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Challenging the Budget

Nick Robinson | 14:26 UK time, Thursday, 20 November 2008

Margaret Thatcher took on 364 economists who challenged her 1981 budget. I've not counted how many are now opposed to David Cameron's on the need for a fiscal stimlus but it's growing.

And it's not just economists or international bodies such as the IMF and EU (albeit that they say only those countries with healthy balance sheets should do it), it's also the 2 main business organisations - the CBI and the IOD.

Today the Times' Anatole Kaletsky goes for the jugular.

The Conservatives are, however, pointing to the latest minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee to back their contention that interest rates are being kept higher than necessary because of government promises to spend more and tax less.

The MPC considered a 2% cut rather than a 1.5% cut at its last meeting but decided "it would make sense for the Committee to reassess the required scale of monetary easing after the chancellor's pre-Budget report".


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  • Comment number 1.

    surely what the Tory's are saying is that spending funded by extra borrowing is just going to come and bite us in the backside in a few months/years time.

    Whereas reducing the spending increases wouldnt.

    Anyway, surely the three options - Labour, Tory and Lib Dems - shoudl be put to the populous so we can decide which one we feel best, and therefore we have no one to blame but ourselves, if what option is chosen goes all Pete Tong.

    You could call it Democracy, a strange thing, but it might just work.

    Can we have an Election please?

  • Comment number 2.

    The same Anatole Kaletsky who in January of this year, in his Times article "Goodbye to all that: the worst is over for the global credit crunch", predicted that...

    ...conditions are not nearly as bad as the headlines and market pundits suggest. In Britain, there seems to be almost no chance of economic and financial disasters
    comparable to those suffered from 1990 to 1992.

    ...I believe that the global credit crisis, far from taking a turn for the worse, is now almost over.

    ...There will be no US recession.

    ...Stock markets around the world will rise in 2008

    Shock horror - Cameron must be devastated not to have this prophetic economic genius on-board...

    Out of interest Nick, how many people are against Brown's plan??

  • Comment number 3.

    (albeit that they say only those countries with healthy balance sheets should do it),

    Nick makes it sound like this caveat is an incidental condition.

    It isnt. Its key and core to the argument.

    SO Nick is our balance sheet healthy or not?
    How do the list of liabilities stack up.
    Do tell!!!

    All hail the Android Emperor ..... Hey Nick!

  • Comment number 4.

    How even handed of you Nick, I don't suppose you bothered to look up this guy in Wikipedia did you. I am sure you didnt, because its not the message you want to get accross is it?

    and I quote

    "Mr Kaletsky is frequently lampooned in the Private Eye, who highlight various and often wildy speculative economic and political predictions made in his journalism, which turn out to be wide of the mark."

  • Comment number 5.


    how could anybody fall for this liberal guff.

    I would never go along with the idea that that the ends justify the means. Let's collapse the pound, raising the price of imports, and lower interest rates, so as people stop saving because their return is so small it is not worth it.

    The implications for inflation with a falling pound are appalling. We want to export our own unemployment. Our manufacturing base over the years has been decimated, our balance of payments would provide evidence of that. The one saving grace was our services industry, well we know what is happening to that.

    As for deflation, well we need that to bring back some semblance of order. One minute we are told that inflation is bad, now deflation is bad, I agree but for who. For example, as the demographic time bomb hits then peoples wages will decline rapidly. This is on the basis that pensions are nothing but deferred wage, anybody disagree. Deafening silence.

    The utilitarians are in the ascendency at the moment, the happiness principle, but there is also the harm principle, and if the chancellor reflates on monday then we are harming the future for our children and grandchildren.

    I could go on but the answer is higher taxes now, higher interest rates, an increase in unemployment, a decrease in wages, lower asset values, in short a bit of pain now, but in the long run, well no pain no gain, so go for it conservatives, let's enter the real world.

  • Comment number 6.

    So the IMF and the EU want governments to give a fiscal stimulus but only in COUNTRIES WITH STRONG BALANCE SHEETS. Doesn't that rule us out. We start with one of the largest budget deficits in the world and the government has taken on huge liabilities in the banking sector. On Monday Willem Bluiter argued that the credit worthiness of the British state was in a worse state since the time of the Stuarts. Perhaps it's not so stupid to risk adding even more borrowing on top of what will already happen as the recession takes hold.
    The main problem at the moment is that the banks are not lending to business at rates which reflect the recent cuts. A fiscal stimulus won't address that.

  • Comment number 7.


    If you've not counted the economists, but the list is growing - how do we know if there are 3, 30, or 300? You intimate that the number is high, by your reference to the number of Margaret Thatcher's economists but none of this is backed up with facts.

    Nick - sort yourself out!

  • Comment number 8.

    Seems that it's not just economists that are gunning for 'Dave'.

    Simon Heffer was particulary scathing in yesterday's Telegraph.

    The tories are finally wakening up to the fact that having lost yet another election to Tony Blair, they decided to elect someone who (they thought) was smoother and slicker than Blair, forgetting that the next election would not be against Blair.

    A common mistake of oppositions, to want to fight the previous election all over again - and hope they will win the re-run.

    Cameron can be slick at presentation and faux sincerity - but he is a politcal featherweight and not qualified to run our country.

    Labour will win the next election unless the tories find someone who is capable of changing their party and can be seen to be competent enough to be Prime Minister. Trouble for them is that they have left it too late, there is not enough time left to change the party before May 2010.

    Cameron has wasted over 3 years - he has spectacularly failed to change the tories and make them electable.

    When will they ever learn????


  • Comment number 9.

    The CBI and the IOD are looking at the short term to protect their members against the current problems. The fiscal stimulus - which you admit the IMF say we shouldn't provide - will eventually cause much more damage.

  • Comment number 10.

    As for the article you refer to - I notice it doesn't get much backing on the comments below.

    Phrases like

    "your recent commentaries are so far from reality that your column is becoming an ever greater jok"

    "Mr Anatole Kaletsky is manifestly very uninformed. Gordon Brown himself has been openly admitting to seeking funds from the Chinese and the Saudis"

    "About time Anatole Kaletsky got real and stopped promoting the failed economic policies of Brown."

    Suggest the jugular was missed rather badly

  • Comment number 11.


    I have said before if politicians keep agreeing that something must be done, and this is what we will do, and agree then be afraid, very afraid. If somebody does not argue against Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling then they will say you didn't say anything and therefore you agree with us.

    May I suggest that a quote from Pericles would be appropriate, 'the worst thing is to rush into action before the consequences have been properly debated' History of the Peloponnesian War.

