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A truly historic Budget

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Nick Robinson | 19:17 UK time, Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Few Budgets can claim to be truly historic. This one was. Not for the policies the chancellor unveiled but for the grim statistics he had to produce.

They confirmed that Britain is in the sharpest recession, has the highest borrowing and is about to experience the biggest public spending squeeze since the war.

Alistair Darling did not try to hide this. It isn't his style and, besides, it wouldn't have been possible. Instead, he told a story of the British economy being hit by a global shock; of a government that had chosen to spend and borrow more to stimulate growth; and of a willingness to ask the richest to pay more for the cost of what had gone wrong.

Gordon Brown used to be accused of taxing by stealth. Alistair Darling announced that he was breaking Labour's manifesto pledge not to raise the top rate of tax with a flourish - he is confident that the public is now ready to see the rich pay more.

The Treasury these days prefers stealth spending cuts. Nowhere did the chancellor explain the consequences of what is to come - a period of public austerity which will dominate politics for years to come.

All this was overlaid with a large dollop of optimism that the economy would start to grow again around the turn of the year and, what's more, grow mighty fast.

If the Treasury's predictions are wrong - as many suspect they are - the next Budget will replace this one in the history books.

Even if the optimism proves right, politicians will have to live with the fall out of this crisis for many years to come.


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  • Comment number 1.

    All DARLING did was prove how deluded this administration is.

    RECOVERY IN 2009?


  • Comment number 2.

    I have just tucked the children in.....

    They went to bed with a nice story, Stig of the dump.

    I should really have played them Darling... the monotone might have sent them off. Mind you, they might not have slept knowing the IOUs being signed in their name.

    Now Gordon's golden rules - hah! Theres a fairy tale....
    the something will turn up budget.... the roulette table spinner.... red or black... odd or even....

    We all know, its always red and odd for Gordon.

  • Comment number 3.

    The problem doesn't seem to be the new borrowing on its own, but the borrowing (a lot of it not yet revealed for the PFI system) over the last 20 years, and relying for keeping public finances viable through the credit bubble.

    Ireland made a huge error in relying on its construction bubble for public revenues, but at least they have bitten the bullet to bring their fiscal structure into line.

    The UK does not seem to have come to grips with the crisis, and NuLab are simply transferring the hard decisions until after the next election.

    Politics and spin - no real attempt to solve the problem.

  • Comment number 4.


    With the cupboard so bare and Alistair Darling putting off the evil day until next year for real tax rises etc etc and having sown the seeds for clobbering the rich in 2010, (to cheer up Labour supporters) does it not look more and more likely that Brown will go to the country before his Chancellor, whoever that maybe, has to stand up and go through another budget?

    If, as most of the pundits are predicting Darling is way out on his predictions for growth etc in 2010 et seq is it not more than probable Brown will call an election in early March? Surely having to lay bare another, probably more dire, set of economic figures before Parliament next year will only hand an election win to the opposition on a silver platter.

  • Comment number 5.

    So the Government are borrowing 700 Billion pounds to bail out the bankers so that they can keep lending. That is 700 Billion which we will have to pay back out of our taxes, plus interest (so call it a round trillion to a trillion and a half) So we are having our taxes stolen from us to give to the bakers so that they can lend us OUR OWN MONEY at interest!!!

    It is Pure INSANITY! Let the banks FAIL!

    As for the rest of the Government's spending, There is a conservative 100BILLION in waste that could be cut instantly without effecting a single school or hospital.

    We are desperate for an election now. These muppets in government are utterly disastrous.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm sorry Nick, I have always given you the benefit of the doubt regarding bias but this piece really takes the biscuit.

    "Alastair Darling did not try to hide this. It isn't his style and, besides, it wouldn't have been possible. Instead, he told a story of the British economy being hit by a global shock; of a government that had chosen to spend and borrow more to stimulate growth; and of a willingness to ask the richest to pay more for the cost of what had gone wrong."

    By the first sentence, he "did not try to hide this" you imply that the following sentences are in some way true.

    "the British economy being hit by a global shock" It all started in America, nuthin to do with us guv.

    "of a government that had chosen to spend and borrow more to stimulate growth" Where is the stimulate growth factor? Of a government that had chosen to spend more to increase it's client state possibly.

    "and of a willingness to ask the richest to pay more for the cost of what had gone wrong" Ever heard of the Laffer curve, or the predictions of the IFS that this will actually raise no extra revenue at all? Of course Gordon is happy that the public is under the impression that the rich will pay more, they won't. What will happen is that jobs will be lost, those oft mentioned hard-working families will find things even harder yet Gorcon will retain his index-linked gold-plated pension.

    Isn't it about time you actually did what I presume your job should be, that is hold the government of the day (labour or tory) to account, ask the questions that many of us without a voice would love to ask.

    From this day forward I'm with-holding my licence fee. I would pay for an independant broadcaster. I will not pay for the British equivalent of Pravda.

  • Comment number 7.

    Even if the optimism proves right... did you really say.... Even if the optimism proves right.

    You really think growth in 2011 will be anywhere near 3.5 percent??

    Youre avin a larfff.

  • Comment number 8.

    "Even if the optimism proves right, politicians will have to live with the fall out of this crisis for many years to come."

    Nick - have you seen the latest report from the IMF posted elsewhere on the BBC site. That predicts that growth will be nothing like Darling's forcast. In fact, it predicts a deeper decline for this year than Darling has and that the UK will remain negative in 2010. So how on earth is our economy suddenly going to spurt into 3.5% growth in 2011?

  • Comment number 9.

    Serious times indeed. At which point "no time for novice" has an even greater reasonance. Do you want interventionism from a left of centre party trying to mitigate the worst impacts of an unprecendented crisis or do you want a return to laissez-faire from what is really still the bad old Thatcherite Conservative party?
    The battle lines are drawn.

  • Comment number 10.

    November 2008 pre budget forecasts were way off! That was only 5 months ago!

    By the time of next Novembers forecast we shall undoubtedly see another abberation to the downside.

    That this government is able to continue to peddle these numbers as somehow believable and regurgitated by the Lobby Journo's as plausible is frightening.

    We are maxed out on the UK credit card and I fear that the IMF won't have sufficient funds available when AD goes cap in hand, as he surely will!

  • Comment number 11.

    Teflon Brown should be in prison. It is absolutely scandalous that he is still pretending to be the Prime Minister.
    What possible sick reason do Labour have in hanging on to power.

  • Comment number 12.

    Terrible "report" Nick.

    Not a single word about how crazily overoptimistic Darling was. This misgovernment's predictions are so far out of line with every other economic forecaster's that they don't even qualify as fiction. They're pure fantasy.

