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Taking The Pulse: Cardiff

Nick Robinson | 14:51 UK time, Monday, 8 February 2010

I've escaped. I've left the sound and fury of the Westminster village - though only for a week - to take the pulse of the electorate.

Taking The PulseFirst stop: Cardiff, home of one of five Welsh constituencies [see note below] which the Tories need to win from Labour to have a chance of forming a workable majority in the House of Commons.

Since New Labour came to power, the electorate of Cardiff North - the residential and in places leafy parts of the Welsh capital - have mirrored the behaviour of the country as a whole.

Labour's support here slumped from over 50% of the vote in 1997 to 39% at the last election when, it's worth remembering, Labour won a third term with the lowest-ever vote share obtained by a governing party.

However, the Tories failed to gain from this decline, picking up just 227 votes in those eight years. Thanks to a lower turnout, their vote share crept up from 33.7% to 36.5%.

The reason? Voters who deserted Labour switched, in the main, to the Lib Dems - even though they are outsiders in this seat with just under 19% of the vote.

The Tories are hopeful of winning the seat, having topped the Euro poll not just here but in Wales as a whole. They have 12 councillors in this constituency as against Labour's three and the Lib Dems' six - even though in Cardiff as a whole, the Lib Dems control the city council.

Labour hopes depend on stressing the independence and hard work of the local MP - Julie (wife of Rhodri) Morgan - and persuading those Lib Dems not to switch to the Tories.

On each of my stops on this entirely unscientific test of public opinion, I'm posing a different question to get voters talking. Today it's the one Gordon Brown knows is the hardest his party faces after 13 years in power: "Do you want five more years of Labour?"

Cardiff skyline

It's clear how much trouble Labour will be in if that is what the election is seen to be about. While we were filming in a Cardiff gym, young, old and very sweaty circuit trainers lined up to answer in the negative and to express their anger about expenses, the economy, Afghanistan and/or immigration - which came up again and again, despite being barely mentioned in Westminster.

However, as the prime minister always points out, elections are choices and not referenda. One or two dared to say "yes", expressing their fears about what the Tories might do to public services.

MiskinWith Bosch having announced the loss of 900 jobs here and Cardiff council a further 300, minds are still on the recession. Gordon Brown would be cheered by the voices of young workers I heard in a growing Cardiff business, UPL. They expressed their fears about making a change when economic recovery was so uncertain, particularly as they had little idea what the Conservatives actually stood for - another theme that keeps recurring on this trip.

Tomorrow, it's the Tories' turn to face a tough question in another marginal they need to win: Pendle in Lancashire. You can also see my film from Cardiff on tonight's Six and Ten O'Clock News and we will add the video to this post.

Update 9 Feb: Here's the Cardiff package.

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Note: The Conservatives currently have three Welsh seats: Monmouth, Preseli Pembrokeshire and Clwyd West. Election experts calculate they need five more to gain a majority: Cardiff North, Vale of Glamorgan, Aberconwy, Carmarthen West and Pembrokeshire South, Brecon and Radnorshire. They also have hopes of gaining Bridgend and Delyn and Montgomery - if a political asteroid hits the Lib Dem Lembit Opik. [Return to post]

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Should be an interesting week. My sense is that even though people don't want another Brown government they also find Cameron shifty, insubstantial and unconvincing. And there is also the widespread view that the Tories don't have a fully developed set of policies and that the Shadow Cabinet simply aren't up to governing in difficult times - especially George Osborne who would be the most inexperienced Chancellor in British history (only a few years in Parliament and no experience of Government whatsoever).

  • Comment number 2.

    Glad to see that with all the subjects that warrant the serious attention of the Political Editor that he again fails to disappoint.

    Quite who he is failing to disappoint though is another matter altogether.

  • Comment number 3.

    Nick, Why are you posting Downing Street propaganda.
    Why not tell us how Brown is going to fund his health proposals or tell us about labour spending plans/cuts.
    Why not tell us about labours new line of hard luck stories eg Liam Byrne, Alistair Campbell, Gordon Brown, all orchestrated by Mandleson.
    Come on Nick you can do much better.

  • Comment number 4.

    You come all the way to Cardiff and you don't ask me Nick ? I'm wounded ..

    So you're in no doubt - I will not vote Labour if it means that I get 5 more years of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister (as he confirmed his intention recently)

    Is that personal enough ?

  • Comment number 5.

    "it's worth remembering, Labour won a third term with the lowest-ever vote share obtained by a governing party."

    It's also worth remembering that Labour polled less votes in England than the Tories at the last election yet due to a bias towards Labour yet still formed a British Government that implemented its policies on education health and transport on voters that didn't vote for them.

    Gordon Brown is claiming that he wants to change the voting system in the UK. How about including devolution for England? After all as MP for Kirkaldy and Cowdenbeath he has absolutely no say on matters in his constiutuency that he foists on the English voters.

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Nick,

    "they had little idea what the Conservatives actually stood for - another theme that keeps recurring on this trip."

    Hardly surprising ... the Tories are turning vacillation into an art form, aren't they? It's becoming clear that the only concrete ideas they've got are to keep it zipped, try to offend nobody, and hope to win by default on June 3rd. It's disappointing.

  • Comment number 7.

    This is the equivalent of asking people if they want cancer -WHO wants any more of this corrupt so called Govt.

    As for those who slag Osborne as being inexperienced what qualifications did Clown or Darling have before they became Chancellors???????????

  • Comment number 8.

    Nick - can you explain how Labour have withdrawn the whip from the 3 MPs who are being charged over the expenses affair. in only ask because I remember them having it withdrawn back in May (see guardian article here for example - https://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2009/may/19/brown-expenses-deselection%29.

    Has it since been reinstated - or is this all just posturing?

  • Comment number 9.

    You stay right where you are, Nicholas. Never been to Cardiff but one day. Ms Kuenssberg is doing just fine, sound and fury permitted. Its Utopia here. mate! lol
    But I must have looked interesting - listening to David Cameron a couple of hours back. The jaw slack with amazement at what I thought I heard him say. We (any future Conservative Government) would declare war on vested interest "lobbying" now? Following the oh so affective one done - allegedly - on expenses? It has not been a good year for politics in my view and now it is spinning completely out of control. Politicians now decided that lobbying is not necessarily the best thing for fairness in what gets done by elected representatives? Unfair advantage. Only voice heard etc.
    Are you listening the USA Supreme Court? No? I will send my lobbyist to have a word then - allegedly.
    Mark Mardell's Blog is thankfully is back with us - in a rather whited out Washington but back to Mr Cameron.
    "Broken Politics" again and again mentioned. And the promise that "we" - if the next Government - will do better. I just wanted to say two words to the Opposition Party's leader and the first one was "Lord" - allegedly. I sigh.
    So Cardiff you say Nicholas? Did I mention my late mothers real name? Taking its pulse, eh? I think I just flat lined myself!

