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This speech is a complete missed opportunity. Depressing in the extreme. There are a lot of good things in it but it is still in the area of “Anything Brown can do, I can do better”.

We’ve had enough - too much - of what Brown does. We need proper leadership with vision and root and branch reform otherwise in the words of Corporal Jones “We’re doomed”

To talk of “We have reached the limits of acceptable taxation and borrowing” - No we haven’t! We’ve gone way beyond the limits. Tax reduction in the present climate, is not one option. Immediate cuts are needed urgently or the country will diappear down the plug hole. He's blown it! What a prat.

I would like to see Dave directly challenging left-wing dogma on principle. We won't win by letting them set the terms of the debate constantly.


I think that he should take the chance at PMQs to attack Brown on the latest pathetic attempt to appease voters losing out due to the abolition of the 10p tax band and promptly commit the Conservatives to restoring it immediately on coming to power.

It will completely flatten Brown and the headlines on Thursday morning, as the voters of Crewe & Nantwich go to the polls, will be incredible.

A cheap political stunt? Perhaps, but it will show that we are serious about government, serious about helping the poor and exposing Brown as indecisive and incompetent.

He doesn't need to change much but he needs to junk the weak links in his team:

(1) Spelman should be replaced as Chairman by Eric Pickles
(2) Ainsworth should be replaced by Spelman at Environment
(3) Hague should be told to spend less time on other things and more time crafting a foreign policy (which we don't currently have).

That fasten seats belt message looks very apt in retrospect.

Top prize must go to Tory members in their assessment of Brown:

"By sixteen-to-one (64% to 4%) those Tory members surveyed by ConservativeHome thought that the Chancellor would be a less effective leader than the outgoing Prime Minister."


Cameron has a brilliant sense of political mood.

The Centrist policy is working, and is forcing Labour into making even more 'left wing' mistakes, their widely derided campaign in Crewe being the latest example.

When we make policy from the Centre Right we win elections, when we make policy from the Right, we lose them.

Now is the chance to distance himself and his party from the Iraq war and promise that no future Conservative government will repeat the worst foreign policy failure since WW2.

Tony Blair did it have it right, "Education, Education, Education". The party that gets "joined-up education" right is the one that will free up a lot of wasted money being spent on dispiriting programmes and truly liberate and inspire people to do and achieve. Vocational training driven though regulated apprenticeships is a big missing link in the education/work infrastructure in this country, and it will probably go on being missing whilst there is a snobbery about University Degrees - whatever the underlying worth of the degree is. Students, lecturers, employers and the taxpayer are being ripped off for billions cramming people into courses that (a) incur debt for the student, both on the course and going forward because employers look askance at a lot of degrees (b) frustrate the career aspirations of the lecturers who turn to drink and give passes for any work because it really doesn't matter, (c) frustrate the employers because remedial training in the basics is being borne by them and getting a straight answer out of anybody what a damn degree means is impossible and let's go hire from aboard and bollix to all the hassle and (d) the taxpayer who pays for all this institutionalised misery. And Labour want to keep people in education till the age of 18 doing things they have no interest in. Even better.

One big difficulty I can see around the corner is membership of the EPP - will there be enough allies in the European Parliament to form a separate grouping? So far we've got Czechs and Bulgarians, that's nowhere near enough. As a result, we will probably have to go into next year's European elections, the most significant test of public opinion between now and the likely date of the next election, either committed to sitting with the loonies on the fringe of the Parliament, or Cameron will have to withdraw his pledge to exit the EPP. Both could lose us a lot of votes. Of course I could be proved wrong - but has anyone heard of any other MEPs who will join us in the Movement for European Reform? (whose website incidentally has not been updated for a few months now) There is not much time to resolve this issue.

The issue of Europe, as William Hague says, is poisonous in the Conservative Party and should be avoided if at all possible. But unfortunately very difficult decisions are going to have to be made. As far as I can tell, this is the most potentially damaging pitfall in the year ahead. Personally, I would say staying in the EPP is the lesser of two evils, but a lot of people are bound to disagree. Tricky, very tricky.

Cameron has to get his message right - sticking to a theme and incorporating it into all the speeches he makes in the next 12 months.

We had a go in a Tory Diary thread a few weeks ago, and the varied responses there showed how hard it is to sum up a message in a sentence or two.

More needs to be said on the big issues of the economy and crime, but it has to be positive and optimistic and linked to the overall theme. For want of a better word i'd go for something along the lines of "empowerment".

When we make policy from the Centre Right we win elections, when we make policy from the Right, we lose them.

How many times do I have to point out that this idea is demonstrably untrue?

I have tried to be polite about it in the past, but clearly (as with a lot of left-wing people) politeness results in deafness. I can go for nasty if you like.

"He doesn't need to change much but he needs to junk the weak links in his team:

(1) Spelman should be replaced as Chairman by Eric Pickles
(2) Ainsworth should be replaced by Spelman at Environment
(3) Hague should be told to spend less time on other things and more time crafting a foreign policy (which we don't currently have)."


Pickles both deserves to be Chairman and would make a great one. Ainsworth appears to be totally anonymous.

The speech had the right balance. Lots of ambition but tempered with realism. A Conservative government will have to cut its cloth and cannot promise the earth, both in terms of tax cuts and what can be provided by the public sector. If emphasis is placed on reducing the state sector it will be a start in the right direction. However I am worried about welfare reform because I know David Freud's proposals will not work, James Purnell will find this out well before the next election, so hopefully Chris Grayling can produce something better. The only way to reduce the numbers on benefit is to get Britain producing again, the service sector cannot produce enough jobs for a population of our size and that is the main reason why we have millions on benefit.