  • Comment number 13.

    I notice that Darling's dreadful speech is available to watch on the BBC website in full. Cameron's brilliant impromptu effort is only available in a condensed form. Typical bias from the BBC. When is the BBC going to honour its licence fee agreement oby providing unbiased political news coverage?

  • Comment number 14.

    Given where the Country is it would have been nice for once if New Labour had not stooped to spin. Ther are two examples of fantasy in Alistair Darling's budget statement that demonstrate this dark art is as hard for New Labour to give up as the Leopard its spots;
    The fantasy growth figures that the Chancellor uses from 2010 onwards, they are as optimistic and as equally misguided as his November/2008 predictions. Make no mistake, however inaccurate he knows them to be, they were not chosen at random but, very carefully picked to deliberately mislead.
    The 50% tax rate is no more likely to help us out of this recession and balance the books than MPs cutting down on their second home allowances. It is a deceit aimed to curry favour with their perceived bedrock supporters. They will find out the hard way this bedrock is not "solid", rather the opposite it is fluid and contains much more intelligence than Government credits it with.

  • Comment number 15.

    The Treasury forecasts aren't wrong. Darling has just chosen the most optimistic of a range. In reality there is simply no way that growth will be as strong as he said today. And that means that the deficit and debt figures are going to be even worse than he announced today. Remember this figure: £1,000,000,000,000. That's going to be the national debt soon.

    What we need is some honesty about just how big a mess we're in. That way we can have a proper discussion about what public spending should be cut (I vote for ID cards) and which taxes should go up (VAT please).

  • Comment number 16.

    9. At 8:13pm on 22 Apr 2009, peteholly wrote:
    Serious times indeed. At which point "no time for novice" has an even greater reasonance. Do you want interventionism from a left of centre party trying to mitigate the worst impacts of an unprecendented crisis or do you want a return to laissez-faire from what is really still the bad old Thatcherite Conservative party?
    The battle lines are drawn.


    I'll have the latter, please! When will it be available?

  • Comment number 17.

    I hear the upper paid are complaining about the 50% TAX and they are going to leave the country, WELL WHATS STOPING YOU, there are many people who would love the opportunity to do your job and most likely a lot better for less money, remember it’s the top paid that got us in the mess we are.

  • Comment number 18.

    There do seem to be some positive aspects for business in this budget - even if some are very short term.

    What surprised me was the appalled reaction by Darling and Brown to the IMF's forecast that borrowing would be around GBP200BIL. As it was, Darling announced GBP175BIL (way above what had been flagged even a couple of months ago). But even since November, Treasury forecasts have been way out, so I'd bet that the IMF will turn out to be right...

    You have to hope that stabilisation - then recovery - will happen rapidly but the forecast of a sudden resumption of 3.5 percent growth strains credibility.

    Forecasting is as much art as science. But, after seeing Government forecasts of the cost of the Olympics triple, along with various IT systems, I wuldn't allow anyone associated with the Treasury to become a private finance advisor!

    It would hae been nice to see some action to recompense people (around 3 MIL) who were disadvantaged when Brown withdrew the 10p tax band - so doubling their tax rate. I can't spot it.

    So much for helping the hardest hit.

    As for "guaranteeing" that the under 25s out of work for a year will have jobs, I'm just staggered that this seems to be some local council stuff, invented to create sound bites. What on earth will a "job" mean?
    If people are going to enter or re-enter the jobs market, it would be good to understand how business works.


  • Comment number 19.

    It looks like the government has confirmed its 'scorched earth' policies: leaving an absolute disaster for the Tories to deal with in the hope that they (Labour) will be elected in the after a short 4 years in opposition.

    The last time Labour left power they had 18 years of opposition.

    If the damage they've caused the economy this time is anything to go by, then Labour should never be trusted to govern this country ever again.

  • Comment number 20.

    Except it isnt' the rich Nick is it, it isn't the rich who will pay for this - the tax rise on them will bring what, 1.8 billion? 1% of the borrowing - where does the rest come from? Three times you try to imply the rich are carrying the can, and they are not, are they? We are. We all are. You're a shameful labour propagandist Nick, I'm not paying your wages any more. Notice to the BBC - I'll continue watching and owning a TV set, I will not pay a TV licence again. mail me for my address, you can send the prosecutors roudn if you like, [Personal details removed by Moderator] You have betrayed your charter BBC, you're having no more of my money. Whistle for it, propagandists.

  • Comment number 21.

    Darling had a choice to make today. Do I construct a Budget for my country or for my party?

    Do I really need to say which he thought is his priority. A coward and a traitor are two of the nicer words I could use.

    Please, no on ever say they feel sorry for Darling. He showed the yellow streak down his back today.

  • Comment number 22.

    " ... politicians will have to live with the fall out of this crisis for many years to come"

    I'm not too fussed about politicians having to live with the fallout; they'll be wonderfully insulated as usual.

    It's us poor bloody taxpayers out here in the real world who are about to discover that we have hell to pay for this mess. Notwithstanding the commentators who continue to argue that this can't all be Brown's fault, take one look at the IMF's Table 1.8 in its Global Financial Stability Report to see just how badly positioned is the UK compared to 18 other developed nations. Apart from Ireland, the UK faces by far and away the highest costs of recovery of all the nations on the list - by a very long chalk. Our situation is dire (not a term used by Darling in today's Budget).

    There is absolutely no question that the Blair/Brown/Balls trio of political bandits has been an unmitigated disaster for this country; there's simply no escaping it or blaming it away, as is Brown's want. It continues to shock me how our democracy and political systems have totally failed to function under the circumstances. We have been ruled for years now by an incompetent, dishonourable, kleptocracy and, as ordinary folk, we've been quite powerless to change our Government. Indeed, the same bunch of political gangsters will cling to power for another year as the UK heads for economic basket case status.

    And all we're expected to do is hang on for grim death until our Dear Leader, at the 11th hour, deigns to grant us a choice. What kind of democracy is this guys? Perhaps we shouldn't expect much more from a politician who was never elected to lead either his Party or the country. Never thought I'd say this (after 20 years commission in the armed forces), but one feels rather ashamed to be British these days.

    They say that fish rots from the head.

  • Comment number 23.

    #5 purpledogzzzz

    Spot on. Just why did Brown 'save' Northern Rock? Just why did taxpayers bail out Bradford & Bingley? Why did Brown cough up billions of taxpayers money to bail out companies that had made disasterous commercial errors?

    Sure, underwrite savings. But Brown sold the savings base of B&B and Santander paid money for it.

