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"Keeping prices down and increasing quality of life" - for many people this means keeping air fares down and the cost of fuel. This is where Cameron will find there is a conflict between the everyday desires of the voters and his green agenda.

As far as utility prices are concerned, what are the Conservatives suggesting, government intervention in the free market in energy. A free market which they introduced, when they sold off the utilities, seems odd to me.

There's already significant government intervention in the energy market, in the form of OFGEM: http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem/index.jsp

The question is the extent to which the intervening government is purely British, or partly European, given that the system of privatisation + regulation has been adopted by the EU, and in his Foreword to its last annual report the OFGEM Chairman refers to "our work in the Union" in rather self-congratulatory terms.

Cameron's green agenda does not equal "keeping the price of living down". He seems to be spouting contradictory messages.

"I want to help people live for less" was the headline to DC's article, which is an unusual concept for a political slogan by any modern standard.

As pointed out in my blog Teetering Tories, less 'time' would be nice with this bunch of national leaders.

On the “sort-it” website and helping people "to expose and avoid rip-off merchants" I commented as follows:

"We can all recognise the main rip-off merchants in our lives methinks -Tony Bliar, Gordon Brown (today revealed as having been brutally squashed in a rugby scrum by 'Old Boys' at the age of sixteen, thus providing a clue to the mysterious cause of the rumoured deep character flaws!) and now of course the latest main party addition to the pack - vapid himself 'Dave' Cameron.

"How to recognise a rip-off merchant? This blog's tips - all appearance and sound bites with no underlying substance, truthfulness or apparent morals would be good indicators!!"

Mockery can be the only likely response, is this kind of gimmick the best way to prepare for government? "I want to help people live for less ........." fill in your own suggestion - talk about hostages to fortune!

The Tory leader complains about the Brownian stealth tax rises. Hurrah!

The Tory leader refuses to endorse lower taxation. Boo!

The Tory leader complains about general inflation. Quite right!

The Tory leader wants to increase the price of air and car travel. Quite wrong!

ConHome publicises Dave's article - hooray!
Out come the Anti-Dave posters - boo!

DC’s latest statement is for external consumption only, amongst the general voters. I am horrified how patronage and schmoozing works in Local Government, as in Government and the EU. It is so easy for awkward questioners and those who look as if they might oppose on any issue, to be bought off with appeals to party loyalty, Chairmanships, or thrown places on quangos and partnerships - some with tasty allowances attached. It is very rare to find a Councillor, in my experience, who is willing to stand apart from party leaders and put a head above the parapet.

In a party where position, ego-massaging and greasy pole-climbing is endemic, I fear we shall have great problems in garnering support for any radical let alone anti-establishment approach. Nevertheless, the struggle continues. To adapt a saying, "Floating thinkers float. That is their nature. It is up to us to change the tide".

Cllr Keith @ 14.21, quite right, it is up to political parties to change opinion.

The cowboy tradesman thing is very risky, it is an invite to slander. The remaining issues are good, traditional conservative complaints...taxation and inflation.

Gas Bills are rising because much of North Sea Gas is now gone and UK energy companies are increasingly having to buy Gas in competition with many others including UK Electricity Generators from countries such as Denmark, Russia and Iran.

Electric Bills are largely so high because of the crazy dash for gas that there was in the early 1990's.

Equally higher Utility Bills actually help reduce consumption so having some environmental benefits although it would be preferable if it was nuclear or renewable power being used much more and if the prices were higher through monies raised for extra investment in the network rather than because of higher Gas prices on the world markets.

Central Bank Interest Rates have remained low - it is difficult to see what Central Government can do to hold down House Price rises, the biggest difference between the UK and many other countries is a cultural one in that a home is seen as somewhere to live in many other places not some kind of investment.

Overall mostly inflation has been low.

But what is David Cameron actually proposing doing about these things even on the Stealth Tax issue, so far he and George Osborne are not even saying that there will be tax cuts, only that it is an ambition - if high spending is maintained then the options for funding this come to maintaining high tax or raising borrowing, if tax levels are maintained then to cut Stealth Taxes then money from more direct taxation has to be raised.

If David Cameron is openly critical on a particular issue on current problems and what government are doing about them then naturally people will expect him to say what he would do differently, simply him sticking a wind turbine on his roof and a few Conservative equivalents of which are not going to answer their questions, or make much difference for that matter.

The cowboy tradesman thing is very risky, it is an invite to slander.
And liable to backfire in that most lone trader tradesmen are probably Conservative voters and are not likely to be greatly enthused by the idea of their name being blackened (indeed focusing specifically on rogue tradesman could come over as some kind of general scapegoating in an attempt to win votes), surely to be fair and balanced the website should have lists of rogue tenants and bad paying customers.

In the end though there is the risk of not only people sueing for slander, but maybe Data Protection infringements as well.

