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Tories free of spending commitment

Nick Robinson | 10:25 UK time, Tuesday, 18 November 2008

With one bound they were free.

David CameronThe Tories are no longer committed to matching Labour's spending plans. In a speech this morning David Cameron says that his party will take another look at what government should be spending in what is likely to be general election year 2010-11. However, he doesn't and won't say what level of spending there should be.

This is designed to get them out of the political bind they've been in.

The country, they've been saying, cannot afford Gordon Brown's tax cuts because the cupboard is bare and it's irresponsible to borrow to cut taxes.

With a commitment to match Labour's spending plans, the Tories risked being painted as committed to tax rises to fund the gap. They could not promise what many in their party have been demanding - spending cuts to fund tax cuts.

Now they can.

They may be free of one constraint but they are opening themselves up to an old Labour attack - warnings of Tory cuts.

Team Cameron's calculation is that the change in the economic outlook blunts that weapon. If Labour warn of Tory cuts they will be telling the country that they'll carry on spending regardless of current economic circumstances. That will allow the Conservatives to say that Labour's borrowing bombshell will be matched by a tax bombshell.

UPDATE, 11:55AM: George Osborne says that today's move spells out a clear choice for people - spending restraint under the Tories and tax rises under Labour.

Somehow I doubt that's where Labour will want to leave the matter.

Remember that although today is politically significant it still leaves most of the important economic questions unanswered.

All the Conservatives have told us is that they would spend less than the government currently plans to in 2010-11. However, they concede that the government is itself committed to reviewing its spending plans for that year. What's more, the Tories haven't got answers to the really hard question - how much less should be spent on what?

It's clear that David Cameron wants voters to conclude that he tells it to them straight whereas Gordon Brown has a history of being misleading on tax.

Today Labour are pointing out that today's speech did nothing to offer families and businesses help now. In the longer term, I suspect that they will respond by pointing out that the Tories have tended to be rather better at calling for government to do more (more prison places, more money for the armed forces, more tax breaks for marriage... etc) than to do less thus allowing them (you guessed it) to say that the Tory sums don't add up.

UPDATE, 8:30PM: The whole point of David Cameron and George Osborne's commitment to match Labour's spending plans was to neutralise Gordon Brown's favourite election strategy - Labour investment versus Tory cuts.

I explained in my earlier post why the Tories decided to change their position.

It's already obvious, however, that this will throw up difficult questions for the Tory leadership as the Tory right demand bigger cuts sooner and Labour suggests that there'll cut anything they don't make specific promises to match Labour's spending on.

I've just interviewed the Tory leader and he did give one indication of the scale of spending curbs that might be needed:

ROBINSON: Is it your plan to cut spending so that taxes don't have to go up under a Conservative government?

CAMERON: Basically yes. We need to recognise we cannot go on as we are. If we have the current debt we've got plus the government's borrowing binge, which they are going to go ahead with, plus their spending plans, there will be really massive tax increase, a big bombshell after the election. The government aren't really denying it, they're talking about a £15bn or maybe £30bn extra. If they do that and money's got to be paid back through a tax increase, we're talking about 4p on the income tax rate, something like that, a really big increase. Now if we want to avoid [this] we've got to change something. What I'm saying is we need to change the growth of public spending, to get it under control, because we don't need a tax increase like that just as we're trying to come out of recession.

So, to avoid tax rises after the next election is David Cameron saying that public spending will have to rise by around £15bn less than under Labour?

P.S. Before anyone writes in to point out the difference between a cut and a slower rate of increase in public spending, I do know the difference. Indeed, I once had a rather memorable exchange with Tony Blair about just that distinction when during the 2005 election campaign he unveiled a poster claiming that the Conservative Party would initiate cuts of £35bn.


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  • Comment number 1.

    What a desperate disappointment.

    Cameron had the chance to make a huge stride forward with positive policy for the present and a tangible glimpse of the future.

    To detatch himself from Labour as he has was to be brutally honest,like conirming he has 4 fingers and a thumb on each hand - all he has done is state the blindingly obvious.

    This is no policy change,let alone a c-change its desperately desperately disappointing but sadly predictable as it offers NOT ONE JOT to todays economic debate!.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hurrah DAVID has seen the light well done!!

  • Comment number 3.

    The country's fate for the price of a pint of beer?

  • Comment number 4.

    What ever spin New Labour dish out most children over the age of 6 dismiss it.

    Except of course the BBC who always swallow it whole then ask for a second helping.


    I exclude John Humphries from that remark.

  • Comment number 5.

    What about what we should do with the criminals who took us into Iraq?

  • Comment number 6.

    If the Cavalry are coming with reinforcements,we could perhaps reopen our two mothballed production facilities.



    JOBS FOR 1500 plus.

  • Comment number 7.

    Smart move from the Tories really - everyone surely knows by now that it's possible to slash public sector spending without making the blindest bit of difference to services. After all, Labour have made massive increases in spending to make things worse!

    I can think of many quangos, middle management non-jobs and civil service positions that are easily dispensible, not to mention a large number of white-elephant NuLabour projects which could quite happily disappear into the ether and save us billions.

    Roll on the election...

  • Comment number 8.

    There appears to be not a lot that the opposition (Con and Lib Dem) can say if the media continues to allow the government to peddle its version of the truth.

    What we need is a debate with ALL the facts laid bare - to include when, and how much, the tax increases to fund the Brown Christmas giveaway will be.

    I suspect the Brown strategy is to target the cuts at what he hopes will be Labour voters, and pass the increases onto Tory Middle England!!

    This smacks of a strategy to start up the class divide once more - with Harriet Harperson stoking it for all she is worth!!

  • Comment number 9.

    Nick, please don't inflict the phrases "Team Brown" and "Team Cameron" on us.

