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Indeed. When times are good the wise monkey pays off his debts and puts away a bit for the inevitable rainy-day.

Though Brown wrapped himself in the flag of 'Prudence', he blew everything on crazy increases in public-sector expenditure and on-the-never-never 'off-balance-sheet' public-sector debt by way of PFI.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost. So much for "an end to boom and bust", Brown's Bust has arrived with a vengeance - and we need to make sure blame sticks.

There will be the usual calls for tax increases to deal with recession. We must push for the opposite and George Osborne needn't feel bound by the "sharing the proceeds of growth" promise if there is no growth.

Possible areas for retrenchment have already been set out in the Rotherham/Elliott book (no advert necessary - you all know the one).

"and we need to make sure blame sticks" - couldn't agree more. I'm sure CCHQ agree also, and will doing their best to bring this to people's attention

"I'm sure CCHQ agree also, and will doing their best to bring this to people's attention"

You recon? I've been banging away at the failure of the Shadow Treasury team to hold Brown to account for a couple of year now, as such I haven't seen any evidence that they are or that they are in any way capable of holding him to account.

As Ian points out, the shadow Treasury team has not made a great job of holding Brown to account, not only over the last couple of years but really over the whole period from when he gave up Prudence (and Conservative spending plans) to turn back into a traditional tax and spend socialist Chancellor.

Why is it that he has got away for so long with the myth that stability and low inflation have been his sole gift to the nation?

George Osborne should be pointing out what the true rate of inflation is, what pet projects Brown has squandered taxpayers' money on and just how much tax has gone up over the decade (he could add national insurance contributions for good measure to show what a huge slice Brown has taken from us).

Better late than never.

"Better late than never."

But they have to be capable of holding Brown to account, and looking at the Shadow Treasury team I really don't think they are.

Teresa Villiers had a couple run outs, to say her contributions were confused and incoherent would be an understatement.

Phillip Hammond is currently the Shadow Treasury Teams anchorman, but is weak ( weird hair style) and is overshadowed by Vince Cable every time.

George Osborne comes up with a couple of sound bites but no sustained argument, and if its costing £500,000 to run his office, well its a poor return for the money!

Thanks to the decision to leave the ERM snake (what an appropriate title for a euro-link!) Brown inherited an economy going in the (right) correct direction.
He then clobbered our pensions funds, employed enough extra pen-pushers to fill one of our major cities, and threw money at bureaucracy in the NHS, Education and elsewhere.
Borrowing and uncontrolled credit advances were allowed to soar to incredible heights, and hardworking people soon found that, with his 100 stealth taxes and council tax rises, they became increasingly strapped for cash.
Now, at a very serious point in the global economy's cycle, our economy is like sections of the Trans-Siberian Railway that were built on top of the winter snow and are now suspended in mid-air. Like that folly, our economy is also hanging with no visible means of support, and the train is coming!

As David says, why has Brown got away with it for so long? But to be fair to the Tories, they couldn't say too much until the wheels actually started to come off the economy because the voters of this country are so blinkered they would just have said 'Same old Tories. Black Wednesday. Anti-NHS. Anti-public spending. Whatever!' Unfortunately, people are so wedded to the 'liberal' ideal in this country that they have to feel the pain before they'll listen to criticism of their beloved Brown.

Now that the public has become aware of a significant change in the economy it is an opportunity for George Osborne to scale back his promise to stick to Labour's spending plans and make a commitment to stick with essential spending only, that is front-line services. Also in light of the economic downturn George Osborne should promise substantial tax cuts for business, to act as an impetus to kick start the economy again. The public will understand the logic behind such a move now that the economy is grinding to a halt.

'Sharing the proceeds of growth'like his recent pledge of pride in the hopeless never imitated anywhere else in the world NHS is all about placating the BBC Guardian worldview which for some peculiar reason David Cameron thinks is shared by the electorate.
I doubt he actually believes in 'social justice' 'sharing the proceeds of growth''I love the NHS''immigration has immensely benefited Britain''we will not leave the EU' or all the stock cliches of liberal conservatism-not many electors believe in them and most intelligent foreigners regard the as some weird sort of tribal belief of the sort practised in remote Pacific Islands.

This mini-statement is worse than useless. It says so little and gives no journalist any material to make a story from. (Who wrote it for him - some Tory Boy in CCHQ?)