No conservative should "distance himself [or indeed herself]from the Iraq war" (Dingemans, 16.23). Our troops are risking, and frequently losing, life and limb there, and I for one am not going to tell them it has all been for nothing. I do want to hear a wholehearted commitment to the proper funding of the armed services and a better deal for the people of whom we ask so much.

the service sector cannot produce enough jobs for a population of our size

Tony, you keep saying this, but I've yet to see (or possibly have missed) any explanation of why you believe it.

How can you describe the Conservative message as balanced, if messages on the environment - perhaps the most difficult long-term challenge facing this country, are being sidelined?

Whilst today's comments on taxation are encouraging (and our poll position is superb) Cameron needs to spend the next two years becoming a credible Prime Minister. He needs to craft an image of statesmanship at home and abroad.... with that in mind, our foreign policy needs to be stepped up several gears.

@ Alex

Its true, the Britsh people are totally turned off by tribal positioning, and the factionalism which bedevilled Labour in the 80s and us in the 90s.

It does not help that our most right wing MPs are also our least telegenic, especially to the floating voter. Who could forget that rabid mob in the 90s, led by Tersea Gorman and Tony Marlow in his stripy blazer? Edward Leigh MP is on his feet speaking in the Embyro debate as I write, and no doubt knocking another few hundred votes off his majority in the process.....

Alex: Islamic extremism is a much more urgent and serious challenge than global warming.

Recent data shows the planet COOLING!

Henry Cook @1534 - The finest MEP we have - Roger Helman - says not being in a group has given him more money, more opportunities to speak and more freedom generally. Just get the Conservative Pafrty out of the federalist, centralising, German CDU dominated group. Britain's voice is silenced by being there and it is left to the UKIP people to speak for us!
As for all the other comments nobody seems to have got the message that Cameron has just made a totally inept speech. At a time of grave economic crisis when Britain MUST cut expenditure to survive he talks of cuts in the future sometime - perhaps! He doesn't grasp the scale of the crisis. Every economist in Britain telling him! I outlined some immediate cuts at the very start of this thread which would be both massive and popular.

People don't want a Blair-Brown clone. They've had it up to here -~ The pips are squeaking, if one listens! They'll reject his feeble "me-too" approach. They may still vote against Brown but fewer will vote FOR the Conservatives.

It was a good speech, people are ready to listen, but lets try to remember what he has said isn't any different:

- share the proceeds of growth
- create an internal market for public services
- spend wisely
- strengthen families

The emphasis is timely, but I would urge caution. The electorate do feel hard up under Labour, but we are a new entity to most of them and Labour plays on this with scare stories. Lets not go OTT on folks who don't spend most of their lives thinking of low tax economies.

Alex Swanson, the service sector accounts for 75% of our economy, because of the way it is structured, and the numbers it employs compared with manufacturing, it cannot possibly provide enough jobs for a population of our size. Plus there is the question of productivity, the service sector, particularly retail can never expand sufficently because it is the tail-end of the production process, dealing with the sale of product. Whereas manufacturing can expand indefinitely as it supply the domestic market and moves to corner export markets. Currently we are a nation that sells on the goods that other nations produce. Imagine a Britain where British manufacturing supplies our service sector with the wares to sell, think of the jobs that could be created, people taken off benefit, contributing to the economy rather than taking from it. One good thing about the credit-crunch is that it will make people realise that imported goods are only cheap so long as a nation has high interest rates to support the currency. We need to move away from import dependency and become a nation of producers, taking millions off benefit and putting them back into work. If the service sector could provide jobs for the millions on benefit it would already have done so, it cannot develop its infrastructure further, particularly with the cost of imports leaping 10.2% in the last year with greater increases in the cost of imports to follow. A revived British manufacturing industry, supplying the domestic market, could provide millions of jobs and supply the retail service sector. This is the way forward.

Sack Fox. He's a destabilising force.

"The only way to reduce the numbers on benefit is to get Britain producing again"

Do you honestly think the consumer society is going to vote for tariffs to increase the price of consumer goods from abroad? If you want to kiss the South East goodbye then feel free to double the price of Ipods, televisions, German cars etc

#Intentions on Europe

#Intentions on democracy for England

As to environment, I agree that it is an important topic but it is a "hygiene factor" rather than a "motivator" (if I remember my days of managementspeak correctly!) i.e. a reasonable policy won't gain extra votes but an unreasonable one could lose them.

Sensible measures & incentives to conserve natural resources and minimise pollution - fine.

Quasi-religious conviction, coupled with cynical sops like carbon-trading (= oldtime purchase of religious indulgences to pardon sins) -- NO!

Richard, there would be no need for tariffs if we produced in abundance, making the cost of British made goods lower than competitor foreign goods, also if we were to significantly reduce the tax burden on British producers it would make it profitable for British industry to supply the domestic market. Remember imported goods are only cheap as long as we have a strong currency and the result of that is higher interest rates.

"Fraternity" is the big Cameron idea which will win us the next election. Chris Grayling touched on the practical side of this in a good article in yesterday's Observer. Shrewder commentators on the Left-people like Kettle, John Kampfner and John Cruddas MP, have picked up on this.

We’ve had enough - too much - of what Brown does. We need proper leadership with vision and root and branch reform otherwise in the words of Corporal Jones “We’re doomed”

Actually Corporal Jones phrase was 'Don't Panic, Don't Panic' which is pretty much the Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling message that has dominated since last September whilst in reality they were doing exactly that. The results of Labour's panic are plain to see.

