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Is Ming really interested in domestic policy?He's given little indication of it so far.I really wonder if he regrets leaving his previous role for this one.I thinks he's probably right about Browns election intentions.We need to be ready too.

"But there has emerged a kind of consensus that no one is going to cut the overall tax burden."

Both true and depressing.

The actions of my local Limp Dim MP would suggest that the Lib Dems believe an early election is on the cards - or at least are pretending that is what they believe.

What's the problem. Take the opportunity to look at the wider world. There are opportunities in the Gulf, Ireland, the States, Croatia, Serbia, Romania. This is just a small island.


Ming: I'm a lefty


Pope: Marriage is only for heterosexuals


Health Secretary: Smoking is bad for people

Glad to hear this. My home count of Surrey will remain free of Lib Dem MPs for a long time to come!

As for the heartbeat of the nation being on the left, that isn't true when it comes to crime, immigration and Europe. Furthermore there seems to be a rightwards shift on the NHS.

He'll be saying he wears sandles and has urges not to shave next.

I think what it is Richard, is people like the ideas of the left, vote for it, see it doesn't work and find they are personally adversely affected by lefty policy (e.g mugged by someone who should already be in prison) and then realise the right is right.

Some of us know this all along, some realise at some point during their life and some never get it at all.

I thought talk of "left" and "right" was an increasingly outdated method in today's highly complex, three party political world? Well that's what LibDems usually say.

"But there has emerged a kind of consensus that no one is going to cut the overall tax burden."

And they wonder why some of us are losing faith in our party.

Unfortunately we live in an adversarial country, so we tend to polarise things - right wing/left wing, Eurosceptic/Europhile etc. Why? Why can't we accept that Blair and Nulab - even Gordon - have done some good for the country but not nearly enough for the money and time spent in achieving it.
A tory government can be just as genuinely caring and fair to all as any good left of centre one, because it is governing for the nation as a whole.
Obviously we do not approve of the way they do most things - especially Gordon who prefers complexity to simplicity - but are our aims for the economy, the NHS, education, law and order etc so very different from theirs? We want to preserve what good has been done (in our estimation) and then build on it.
Government is very largely about managerial competence and it seems from PMQs today that DC was homing in on Nulab's incompetence. What we must do now is demonstrate to voters that the tories will be able to manage the big operations far more competently than Gordon Brown or Ming.
Blair will pinch any good policy ideas but good management, I believe, is simply beyond him.

It's "sandals" Mr Woodman!

Kant u spel?

Contrary to what Ming believes, the 20th century was not dominated by the Right. On the contrary, left wing ideas triumphed.

I would be perfectly happy to see "left wing" parties in power for two thirds of the 21st century, if by the end of the century, we had reverted to the type of government we had in 1900.

Sorry Selsdon Man, I must have had a Guardian moment.

More like a Dim Leb moment, Andrew. LOL!

But there has emerged a kind of consensus that no one is going to cut the overall tax burden.

(A Lib Dem writes:)

He wishes. There is not even such a consensus in his own party...:)

Sadly Jock, there is not even such a consensus in the Conservative Party! That is why Mr Hellyer is losing faith.

"George Osborne is supporting these very high levels of tax... "

That is an interesting choice of words. He admits tht tax burden is "very high." You'd have thought that if he truly believed the tax burden was just he would not refer to it as "very high." It is so sad that the country is so ecnomocially illeterate that the Conservatives do not think it is a viable option to campaign on a tax cutting platform.

Here you have a leader who has just confessed to the nation that the tax burden is extraordinarily high, and yet still his party wants to raise the burden ever higher. It amazes me that people still vote for them.

We in Britain have the highest rate of Inheritance Tax in the world at 40%. Britain is truly a socialist country.

If you want to be a capitalist go and live in China where you can become extremely wealthy and leave it to your kids, allegedly a Communist country.

A topsy turvy world exists now which would confuse most people, but Ming will always find himself on the wrong side of every argument. He's lib Dem you see.

Well according to Newsnight 53% of voters want Charles Kennedy back as Lib Dem leader, while only 26% want Ming...

The fact is that there is only good philosophy and bad philosophy and only good and bad ways of dealing with it and all this left-right-centre discussion is rubbish and avoids actually talking about issues, people come out and say that they are left, centre left, centre, centre right, right and then whole lots of other people come along and say no they aren't they are this other thing and totally fail to actually mention any actual issues at all - people sit around debating whether the Nazi's, or the BNP are left or right and whether the USSR was really Socialist, is Fascism right or left, is liberalism right or left and the answer is that no one with any sense cares and the question is do they agree with them or not, of course the media like single word descriptions that probably have more to do with fashion and actually make me sceptical about the actual value of democracy.

