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But no thoughts on the economy!

"I'm very clear that a Conservative government would seek to reduce the national income taken by the state."

Thank the Lord. But why no comment on the economy?

The British Economy, inflated on a bubble of debt for the past 7 years, is in catastrophic decline.

No-one in the Lib/Lab/Con seems even to understand what is about to hit us!

Get the construction of your language right first, please, Mr Osborne:

"Tony Blair was a good politician, but not a good Prime Minister and that's what we don't want to be."

Pardon? I can't quite work out what he doesn't want to be - a good politician or not a good Prime Minister!

Blair was brilliant at communicating - the FIRST rule of politics. No-one touched him in that regard and as far as I can see, no-one will.

Btw, Blair was a GREAT prime minister. The best.

Blimey Blairsupporter how deluded can you get or are you joking? Blair whatever you think of party politics was surely the most corrupt ,sleazy and dishonest holder of that office in the modern era.

"Blair was a GREAT prime minister. The best."

Was he?

• 700,000 extra unproductive public employees
• A badly damaged constitution
• Numerous wars, mostly unwinnable
• In spite of the above, closure of all the military hospitals not previously closed by John Major's government
• John Major's "Dash for Gas" continued and worsened by a massively subsidised programme of wind turbines which generate only small amounts of electricity intermittently.
• Uncontrolled mass immigration leading to social breakdown in many large cities
• A politicised incompetent police “service”
• A huge expansion of public debt (if you include, as you should, the extra burdens of PFI/PPP and public sector pensions)
• 24 hour binge drinking
• New Casinos
• A decline in the standards of state education in spite of increased "investment"
• An NHS which is staggeringly unproductive
• A further decline in manufacturing industry
• The economy inflated on a massive expansion of private debt

I like to think that David Cameron could not possibly be as bad as that but, on reflection, I am not so sure!

Sorry, I forgot about the sleaze!

Please add it to my list.

Will he be using his trust fund to help repair the nation's finances?

trustafarian, you did that 'joke' on another thread a few days ago.

You need some new material.

There are plenty of obvious points to comment on ("But why no comment on the economy?" being one of the most important) but the following point is an interesting one.

" In British politics you can collapse exhausted across the finishing line at four in the morning on the election night, suddenly you're in office the next day."

This is quite true and better governance might well be achieved if we copied the American system of having a transitional period between the election and a different party taking up office.

David, if he said the economy was going down the toilet, which it is, he'd be accused of 'talking it down' and 'wishing it into a recession' for party advantage.

Anyway, what is to be gained by stating what is obvious to everyone?

"No thoughts on the economy"? Oh come on! just read that paragraph on the size of government: "I am very clear that a Conservative government would seek to reduce the national income taken by the state." The implications of this, if actually carried out, are enormous and far reaching. Ultimately, this is a small government/low taxation mandate. All of which will wash back into an economy which, subsequently, would be regenerated.

David Eyles, yes oh come on indeed for we should expect a great deal more from the Shadow Chancellor than.... "I am very clear that a Conservative government would seek to reduce the national income taken by the state." that's the sort of generalised statement you might expect other Shadow Ministers to make as a holding statement, but we should expect a great deal more from the person whose brief it is to get us out of the economic mess we are in. The least we should expect is an analysis of the problems we face, which would put some ground work in to support Conservative economic policy, but other than generalise statements and sound bites we get nothing. E.g. what is George Osborne’s view on our balance of payments crisis, does he know we have one? Last year we racked up a record, yes a record balance of payments deficit of £60 billion, 4.5% of GDP, but you wouldn't know it if listening to the Shadow Treasury team for to my knowledge they have never mentioned it ( may be the want to save Gordon Brown's embarrassment)! Then there is the pitifully low savings rates we have, combined with the record personal debt we carry ( carrying half of Europe’s personal debt), which probably accounts for our balance of payments crisis, but has George Osborne identified this problem, who knows for we are all going to share the proceeds of growth, a cure all for everything !