It was Private Fraser who said 'We're Doomed'.(the Scottish accent and all that) whilst things are not good I don't believe that events have gone that far to be warning of inevitable doom nor will they be so in 2 years time.

Certainly after the experiences of last autumn I have sufficient confidence in the party leadership to believe that they will turn the situation around and begin to improve things.

The lack of accuracy in the analogy above I think reflects the criticisms of David Cameron here. They are neither realistic (as Cameron explains in his speech) nor give David Cameron and the Party Leadership the credit they deserve.

In the last six months David Cameron and the party leadership have faced down Labour in what was a very difficult situation and then used victory in that 'battle' to turn potential defeat into likely victory in the overall contest. Increasingly Labour look desperate and 'on the run'.

Cameron's message today may not reflect everything some of us wish to see but it is plausible, measured and definitely in the right direction. Given his recent successful record I think he deserves some leeway in deciding how to advance the party's vision.

He seems generally to know what he is doing so I think it is time to give him a break and have a little faith in his judgement.

As for what he should do next, more of the same - continue to build up the picture of what a Conservative Government stands for and would do for the country and strengthen his team as he thinks fit in a manner which reflects the underlying Conservative ethos shared by all Conservatives whilst addressing the practical issues that 10 years of Labour Government have hamstrung the country with.

From a personal view, if there is an 'elephant in the room' for me it is how is the party is going to effectively address the issues of sovereignty and constitutional affairs.

Whilst, I don't expect detailed proposals and commitments in the near future I would like to see considerably more clarity and consistency on such matters. There are far too many inconsistencies, contradictions and mixed messages in this area that are likely hinder and counteract the effectiveness of solid policy and concepts in other areas (e.g immigration and border control, national security, trade, localism etc.).

David Cameron has never had a better opportunity to ditch his left liberal "conservatism". One Nation Conservatism (sic) is so 20th Century and out-dated!

It is time for post-MAUDErnism! The Conservatives must offer a radical libertarian alternative to Labour's new socialism and the EU's anti-democratic statism.


One of the great evils of the Brown chancellorship was the way he gerrymandered jobs in the public sector- a whopping 650,000 plus 'created' since 1997, all at a direct cost to the tax payer. These 'jobs' create no wealth and are often so poorly paid that these 'workers' have to claim in work credits to stay afloat. Brown has been clever because each new 'non job' created comes with it a vote, and the reasonable expectation that a Tory Governmemt might take a dim view of its survival. These new 'workers' therefore feel beholden to show their appreciation to Brown at the ballot box.

It tells you all you need to know about New Labour that 30 years ago their core base was the decent working class- shipbuilders, steel workers and coal miners. Now they rely on Smoking Cessation Officers and Teenage Pregnancy Advisers, part of what Jackie Marr calls in today's Guardian the 'progressive' coalition.

Recent data shows the planet COOLING!

Oh that's fantastic news. Thanks for sharing it, Umbrella Man. Can you tell me what data are you talking about so I can tell all my friends?

I've looked here, here, here and here but none of them have caught up yet. Dummies!

London Tory, yes, the public sector must be tackled by a Conservative government. It cannot be sustained and is a wage nightmare waiting to happen. There is no way public sector wages can keep up and we are already seeing a 70s style strike-culture developing among state sector workers. The state is literally reproducing itself with tier after tier of bureaucratic administration and endless non-jobs. We need a Reagan type ruthlessness in rolling back the bloated public sector. For Gordon Brown the idea of buying votes is nothing new, the tax credit system, which traps the low paid into a half work/half benefit culture was specifically designed to ensure that people don't bite the hand that feeds them at election time. The state should not be in the business of topping up wages, tax credits should be scapped.

Tony is absolutely right. I have been lamenting the death of manufacturing in Britain. NuLab came to power just at a time when the Chinese manufacturing industry was just about to explode. Cheap goods - even the near million non-jobs could not drive up inflation.

Now the tables have turned. very soon even the invisibles will go into deficit and sterling is likely to go into free-fall. We do not need any tariffs to push up import inflation.

The other problem is that Science and Engineering education have been supplanted by soft degrees which only the service sector can use.

We as a party must put forward clear and well thought out plans to improve thje skill levels and ways to promote manufacturing with long term incentives (not here today gone tomorrow jobs which uses temporary tax breaks for setting-up) which can be paid for by reducing the benefit handouts and cutting back on quangos.

First two or three years of the incoming Conservative Government will be in for a rough ride. We should warn the electorate in advance. Yes fasten seatbelts (and belt tightening) time is just around the corner.

You ask "What difficult decision, in particular, would he be wise to make soon?"

EU,EU,EU,EU,EPP, EU Reform Treaty, Lisbon Treaty, Referendum, Britain's EU Contributions, 7 billion p.a. for no CAP Reform, EU, EU, EU ie the REAL Government of Britain - What will he do to get it BACK?

EML @ 15.40 - 'empowerment' sounds too much like a Labour 'power-speak' sort of word, I think.

I think David Cameron should stick to his current presentation of himself and his party - simple language, friendly approach, enthusiasm for his ideas (that he feels that he wants to expose at the moment), above all DON'T use americanese language - like 'empowerment', which can mean different things, and most definitely DON'T recite ANY lists of what you have promised or what you are going to do, more than once!!

We have all had these chanted lists, repeated over and over again by MP's and PM's for years now, and along with the meaningless 'targets' and 'statistics' they are the biggest TURN-OFF I can think of!!!

About 7 months ago I wrote on here about the terrible computer system and since then things are not much better.

