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I see the BBC are not carrying Osbourne's reply. Obviously some panalists opinion is more important than the Shadow Chancellors. Typical.

I saw some of George Osbourne's reply on line and I must say it wasw pretty good.

I thought Osborne's reply was awful; nervous, stuttering and inept. I am just watching Ken Clarke's response, confident and insightful not boyish and silly.

David - I must agree. Osborne was terrible. He looked and sounded like an inexperienced youth.

He did make some useful points however about productivity, unemployment, and growth but they were lost because he just doesn't look the part.

Doesn't look or sound the part - is this X-factor ?

I fully retract my previous statements that the Tories are under threat from tax-cuts from Brown.

I just watched the pre-budget report on-line, all of it, including the response and rebuttal. I think there might be something wrong with me. Brown has affirmed that whilst he has dreams of getting business involved, he is a and tax and spend red social engineer to the core. He thinks throwing money at kids will make them educated and disciplined and has made huge pledges of funds.

Ozzy iterated the public’s sceptical response – where has all the money gone?

Brown increased tax on aviation by an amount that will annoy but never deter - the worst of both worlds. There was one tax cut: no stamp duty on new zero-carbon homes. I don’t think he has any more up his sleeve either. It would be wise to save them up for closer to the election to try and wrong-foot the tories. He’ll never do it though. He explicitly said he could use the forecast surplus for tax cuts, but that is the wrong direction for the country. He has signalled his contempt for middle class taxpayers by nailing his redistributionist flag to the wall, again.

I just love the way Brown can use The Regulator to change petrol duty before the Budget. And getting fatty Digby Jones as a "Skills Envoy" shows how far a lawyer in an accountancy firm can go.

Gimmick, gimmick, gimmick - Cameron must be green with envy at the way Brown uses shallow and meaningless bombast to cover his threadbare policies.

I did only see Osbourne's concluding remarks.

Well i've watched darling Gordon and am re-assured that I am indeed living in paradise.
Why doesn't it feel like it though?

Usual Brown PBR. A lot of bluster beforehand, some fudged figures, and even more complicated tax law.

Sorry I didn't manage to hear the Chancellor, or GO, as I had to work, but now very interested in something commented on above. Did he really say that he could use the forecast surplus for tax cuts but that it wasn't the right path for the country? Because if there is a surplus about maybe he doesn't need to close all those A&E departments. Or maybe (better still) he could give tax breaks to those who DON'T pollute. Or give more money to Councils to pay for proper Social Care.

Did he really say that he could use the forecast surplus for tax cuts but that it wasn't the right path for the country?
Yep.

Over the years it has seemed like living under Communism................nothing seems to work properly; the industrious are expropriated for the indolent; the country is run for the benefit of The Party and its minions; and slogans boast about ever greater achievements and huge increases in steel production, and more tractors than the United States, and a new Five Year Plan with growth targets to make "The People" better off the their grandparents

Someone should start making statues of Gordon so we the prols can show their admiration.

I dread to think what Gordon Brown will be like as Prime Minister. That said, it could be worse; we could have had the ex-Communists of Charles Clarke or John Reid (who joined the British Communist party as the Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary.)

I was amazed that anyone even predicted that Gordon Brown would lower taxes. Gordon Brown does actually have some convictions you know - and going anywhere near something that might even look like a tax cut is not one of them.

Predictable as ever.

Yes, TomTom. Someone should start making statues of Gordon so the prols can show their admiration.

Don't be silly Ben (Redsell). A&E departments are being closed to improve the standard of Public Health care provision in this country.

Over the years it has seemed like living under Communism................nothing seems to work properly; the industrious are expropriated for the indolent; the country is run for the benefit of The Party and its minions; and slogans boast about ever greater achievements and huge increases in steel production, and more tractors than the United States, and a new Five Year Plan with growth targets to make "The People" better off than

Absolutely Greg.Blair tells us that and I believe him! It's merely coincidence that A & Es are being closed in those trusts with deficits.Hopefully they will soon be closed in all health trusts so therefore healthcare provision will be good all over the country.
Two things we can all be sure of, the government always tells the truth and they always know best.

So its £5 extra to fly to Athens return but £10 extra to fly to Edinburgh - not very green Gordon !

A&E's are not being closed (in my area anyway)!

They are becoming "Specialised" - which means that the local one now hasn't got the staff to treat anything that would be serious enough to qualify as an Emergency so we have to go to Brighton twice as far away.

"or John Reid (who joined the British Communist party as the Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary.)"

To be fair, he just liked the snazzy uniforms.