Brown could have prevented the N.Rock fiasco last summer but dithered his chance away and now his lending over it has reached such vast proportions that our whole economic future is in hock. And even the proposed (non) solution has to be approved by our Brussels masters.

CCHQ is nearly as incompetent as the government and are apparently over-excited by the US primaries (see Home page) . For heaven's sake tell them get on their work someone. The NewLabour crowd are running rings round them when CCHQ hold all the trump cards right now.

We should be pushing the following points:

The looting of pensions by the Skid Mark when he was chancellor that means that people in their 40's and 50's now have a gravely uncertain retirement future,

The proflagate PPP schemes that, were they being conducted in the private sector, would result in the Skid Mark being jailed for fraud and false accounting

The complete ineptitude of the Skid Mark in dealing with the environment (150 million "fined" from the agency with a direct consequence on flooding)

The effective gerrymandering of votes in the North East to protect Northern Crock investors from the harsh realities of the market, investments can go down and even dissappear, as well as go up. Where is my money for the companies I have invested in which failed, come to think of it where was plod when the directors asset stripped two companies to pay their rather excessive living expense?

The dithering of the Skid Mark when it comes to any important decisions, whether it be calling a general election, or doing his job in ensuring that companies are properly run (Nothern Crock back in June last year)

The bottom line is that we have a "government" without anyone at the controls, being occupied by a bunch of plunderers on the make, who in themselves are perfectly prepared to plunder our savings to prop up a corportate wreck, not just because some of the investors live in marginal constitents, but becuase the company used its money to fund local labour intererests and it employs people in that constituency.

Bet the people formerly involved in MG-Rover are pissed now.

Which saw me resign from the Conservative party, if the editor permits it I'll post my resignation letter from last year. I will say since I resigned some things have changed, the 'uber-modernisers' have lost ground (thank god) the change of which saw the Conservatives rise in the polls, but in many areas the Conservative party position is confused and incoherent in its arguments, its hamstrung by politically correct positions taken to suck up to the BBC, Guardian, and Poly Toynbee, and in some areas it leaves the Labour Government unmolested......

//“In reference to your letter dated 26th July, I am aware I haven’t renewed my membership to the Conservative party, for a very good reason, I can’t think of a good reason to renew my membership. I realise there are people who are tribal in their political associations and will tolerate anything and everything handed out by their party, not me, it is the argument and values which is all to me, and right now the Conservative values and the things I value seem to be going in different directions, as well as the arguments put up by Cameron’s Conservatives which I see as pretty pathetic.

Let me elaborate. George Osborne I think is nothing short of useless as Shadow Chancellor, he completely failed to lay a glove on Gordon Brown while Chancellor, which may be part of the reason why the Conservatives are in so much trouble now, for it was very dangerous to have allowed Gordon Brown to go to his coronation with the cries of ‘the best Chancellor’ ringing in his ears, which was not the case, yet that is the situation George Osborne permitted.
George Osborne should have made it his business to ensure that on the front of everybody’s minds was the fiscal mismanagement by Gordon Brown, and people understand the reason why the likes of the Nurses in England had their pay increase staged was because of this fiscal mismanagement, yet its not, because George Osborne didn’t do his job. The same goes for the £!50 billion we have off balance sheet in PFI deals, the 800k people added to the Government pay rolls and their unfunded public sector pensions which exceeds the national debt, the loss of 1 million manufacturing jobs, the record £50 billion trade deficit, the runaway money supply, and so on.
Ah but you will point out George Osborne did raise the pension issue,. Unfortunately not so, it was the Times which dug up the info , it was George Osborne who squandered the opportunity handed to him by failing land a blow on Gordon Brown in the Commons.
The result of this failure to raise the economic issues, link them to people in their everyday lives, is that the Conservatives have failed to make any sort of economic argument, resulting in the Conservatives falling in behind Labour’s tax and spend policies, and Cameron, only just recently announcing on the radio that economic issues weren’t important anymore (because they hadn’t bothered to make them an issue) and instead pronouncing that social break down was what he felt was most important. A cop out for politicians, for in what way do we hold them to account on that, are we going to have monthly social break down figures instead of unemployment numbers, trade figures and money supply numbers?

