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Indeed, this is extremely significant as it confirms that the public finances will be atrocious when Cameron enters Downing St. This is part of a one-term opposition strategy from Brown, to try to make Cameron take all the hard decisions and so destroy the next Conservative government in a welter of tax rises, spending cuts, hideous unemployment figures and every piece of horrendous economic news. They then intend the 2014 Labour election slogan to be 'We told you'.

Entirely predictable and monumentally cynical. It makes the other thread about forgetting tax cuts entirely apt!

Tim---Is Fraser a Christian?

The scorched earth suspicion assumes that Brown has given up on winning the next election, which, given his tenuous grasp on reality, would seem unlikely.

And they're going to scorch the constitutional earth too

I consider Don Tully to be a troll.

Alexander King - Deluded as he is I think even Brown can recognise that when your proxies are stirring up every tenuous bad news story they can about your opponents and they still enjoy a 20 point polling advantage that the next election is a pretty hopeless prospect.

Think we'll have to destroy the Labour Party after this. Cap on union donations anyone?

Andrew Woodman - Do they need our help in being destroyed?

Much derided at the time but Hague's policy on balanced budgets seems prescient now.

Anything we can do to ensure it happens has got to be done James!

Given they've introduced so many new rules and laws, there's got to be something that could be done to use them against them.. like finding something to freeze the accounts of a/the union(s) for just long enough to totally bankrupt them or force the donation cap without them having to vote for it themselves before we descend into total soviet etc style corruption.

Tim, Fraser Nelson is good, but he is not always right. I don't think we, or Fraser needs these regular diary pieces telling us that he is wonderful.
Frankly the love in between the crew at the Spectator coffee house blog and Conhom gets a bit boring at times.
Don't get me wrong, Fraser is on the money about this scorched earth policy and also with the way that he highlights Brown's dishonesty with figures and he coined the phrase Brownies.
But on more nuanced political strategy he does not always get it right.

Precisely the same motives behind Labour's abandonment of Lords reform this week.

Read Martin Kettle's column on www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree. today.

Labour are now privately making clear that the tactical retreat has begun, and its feather-your-nest time before Spring 2010.

That is possibly the calculation. The problem with a scorched Earth strategy though is that it could turn a very likely bad defeat into an absolutely catastrophic defeat that keeps Labour out for years, or even destroys the party completely.

If the Conservatives inherit a dire economic situation, in all likelihood, Labour will get the blame for years to come.

This is what many of us feared in these pages for quite some time now. Once again I would like to ask is tehre a way that the Cameron led government in 2010 change the redundancy terms for public sector employees and reroactively amend the pension plan as well retroactively change the pension provisions of ex MPs and Ministers?

The cupboard will be not only bare in 2010 but also will queues of people trying to cash the IOUs.

My view is that it is no longer the case of broken society or broken Brain, it is the case of Britain is Broke.

I am not hugely in favour of the kind of unilateral pettiness that is being touted against political opponents. To unilaterally change the way the Unions could distribute their monies in a politically motivated fashion would neither be wise nor particularly effective. We should be bigger than that. Also Yogi's suggestion would be insane, sure change the terms going forward but any retroactive change is going to catch a lot of public sector tiddlers in the net. It would be spiteful and vindictive.

In this case, when Cameron tells the public he won't be able to cut taxes he should say why. Something to the effect of:

"Labour have made such a mess of the economy, they're now borrowing money to try and save themselves and desperately cling to power. We can't promise tax cuts straight away because we need to balance the budget and pay off some of the bills run up by Gordon Brown. We'll need to make some tough choices about what our spending priorities will be and ther will have to be some belt-tightening and some cutbacks. Then I hope to be in a position to cut taxes."

From the latest economic news, it appears that we shall be on pretty short commons in the early days of a Cameron Government, through nobody's fault but Gordon's.

However this need not be a cause for total despair: the English were rarely happier than community singing in air raid shelters with a nice cup of rosie lee during the blitz.

Well that may be an overstatement, but our mental and physical health was actually pretty robust at that time.

We can perhaps look to finding the many small but significant improvements that would improve our quality of life at no financial cost.

I would propose that we try to gather 100 cost free improvements that would cheer everybody up and restore a sense of community common purpose.

As a starting point I would suggest scapping sex education for very young children, making Police protection checks for volunteers portable across different activities, and restoring the Office of the Lord Chancellor as a glorious symbol of an intention to restore merrye England. What would make you feel better?