    Please, let capitalism work. Let businesses that fail go to the wall. If there is a gap in the market, a commercial enterprise will fill that gap. Because there is profit in doing so.

    And the £200bn that the IMF say will be the cost to the taxpayer that saving these failed institutions will cost? Tell me, socialists, just how amny jobs could have been created by using that to invest in GROWING companies than in lame ducks like NR, B&B, RBS and Lloyds?

  • Comment number 24.

    9 peteholly

    "Do you want interventionism from a left of centre party trying to mitigate the worst impacts of an unprecendented crisis"

    Exactly! Vote Lib Dem - Vince Cable for chancellor.

  • Comment number 25.

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

  • Comment number 26.

    The last thing we need after Darling and Brown is Yvette Cooper dancing around the studios trying to neuter Ken Clarke as she goes.

    There was Clarke and Cable looking and sounding like they were in control and there she was talking over them like an illmannered child.

    Fortunately both Clarke and Cable are experienced enough to let her make a fool of herself

    Especially when she said about the dodgy growth forecasts that history shows it had happened in the past so it could happen again.

    So we now rely on history for our growth forecasts for the future.

    Expect even more billions of borrowing to come.

    Perhaps it's time for the IMF to be called in. Someone has got to put an end to all of this.

    It wouldn't be so bad if she knew what she was talking about

  • Comment number 27.

    I'm sorry Nick but I'm getting tired of "it's the worst figures since [...]" From last Autumn until recently the period kept moving back and back until it reached the Great Depression. Then it changed to "the worst ever." Now you're moving forward again with "since the war."
    We've known for quite sometime the situation is dire. These comparisons are meaningless. Narrative on solutions and possible ways out of this mess might be better.

    Unfortunately for us there doesn't seem to be much of an alternative being proposed from the Conservatives. Cameron and Osborne seem to do a lot of sniping - but I don't hear a cohesive strategy coming from them. We hardly see Osborne at all - Vince Cable seems to offer his opinions more than Osborne on Newsnight/AndrewNeil/Ch4 etc and does a reasonable job. Ken Clarke's speaks plainly - but he's the first to admit we're in unknown territory and, when pressed, acknowledges Darling's got a difficult job.

    So Nick, it's unknown territory for journalists as well - but its become very negative and repetitive. Lets have less 'looking back.' It's time to focus on the future, what works, what might work and what happens if...

  • Comment number 28.



  • Comment number 29.

    Distinct lack of Labour MPs in the chamber for the budget debate!

  • Comment number 30.

    So Darling was truthful, was he Nick?

    His spin about the UK economy being in a good position compared to the rest of Europe were blatant lies, and his "prediction" for growth was so out of kilter with reality that it can only be seen as a lie too.

    Blaming it all on the Americans doesn't help his cause either.

    Labour's finished; they'll be lucky if they come 3rd in 2010.

    People have seen that the emperor has no clothes, but the BBC is still cheering him on and talking about his magical invisible suit.

  • Comment number 31.

    A disgraceful state of affairs that I imagine will force those who can, abroad. Brown & darling are the foolhardy captains of this proud Titanic. We're sinking and they wont call an election which is at least the dying wish of their passengers.

    Brown has zero national or international profile. Even when Sarky slated foreign leaders to his peers, his biggest insult was to not even mention Brown. He knows that his fate is sealed but like a diver with the benz his mental state is feeding back incorrectly and all is pretty much alright.

  • Comment number 32.

    Addendum to my post # 27

    All the politicians need to wise up. Their perception by the public continues to fall. Time is critical. We've seen how they abuse their payments scheme. They waste time in the house - with ridiculous Q's about the PM's diary as well as jeering and jibes. The speaker was constantly asking for order. Members speaking had to re-start their sentences over and over again. Why don't they just listen - and put forward logical counter points - not all this laughing and waving at each other. Why can't they behave like the rest of us have to day after day - focussed and maximising the available time.

  • Comment number 33.


    Your posts have truly become the stuff of fantasies and bedtime stories. It seems many on here have finally seen through the fluff you present to us and will see the embattled bubble of opinion you immerse yourself in. Such is the shear and utter incompetence of this government, even those whom previously had splinters embedded in their posterior, now can't help but hold them in such contempt.

    Unlike yourself, of course.

    Very, very rairly do you pick at and scrutanise government policy offering critism and questions against the people actually in power. This post is yet another example of your softly softly approach. You merely and sometimes subtley, choose to pick away and the opposition whenever possible. Surely, it's essential, in your role, to look at those in power first before those in pretence? However, your just getting deeper into the losing corner like a stubborn mule. Nick, remember though what happened to a real hero, George Armstrong Custer?

  • Comment number 34.

    The actual problem is that the political (and economic) classes have not yet understood that YOU CANNOT REINFLATE A BUSTED CREDIT BUBBLE.

    It (running a credit fuelled fake boom) is the only thing that they know how to do and now it can't be done! In a sense they present a pitiable sight. Labour who took on the Tory inspired mantle of 'light regulation' from its flawed initiator, Mrs Thatcher, are in just as much a pickle as the Tory party. Neither have a philosophy and that is both their and our tragedy. Their World is over.

    We need a new World with a new guiding philosophy. We are unfortunately living in interesting times and their is no guiding light to show us the way.

    I hope that we will be a more mutual and caring society in the end, but I fear that before we achieve this we will suffer terribly. This budget is a last throw of the die of the dying and failed economic philosophy and we badly need a radically differently educated economic and political cadre to help form this new society.

    The first and vital step is for the old men to go, but not in the sad way chosen today by the unfortunate Chief Financial Officer of Fannie Mae. We need this men to survive so that they can tell us what not to do - they are, in the main, not unintelligent - just wrong. They must be removed from office as soon as possible.

  • Comment number 35.

    Hey, Nick, here's a question for you:

    How many people have you met who own a car more than 10 years old and can also afford (or want to pay for) a brand new car?

    I can only think of a handful of people I've ever met in that situation; it'll only happen in 2-car families where the family have one very cheap car for a daily runaround that they don't mind pranging in the car park, and one expensive/plush one for long journeys.

    But, even people in that situation wouldn't take up the offer of the thousand pound cashback because they'd end up with 2 new cars and a thousand pounds and basically end up out of pocket even if they sold their newish car and brought another old banger.

    I wonder what the stats were when they were calculating the take-up.

    It kind of sums up why labour have no idea about real people, doesn't it?

  • Comment number 36.

    what the rich will do is:

    tell to this Comical ALi to take back all the UK money and tax it all if he can.. since they can keep their wealth, in other currency and other countries.

  • Comment number 37.

    6. maas101
    "From this day forward I'm with-holding my licence fee."