    We are told that this global recession has come from nowhere and that nobody saw it coming, I disagree but that's another story. So, if it was then the powers that be who did not see it coming, no more boom and bust, then surely they are rushing into action, unless they did of course actually see it coming but did nothing to warn us, nor do anything to prevent it.

  • Comment number 12.

    News Flash! The tories aren't in power! Repeat, the tories AREN'T in power! This is an attempt to spike their guns before they rip to shreds next week's pre-budget report. Bias bias bias.

  • Comment number 13.

    Anatole kaletsky is just another economist and as has been pointed out; the accuracy of economic forecasting has gone down as the number of economists has risen.

    Do economic models incroporate asset abcked and mortgage backed securities as well as credit default swaps? Maybe not.

    Cameron is right to point out that the Bank of England isn't and never was independent. The puppet master supremo was Gordon Brown from the beginning, which fact alone makes him culpable for the gigantic mess in which the banking system has found itself. He may not have been running a bank but he unshackeld the regulatory system in a way that allowed multiples of previous credit expansion.

    This is why his cry from the opposition benches in 1988 "this is a boom built on credit" now looks so hypocritical.

    He has allowed a bigger credit expansion than ever before in our history.

    His answer - more government credit - to this problem is pouring gasoline on a raging inferno.

    What a foolish thing to do.

    It will never work, just like the banking bailout has only put money back into banks coffers but failed to restore confidence between banks becasue all the bankers know it doesn't solve the problem; it just delays the closing act.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 14.


    I think that once again you are misrepresenting the Conservative position, so that you can run them down yet again.

    I don't see the Conservative view as being against "fiscal stimulus" in principle. What they are against is the clumsy, misdirected, dogma-driven, heavy-handed approach being taken by Labour, that will - it seems - have marginal impact in the short term and saddle us with colossal debt in the longer term.

    You have demonstrated time and again your appetite for tearing into Conservative policy like a starving man at the dining-table. But when are you going to start setting your teeth properly into the Government's policies?

    After all, anything the Conservatives suggest right now is mood music - the decisions that will actually make a difference are the ones that come from the Government!

  • Comment number 15.

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

  • Comment number 16.

    I think it is a good idea to challenged the budget....

  • Comment number 17.

    " albeit that they say only those countries with healthy balance sheets should do it". One hell of a qualification. I assume that Nick Robinson thinks that this does not apply to the UK.

  • Comment number 18.

    Fiscal stimlus? What is required is some confidence back into the economy. This will not be achieved by racking up yet more debt and confidence is not something you can 'buy'.

    The UK economy is deep in do-do and all Brown knows what to do is throw yet more of OUR money at the problem.

  • Comment number 19.

    If Margaret Thatcher took on so many economists and took the country out of the same mess it is going into now then she was right.

    For where were these economists only weeks ago when the banking system was in such a mess and none of them knew what to do.

    They still don't now how this is going to pan out and jumping on a bandwagon to try to show that they do will only make them look even more riducous.

    History won't tell them anything and more borrowing at this moment in time will achieve nothing but a longer and deeper recession.

    There will be lots of pain whichever way it goes but only clever business people will find the way out of this with the help of sensible government.

    I agree with Cameron and those advising him. At least he is beginning to form a plan of attack rather than losing his head like some others I could mention.

  • Comment number 20.

    For all his blustering, Kaletsky has missed a fundamental point - UK PLC is not nearly in as good a condition as he would have us believe.

    Our concept of personal wealth is wildly over-inflated, based on a housing market that was left to spiral out of control. That he should now defend the Prime Minister, who as Chancellor was the root of the problem, is ludicrous.

    No-one likes the fact we're about to enter a recession, but it is inevitable. Frittering away billions in borrowed money will only prolong the agony.

  • Comment number 21.

    In that Kaletsky column of January, he says:

    "At the maximum, the US and European governments will announce public backing for their national mortgage and banking systems – similar to the action already taken by Gordon Brown to guarantee the deposits in the entire British banking system."

    Um, I was not aware Brown did any such thing?

  • Comment number 22.

    2. Mister_E_Man

    LOL fantastic, well done.

    Shame Nicks research isnt so exhaustively complete or even careful.

    Still chuckling

  • Comment number 23.

    I suppose guff like this helps journalists to reinforce the astonishing levels of self-importance they attribute to themselves and their opinions, a bit like the politicians, really.

    The real tragedy is that sixty million people are being led to their economic doom by an incompetent government, an ineffective Opposition and all the while a supine media cheerleads on the sidelines.

    We get the government we deserve I suppose.

  • Comment number 24.

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

  • Comment number 25.

    Well done Nick.
    Yet more biased reporting on behalf of NuLabTV.
    You were found out as early as post 2 and you need to start an new thread ASAP to avoid further humiliation.
    The fact that Brown has effectively ran the economy/UK for 11-12 years based upon a bubble of debt just does not register with you. The fact that he continues to pursue the same policies will just create a far worse situation in the years to come.
    Its time to cut up the UK credit card and start paying back the debts, not increase the credit limit as taxes reduce. Live within our means, government and people.
    Mortgages no more than 3x salary. Only one credit card per household etc.
    NuLab really do have something on you for your constant attacks on the opposition and the easy ride you give to Brown.

  • Comment number 26.

    Seeing as Nick holds great store by the IMF, shall we take a look at their growth predictions for 2009.

    China… up 8.5 percent
    Russia…up 3.5 percent
    Brazil….up 3.0 percent
    Eastern Europe…Up 2.5 percent
    Canada…up 0.3 percent
    Mexico… up 0.9 percent

    Japan.. down 0.2 percent
    Euro Zone… down 0.5 percent
    Britain…..down 1.3 percent

    Yes folks were worse off than Mexico.

    SO Nick how well placed are we to weather this global crisis then, got to be worth a comment … No? Your emperor told me that we were BEST placed to weather it.

    Hows the debt looking, healthy balance sheet? saved a few quid during the best decade that any of us can remember did we?

    Or are we broke, over taxed, over spent and still spending rather too much?

    I miss Andrew Marr.

  • Comment number 27.


    These days you are doing Mandelson & Campbell's job for them. Whatever happened to unbiased comment from the BBC?

  • Comment number 28.


    "We get the government we deserve I suppose."

    Sad but true.

  • Comment number 29.

    #8 I think Cameron will actually be rather pleased that someone like Heffer, who is still smarting over Thatcher's ousting almost 18 years ago to the day, hasn't got a good word to say about him!

  • Comment number 30.

    It seems to me that the MPC are attempting to feed their financial buffalo on financial cat biscuits. A 2% cut will still not be enough to rescue the UK economy!! Any interest cut needs to be a minimum of atleast 13% - that way banks can re-capitalise themsleves by leeching savers money from their accounts, and the public will be able to make personal profit just by taking out loans. That will restore confidence and increase spending. If deflation is the biggest threat, then drastic action is required!