With the pressure off David Cameron should have one priority and that is to sort out the failing Merlin computer system. It cost us council seats in the recent locals. Has anyone told him that? Caroline Spellman seems blissfully unaware of the disastrous computer project.

the service sector accounts for 75% of our economy

Where did you get this figure from and how do you define "service"? It certainly doesn't just include sales.

Alex Swanson, you will find that figure is correct and comes from numerous sources. I define services as those that are not involved in the production of hard goods or farming. The service sector offers service, be it retail, financial etc. The service sector is the tail-end of the economic process and the tail should not be wagging the dog.

I think Tony Makara should be parachuted straight into Henley. Protectionism is the way forward!

you will find that figure is correct and comes from numerous sources.

Ok, give me one.

How do you define "not involved in"? In a car factory, for example, is everybody involved, even the IT staff who might never see a car?

"The finest MEP we have - Roger Helman"

Oh dear, Christina Speight - his name is Helmer - if you admire him so greatly you could at least get his name right, couldn't you?

It is sad to see you so continually depressed about the state of the Conservative Party! Have you not noticed the upturn in the Polls and the trouble Labour is in?

What input do you have to your local association and do you help them at all?

Alex Swanson, why don't you look around the internet and you will find that I'm telling the truth. Of course there are white collar professions within a blue collar industry, but what point are you trying to make exactly. Let me ask you a few questions, do you believe that a revived manufacturing industry would create jobs? Do you believe that a British manufacturing industry supplying the domestic market would protect us from imported inflation? Do you believe we can have cheap imports without a strong currency and the higher interest rates that go with it?

"Remember imported goods are only cheap as long as we have a strong currency and the result of that is higher interest rates."

The pound strengthens because the BoE puts interest rates up, not the other way round. In fact if the currency becomes too strong the BoE might be tempted to decrease them. Ideally interest rates should be decided on the free market, not by some centralised body.

why don't you look around the internet and you will find that I'm telling the truth.

I'm not doubting you, I just want to know where the figure came from and what exactly we're talking about.

what point are you trying to make exactly

Since you ask, my suspicion is that your definition of "service" is dodgy. I certainly need an exact one since your entire argument rests on what exactly you mean by it.

do you believe that a revived manufacturing industry would create jobs?

What I don't believe is that one sector should be given artificial preference over another. As a service sector worker myself I can't help feeling annoyed that you think my kind of job is somehow morally inferior.

Do you believe that a British manufacturing industry supplying the domestic market would protect us from imported inflation?

No, why should it?

Do you believe we can have cheap imports without a strong currency and the higher interest rates that go with it?

I don't believe there is such a thing as a "cheap import" or a "strong currency". You are implying a sort of beggar-my-neighbour economic ideology which I don't think is valid and went out with mercantilism and Imperial Preference.

Richard, what happens to the pound if the BOE cuts interest rates? Why do you think the MPC is currently terrified to cut rates? Do you think it could be because it will lead to the cost of imports rising? The reality is that a strong currency means higher interest rates.

"The issue of Europe, as William Hague says, is poisonous in the Conservative Party and should be avoided if at all possible".

Cameron has a marvellous opportunity to distance himself from Brown.

Simply promise to carry out the will of the people on the EU; commit to a referendum in the conservatives' first year on whether to stay in or come out.

To keep it absolutely fair, this should be preceded by a lengthy debate throughout the country.

Alex Swanson, you say there is no such thing as a cheap import? No such thing as a strong currency? Try telling that to Mervyn King, this very week he has been fretting over the fact that the cost of imports has risen 10.2% over the last year. The Pound is set for a big correction and Mervyn King knows it, so he is now ultra cautious about undermining Sterling further by cutting rates and bringing inflation into the country on the back of imports. As for your idea that British produce won't protect us from imported inflation, just imagine a scenario where a British produced good sits on a shelf next to a similar imported good that has increased in price because Sterling has dipped in value. Which product will be bought? Of course we could make that import cheaper by keeping the currency overvalued and suffer the higher interest rates that come with that?

What is David Cameron going to do about the manufacturing industry?

you say there is no such thing as a cheap import? No such thing as a strong currency?

Not by your definitions. You seem to be arguing that "cheap" and "strong" exist as absolute values, but in reality they exist only as comparatives.

As for your idea . . .

I don't see the point you're trying to make. You seem to be arguing that we can create an internationally competitive manufacturing industry (however defined) out of nothingness, simply by effort of will. Life isn't like that.

In general - and I'm sorry if this seems nasty but it has to be said - simple assertion on your part isn't good enough. Until you are prepared to properly define your terms, and provide sources for figures, then further debate is pointless.

John Leonard @ 1648
Really ! You're waffling ! Get some hard economics under your best please. You ask us to have faith in a man who demonstrates today that he hasn't the foggiest idea what he's talking about. IF we don't get a massive reduction soon in the 'percentage' of GDP taken by the state we'll lose our international competitiveness as well as driving more and more people into financial disaster. (seen the figures today for personal insolvencies?) As it happens the issue of sovereignty was MY no:1 concern but right now I'd like to see some indication from this apology of a party leader that he knows the scale of the problem. Tax cuts are NOT something which would be nice in the future. They are essential if we are to HAVE a future.

Most writing here haven't taken on board the sheer scale of the fiscal, financial and economic disaster we face. They have it easy so long that they're in denial and seem to think it's something that will go away. I despair more of the British people than of the politicians.

