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It would be nice to see Oliver Heald back!

Someone who does the jobs that need to be done and not just the ones that get his name in the papers.

Is Melissa Kite the worst political writer around? Is she really known as "Miss Takes Kite"

A complete airhead who after a few drinks with some junior CCHQ oik or a disgruntled MP produces the most ill informed nonsense of all.

Things are so bad at the nuLabourgraph that their sub editors do not understand politics well enough to block the mistakes.

The thing I keep hearing from Labour supporters is that they feel let down, even cheated, by a government that has claimed so much and achieved so little. Perhaps the party should try to adopt that famous song by 'The Who' titled 'Won't get fooled again' because it has some very poignant lyrics that sum up how the disaffected Labour voter will be feeling. Here are a sample.

the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong

The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the foe, that' all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed

There's nothing in the street
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye

Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

HF is right.

Melissa Kite's story is a rubbish story. It is contradicted by John Curtice and contains a silly error. Not worth the paper it's printed on.

I preferred last night's entertainment!

Perhaps Cameron could try the Cowell formula

I am more interested in what Dave has to say to the many Farage Tories. or in rural constituencies in the South East, can we all just go to hell as it's all going swimmingly in the London seats?

The things I keep hearing from the typical 'thirtysomethings' I work with are things like our council-tax went over £1600 this year but this winter they didn't grit the roads and our bins are now collected every other week or Dad's finally gone into hospital but they put him in a ward with about ten other people or it's now costing me £90 to fill the car up or the increase in national insurance contributions wiped out my pay-rise.

Motorists are paying through the nozzle for NuLab's spending-splurge. Homeowners see council-tax rising but services failing/falling. The NHS behemoth sucks up money at a colossal rate. Education standards are falling.
An incoming Conservative government needs to decide what the core services it should provide are, and do them properly - while at the same time pulling back from the micro-managerialist finger-in-every-pie quangocracy that NuLab have spawned this last decade. Does the UK *really* need a "Potato Marketing Board"?

Abolish tax credits and increase the personal allowance to reverse the effect of the 10p rate abolition? Obviously introduce concessions to anybody due to lose out by this (which I can't imagine would be very many).

Tanuki at 11.19:

"An incoming Conservative government needs to decide what the core services it should provide are, and do them properly - while at the same time pulling back from the micro-managerialist finger-in-every-pie quangocracy that NuLab have spawned this last decade".

Says it all, really.

Spot on, Tanuki

.....and the Tanuki principles also apply to those Conservative councils who have drifted with the NuLab tide.

David Belchamber at 12:25
I agree that paragraph says it all,, a big bonfire of all the quangoes, Nulab hangers on, PR men etc plus the new conservative government should employ people like Jeff Randall and David James to get out the pruning shears and cut back wasteful government spending.
I also agree with those people wanting the personal tax alowance raised to at least £15,000 thus giving those on low incomes, currently being over taxed by the party (Labour) who they voted for in the mistaken belief that they were the party of the poor and working class, a boost.
The next 2 weeks should be interesting, but DC and GO should keep their powder dry, no announcements about what the Tories would do, why should they help dig Bottler and darling out of a hole.
Caroline Spellman on Question Time last Thursday was right, if the Government wants to know the Tory position on tax and low earners, call an election. This is good for 2 reasons:
1. The govt are magpies who have spent most of their time stealing Tory policies.
2. It annoys the hell out of the Labour supporting media like the BBC.
George Osborne is also right not to commit to voting intentions before the debate on Monday. I know it sounds good to say lets support Frank Field,s ammendment to keep the 10% tax as its likely the government would loose however it would be more beneficial if it was tied to a motion on no confidence in the government.
It surely must be the No.1 priority of the Conservative Party to get Bottler Brown and his horrible, incompetent gang out of power as quickly as possible before they do any more damage.
I,m really looking forward to a May General Election.

"in contrast just over half (51 per cent) of those aged 55 and over take that view."

Increase the top rate of tax for those over 45 to pay for tax reductions for the less well off........

"Increase the top rate of tax for those over 45 to pay for tax reductions for the less well off........" - David

The cut-off age in the survey quoted was 55 not 45. I suspect those between 45 and 55 who are still working their butts off would be more in agreement with the under 35s.