  • Comment number 31.

    Being condemned by Anatole Kaletsky must surely mean Cameron is on the right track!

  • Comment number 32.

    Now I know you're winding us up. I only know of Kaletsky through his reputation in Private Eye. Mind you, it was through Private Eye that I discovered what a crook Robert Maxwell was so I'm inclined to believe them about Kaletsky too. Their assessment is that a guy could make a lot of money just betting against him.

    As for these 'economists', the IMF, the EU, the CBI and the IoD' that have been put forward as backing Gordon Brown. How is that possible? Gordon Brown hasn't come up with anything concrete to back at the moment.

    More to the point what do this assembled group of worthies have to say about the economic mastermind that brought the UK to the point of complete economic collapse? Have they got any thoughts on that?

    What's their record on predicting how things would develop when this particular borrow and squander bubble was in its infancy waaaaaay back in 2001. Did any of then offer any 'I told you so way back in 2001....' Just so we can get a feel for what kind of a grip on reality these economists have.

    Please do take the time to find out if any of them predicted any of this. I realise that some of them may not be old enough but we had a prequal to this housing bubble way back in ancient economic history, decipherable only by those skilled in reading illuminates Latin from vellum manuscripts about what happened waaaaay back in, ooooh, 1988.

    I think you'll find that these worthies 'agree' with Gordon Brown in the same sense that we were all 45 mins away from being annihilated by WMD.

    He's simply declared it to be true.

  • Comment number 33.

    I try to avoid commenting on this blog by and large since it seems to be home to such a bunch of deeply-entrenched positions, but I have to say that I think this particular article is astonishingly biased. Starting off with a large number - relating to somebody else - followed by a vague reference to a "growing" number but no specific identification and then referencing one person's article seems to me to be a classic case of damning by association rather than providing any specific facts.

  • Comment number 34.


    I had to laugh when I read this:

    Firstly, Thatcher did go against the economic consensus in the 79/81 recession by pursuing supply side policies. You omit to say however that she was right, and a key factor behind Labour's 1997 win was their backing for similar policies!! Labour and you may have forgotten then, but the public haven't.

    Secondly, Anatole has got this wrapped largely round his neck: e.g. yes, the decline of the pound is part of the solution (thank God we're not in the Euro and can devalue to reduce the pain, unlike Eire and Italy), but the point is the pound has declined by more than even than the US dollar against the Euro, and declined against the US dollar itself: ie what the international markets are saying is that the UK is worst positioned of the lot. Which considering the state of both the US and Euro economies is pretty scary.

    And this is just one example of how he confuses cause and effect!

    Bottom line: tax cuts today will equal tax rises tomorrow, absent cuts to spending. The first question is whether the benefit today outweighs the pain tomorrow. The second is, can we afford it in any event?

    Somehow, I have a very horrible feeling about the answer to both. So, please don't say we weren't warned when taxes go up in 18+ months time. Just as we're coming out of recession, and possibly putting us right back into one.

    PS What ever happened to PRUDENCE? This was critical to my support for Labour.

  • Comment number 35.

    Is this the same IMF who in June predicted the UK economy would grow 1.6% this year (actual nil) and 1.6% next year (forecast -1.6% now, likely to be -3%) ?

    Since the IMF did not see this coming to quote them as a bunch of experts seems perverse at best and plain stupid at worst..

    But hey you are the BBC and got to support the Government...

    If you are going to delve into economcics as well as Peston, it is clear the BBC are as usual overmanned as well...

  • Comment number 36.

    Another classic from the Propaganda arm of the Labour Party, the Itar-Tass-BBC...

  • Comment number 37.


    "Cameron can be slick at presentation and faux sincerity - but he is a political featherweight and not qualified to run our country."

    The same thing i recall was said about Obama,

    No matter what happens Gordon Brown will forever be linked with this Fiscal Fiasco and labour are unelectable with him and his team at the front.

    He's fooling no one running around the world trying to look important,while dodging questions on responsibility...People might not vote for Cameron but they certainly will not be voting for Brown....

  • Comment number 38.

    It's all very well borrowing billions to give away in tax credits but the recipients of the windfall will not be those who will eventually have to foot the bill in higher taxes.

    Again the middle class will be screwed by nuLab.

    Living on benefits has become a lifestyle choice under this government and this will only add to the numbers.

  • Comment number 39.

    Nice allusion to Thatcher there too for added winding up of the Labour apologists. Nothing guaranteed to start a good eye-bulging, phlegm-speckled, two-minute hate from some than mentioning Lady Thatcher.

    It's all her fault you know. And the Americans. And the banks.

    Gordon knew it was coming back in Jan 2008 he just didn't tell anybody. Apart from his reliable mate Hans Christian Mandelson.

    It's plausible alright. You'd want to have been off your head not to see how this was going to develop. Thing is, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Gordon is completely off his head.

    I guess he didn't want to talk down the pound or take any action that would have given us even a six month to a year start on addressing the issues.

    Naaaah. Far better to just continue with the illusion that all was well on the off-chance he could ride his luck for another 18 months. After all, he'd got away with it since 2001, why should he come unstuck now? Why 2008? Why not 2010. Q4 ideally. Land the Tories with the mess.

    I no longer think it matters if Labour win in 2010. The damage is already irreparable. I say this with a heavy heart but we are, financially and morally doomed.

    The economy is in tatters and the government devotes all its energies to covering up its legion incompetencies. They wheel out any half-quotation as 'justification' for whatever they'd got into their raddled minds in the first place and then absolve themselves of all blame when it goes wrong.

    Meanwhile the FTSE is 15% lower than it was in 1997.

    In eleven years the value of our 100 largest companies has actually decreased. And this in the first quarter of a recession.. What'll it be like in another two years?

    So he's stripped all that value out of the economy, he's doubled national debt. Trebled mortgage debt. House prices falling faster than any time in recorded history.

    But look - we've got some people who agree with Gordon that we should borrow even more money.

    One born every minute I'd guess.

    We should take all their crayons off them until they learn their times tables.

  • Comment number 40.

    I have been trying to post a link to an article on, but I keep getting
    "There has been a problem......", and it won't upload. I'm sure it's nothing sinister.

    I was going to suggest that if Nick wants to show some balance, he could reference this and tell us how it rather supports the major questions being raised over the fiscal probity of the fiscal stimulus. Fat chance, of course.

    For anyone interested, there is a link from the first comment on Guido's blog. It makes quite frightening reading.

  • Comment number 41.


    let's go for the jugular shall we.

    I read the International Herlad Tribune and if you are going to quote the Times then why don't you report this little gem.