What would make you feel better?

None of the above.

martin sewell:

- Starburst back to Opal Fruits
- Bring back the Radio 4 UK Theme
- People standing still on the left hand side of tube escalators to be shot on site
- Abolish the Equality and Human Rights Commission
- Bin the stop and search form
- Scrap any questions on police/public forms relating to ethnic origin
- Stop publishing leaflets in 50,000 different languages
- Don't bother funding this Muslim cleric panel

Oh, I forgot to add:

- Chop Jonathan Ross from the BBC!

Fraser is sharp, writes well, is usually sound on analysis – but he has recently joined up with the bores at CPS.

He shines in comparison with predictable ideologues such as Heffer and Daley and would-be entertainers such as Littlejohn and Mackenzie.

You are totally right Fraser is one of the most intelligent and thoughtful journalists on the centre right. I always read him on the coffee house blog.

I enjoy reading Fraser's columns and analysis but he always gets it wrong on PMQ's.

As the Conservatives are going to be the next Government of this country.....Brown's Scorched Earth policy should be seeing you all jumping up and down to alert the electorate to exactly what this utter bastard is doing to our economy, the country and its people.

This Corrupt Labour Government has got to be stopped.

You people are in the best place to do this....so for God's sake, what are you waiting for?........start making an almighty fuss about it!

As the Conservatives are going to be the next Government of this country.....Brown's Scorched Earth policy should be seeing you all jumping up and down to alert the electorate to exactly what this utter bastard is doing to our economy, the country and its people.

This Corrupt Labour Government has got to be stopped.

You people are in the best place to do this....so for God's sake, what are you waiting for?........start making an almighty fuss about it!

We have been here before.

Suggest we point out more often that Labour wrecked the country in 1979 and the Tories rescued it rather well. We can do the same again. (Such an approach would make Clegg's latest silly idea seem even sillier to middle England.)

However, this is getting boring, this will be the third time an incoming Tory government will have had to sort out a Labour mess and they have only been in power three times!. After about 10 years of Conservative government Labour will turn up again with wild promises, suitable camouflaged with aproval from city types after a bit of largess, get elected and wreck the country again leaving the Tories to sort things out, again. This can't go on, forget Brown get after the Labour party in general, blow it away at the next election. It and it's union paymasters are an insult to democracy and our country's history, we are going nowhere while it exists as a meaningful political force.

I enjoy reading Fraser's columns in the News of the World though i don't think they are online.
Typical Labour: having to borrow more,remember the last time they did that they had to be bailed out by the IMF.
Why doesn't Cameron just promise to freeze public spending for 5 years like they did in Ireland and use the proceeds of growth to cut taxes and borrowing? Cutting taxes would stimulate the economy like it did in the Thatcher/Reagan years and help to balance the budget. The British public know that a phenomenal amount of money is being wasted so they wouldn't necessarily equate tax cuts with the cuts in essential public services which the BBC would portray it as.
Cameron should stop talking about 'social responsibility' (whatever that means, it's a completely vacuous term like social justice and sorry to sound crude but when times are tough people care far more about their wallets than they do about so-called social breakdown) and talk more about things which actually matter to people such as economics. He must be the least business-friendly Tory leader of all time. I suggest he reads the chapter 'Capitalism and it's critics' or suchlike if my memory serves me right in Lady Thatcher's book 'Statecraft'. Perhaps the Great Lady could enlighten him on the merits of having low tax,low spending, lightly regulated economy and not confusing 'social' justice with real justice.

Spot on, David Sergeant. If only we had a responsible alternative party of government, not some spiteful gaggle of ex and not-so-ex reds. In their pursuit of equality they have replaced education with illiteracy and medical care with encrusted filth. They are even happy for people to die rather than make some direct contribution to their own treatment. Crime, immigration and inflation go rocketing up and the figures in each case are massaged to make it look as though they are going down. True to this policy of concealment, Labour bamboozles parliament into the Iraq war and brings politics into grave disrepute. They were led by a charismatic lightweight for ten years and are now in the care of a grumpy, uncharismatic brute. Neither man is fitted for authority. The Libdems, for all their woolly, infuriating, europhil silliness, would be a less damaging alternative altogether. If only Churchill's councils had prevailed over Baldwin's and the two old parties had squashed the socialist disaster before it had the chance to unfold.

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