Woodentop @1833 - so I spelt his name wrong - odd since I am in regular correspondence with him. But glad you noticed - so important to get your spelling right. I also had noticed that the Labour party's standing ion the polls has collapsed. As a result in a zero-sum game the Tory share has to go up - simple innit? There's no enthusiasm for the Tories at all. People are in despair and say "Well it'll have to be Cameron then to get rid of Brown. As for my input to my local Association ...? None of your business really but there's a new constituency in the making and I don't care much for the new Cameroony candidate. She's 'wet' and done nothing much in her life but politics - like Cameron I suppose.
And someone else doesn't believe that the earth nis cooling. Well it has been for since 1999 in case he doesn't read the papers. I agree that Cameron hasn't noticed either but then, that's Cameron for you.

He should repeat everything he has said over the last eight months, again, and again, and again, and again.

When he - and we, the wierd politico people - are totally fed up and bored to death with Swedish style education vouchers, Wisconsin style welfare reforms, more, smaller prisons, housekeeping economics etc, then and only then will the electorate be starting to hear it.

There are way too many "don't knows" and "won't says" in the polls for us to think our message has done any more than scratch the surface and deliver a change of mood. Only repetition of the message, which is underpinned by serious detail, will embed that sense of trust which we need to build in the electorate to cement success.

Alex Swanson, you are becoming more abstract with each post. Manufacturing can be revived and encouraged to supply the domestic market and even corner export markets if government sets the right macroeconomic conditions. That is a level of low taxation that encourages profit and risk.

The stupidity of the Brown years in which an overvalued currency has being used to encourage debt-fuelled consumer spending on imported goods in the belief this will create a magical road to growth without inflation must end. Realism must come back into economic planning, there are no short-cuts to prosperity but economic prosperity can come through being a nation of producers once again, where increased spending power is achieved through better wages earned by increased productivity and not through easy-credit.

We need a new economic direction for our country, one built on the creative and industrious spirit of the British people. We cannot continue to be a second-rate parasite economy living off the productive capacity of other nations like China and India. What we can produce for ourselves we should produce for ourselves. This is the way forward for our country.

I've never seen or heard our pledges so enthused as in the recent local elections. It was a joy to ring them on polling day, Ps as well as Cs. Every single one had voted or definately was voting and almost everyone added how they wanted us in and Labour out. That said of course we are also benefitting greatly from the unpopularity of Brown and a Labour party that has long overstayed its welcome. Swings do start with a desire to remove a Govt and become a desire for a new Govt. This happenend in 1979 and 1997. I agree with Tim that Camerons speech was very good as he has recognised that while there may be some quick savings, the real issue is to build a better way of running things that saves money and delivers better services. Also to break the cycle of demand from a broken society. It is no good making sweeping cuts if it piles up costly problems in its wake and it would also be politically stupid. Importantly many more people understand this nowadays as there are far more voters who have and do work in management roles than back in the 70s and they are suspicious of the consultant orientated quick fix which they have seen fail before. Its also the case that while there are lessons that public sector organisations can learn from business, there are also some important differences. It appeared in the past that the public wondered if we recognised the value of things. That got us into difficulties. Cameron illustrates he understands the issues, is following a determined plan and getting results.

Matt @ 2005. How on earth would scrapping the hugely expensive ID cards store " pile up costly problems in its wake ". How would sacking all those management consultants and IT specialists who have comprehensively failed do likewise. How would scrapping the next tranche of unwanted and unneeded eurofighters cause problem. Those are all multi-billion pound cost centres.

Meanwhile if nobody here but me seems to the slightest of the parlous state of our finances then I suggest they consult the charities in money advice centres across England & Wales who reported an 85% rise in people seeking help in 2007 and massive increases since then .. .Last year in the South East alone Tunbridge Wells +234% Cambridge +55% Horsham +48% Haywards Heath +100% (turning away clients)

I ask everyone to go look and see Why tax for the voter is critical. It is also even more vital for the economy. Britain has 20% position in the league of good places to do business. All the major housebuilders have laid off workers - nobody is there to buy their houses.

Please everyone - and especially the "I'll match Labour spending" idiot at the head of the party - Wake Up!

This is not the first time that Cameron and the Tories have got their timing right.

We have now entered an era when the general public understand that the economy, and more important to them, their pockets are being damaged by public spending and high taxes.

This is just the start of the Tories starting to reveal some of their plans for the economy and hopefully a flat, or flatter tax, will be included in their proposals.

"Last year in the South East alone Tunbridge Wells +234% "

The Iain Dale factor - LOL!

"Richard, what happens to the pound if the BOE cuts interest rates? Why do you think the MPC is currently terrified to cut rates? Do you think it could be because it will lead to the cost of imports rising? The reality is that a strong currency means higher interest rates."

If rates are cut inflation will increase because people will borrow more, jacking up the money supply. People who invest in the pound will also receive less money from interest and therefore it will become worth less. The result: the currency becomes cheaper. You seem to have got cause and effect the wrong way round. Cut interest rates - the currency becomes cheaper and vice versa.

"Realism must come back into economic planning"

No, we should be abolishing economic planning! I don't wasnt some Whitehall bureaucrat telling me how to run my business, what goods I should buy, what companies I should invest in etc. The state should get its clunking fist off our backs and let us get on with making money.

Alex Swanson:

Your posts in manufacturing are pedantic in the extreme. Merely requesting ad nauseum the source of Tiny's material doesn't in validate his arguments.

A few points:

1. Of course the service sector can't cater for our whole employment requirement and to suggest so is ludicrous. The practicalities of the nation's skill mix alone make's untenable. Moreover, it's undesirable. The more diverse your economy, the more robust and sustainable (ref: China growth - London/NY finance crisis).

2. By definition, if we limit our exposure to IMPORTED inflation by hosting a larger proportion of the product cycle... then of course we're further protected!