    Does anybody know that President Sarkozy is going to hold another summit in a few weeks time in Paris, no Obama to be present.

    It is to be held on January 8 and 9 and is to be co-hosted by yes Tony Blair. Only it actually not a summit, it is to bring togther political leaders and prominent thinkers to discuss issues like globalization and the values of capitalism. So it is not actually a summit but it is well like one. I wonder if Gordon Brown will attend, or send anybody.

    As for Sarkozythe IHT describes a lot of what has been going on a 'posturing and preening' would you agree with that analysis Nick?

    So, I think that we ought to be told, what exactly is going on.

    It is interesting that apparently Bush thought that the closure of the recent summit was left with the impression that the leaders had reaffirmed the importance of free amrkets, free trade and the primacy of national regulation.

    Can we hear from Gordon what he thought had been agreed, because I think we ought to be told. Can't wait for Obama to take office, American jobs for American workers!

  • Comment number 42.

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!.................

    Nick - have Peter and Alistair got you locked in the dungeon in Gordon's castle on top of the beanstalk making you type things?

    Kaletsky = Joker. Do you read Private Eye?

    We don't have a healthy balance sheet. That is the whole point!!

    Given debt levels can we afford Fiscal Stimulus when the UK's own sub prime market collapse is still underway (and UK Government has a large chunk of it on the countries books).

    Look at Granite and Northern Rock.

    Is it possible that the Fiscal Stimulus (AKA the election bribe) is what we should spend our last few quid that is available on the latest credit card on?

    I suppose you don't really care if Gordon bankrupts the country and we have to go to the IMF. You'll continue to get your BBC pay cheque which we are legally obliged to cough up for.

    Luckily Gordon has no questions to answer to. We can just keep on bashing the Conservatives.

  • Comment number 43.

    Further insights into the economic forecasting of AK on Feb 5th.

    It's a bit unfair really as Google allows anyone to go back and see what "economic sages" previously wrote .

    If economists were always correct we would only need one.

  • Comment number 44.

    Economists are as despised as bankers at the moment.

    After all it was on the advice of economists that the country and banks have ended up in such a mess.

    I wonder that any of them dare put their heads above the parapet after this.

    Margaret Thatcher ignored them?

    Good for her and so will Cameron if he is to get us out of the mess we're in.

    Don't rely on Gordon he's trying to find out where his other lost heads have got to.

  • Comment number 45.

    I notice a lot of comments on this newslog which accuse Nick and the BBC of biased reporting.
    As "experts" are making different forecasts on the extent and depth of this current economic crisis and its implications for the UK daily, I find it difficult to tell whether individual reporters in the media are biased or not.
    I do remember 1981. As I mentioned elsewhere, investigative journalism in the main national newspapers was in decline by then and, in my opinion, has not been considered worth investing much in by the major media groups. This is understandable. Popular taste proves it by enjoying column inches on media people doing comic turns on the dance floor.
    It remains for reporters to state the facts and quote the main players in the current stories. This usually entails quoting Government and opposition party ministers and "experts". If the former are quoted, there is, according to bloggers, a bias. If the opposition parties get an airing, there is, according to bloggers, a bias.
    It's a lose, lose situation!

  • Comment number 46.

    i agree with number one there.

    but looking at whats been said by all parties on the ecconomy and dealing with this downward spiral.

    each has ideas and each has over the top concepts that will do more damage in the long run and there predeliction for infighting and sniping at there opposition shows none realy has a clue and that all are unfit to sit in westminster.

    surely the people of this country have had enough of these lilly livered namby pamby media hounds that hang around westminster like a bad smell, wouldnt a honest change for the better be the right move.

    all i can think of is for the people to decide there own fate.

  • Comment number 47.

    Aha, yet another insightful piece of dis-information from the Labour Media Unit (or BBC News as it also known).

    Nick, there was a time when every now and then you were incisive. Now, unfortunately, your habit of simply cutting and pasting the latest statement from the Labour Party Press department is getting ever so slightly boring.

    No analysis, no news, nothing interesting; just a quick swipe reinforcing the party-line.

    You're looking SO transparent.

    Give your head a shake, have a word with yourself and start acting like a political journalist.

    You're supposed to be objective - remember?

  • Comment number 48.

    Careful Nick. You'll have Iain Dale onto you again.

  • Comment number 49.

    So we've had a great decade - all spent far too much (mostly borrowed) and the gov spent more money that you could shake a stick at. Now what's going to happen?
    We'll start from the premise that gov spending last year is the base, so in future if we have the sort of boom economy we had during the past few years then gov will get roughly the same revenue. But we won't see those days again.
    Credit will be more difficult to come by - so a reduction in retail VAT revenue
    Houses will NEVER be as expensive in real terms - so not the same stamp duty for the gov
    Unemployment will take some considerable time to return to 2007 level (unless we shift more onto invalidity) - so less PAYE & more benefits
    Less revenue in company taxation I'm betting
    The list goes one..... and at some point we have a hell of a debt to start paying off!
    Question: Are my taxes going to go up a lot or a hell of a lot? - or should we just leave our mess to our kids?

    The gov could have borrowed over the past years to fund infrastructure, but it didn't want. Instead they sat back, let the public borrow and spend and they skimmed their 17.5% off the top.
    Smoke and mirrors anyone! Our debt, their debt, all seems the same now

  • Comment number 50.

    And as for Kaletsky...what can you say about the intelligence of a man who only 6 months ago was writing this sort of thing?

    "On balance, however, to bet on a prolonged slump is to bet against economic theory and human nature. “This time is different” is much more likely to be true on the way up than on the way down."

    He couldn't find the jugular with a detailed map and a battalion of surgeons.

  • Comment number 51.


    Kaletsky is well known for being a bit out of left field as far as economics goes. You really should know this and not regard one of his articles as a condemnation of Tory policy.

    The words in brackets in your second paragraph are hilarious. This is precisely the point - we are not in a good position. See Willem Buller's blog in the FT (an economist ten times more respected and far more in line with economic mainstream opinion).

    If Gordo put on the public balance sheet all the liabilities that should be there (PFI, NR, B&B,RBS) rather than this risible figure of 37% of GDP I think the IMF and the EU would consider a fiscal stimulus of the type Labour are proposing now as suicidal for the UK.

  • Comment number 52.

    You're becoming a bit of joke Mr Robinson. Can you honestly claim this latest blog article to be neutral?

    The naming of economists who are supportive of the government is getting a bit tiring. Paul Krugman last week and now this blog article? With the benefit of hindsight did those 300 economists get it right or wrong?

    Stop spinning yourself into circles and actually take this government to task about its policies. Do they stand up, do they make sense? Why have the IMF placed us at the bottom of the pile for growth? Why has the pound plummeted? What does it mean for inflation if it continues?