  • Comment number 10.

    1.APbbforum.
    indeed. i think you have expressed the views of many of us. as an election gets closer.. the more we will get to see detail in policies!...or not!

  • Comment number 11.

    "expressing their fears about what the Tories might do to public services."

    Yes, there has to be a real fear and anxiety about this. Paradoxically, it only intensifies the more they splutter about front line services being safe in their hands. We've heard this before, haven't we? And if it's really the case, what about the deficit? Aren't they serious about making inroads into that? Shouldn't they tell the electorate where the priorities lie, so that people can make an informed decision?

  • Comment number 12.

    1. At 3:04pm on 08 Feb 2010, APbbforum wrote:
    Should be an interesting week. My sense is that even though people don't want another Brown government they also find Cameron shifty, insubstantial and unconvincing. And there is also the widespread view that the Tories don't have a fully developed set of policies and that the Shadow Cabinet simply aren't up to governing in difficult times - especially George Osborne who would be the most inexperienced Chancellor in British history (only a few years in Parliament and no experience of Government whatsoever).

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

    What a load of rot! Cameron and Osborne have exactly the same amount of experience as Blair and Brown had in 1997: NONE.

  • Comment number 13.

    AP @ 1

    "they also find Cameron shifty, insubstantial and unconvincing. And there is also the widespread view that the Tories don't have a fully developed set of policies and that the Shadow Cabinet simply aren't up to governing in difficult times"

    You've hit the nail full square on the head there. It's certainly how I feel, and I reckon I'm far from alone.

  • Comment number 14.

    Of course it would have helped if those remaining Labour Councils had not joined the national blood letting of public sector employees lead by the return of the nasty party under Cameron. The Tories have suddenly realised that the private sector partially (and in some cases wholly) depends the continued spending by local government. Securing the economic high ground by Labour would have helped them limit the damage possibly even prevented a Tory government, but we are all gesture politicians now.

  • Comment number 15.

    6#

    What, you mean as opposed to making up completely ineffective and sound-bite grabbing policy on the hoof, on a twentyfour hour news cycle basis, as preferred by the current inhabitants of the bunker?

    Arf!

  • Comment number 16.

    5 Years?

    I dont even want 5 more minutes!

  • Comment number 17.

    I can't see the point in electing New Labour for another 5 year term. Despite what we are told we are NOT out of the recession, jobs are still being lost at a high rate and the Government is bereft of ideas to stimulate the economy.

    The expenses scandal which has struck across all parties has not gone away despite the protestations of many MPs of the "we did no wrong 'gov" attitude. The Electorate is sick and tired of the way we are being treated as fools.

    The only one sure winner at the next General Election will be - APATHY!!

  • Comment number 18.

    One example of Tory shiftiness: Osborne has said they're going to have an emergency budget shortly after the election - what's going to be in it? They won't say.

    And a more hilarious example. Listen to George Young's complete failure to answer questions about their biggest donor at the end of this interview:
    https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8503000/8503608.stm

  • Comment number 19.

    keep up the good work nick. anyone who is happy to vote tory without asking questions can always blog on
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] or perhaps [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
    or even [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 20.

    Come home, Nick - you are wasted in Cardiff! So many juicy political scandals this week and we miss your acidic observations.

  • Comment number 21.

    'Fears about what the tories might do to public services'....

    oh come, come.

    The tories, one hopes, will at least entertain the debate that we are not getting value for money in our public services. That a quadrupling of money into the NHS is enough; that a doubling of the education budget for worse results is simply not good enough. That the welfare budget has got completely out of control.

    Effectivley; thet tories will take on sagamix and his newlabour apologist chums and argue that showering the public secotr with cash is yesterday's story. We can't solve a problem with more of the same. Time toi call a halt and put into reverse the great gerrry mandering exercise that was a million public sector jobs created by Gordon Brown.

    The sooner the debate beigns the better; there is no more money. Wherever you go; Greece, Spain, Ireland the UK all over indulged in the good times and there's now too much debt.

    Time to call a halt.

    Time for a new government.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 22.

    "I've left the sound and fury of the Westminster village - though only for a week - to take the pulse of the electorate.

    ... and to express their anger about expenses, the economy, Afghanistan and/or immigration - which came up again and again, despite being barely mentioned in Westminster."

    And there, in a nutshell, is your problem Nick, and the problem of the ruling class. You just don't get it.

  • Comment number 23.

    Nick, I hope you have a great trip but you didn't need to set foot outside the Westminster village to know that Labour are all about damage limitation now.The best they can hope for is a small Tory minority and the hope that David Cameron will have to call another election within a year or two; and that hopefully the voters will have a short enough memory that they'll think the utter mess Brown and Blair have made of the economy and public services can be blamed on the Conservatives.Brown has had utter contempt for us until now.Why should he change?

  • Comment number 24.

    If Cardiff North doesn't go blue, I'll be very very surprised. The one that you should have checked is Cardiff South and Penarth.

  • Comment number 25.

    WHO really cares about Liebour??????? - apart from the Pravda Bias Corp and some deluded people on HYS.

  • Comment number 26.

    11. At 3:44pm on 08 Feb 2010, sagamix wrote:
    "expressing their fears about what the Tories might do to public services."

    Yes, there has to be a real fear and anxiety about this. Paradoxically, it only intensifies the more they splutter about front line services being safe in their hands. We've heard this before, haven't we? And if it's really the case, what about the deficit? Aren't they serious about making inroads into that? Shouldn't they tell the electorate where the priorities lie, so that people can make an informed decision?

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Actually Saga, I'm wondering if this is actually they way they want to play it at the moment. If the tories mention anything at all labour just attack it and make stuff up to discredit it - why give them the ammunition?

    Also your question could equally have been asked of labour.

  • Comment number 27.

    Nick, are you coming to Birmingham at all? If so you might want to visit Birmingham's Erdington constituency.

    All of the press over the weekend seemed to believe that it is a safe Labour seat and that it's current MP Sion Simon has only just decided to stand down after being asked to repay £ 20,000 of expenses.