    I don't support "Team GB" but do support "Great Britain"

    These Americanisms are a pain in the backside.

    Next, heaven help us, you will be talking about "The last chance saloon."

    Please TRY to write in English. We are not American ... YET.

    Now back to the subject. David Cameron and his team at last will be able to put realistic figures on his government, if there is one. It will allow him to bring into the open the off-balance sheet PFI disaster, and discuss the present government wastage without being held in a stright-jacket by Labour's figures.

    A good move.

  • Comment number 10.

    The Criminals that took us to Iraq post 5.

    Personally i believe the entire labour cabinet of 2002/3 should be tried for war crimes.

    In rememberance of David Kelly and all the service men & women and the thousands of Iraqi citizens.

  • Comment number 11.

    As a middle-class engineer, when I heard Labour talk of tax-cuts, I started to cut my expenditure, as I know I will get none of them, but will have to pay for them. And when I hear of Tory spending cuts, my optimism level rises, as I know that this country must, as a matter of urgency, reduce the waste of resources by public sector client groups (I include most of the BBC's output in this as well). It's time to get real about our situation.

    Remember, history shows all Labour governments end in disaster for the country's finances. Roll on the election !

  • Comment number 12.

    Goodbye to newlabour profligacy.

    Goodbye to an NHS budget of over 100bn three times what they inherited.

    Goodbye to mindless PFI projects and the private sector taking the rise out of government recklessness.

    Goodbye to newlabour's age of irresponsibility.

    Goodbye to public sector index linked final salary pensions.

    Goodbye to ID cards.

    Goodbye to 42 detention.

    Goodbye to endless form filling and bureaucracy.

    goodbye diverstiy officers.

    Notice anyone whining about Boris Johnson cutting the link with Hugo Chavez and TfL now the oil price has collapsed? Didn't think so.

    Newlabour, Nopurpose.

    Goodbye Gordon Brown.

    An election please.

  • Comment number 13.

    Why, Nick, do you not mention that Cameron has made it clear that he is talking about reducing the rate of increase of public spending, not about cutting it?

    You say 'They may be free of one constraint but they are opening themselves up to an old Labour attack - warnings of Tory cuts.'

    Well yes, especially if 'journalists' don't see fit to mention crucial points.

  • Comment number 14.

    Over the weekend, the BBC made much of George Osborne breaking some non-existent convention that the opposition don't comment on the consequences of financial policies, and was thus talking the pound down. This led many news bulletins.

    The pound went up yesterday.

    Can we now expect a leading item saying that it's obvious Osborne's words had no effect on sterling? I thought not.

    I would have thought that investors (who broadly speaking are intelligent people) would be much more worried by biased and inaccurate reporting from the state media than comments by the opposition when assessing a currency risk.

    How on earth can the Tories say now what spending in 2011-12 will be? We're all waiting for a statement on what the government is intending to do and all the indications are that it's going to spend money it hasn't got - and a lot of it. That'll damage the economy hugely, as you should know, so we have to see what extent of the damage they cause before knowing what to do.

    The cure for too much borrowing is not more borrowing.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    David Cameron?

    Please can we comit to rebuilding our infrastructure like power stations,say 35 nuclear ones so we dont have to rely on the French or the Russians to keep the lights on.

    All Brown did was dither dither dither, then claim credit credit credit WHOOPS DEBIT.

    BLAME THE YANKS. (BBC will swallow that)

  • Comment number 20.


    I await the Conservative report on public spending cuts with great anticipation.

    Compare and contrast with Gordon 'announcement' a day on the economy.

  • Comment number 21.

    #11 When I was younger someone once said to me "People vote Labour in with empty heads and vote them out with empty wallets".

    At the time I never quite appreciated exactly how well that phrase summed it up. What saddens me is that Labour still haven't learned their lessons after all this time.

  • Comment number 22.

    If we are going to move out of recession, the easy credit created demand has to be replaced by something. Tax cuts and benefit increases for the poor are at least part of the answer, but Cameron is right they cannot be "just for Christmas". It will be many years before easy credit becomes available again, so a long term change in the distribution of wealth and income is necessary. This is the unpleasant truth that the Cameron's party has to face.

    For the Labour Chancellor, eventually the problem will be devising taxes that the wealthy cannot avoid. My suggestion is a land value tax, perhaps replacing the most regressive tax of all, Council Tax. It is difficult to move land to an offshore tax haven and it is traditionally used to store spare cash. It might also persuade builders to use land to build houses instead of keeping it in a land bank.

  • Comment number 23.

    sorry commit has two m's

  • Comment number 24.

    What about half of violent crime going unsolved?
    What about Baby P and the knee jerk council set up by Labour?
    What about the war crimes of our government?
    What about presumed consent on my liver?

    I'm glad you are blogging about this - it shows you are at least taking note of the tories and how they are going to get us out of the mess, but it also is ignoring other vitally important political events. Keep up Nick!

  • Comment number 25.

    All Hail Dave

    Finally the policy we need.

    A commitment to cut the 2million plus non jobs created by the reds.

    A commitment to drop ID cards

    A commitment to put more of our money back in our pockets to spend or save as we see fit

  • Comment number 26.

    Does anyone actually know what is going on at the Conservative Party. One day they say one thing, the next day the opposite. How am I supposed to actually consider voting for them when their policies seems to change whenever the headlines change.

    The only one they seem to stick to is that if you have amillion pound in the bank you can die tax free.

    That wont get my vote.

    I may not agree with everything Labour are doing, but at least I know what they are doing and can form my own opinion about it. They at least stick to what they say.It's not like the press are against the Conservative Party, most of them, whether the Fleet Street cheerleaders or Murdochs empire are backing them to the hilt and still they seem to be directionless.

    For god sake Dave, form a policy and stick to it. Give us something to compare you to the government.

  • Comment number 27.