Once more it is you waffling. Honestly, in a time where we have a precarious housing market, a looming recession, credit crises, crap retail figures, huge city redundancy programmes etc etc etc, and after 10 years of a bloated public sector which has killed off much of this nation's entreneurialism and all of our manufacturing and agriculture, and now even our hallowed service sector is taking a kicking, your genius answer is not to freeze tax growth and oversee and managed reduction of the public sector. No. Why let the economy recover its capacity and dynamism. Why - when so much of the past 10 years has been encourging degrees in the study of McDonalds at the expense of vocational qual's - should we concern ourselves with a likely lack of diversity in the nation's skillbase?

You're right. Let's slice taxes in half immediately and sack half the staff of Local Govt. That'd do the trick.

Today's speech was measured and successful

There are only 2 protectionists on this site Tony Makara and me. We are opposed by a plethora of orthodox economists.

We have a strong pound. The Economist Big Mac index has been showing it at 20-40% overvalued for most of the decade. Whilst the Chinese Yuan has been 50+% overvalued. Thus the pound has been overvalued by 130/44 or 295% overvalued to the Yuan. That is why the Chinese have raped our manufacturing sector. What British manufacturor can compete with a Chinese competitor starting with a 3 to 1 competitive advantage? The truth of this is obvious to anyone who has purchased good s off the internet or on a shopping trip to New York. I saved £100 off Office 2007 (£170 vs £270 including postage) by getting a Connecticut friend to buy it and post it over for me last year.

The orthodox economist says that this doesn't matter if we switch into services. What evidence is there that we can afford our manfacturing deficit from exporting services - none.

Unless we protect now what is left of our manufacturing sector, this problem will only get worse. Protection in the 21st century does not depend on tariffs - we all have to obey the GaTT. We can however collapse the pound and price our manufactures back into the shops. To do this we need lower interest rates now. The international community can insist on a revaluation of the Yuan and its convertability. We also need labour laws that forbid the import of goods not made by people who observe decent working practices. There is no point in working practices in the UK or EU that mean inevitable unemloyment for our own workforce because we are not willing to enforce them on our competitors too.

Free trade was a doctrine we imposed internationally in the nineteenth century when we were the pre-eminent economic power. Now that China is that power we need protectionism for all the same reasons. This is so straightforward that the only argument against is that is is not (yet) orthodox.

Christina - I agree with you that taxes should be cut but you sound so dogmatic and far right that we would not get elected. Remember the Thatcher government took several years before it could make substantial cuts in spending and reducing the % of GDP taken (and spent). First things first lets clean up the mess the Government has us in and then reduce spending and taxes in a controlled manner.

Other countries survive with a higher tax and spending burden (as well as debt) so we have some time.
You are concerned about people being in debt - as a Tory I assume you support "personal responsibility"? If so then those people, in general, choose to take on debt, pay inflated house prices etc.

Jonathan, the orthodox economists live by 200 year old abstract theory and an internationalist ideology. They are globalists just like the Marxists and don't have loyalty to nations, they just want trade to serve the individual. They should stop reading the out-of-date writings of Smith and Ricardo and start reading contemporary authors like Pat Buchanan. As you correctly say unfettered free-trade is a doctrine, an article of faith to these people, they can't be swayed by logical argument, their minds are closed to the truth.

Richard, you can see the situation whichever way you will but you can't escape the fact that a strong currency is needed to keep imports cheap, and of course a strong currency results in higher interest rates and a difficult environment for exporters.

It seems to me that for the last ten years we have been setting macroeconomic policy to benefit every other nation but ourselves. There is nothing wrong with trade as such, and business needs to corner markets, so why should we surrender our domestic market to foreign powers? It makes as much sense as ASDA giving up half their planning space to TESCO and saying "We do this because we believe in free-trade" Of course the reality is that ASDA tries to knock TESCO out and vice versa. You don't win trade by giving away your trading patch because of some ideological commitment to free-trade.


StevenAdams, you have a very good point on the skills mix. The service sector only calls for specific skills and we are no in real danger of losing the argricultural and engineering skills that our nations prosperity was built on. Now that people are beginning to see that we cannot live by imports alone as Sterling plummets and the cost of imports rise, a 10.2% increase in the last 12 months, government needs to set the macroeconomic conditions to revive manufacturing and agriculture and look at a blue collar skills revolution in our colleges and through apprenticeships. Hard industies require hard training and we are currently raising a generation without these core skills. The whole economic direction of the country needs to be changed.

They are globalists just like the Marxists and don't have loyalty to nations, they just want trade to serve the individual.


My money is mine. I earned it, I get to choose what to do with it. Protectionism takes that right away.

We had a protectionist eonomy in the 70s, and a lot of good that did.

Manufacturing employment has declined for three reasons.
1) China and other countries have got better at it.
2) Technological developments have mssively raised productivity.
3) Our government(both the one in Brussels and its representatives in London) have in their wisdom piled massive costs onto our companies.

1) Good luck to the Chinese, they need their icome just as much as we do.
2) Technology and productivity gains make us richer.
3) Hang the stupid buggers from the nearest lamppost and free up our companies to compete.

You are focusing on the areas where the benefits are questionable and the costs high, when there is another area where it is quite the reverse.

I really would be grateful if thread after thread didn't become a discussion of Tony Makara's views on free trade/ protectionism.

Editor, you have my apologies for continuing this thread but I cannot resist pointing out how far Jonathan has been hoisted on his protectionist petard.