  • Comment number 53.

    I have only recently just started reading this Blog. I have to say in all honesty that the comments about political bias against the Tories from this Blogger is in my opinion fair to say the least.

    In the majority; nearly all of Nicks' posts have attacked the Tories or their policies. Very few of Nicks' posts actually hold 'Gordon Blunderpants' (or his political cronies) the REAL architect of our finacial misery to account.

    Most of time the posts are a re-hash of comments made by someone else; this post for example. Each post is followed by comments in which Nick always states the obvious.

    David Cameron has taken, in my view a courageous stance; unlike Blunderpants who as always 'reacts' to events. Blunderpants only solution is to call for meetings that give a 'Look I'm doing something' impression; in reality they achive very little except for a consensus on where to meet next.

    I believe Mr Cameron is taking the correct stance and that Gordon Blunderpants is 'reacting' for short term political gains. Gordon Blunderpants is holding a busted flush, and soon we will see his hand holds nothing of real value for the people of this country.

    Roll on the General Election.

  • Comment number 54.

    Nick please explain to me:
    1:If emperor Brow is going to hand out cash to the low income families thru tax credits, who is going to pay for it later as the recipients hardly pay taxes or anyway will be too poor to contribute to the the increased taxes? Last middle class out switches the light out !!!
    2: will the expected large increase in unemployment fall only on the private sector, any idea how many of Brown's own army of public workers will get the chop too? I am sure the Tories could reduce the huge bills of public workers without getting rid of a single nurse, teacher or any really useful public worker. The Nulabour Guardian is still full of adverts for expensive useless non productive public sector jobs !!!stopping hiring these guys and girls would be good start and popular with the real hard working families !!

  • Comment number 55.

    "The MPC considered a 2% cut rather than a 1.5%"

    A bunch of "wise men"- the same "wise men" that created the conditions that gave rise to the bubble/crunch.

    If they cannot tell us when they predict interest rates will rise to sensible long term values they have absolutely no credibility for lowering them to absurdly low levels.

    Remember interest rates take a year to eighteen month to have any effect as we are always being told.

    They should all be sacked.

  • Comment number 56.

    My understanding remains that both Europe and Asia can survive a total decoupling of the American economy over a three year period so have taken the position that this finance crisis is merely a blip. Money has a value of sorts but it's like rubber: you can stretch it anyway you want. By taking a leadership position and revitalising Keynesianism, Gordon Brown is helping shape perceptions and the realities that flow from that into a better outcome.

    Nick is comfortable with asserting this situation is a blip, The Times has been upbeat for a while, and I had noticed the CBI was swinging behind Gordon Brown. Meanwhile, the Tories are addicted to cleverness and the illusions of the cardboard hero reading from a script when we live in a moment where the underlying trends demand subtlety and wisdom. I've commented on trends, personalities, and outcomes exhaustively, yet, the Tories still don't get it.

    Cameron has liked to compare himself with Obama but this is only skin deep. They share similar personality types and neither has a clue, but Cameron is caught up in his own cleverness and opposition politics while Obama has an appreciation of better philosophies and struggle. Cameron's moment has passed while Obama's is yet to come. At the centre of this is Gordon Brown. To his left hand, heaven. To his right hand, hell. What can one say? Tread carefully.

    Personally, I've quit listening to most of the media and online comment. It's just turned into too much of a blizzard to get your head around. The Tories and the usual suspects have tried to game the system and 'step outside the box' but that's just put them in la-la land. At both parliamentary and grass roots level the right have gone off on their own and lost me. Far from being a threat that's exactly where I want them. What's even more sweet is they did it to themselves.

    Don't say I didn't warn you cuz I did, etcetera.

  • Comment number 57.

    Is Charles_E_Hardwidge is an anagram of Anatole Kaletsky?

  • Comment number 58.

    People say that Brown is fooling no one. Unfortunatley the opinion polls are beginning to disagree with that.

    People on this board need to realise they do not represent a microcosm of public opinion. Just the well informed, stroppy, tory types.

    Joe Blogg's opinion is formed by the media and hence Brown will win. The media will eventually stick the knife in Cam, and everybody will turn on him as an elitist tory boy.

    Sad but true.

  • Comment number 59.

    You have got it wrong again the Tories are not against a fiscal stimulus what they are against is an unfunded one because we are in so much debt, it will cause sterling to drop further and we will pay back
    for ever.

    The clue is in the word those countries who have been fiscally responsible which we certainly have not.

    Please stop this Labour propaganda, just because Brown and Mandelson say it it does not make it true.

    Im starting to think you just say these things to annoy people, otherwise I would have to say its very poor reporting.

  • Comment number 60.


    Why oh why do you always have to have a left leaning agenda. Is there any chance you will ever have a blog questioning Labours action or is that not on your remit.

  • Comment number 61.

    Quite frankly I do not care whether the oppo, whether Tory or LibDem or whatever is right or wrong. To only have Brown suggesting a single route forward is not a choice. For a choice you need more than one option. If Brown stands up to the options then all well and good, but we need options. As it was economists who helped develop this mess they are well down the list of people who I listen to.

  • Comment number 62.

    I thank fellow bloggers on this forum who pointed out that Kaletsky's economic predictions have sometimes been err, less than accurate.

    I will certainly factor that in when reading his pieces in the Times.

    So, 'Dave' is off the hook then.

    Well, not quite as this blogger had a chance meeting today with a photo-journalist of a few decades experience and has just about met everybody who is 'anyone' in the public eye.

    I asked the journalist, as one does, to give me a list of those politicians who are truly horrible.

    Surely, John Precott I ventured, after reading A A Gill's piece where gill stated that Prescott was possiby the nastiest person he'd ever met.

    No, Prescotts OK said the journalist, but Gill is actually pretty awful himeself, a person with a massive ego.

    I don't like Cameron, the journalist said, because he switches it on for the cameras.

    Surely they all do that, I said.

    Well, the journalist replied, Cameron has not got 'the common touch' and off camera he is arrogant.

    Don't suppose 'Dave' will lose much sleep over this but it does make you wonder.

    We proles do not usually get to know these politicians but these people in the media who trail around after them ... well, they surely get to know whats what.

    PS. I also found out from this journalist that The Guardian does not need to make a profit as it is funded by a huge trust fund.

  • Comment number 63.

    The Conservatives have been wildly misrepresented in the media - especially the BBC. At every turn they have stood against Team Brown's wanton populist and vote hungry policies.

    The Conservatives are the true "Party for the People". They want to help the pound in your pocket, while ensuring the country as a whole has a strong future.

    Where New Labour seems intent on destroying the economy, the Conservatives seek to preserve it. They will eliminate waste and put the money saved to good use.

