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Very good news but it's important taht this isn't presented as a uturn by conhome.

Changed economic circumstances are what counts here.

Let's take the three reasons given:

1. 'Deterioration of the economy & public finances.' If you take into account all off balance sheet liabilities the public debt today is an unpayable sum approximate to £1.3 trillion. This general amount, minus one year, would have been known by Mr Osborne last September.

2. 'The need to make room for economy-boosting tax cuts.' Er, yes. You were against this last year when the economy's reliance on public spending, bubble house prices and plastic was perfectly evident.

3. 'A deep change in the public mood.' This is more like it isn't it? The man in the street has finally realised that he has been cheated by the permanent political class.

Well, Tories, you sold your souls to the devil so to speak. Now you have to pay the price by going out to canvas for weathervanes. You know you are going to be elected and that it is all pointless.

Let's hope I am a stuck-up tw*t and have got the Notting Hill Revolution wrong. I desperately want this country to prosper and for my children not to have to pay my generation's bills, in whatever form they are going to be collected. I just can't see an alternative to major inflation and emigration at the moment.

Well it's a start.

How much further ahead in the game would we be at a time when such 'liberal economics' are clearly failing the nation if we were offering a common sense critique of the state of the nations finances?

Osbourne is now massively underperforming. Redwood would run rings round Darling and the now red faced Cable, particularly after Northen Rock.

It's time we raised our game on the economy and got out in front of the curve.

John "Banks are over-regulated" Redwood?

As John Maynard Keynes said,

When the facts change, I change my mind – what do you do, sir?

Osborne and Redwood worked well together at the launch of the Policy Review.

Keynes never said that. He'd never have been so naff.

The spending pledge was obviously hopelessly impracticable at the time it was first made and thus reflects very badly upon the judgement and fitness to govern of Cameron and Osborne.

Pledges made for effect only just fuel our justified cynicism of the political class.

"Last year's pledge was made in very different political times."

No, the economic s**t might not have quite hit the fan, but it was most definitely on route to the fan, which makes one concerned that the Shadow Treasury team had no perception of what was heading our way, so made this silly pledge.

Tories EPP pledge will not be repeated?
Tories referendum pledge will not be repeated?

Hickory dickory dock.

It is widely reported that Keynes did say this. His biographer is reported as describing it as one of Keynes' favourite put-downs. However, finding a firm attribution is another matter.

Cameron and Osborne were always clear that one of the main targets of a Conservative government would be to cut taxes, although that part of the message was very low key. However, to the dismay of some, they weren't willing to make the case for tax cuts and felt the need to echo Labour's commitment to Conservative spending plans before the 1997 election.

Labour made that commitment to undermine the Conservative charge that taxes would rise substantially under Labour. We similarly needed to undermine the Labour charge that we will recklessly cut services in order to cut taxes. It has never been true but sadly it is what the public believed of us. Whether this was the right way to undermine that charge is a matter of opinion, but we needed to do something. A high proportion of the electorate are sufficiently innumerate to believe that it isn't possible to cut taxes unless you cut services.

Both the economic situation and the public mood have changed so it is right that the message has changed.

Politics is the art of the possible (Bismarck). It is pointless promoting policies that are right for the country if the result is that the public won't elect you. Whilst it may have been obvious to us that the economy was headed for the rocks 12 months ago, it wasn't obvious to Joe Public, so JP wasn't ready for the policies needed to put the economy right.

The first priority must be to get elected. That doesn't mean lying to the electorate but it does mean that our message must be tailored to fit the electoral mood. It is better to be mostly right and in power than to be completely right and in opposition. It is even better to be completely right and in power but that rarely happens.

This will be reported as a U-turn and a major one as well. The Tories knew the economy was going downhill when they made the announcement. The problem now is that the Tories will have to construct their own economic policy independent of Labour's. Which to be honest could go worse if the numbers dont add up (and I have a serious concern on that one).

Their change of policy wont bring me back to the Party. Ill wait to see how Conference goes. One bit of advice, dont talk about Labour. Talk about what you will do. If Labour is the past, treat them as such.

The Tories should pledge not to increase income tax or national insurance. That will at least reassure people, especially those struggling to pay mortgages, that their finances aren't going to be unexpectedly shafted. It will also make the Toried focus on finding spending cuts.

"The problem now is that the Tories will have to construct their own economic policy independent of Labour's"

Yes that was my view of it, that Osborne copied Labours tax and spend policies so he didn't have to argue for anything different.

I approve of the Conservative party deciding NOT to 'match Labour's spending plans'. For a start whats to stop a PM who realised there was no hope for him at all, changing the 'spending plans' to absolutely unrealistic targets, knowing that he would never have to implement them! I think there is someone around who would be quite capable of doing that!