As Iain points out at 15.01:

"Last year we racked up a record, yes a record balance of payments deficit of £60 billion, 4.5% of GDP, but you wouldn't know it if listening to the Shadow Treasury team for to my knowledge they have never mentioned it...".

This is a concern that I share, because we have not heard the sort of devastating critique of Brown's economic record from our side that it merits. Part of the problem perhaps arises from the fact that George Osborne, like many modern politicians, appears from the biographical note under his interview in The Telegraph to have gone from school to various universities and then into politics without experiencing the big wide world outside. As Goethe pointed out "All theory is grey".

However, that said, I respect George Osborne as a major player in Team Cameron and he has a huge part to play in gaining the electoral victory that we - or most of us on this blog - hope for.

Importantly, he said in his interview:

"We're spending a lot of time now thinking about that early period and the things you need to get going. For example, education reform...."

Others have made the point that it would be a pity if Cameron misses this opportunity to be pretty radical. Labour has done a lot for funding vital services and we should not reduce that but, as Osborne points out, Blair "didn't know what to do after crossing the finishing line".

I hope that, with intelligent people like Michael Gove and David Willetts, we will acknowledge the good things that Labour has done but then build on their legacy in practical ways.

I would first concentrate attention on primary education; it is a disgrace that about a third of children going up to secondary schools do not have "the tools of the trade" at 11+ to enable them to benefit properly from more advanced education.

Secondly, if local democracy is still an aim, I would leave it to local authorities to decide (in light of parents' wishes locally) whether they want a grammar school or not.

Thirdly, I would urge the tories to try and break down the widespread antipathy that still exists in this country towards independent schools. If teachers and unions realised that there are only a handful of so-called "toff" schools left and that most of the good independents are like grammar schools that charge fees, it might be possible to start a debate about bringing the two sectors closer together.

The success of good independent schools is not entirely due to money (the majority of parents struggle to pay fees out of income).

The debate should look at the pros and cons of selection and also at competitive sport and all the host of other extra-curricular activities. That a disproportionately high percentage of our Olympic medal winners come from independent schools shows the value of sport in schools.

Not everybody on this blog finds Simon Heffer to their taste but today he not only attacks this government's devaluation of exam results but he also puts his head above the ramparts and says what he thinks about a certain section of teachers (the good and dedicated ones he describes as "saintly"):

"It is about the quality of teachers in the private sector, many of whom have not been soiled by the state teacher training system".

Christopher Woodhead, to the fury of the teaching unions, stated that there were something like 15,000 bad teachers in the system.

Heffer's conclusion was:

"He (Lord Adonis) should ask the private schools to use their expertise to set up schools to replace those that are failing. He should pay them to run them and give them carte blanche to manage them. They would be hugely popular. And mediocrity would, at last, be put on the run".

Over to Team cameron.

Reading David Belchamber's point at 12.55 about the US transitional system reminds me of the tale that prior to vacating the White House for the last time, the Clinton staffers' last act of revenge was to remove the "W" from every computer keyboard they could find. Otherwise they would no doubt have exercised patriotic duty and responsibility, and left everything else in working order. One problem that we might face if a similar system operated here would be the worst scorched earth policy since Saddam was forcibly removed from Kuwait.

Iain , Sam Tarran and David_at_Home have all got on the nail. Here's the country going down the plughole as fast as can be, and he doesn't acknowledge that there IS a crisis. What use would he be as a Chancellor ? He'll have to cut both expenditure and taxes if he is to save the country but there'/s no acknowledgment of that in his interview. Talking about reducing the share of GDP taken by the state is all very well if there's any worthwhile GDP to take.

And what inept prat in CCHQ just out of kindergarten allowed him to do this on Bank Holiday Saturday when it coincides with the last day of the Olympics. Anybody who thought of that one should be sacked forthwith. Didn't make ITN News tonight!

Is Gideon still in favour of renationalising the railways. I think that would gain an awfully large amount of political twaction, don't you?

So, George Osborne thinks the Labour Party can win under Brown.
Either George Osborne is a liar, or he is an imbecile.
Take your pick.

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