Then there are ‘green’ issues. A decade ago I took the trouble to investigate renewable energy in a course at the O.U. one thing became very clear, the driver of demand was population, and as such you cannot seriously deal with sustainability without having some regard to population growth.
Some numbers for you, even if the 1.5 billion people in the West cut their energy consumption by half (currently a 25% cut is beyond us) the combination of increasing energy usage and the exponential population growth in the developing countries, taking their population from 4.5 billion to 7 billion in the next two decades, will result in a 50%, yes a 50% increase in energy usage. So if the global warming theory is correct, then global warming is going to be a fact. This makes sustainability key, trouble is we are not, far from it, in fact it is getting worse by the day, for we have a growing population, 2.5 million increase in the last decade, and a projected increase (by the ONS) of another 10 million in the next 30 years, just at the time when the effects of global warming and the energy crisis hit. Not clever! The driver of population growth here is immigration, and that is the outrageous contradiction in the lefts political thinking, for while they will brow beat us on environmental issues, they will in the same breath wax lyrical about mass immigration.
This was a wonderful opportunity for Cameron to have shown up the hypocrisy of the lefts position, while at the same time made discussing population growth (immigration) as something you could do in polite society, rather than the crass dog whistle campaign he ran in the 2005 election which alienated everybody. Unfortunately not so, Cameron won’t mention the ‘i’ word now, and just as Cameron’s Conservatives have fallen into line with the left over tax and spend, so they have fallen into line with them over this as well.
In this I would suggest there is an equal danger to not raising/defining the issue as they have failed to over tax and spend, for just as population growth is a key factor in sustainability, it is also a key factor in housing. In the Kate Barker report Gordon Brown commissioned, it was calculated an immigration rate of 40,000 per annum would create a demand for over 450,000 dwellings within a 25 year period, that’s 18,000 homes a year. Trouble is we don’t have an immigration rate of 40k, more like 250,000 and that translates into a need of over 100,000 homes per annum, chewing up all and more of any house building increase Gordon Brown is planning, but Cameron having failed to define the issue as something to do with Labour’s mass immigration policy and so let them off the hook, Gordon Brown is going to define it as the failure of Conservative councils to permit the house building. So house building will be forced on communities who don’t want it, we will find Cameron’s Conservatives have been struck dumb, and instead of putting Gordon Brown in a difficult position, it will be Cameron’s Conservatives who go awol on the issue. Result no opposition.

Then there is Aid, what I did glean from Cameron’s trip to Rwanda is that he has seemingly yet again bought into the BBC, Guardian, Labour Government consensus, that aid is good and even more aid is even better. But what evidence is there for this? Precious little I would suggest. Over the years the West has pumped into Africa some one trillion dollars of aid, yet it is a bigger basket case now than when we started. Some time ago Jeff Randall did an economic review of aid and came up with some horrifying figures, like…

Zambia, if all its foreign aid had gone into investment, Zambia per capita income would have quadrupled in just over 30 years, but it actually fell.

Ivory Coast to 1997 received 127 times more capital aid than India, despite an appalling record of incompetence and corruption. It has twice created lavish new capitals. Between 1979 -94 incomes of average Ivorians halved!

Basing GDP per capita at 100 in 1980, by 2004 Sierra Leone's has halved to 50, South Korea's has risen 4 fold to 400.

Yet David Cameron is seeking to increase our aid to Africa to meet the UN’s requirement, but from the evidence of what has gone before, it is going to be British taxpayer’s money down the drain. The fact is aid is like welfare, as such it brings with it all the problems welfare has, like corruption and dependency, it’s just that it’s on an international scale. So when has welfare been a solution to anything? Never and when did welfare become a policy objective of the Conservative party? Now it seems!
But it’s worse than that, for aid is actually the enemy of African people, for it disenfranchises them, for democracy is more than just voting, its about the accountability of politicians and how they spend your tax money. When some African Governments budgets are subsidised with aid to the tune of 80% of their budgets we have essentially removed that accountability from the African electorate.

Finally Constitutional issues, New Labour have made English people constitutionally second class citizens, yet what has Cameron’s Conservatives got to say about it? Precious little, well Cameron did go off to Scotland and call us ‘sour faced little Englanders’ but that wasn’t quite what I was looking for, and if anything it yet again shows that Cameron falls into line with the consensus of the left. I sometimes wonder if he first checks with the BBC, Guardian newspaper and Poly Toynbee to find out what their position is on an issue, and then copies it. Tax and spend, Cameron’s Conservatives are for it. Immigration, Cameron’s Conservatives are for it, Aid? Cameron’s Conservatives are for it, giving English people a good kicking? Who’ve guessed it, Cameron’s Conservatives are for it. Yet why? The Conservatives aren’t going to get elected by attracting the odd Scottish, Welsh or and Poly Toynbee voter to vote for them, it’s the millions of English voters who will put him into office, yet what does he do ? He goes to Scotland to abuse us, well to hell with him.