    It has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and Birmingham's sole remaining car factory at Castle Bromwich.

    As I am sure you are aware Mr Simon's girlfriend is having some local difficulty in Liverpool Wavertree where she is the prospective Labour candidate about not knowing who Bill Shankley was nor who sang Ferry across the Mersey.

    Also if you believe the Mail on Sunday, I know not the best of sources, the Erdington seat is being sized up by Jack Dromey (Mr Harriet Harman) despite rules about all women shortlists.

    The only problems for the safe Labour seat brigade is that since the last General Election all three Erdington local council seats are now held by the Conservatives and one of those councillors is the prospective conservative candidate.

    If you move away from the High Street and see the models of cars parked outside many of the houses nearby you might come to the conclusion that North Erdington in particular has become a Sutton Coldfield overspill.

    I am sure you are aware of Jeremy Paxman's comment in one of his books where he wrote that Sutton Coldfield was a seat so safe for the Conservatives that they could dress a monkey in a suit and it would probably get elected.

    It may well make a very interesting stopping off point.

  • Comment number 28.

    Having seen a recent news report on Chinese 50 centers, I wonder how many on here are Conservative party 50 centers, judging by the hypocritical continual whinging of bias by the BBC there must be plenty, why do they never mention the total bias (IN THEIR FAVOUR) of nearly every other news media in the UK.

  • Comment number 29.

    So, acording to Sagamix, and other Libeour trolls, the Tories should tell us ALL their deficit reducing plans NOW, whilst Liebour can keep shtum until AFTER Election - spot on Liebour tactics, and shows them, and their trolls, for what they really are - USELESS LIARS.

  • Comment number 30.

    #7 ronreagan. Osborne has only been in Parliament for EIGHT years. He only got into the Shadow Cabinet because he drinks in the same wine bars as Cameron and belonged to the Bullingdon Club at Eton. Brown and Darling were in Parliament for many years before becoming Chancellor and had a string of shadow and actual ministerial posts beforehand.

    And let me remind you that Osborne was born in 1971. Yes 1971. Can you really trust a man-child to steer the economy?

  • Comment number 31.

    8

    You confuse deselection with removal of the whip which are different - all three were barred from standing again (deselected)which is what the link refers to but the whip was never removed.

    Now they are suspended from the party and the whip is removed. They are now effectively Independent MPs until the election when they will not be standing irrespective of the outcome of any other matters.

  • Comment number 32.

    Cuts of public service jobs or higher taxes?
    Personally I think it's better to earn less after tax, than have more people unemployed. You can see by the lower than expected unemployment figures that people are taking pay cuts to save jobs, so higher taxes are the answer, not cutting jobs.

  • Comment number 33.

    Nick
    never underestimate the power of Get Rid Of BROWN

    And although you try to act naive you now as well as everyone what Labour have done every time the Tories have come out with new policies. Labour have nicked them.

    So why on earth are you try to keep this don't know what they stand for line going? It says more about your agenda than anything else.

    If you think that Labour has policies please advise us of their policy to stop the markets abandoning us.

    This is the only one that matters and we are fast running out of time while a catastrophe can be averted but you will keep up the tittle tattle because it suits your agenda.

    Labour seem to have one policy

    'Its my party and I'll cry if I want to'

    The next will be '

    I'll squeem and squeem until I make myself sick if you don't vote for me'

    Its getting toe curling to have to watch them.

  • Comment number 34.

    I wonder if Labour will have an all female shortlist for Cardiff.

    You know, the sort of thing that Harriet Harman is always going on about it. Always attending the Labour NEC to insist, especially in safe seats, on the merits of an all female shortlist.

    What do you think, sagamix, will Harriet be pushing for such a shortlist in cardif?

    I only ask because, strnagely, oddly, she wasn't pushing for one in a safe Birmingham seat recently. In fact, she didn't even bother to turn up at the NEC meeting. How strange. How could she let this opportunity to promote equality for wimmin? And without her their to screech in their ears, the NEC have put forward a MAN!!

    Do you think, Sagamix, that it might possibly have had something to do with the candidate that the NEC have put forward. It's Jack Dromey. Who? Well, he's married to (you guessed it) Harriet Harman.

    At least we know what the Labour party stand for. Nepotism and self-serving. I guess with only one lot of reduced expenses to claim on, the Harman household felt it needed two snouts in the trough.

    "Women and relatives of cabinet members" shortlists. Hmm, doesn't have quite the same ring, does it.

  • Comment number 35.

    8.

    I thought that when someone is charged they then go before a judge and jury to decide guilt or not.
    With labour withdrawing the whip and suspending the three labour MPs are they not presuming that the three are already Guilty. Does this act alone mean the MPs in question will not get a fair trial.

  • Comment number 36.

    Labour don't have any Councilors in Cardiff North since 2008. There are three independenst who I think you're confusing with Labour.

  • Comment number 37.

    "I've escaped. I've left the sound and fury of the Westminster village"

    Good timing. There's not much going on in the Westminster village anyway. I think there's been some minor story about some fraud charges, but I'm sure it's not important. No doubt you can read about it when you get back.

  • Comment number 38.

    14 - "The Tories have suddenly realised that the private sector partially (and in some cases wholly) depends the continued spending by local government."

    Don't suppose you'd care to let us know where it is that local Government gets its money from? Maybe the private sector would do better if its customers weren't constantly ave=ing the bejezus taxed out of them.

    Although there is one area where I can agree with you as since local and national governments have no idea of value for money (nor are they interested in it as, after all, it isn't there money they're spending) the cahnces are that they are always paying over the top for everything they do.

  • Comment number 39.

    "One or two dared to say "yes", expressing their fears about what the Tories might do to public services."

    Why would the people of Cardiff give two hoots about what David Cameron is going to do about Public Services? Their chance to decide what happens to those is in 2011.

    Will be interesting to hear exactly what questions and answers were given to see how informed or dumbed down the debate really is in the UK media.

  • Comment number 40.

    13 sagamix

    But you miss one key argument; Cameron isn't shifty on the only subject that matters. That subject being that newlabour and Gordon Brown represent the past. A dimly remembered but disasterous past of spending money we didn;t have and allowing eight million economically inactive to sit around collecting benefits. A past that treated the public sector with kid gloves, failing to reform and showering it with cah. A past that waged illegal wars, still being defended in bogus interviews by Alistair Campbell. A past that in which a fantasy wealth was created out of cheap Chinese money and goods that has left us more indebted than ever before. A past form which they cannot escape; mistakes from which they cannot escape.