    I may be fiscally illiterate but it strikes me that if you haven't got any money then you can't spend it and you'd be pretty darn silly to borrow money to fund your spending...especially when your credit card is maxed out.

    Why can't these guys see the obvious? Spending cuts are ONLY things which will work!

  • Comment number 28.

    Why stop at cabinet members? Most of the Government was complicit in this.

  • Comment number 29.

    Excellent speech by Cameron and, by the way, excellent analysis by Nick Robinson: 'With one bound they were free'

    Actually this is more of a continuation of the previous Conservative policy, i.e. over the economic cycle the rate of increase in government spending should be less than the rate of growth in the economy.

    By contrast Labour's policy, as shown by their actions over 11 years, appears to be this: over the economic cycle government spending should be greater than the rate of growth in the economy, funded by ever increasing government borrowing. This will lead eventually to both tax rises and cuts in spending programmes as interest payments on government debt take an increasing proportion of total government spending.

    Spin all they like, eventually the internal contradictions in Labour's economic policy will be understood by even the most blinkered Labour blogger (though of course they won't admit it)

  • Comment number 30.

    Have you noticed that whenever the Tories propose a tax change it's called unfunded by Gordon Brown.
    Whenever Labour propose extra spending it's called prudent and the right thing to do in the circumstances.
    How did we get in this mess in the first place, it wasn't ALL America's fault or that's what the G20 statement said?

  • Comment number 31.

    Tories have no option really. They've got to distance themselves from Labours spending plans. They can't leave themselves locked in to funding a blank cheque. They'd be caught by the short & curlies and that's political suicide...

    But we'll see an even bigger disagreement in PMQ's now. Tories will say that Labours spending plans are irresponsible and reckless over the longer term. Labour will say that Tories are not prepared to take the radical action needed to rescue the economy in the short-term.

    I still think we should have a full Parliamentary debate on the CRISIS in the economy, properly debating the issues and attempting to reach a cross-party agreement on a way forward that doesn't bankrupt/compromise the UK in the long-term. We need to look well beyond the next general election, Tories seem to be doing that, Labour aren't...

    Only time will tell Who's right.

    Doctor, where are you when we so desperately need a lend of your Tardis ?

  • Comment number 32.

    Cameron said:

    "I am not worried about Labour's lies because nobody believes a word they say any more."

    Absolutely right. There is no point engaging Labour in reasonable debate any more.

    There is zero point in trying to engage with the false reality that Labour have created - you end up sounding as bonkers as Brown.

  • Comment number 33.


    I think you will find that is what the Conservatives have just done.

    There is now clear blue water between them and profligate government

  • Comment number 34.

    at least that means any current tax cuts may have the desired effect, of stimulating the economy. Whereas labours soon to fail tax lowering today plan with massive tax hikes post election have been proven to fail time and time again. Seeing as nobody (with sense) will spend the money knowing that it'll be snatched away tomorrow

  • Comment number 35.

    11 SecretSkivver

    I know the feeling ! Good post.

    On the main topic, when the "era of irresponsbility" finally come to an end at the next General Election, I am hoping it will not be followed more of the same, so David Camerons statement sounds reasonable to me.

  • Comment number 36.


    Lets see two BBC links to this story -

    "Tories cut free from pledge to match Labour's spending" (to this blog entry)

    "Tories cut Labour spending pledge" (link to main piece)

    Do you think you are really clever getting 'tory and cut' next to each other in these titles?

    Is the only chance left for brown/labour for the BBC to try to indulge in a second rate, sub paul daniels, derren brown 'word plant' tricks.


    Now what are you doing about getting answers from Mandleson about his tariff talks with Oleg?

  • Comment number 37.

    According to Gordon Brown and fellow Labour spinners we are supposed to be uniquely well placed to survive the downturn (known to everyone else as the recession).

    In that case:

    why did the UK economy contract 0.5% in Q3 against the EU average of 0.2% and US 0.1%?

    why has sterling depreciated 25% against the dollar

    I don't have to hand 4Q and 2009 projections but perhaps someone else can kindly supply them?

  • Comment number 38.

    A Conservative worker friend told me a few months back they have been told to get as many conservatives they know to flood blogs on the BBC and Sky with Conservative views, and to "scatter gun them" when the party announces anything, so anyone that reads them thinks that is what everyone wants.

    I thought she was joking until, being a first time reader, I have read all the views above.

    They apparently have been doing the same with people gaining seats at Questiontime as well.

    Pretty scary when you think about it.

  • Comment number 39.


    You are correct on the subliminal messaging.

    Correct grammer would be :

    "Tories Set free from pledge to match Labours spending"

    "Tories Drop Labour spending pledge"

  • Comment number 40.

    I'm quite happy with this.
    I for one am sick of the sight of Brown trumpeting the "spending" that Labour does and has done, on appalingly wasteful projects as if its a virtue.

  • Comment number 41.

    Here we go again. Cameron is rehashing the 1992 General Election with Labour's Tax Bombshell. Quite soon he'll be using Major's successful lie, Vote Tory for Tax Cuts Year on Year. It was a General Election where the Tory Chancellor Lamont went missing for three weeks and emerged after the Election to say that Major had been wrong in promising Tax Cuts. It seems that George Osborne has been practicing hiding already.

  • Comment number 42.

    I look forward to Cameron telling us honestly (and without falling back on nebulous efficiency savings that rarely materialise - see for example Boris's experience in London where he can't find much to cut in amongst the massive waste of Livingston's government):

    * What areas of Government spending will be lower under the Conservatives (less on education and Sure Start, less on hospitals, less investment in infrastructure, less tax credits)?

    * Who will tax cuts allowed by these spending cuts be targeted on (why not abolish inheritance tax for everyone, or cut higher-rate income tax to 20%)?