    Margaret Thatcher - whose policies still haunt and define the party - was also misunderstood. Market based economies and a strong public sector have been proven to be the defining political system of the rich West.

    Call an election now. The Conservatives will win by a landslide and get this country back on track. They have the policies that will save the UK and only the need to chance to implement them.

    And yes - all that is indended to be sarcastic!

  • Comment number 64.

    Typically one sided bias commentary. I don't mean to make this personal Nick but I just don't think you are up to the job. Impartiality is critical in your job and whether it's because you're naturally Conservative and over compensating against that bias or whether you are naturally left wing and unable to hide the bias I don't know. Either way I cringe at most of your blogs, interviews and articles.

    Time to move to the Mirror or some other rag.

  • Comment number 65.

    Nick - fair report.

    What persuades me that Cameron is right is that Simon Heffer vehemently rubbishes him!!

  • Comment number 66.

    This is why BBC bias has such a large effect on the voting intentions of the public

    UK dominated by left leaning BBC

    In a poll of the top 100 journalists in the UK

    "So 6 of the top 20 [SIC - ten???] and 11 of the top 20 are from the BBC, which just shows how much our political coverage is dominated by them. "

  • Comment number 67.

    #58 My-Pet-dragon

    So what you are saying is that Gordon Brown will be elected at the next general election due to the media being biased towards him and the population being badly informed and ignorant.

    That is probably the most depressing thing I have ever read.

  • Comment number 68.

    Funny. When I was confident Labour supporter I had Nick down as a Tory mouthpiece. Perhaps he falls foul of the supporters of any party he does not praise in the most glowing terms. Signs of even handedness.

    The role of a political columnist is to point out the weakness and contraviews of any utterances of every poltician. This means of course that he has the easiest job in the world!!!

    However the current problem is that there is no simple solution that anyone can support with any certainty. If you think you have got a sure fire solution you don't understand the problem. Which means that we are searching for the least bad solution. Even then we cannot agree with the time scale over which it should be judged.

  • Comment number 69.

    I must be missing something. I thought that the government of the day was responsible for managing the affairs of the State?

    Nick, why are you so pre-occupied with the conservatives (Tories is old hat) strategies?

    I am a conservative that is demanding the best out of the government of the day.

    I damn the day that socialism influences the running of our country but at the moment we are stuck with them! I pray to God that Gordon's Christian upbringing keeps us afloat.

  • Comment number 70.

    Text courtesy of these people.....

    Tax Cons

    We learned yesterday that what Gordo giveth, Gordo will be takething away pdq. Immediately after the next election, he'll be throwing the tax gears into reverse to claw back the "giveaway" we'll be getting next week.

    But how can such a strategy possibly work? Surely we punters will see straight through it, recognising that such short-term tax cuts are not something we can safely go out and spend. We'll need to save them in order to pay the deferred tax hikes post-2010.

    In fact, there's a whole branch of economic theory devoted to just such situations. It's called Ricardian Equivalence, after the great 19th Century economist David Ricardo. Pointing out that government borrowing is nothing more than deferred taxation, Ricardo suggested* that it therefore makes no economic difference whether government funds itself via tax or debt. People cannot be conned by tax cuts funded by borrowing.

    So is Gordo's giveaway a gigantic con?

    Yes. But not in the way Ricardo might have suggested*. In truth, the upcoming tax cuts should have quite a strong impact on demand in the economy, not immediately negated by an increase in saving. That's because those that get the biggest tax cuts now will not be the same as those who can expect the biggest tax increases post-2010.

    The main beneficiaries will be Gordo's favoured groups - in particular, families with children, lone parents, and those who have not saved. That is to say, they will be the welfare dependent groups who routinely consume more than they produce. Since they are very likely to spend every penny he gives them, he can rely on them to discharge their public duties in full.

    The main payers post-2010 will be wealth producers and savers. These are the anti-social elements long reviled by forward thinking radicals. The bourgeoisie who think it's perfectly OK to save and accumulate personal wealth, and to ignore their wider duties to the state.

    In other words this so-called tax giveaway is in reality a further massive extension to the discouragement of enterprise and effort Gordo has been working on ever since 1997. All implemented through his incomprehensible and wildly expensive tax credit system (see previous blogs too numerous to mention).

    You might want to bear that in mind when you cast your vote in 2010.

    *Footnote: In reality, Ricardo was far more subtle than the textbook version of Ricardian Equivalence might suggest. He understood that people are not rational calculating machines, and can easily get taken in by "fiscal illusion", under which immediate tax changes weigh more heavily in their minds than the eventual repayment of the associated government debt. Something that our politicos have always understood instinctively.

  • Comment number 71.

    Interesting article, also in the Times by their Economics Editor Gary Duncan (bet he doesn't share an office with AK)

  • Comment number 72.

    I find it extraordinary that anyone let alone you Nick would be so foolish as to use Anatole Kaletsky's opinion to support any position. His prediction's from the probability of the Iraq war in 2003, to his prediction's upon the likelihood, depth and length of a recession in the last year have been laughable. His opinion now is therefore worthless.

    When Lehman Brother's went under he leapt upon it like a drowning man to sustain a new position. It was all Paulson's fault. Such "insight" really isn't worth the £25k he charges his private clients in fact I would say it isn't worth 25p. Except as a comedy act.

    If David cameron has gone against what AK says he probably is on the right side of the argumant.

  • Comment number 73.

    It actually doesn't matter who thinks what (eg - Brown or Cameron) as the general consensus is that no one has a clue what's going to collapse next.

    Will it be consumer credit, insurance, property (and I don't just mean the blip we're going through)?

    Even though Gordon Brown is joined by many learned others in his beliefs, it really is a day at a time.

    Mind you, and I support neither Labour or Conservative, the Conservatives are looking pretty stupid so not much change there then.

  • Comment number 74.

    Nick what is your take on this?

    The following is a quote from Busted Brown, post G20 meeting:

    By the actions we take, savings are safe, people will be able to keep their jobs, and they will not lose their homes.

    BBC article

    Nick, has Brown lost the plot or is he just putting his mouth in gear before he engages his brain?
  • Comment number 75.

    Lets face it.
    Nick Robinson does not think. He's not paid to. He's a journalist.
    Since when do journalists THINK?

    I mean actually think through the subject they write about. they can't.

    If he did think, he would of course pointed out that mostly what we do in the UK makes not a jot of difference.

    The world economy is dominated by the US. If Obama succeeds in righting the US , we will follow: slowly..

    As for suggesting we are decoupled from the US as suggested by Cahles E H above.. that theory has been discredited when China started slowing down...