    Cameron is clear on this; newlabour are to blame for this mess. As they seem to reagrd most of it as an 'achievement' (let them run with that one during the election) thet cannot be trusted anymore to clean up the mess.

    It's just too beautiful, as the song goes.

    Time for a change.

    Call an electio. (oops, one's coming)

  • Comment number 41.

    It is good to see that Nick's Straw Poll is conducted in a truly simplistic way - one question at a time is probably more than the electorate can handle!

    It is also a real shame that the interrogation is about the Westminster Palace as it is the Parliament for Wales and Scotland as well as England even though both those countries have their own Parliaments or equivalent. If devolution were to be truly realised then, instead of going abroad Nick could have gone to somewhere exotic like Liverpool or Newcastle and asked his pertinent undemanding and singular question there. Mind you, he might have ben able to ask 2 questions instead of one as the English are far more politically savvy . . . aren't they?

    The results of Nick's straw poll is just going to amplify the terrible fact that the 5 million people populations of Wales and Scotland have far more calamatous effect on the English 55 million population as, without the Welsh and Scottish votes, the English Parliament would be blue through and through.

    Bring on real political separation of England from Scotland and Wales is what I say!

  • Comment number 42.

    The Tories will win Cardiff North but as across the rest of Wales and the UK, the turnout will be poor. I do not see a massive swing to give Cameron an overall majority as he is not really trusted.

    Clegg will probably be the kingmaker, but with the rise in English nationalism concentrating the minds of all British parties, what will be in it for Scotland and Wales?

    I venture to guess, not a lot.

  • Comment number 43.

    All interesting stuff but wouldn't it be more expedient and more economic for the BBC to canvass an opinion poll in marginal constituencies?

  • Comment number 44.

    I've left the sound and fury of the Westminster village - though only for a week - to take the pulse of the electorate.
    ===============================

    Except Nick, this is strictly not true as from Thursday the MPs will decamp for a 10 day holiday break that they voted for (poor over-worked dears), so you may well end up tripping over the Westminster village on your "Tour de Grande Bretagne"!

  • Comment number 45.

    The Tories are looking very shakey. It's looking more and more like a hung parliament.
    Does anybody know anything a private business called/ or more probably trading as Govnet Communications that pays expenses to MPs who sit on their advisory board ?

  • Comment number 46.

    All I hope, is that whoever wins the election, has the sense to appoint people with experience of running a business as members of the Cabinet, or at the very least as advisors. Not just career politicians.
    Some of the decisions that have come out of Whitehall over the past few years, defy believe. You can't "play" at running a country, you have to find out what's wrong and fix it.
    You can't keep throwing money at the next thing that you think will win you votes and the country has to be adult enough to realise that there is always going to something they don't like because it costs them money. It is time that everyone stopped moaning and pulled together, whoever wins the next election.

  • Comment number 47.

    The two major party structure may be failing from the realization by the people that there really isn't a lot of difference between them. The novel concept that the representatives might actually represent the people is gaining some ground again and maybe the lesser, still honest parties, will continue to gain ground. If you see a bank underwriting an advert for the Greens, you will know the end is near. No matter how the elected avoid discussions of the role they played in the financial collapse, the people know what they didn't do, and did do....protect them...betrayed them. A lot of discussion about how to get out of the mess, and none seem to be working, and little discussion of how the mess was created. It wouldn't need to be fixed if they had done their job to begin with.

  • Comment number 48.

    rr7 @ 21

    "the Tories will take on sagamix and his newlabour apologist chums and argue that showering the public sector with cash is yesterday's story."

    You say that, Robin, but this is exactly what they are NOT doing. Think it was Harold Wilson who said a week is a long time in politics, and so it is. Just last Monday, the Tories were all set to cut public spending too hard and too soon. And now? Well it’s all change ... not only will they no longer be cutting (too) hard and (too) soon, they won’t be cutting at all. Not for a few years anyway. Almost as if David Cameron and George Osborne have been reading my blogs. Guess not though. They haven’t been reading yours, that’s for sure! And thank goodness for that. We need to pick up on the discussion from last Thursday – a fair few people involved – regarding our debt crisis. Remember how we teased out the interesting insight that the lion’s share of the blame can be attributed to “bad” spending – on the banks and on the recession caused by the banks – as opposed to “good” spending ... being the sums spent on our public services? Right, so I’d like to build on that, if I may, develop it a little further. I’d like to bring Party Politics into it. The banking excesses (the behaviour which caused the failure which caused the credit crunch which caused the bailout and the recession) ... those excesses can be thought of as a Conservative sort of thing, can’t they? Very striped shirt and red braces. And by the same token, pumping money into public services ... that’s Labour. That’s Labour all over. Following this line of thinking, it’s not too much of a stretch (is it?) to reclassify the bad spending as being Tory spending, and the good as Labour. A touch simplistic, I know, but you get the idea. Having made that leap – which isn’t much of a leap at all - we find ourselves in an enviable position. We’re well placed now to make an original and stimulating assertion ... that profligate Tory spending has just gone and landed us in the biggest fiscal hole we’ve been in since the second world war. Not only that, they’ve managed to do it during a period when (technically speaking) they’ve been in opposition. Which begs the obvious question. If they can create this level of financial turmoil – do this much damage to the economy – when they’re in opposition, just imagine (!) the havoc they could wreak if they ever got into government. I know.

  • Comment number 49.

    There is a point -- that in many ways Brown and Labour deserve to be re-elected to face the mess they have created but the shear thought of putting up with 5 more years of Brown and his useless bunch of cronies funding totally unnecessary "social" causes rather than encouraging private sector development [& hence increased direct/indirect tax revenue -- is sickening. So in the end we must get rid of Brown/Labour for the UK to move forward from the present economic chaos facing everyone today.
    If Brown and Labour survive we will be seriously looking at immigrating.

  • Comment number 50.

    26. At 4:18pm on 08 Feb 2010, sweetAnybody wrote:
    11. At 3:44pm on 08 Feb 2010, sagamix wrote:
    "expressing their fears about what the Tories might do to public services."

    Yes, there has to be a real fear and anxiety about this. Paradoxically, it only intensifies the more they splutter about front line services being safe in their hands. We've heard this before, haven't we? And if it's really the case, what about the deficit? Aren't they serious about making inroads into that? Shouldn't they tell the electorate where the priorities lie, so that people can make an informed decision?

