if the money was used to produce genuine and value for money improvements. The problem is that politicians were never trusted enough to do this for this view to gain much support, the money would simply be wasted. In fact, we are now in the postion where any tax increase would not only possibly be wasted, but is used to pay of a waste of money spent long ago. This is now a very hard sell indeed.

    Other interesting points :

    NHS - yes there have been improvements but given the amount of money the NHS was hosed down with, this is unsurprising. Spending money is easy, getting value for money at point of delivery is much more difficult, and far less successful. Lets not forget about hospital aquired infections and MRSA as well as part of the New Labour legacy. In my area, we have a new "super hospital", but it's effectiveness is now severely compromised financially by the true impact of PFI, and will be for years to come.

    Border controls "a bit lax" ? Bit of a understatement here again I think.

    As for "Etc Etc and I won’t go on ..." well please do ! Lets not forget the Iraq War, the trashing of the pension schemes, the Child Support Agency Office in Bolton, IR/HMRC merger, IR35, closure of the Royal Hospital Haslar, "education, education, education", the Human Rights Act, the Political Correctness Industry, and Gordy's judgement on the election that never was, the doubling of the 10p tax band, the handling of the Gurkha issue etc I think comparisons to a chimps tea party are not inappropriate. New Labour in government was not a total failurein my view, there was the fox hunting ban, and the smoking ban, but I'm struggling after that I'm afraid - but they're not enough to merit a 7/10 or even a 5.

    But they are gone now, and in Ed Balls and Ed Miliband, the spririt of New Labour and the legacy of expensive failure will live on for a very long time. Lets conclude on a soundbite about them - how about - "Yesterday's people behind todays problems".


  • Comment number 73.

    65. At 09:50am on 09 Feb 2011, mightychewster wrote:

    #55 Up2Snuff - sorry mate 'Chuckle of the day award' has just been snaffled...
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Who by? You didn't provide your nomination. I am happy for CoDA's to be shared, you know. You can do the presentations with the 'grip and grins' to both winners, if you like.

    Bryhers was very strong, almost as good as the 'drivel' one the other day. That said, I was hoping for a nomination for my counterpost on that one.

    Didn't get it, though ...

  • Comment number 74.

    9. rockRobin7

    Indeed Rocky; what a let down eh, but did we really expect anything else?
    Is this the best the opposition can come up with – sneering, hype, but no real alternative policies?
    Seems Labour are even jumping on the Trident band wagon these days (what - no austerity).

    My conclusion – Ozzy wins by default & the ConDem bandwagon rolls on.

    It’s grim down South as well.

  • Comment number 75.

    Well SP (72), it was a rant against ranting. This is okay in my book. And yes, the smoking ban and the hunting ban, both get a tick from me too. Maybe that's the route to genuine popularity - banning stuff.

 

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