Also, when the Conservatives get to No.10, they should be implementing policies that are THEIR own ideas and as far away as possible from the cock-eyed, politically motivated, sometimes 'snatch' ideas of the current government!

A Conservative government will have a tough enough job clearing up the mess created by this government, the after effects of lost data, the after effects of EXPENSIVE ineffectual quangoes, so they will need to make SOME sort of DIFFERENT impression from the 'off', as they say these days. Of course there will all the Ukippers waiting to pounce on anything that isn't perfect - yes thats right you lot on here!

With the economic situation I'm sure something like this is right only provided that the Paty starts to make a coherent economic case which it has as yet not done in my view.I felt our response to Northern Rock and the 10p tax debacle came over as hugely opportunistic. Effective opposition "yes" but as for giving the impression of a Govt in waiting I felt we scored "nil points".

I am a geat fan of Cameon and support his sharing the process of growth approach.I am far less persuaded by Osbourne. he comes over as shrill, schoolboyish and very superficial. In my view he has got one last chance to really impress in how he reacts to the Govt's proposed "rescue packeage". I was always impressed by Ken Clarke as Chancellor - failing that Michael Fallon has been very impressive in his appearances. Redwood has got a fine brain but we really would be commtting electoral suicide if he was appointed shadow chancellor - unfair but surely true.

An unattributed quote is an unattributed quote. Widely reported doesnt mean "true".

And I have heard Bob Skidelsky say he doesn't think that it is a Keynesism.

Partly on the grounds that, as I said, it's quite artless.

The government is proposing to reduce spending as a share of GDP. Why would shadowing them be such a betrayal...

Everbody and his brother and his brothers dog knows that if the conditions are suitable Conservatives will try to reduce the tax burden on the public over time. The direction of travel should be simpler taxes, fairer taxes and bearing down on the burden of tax over time while protecting key public services. In my view what Cameron and Osbourne have done, and quite rightly, is indicate that we don't have the crass view that spending can just be cut here and there without proper consideration. There are important roles for the public and private sectors but the market does not solve everything. I feel that while waste can be identified we also need to plan carefully any reforms so that public sector staff are empowered and rewarded to do their job effectively and efficiently and there is less top down bureaucracy. Some of those actions cannot be done in a quick simple cut because the effect may be to end up with a service that doesn't work as well as it should or actually costs more. That said the economic situation has deteriorated quite quickly now and the scope to encourage enterprise and take some burden off the lower paid is something useful to have in the toolkit in trying to mend the situation Labour are leaving.

About time too. all intelligent commentators have been screaming their heads off about this for ages. They now look as though they are following a popular bandwagon instead of leading and selling this policy.

I despair of the Cameroons. The party is way ahead of those schoolboy ingenus.

Note that YouGov has found in Scotland that the Local Income Tax, backed by 88% last year, is now backed by only 48%. There's a sea change in attitudes to tax down here too - pity the Cameroons didn't notice it earlier.

And BTW "When the facts change, I change my mind – what do you do, sir?" was Mark Twain

John Redwood writes a very interesting article today on his blog saying that the government is now spending on average £10,000 a year on every man, woman and child in the UK and asking if we think we are getting value for that 10k.

I don't think that we do. We should be always striving to shrink the state and empower people by leaving us to spend our own money in our own way whenever we can. Individuals and families always spend money more efficiently than governments.

The problem is that the economy is going to be such a mess (and with Labour also trying to poison the economic well in expectation of a defeat) when we take over that we are going to have to make some harsh decisions.

There are however, enough PC-fanatics and lefty special interest groups that we can annoy by cutting taxpayer funding to avoid impacting real people at all. Usually you can spend less but spend it better anyway.

Geoff (the original one, not @12:12)

Thanks for telling us you are the original Geoff, Geoff. That helps.

I will tell you who isn't original - Dave Cameron. He is the most inauthentic Conservative leader since the great Disraeli. Look at his record: He was 'surprised to be asked' to join the Buller, which can't have been because he wasn't posh enough so must be because of his lack of genuine hellraising capability - despite his oh-so-trendy and credible spliff sniffing at school. Nevertheless he joins but doesn't get busted for actually breaking anything. Others, genuinely committed members, are.

Today, rather than tackling naff restaurants he is into the problems of single mums and housing estates. He is also concerned about green worries. He wrote the Howard manifesto hard-right but uncreative and tired tosh. Actually wrote it, apparently following orders rather than believing his own words.

Once leader, he then decided that rather than have an economic policy of his own he would ape Labour's, well beyond the point of its destruction.

Hilariously today he announces in her majesty's Sunday Telegraph that there is to be the 'Cameron tax plan for hard working Britons' copying the argot of yankee hucksters. I could go on about his one commitment being to leave the EPP, but I am sure you have your own favourite moments. I don't have a comprehensive record of his utterances, so you can perhaps entertain me with 'leadership moments' I have missed.

