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However, the ph value of the general political debate is going in the direction of freedom - I noted an item on this morning's today programme about the Government's plans to raid state school budget savings pots taking 5 per cent from thos who have made savings to cover deficits in the overall school education budget the amount taken being based upon the state of the school budgets 18 months ago. The man speaking was saying all the "right" things about individual school budgets and the importance of autonomy etc.. Not so long ago he would not have been given the free and encouraging run he was being given this morning indeed would probably not have said it

I agree heartily about empirical research. Too much ideological posturing. You've got to build from the ground up even if it takes time (or only permit real experts to speak !!!)

This is a useful dose of cold water.

The extent to which the state has grown under Labour should produce a steely response from Conservatives but instead we are largely matching its growth.

Are we really supposed to be grateful for a few coppers thrown back at us after our wallet has been emptied?

Ten years ago people were willing to give politicians the benefit of the doubt and were happy to afford some increases in the tax burden. But we've now seen so much waste.

The electorate is now hungry for lower taxation. I hope our leaders have learned that lesson.

Mr Osborne had more or less given up arguing for the dynamic effects of lower taxation. Will he revisit that decision? Unlikely. Things are beginning to tilt back our way but only after a prolonged slide in the other direction.


After the empty Punch-and-Judy euphoria, it's time to remind ourselves where the Conservative Party truly stands under the Cameron/Osborne cabal.

Current policy is a shambles.

It might also help if right-wing ideas were respected at least by the people who are supposed to be on roughly the same side. For example: I saw Matthew D'Ancona, editor of the Spectator, in a studio discussion on the BBC the other day. He was obviously there to represent the Right, but his reaction to a UKIP interview was to label them "xenophobic". Not only is such abuse wrong in itself, it only legitimises the same kind of thing used against the rest of us. Thanks, Matt, with friends like you the Guardian isn't really needed is it.

This silly "you stole my ideas" thing has got to stop. If you are in government, and someone in an opposition party comes up with a good idea, it behooves you to use. Childish "copy-cat" cries just make us look sullen and pathetic. We can certainly crow that we are setting the agenda, but that should be the extent of it.

Lower taxation will give the economy a boost, increase GDP, and even allow state expenditure to increase, but as an absolute value and not a percentage. We've got a year to educate the public about this.

I'm suprised that you are suprised Tim that Prospect tend to support left leaning think tanks.Prospect are hardly neutral observers themselves.
I think whatever ones politics it is becoming unarguable that most of the fresh ideas are coming from the right.I suppose after ten years of mostly failed new Labour policies this is only natural.
You are spot on with your analysis of the fragmentation of right leaning think tanks and the resultant duplication of effort. On the European question the work of Open Europe, the Bruges Group and the Freedom Association seems to me to be remarkably similar.If these groups banded together I think they would have far more influence than by working seperately.

The sarcastic and negative press that Labour have received since stealing Conservative proposals may make them think twice about adopting any more good ideas.

On the subject of welfare reform I think that all political parties have to understand that they cannot get people off benefit and into work if the work isn't there. Five million jobless into half a million vacancies just won't go. The only way to end the lumpen-unemployment is to create a large manufacturing base. American politicians have not cured unemployment, workfare is not work. Whenever I hear politicians of all parties talking about how they are going to get people into work I feel like slapping some sense into them because the jobs are not there and the jobs havent been there for over thirty years.

On the subject of tax cuts it was interesting to see audience reaction to the mention of tax on last nights question time. This is a real vote winner. People are sick to death of the Labour tax regime. On the subject of last nights programme I was disappointed that Caroline Spelman allowed Harriet Harmann get away with claiming that Labour had solved mass unemployment. If I'd been on that show I'd have knocked Harmanns claims into the middle of next week! Caroline Spelman should have jumped in at once and told the audience that unemployment is higher now than it was when Labour came to office and that youth unemployment is up 20% or in other words one in every five. Sometimes I think shadow cabinet members are too slow in reacting to Labour lies.

'On the European question the work of Open Europe, the Bruges Group and the Freedom Association seems to me to be remarkably similar. If these groups banded together ...they would have far more influence ...'

Of course Malcolm Dunn is broadly right but where Open Europe parts company is that it won't go that extra logical step and call for UK withdrawal from the EU - a step too far for its business sponsors.

I call it intellectually craven.

And how sad that the once dominant Institute for Economic Affairs, creator of the Thatcherite revolution, is now sidelined - despite continuing excellent work.

That shows how 'left' the present leadership of the Conservative Party has moved and is an indicator of why it is not many points ahead in the polls after ten years of outrageous Labour government.

Manufacturing just can't be a major source of job-creation, unless it is very low-skilled manufacturing, which could never compete with manufacturers in Third World countries.

There is a future for manufacturing industry in this country, but it's at the top end of the market, with very levels of productivity, and relatively few workers.

Sean Fear, manufacturing works for other nations. What we should be doing is working to knock-out competitor nations and making sure that we corner markets for British business to exploit. Currently China are offering African nations aid in return for trade. We should be doing the same and building up niche markets. We shouldn't be so quick to adopt the orthodoxy of completely open trade either, at times when we struggle to compete against nations who employ sweatshop Labour like China we should impose tariffs.

Political correctness has still triumphed in the non-economic sphere. Witness the persecution of the firemen who found a crime being committed and the potential Gay Hatred crime which even lukewarm from Porridge recognises is a bad move. But where are our craven politicians in standing up against these things?

A good article. The commitment to waste the same amount of my money as Labour are doing was irresponsible. The tax cuts announced, ignoring the non-dom tax rise, are less than 1% of total tax revenues. If you were trying to take over a business on the basis you'd cut expenditure by less than 1% you would be laughed at.

What the last couple of weeks has shown is that good traditional Conservative policies are vote winners, and there should be more of them.

Damon Lambert (1348) wrote:

""What the last couple of weeks has shown is that good traditional Conservative policies are vote winners, and there should be more of them.""

This is THE message that Mr Cameron must hear and accept. Splendid as his unscripted speech was, its effect beyond the Party Conference was limited. It was Mr Osborne's tax cutting promise that transformed the fortunes of the Party, helped by Brown's craven behaviour.
The tide has turned. People are ready for more controlled Government expenditure and want tax cuts. Dare I say it, people are ready for real Conservative policies.

Malcolm, it would be more logical for Open Europe to merge with European Foundation.

The pro-EU Open Europe refuses to work with Euro-realist organisations like the Bruges Group and The Freedom Association.
TFA campaigns on other issues such as the nanny state. It collaborates with other organisations when it is beneficial.

On the theme of merging, it would be logical for the centrist Policy Exchange to merge with The Bow Group. CChange could merge with the Tory Reform Group and Mainstream.

Don't wait too long. Vote now about the EU.

Vote YES to Free Europe Constitution at www.FreeEurope.info!

"What the last couple of weeks has shown is that good traditional Conservative policies are vote winners, and there should be more of them."

Damon - this is nonsense. The reason we have done well is that:
a) our tax cuts are funded
b) we have neutralised the 'spending less = caring less' issue which has hurt us before.

running live regional efficiency

developer induce small deep

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