    * What are their plans for paying back the National Debt? How much should be paid off over the business cycle (a balanced current budget is apparently irresponsible)? How do they propose to trade-off between investment that increase future economic growth and the 'need' to pay off the National debt?

    I also look forward to their plans for macroeconomic policy. We've been led to believe that monetary policy will, under the Conservatives, be used to support a fixed exchange rate (but not the Euro) and prevent asset bubbles (more important than maintaining growth in the real economy).

    Maybe some policy at last? Or too much to hope for - just general statements about a different approach without giving too much away about what will actually happen.

  • Comment number 43.

    Cameron's approach seems at least more straightforward than Brown's euphimism and spin - as typified by yesterday's commons performance. Perhaps, as cassius puts it, the battle lines are now to be drawn more clearly:

  • Comment number 44.

    Post 36


    I didnt realise how biased the BBC are until i started to use this blog service.

    Unless one praises the government one is open to DELETION.

  • Comment number 45.


    I find that kind of paranoia quite hilarious. The self-serving attitude of all government apologists is also rather insulting - screaming "conspiracy" any time someone comes along who disagrees with them.

    Rather like Labour's "shoot the messenger" policy for everyone who criticises their policies in general really.

    I'm simply a hard-working taxpayer with no party allegiance who recognises the fact that the best way to ensure effective government is to have effective opposition. And finally, thankfully, it seems the Tories are showing some common sense and listening to what the people are crying out for - which is more than NuLabour have ever done.

  • Comment number 46.

    Shouldn't someone be asking how Labour's fiscal stimulus is going to be funded. In the longer term we know the answer - us by way of tax increases. However, in the short term it will presumably be paid for by increased borrowing. But borrowing is contingent on someone lending. Who?

    Normally, such money is raised in the gilts market. But according to Will Hutton - not exactly a Labour critic - speaking on Radio 4 on Saturday money has been flooding out of the UK in recent weeks, hence the run on sterling.

    Somewhere lurking in the background is a picture of Darling following in Healey's footsteps by going to the IMF, complete with begging bowl. Perhaps that explains Brown's trip to Saudi Arabia recently to try to persuade them to commit money to the IMF. Are we entering Faustian territory?

  • Comment number 47.

    How can Labour claim that the Tories sums dodn't add up," when the rocketing PSBR would suggest that their own sums don't add up?

    Or am I missing something here?????

  • Comment number 48.


    you make your comment that there are economic questions unanswered by the conservatives, i.e. by how much to reduce spending etc, fair point, yet you do not also acknowledge the unanswered questions regarding this governments intention to borrow its way out of the mire they have put us in, and that is, how are they going to afford it, are they going to raise taxes?

    Why are you not asking this question, why are you and seemingly the BBC not intent on holding the government to account, as a tax payer I am seriously worried about this government flagrantly spending money they don't have whilst pretending they are economic genuises? I'd appreciate more balanced reporting in future.

  • Comment number 49.

    RE POST 38.

    I hope you dont count me in that number.

    Ive noticed by an avalanche of deletions that anything over critical of Labour,Mandelson and Halifax Plc/HBOS seems to be blackballed.

    So the bias appears to be in Labours favour?

    Strange how the truth is so unacceptable.

  • Comment number 50.

    I fine it funny that the media and people seem to fall once again for the old "Labour Spin" (Good work Mandelson). How can people still seem to trust Gordon on another so called Tax cut. Remember it was him that Conned the poor and needy in the first place with the 10p fiasco by which the country have a unnecessary 2.7 billion pound debt. Then it was the same Gordon who sold our gold reserves which could have been handy in this time of need. Then we had all the money wasted on the Millinium Dome when times were good which is just 1 of the many bad Labour ideas. Therefore I came to the conclussion that no wonder we've got no money set aside for a rainy day. So how can people still think that this same man is best suite to steer us through this economic crisis when he could not even spend our money wisely when we had some.

  • Comment number 51.

    36 The Real Truth

    Sky News manage with the headline:

    "Cameron abandons spending plans"

    Now we have to wait and see how creative Pravda will be in peddling the onslaught of tax cut lies that Labour will trot out.

  • Comment number 52.

    Stand by for the "Tory cuts" line from Brown.
    Cameron needs to make it plain that it is "Tory savings" he will seek by targeting waste and unwise spending, whilst protecting or even increasing effective investment in vital services.

    There is masses of scope to cut waste though sheer ineffiiciency in areas where investment is justified but also to take out layers of hare-brained spending on things which are a waste of money - even if it is spent efficiently.

    Doing the wrong things right can be even worse than doing the right things wrong because very often the spend does much more harm than good and generates even more spend through red tape, bureaucracy, enforcement, compliance etc.

    The problem isn't where to find the areas of hare-brain spending but to know where to start, from a long list, in prioritising the ones to hit fastest and hardest.

  • Comment number 53.

    expertfloatingvoter wrote:
    It's not like the press are against the Conservative Party, most of them, whether the Fleet Street cheerleaders or Murdochs empire are backing them to the hilt and still they seem to be directionless.

    expertfloatingvoter wrote:
    A Conservative worker friend told me a few months back they have been told to get as many conservatives they know to flood blogs on the BBC and Sky with Conservative views, and to "scatter gun them" when the party announces anything, so anyone that reads them thinks that is what everyone wants.

    Would that friend happen to work for the (supposedly) Tory supporting Murdoch?

    Unless I have missed an announcemnet Murdoch has thrown his weight behind Labour since 97. If you haven't even worked that one out I have to query your claim to be an "expert" floatingvoter.

    And while it might be true that your friend did tell you that, it is also possible that there is no friend and you just made it up. You wouldn't be the first person on this site to suggest that any pro-Tory viewpoint comes from a Tory party plant.

    I personally suspect that the reason that there are so many pro-Tory views is that the Labour government is deeply unpopular.