    Ditto. This is the worst piece I've seen from Nick yet.

    Paragraphs 1, 3 & 4, are pure 100% Labour spin.
    Paragraphs 2, 5 & 6 offer some realism with the last two stating the bleeding obvious. If you're trying to please all sides it's not working.

    Take a look at what some of your fellow bloggers are writing. More analysis, more depth. This is candyfloss.

    My 14 year old son could write a more coherent piece than this.

  • Comment number 38.

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  • Comment number 39.

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  • Comment number 40.

    post 26 - "It wouldn't be so bad if she knew what she was talking about"

    As much as I don't like to defend the Labour party, Yvettee Cooper has got a Masters Degree in Economics from the LSE so I think she probably does know what she is on about!

  • Comment number 41.

    Nick, will you ever find a scrap of impartiality? Here's an angle for you: ever noticed the stark parralels between the bust banking sector and our bankrupt government? How long before Gordon and his chums require bailing out by the IMF?

    Perhaps that old soundbite that there would be "no rewards for failure" ought also to apply to the Cabinet? Peronally, I would like to see them forced out soon and asked to voluntarily sacrifice their over-inflated public sector pensions.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hail the return of Unvarnished Labour!

    We can now look forward to a winter of discontent as Nice Mr Brown tells Nicer Mr Darling no Public Sector Employee needs a pay rise because there is no inflation!

    Alas the wonderful logic of Old Labour unreconstituted regarding top rate tax is as erronious as it ever was - the top 10% of earners are that because they are smart, savvy, remorseless and self-centred. Tax them more, they simply leave for greener pastures, which with a 50% tax rate here will be a lot of places. There's certainly not 174 Billion there, Alastair...

    Free Market is good, unregulated market is bad. Governments the world over too busy taking tax from irresponsible banking profiteering didn't see that distinction.

    And lastly (St Georges tomorrow!) The English Democrats say England is governed by a British government led by Scotlands rejects. I'm starting to see their point....

  • Comment number 43.

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  • Comment number 44.

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  • Comment number 45.

    So painful to see moraymint (#22) confess to being ashamed of being British, as I cannot conceive of myself ever being ashamed of being either Scottish or French or indeed both, but I think I see what might be meant. Something is rotten in the state, not least the economy.

    One perceives - with difficulty, as the media beyond your shores are not exactly focused on the matter - that that Chancer of the Chequer Board fellow has presented an unprecedentedly grave crisis budget following the ever so reluctant admission that the UK economy has crashed not to the floor but through it, never to recover fully . . . ever. One learns that it is being conceded that the public deficit has exploded, that unemployment is increasing rapidly and that the blighted Blighty economy is now expected to contract this year by 3.5 per cent. Dearie me.

    Condolences to you anglo-unionist chappies who have landed yourselves with the unenviable task of persuading the electorate of brave Caledonia of the 'benefits' and 'wisdom' of remaining aboard a sinking ship as the waves rise higher and higher while the orchestra plays Pomp and Circumstance with declining conviction and growing apprehension as the passengers reach for their lifejackets. Still, it is not a bad tune, I suppose, if you like that sort of thing. It has definitely got something. I know that, as a youthful Italian pop singer with an unusually splendid voice is currently enjoying some success on the European mainland by flogging a recording of a little romantic ditty set to its unquestionably rousing tune. Perhaps not the sort of rousing that was envisaged by British nationalists but rousing nonetheless. When an empire declines, its paraphernalia live on, even if in a not highly respectfully altered form.

    Anyway, a record UK public-finances deficit of 28.4 billion of your English pounds, somewhat more than forecast! Tut, tut. UK Gross National Debt now at 50 per cent of Gross Domestic Product! Whatever will Mr and Mrs Boggins of Sidcup make of all of this if they can tear themselves away for long enough from the television soap operas that the Great British public has sadly become addicted to, not to mention the booze and ciggies and other addictive substances. Correction: they will doubtless notice the traditional increase in duty on the booze and ciggies, if there has indeed been such an increase on this occasion, and will lament the fact, predictably, before turning back to Coronation Street. Is that still running? They say that, if Shakespeare were alive today, he would be earning his living by writing for the soaps. If that is so, one hopes that someone is having the foresight to preserve at least some of the scripts, as they will be needed in a few hundred years to teach school pupils of the glories of the English language. But I am digressing.

    UK unemployment at 6.7 per cent over the last quarter! 2.1 million on the dole, in other words (a figure expected to rise to 3.3 million next year, giving a UK rate of unemployment of 10.5 per cent then!!!), increasing public expenditure horrendously on associated state benefits as government tax take drops and the UK experiences its gravest economic crisis since 1945, with Gross National Debt expected to reach 58 per cent of GDP this year and 68 per cent next year! Clearly, the UK government is in such a weak position that it cannot be expected even to consider a further economic-stimulus programme, apparently. Let us hope that one will not be needed. But it will, won't it, if the truth be told?

    Up the creek without a paddle. Rule Britannia! Forgive my mirth, but I know how certain anglo-unionists make a virtue of that when it suits them. It is not that one does not take the matter seriously or feel sorry for those who are suffering from all of this. Pride just will come before a fall, however, and that cannot but present itself as amusing to some degree. No one can say that anglo-unionism has not puffed itself up with pride only to have its bubble burst spectacularly. RIP, Britannia. From its ashes something better may arise, at least in Scotland. One hopes so.

    Nighty night, dear ones.

  • Comment number 46.

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  • Comment number 47.

    This Government has been running a Fawlty Towers Establishment! - The Hotel is a crumbling wreck, the housekeeping is in a shambles, the place is over run with huge fat cockroaches and the staff are all barmy!
    As with Basil Fawlty they have been papering over the cracks, sweeping the dust under the carpet and putting the repair works on to a "to do" list!
    What next? I see a Steptoe and Son future for us all!

  • Comment number 48.

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  • Comment number 49.

    Re 3

    I agree today was about poor politics and spin. I susspect we will see much more of this in the next 58 weeks or so. It really comes down now to who will cut what and by how much. the electorate will be asked to believe fantasy stories form them all.

    Lets get rid of ID cards first. Lets see who offers leadership something lacking in all UK political parties.

  • Comment number 50.

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  • Comment number 51.

    Nick your performance midday was absolutely pathetic all you could talk about was higher tax for the rich as though this was the big deal in the budget. The country is running out of money fast and our children will bear the result of the last 10 years, I don't pay for my TV license to hear spin from you, we need you to hold this labour government to account. PULL YOUR FINGER OUT AND START DOING YOUR JOB, HOLD THE GOVERNMENT TO ACCOUNT, WE PAY YOUR WAGES AND NOT BROWN

  • Comment number 52.