Jonathan, you saved £100 by importing Office 2007 from America. Unfortunately for you, that import probably* contravenes the following (protectionist) laws: copyright designs and patent act 1988; trade marks act 1994; European Union directive for the legal protection of computer programs of 1981; copyright (computer programs) regulations 1992. These are the same laws that prevent British retailers sourcing Microsoft products overseas.

Due to protectionism your use of that software is probably illegal, yet these are the very laws you're arguing for.

[* more likely definitely, but we need a really strongly fought test case first.]

Its not those laws that cost me money. Its the pound being 40% overvalued to the dollar. Correct that and the difference disappears.

I am not a protectionist in terms of wanting tariffs to further protect our industry. I just want someone to realise that the current terms of trade, specifically a suicidally over-valued pound and all this EU regulation mean that trade is not fair to British firms. Unless we do something about it, we will get poorer as a nation.

I am as against "Rip off Britain" as anyone. My own favourite private members bill would be a law making it illegal for firms selling in the UK to offer a good for more than they are offering it in another country (net of taxes and transport costs). Why should we let Eurostar charge us more to go to Paris than the French pay to come to London?

Finally saltmaker I am not sure it is protectionist to so arrange things that a good from a monopoly supplier, which cannot be made in the UK, is more expensive than it need be. Just stupid.


Tony Makara is a voice crying in the wilderness. Blogging is the only way that voice is going to be heard.

No one says you run too many blogs on America or abortion. We each have our areas of interest.

Ideas, particularly ideas against the zeitgeist, always start by irritating the establishment

First you are mad, then you are bad, then it is impractical, too costly or both, finally it was my idea all along.

If I am allowed 4 things he should do, all of which are exploiting his present position of strength whilst he can:

1. Announce the end of any future accrual of final salary pensions for MPs from the start of the next Parliament, providing in return a generous money purchase employers' contribution. That way the next Govt can develop a long term strategy for dealing with other public sector pensions without an impossible conflict of interest.

2. Announce that the Party has turned its back on public funding of political parties (other than the existing allowances for Parliamentary work) on the grounds that the taxpayer is "at his limits" and this can never be justified as a priority over public services.

3. Find an opportunity next time they do something sensible to praise the wisdom and expertise of the presently constituted House of Lords and note regretfully that an elected upper house would never provide the same input. Combine this with some reassuring noises showing that he is a constitutional conservative, valuing traditional national institutions.

4. Whilst fine to de-emphasise it in favour of issues of more immediate concern such as tax and the economy, get some clear and distinctive environmental policies together, to be announced if you like with no great fanfare, to show that the concerns expressed earlier over climate change were not just positioning but were an earnest of real intent to do something about it. (The alternative, not viable in my view, is to say that the previous stance was mistaken - he can't just sit there in the middle on this issue annoying both sides.) Get a new Environment Shadow Secretary to put some impetus and a new face behind this.

I'd be interested to know how many points out of 4 this would give him with readers on this site. If it's 3 out of 4, i'll know that the first three points have pretty wide support...

Agree with all four Londoner but particularly point 2. That will inevitably cause pain to the party but will be worth to reestablish trust in politics and politicians.

"Richard, you can see the situation whichever way you will but you can't escape the fact that a strong currency is needed to keep imports cheap, and of course a strong currency results in higher interest rates and a difficult environment for exporters."

You seem to be saying that the BoE keeps interest rates up because it wants to encourage cheap imports. This isn't a case of economic cause and effect, this is the BoE making policy decisions.

Assuming cheap imports are an incentive for the BoE to keep interest rates up this doesn't change the fact that the BoE could, if it wanted, weaken the currency by reducing them. Are you seriously telling me that if the BoE doubled interest rates tomorrow, the currency wouldn't become more expensive? Conversely, if the pound somehow became more expensive overnight that wouldn't automatically cause interest rates to rise. The BoE could, if it chose, leave them static. However, it would be much more likely to reduce them to weaken the pound and help our export industries. I'm genuinely msystified as to how you think the process happens the other way round, it makes no logical sense.

London Tory - Edward Leigh is very unlikely to be damaging his majority at present. Some parts of the country actually *like* right-wing policies. London doesn't tend to be one of them (hence I am stuck with a Liberal MP - though hopefully not for long), but I very much suspect that Edward Leigh's majority is not disappearing anywhere.

The point is that we're trying to ease Blair Tories out of Labour, win over people not interested in politics, and win over the lib dems who have colonised a lot of ex-Tory territory. Also, the public sector is so bloated that a strongly anti-state message has too many vested-interest votes against it to stand a chance, barring a more total economic collapse than is likely even under "Prudence" Brown. Every month I tick the survey box to say that the party is on the right course, because at present, a centrist policy is correct, but I don't think it's true to say that right wing policies will always lose elections, as a rule.

Meanwhile, I agree with all four of Londoner's points, above.

Richard, you are getting lost in a hypothetical maze. The world knows that imports cause inflation if we don't have a strong currency and means higher interest rates. That is fact.

The editor has called for this thread not to turn into a debate on free-trade so I will respect his wishes.

However I will close by saying that senior politicians need to look very carefully at the issue of import dependency, the inflation that imports will cause if we don't have a strong currency and the resulting higher interest rates that come with supporting a strong pound policy.

Attention also needs to be focused on the forex markets and how they effect the national economy. A look at post-war economic history shows clearly that Britain's economic problems began the moment the Pound was floated.

I agree with 1 2 &4 of Londoners points. Particularly over the environment it is very important not to neglect this now he has permission to talk about tax and spending too. He must show it wasn't just positioning but junk the green taxes which were never very Conservative

There is no need or value in talking about the HoL. When people are worrying about their jobs they dont want to hear politicians talking about politicial niceties. The other reason for not saying it is because the great work of Cameron's first term has got to be major constitutional restructuring with a federal parliament and the HoL is otiose in that. But an English Parliament is a proposal for when we are behind not when we are ahead in the polls. For the same reasons, he should be campaigning only on bread and butter issues at this time.