  • Comment number 54.

    expertfloatingvoter - you give the impression of a labour troll.

    Anti-brown/anti-labour views are prevalent on blogs and everywhere else that the public can freely express their views.

    However this is simply because that is the majority view.

    After Blair stepped down he confessed that he had lost the support of the public and he couldn't sensibly continue.

    I didn't like Blair much - his one major contribution to the UK was to keep Brown (an even lesser man) out of the top seat - even that, he couldn't do properly...

    However at least Blair new when the game was up -- Brown needs to be left in no doubt that his time is passed too.

  • Comment number 55.

    The Tories should certainly NOT be promising to match Labour spending.

    Labour is famous for wasting taxpayers money. What this country needs now is real prudence - not frittering money away on failed IT projects, ID cards and yet more borrowing.

    This does not mean cutting services, but it does mean identifying waste - particularly in the huge bureaucratic mess created by the Blair / Brown years. Wasteful local government spending also needs to be addressed.

    The Tories really need to keep their eye firmly on the economy now - and not be distracted with all the social engineering nonsense that seems to be coming from their think tank.

    The country can save money by firing the Labour 'nanny'. We don't want a Tory nanny to take her place.

  • Comment number 56.

    #36 You raise a good point I've often wondered about on this website - whether it's a conscious effort or not though I'm not sure. After all, it follows that the majority of the staff here are left of centre and might just do it naturally without thinking.

    If it is deliberate though, I look forward to a future whistleblower telling all!

    As for Mandy, I shouldn't expect any news on that front - however, I do seem to recall reading that he wants to go on Strictly Come Dancing, perhaps in an effort to endear himself to the public?

    Personally, I'd kill to see him on Have I Got News For You as a guest presenter. Now that would be priceless television...

  • Comment number 57.

    @33 Pot_Kettle. Yes that is what they say now, what about next week. Last week they said they were going to equal Labours spending.

    They do not actually say where they will find the money and how much, just generalisations.

    Their policy seems to go with whatever is seen as positive in the media. Can you guarantee it won't change again before the next election?

    This is the problem I have with thinking about voting Conservative, I don't know what they will be saying next week, nevermind at the election in maybe a couple of years.

  • Comment number 58.

    #38 - you are absolutely correct.

    The Tories,handed this tactic by their friends in the republican party in USA - great lot of good it did them !!!!!!!! - have used this "facebook/blogger" tactic since the arrival of "boy david" - in essence they actually employ people to sit at home and fill sites like this with anti-Labour and anti anything thats not supportive of Boy David rhetoric.

    Thge problem is that people clearly like you and me not pro-Labour by any stretch of the imagination - get tarred with the same brush - if we are not Pro Boy David - we are bolsheviks...

    The BBC is bolshevik(in their eyes) - when you argur they are'nt you are dismissed - yet ITN/Evening Standard and Daily Mail clearly the tribune of boy david's propoganda machine are clearly left alone and forgotten.

    Ask them a straight-forward question like OK - what would Cameron have done in the past 2 years to keep the UK out of recession - (if he did do that we'd be the only economy safe from recession) and you'll NEVER get a straight answer - just more anti Brown bile!

    Dare to comment that part of the global crisis has its roots in the unregulated me first mate Thatcherite and Reagan days of the 80's and you'll get sent to the gallows literally.

    You see - everything not Boy David is rosy and bright - everything not Boy David is dirty and glum - thats the message - loud and clear....

    The problem is that there is no actual message from boy david (b) Boy David is a political novice who all too easily can be shown to be nieve and loses his temper and his credibility at the drop of a hat and (c) all they can do is dismiss and denegrate -

    Finally,if you dont believe that 95% of them are'nt in the paid or voluntary employ of Tory HQ ask yourself this - how else can they be logged on - all day,all night - every day - every night able to rebut anything not praaising the high altar of Boy David "!....????????

    They are'nt yet automation robots,but they are'nt real people - I know of 3 Tory activists in the West Midlands who share a common nom de plume and use it under instruction and with pre-written scripts e-mailed to them every time Boy Davis speaks...

    Sadly,this is USA style politics in the 21st century...

  • Comment number 59.

    #45 DJ Lazarus - I have no party affiliation and am only repeating what she told me. She has no need to lie as she is a Conservative worker.

    With regards your no party allegiance - the words NuLabour is what she uses when quoting anything done by the government.

  • Comment number 60.

    The BBC headline link is regrettable and petulant.

    Economic reality dictates that government spending growth has to slow down.

    Here's a breakdown of Labour's spending.

    In total, public spending is an eye-watering £585bn, 430bn is central government, 155bn local government. Representing 32% GDP and 11% GDP. 43% in total.

    For comparison, the 1988 budget, total government (local and central) was 37%

    The government has been taking more and more money from the wealth creating private sector and pouring it into the inefficient and unreformed public sector.

    In 2011, Labour plans to spend 33% GDP centrally and 12% GDP locally or 45% total. These are fantasy figures, the GDP projection is going to be way off now.

    Enough is enough, this is madness.

    This recession will require a re-alignment of spending priorities, fact.

    GDP will not be anywhere near 1.5tn to permit this level of government spending.

    Don't believe me.

    It's all here....

  • Comment number 61.

    I have been an avid reader of this blog for a number of months and have finally taken the plunge to sign up out of utter frustration!

    I voted Lab in '97 - I think I got blinded by the teeth - and again next time round having fallen for the 'we need 2 terms' rubbish. Last time I voted LibDem because I couldn't bring myself to vote for the other two. Now we're up to date.