    You have as others have said just picked up the Labour created 50% tax batten and unquestionably run with it.
    For me this budget is a gift for Cameron. If I were him and you asked about 50% Tax and what I would do I would just say

    I am not committing myself to anything until I have seen the books for myself.

    Do you really expect me to give you answers based on Government figures based on us having 3.5% growth within 18 months?

    I would not take over a company on such stupid figure so I will not commit myself on the countries future based on such fantasy economics.

  • Comment number 53.

    Not as historic as the one in 2017 is going to be when we have run through another mini boom and into bust again and this time have to declare our Nation bankrupt.

    We have to tackle the problems we face globally and do it effectively but we don’t and we can not survive as an independent self contained nation in the modern world with the policies of these head in the sand politicians and their even more remote and in may cases detached from reality advisors.

    Or perhaps we could agree a change is needed, a very radical one.

  • Comment number 54.


    Few budgets can claim to be truly historic. This one was. Not for the policies the Chancellor unveiled but for the grim statistics he had to produce.

    Yes, from the information...I have been able to read that this was a memorable historic....

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 55.

    andy @ 40

    Yvette Cooper has got a Masters Degree in Economics from the LSE so I think she probably does know what she is on about!

    is that right? - well, there you go - Harriet Harman is pretty well qualified too, I believe

    but we have a problem, I'm afraid - for some unaccountable reason, most people on here seem to prefer the "expertise" of the leadership of Her Majesty's Opposition a.k.a. the CUPOGBANI Faction - a couple of privileged airheads ... kind of like Pretend Politicians, if you know what I mean

    hey, I'm not saying these chaps are not perfectly competent if placed in a suitable setting

    running, say, an Organic Deli in Notting Hill? ... absolutely fine, no problem at all ... be brilliant at it ... a chain of them, even

    but the country !?!?

    ... er, don't think so

  • Comment number 56.

    Th Darling/Brown strategy of trying to "hammer the rich" may appeal to those who follow the politics of envy.

    But I find it odd that people believe that "the rich" (people paid over GBP150K got us into this mess.

    They didn't.

    Bankers made a hash of asset valuation and got carried away with their own cleverness.
    The Treasury/ BoE/ FSA failed to control Bank excesses.

    Brown told the BoE to target the wrong measure of inflation, which did NOT include housing costs. That was a truly stupid decision. If the BoE was instructed to manage RPI - they would have jumped all over the banks and building societies offering rediculous loan to value offerings.

    So, if Darling Brown wanted to hit "the offenders", he should have limited tax hits to financial institutions, the triumvirate and politicians.

    I don't see how well paid people at Shell, BP, Rolls Royce,BT, BA, Tesco, M&S, Top Shop, BAE, etc etc etc "got us into this mess"....

    While they produced massive taxable profits and paid massive taxable bonuses (even if it was illusionary), the bankers were Brown's best friends.

    When HIS oversight, light-touch regulation, regime failed, it was all the fault of the bankers.

    So now they can't prop up his rediculous spending splurge, he's not friends any more.

    He just bought a few of them on "our behalf". He pretends to have an arm's length relationship, but brags that he's forced them to start lending again. How come? If it's arm's length, he isn't involved....

    The House of Cards is tumbling.

    I'm just sorry that children don't get taught that nobody owes you anything. And those who promise to maintain you, using other people's money, may have hearts of gold but the road to hell is paved with good intentions...

    The road to national bankruptcy has - in this case - been paved with stupid political intentions.

    I'm sorry for my children.

  • Comment number 57.

    56 fairly

    We don't have any kids but do have a niece and nephew we have committed to helping through university. But what future is there for them here when they have qualified? They have already spoken about going abroad. Good for holidays for us!!!

    Having been born in 1951 I wouldn't want to be a child now. Forget computer games, etc. We lived on the outskirts of town, roamed wild in the countryside and played in the streets in the evenings. Life was so much more simple.

    Today so much more is expected of and by children, and it all costs money, so its no wonder that when they grow up they want the same - hence huge borrowing.

  • Comment number 58.

    55 sagemix

    I think that no-one without at least 5 experience of life outside parliament/politics should be admitted to the house. Ideally they should have had a real job before going into fantasy land.

    Currently we have a whole load of MPs who's career path is university, researcher, special adviser, MP. They know nothing of life and people like me.

    Brown and Darling are prime examples.

  • Comment number 59.

    You say optimisim - I say spin.

    Funny how words can so often be massaged to present a different picture and no coincidence that on St Georges Day our gift to the modern world is a language that can be so manipulated and turned that the final outcome is a hollow empty shell of deceipt.

    'Nothing is so unbelievable that oratory cannot make it acceptable' - Cicero

  • Comment number 60.

    Cheer up chaps and chapesses. Today is St George's Day. Be proud.

    Nothing lasts for ever.

    We will get out of this total mess somehow. We always have before. Remember 1939 and 1979.

    This budget was important if only to show HOW NOT TO RUN THE COUNTRY. We should learn from the mistakes (some hope).

    In the old Hackney's phrase "It must never happen again" but of course will.

    Its the British way!!!

  • Comment number 61.

    pete holly @ 9:
    It was a lassez affair policy led by Gordon Brown with regard to bank regulation, lending and borrowing which helped to get us us into this situation. What we now need is a return to prudence and normality.

  • Comment number 62.

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

  • Comment number 63.


    I tend to agree with you. Why on earth with one of his first comments on The Budget did Nick allude and thereafter continue to concentrate on the fact that the 50% tax hike for the wealthy would be uncomfortable for The Conservatives and could outflank them? The revenue brought in by such a populist measure is a tiny drop in the ocean compared to the size of The public Debt which has been racked up. I thought the other experts on The Budget panel presented far more balanced and pertinent comments.

  • Comment number 64.


    Should you position be changed to "Downing Street correspondent" rather than "Political Editor". The politics is one sided and there is precious little editing going on.

    The best analysis of the Budget I have found is in the Independent, its link gives you a good flavour of the contents.

  • Comment number 65.

    Super Gord and His Bunch of Government ( Clowns ) should be rounded up and thrown in the Tower for Crimes against this country ( Treason ..? ) and the Key Thrown firmly away..!! has it not escaped anybody's notice that this Rabble have been getting Us into Debt form the Moment They were elected....echoes of the Seventies..?? They started a recession Then and tried to blame it on factors outside there control .!! isn't it funny how History seems to repeat itself ..??? , oh and dont forget, round up Super Gord's equally incompetent former Buddy " Bungling Blair ", He is as much to Blame for this financial mess as the rest of the Labour loonytoons We call Government....lets have an election and a chance to get rid of this dispicable Bunch of incompetent buffoons.