"Richard, you are getting lost in a hypothetical maze. The world knows that imports cause inflation if we don't have a strong currency and means higher interest rates. That is fact"

Tony, I think we're talking at cross purposes here. I'm saying that if the BoE raises interest rates, investing in the pound will become more attractive and therefore its value will go up, sucking in imports. That's something I was taught in A level economics (and knew well before) and is pretty much accepted by all schools of economic thought.

What you seem to be saying is that that the BoE is under political or economic pressure to put up interest rates to keep imports cheap. That may well be "fact" but it isn't economic law and doesn't happen automatically.

As for imports causing inflation - that's basically saying that "rising prices cause rising prices". It is actually the rising money supply that causes inflation. If imports become more expensive then the price of domestic goods will fall, countering the effect of pricier imports. Unfortunately the current method of measuring inflation, the CPI, doesn't cover goods throughout the entire economy. The result is that certain prices are concentrated on over others.

For me it would be energy policy. Labour have effectively given up and without serious and urgent action I fear that the lights will go out and vehicles won't be able to fill up. This is a 'gorilla in the corner' issue for all developed economies.

We need a major nuclear power programme NOW and liquid transport fuels coming not just from oil but also from natural gas, 2nd generation biofuels and coal.

"What you seem to be saying is that that the BoE is under political or economic pressure to put up interest rates to keep imports cheap."

Richard, I'm afraid that is the problem we are now faced with. Gordon Brown's glove-puppet relationship with the MPC makes a mockery of any ideas people might have about the Bank of England being independent. I wonder if David Cameron/George Osborne might close the clause in Brown's open letter to the governor which stated that the government reserves the right to intervene on interest rate policy if the national interest demands it? How can the BOE operate independently with a threat like that hanging over its operations?

"Richard, I'm afraid that is the problem we are now faced with."

OK, I get you now.

"How can the BOE operate independently with a threat like that hanging over its operations?"

Ideally we shouldn't have one operating at all. If the commercial banks knew there wasn't a central bank to bail them out, would they have lent so recklessly? We don't have a central authority managing the steel industry so I don't see why we need one to manage the banking industry.

Richard, I can't imagine a macroeconomic system without central banking. What do you feel about social credit theory? A lot of Ron Paul's supporters in the states would like to see a social credit system. My view is that social credit works on paper but then again so does 1001 other theories. I prefer to leave the banking system as it stands but with reforms/safeguards to make it less open to credit crunch or runs on deposits.


Ron Paul does NOT support social credit! He supports a 100% reserve gold standard. Social credit involves the government increasing the money supply instead of the banks and social crediters have traditionally been anti-gold standard because it limits money supply increases. The only thing they have in common is support for a 100% reserve requirement. Personally I'm sympathetic to Ron Paul's monetary beliefs because like him I'm a believer in the Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle (http://mises.org/tradcycl/austcycl.asp). Social credit would do nothing to prevent the economic distortions caused by an increasing money supply.

Richard, I did say it was Ron Paul's supporters, and not Ron Paul necessarily that advocate social credit theory, I hear them often on Republic Network radio.

On the matter of the gold standard, Bretton Woods, etc I don't think anyone can argue that Britain has had a more stable economy since Sterling was floated. While the measure of value is of itself subject to daily re-alignment there can never be financial stability. Floating currencies only benefit those engaged in arbitrage and no-one else.

We are straying off-topic here and better watch that we don't incur the wrath of the editor. Perhaps Conservative Home could have an open thread for people who move into discussions about other political related matters?

"Richard, I did say it was Ron Paul's supporters, and not Ron Paul necessarily that advocate social credit theory"

Soz, did notice that after I posted but didn't really want to make a double-post.

Make a bold move that seizes the centre ground.

1) Tax cutting from the bottom up (rather than the top down all too often seen in previous Tory governments). The more people can afford to pay at the point of service for basic services, the better; the price system always has been the strongest aspect of the market economy.

2) Hammer home on efficiency. Labour's progress, for example, on NHS waiting lists looks impressive . . . until you total the amount of money they spent to get there. An enormous amount has been wasted on mis-management consultants and excessive salary increases. The real question is why they haven't made more progress. (by the way, doctors in the NHS are completely disillusioned. I assume nurses feel roughly the same way. Talk to doctors and nurses about what needs to be done.)

3) A bold move on defence. Renewing Trident is a deranged waste of money; yet our conventional forces are overstretched, undermanned and under-resourced. Shift funds from one to the other. Get the future carrier project back on track and delivered early. Get RAF logistics up to snuff. Realise that one active army division is, uh, inadequate -- and act on that realisation. That kind of thing.

4) A full frontal attack on PFI. Tories need to get over this confusion of PFI with actual private enterprise. Private enterprise is a good thing, but PFI is very, very bad. PFI is like those ads you see on downmarket TV -- "four easy payments of £19.95" for something that would cost £30 in a shop. It boosts short-term cash flow and balance sheets at the expense of Britain's long-term financial health. And NuLab have now been in power long enough for the true costs of PFI to emerge. Add up all the monthly payments and beat Broon over the head with the data.

The key, of course, is to seize the centre ground while bringing people over to basic Tory economic values of individual initiative, efficiency, and private enterprise. All the above points are about enabling both individuals and government to do that, while understanding like traditional conservatives the limitations of what government can do to the broader economy.

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