    So watch the US and hope.. And don't spend all our money at once. Anyone who thinks this crisis is going to be over in less than 2 years is living in cloud cuckoo land...

    5 years? maybe.

    So to spend money rashly in year 1 and run out by year 4 looks somewaht imprudent - especially when the key player is the US.

    We cannot solve this on our own.. in that at least Mr Brown is correct.

  • Comment number 76.

    I just like to say #62 and #70 very entertaining and informative comments. Sometimes the comments to these blog posts by Nick Robinson are far more interesting than the main article!

    It's nice to see what people think. Well done the commenters, the editors, and the BBC for allowing them :)

  • Comment number 77.

    Here's a comment from the BBC website from the vacuous and utterly hopeless chief secretary to the treasury - appointed because she's Ed Balls' squeeze rather than on ability, because she has none - on borrowing:

    "But I think it is right to increase borrowing to support the economy right now because we did cut debt while the economy was growing."

    Excuse me? The predicted PBR for this financial year, when the Labour goverment was predicting economic growth was £43 billion.
    The truth of the matter, I suspect, is that Gordon the Golem only ever cut debt in the first years of the Labour ministry when - to shore up his credibility - he had committed the government to sticking to pre-announced Conservative spending plans. Thus, he was awash with cash from the expanding economy but had nowhere to spend it, so he was only left with the reducing debt option.
    All Gordon the Golem's self-imposed rules being binned and no one says a word. Even the so-called "independence" of the Bank of England has turned into a disaster, since forcing it to focus only on inflation has helped get us into this mess. The Bank of England didn't react when the economy was over-heating because inflation was perversely low and then it was too slow to react when this crisis broke meaning we could be heading for deflation.
    What a mess. Made in the USA? No, made in the diseased mind of Gordon the Golem.

  • Comment number 78.

    jonathon_cook @ 70

    It was interesting to read about Ricardo and how easily people can get taken in by "fiscal illusion", under which immediate tax changes weigh more heavily in their minds than the eventual repayment of the associated government debt.

    Which reminded me of something I read recently about young children in an experiment whereby these under-fives were shown a sweet and told that if they waited five minutes whilst the adult left the room, then they could have two sweets upon the adult returning.

    I cannot remember the percentage but a significant number of the children could not 'defer gratification' and ate the sweet before the adult returned.

    According to the article, those children who managed to control their urge to eat the sweet and wait for the adult to return grew up to be considerably brighter and more successful than those who could wait.

    The Government seems to be thinking along similar lines to those who devised the childrens 'sweet' test.

  • Comment number 79.

    While I agree with Cameron's attempt at financial "prudence" I think he's putting a lot of faith into the moronic but significant section of the public whose votes he needs at the next election.

    We can already see the Labour narrative forming - "You failed the poor in their time of need" guff etc etc.

    He needs to hammer home the point that tax cuts wont make a blind bit of difference if you don't have a job.

    Interest rate cuts only seem to be punishing the minority who bothered to save a bit over the boom years. Personal/Business loan rates bear no resemblance to the the BOE rate.

    Yes mortgage payments for the
    few lucky ones on trackers are coming down but unfortunately the value of their homes depreciate
    by even more.

    Sad state of affairs and this is only the beginning.

  • Comment number 80.

    Driving home today the news on Five Live:

    Government borrowing doubled in the first half of this tax year. Cumulative borrowing for the first half of the 2008/09 fiscal year at £37.6bn.

    The balance sheet just gets worse.

  • Comment number 81.

    If I ever needed a reason to stop reading The Times it would be Anatole Kaletsky!

    He did 'go for the jugular' today which can only mean that the Tory party is on the right track.

    Could somebody please enlighten me as to how Kaletsky got his reputation as an Economic Guru?

  • Comment number 82.

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

  • Comment number 83.

    I've stopped watching The BBC news and current affairs programmes now because of all this patent pro Government bias. Much prefer the more balanced CH4, CH5 and Sky. Will probably leave this blog also for a while due to Nick's continued painting of a rosy, one sided Government picture. For goodness sake the Conservatives aren't even in office. They bear no responsibilty for our present position. Anyone would think that they were the guilty ones!

  • Comment number 84.

    It was interesting to read about Ricardo and how easily people can get taken in by "fiscal illusion", under which immediate tax changes weigh more heavily in their minds than the eventual repayment of the associated government debt.

    I've seen it the other way around. Folks are sucked in by the immediate crisis and opposition sweet-talk with all its talk of alarm and magic bullet solutions, but are beginning to realise that it's a short-term difficulty that we can ride out. Been saying that for ages.

    The "fiscal stimulus" is just grease on the wheel to get people over the immediate hump in the road. Folks still have to focus on developing business and connecting with markets, and the positive action taken now with helping business and keeping society on-board will help develop that.

    By acknowledging this crisis and developing better structures and attitudes, and a more sensible approach to growth the overall outcome will be better. This is where unified vision, cooperation, and a little gentle forward moment will work its magic. But, I don't expect typical British procrastination to get this straight away.
  • Comment number 85.

    I never realized how biased the BBC is until I started blogging 4 weeks ago.

    I thought the BBC was meant to be independent. Sadly you all too often parrot the Nu Liebour spin machine waffle.

    If I was a politician I would be thrilled if "economists" were trashing my policies. Thank God Mrs T ignored them. And to think that Merv the Swerve was one of the signatories.

    Where were all these bien pensants as this mother of all bubbles was developing?

    The borrowing figures released today are spectacularly awful.

    I was brought up to believe that if you screw up you dust yourself down and get on with life.

    In the Nu Liebour fantasy world the sugar fairy never leaves your bedside. It's the economics of the madhouse but mirrors the times we live in where total non entities become celebrities, a world of "rights" without "responsibilities".

    This government is totally and utterly discredited. They inherited a growing economy and after 11 years of spend spend spend have engineered the most spectacular bust in living memory.

    Brown parades around the globe like the saviour of the world. What an insult to our intelligence.

    Will Dave and the Eton Gang be any better? Well one thing is for sure, they could not be worse than this shower of incompetents.

  • Comment number 86.

    Surely Labour are following conservative policy by making cuts to services/finding savings. This is what will be used to pay for the financial stimulus not borrowing.

    Nick - do us a favour, try and report the news, not be the news. It doesn't become you!

    Any news on Mandy and his meetings? That's been about a month now!

  • Comment number 87.

    In reality, Ricardo was far more subtle than the textbook version of Ricardian Equivalence might suggest. He understood that people are not rational calculating machines, and can easily get taken in by "fiscal illusion", under which immediate tax changes weigh more heavily in their minds than the eventual repayment of the associated government debt. Something that our politicos have always understood instinctively.