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Actually Saga, I'm wondering if this is actually they way they want to play it at the moment. If the tories mention anything at all labour just attack it and make stuff up to discredit it - why give them the ammunition?

    -----------------

    Indeed. They are looking more and more like a bunch of grizzly attack dogs. Just clamp down and hold on for all their worth.

    Starting to find the lot of them utterly despicable in all honesty. Can't stand the sight of Gordon, Harriet, Alan or Ed on the box, it actually makes me feel physically sick. If my kids behaved as reprehensbily as them, they wouldn't be seeing the outside their rooms for a year.

  • Comment number 51.

    "telw wrote:
    Cuts of public service jobs or higher taxes?
    Personally I think it's better to earn less after tax, than have more people unemployed. You can see by the lower than expected unemployment figures that people are taking pay cuts to save jobs, so higher taxes are the answer, not cutting jobs."

    So because people are taking pay cuts to avoid becoming redundant they should also be willing to pay higher taxes to prevent other people from being made redundant?

    People who are taking pay cuts already have less money coming in (that is what a pay cut means) forcing higher taxes onto them as well is just adding to their misery!

    The public sector is there to provide basic services to the population, it is not there to provide employment for everybody who wants a job. If savings can be made without impacting too heavily on the front line services then job cuts should be made in the public sector.

    Or perhaps the workers in the public sector should be given the same choice as many workers in the private sector have - wide spread job cuts or you all take a pay cut or take unpaid leave?

    If the workers in the public sector have to suffer the same pain as the workers in the private sector they might realise exactly how good they have had it!

    In this recession it seems the private sector workers worry about their jobs while the public sector workers are worried about Tory plans for a pay freeze!

  • Comment number 52.

    Yesterday the chinless wonders of the stock market were worried about debts of EU countries, so they forced the market down, today, the market rebounds so everything must be alright (or was it just a money making exercise?). It's the same with the ratings agencies, if the Tories continue to talk down the economy the rating agencies will see a chance to make more cash. These short term chancers nearly brought the World economy to its knees.

  • Comment number 53.

    the labour party are balanced toward a short fixed but relative 12 percent gain. the tories have a definite lead over and above the lib-dems on the absolute basis of a 16.8 percent reverse shift. all of which means that nothing will change in the near future but it will.

    nice.

  • Comment number 54.

    "telecasterdave wrote:
    8.

    I thought that when someone is charged they then go before a judge and jury to decide guilt or not.
    With labour withdrawing the whip and suspending the three labour MPs are they not presuming that the three are already Guilty. Does this act alone mean the MPs in question will not get a fair trial."

    It is not uncommon for someone charged or even accused of a crime to be put on leave - this isn't seen as preventing a fair trial so why should Labour withdrawing the whip prevent one?

    Labour have just kicked the three MPs out of the party, they are still allowed to work.

    I am personally surprised that MPs facing criminal charges aren't forced to take leave - you wouldn't want a bank manager facing a charge of getting customer's money by fraud to serve you, but when it is a MP they are allowed to carry on as normal

  • Comment number 55.

    Nick -- thought the readers here may appreciate some feedback on David Cameron's speech today.
    "Mr Cameron issued a challenge to the media to stick to proper journalism, rather than seek to ’swindle and deceive’, and to remember ‘when putting good people down you could be putting people off’."
    And his description of politics under Labour as a “demented spin-off of the entertainment industry” brilliantly captures so much of what has gone wrong in the past 13 years. [Thanks to the DT]

  • Comment number 56.

    Nick -- some more from David Cameron's speech today. This is the type of thing you should be discussing and sharing with the public on this blog rather than posting spin from No 10. This is why we need an election and some change.
    Quoting DC
    "I believe it’s no coincidence that trust in politics has been destroyed on the watch of a man who believes that politics is the answer to everything. Who created a culture where his closest advisor in No.10, Damian McBride, spent his time, paid by the taxpayer, to mount a campaign of personal smears aimed at the families of his opponents?
    “We have had thirteen years of government by initiative, press release and media management and it is literally pointless. I would rather that we attempt big, serious change and fail than fiddle around with footling, meaningless promises that are never really meant, let alone delivered, limping through office and clinging to power for the sake of it.
    “We understand the pressure of the impatient 24 hour media and we will always fight our corner. But I know that surrendering to its time horizon is the end of trying to achieve anything meaningful and I’m telling you now that if we win the election we will get our heads down and get on with implementing the big changes in our manifesto.
    “You will not see endless relaunches, initiatives, summits – politics and government as some demented branch of the entertainment industry. You will see a government that understands that there are times it needs to shut up, leave people alone and gets on with the job it was elected to do.
    “Quiet effectiveness: that is the style of government to which I aspire. And I also know that because we believe in trusting people, sharing responsibility, redistributing power: things will go wrong. There will be failures.
    “But we will not turn that fact of life into the tragedy of Labour’s risk-obsessed political culture where politicians never say or do anything that really matters, or really changes anything, for fear of getting some bad headlines."

  • Comment number 57.

    It's enough to make us all weep.

    Weeping politicians and drama queens all over the place is not the sort of behaviour that turns on those tough cookies in Wales or anywhere else for that matter.

    Negative campaigning that makes your toes curl and the same band of Campbell Mandalson Brown and no doubt Blair is in there somewhere trying to con this new generation the way they conned the last.

    Didn't they use celebs the last time around too?

    They are all just treating this election as a joke and the rest of us as a bunch of idiots. I hope the new generation have already sussed that out as they are bombarded with promises that will never be fulfilled on John's Twitterbox.

    Reform parliament now before an election so we have a parliament to vote for.



  • Comment number 58.

    The public service argument is bogus as all parties know they must cut public spending drastically.

    I note the comment that the economy figures strongly which it does not at Westminster. This is a very revealing remark as the coming election will be about the economy.

    What is needed from all parties is an economic strategy that follows on from those cuts, creating much needed employment without creating more subsidies for the financial services industry. Above all else we need to get the country back into value adding work.

    So can you trust any of them at the moment?

  • Comment number 59.

    telw @ 32

    "I think it's better to earn less after tax, than have more people unemployed."

