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It is no coincidence that the most run down areas of Britain are Labour strongholds. The very places where Labour are entrenched in local government. Labour's attempt to throw money at the north is pure gerrymandering and will achieve nothing in real terms.

You could link this story to the Samantha Cameron plugs story. It is far more virtuous of her and Dave to be plugging pricey tat to the rich stupid brigade than for her to "work" on a quango's board or two. Go Sam and Cam! You are doing us a favour being innocently employed.

Even London at 31.4% is too high for me!

It is an electoral problem for us. I suspect it held us back in West Yorkshire in the 2005 General Election, whereas this had been quite a good Tory area not very long ago - for example in 1992, and in the May 2000 local elections.

Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East is traditionally a marginal seat, not a Labour stronghold, and was Tory in 1992. It is a mixture of estates, suburbs, and smaller rural communities and resorts. The public sector share of GDP was 37% in 1997 and 60% in 2005. I find it no surprise that our share of the vote fell a bit further there, and Labour still has an 8,000 majority.

There is also a vastly expanded high paid public sector middle class.

So what's the way forward? Do we accomodate it and offer no real economic improvement for these areas? or do we confront it, and say it's worth the risk. By lowering taxes we can gradually attract more private investment in.

Yes, there may be potency for tax cuts but only sensible ones which seem credible. If we go back to promising x, y or z reductions in spending without blinking we will lose credibility pretty fast. The recent announcements worked precisely because of Cameron and Osborne's earlier cautious approach. That should continue; we should not be seduced into the bad old ways.

There is another issue here. When we were over-dependant on 1 or 2 large companies in particular areas (some of them nationalised) we suffered great problems when they failed (as at some point many organisations do). The aim was to diversify, attract investment and increase productivity. Remember all that. Clearly Labour long since gave up on that and are just cynically hanging on as long as they can buying votes. We now have areas, often the most vulnerable areas, where maybe 1 or 2 public sector organisations employ large sectors of the workforce. Those bodies have been built on collosal Govt borrowing which is now slowing down towards a budget neutral point and may even shrink. Those employees have been conned by this Govt.

By no means do I endorse Shirley Porter's "homes for votes" escapade. However, it is interesting to note that local and national Labour politicians have not been subject to the same degree of scrutiny over their own gerrymandering.

This is not a recent phenomenon. Back in the 50s and 60s my local authority demolished swish Edwardian homes by the score to deposit brutalist council blocks in their place. Hey Presto! The area becomes safe Labour.

How do we tackle this? A thorny problem, but it will be interesting to see how many diversity officers and outreach workers survive in their posts in the course of the coming economic slowdown.

BTW - Henry @ 10.00. It's all very well to suggest that we Tories try to get onto quangos. I've tried it a few times myself but as you may be aware the application forms require you to list all political activities over the past several years. Surprisingly enough, in each case I've been turned down. Mind you, it could just be that I'm a rubbish candidate.

Its worse than just buying votes - which is morally reprehensible anyway.

Labour actually need the deprivation and poverty to keep their seats and all the supper salaries, mortgage payments and pensions that go with them. The are like Pauline the Job Centre worker in The League of Gentlemen.

As ever socialism works to destroy peoples spirits and self reliance. Infantalising them and condemning them to a life it the battery farm of state hand outs.

But remember, Tax Freedom day, the *overall* level of taxation will not be lower than now even after 5 years of Cameron rule.

The man himself has ruled out such a pledge or even to set it as an apiration.

"we should not be seduced into the bad old ways"

What bad old ways? When was the last time a Conservative leadership actually offered overall tax cuts? This is just another instance of the "we-always-lost-because-of-the-extremists" myth, which has absolutely nothing to support it and which I for one am fed up hearing.

On the general point, I think it is worth being objective and recognising that past leaderships are partly at fault for simple neglect. The attitude was often taken that the support of particular areas of the country was not required for electoral victory and hence these areas could be safely ignored. Margaret Thatcher, for example, I don't think visited Scotland once while PM. We are seeing the results now of this past short-sightedness.

Another possible side to this -
Unfortunately, in quite a lot of Britain I have been quite struck by the way the economy seems to be dominated more and more by chains and large companies.

This obviously can't be blamed all on the government - and is probably a global trend.

But I suspect it is happening more than it needs to because the big companies can afford the regulation and complications introduced in the tax system.

We're getting quite a dreary mix of big public sector organisations and the same chains, and not a lot else in some [but not all] areas.

The point about Shirley Porter is correct - it was wrong what she did, and the gerrymandering today is not subject to the same scrutiny. Maybe the Tories should provide it.