"Did he really say that he could use the forecast surplus for tax cuts but that it wasn't the right path for the country? Because if there is a surplus about maybe he doesn't need to close all those A&E departments. Or maybe (better still) he could give tax breaks to those who DON'T pollute. Or give more money to Councils to pay for proper Social Care."
Ben, IIRC George Osborne pointed out that Gordon Brown had predicted a surplus but had got his figures wrong again!
I think that Gordon Brown tried to spin his own accounts to new heights today. Surplus and tax cuts are lovely buzzwords in a budget even if they are misleading because your forecast of a surplus did not materialise. So where has the money gone that was meant to be NEW investment in education rather than tax cuts? I thought this money had been announced a least twice before.

Gordon Brown 9/10 for sheer cheek at peddling such a work of fiction.
George Osborne 9/10 for dismantling Gordon Brown's carefully crafted fantasy budget and summing up the disaster of Brown's stewardship of the treasury in one paragraph!

He said the same " could cut tax but won't" in the last budget (and even annoyed Stelzer - his friend in the Smith Institute). Also note the economic cycle has suddenly changed dates again - was going to end in 2008/8 now ends this year (funny it moved out when he though this years figs were going to be terrible - so presumably he expects next years and subsequent to be even worse).
Agree with Scotty than GO did well. There's plenty of meat here for an opposition ; so called green taxes up - but not targeted or thought through - no equivalent cut in other taxes.

Osborne isn't up to the job. He cuts a poor figure alongside his experienced opponent.

Time to move him aside and replace him with William Hague

"There's plenty of meat here for an opposition ; so called green taxes up - but not targeted or thought through - no equivalent cut in other taxes."
Spot on Ted, Gordon Brown just used his newly acquired green credentials to raise revenue to help to balance his books. I think that this will backfire on him and might cause real resentment among voter's.

"Osborne isn't up to the job. He cuts a poor figure alongside his experienced opponent.

Time to move him aside and replace him with William Hague"

Blimey, give a chance and give him some time! He has only been in the job one year, been an MP for 5 years and your already tearing him to shreds. This is problem with the Conservatives and politics in general... people want instant results. I thought being a Conservative was about the long term. At the moment, people expect Cameron to overturn a 14 year Labour Poll lead and turn it into Conservative Poll lead and a 100 seat majority. This doesn't happen overnight. Lets just be grateful we are ahead in the polls, even if it isn't a substantial enough lead to attain a majority (thanks to the bias our system has towards Labour).

You should go back and watch Blair in his first PMQs, he cut a shakey and nervous figure at the dispatch box in 1994... and went to become Prime Minister... a position he is still holding to this day.

Osborne gets under Brown's skin - he not only doesn't shrink away or fall to pieces, calls him names, etc but he's a posh Englishman at that. Hague doesn't have any chance of getting Gordon's goat - George though does it every time And then doesn't get upset when the Chancellor chats during opposition response.

The concern I have is Gordon's tax wheeze - raise fuel duty & air tax - is just the same as the old penny on the fags taxes. He has made real green taxes harder to introduce because they are now confirmed in publics mind as money grabs.

Jon is right to say that Osborne has only been an MP for 5 years, but since the man has been promoted well above his capabilities there's no reason why he should be spared criticism.

I have absolutely no idea why Howard - whose judgment in many areas was sound - chose to promote Osborne to Shadow Chancellor. Maybe it was his idea of a joke.

When I switched on the radio today I heard this appalling childish jittery voice jabbering. It took a few seconds before I realised it was Osborne, but I wasn't surprised.

The fellow knows damn all about economics. Of course we need a grown-up in the job but no chance of that while best pal Cameron remains "leader".

I do think Osbourne et al have grasped that to win the next election we must destroy Brown's reputation. However, I don't think they are going about it the right way.

Because there is so much to attack, we constantly change our message and it is lost because this week it's pensions, then it's the debts he's run up, then we switch to productivity etc. etc.

We need to focus on one thing for about 6 months. Once we are fed up of talking about it, the public might just have started to get it.

The obvious starting point is pensions. We should start every press release or statement in the house with somehting like, "Gordon Brown, the man who wrecked the British pension system,....."

If we get that lodged in the psyche of the people, then we can move on to, "Gordon Brown, the man who added £60,000 to your mortgage,....." for he has run up debts and liabilities close to £1,300 BILLION. This is far too big a number to grasp for most people, but if you relate it to their own circumstances by suggesting it is like adding a lump to their mortgage, they will start to get the point, again, after 6 months or so.

If you don't agree, what one phrase did TB and GB both use for about 4 years up to 1997? "Boom and Bust". It stuck and it worked.

"Ruined Pensions and Massive Debts" doesn't have the same ring about it, but it is true and it could be the key to winning the next election.