    Using this as a follow-up to my last comment: the British economic fundamentals are broken. Risk averse and low-trust society are strangling Britain tighter and tighter, and attempts to reverse this have been met with stubborn resistance, and that's something both business and society has to accept responsibility for.

    The Tory solution of deregulation and tax giveaways just fuels this negative cycle even more. Far from developing a sense of business vision and a caring society they're just rewarding fantasy. But, because the Tories are caught up in their own cleverness and sense of entitlement they don't get this and never will unless they change.

    Procrastination is pretty well documented but the 'Brown Plan' of getting people to focus on creative business, a fair society, and expanding the economic sweetspot of long-term capital growth will help reverse that. Getting through that change is never easy and not everyone will agree but the choice is between embracing that or lurching back to the whiskey bottle.

    If the government could hit a button and deliver a cost-free magic bullet solution they would. The media know this which is one reason why, I suspect, Nick and the rest of the more savvy media are pursuing the current line and leaving the Tories marginalised in la-la land. But, ultimately, it's down to business and voters to get a clue, stop complaining, and start succeeding.
  • Comment number 88.

    forever @ 81

    Could somebody please enlighten me as to how Kaletsky got his reputation as an Economic Guru?

    yes I can

    it's because he's got a very serious "chess master" sounding name

  • Comment number 89.

    When taxes do have to rise where will GB get them from.

    The unemployed?

    The unemployed self-employed

    The pensioner saver?

    Bust businesses?

    Private pension funds?

    There might just be a problem when there aren't enough people left in work or business to pay them.

    He'll just have to turn to the over inflated public sector then.

    But I forgot. Doesn't the taxpayer have to pay for them too.

  • Comment number 90.

    constable @ 78

    yes ... the ability to forego something today for something better tomorrow - aka deferred gratification - is the biggest of all indicators of life outcome

    apart from how rich your parents are

  • Comment number 91.

    I'm increasingly drawn to the conclusion that Charles_E_Nobrain is just Gordon the Golem's Judas Goat.

  • Comment number 92.

    Something backward Britain should note:

    Hewlett Packard is outperforming the market as it focuses on innovation and listening to customers.

    The Japanese manga serialisation of Das Kapital is set to be the "publishing phenomenon of the year".

    The message is simple: get a clue.

  • Comment number 93.


    You might as well just hand Campbell and Mandelson your login and let them type their own topic summaries themselves; nobody would notice the difference.

    Is anyone listening to you anymore? Well, labour MPs and staunch labour voters probably are, but everyone else just sees your comments as spin typed out word for word directly from labour central office.

    If you want to dispel that myth then make a comment about the other side for once in your life and bring some kind of balance to your reporting.

    Perhaps mention that the IMF believes we're the worst positioned country in the developed world, or that Sarkozy went behind Brown's back and is now talking to Blair instead because he doesn't believe that Brown has any competence/intelligence at all. Or how about the massive levels of public (and private) debt that we've racked up under labour. Or how about all the pension theft that labour have carried out. Or how about the fact that Brown point blank refuses to consider trying to save any money at all when it comes to government waste. The list is endless.

    You could at least feign balance even if you don't want to add real balance; at the moment you're not even bothering to pretend that you're balanced. You might as well give up and go home and just hand the license fee money direct to the labour party.

  • Comment number 94.

    Anatole Kaletski articles are usually well-written. I have enjoyed reading them over the past few years.

    They are also usually wrong.

  • Comment number 95.


    Please do some research before waffling on about polls. Just because Gormless Gordy seems to have caught up with the Tories in the polls does not mean he would win an election any time soon. The truth is the Tories are still maintaining their lead somewhere at the low to mid 40s mark.

    [url= Polling Report[/url]

    Why is there never any feedback comments from comrade Nick? It seems as if the purpose of these [BBC] blogs is to gain feedback from readers about their political views; the purpose escapes me.

  • Comment number 96.

    78 JohnConstable

    Yes - I've seen that study as well. The results were interesting.

    You are right - there do seem some unfortunate parallels with this countries "economic rescue package".

    Jam today.

    Let's hope the problem spirit away.....

    P.S. You mention how away from the cameras politicians can be nice / nasty in your post above. My mum accidently elbowed John Major in the balls (queue people saying they'd like to have done the same).......... he was very pleasant about the situation.

  • Comment number 97.

    Sometimes it's hard to see what's really going on for ordinary people/voters, because the figures are so huge and the statistics are so misleading.

    So it's often easier to use an analogy for what labour are intending to do regarding the budget, so here's one....

    Say Gordon Brown was running a small business. He has no customers and no stock. He's been running at a loss for 10 years because he doesn't know anything about business. He's been funding his losses by taking out loans from a very stupid bank. With no customer, no stock, and massive debt, he decides that he needs a new 70inch plasma tv for his office's lobby. So he takes out another loan from his stupid bank. He tells the bank "it's fine; I'll be able to pay it back because my business will grow by 50% this year". His bank doesn't bother to look at his balance sheet which would show them that his business plan is just a joke, and they agree with him that having a plasma tv for his office is a good idea, and they lend him the money.

    In this analogy the plasma tv is the pending tax cut, and the stupid bank are the voters.

    The loan will be called in. It's just a question of time.

  • Comment number 98.

    The problem is that it does not really matter now if the Tories are right. Having apparently persauded the enire planet that it can spend its way out of this crisis, the UK can hardly do a 180 degree turn and go off in the other direction and well they know it.

    Brown may well have been below the belt when he accused Cameron of playing politics over the Baby P affair but he would certainly be justified on the economic U turn.

  • Comment number 99.

    Anyway we can argue all we like. Nick can and probably will continue to report baised garbage.
    When unemployment rises to over 2.5 million by June 2009 he can then report what a wonderful job Gordon is doing, that Osborne's plans are useless and the Labour Party are "saving Britain " from the Tories..

    Anyone think I am being unkind?

  • Comment number 100.

    92 Charles_E_Hardwidge

    I agree. Backward Britain could learn something from the more forward thinking.

    IMF Growth predictions for 2009:

    China up 8.5 percent
    Russia up 3.5 percent
    Brazil up 3.0 percent
    Eastern Europe Up 2.5 percent
    Canada up 0.3 percent
    Mexico up 0.9 percent

    Japan down 0.2 percent
    Euro Zone down 0.5 percent
    Britain down 1.3 percent

    We could try exorcising the poltergeist that is Gordon Brown, but he doesn't want to go and is spitting, fighting, lying and causing mayhem as we try and remove him.

    Maybe we need a bigger crucifix and more garlic?

    Alternatively we could call Yvette Fielding, Britain's answer to Ghostbusters - because Brown seems determined to stay, even if that does bankrupt us and we have to go to the IMF to bail us out.


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