I still think Tony Blair will continue as Prime Minister to the end of 2008 or turn of 2009 because of the unlikliehood of Labour MP's moving against someone who is going soon anyway and Tony Blair must know that anything less than 3.5 years into his term as Prime Minister would count as breaking his election committment to serve a full term, there would be a backlash against Labour if they were to hold a General Election after only a couple of years into the term because with a comfortable majority people would see it as unneccessary, not only that but such short term bounces are more to do with fashion and probably the result regardless of how far Labour was shown ahead by the polls would be Labour losses and probably a Hung Parliament maybe even a Conservative Government - when Harold Wilson called early elections he was only successful on the 2 occasions when he could argue that Labour needed a stronger parliamentary position - when he tried it when Labour already had a large majority in 1970 after only 3.5 years Labour unexpectedly lost the election, and Heath lost when he tried a similar thing after only 3.5 years.

So far as the tax burden goes - anyone who does not think that peacetime public spending in anything other than an extreme threat to the survival of the nation should be less than 40% of GDP is showing poor judgement.

Why can't we accept that Blair and Nulab - even Gordon - have done some good for the country

Anything that is going well is inspite of Gordon not because of him. 18 years of tax cutting and liberalising left a very powerful inheritance that took a lot of squandering.

With the exception of freeing up the Bank of England, Gordon Brown has not done a single thing right. Every action has been to complicate, micro manage and generally remove economic choices from people.

Ming has always described himself as being on the centre-left. I find it odd, but it doesn't stop me from liking his outlook and his policies.

The argument about the level of sate spending as a percent of GDP seems somewhat misplaced. Has the vast increase in spending over the past seven years brought with it a commensurate increase in the amount of or quality of public services? Quite obviously not. In this case, what Labour has really done is raised taxes in order to waste people’s money; this may not have been their intent, it is the result. Squandering vast sums of money, even if that was not the intention, hardly strikes me as the mark of a civilised society.

Why do the Conservatives now see the situation as being undesirable, but a solution difficult? It seems reasonably simple. Rapid and substantial tax cuts require substantial cuts in government expenditure. This means either cutting wages of people who have seen pay rises over the past few years (well nigh impossible, even if at times desirable), or cutting numbers of civil servants (even more desirable than cutting wages, but only slightly more achievable). My own view is to treat much of the public sector as a vast and under performing company. Offer generous redundancy to huge swathes of people, raise the money through borrowing (in company terms, an exceptional item in your accounts). Economists almost all agree that large scale state spending hinders an economy (even Gordon Brown agrees, so long as he is talking to and about other Europeans). We can make these long term arguments, but for some reason we have chosen not to.

Labour and the Libs will never cut back on the size of the state, they rely too heavily on the votes in the public sector. The depressing thing is the Conservatives also seem determined to also win such votes, and thus they have signed up to the big state agenda. Is this a mistake? I think quite probably yes. Just as we wanted Trade Unionists to vote for us in the 1970’s, but did not allow our principles and policies to be dominated by a need to appeal to their agenda, so too we need to appeal to people who work in the public sector, without sacrificing our principles and beliefs.

Sorry for the digression away from Ming baiting…

Ming: I'm a lefty
Pope: I'm a Catholic
Bear: I shit in woods

This means either cutting wages of people who have seen pay rises over the past few years (well nigh impossible, even if at times desirable), or cutting numbers of civil servants (even more desirable than cutting wages, but only slightly more achievable).
There are other means in the short term, such as raising and extending charging in the NHS and other public services, asset sales, reducing of the scope of some services, possibly scaling back some state benefits, focusing on R&D, Infrastructure, Policing, Defence and National Security and leaving either Commercially run public sector or charitable organisations, or the private sector to do other things. Redefining the purpose of the public sector - in a sense even the Thatcher Government did not come out with a firm mission statement saying what the purpose of the Public Sector was and what it should not do, if a public sector organisation is profiting through commercial activity on the open market then fine but they have to be restricted from becoming involved in things such as Insurance or Pensions or anything in which they are at risk of incurring liabilities in the longer term.

DVA.Very profound!

But quite what does Ming mean when he says 'Lefty'?
Surely not Chairman Ming and his parties Great Leap Backwards?

But quite what does Ming mean when he says 'Lefty'?
Surely not Chairman Ming and his parties Great Leap Backwards?

Surely not Chairman Ming and his parties Great Leap Backwards?
Or Emperor Ming ready for Flash Gordon?

if anybody want to see a left consensus in operation just come to scotland.3/5 of people work for the government.the incentive to work is gone.scotland is a 4 banana republic, government(unfundable)some oil,edinburgh and a big check from england.
england is heading in this direction with no mother country to fund it.

I'm interested to see that support of Europe is considered to be a 'left' issue. That will please Tony Benn, it was the 'left' of the Labour party that pushed through the referendum, which allowed the British people to have a choice as to whether the UK remained a member. It was the right-wing/liberal press that campaigned for us to stay in. I remember Dr Rhodes-Boyston during the 1983 GE when it was official Labour party policy to come out of Europe saying on LBC, 'The reason why the Labour Party wants to take the UK out, is to drive this country into the arms of the Soviet Union' Oh how I wished I'd taped that.

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