Let me finish off with one example which rolls up all that I have been saying. The last act of Gordon Brown as Chancellor was to slash capital spending in the English NHS by one third, I quote the report from the Financial Times dated 29th June…

Prompted by the tightness of the public finances, the new prime minister, who has placed the NHS as his “immediate priority”, cut the capital budget of the English NHS for 2007-08 from £6.2bn to £4.2bn. The move could delay the government’s hospital building and reconfiguration program in England.
However, Mr Brown avoided equivalent cuts to the Scottish and Welsh NHS budgets even though the funding formula for the UK nations suggests they should have shared the pain. That decision leaves him open to criticism that he favored patients in his home country.

Now this should have been a godsend to Cameron’s Conservatives, to have isolated Gordon Brown over the English people he essentially rules as the defacto English First Minister, though as no English person has voted for him I suppose it makes him Governor General of England. It also would have embarrassed Gordon Brown who was going around saying the NHS ( presumably the English NHS for that’s all he can legislate over) was his ‘immediate priority’ a statement hard to defend when he has just slashed the capital spending. But what did we hear from Cameron’s Conservatives? NOTHING! How is that possible? Perhaps its because George Osborne is not doing his job, perhaps there isn’t enough desire or fight in Cameron’s NottingHill Conservatives to get on with the nasty political work, or perhaps its because he doesn’t want to be called nasty by his new found friends in the BBC, Guardian Newspaper and Poly Toynbee so won’t fight English peoples corner. What ever, it’s a bloody poor show, and such a poor show that I don’t feel inclined to renew my membership with the Conservative Party, I especially don’t need to spend my money to be abused and called ‘delusional’ , ‘swivel eyed closet racist’ or ‘sour faced little Englander’ unless of course you can come up with a good reason and argument why I should remain a member of the Conservative Party? "//

While you intend to follow Brown's expenditure plans when you come into office, you do not have a leg to stand on. If he's so terrible, why are you going to follow his plans?

"If he's so terrible, why are you going to follow his plans?"

Agreed, which is the complaint many Conservative voters have, for Brown has presided over some serious structural economic problems, which won't be solved by following his spending plans.

This is possibly the result of Cameron’s Conservatives believing that if they followed Brown's spending plans it would neutralise that issue, failing to understand that the rail crash we were heading to was an economic one and that needed different solutions to Brown's tax, borrow and spend policies, which questions the policy thinking at CCHQ, where the political positioning wheezes had taken precedence over political values, beliefs , and understanding what was going to be needed in economic policy.

Osborne said he was going to follow Brown's spending plans to neutralise the issue of the Conservatives being accused of cutting back on public services.

However, this simply cannot be maintained as a core policy. The public will be happy for the Conservatives to cut spending, if Osborne et al can show how much money is being wasted by the Government. This has got to be the main thrust of their attacks on Brown, instead of trying to tuck into his slipstream.

By contantly hailing the "end of boom'n'bust" for the past decade, Gordon Brown has contributed significantly to today's financial crisis.

He reassured the nations borrowers that the economic cycle had been abolished thanks to his 'economic miracle', that recessions and slowdowns were now confined to the dustbin of Tory history, and actively exaserpated the credit boom, by suggesting there was no risk involved with excessive debt.

"economic incompetence"

I know that one can damn with faint praise, but really. To suggest that Gordo the Ineffectual was incompetent economically is to suggest that the idiot knew what he was doing in the first place. The man is a complete moron and an old fashioned stalinite tax and spend merchant.

This country will carry the scars of his actions for a decade or more. As for any in-coming government, there will be a need, for some very harsh and unpopular decisions to be made, that will not endear them to the electorate. Let us bear that in mind.

Osborne said he was going to follow Brown's spending plans to neutralise the issue of the Conservatives being accused of cutting back on public services.

And the Tories accuse Brown of politicising everything? If you believe public services should be cut, you should promise to cut them. This is very foolish. "Gordon Brown's plans don't add up and have led us into recession, and that's why we'll be following them when we get into power."

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