Police Community Support Officers are the latest example of this. Thousands of them recruited since 1997. No powers, cheap uniforms, glorified lolly pop ladies. All now beholden to Brown's client state.
I came into contact with one recently- he told me that his principal role was to "reassure the public". He did not even have a radio- just a mobile phone. Very reassuring.

30 years ago Decent Labour relied upon the patriotic working calss- moulded by WW2. Steelworkers, miners and ship builders.
With those industries in decline, InDecent Labour now relies on Smoking Advisory Officers and Teenage Pregnancy Advisers- all employed at great cost and paid for by the dwindling wealth creating sector.

"..Advisers - all employed at great cost and paid for by the dwindling wealth creating sector." [Bruges Group NG, Oct 11, 2007 at 10:57]

Add to that, " - and their greatest achievement is to mess up what little semblance of common sense, compassion, security and productivity that's left".

Labour - full of fatherless politicians.

Labour always did believe that the 'man in whitehall knows best' and the huge increase in the Government/quango/local authority service is modern evidence of this. Labour also used to believe in people queuing up at the post office to collect the pocket money granted to them by the Government. The post offices are dying out now, but the principle remains and we are all supposed to be 'grateful' to the Govt for its 'generosity' which now comes direct into our bank accounts after a good percentage has been deducted for admin. Most people, in the south anyway, pay far more in tax than they get back in subventions. It is the most colossally expensive and extravagant way of redistributing a bit of money. Conservatives should be bringing these issues out into the open, and get people to realise that they are being diddled with their own cash. Of course it's worse in the north; this is just naked bribery and it is working for Labour because we don't expose it.

People have been making the point for ages, why has the Sun only now decided to run with such a story. Clearly they are in an anti-Gordo mode.
Labour have traditionally supported their own, recall the old NEIC/NEDDY days when millions were pumped into the old industrial heartlands to buy votes. It was only Maggie who destroyed that scam.
The latest scam is the public sector payroll, make everyone dependant on the state and they won't vote for the other party if it means cutbacks (the old Turkey-Xmas and Thanksgiving syndrome), equally applies with infrastructure and Quangoes. Its the old pork barrel politics that we have decried in the US, carried out over here with a vengeance. One can see the influence of Yankee advisors to B-Liar.
What we also need to look at is the insidious influence of the EU. The only reson Scotland and Wales have Assemblies is that they are the start processs of the regionalisation of the UK. The apparatchiks in Brussels wish do away with national goverments, hence the demand for majority voting, so as to create the master plan of a Federated Europe, or rather a Union of the Regions of Europe.
Politicians in Westminster have been actively supporting this process for decades. They realise that the way forward is to create regional bodies that will supplant Westminster and act as the first inter-face with Brussels in the receipt and disbursement of monies and favours.
No small wonder that we have the regionalisation of grant support. The hiccup was when the people of the NE recognised the scam and threw Prezza's regional assembly scheme out the window.
To eliminate this inherently unfair arrangement will require more than just talking about it. It is the foundation and keystone of the EU. (The EU is like BCC/BCCI, based on good principles but subverted by fraud, greed and corruption). To eliminate the national government they have created supra-national bodies that oversee disbursements, which must go to regional bodies, thus subverting the democratic principle, and more importantly national parliaments. (People like Monnet/Spaak et al all had an abiding hatred of democracy, which they saw as the cause of war and unfairness, do away with national governments, control raw materials and the economic keys and the utopian ideal becomes possible).
The EU will subvert any attempt, by any national government, to reduce the present staus quo.
If we want to remove the inequities highlighted by the Sun, then we must remove ourselves from the EU posthaste before it is far too late.
Given the history of all governments in the UK since our acession there is fat chance of that ever happening short of a revolution.
So perhaps we had better get used to the gerrymandering, after-all i see that we are on a high par with Belgium, that faux state that relies on questionable funding from the EU to support its continued existence and infrastructure.

Mr. Brown you DO have Labour voters in the South East you know, and the way that you treat them is disgraceful. Your Government has recently demanded a further 16million pounds be deducted from our local council - to be sent to the already benefit-rich North, as our council is already struggling to cope with social service demands etc:, it is the people who vote for you in this area that may well be penalised - BY YOU! Why on earth should anybody in the South East want to vote Labour, when Labour does NOTHING for them???????

It's very true that the expanding economy in the North is mostly due to the expansion of the public sector by creating more administrative and managerial jobs.

The Conservatives need to get the bureaucracy out of our public services, but when they do the economy in the North will come crashing down.