There's a good article about housing costs in the Sunday Telegraph, suggesting that "The right answer" to the question "Can we afford our house prices?" is to be found in a chart of interest payments as a % of income, rather than a chart of mortgages as a multiple of income. Which of course is largely true, but ignores the problem of putting together a deposit, and begs the question of what would happen to those with large loans if interest rates rose and prices fell. However equally interesting is the statement that:

"The price of housing is simply the price that makes the demand for housing equal to the stock of housing available. No more and no less. Family breakdown, immigration and the desire of young people in Britain to move away from home mean that the number of households is projected to grow by 209,000 a year for England alone, according to the Government. And its numbers have generally been on the low side. Meanwhile we have built 164,000 new houses in the past year. Even without allowing for houses that are scrapped, there is an annual gap of 45,000 between the number of new houses and the number of additional households created."

However of that projected requirement of 209,000 a year in England, probably something like 120,000 are needed for the established population, and the rest, something like 90,000, are needed to cope with the effects of immigration.

It isn't possible to be exact about the numbers, but there's no doubt that we've been building more than enough new homes for the established population, but not enough extra homes to cope with immigration. Without purporting to offer any advice, it seems to me that while that continues, there'll be continuing pressure for house prices to rise; if it stops, house prices are likely to fall.

If David Cameron is now paying attention to the fiscal climate within the UK and how it translates into the economics of the average citizen, would he support a rigorous cost benefit analysis of our membership of the EU.
This would seem logical if he is appealling to a savvy electorate who he believes will respond to financial efficiency as long as the benefits increase their standard of living.

Forked tongue politics as ever.
Let's talk turkey ;tax cuts and the EU.

Save 10+% by hiring a Polish tradesman and sacking a British one may be economic justification for the feeble Tory immigration policy but won't attract 'white van man'.

Please Vote:


The public must guess that Dave will want to collect phoney "green taxes" just like Brown.

He really needs to start talking sensible policy across the board if he wants to be taken seriously.

Let's talk turkey ;tax cuts and the EU.

Except for the thought that occurs to me that it might just be a stale old menu that only leads to a stuffing from Paxo?

More seriously,

The public must guess that Dave will want to collect phoney "green taxes" just like Brown.

I don't believe this is the case, "ukfirst". I do know that some people local colleagues here have canvassed have expressed concern about "green taxes" on the doorstep, and it does worry me that we're not getting all parts of that message over at the same volume. (I gather you're not a Conservative activist, so this next part is aimed more at my colleagues than you, sorry).

We all need to do a far better job at getting the whole of our message on environmental taxation over, not just the part some of our "friends" on here seem keen to highlight. DC and Osborne have both talked about moving the focus of taxation away from things that are good - families, strivers, and so on, and on to things that are not - polluters, businesses and activities that emit too much carbon. We need to put that whole balance over - a little "and theory" on the ground, perhaps?

More broadly on the topic of this thread, one of the things that Brown is going to want to run on is his management of the economy, his "golden economic legacy" - if this helps accentuate the doubt in voters' minds about the current state of the economy as it touches their everyday lives, it can only be bad for a putative Brown GE bid, and good for us.

Good points Richard, also I think we are not making enough of Brwons support for Labours failed projects. Brown never stopped Blair's adventures including his wars. The two were in it to the necks,


"one of the things that Brown is going to want to run on is his management of the economy, his "golden economic legacy" - if this helps accentuate the doubt in voters' minds about the current state of the economy as it touches their everyday lives,"

There has been so much scope for a Tory attack on 3card trickster and fiscal drag artist Brown but it never happens.

Brown never stopped Blair's adventures

For me, it's not so much whether he backed them or stopped them, but that he was the McCavity's Cat of New Labour. It would be pretty hard to sustain that as PM.

Difficult issue on hand? Don't call for Gordon...

The biggest rip-off is paying subs to the Candidates Association and not being able to apply for seats. That's Cowboy Conservatism!

Central Bank Interest Rates have remained low - it is difficult to see what Central Government can do to hold down House Price rises,

Easily done.

a) Restrict the right of lenders to call on Mortgage Insurance Policies

b) Call Special Deposits from Lending Institutions to BoE

c) Impose 24 month mediation policies before Repossession Orders can be sought in County Court

d) Impose Capital Gains Tax on all houses where proceeds not reinvested in housing within 24 months - as in USA

Germany has falling house prices, an independent Central Bank, and rent controls on rented apartments...........

Britain is a land of congenital Property Speculators where every incoming Tory Govt traditionally de-regulates Credit only this time Labour has done so - result - B of P deficits and house-price inflation

Tom Tom - The usual voice of sanity on CH!

I would add that like most developed economies, post 9-11, the BofE, egged on by changing inflation targets, pursued an ultra low interest rate policy that has created a housing bubble. I would suggest people look to the USA for guidance on where things go next. Simply it like many central banks pursued and continues to puruse maintaining house prices rather than general inflation. The Tories do not need to do a thing. Plenty of people will get heard, but then enjoyed the good times. We need higher interest rates and lower tax. Only way to sort it out.

Of course cuts in public spending from Central and Local Government and repaying national debt would help push down prices a bit and reduce debt interest that the state pays.

How about pledging to cut taxes if Cameron wants to lower the cost of living?

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