"Jon is right to say that Osborne has only been an MP for 5 years, but since the man has been promoted well above his capabilities there's no reason why he should be spared criticism."
Rubbish, successful campaign manager in the leadership challenge and behind an equally successful strategy to undermine Gordon Brown's record at the treasury. He has rattled the chancellor's composure on more than one occasion recently, Brown does not look invincible when up against Osborne.
Not a bad record for someone who has only been an MP for 5 years.
He is an intelligent able politician who is on top of his brief, something tells me he is going to be around as shadow chancellor a lot longer than some of his more recent predecessor's.
I think Michael Howard showed excellent judgement when he appointed him to the
post.

You are right Scotty, with performances like that he'll be Shadow Chancellor for the next 10 years...

Osborne shouldnt be above criticism. Hes in the Shadow Chancellor position and with it being such a prominent role, he is expected to perform to a high level. Forget this "Give him time"...he's Shadow Chancellor of the Exchquer for heaven's sake! It doesnt matter how long hes been in the job. Its the upper echelons of Parliamentary politics.

I have to agree that "The obvious starting point is pensions.". I've lost count of the number of times today that I heard Tories stating how he has "stolen" from pension funds. Of course with all the public sector employees he has created for every private sector enemy created there is bound to be a public sector friend. Of course the real cynicism/rub of Labour as alluded to elsewhere on this website is that Labour have stuffed those right in the middle. The rich have done better than they did under the Tories, the poor have been ok in absolute terms, but the despised middle classes have in many respects been shafted.

You are right Scotty, with performances like that he'll be Shadow Chancellor for the next 10 years...
________________________________________________________

Like it David!

But in all seriousness I've a feeling that Boy George, along with his master, will not long survive the next general election.

I don't dislike Osborne, but I don't think someone his age taking on Brown is a good idea. He was 24 when Brown became Chancellor!

That old????

"Osborne shouldnt be above criticism. Hes in the Shadow Chancellor position and with it being such a prominent role"
James, we agree!
But equally he should also be given credit when its due, being "young" does not exclude him from performing well or being political astute.
Worth a read.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/columnists/columnists.html?in_page_id=1772&in_article_id=412916&in_author_id=228



Brown is saving the tax cuts for when he thinks they'll be most damaging to us.

Treasury Questions means nothing. That said, I did notice that article in the Mail back in October. From the sounds of things, Brown had nothing to worry about today. Labour seems to accept it will be Brown as PM. Osbornes speech didnt seem to do that much damage really. Brown wont be having any nightmares tonight.

Come next summer GO will be the old hand and the new chancellor will be the new boy/lackey cowed by the previous incumbent !

James

George O said one thing I think even his critics would find worth repeating - that Gordon had spent £4 trillion - he has taken four thousand thousand million pounds from the taxpayers of this country as Chancellor.

Do suggest though that you read his speech - it's in the Telegraph.

Osborne did well. Browne looked really uncomfortable whilst he was speaking - as Ted says, George gets under his skin.

Some politicos on this site might read Osborne's approach as lack of experience, but in the world outside people recognise and appreciate a straight forward style from someone who hasn't yet been assimilated in the parliamentary mould.

he has taken four thousand thousand million pounds from the taxpayers of this country as Chancellor.

"Brown - the seven trillion dollar man" - I'll have to use that somewhere on literature!

And lest our opponents accuse us of exaggeration - yes, I've rounded down!

Brown is saving the tax cuts for when he thinks they'll be most damaging to us.

Posted by: TimB | December 06, 2006 at 21:04

Be waiting a long time then.............times ahead are hard when you need to import energy and have little to export.........

Those who think that GO is some sort of lightweight would do well to read the committee proceedings of three bills : child trust fund finance bill pensions bill that were debated in 2004. Taking technical bills through committee when in opposition is no easy task. You have minimal resource. You have to absorb a lot of material in no time flat and every word you say (or don't say) is recorded for posterity and scrutiny by a watching industry. GO volunteered to do the hard yards on those committees in a manner that few, if any, posters on this site could emulate.

"GO volunteered to do the hard yards on those committees in a manner that few, if any, posters on this site could emulate."

Really?

And how would you know?

Esbonio, the point you make about Brown stuffing the middle classes is absolutely correct. Moreover, this is going to get worse. Young middle class children are facing (i) financial burdens which their parents did not have to bear - tuition fees and the tax costs of paying for the final salary public sector pensions of others; and (ii) much harsher global competition for highly-paid jobs.

But would it be much different under the Tories, especially as they have signed up to tuition fees and would not make significant alterations to Brown's tax and benefit structure? You simply cannot raise the amounts of tax involved without soaking the middle classes, because unlike the rich and the corporate taxpayer, they are sitting ducks.

For those who think Osborne isn't up to the job, has Hague demonstrated in his tenure as Shadow Foreign Secretary that he'd be much better?

It's worth remembering that there are perhaps only 3 MPs who've ever rattled Gordon Brown:
Ken Clarke from the backbenches
David Ruffley on the Treasury Select Committee
Michael Howard as Shadow Chancellor

and even they weren't consistent.

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