"The Conservatives need to get the bureaucracy out of our public services, but when they do the economy in the North will come crashing down." [Letters From A Tory | Oct 11, 2007 at 11:50]

I don't think so, not if we encourage self-reliance/sufficiency, the growth of small business, investment in technology and the return of manufacturing.

General Elections are won and lost in Scotland, Wales, the North, the Midlands and the West Country. If they were won and lost in the South East, then there would now be a Tory Government with a large majority.

Matching spending won't help you to hold on in Scotland and Wales, see off Labour in the Midlands and much of the North, or see of the Lib Dems in the West Country this time. But that's because of the constituency map.

If yours or a successor-party is ever again to enter government, then this will be the only way to do it, and the only way to stay in office thereafter. Those are just the facts of the matter, like them or lump them.

Gordon Brown said in reply to David Cameron about bottling out of a General Election that he looked at the website petitioning for an election that there were only 26 votes and none from the front-bench. What a loser!

Today, at 12.20pm -

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to hold a general election in 2007 – Signatures: 4,714"

Buy this one, Gordon!

I think the more people sign on, the more ineluctable a general election becomes, and the more attacks on Labour failures, the better our position will be. Start firming up sound policies, only this time, no policy cards revealed unnecessarily.

Someone just asked me about my posting [Oct 11, 2007 at 11:06] alluding to fatherless politicians. No, I'm not rude.

"Definition of Bastard: An inferior quality of soft BROWN sugar, obtained from the sirups that already had several boilings."

Ref: http://ardictionary.com/Bastard/1559)

Are there any useful stats to show employee salaries increase by x% on average when jobs are switched from the state to voluntary or private sector through efficiency savings etc?

Much better to attack this issue by framing the state provision as actually making those employed by the state worse off.

This would then appeal to both those who oppose such high spending by the state *and* those are currently employed by the state who probably fear a conservative government would threaten their income, security etc.

Erm, why does Leigh appear to have been placed in North Yorkshire?


Labour have always single-mindedly supported their own heartlands. The massive and ongoing transfer of resources to those heartlands is proof of the pudding, whatever Blair's supposedly pro-business rhetoric in the mid-1990's. The Tories have consistently failed to build and support their own natural constituencies of voters. Indeed, they have helped Labour to fleece them and to do its own gerrymandering: The Barnett Formula for propping up the Scottish Mezzogiorno survived 1979-1997 unaltered.

As for Dame Shirley Potter, Peter Mandelson's grandfather was boasting in the fifties that Labour would build the Tories out of London. What did the Tories do in response? Little or nothing.

This makes me laugh. Thatcher said in 1979 "Our intention to allow State spending and revenue a significantly smaller
percentage of the nation’s annual output and income each year.", and look what happened:

In 1978 the last year of a Labour government, it stood at 37.37% of GDP. By 1984 it went up to 44.08%. So, no change to now under a party whose explicit goal was to "roll back the State".

This government isn't making any promises to "roll back the State". Look to your own house first.

Michael Fallon has written recently in the Sevenoaks Chronicle that when Labour came to power in 1997, the constituants of Sedgefield and Sevenoaks each received £66 per head funding from the government.

Today, a Sevenoaks constituent receives £66, but a Sedgefield constituent receives £126!

Mr Fallon fumed: "This is clear evidence of northern bias from the Labour Government.

"Sedgefield is not a particularly deprived area - its unemployment rate was only 2.9 per cent last month. Yet Sevenoaks District Council has pockets of deprivation, for example in parts of Swanley and Edenbridge.

"Inflation costs are the same across the country. Why should Sedgefield get twice as much grant support?"

Another case of bias was after Darling announced the inheritance tax threshold rise on Tuesday. A Labour Treasury minister on Radio 5 Live said that this needed to be done because inheritance tax was now "affecting those in the north."

So, it's okay to tax people twice in the south - where there are barely any Labour MPs or votes - but it is not in the Labour heartlands.

Passing Leftie, public spending was about 44% as a share of national income, in 1979. That was down from a peak of about 50% in 1975. It fluctuated in the eighties, but had fallen to about 39% by 1990.

WRT this article,the figures for the North East, Wales, and Northern Ireland are not far short of those you would have found in a Warsaw Pact country in the eighties.

"The only reson Scotland and Wales have Assemblies is that they are the start processs of the regionalisation of the UK."

This is not true - having grown up in Scotland I know that there was great pressure for a Scottish Parliament for many years. The vote against it during the 1970's (1976 as I recall) led to great bitterness as, amongst devolution's supporters, it was widely felt to have been rigged against the "yes" vote. If Labour had not granted it I'm sure they would have lost ground to the SNP, possibly even more than they have lost anyway.