    I very much agree. Take 10 people, and there's a choice between a) they all pay a bit more tax (equivalent to a 10% cut in take home, say) and b) one of them loses their job - loses everything, in other words - with the other 9 unaffected. I would plump for (a) with no hesitation. Savage public spending cuts mean mass job losses and MJL are not just a stat ... behind each & every one, there's a person (and probably a family) pitched headlong into a financial and emotional crisis. All those on here who blithely call for such a policy should reflect on that. Tax rises, please, and plenty of them.

  • Comment number 60.

    29 ronreagan

    read rockrobins 21 - he has hit the nail on the head:
    "The sooner the debate beigns the better; there is no more money"

    Neither of the two main parties (or the others) have set out a coherent set of plans or ideas about deficit reduction and what the practical numbers or effects of it might be.

    Both have engaged in the continual announcement of new implied spending on services and ideas and additional nice to haves without addressing the facts that we are unable to afford what we already have any more in their current form. The yes with everything non-choice.

    It is self evident that both parties have ideas - Liam Byrne would not answer the question about treasury documents looking for 20% cuts in non-ringfenced departments. The level of cuts implied in the PSBR of last autumn is obvious to all but the blind but ignored largely. Anyone working in public services is well aware that reductions and cuts are coming - they are working on it now, the drip drip of NHS cutting numbers, recent deferrment of police recruitment announced for the Met, councils cutting jobs etc etc. Its happening just off the radar whilst shouty voices try to keep us focussed elsewhere on irrelevances.

    The Tories banged on about cuts and deficit reduction very successfully last year forcing the beginnings of a debate and then backed off any detailed idea of what they propose or much mention at all when they presumably found it was not going down well with target voters. Having given the impression they believed in early and hard cuts have shifted and thus far admitted to a paltry approx 1 billion identified and well we would actually do the same as the current lot for the current year. The we are committed to doing whats required, trust me nudge nudge wink wink , frankly is just not good enough.

    The government, assuming May is the date, will have to present a budget to parliament which should provide more than enough indication of their plans.
    Osborne I am sure is waiting for this to reply with his plans but he had earlier announced the idea an emergency budget would be required when he takes over but seems to be down playing it. The election could be in as little as 4 weeks - the Tories have been calling for it for months.

    So if you think I believe them when they say they cannot know until they take office just what they can do, well go on pull the other one it's got bells on. I know they have a good idea and would like to hear what they are to enable informed debate prior to the frenetic election period where both will be spinning for all they are worth.

    Neither red nor blue are being open or fully transparent on the matter and both seem to be running scared of making any comments which may actually affect anyone - the impression they are giving is that they are peddling the no pain solution. A deficit half the size might allow this, the current one does not - honesty from both is all I ask and all I think anyone really wants.

    Not being Gordon Brown is not enough (for me at least) which is what Cameron and Osborne appear to have been relying on. It is a poor show by both parties thus far - neither deserves to win on current form.

  • Comment number 61.

    30. APbbforum
    "Osborne has only been in Parliament for EIGHT years. He only got into the Shadow Cabinet because he drinks in the same wine bars as Cameron and belonged to the Bullingdon Club at Eton. Brown and Darling were in Parliament for many years before becoming Chancellor and had a string of shadow and actual ministerial posts beforehand".
    ....
    david cameron has some interesting experience... he was special advisor to norman lamont during the last recession when the conservatives were in power. god help us!!!!

  • Comment number 62.

    40 Rock rob
    "Cameron is clear on this; newlabour are to blame for this mess."

    Well he would say that wouldn't he? Hardly likely to say "Economic downturn - nothing to do with Labour" is he? Does this make him a good leader? Is that all he is clear on? Well? Anything?

  • Comment number 63.

    menedemus @ 41

    "without the Welsh and Scottish votes, the English Parliament would be blue through and through."

    Mmm. There's a lot to thank the Scots and the Welsh for, when one puts it like that.

  • Comment number 64.

    2 additional points of information. In the 2008 local government elections the result in Cardiff North was 13 Conservative councillors, 3 Independents and 5 Lib Dems. Labour have no councillors in Cardiff North. You also fail to mention that the seat is held by a Conservative Welsh Assembly Member (me) which will make a contribution to the result.

  • Comment number 65.

    "The IFS said that halving the overall fiscal deficit in three years – the nearest estimate of the Tory plan – rather than over four years, would lead to cuts in departmental spending of 4.2% a year from 2011. The Tories would find it harder to cut so-called "annually managed expenditure" – debt interest and welfare payments. The IFS estimates the Tory plan would mean a £5bn tax increase and public spending cuts of £11bn beyond Labour's strategy".
    i can see the disaster that awaits...

  • Comment number 66.

    #6 typical spin doctor reply from the head of Nu_liebour Spin

  • Comment number 67.

    51. At 5:25pm on 08 Feb 2010, Mark_WE wrote:

    So because people are taking pay cuts to avoid becoming redundant they should also be willing to pay higher taxes to prevent other people from being made redundant?

    People who are taking pay cuts already have less money coming in (that is what a pay cut means) forcing higher taxes onto them as well is just adding to their misery!

    They would be more miserable with no income!
    I personally have had a reduction of 20% in income in the last 5 years, and yes I would not mind paying more tax if it meant less unemployment, in theory my tax went down with the income drop anyway.
    It 's just a case of not being selfish, I used to work in a printer's, and there were plenty who would NOT forgo a pay rise to save someone elses job, case of I'm alright jJack pull up the ladder, bit like a certain political party I could mention.

  • Comment number 68.

    Andy,

    Inappropriate to mention the words "snout" and "Harriet Harman" in the same sentence. It doesn't sound nice, for one thing, but more importantly she's clean as a whistle on expenses.

  • Comment number 69.

    55. At 5:38pm on 08 Feb 2010, Me-thinks wrote:
    Nick -- thought the readers here may appreciate some feedback on David Cameron's speech today.
    "Mr Cameron issued a challenge to the media to stick to proper journalism, rather than seek to ’swindle and deceive’, and to remember ‘when putting good people down you could be putting people off’."

    Ho,ho,ho,
    "media to stick to proper journalism" like Murdochs press?
    "rather than seek to ’swindle and deceive’" like shadow home secs crime figure release.
    "when putting good people down you could be putting people off’." like talking the economy down at every opportunity for their own ends.

  • Comment number 70.

    Came-drone-on's speech today, did you see those poor students behind him fighting to stay awake, the more he talks the closer the election will be.

  • Comment number 71.