  • Comment number 66.

    64 skynine

    Well done finding the Independent analysis. Excellent analysis.

    The following is I think the most telling

    "Well, on page 206 of the FSBR it reveals that the increase in Government investment this year will be just 1.5 per cent; next year it is projected to increase just 2 per cent; and in 2011 it will fall by a huge 16.25 per cent. Even with these terrible deficits, the Government still has to savage public investment."

    This must be pointed out to the public. Nick here's your chance to do something useful rather than going on about 50% tax.

  • Comment number 67.

    This Budget must rank as one of the worst and most irresponsible ever!
    The very necessary decisions to curb the very, very damaging and unbelievable levels of Government debt have all been deferred until after the next election.

    Brown is obsessed by staying in power (well he is a politician I suppose) and this Budget is pure electioneering. The 50% income tax threshold does nothing to repair the public finances,but it energises the core Labour support. Measures to tackle the monstrous public deficit would hurt Labour's support base in the public sector, so they are deferred (which means the inevitable cuts will be deeper and more damaging when they finally have to be implemented).

    Brown is evil, concerned only with his own survival, since he thinks he embodies everything a PM should be. Well I have news for Brown - he is a piece of dirt who schemed his way to the top job without even being elected to it by his own party. Brown will go down in history as one of the worst Chancellors and Prime Ministers, one of the most self serving thugs ever to hold high office!

  • Comment number 68.

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

  • Comment number 69.

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

  • Comment number 70.

    It is perfectly simple really. The General Election will be in late April or early May of next year. The only way they can win the next election is if, by then, they can show (and convince the electorate)that we are indeed on the road to a sustained recovery - just as they predicted.

    To counteract that the Tories need to present themselves as 'a government in waiting' and stop being 'the opposition'. Their biggest problem here are the likes of Vince Cable and a mass of economic experts who appear and write in the media and seem to be more authoritative than the Tory front bench.

    The third strand is 'cleaning up politics'. The public don't care about the details. However the more suggestions Brown comes up with which are not accepted by Cameron and Clegg the 'cleaner' he appears.

    Of course if the economy doesn't show any signs of recovery, the Opposition will win without having had to up their own game and politics in this country will continue to be the weakest aspect of our public life.

  • Comment number 71.

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

  • Comment number 72.

    Ms Flanders of the BBC already pointed out prior to Darling's and Brown's budget that the OECD has estimated that 7.2 percentage points of the 12% deficit this year is structural. Hence, after the economy has returned to growth in line with its capacity, there will be 100 billion pounds gaps in the government's annual profit and loss (over 4,000 pounds per person working in the private sector per annum). Yesterday's announcements hardly amount to a serious effort to close this gap.

    But the gilts buyers strike will not materialise before the elections. The BoE is now buying gilts as part of its quantitative easing and the banks regulator FSA is putting in place new regulation that will force UK banks to own more gilts, to the tune of at least 150 billion pounds. Hence the government will get away with issuing nearly a billion pounds worth of gilts per working day this year, but it will be much harder for whovere is running the UK to sell its IOU's thereafter.

    PS Given that most of the budget analysis is done, the BBC should start mobilising all its expertise on postal votes. The UK will become center of the world next year with elections that will be marred by conrtroversy of postal votes.

  • Comment number 73.

    Driving into work this morning I was passing endless school children all gleefully enjoying the sun at half seven. I wonder how many of them realise just what happened yesterday? Do they know that Gordon et al have put them up the creek without any form of paddle or lifesaving device? Because that is essentially what was announced yesterday.

    I don't even what to think about the figures or the amount of time it will take to pay off all this borrowing. It is just truly unfair on the younger generation. Typical labour attempting to spend their way out of trouble. News to you Gordon, it doesn't work. No wonder we have people in this country who cant manage their finances when the Government can't even do it. And all through Cameron's response he sits their smiling like a big cheshire cat because he knows that none of this is going to be his problem to sort out. Thats the best bit of all of this, he will continue for the next 14 months telling us all he is attempting to save the world, that he is taxing the rich, that borrowing is the only way forward knowing that come June 2011 it will be someone elses problem and he will be raking it in on the after dinner circuit (although I am still unsure if anyone would turn up to a dinner with GB as the after dinner speaker).

    I bet the CEO of Emirates, the Government of all the UAE states were all rubbing their hands yesterday. I can just see the A380's zooming down the 3rd runway at Heathrow packed with hard working 20 something middle and working class men and women heading off to Dubai, Abu Dhabi etc for a shot at a tax free lifestyle and you know what I think I might just join them.

  • Comment number 74.

    Indeed this budget was historic.

    "Never again" was the cry of the electorate in 1979.

    We only had to wait 30 years for another Labour government to bring our economy to its knees.

    Reading this precis of the 'historic' budget is pretty much like watching a toothless old dog mauling at a fetid rotten corpse.

    There's a smell of political death in the air. Labour is dead and even its tacit supporters are covered in the whiff of it.

    The electorate will never allow their children and their children's children forget it.

  • Comment number 75.

    #57, mikepko wrote:
    "56 fairly
    We don't have any kids but do have a niece and nephew we have committed to helping through university. But what future is there for them here when they have qualified? .....
    Today so much more is expected of and by children, and it all costs money, so its no wonder that when they grow up they want the same - hence huge borrowing."
    The future in the UK looks gloomy. It will get better as and when governments stop legislating and regulating in a totally profligate, then fling public bodies to oversee unnecessary rules.
    The UK still has centres of technology and engineering excellence. (Many Formula One teams based here, Rolls Royce, BAE, Dyson, etc...)
    The problem has been a massive focus for 10-15 years on the financial services. Brown allowed them to run wild, so he could collect huge tax takes.
    But, in my opinion, he and his team paid minimal attention to other sectors. For goodness sake, we still haven't had new power stations developed over a decade, while universities were tasked with getting 50pc of youngsters into further education and responded with masses of courses that deliver graduates pretty useless to industry.
    Short-term, it's going to be tough.
    Personally, I would scrap fees for students studying "hard" subjects - science/technology, maybe some foreign languages (or have fees paid directly by government). We obviously need "soft subjects", but for the time being it is vital that the country gets back to being a developing and delivering economy.
    Most governments are poor at running (or interfering with) businesses. The UK has an exceptional track record of messing up any government run industry. But politicians keep tinkering around. Tax law now runs to 10,000 pages. That's madness.
    It's about time that every MP was forced to read, digest and understand every piece of legislation or regulation before it was made applicable.
    That would slow the bu----s down...