    If I was up to the limit on my credit card or overdraft and went to the provider/bank and asked them to give me more on the basis that at some time in the dim and distant future I might possibly be able to pay it back I think I might get a short response. Why then are we as taxpayers, or financial institutions (who we appear to be now funding as taxpayers anyway), or whoever, prepared to lend this shower of a government more money on the same basis? Wouldn't that just be proof of the type of actions our Glorious Leader has been describing as 'irresponsible' on the lenders part, and not taking personal responsibility on behalf of the borrower?

    I have always gone on the principle that I don't buy anything unless I can afford to pay for it. I expect to see Gordon at the local Westminster Pawn Shop with the Crown Jewels in the spring.'s good to see the whole Govt is taking this so seriously that one minister has the time to write an 11 page memo on the subject of which coffee they like and when they would like it served.

    Presumably he wants HobNobs too, not those Rich Tea things.

  • Comment number 62.

    The Beebs sister organisation, Pravda, have this to say about our political parties:

    "To this end, the British, both Labour and Tories, but more so Labour, have become the paramount Trotskyte Neocons, out doing all but the most rabid US Neocons."


    Given Iraq and Brown's Soviet style denial that he ever said "an end to boom and bust" and "we are uniquely placed to weather the recession" - then maybe the term 'Trotskyte Neocon' is very well suited to the great helmsman.

  • Comment number 63.


    The Millenium Dome was the creation of one Michael Heseltine - Labour inherited its spending and creation - TORY SPENDING TORY WASTE!

    Indeed Heseltine high-jacked its concept from Birmingham and moved it to loNDON!

    Had it been built in Birmingham - it would have most likely broken even and formed the basis of a new NATIONAL STADIUM!"


  • Comment number 64.

    Gordon Brown has stated time after time that it is because his Government took tough decisions and repaid debt that they are able to spend more on schools and hospitals. Money that does not have to be paid in interest can go to these worthy causes.

    The Tories, in responding to Labours claims of "Tory Cuts", need do no more than remind Brown of this basic economic point.

    Prudence has crossed the House!

  • Comment number 65.

    #49 First time on here, how do you know that the overcritical are being blackballed or deleted. You cannot see a comment until it has been moderated.

  • Comment number 66.

    No more lies and spin.


  • Comment number 67.

    Hm... "In the long run, Keynes is still alive", somebody said recently.

    All Labour have to do is call it Hooverism.

    I must say, so far, the Tories opposition hasn't been much more than "Irresponsible tax cuts? Hoy! That's our job!"

  • Comment number 68.

    expertfloatingvoter @38 wrote:

    "A Conservative worker friend told me a few months back they have been told to get as many conservatives they know to flood blogs on the BBC and Sky with Conservative views, and to "scatter gun them" when the party announces anything, so anyone that reads them thinks that is what everyone wants."


    By that standard of hearsay, unless you 'name and shame' this "Conservative worker friend" why should anyone believe that you are not one of Derek Drapers Drones?

    I belong to no party and take direction from no-one. I've learnt to hate Brown and Nu-Labour all by myself.....

    ... and it seems to be a widespread feeling.

  • Comment number 69.

    @38, Mr Draper is that you?

    I think you'll find it's Labour who are trying to swamp the web and blogs with opinions, they even have a dedicated department for it.

    Just as they had applauses pager-managed at conferences.

    Pathetic really, and I've no doubt the Cameroons will want to try the same.

    As for the raft of more conservative posts across the web, that might have a great deal to do with a PM who's obviously enjoying watching the UK go down the pan, and who has had more than a walk-on part in the economic disaster and perpetually insists on lying through his back teeth about it.

    And I cannot believe your post 26 - you accuse the Tories on U-turns? what about Brown? He spent a decade bragging about light touch regulation everywhere he went, and now has developed a curious amnesia about that.

    I'm not quite sure what you're an expert in, but it sure as hell isn't unbiased politics.

  • Comment number 70.

    #53 I am no expert at anything, it was a username I was offered when I asked for my username to be floating voter.

    I am not pro-Conservative or pro-labour. Is this how it works on here, if you are not pro-Conservative you are accused of being a troll.

    I only mentioned what was mentioned to me. With regards Labour being unpopular, they are behind in the polls, but not by 95% as which what the posts being anti-Labour on here.

    Glad to come on here and see so many varied views.

  • Comment number 71.

    "Tories free of spending commitment" that all right then as they are also "Free of Policies" - so no change there then.

    The Tories are the 'court jesters' of politics at present - Little Lord Fauntleroys in velvet slacks who get elocution lessons in speaking estuary! Men (and most of them are men!) of straw. They are floundering.

  • Comment number 72.

    Also from the Pravda article I posted at 62.

    The Russians have accused Brown's Britain of being "Orwellian"....!

    "Quite simply, as the UK sinks into the deepest reaches of an Orwellian Police State, where the government tracks every car on the autobahns, every phone call, all Internet usage and even has council members rummaging through people's dust bins before the rubbish is picked up"

    Who'd have thought it hey?!

    The Russians don't know the half of it though do they?

    We have Brown telling lies about the economy, the BBC reporting Browns lies as fact and the Conservatives lambasted when they oppose the government.

    I'm not sure Cameron's speech today is going to overturn this strange New Labour world we live in - but at least it is a step in the right direction.

  • Comment number 73.

    #38 expertfloatingvoter

    Is this all by word of mouth, or do you reckon you could get an e-mail/memo from Conservative central office saying this?

  • Comment number 74.

    #55 distanttraveller

    That may be true, but there is still some service that is being cut - even if it is, as you say, a wasteful and/or pointless one.

    Plans to cut spending are far more credible if they pinpoint the areas where spending will be cut/growth will be slowed, identify which activities are wasteful, and give some idea of how spending growth will be reduced.

    The next stage of Cameron's "Fiscal Masterplan" has to set out credible plans - an intention is a start (though at the moment it is really a re-packaging of the "sharing of the proceeds of growth" policy)

  • Comment number 75.

    greatandydudley @58 Wrote

    "I know of 3 Tory activists in the West Midlands who share a common nom de plume and use it under instruction and with pre-written scripts e-mailed to them every time Boy Davis speaks..."