    #30 and the current leaden fisted anger control isses person , has done a great job of taking an economy of 97 on the up , that had taken 18 years to create after the 79 debacle and in less that 13 years has turned the clock so far back that we might not get out of this mess for another 20-30 years.

    my sons aged less than 15 have a better graspe of basic maths than the 460 labour MP and some of the blogger on here.

    1+1= 2 not 1

  • Comment number 72.

    I am registered to vote in both Oxford and Birmingham Erdington, because of my university connection meaning I live in two places. I normally vote in Oxford, but I think I need to get rid of Mr Harriet Harman, so I can take a trip up to Birmingham on that day.

  • Comment number 73.

    55. me thinks.
    "Mr Cameron issued a challenge to the media to stick to proper journalism, rather than seek to ’swindle and deceive’, and to remember ‘when putting good people down you could be putting people off’."
    ......
    indeed. perhaps we could just have two newspapers of real quality. maybe the sun and the daily mail! or perhaps there was a reason why mr cameron wasnt specific in his criticism of certain parts of the media? maybe the largest selling newspaper for example!

  • Comment number 74.

    A good example of how choosing the "right" question can influence the result of a poll!

    How many asked said "no" but would still vote for Labour when they actually have to make a choice between them and the other parties. I know that this is what I would do.

  • Comment number 75.

    menedemus @ 41

    "without the Welsh and Scottish votes, the English Parliament would be blue through and through."

    would not happen if voting was compulsory as in Australia.

  • Comment number 76.

    56. At 5:46pm on 08 Feb 2010, Me-thinks wrote DC rhetoric:


    So many words, So little substance... Why can't he get the message ?

  • Comment number 77.

    Not really a good sounding point Nick, as the UK Government is only responsible for taxes, defence, a couple of small areas and foreign policy in Wales the rest is nearly managed by the Assembly. Whereas Welsh MP's effect the lives of most of England, in this balanced world.

  • Comment number 78.

    methinks @ 56

    "Quiet effectiveness: that is the style of government to which I aspire"

    Surprised Cameron would want to resurect the "Quiet Man" image for a Tory leader.

  • Comment number 79.

    I hope you're enjoying your stay Nick, Cardiff is a wonderful city, bars, restaurants, a working environment to die for. Instead of sticking to your itinerary, and your comfort zone, take a 30 min trip north and see how the South Wales Valleys have been failed by Labour. See the living conditions, the lack of investment, how Labour have disenfranchised communities by withdrawing hope and ambition but have replaced with a benefit culture that will take years to eradicate. How do we encourage businesses to invest in areas where so many years of neglect have resulted in a social crises? Vote Labour, no, it would be like signing a pact with the Devil. Regretfully I think you'll stick close to Cardiff and the suburbs, not the areas that are really crying out for help, and your report on those would be worth reading.

  • Comment number 80.

    I'm completely disillusioned with Welsh politics, Nick.
    At the last Assembly elections many of my friends voted Plaid in a determined effort to finally get rid of Rhodri Morgan, only to find their AMs keeping labour in power.
    Alot of people round here feel betrayed by the lot of them.

  • Comment number 81.

    67. telw
    "It 's just a case of not being selfish, I used to work in a printer's, and there were plenty who would NOT forgo a pay rise to save someone elses job, case of I'm alright jJack pull up the ladder, bit like a certain political party I could mention".
    ..........
    this unfortunately would mean some people thinking about other people as well as themselves. and to some people (not all)... as these blogs will show... consider this notion appalling as you are either in only one of two groups (black and white only to them).
    group 1. wealthy. and most probably so by beating all the odds, working 25 hours a day, surviving shark attacks, and being assassinated.. and usually have a story to tell of how they made it even though their parents or grandparents were the lowest paid in the country, lived in a tent and couldn't even afford to cloth them or give them any presents at christmas.
    group 2. lazy, jealous, envious, unemployed. workshy, scroungers, losers, thick (ie the unworthy majority)

  • Comment number 82.

    Difficult for Labour to actually lose the election considering the number of votes it has in it's backpocket. Government and government agency employees, the vast dependent benefits army, and an army of immigrants who will toe the line in the hope of remaining on the gravy train. For any of these people to vote for anyone other than Labour would as they say, like turkeys voting for christmas. Allied to this we also have the Lib Dems who will hang on to Labour's coat tails as their predecessors did in the hope of getting a man on the cabinet and claiming influence in government.

  • Comment number 83.

    #59 you pay my share if you are that keen.

    Ever though that taxpayers money should be spent in an efficient and effective manner, rather that proping up areas to buy votes.

    If we had not had mass legal and illegal imigratrion on the scale of the last 13 years then there would be some jobs for the 8million inactive state employees. I do not have a problem with genuine asylum seekers fleeing persecution in their home land, saga geograhy lessons woul dhave taught you that the UK is an island.

    And it you had what Dan snow series "empire of the seas" yiou would have seen why this very little island "punched" above its weight, in an economic manner.

    Maybe the labour economic "miricale" was actually a mirage

  • Comment number 84.

    #48 Sagamix wrote:
    "Remember how we teased out the interesting insight that the lion’s share of the blame can be attributed to “bad” spending"

    I was in the process of replying to your post of Thursday (the dodgy dossier) when the blog closed.

    I've now learn my lesson - take one error in Sagamix's post at a time.

    In 1997 Brown set himself two fiscal rules that were designed to demonstrate Labour's fiscal responsibility and, (big picture), during his first term he was largely successful.

    After 2001 Brown, dizzy with success, gradually abandoned these rules.

    The Golden Rule said that over the course of the economic cycle borrowing should only be to invest, and not to finance current spending.

    However, Brown did borrow to finance current spending, during an asset boom no less, and when he should have been running a current account surplus. He exaggerated the long-term growth potential of the UK economy, fiddled the start date of the economic cycle to suit his borrowing purposes, and parked about 200 billion in off-balance sheet private finance initiatives. His key error was to believe that he had abolished boom and bust and therefore there was no need to account for the economic cycle. The 'no more boom and bust' mantra was not just a political slogan; it was the key to his economic policy and the key to his economic failure.

    It was the sustainable investment rule that limited total debt to below 40% (not the golden rule). Clearly Brown has failed against that target too. Unlike the golden rule this second rule was supposed to apply to each and every year and not over the course of the economic cycle. There was nothing in this rule that excused increasing the debt beyond a prudent level during a recession.

    As a result of Brown's incompetence the UK has a structural fiscal deficit of some 90 billion (i.e. the part of the deficit not caused by the recession).