  • Comment number 76.

    History can decide many things, but it is generally the victor who tends to write it.

    Now that the Government has been indiscreet enough to actually show us some of the mess which they have dragged the country into, will you be challenging the Government's stance towards all those projects which they feel represent their core vote?

    Will you be challenging to ensure that the promises enclosed in the budget are delivered in a timely manner?

  • Comment number 77.

    Not only have this administrtaion damaged the prospects of our children by turning their education and development into a tractor stats exercise - they have now decided that they will also land them with the double whammy of high taxes and significantly reduced levels of public spending when they reach adulthood.

    This budget is sooooo political. I'm not referring to the obvious 50% ploy which will raise 2/3rds of not a lot as they say at the Beeb (this isn't Guido's site) but to the black hole after 2013 - and this assuming Darling's gowth forecasts are right which, to be polite, is questionable.

    We will have to tighten the fiscal belt even tighter then. What price NuLab having a real go if the Tories are in power then?

    Immoral, bankrupt and criminal.

  • Comment number 78.

    We seem to have a Kamikazi Cabinet with nothing to lose, gambling with everything the public they are meant to be serving has, against the slim hope that all they have caused will be redeemed.

    It's like a mammoth game of Black Maria (Hunt the, er, Queen of Spades at school), with our kids ' futures the losers no matter what, with these clowns seemingly still in with a chance of winning.

    That is a concern, and one I'd like the political 'reporters' I am required to co-fund address, rather than polishing a Trabant urban recreational device as the piece of scrappage it is, or focussing obsessively on a cheap piece of pointless, ineffective and divisive core voter pleasing.

  • Comment number 79.

    Thats a fairly positive post about free education.I tend to agree, all education should be free.

    Many negative posts on the budget. I tend to to take the view that the budget was a bit like the ripple effect you get when you throw a stone into a pond. I would suggest that the tories start making some ripples and stop throwing weightless stones.

  • Comment number 80.

    Historic, indeed!

    This is the begining of the end of social-democratic Britain; an entity conceived in the fires of the Second World War and now drowning in the debt induced by the incompetence of a self-serving governing class.

    I am not sorry as I have disliked the hypocrisy and the arrogance of this institution that based itself on the principle that those in charge knew best. The only person who knows what is best for anyone is that person acting within their normal social milieu. It cannot be determined by a remote paternalism.

    Over the past decade we have seen the legal-bureaucratic class finally seize control of the commanding heights of the country and now their arrognace has hit the buffers of reality. Their intellectual, moral, social and economic model has been shown up as a fantasy.

    The Mani in Whitehall does not know best. He is exposed as the fraud he has always been. Time to flush him down the plug-hole of history. Time to cut spending by cutting the state down to a size that in can be managed by a simple democracy.

  • Comment number 81.



    A Tsunami of 2 decades of debt

  • Comment number 82.

    mike @ 58

    I think that no-one without at least 5 experience of life outside parliament/politics should be admitted to the House

    kind of agree with that, Mike - we need to get a mix of people who are properly representative of the country they seek to govern - so let's have 50 pc women, for example, and no more than around 5 MPs (in total, not just Clowns) from the major Public Schools

  • Comment number 83.

    It is interesting how the Budget has prevented more detailed scrutiny of the release of people arrested as supposed terrorists. It would seem they were nobody in particular. So why was AC Quick seen in Downing Street with details of this horrendous plot on his way to brief No 10?

    What was going on? There is a nasty smell about this which makes me very unhappy.

    Also why were these innocent people released just before the Budget?

    Perhaps Ms Smith might be able to drag herself away from her expensed sink for a moment to explain?

  • Comment number 84.

    Can we highlight, please, the discepancy between the optimistic growth forecasts of the Government and the more pessimistic forecasts of the IMF (World Economic Outlook, April 22).

    This year the Government forecasts a decline of minus 3.5 and the IMF a decline of minus 4.1. However, there is an ever bigger forecasting gap for the following year, plus 1.25 by the Government and minus -0.4 by the IMF.

    Furthermore, and I quote, evidence presented in the WEO (World Economic Outlook) suggests recovery may be slower than in other recessions. Of course no one knows what the future will bring, but the plus 3.5 forecast for the following year looks incredible.

    It is quite clear that Labour have, yet again and as they did in the Pre-Budget Report, presented optimistic growth forecasts and consequently widly optimistic borrowing forecasts. Far from borrowing decreasing after 2011 it is likely to increase on current tax and spending plans. The UK has to find at least 40 billion pounds per year just to meet the interest payments on the national debt. So we will be paying 200 billion just to meet interest payments during the life of the next Parliament.

    No doubt politicians and pundits will soon be debating the feasibility of the UK defaulting on its national debt. I will be very surprised if the UK retains its current credit rating for long, and this in turn will significantly increase the cost of debt servicing. So the 40 billion interest estimate will prove to be optimistic, and we will shortly embark on a downward spiral of increasing tax rates, reduced public expenditure, and ever-increasing budget deficits. Businesses and individuals will leave the UK (as welcomed by many posters on the this site) and taxes will raise on those that remain. Inflation will rise as Sterling collapses and money is printed. As a lagging indicator unemployment will continue to rise for a year after growth resumes.

    I don't agree with Nick Robinson that this is an honest budget.

  • Comment number 85.

    55 sagamix

    'Unconvincing' is how I would describe the conservatives.

    Unfortunately, leaving the incumbents in charge would just be stupid. We're already bankrupt, so we may as well let the deli boys run the show.

  • Comment number 86.

    So there we have it, future generations of Britons will be paying for the mistakes and profligacy of bankers and politicians during the past 10 years.

    I wonder what darling was taking when he thought up this wheeze of expecting economic growth in 2010-11 to return to pre-2008 levels? Since the major part of our growth in the UK was due to financial services, which are now discredited, in tatters and, by common consent, will not return to the old ways of generating income, how dare he predicate his fiscal strategy on outmoded economic activity?

    Our children and grandchildren deserve better, but I'm afraid they are condemned to lives of misery which they haven't, for the majority of them, done anything to deserve and had no part in the decision making process.

    For that sin, even if for nothing else, this misgovernment needs to be consigned to the rubbish bin of history as the worst ever administration of this once proud country.

  • Comment number 87.

    64.skynine & 66

    Good link.
    To all those who think the new 50% tax rate on 1% of the population is the best thing since sliced bread and will help get us out of this mess, please read this article.

    I draw attention to this part: "This idea that a top tax rate of 50 per cent brings in more money was rubbished by the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies earlier this week. It concluded that a top rate of about 40 per cent was the optimum for revenue; if you went higher you would lose revenue rather than gain it."