    Then name them!

    If you don't then you are all mouth.

  • Comment number 76.

    I was in the plush new department's waiting area at my local hospital for a diagnostic test... 3 receptionists chatting amongst themselves making coffee etc. and just me. Piped music, potted palms, blush pink walls, must have cost a fortune.

    I get to the business end in the surgery and the machines are easily 30 years old, I can't have general anaesthetic or sedation for what turned out to be an extremely painful and protracted procedure and I had to wait 6 weeks for the appointment as they don't have the medical staff.

    Thanks Gordon for wasting the billions poured into 'improving' the NHS.

  • Comment number 77.

    Cutting public spendind is going to be a huge problem,particularly for the tories.I suspect between now amd the next election the power of the unions will be increased whether by laws originating from our defunct Nu-labour party or from over-zealous EU rules. As the main power base for the unions is now the public sector (which has been hugely politicized under labour...just look at the bbc) and as the public sector is where significant cost savings will have to be made, if the conservatives win the next election i anticipate that the country will be unmanageable.....Back to the wilson/heath era anyone??

  • Comment number 78.

    I agree. Anyone coming in looking to 'trim the fat' is really spoilt for choice these days.

    The single fact that the Department for Work and Pensions has more employees than the British Army has soldiers says it all.

    The cost of Labour's red tape and nannying is summed up excellently in a book called 'How to Label a Goat' by Ross Clark.

  • Comment number 79.


    That's probably because NuLabour are the current party in government?

    You don't need any party allegiance to know that, surely?

  • Comment number 80.

    I'd love to see Mandy on Strictly Come Dancing - it'll be the our only chance to vote this unelected 'individual' (I had to retype what I initially wrote) off and get him out of our lives...

  • Comment number 81.

    Please never forget 10p tax issue was solved with borrowing
    This new stimulus is through borrowing.
    Brown has wasted it all, and we have mortgaged our hospitals and schools for the next xx years.
    He should be charged with crimes against the state and the taxpayer.

  • Comment number 82.

    come off it these parties are all the same corrupt inept and should be removed fully from government.

    none has the answer and becouse they are to busy fighting each other they have shown themselves as petty small minded and not realy capeable of running for a bus let alone our country.

  • Comment number 83.


    As an apolitical observer of this blog I'd just like to say that I would not be suprised if both of the major political parties were involved in this and it's not to be unexpected.

    What I can add is that a friend of mine has been employed as an external consultant to several major government departments in an advisory role in helping 'massage' data and statistics. This is to give out the 'impression' to the public/media that the department has been achieving its targets and goals, even if that is not strictly the case.

    This is obviously thought to be extremely worthwhile by the government as he is very well renumerated for his 'input' and has two very nice and expensive German cars. I know know where my tax money is going!

  • Comment number 84.

    Re 41#, i think the next party election slogans will be repeats of the 2 most succesful slogans of all time.......
    1) Labour isn't working and

    2) Things can only get better...

    Preferably with coverage of the most popular politicians of all time singing it ie Mandelson.Prescott, Brown and Blair with Campbell adding backing vocals....
    got to be an election winner for whichever opposition party uses it.......even the Monster Raving Looneys

  • Comment number 85.

    @69 Frank - Castle, as stated I am an expert in nothing, it was the name I was offered when joining this messageboard. Who the hell is Mr Draper?

    I am not happy with Labour either and yes they have their hands dirty with regards the recession. However, I cannot see any reason for me to vote Conservative at the next election and came on here to see if I was missing the point.

    All I have recieved is abuse for not joining in with everyone elses viewpoint.

  • Comment number 86.

    Wonderful isn't it?

    People have the opportunity to express their views here..but if they show any particular political leaning,they are pilloried and accused of being (mainly) in the pay of the Tories.

    Don't those of you that constantly make such accusations realise that you look, and sound, completely paranoid.

    Has it ever occurred to you that, perhaps, their comments might just be their personal views?..which they are entirely entitled to have.

  • Comment number 87.

    I think your analysis is right, Nick. The Tories have aligned themselves as the Party of fiscal responsibility and hopefully sustainable tax cuts. The government position will be that it's the same old Tory public service cutters.

    Hopefully the electorate will be able to make the distinction between spending cuts and a slower rate of spending growth. A fairly sound policy I would have thought.

    I groaned when you used the dreaded phrase "the sums don't add up." The most trivial and ambiguous phrase ever used in politics.

  • Comment number 88.

    So let's consider the likely effects of the recession.

    Say for 2009, a 3% decline in GDP is likely.

    Using Labour's own projection GDP is 1.399tn pounds.

    Well actually it's going to be 97% of that now, so 1.357tn

    So government spending of 620bn will represent 44% GDP using the original figure or 46% of the revised figure.

    So they will need to borrow another 3% GDP or £42bn more next year.

    Then add the unfunded tax cuts... say £22.5 (midway between 1 and 2% GDP)

    So the government will need to borrow another 64.5bn next year!


  • Comment number 89.

    Don't trust Cameron and his Eaton cronies. The NHS is now at risk, state education is now at risk and crime will escalate as police funding gets slashed. Nothing is sacred to Cameron except power to the rich

  • Comment number 90.

    At long last. There is now a glimmer of hope that DC will take an axe to the profligacy of the Nu Liebour project.

    There is no need to cut expenditure on essential public services as there is endless scope to do away with all the pointless quangoes, Guardianista jobsworths etc etc.

    We all know that Governments do not spend our taxes well its just that Labour are even more profligate. The boom was all smoke and mirrors, the bust is for real and WAS NOT MADE IN THE US as the Big Girls Blouse would have us believe.