    So can we agree that - on his own benchmarks - Brown has totally failed? Then we can move on to the the points in your Thursday post.

  • Comment number 85.

    Nick:

    That is good news regarding taking a week from the Office and hitting the road...And, since, I am I think that you are going to take a fair look at the Pulse in Cardiff.

    -Dennis Junior-

  • Comment number 86.

    I can't help laughing at #19, it just looks like the whole things been censored for the public good by the People's Democratic Republic of the BBC Comments Forum. I don't even want to know the real reason, it would spoil it.

    This 'personal questioning' is interesting, as it gets slightly behind the statistics, and is even more revealing as Nick actually tells us what question he's asking. Questions and the phrasing thereof can be very important, and I imagine the answers to 'Do you want another 5 years of Labour' would be different to 'Do you want 5 years of Conservatives', just like with the Scottish Independence surveys that we were hearing about a few months ago.

  • Comment number 87.

    #64 welcome to the brown Balls Corporation modelled on PRAVDA and TASS,
    the free demcoracies that never ever sent anyone to the golags and everyone lived happy every after, just ask saga he will fill you in on the fact from his minds eye which has myopia to the real facts.
    And of coarse all the others that say it was thatcher fault. The first women primemister in the UK's history , which really rankels with the Harriet Harman followers.

  • Comment number 88.

    65. At 6:16pm on 08 Feb 2010, lefty10 wrote:

    "The IFS said that halving the overall fiscal deficit in three years – the nearest estimate of the Tory plan – rather than over four years, would lead to cuts in departmental spending of 4.2% a year from 2011. The Tories would find it harder to cut so-called "annually managed expenditure" – debt interest and welfare payments. The IFS estimates the Tory plan would mean a £5bn tax increase and public spending cuts of £11bn beyond Labour's strategy".
    i can see the disaster that awaits...

    Tell me Lefty what will happen if GB and AD's wonderful plan on the mortgage guarantees schemes hits the fan as not enough capital in banks to pay back £314 billion in 2012 from a lot of dodgy mortgages we the UK taxpayer are underwriting.

  • Comment number 89.

    #82 you forgot criminals too , they will vote labour , just to stop the tories sending them to jail.

    had to wait more than 3 days to get a response from the police last week, appentally they were busy , not sure doing what , as crime under Nu_Liebour has fallen, but my house insurance for thieft has rockettted,

    something does not add up there, then wonder whom is telling fibs then.

  • Comment number 90.

    "media to stick to proper journalism" like Murdochs press?

    New Labour, of course, or Tony Blair never showed any interest in getting close to Murdoch? Or was Tony just on a cheapo holiday visit?

    The left are very good at rewriting history.

    5 more years of Gordo? Why not, let him finish the job of finishing this country - it cannot be restored to an independent nation anyway.

  • Comment number 91.

    89 ir35.
    "had to wait more than 3 days to get a response from the police last week, appentally they were busy , not sure doing what , as crime under Nu_Liebour has fallen, but my house insurance for thieft has rockettted,something does not add up there, then wonder whom is telling fibs then".
    ..........
    ask boris conservative johnson....
    Plans in the mayor's budget reveal a cut of 455 officers by the time London hosts the Olympics in 2012.

  • Comment number 92.

    Harris66 @ 84

    I'm pretty sure I'm right on this, John, we'd have no debt crisis if it weren't for the American sourced banking failure. But before we continue, let's clarify something - this £90 billions "structural deficit" of yours - can you show how you get that, please?

  • Comment number 93.

    88. alhjones,
    before i answer, i need to know what sort of "what if" question you are asking..ie.
    the type where

    you have read a report saying there is an expected monetary shortfall for the mortgage guarantee scheme and therefore asking a question on how to make up the shortfall....
    or is it a...

    "what if" the conservative cuts cause another downturn, increasing unemployment, stopping recovery and therefore cause the country further monetary disaster type of "what if"
    or a hypothetical random "what if"... like say

    "what if" cameron and brown are actually lovers and their bickering is just an elaborate smokescreen?

  • Comment number 94.

    #30 APbbforum
    "And let me remind you that Osborne was born in 1971. Yes 1971. Can you really trust a man-child to steer the economy?"
    There may be very good reasons to doubt Osborne's capabilities but this ageism is just clutching at straws. Blair was only 43 when he became Prime Minister, after all. And I think Brown has proved that age and experience are no guarantee of competence either.

  • Comment number 95.

    92. At 8:30pm on 08 Feb 2010, sagamix wrote:

    Harris66 @ 84

    I'm pretty sure I'm right on this, John, we'd have no debt crisis if it weren't for the American sourced banking failure.

    Saga, Trying to rewrite history, Northern Rock a UK bank failed in October 2007, Lehman Bros, US failed in October 2008 a full year later.

  • Comment number 96.

    Lefty 93 it is a genuine question on what you think might be the result of cuts/no cuts, tory/labour if this happened. It is not hypothetical as the money to all intents and purposes has to be paid back to Government in 2012.

  • Comment number 97.

    Labour's new 'crying' plan is doomed to failure - people have already seen through Campbell on Marr and all the build up to Brown on TV this weekend crying buckets at the death of his child seems a crass attempt to show Labour as the party that cares and understands - how low can you get?

  • Comment number 98.

    #92 sagamix

    The UK's 90 billion structural deficit is widely quoted.

    I have taken it from the Institute for Fiscal Studies ‘Britain’s Fiscal Squeeze: the choices ahead’, which itself derives it from the 2009 Treasury Pre-Budget Report (PBR).

    The 2008 PBR assumed a structural deficit of 45 billion. The Treasury doubled this in a year. Of course "everyone" knew that the 2008 PBR was a work of complete fiction as soon as it was printed.

    The reasons for the deterioration are given by the Treasury and can be seen in the IFS paper.

    Not pleasant reading for Labour supporters, is it? Or indeed any of us.

  • Comment number 99.

    kay @ 82

    "an army of immigrants who will toe the line in the hope of remaining on the gravy train."

    This sort of comment makes me despair. I read it and it's as though all my efforts are in vain. Almost like nobody's listening. Makes me think seriously about throwing in the towel and going to a more enlightened country. To Sweden perhaps. Stockholm or Malmo.

  • Comment number 100.

    I must have missed the decline of another contender for Welsh votes.
    No mention of the Nationalists Mr Robinson?
    Are there only three parties contesting the election?
    The three most discredited parties?

 

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