We have a Joe Biden of our own, to enjoy at our leisure.


I posted at 09:59 and 12:12!

This 'poisoning the well' stuff is rubbish. It's just insane.

Henry Mayhew - ukipper | September 07, 2008 at 15:03

Henry, sorry, I have to say, this time, you have really lost it. I can only think your quite pointless reference to the Buller thing indicates that your problem with Cameron has nothing to do with politics or economics but that he is "posh" and you would bash him whatever he did.

Your point, also made by lots of others, that he is just following Labour policy is rediculous. Apart from avoiding years of screams about Tory cuts, if you claim to be intending to run public services well telling them you are going to bust up their spending plans way in advance is not just bad politics or bad economics, it is bad management. A separate Tory economic policy which included existing spending for three years is entirely possible but you have to take into account our present government who, time and again, have demonstrated that their policies are designed more to "shoot Tory foxes" than run the country. We are in a dirty sickening world, you might have the luxury of ignoring it, Cameron hasn't.

A year ago in general the voters AND the media were happy enough with Labour's ten years of economic management, crying wolf, which the Tories had been doing since 1999, had been demonstrated as counterproductive, now they all know, watch the party conference.

What about tax credits for pubs and restaurants in Oxford which are smashed up by the Bullingdon Club?

David, I don't give a proverbial about David Cameron's 'social status'. He cannot come up with an original idea or make his mind up about other people's.

We have some critically serious problems that require leadership. He is incapable of that as he does not know his own mind. That is the only relevance of comparing and contrasting who he has been over the years...as well as to have a bit of a laugh at him.

I am looking forward to the Tory Conference and I will tell you what I want to see: a statement of principle that government liabilities to provide and pay for health, education, welfare and particularly pensions, will be progressively moved to mutual societies. If they don't come up with, or copy, that policy you are going to be less happy with him in 15 years time than I am now, I can guarantee you that.

When are people going to get tired of everything being decided by Cameron and Osborne?


Do you seriously think that the Cameron/Osborne clique will still be ruling the roost in the party in 15 years time?

I don't.

"Osborne and Redwood worked well together at the launch of the Policy Review.

Posted by: Tapestry | September 07, 2008 at 08:54"

What nonsense! Cameron wanted nothing to do with it and Gideon was told to fill in. Osborne has repeatedly briefed against Redwood, Forsyth and the Taxpayers' Alliance.

Osborne has offered no alternative economic strategy. He is just another rich trustafarian, worth hundreds of millions, with no real life experience who is playing politics at our expense. I met Osborne once - an obnoxious, thick, vacuous Uriah Heep who made my flesh crawl.

kk,He may not be ruling in 15 years but he does have the potential to inflict long lasting damage depending upon what action or inaction he takes.
The original idea to commit to Labour's spending plans was as streetwise and visionary as chaining your bicycle to a low open top ballard.

Iain Martin on why the Tory leadership is shifting ground on tax.

" I could go on about his one commitment being to leave the EPP"

Oh please don't Henry - you'll start sounding like the Dead Parrot of Monty Python Fame!

" met Osborne once - an obnoxious, thick, vacuous Uriah Heep who made my flesh crawl."

I wonder what he had to say about you?!

I presume all the negative comments are only coincidental to the time around which UKIP were having their conference.

Insomniac - who cares what its called. Its what even the Lib Dems are now proposing ...

The electorate has done a lot of sobering up and growing up over the last 6 months ( many have never seen a good old fashioned Labour economic disaster in their voting lives ).

The terms of political trade have very definitely changed.

All we need now is a plan to save the Union.

I agree with Libertarian. This is just some rich public school kid who has got into politics and has never had to worry about money. What's with all the slavish loyalty here? What has he ever done for you?

Oh, the pop psychology about why boring David Cameron was surprised he was invited to join the boring Bullingdon Club.

Who cares?

Surely, the more interesting question is why it was so hard for someone like Heath, or Thatcher, or Major, or Hague, or Howard, to become leader. And yet now you can do things that would earn most people a criminal record and do it.

There is nothing wrong with being a rich ex-public school kid.

Thre is everything wrong with, at the age of 40, not ever been anything else.

I agree with you David Sergeant @ 15.55.

Its interesting that Henry Mayhew and the other Ukippers on here are so positive with their knowledge of what David Cameron and the Tories cannot achieve, or are doing wrong, safe in the knowledge that they are never likely to be 'hung out to dry' in the same sort of fashion themselves! Its always such fun to take pot shots at a sitting target, but hardly requires much skill!!!! I wonder how Mr. Mayhew and his colleagues would cope with the same sort of treatment that Mr. Cameron has received since he became leader. But of course you probably would prefer a leader like Prescott, and he would as likely punch you into touch, if you went on and on and on about him as you do about Cameron!!!