    Bye bye Gordy, Ally, Mandy and the rest of the spin merchants. Of course they will say that the "Tory figures do not add up". As ever, they will lie and lie, and lie again. And the British Bias Corporation will repeat their lies ad nauseam. Sadly for them and their lackeys in the BBC we are all much wiser and won't be fooled.

    Are DC and the Tories any better than the present shower? I'm not sure. But what's certain is that we ought to give them a chance. Brown has never had a proper job in his life. Like far too many of the political class throughout Europe he hasn't a clue about running a business.

    Brown has ruined our pensions, sold our gold for a handful of washers and stealth taxed the country to death. The lack of improvement in our public services is lamentable for the money spent.

    When you are up to your ears in debt you do not borrow more. What's true at an individual level is also true for the country. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.

    So be it if we have to take some additional pain now. The balance sheets of the UK, individuals and companies have to be cleaned up. If there are casualties that's all part of the process. Life is not meant to be a garden of roses and that's the difference between the utopia of the Nu Liebour project and the reality of life.

  • Comment number 91.

    I really am beginning to wonder how the Tories can win the argument. If they tell the truth to the public that we can no longer sustain the public services as they are, the government cries they are going to make cuts and the media pretty much does the same. The government continually lies to the electorate and the media does not point it out. Its like Gordon Brown says the world agrees with his ideas on tax cuts when in actual fact it was only only for the countries which have been fiscally responsible, which we certainly have not been and the media announces that Gordon Brown is hero to the world.

    Money needs to move from the public sector to the private and the ring fenced pensions enjoyed by the public sector must stop , but Labour will never do this because its their core voters, and if the conservatives say it they will never get in, no wonder they are cautious.

    Im afraid reliance on the state has become so big under Labour it now controls every part of our lives and it appears much of the media.

  • Comment number 92.

    #73 Balahamu, haven't got a clue,it is just what I have been told.

  • Comment number 93.


    And you think Labour are any better?

    Take the expert from your name

  • Comment number 94.

    greatandydudley wrote:
    #38 - you are absolutely correct.

    Thge problem is that people clearly like you and me not pro-Labour by any stretch of the imagination - get tarred with the same brush - if we are not Pro Boy David - we are bolsheviks...

    What I find strange is that all the people who suggest that the Tory party are hiring people to post on web sites always claim to be politically neutral - yet they only ever seem to target the Tory party.

    CEH - probably the king of this group claims to a non-Labour party voter yet comes out with more pro-Labour comments then Mandleson.

    Ironically the people who actively suggest a preference to Labour (rather then posting comments against the Tory party yet claiming to be neutral) never suggest that people who have opposing views are paid Tory members.

    Dare to comment that part of the global crisis has its roots in the unregulated me first mate Thatcherite and Reagan days of the 80's and you'll get sent to the gallows literally.

    Yes, the right wing bloggers hang everyone that doesn't agree with them, but they must be zombies as they keep coming back! (I suspect that you mean "figuratively"! ;) )

    They are'nt yet automation robots,but they are'nt real people - I know of 3 Tory activists in the West Midlands who share a common nom de plume and use it under instruction and with pre-written scripts e-mailed to them every time Boy Davis speaks...

    Damn, those Tory plants are stupid! They are paid to post by the Tory party and yet proudly tell every "floating" voter they know about it! I would have thought that there would have been some confidentially clause in their contracts!

    So how much does the Labour party pay to spread all these rumours about the Tories? And is it taxable? ;)

  • Comment number 95.


    Rewrite your post substituting Brown for BoyDave and vice versa and you will see how biased you truly are

  • Comment number 96.

    "The next stage of Cameron's "Fiscal Masterplan" has to set out credible plans"

    Indeed, yes, but not before an election is called. They'll be open to the usual Labour criticism of 'no policies' of course, but better that than to have those policies immediately claimed by the governing party.

  • Comment number 97.

    No surprise here, just like Maggie he'd rather sit back and sacrifice the people who's hard work made this country strong.

    As long as his core support doesn’t suffer too much he and Gideon will be happy.

    I am no great supporter of the Labour party, but at least they seem to understand the damage that mass unemployment will have on this society.

    If the Tories could try and put there maniacal fear of Tax rises aside and treat the labour parties approach as an investment in people and society, then they might mature as a party and leave some of there private boys club mentality behind.

  • Comment number 98.

    Regarding sums and adding up - there is a clear consensus between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats that there is an awful lot of waste in current Government spending. Identifying waste and cutting it out could go a long way to reducing the deficit, without impacting on front line services. Labour will have to do better than bleat about sacked nurses and untaught children - nobody likes to see taxpayers money frittered away on useless projects like the 11 billion on the NHS computer system.

  • Comment number 99.

    balhamu wrote:
    #38 expertfloatingvoter

    Is this all by word of mouth, or do you reckon you could get an e-mail/memo from Conservative central office saying this?

    My guess is that it is made up, simply because I would expect that IF the Tory party did hire people to do this they would have a confidentuality clause in their contracts that would prevent them from discussing what they did!

    However, there is probably an email telling supporters to spread the word on online message boards but I expect that is the same from all major parties.

  • Comment number 100.

    It seems apparent to me that all the government apologists who come on here work on the assumption that everyone who criticises the government is under direct employ of the Conservatives, a laughable, woeful paranoia.

    It also seems apparent to me that many of us who criticise the government seem to think that the apologists are all under direct employ of NuLabour, which might be true, but I confess I find it a stretch of the imagination, even for a party as despicable as them.

    Then of course there's CEH, who if he isn't Alastair Campbell is probably meditating somewhere in a bubble of his own smugness.

    Isn't there anyone else left on here who still has an open mind on anything? Because rather than seasoned debate there seems to be far too much playground points-scoring going on at the moment.


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