Driving to a house call, I heard Jeremy Vine interviewing on BBC R2 "Jamal" who is trying to reform his ways. He has caught the attention and sympathy of the public. Jamal said he would like Gordon Brown to do something about the plight of children from broken homes.

So, watch it guys, and especially Iain Duncan-Smith. Plagiarist Gordon Brown and his crew will next target the Centre for Social Justice and its sterling work.

"So, it's okay to tax people twice in the south - where there are barely any Labour MPs or votes - but it is not in the Labour heartlands." - Edison Smith [Oct 11, 2007 at 14:12]

That's Gordon Brown's vision. He has been having a lot of visions lately, mostly his former master's!

After yesterday's PMQ, here's an apt alternative, "second" definition - http://ardictionary.com/Bastard/1559

Passing Leftie, you may be interested in pages 2 and 3 of this IFS report.

In the post-war period, when would you say the trend in government spending reversed?

This economic situation is a consequence of large sections of the population having forgotten how to think for themselves. They are reliant on the state for their jobs, child care, education, health - everything. Consequentially there is no area of their lives where they enjoy free reign in decision making, and thus no cultivation of entrepreneurship, initiative, intelligence and individual achievement that gives life meaning and value.

So how do conservatives break this vice-like grip socialist grip? An interesting suggestion I have read is that all those employed in Gordon's non-jobs should have their old salaries guaranteed by a future conservative government, but on one condition: that they do not go to work. This sounds mad; but if you think about it, in the long run what needs to change are the habits and attitudes of the population. If these state workers are no longer providing their former services as community support offices, lesbian outreach officers, and child day care assistants then people will once again start thinking for themselves and start taking responsibilities for their own lives.

This scheme would avoid the backlash that would be engendered by the only conservative alternative - sacking them all instead. The government would guarantee their old wages, and they would be free to get jobs in the private sector or valuable jobs in gainful public employment (doctor, teacher, nurse, etc) plus they would have their old wage - and hence no reason to resent the government and continue voting Labour.

After a few years, the population of Northern Ireland, Scotland, Tee Side etc would have regained some - if not all - of their forefathers survival instincts and initiative, and would no longer require a state nanny for every aspect of their lives. The state purse would contract without the demand for these useless jobs, and small government would be achieved.

Comments please.

In response to Mr Fulford:

Looking at the graph, the growth appeared to level out after a blip in 1970, followed by the wild fluctuation which occured during the Tory mismanagement of the economy, and ending pretty much as it started in 1979.

"So, it's okay to tax people twice in the south - where there are barely any Labour MPs or votes - but it is not in the Labour heartlands. Posted by: Edison Smith | October 11, 2007 at 14:12"

How are you taxed twice in the South Edison, what makes you think you pay half the tax I do?

Looking at the graph, the level of public spending as a proportion of national incomes declines between 1975 and 2000 (with some fluctuations).

The electoral impact of massive transfers from North to South is interesting.

There are ten Labour-held seats that become notionally Conservative, because of the boundary changes. Nine are in the South.

Of the 40 best Conservative targets, 23 are in the South. Overtaxation in the South could therefore fuel a large number of easy Conservative wins.

However, of the next 60 target seats, only 17 are in the South. This could make our chances of winning close to a majority rather tougher.

Teck Khong @ 15.10 - Your comment about that comprehensive and well-thought-out report by IDS and the Centre for Social Justice, reminded me that I had had exactly the same thought as you in the late hours - or early hours yesterday!!

In other words it would not surprise me at all to hear say next week that Brown has plagiarised and bastardised that report for his own glorification! I say bastardised on purpose NOT to sound insulting, but because just like his work on adjusting IHT to suit HIS OWN ENDS, which completely changed the idea so that it would benefit Mr. Brown while appearing to be new and benefitting the family. So if he decides to plagiarise the IDS Report, he cannot fail to make a pigs ear out of it, because it would only be of any use to him if it made him money - naturally he wouldn't broadcast that aspect of it.

I did say on another thread, that given Brown's seemingly divine belief in his Mission, it would go hand-in-hand with sincerely believing that it is his RITE to use anybodies policy that he fancies. It doesn't occur to him that he is debasing politics in the process. Brown's mission as the absolute ruler of the UK, who has the definitive answers to all the problems, prevents him from considering small matters like 'other people's policies'!

followed by the wild fluctuation which occured during the Tory mismanagement of the economy

LOL, that’s an interesting way to interpret the results. This is what the authors had to say:

The first decline, from the peak of the mid-1970s, reflected substantial reductions in the real level of public spending, while the long declines from the early 1980s and mid-1990s combined spending restraint with economic growth.

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