    For the mutts who have answered Darling's whistle, the real pain has only been temporarily postponed.

    Econoce @72 also makes some very valid points.
    I hope the irony of investment bankers getting a nice little earner from selling on the UK's debts for the Treasury won't be lost on these boards.

  • Comment number 88.

    Sagamix at various posts...

    Boy,you are so bitter aren't you?

    Whatever happened in your life that has made you such a Class warrior?

    I usually appreciate (but not necesarily agree with) your comments,but this perpetual chip on your shoulder about class is tedious.

    Some Socialists still bang on about the Class you hear anyone else going on and on and on about it?

  • Comment number 89.

    "..........and of a willingness to ask the richest to pay more for the cost of what had gone wrong."

    But isn't NI due to go up for anyone earning over £20,000. And hasn't duty gone up again on petrol and booze? So isn't the ordinary [wo]man who will pay too?

  • Comment number 90.

    Can someone tell that if we borrow 175 billion how much do we have to pay in intrest?

  • Comment number 91.

    i agree with number 1 what more can be said except thank you very much neu-labour for destroying this countries ecconomy, faith in parliment and making this once great country a global joke.
    its time to go before they do any further damage to whats left of our society.

  • Comment number 92.

    'Even if the optimism proves right, politicians will have to live with the fall out of this crisis for many years to come.'


    Why 'politicians', Nick? Don't get me wrong, they're practically all slime behind a snail to my mind but 'politicians' in general?

    You wouldn't be trying to implicate ALL politicians into the economic quagmire 12 years of Brown's captaincy of the economy has caused? You wouldn't do that, would you, Nick?

    After all, the BBC is there as a fair and unbiased commentator on politics.

    Sure. And pigs might fly.

  • Comment number 93.

    # 84 johnharris66

    Totally agree.

    Get the feeling that this budget was drawn up with a political agenda and the future of the Labour party (and those running it) in mind,
    rather than for the good of the county.

  • Comment number 94.


    Once again you term me a 'new member'. I may not have commented for a while but I have been around for some time!

  • Comment number 95.

    #79, derekbarker wrote:

    "Thats a fairly positive post about free education.I tend to agree, all education should be free.

    Many negative posts on the budget. I tend to to take the view that the budget was a bit like the ripple effect you get when you throw a stone into a pond. I would suggest that the tories start making some ripples and stop throwing weightless stones."

    My concern is that, rather than being a stone in a pond, Darling has tied a millstone around the necks of our children and heaved 'em in.

    The banks owned or controlled by the state as still sending out credit card cheques and bumping up credit limits willy nilly... There's no moral compass in that!

    Banks are starting to offer 90-95 pc loan to value mortgages... How can that be right when the market could well fall even further?

    There's no way to unravel the stupid flooding of credit across the UK.

    But t's instructive to remember that the previous Governor of the BoE (Eddie George) was livid when Brown took away the bank's direct supervision of financial institutions and gave it to a weak FSA. And not to be happy to manage CPI, rather than RPI, in order to manage inflation. The CPI ignores housing - which happens to be a big factor in most people's life and where such a lot of loose lending was focused.

    Frankly, I was disgusted that Darling made no attempt to resolve the issue for people (3-4 MIL) still hit by the withdrawal of the 10p tax band - which in effect was a doubling of tax. So messing with a few hundred thousand higher income earners has much less impact than stuffing up several millions of less well-heeled voters.

    Moral compass? No just the magnetic pull of power...

    (By the way, are your lads still doing ok with the music?)

  • Comment number 96.

    Whats so shocking is that he is still going on about all the NEW schools and hospitals etc and how wonder full labour had been in building them and that they were committed in carrying on.

    What he didn't point out is that the vast majority of capital expenditure under the last 10 years has been by using very expensive PFI.

    Also on the today program is stated that a lot of the 15b effeciancy savings were from "obvious places" like removing the massive descrepances different departments pay for fuel!

    I know first hand of one project on a goverment site that the site manager for the last 8 years has been trying to fund from fule cost savings alone.

    In summary this site has a 4 million fuel bill, installing a Combined Heat and Power plant at a capital cost of £750k, will save 1 million a year from running costs. Ie a 250k saving the first year, a 1m saving each and every year there after. These figures are at 2002 prices, and do not take into account climet change levy savings. The manager CAN NOT get permission to implement with out either losing more than 1.1m from the sites running cost budget (ie a cut for the site) or they use PFI. The best PFI deal only saves them 300k a year for 20years. IE the PFI company invests 750k gets 100% return for 20years. His request to implement it from running costs and not capital budget has gone very high up in the treasurey and been rejected.

  • Comment number 97.

    #83 stanilic

    To add to that, there is also the revelation from Mr Boston, former head of the QCAS, in his evidence to the Home Affairs select committee, that one Edward Balls, MP, Secretary of State for Education (or should that be RE-education)as well his his flunkey, one James Knoight MP, minister for the same department, both misled the House with regards statements made to it over the SATS fiasco.

    Now I come from a time when 'lying' to the House was looked upon as a resignation matter. The Speaker would call on the accused to make a statement to the House and, if proved, the minister would resign.

    But, of course, much like the Treasury, it would appear that the Speaker's chair has now been politicised and we will not be seeing our 'democratic' leaders actually being held to account.

    And the BBC? Well, silence apart from a brief mention at some unearthly hour on Radio 4.

    My, our institutions fail us on a daily basis.

  • Comment number 98.

    barking @ 79:

    It's apparent from the experts in the media that very few people would take your view. If you agree with Darling's wild claims on growth then you have been well and truly taken in! You must be one of the 26% of voters who stick with Brown through thick and thin. God help us all if your opinion was a majority one. The ripple effect you speak of will be a negative one tied into the enormous debt which is being racked up and is predicted to last all of 10 years + according to the most optimistic predictions.

  • Comment number 99.

    Re: 40

    Yvette Cooper may have a masters in economics from LSE but I've interviewed a good many people with brilliant CVs littered with exam successes, and prizes, from highly ranked educational establishments. Unfortunately, many of them lack common sense, are incapble of understanding ordinary people and thus unable to establish empathy. Recognise Ms Cooper [and a good many other Labour politicians] anyone?

    Both Ken Clark and Vince Cable have attributes that are totally lacking in Ms Cooper including maturity and an understanding that they don't know everything. As SilverLady points out Ms Cooper was behaving like a rude, spoilt child.

  • Comment number 100.

    I think we now have a 'Dr. Pepper' government: "What's the worst that could happen... that we haven't already done?"

    At least on some channels they might need to pay for that message to be carried uncritically.


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