I'm looking forward to seeing how recruitment agencies in the private sector perform in the overall sweep of welfare reform. This is a positive move away from the overburdened jobcentreplus trying to find work and handing the initiative over to private agencies who are smaller and have more scope to be quicker on their feet.

However I can see a couple of problems with this. Firstly David Cameron has said that the agencies are to be paid on results, yet we all know that there are 1.65 million on JSA and only 667,000 vacancies, so that will leave around a million unemployable, even at the good end of the economic cycle. So if jobs cannot be found for these people the agencies will not be paid and will most likely lose interest in working for the government.

Secondly Chris Grayling has promised that those on JSA will attend daily job-search centres, again this is a good idea, however if people are to attend such centres its likely that most will be outside of walking distance and those involved will have to claim bus fares, which could amount to anything between five and ten pounds a week. This will add a 15% to 20% extra to the cost of benefit for each person involved and if people are not able to find work will soon become a very costly exercize.

The Conservative plans to move away from clunking statism and towards a faster and more responsive 'less is more' culture is to be commended, however a watchful eye needs to be kept on the cost and to ensure that less does not become more expensive. Voters are sick of big government but also want value for money.

John F Aberdeen at 13.32:

"I also agree with those people wanting the personal tax alowance raised to at least £15,000"

That is a wonderful aspiration but I think £15K is too much to go for in one fell swoop, despite all the benefit offsets it would create. Start with say £10K; that would make a hell of a difference and show voters the way a conservative government is thinking.

The point about tax-cuts is absolutely backwards. There aren't GOING to be tax-cuts any time soon, but there ARE going to have to be either tax-rises or cuts to public services. My guess is that the former will hurt more than the latter, and so Labour's star will wane to the advantage of the Tories'. But I may be wrong.

We're talking about my generation and Melissa Kite has apparently been sniffing around my constituency (Battersea). My instinct tells me that if it hadn't been for one or two serious mistakes by the Major Government the Tories could well have hung on to Battersea (and the rest of the country) in 1997. If Labour lose it again it will be because Gordon Brown has spent his way into a corner and can't get out.

Following the logic of Tory Wandsworth, what matters to people in Battersea is getting value for money. And of course in real terms they've had excellent value for money locally and, so far, nationally. But nationally this cannot last. What complicates things for those who cannot remember a world before Thatcher is that we have yet to experience serious tax rises (despite what the Tories may say) or serious cuts in public services (ditto Labour). But the Government's spending over the last nine years has been so totally out of control that sooner or later there's going to be a crunch. (For all we know it might be here already.)

IMHO Battersea could easily be a model for the rest of the country, and the next election's thirty-somethings could well be sine quibus non for David Cameron.

Just do a good job as a GOVERNMENT. KEEP IT SIMPLE, EFFECTIVE AND FULL OF common sense!

yet we all know that there are 1.65 million on JSA and only 667,000 vacancies
There aren't 1.67 million people on JSA, there were 794,300 (2.5%) on the last released figures, the ILO figure is 1,61 million (5.2%) but less than half of those are on JSA and unofficial estimates put total unemployment at over 2 million and Total employment officially is 74.9%.

It is a mistake to confuse the JSA figures and those for overall unemployment in exactly the same way as it would be a mistake to refer to all those classed as of working age who were on the sick or severely disabled as being on Incapacity Benefit\Income Support, it's a misuse of statistics.

The trouble with cutting expenditure is there are too many at the government teat relying on it for an income. "Trousers" brown has a real problem in that he is suffering the inevitable consequence of rising taxation, in that people adjust their behaviour to expose themselves less to it. His revenues are falling and the evidence is that they have been falling for a while.

Taking variously from above, the first step would be a bonfire of the "charities" who recieve most of their income from government to push out favourable reports to government policy. Quite apart from the general dishonesty of the approach, this kind of work is either neccessary and should be done in full public view or not, and should be cut.

Second would eb a bonfire of regulation affecting the individual. High on the target would be general interferance in private property, private lives etc. How much would be saved by cutting all of the propaganda being pushed out on the tv by the NHS and DSS?

Third would be a bonfire of the agencies that undermine local democracy. They spend millions of pounds of public money, yet are only answerable to a network of mandarines and diktat from the top of government. First on the list would be the regional development agencies, absolutely castigated in a recent R4 programme (Pravda doing some good for a change)

That should be a start to giving some breathing room to get taxation back to a manageable level.

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