Patsy, anyone can take a shot at me at any time. I stood at the last general election (West Ham) and will at the next if selected, I use my own name to post here and am open about my political affiliation. I do not collaborate with 'colleagues' to infiltrate ConHome.

How can I make Mr Cameron a sitting target? Surely that is his responsibility? If I was being unfair about him in any way I would be deluged with abuse. The worry for all of us is the support my observations have received, isn't it? I don't really understand your comment about Mr Prescott. I am just an ex-Tory approved candidate that cannot ignore his conservative beliefs enough to join the Notting Hill Revolution with you. It seems like nothing more than jobs for the boys to me, and that is nowhere near good enough.

Where I do agree with you is that criticising others without making one's own suggestions is contemptible, but I do make suggestions, lots of them. Take a look at the items yesterday under the opinion poll showing the Tories with a 19% lead. I am sure you would agree that we need new, but principled, ideas.

Unfortunately, in politics as in any other walk of life it is necessary to demonstrate that there is a problem before people will think about a solution, so conflict is inescapable. Mr Cameron abided by this principle himself when he described my fellow party members and me as 'fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists mostly' - a contemptible socialist-style smear designed to disenfranchise us from participation with honour in democratic politics. My heart does not bleed for him. I certainly do not think he should be Prime Minister, but we will all find out whether I was right about that soon enough.

Let us look forward with bright hope to the Tory conference. It is never too late for sinners to repent and change their ways and we must all encourage them to do so.

@Sally Roberts

I met Gideon at a Candidates Association meeting. A sixth former could have done better. He stammered and fobbed off even basic economic questions. It was obvious that he has zero real world experience.

Afterwards, it was obvious that he did not want to mix with us. In particular, his body language indicated that he was very uncomfortable with the women candidates.

It's all just PR fluff, the Osborne show.

I know your views are genuinely held Henry even though I think you are mostly wrong and you do have the guts to post under your own name. But look at the other anonymous muppets who've posted on this thread? I can understand Patsy's frustration.

Henry, did I say YOU made David Cameron a sitting target?

Neither did I say that I had 'joined' the Notting Hill Carnival (although I certainly went to one of the first ones!).

I don't spend my time singing paeans to Mr. Cameron - if you read my comments - I actually concentrate on helping to ensure that the lies, subterfuge and arrogance of this government gets the widest possible audience - surely even you don't want more of the socialist "dream"!

Doing your best to shoot down the leader of the largest opposition party suggests you support PR - if so perhaps you can give me an example of one country where that is successful.

If you don't support PR, then presumably you are prepared to accept another term of the present team of leeches!!

Oh well, Libertarian - I will bow to your judgement on this one! I am not elevated enough to be a member of the Candidates Association so I was, sadly, not able to judge as you were!

Henry I too agree with Malcolm that you have the guts to post here under your own name and all credit to you for that - although like the other Conservative members on here I very rarely agree with the direction you are coming from! As for the other anonymous "muppets" as Malcolm so wittily calls them (and I wouldn't wish to insult Kermit, Ms Piggy and their friends by doing so...) - they clearly lack your courage which is rather a pity!

It is absolutely moronic to think that this is a 'victory for ConservativeHome' - what world do you live in?

I think it is marvellously courageous that Henry Mayhew publishes under his own name. In the event that he stands at the next general election, or indeed any election, there will be no doubt as to what the voters will be getting. I think he is a really genuine example of how those voting UKIP will be rewarded and for that reason I nominate him for two of today`s awards; first for UKIP Joke-of-the-day and second for the "Enid Blyton Memorial Coarse Language in the Playground Award" in the under-eight-year-olds section.

Thanks for reading my stuff John. Any points you have yourself?

If I was too harsh on Mr Cameron, I take that portion back. I am prepared to accept he is an authentic bicyclist.

It's important when the conversion comes the policies that follow are radical on tax and public spending.

Fiddling with what we have is not going to work, we need some clear and original thinking.

Not to say COURAGE!

The good thing about Conservativehome is that it gives us all an opportunity to say what we think. In my view, though, it degrades one`s arguments if too much of what we say is personalised and couched in an abusive way. It`s simply because it gets in the way of the message. There is a difference between wit and generalised abuse. Also I find great amusement in your professing to know in detail what Cameron plans and how he will set about things. I`m sorry to tell you that I find this aspect completely incredible, unless you can convince me that at least one of your balls is made of crystal or that you are gifted with second sight.
All that said, and while acknowledging that I am unsympathetic to UKIP`s way of doing business, some of the views you put forward are interesting, as are some of those of your fellow-subscribers. I look forward to my continuing education in this respect

Henry Mayhew

Just been reading your comments here, do you really believe what you say or have you a problem?

UKIP have had a wonderful opportunity to prosper after the Irish 'NO' but NOTHING!!

Get real Henry, Cameron et al are doing a great job !!

John, if you don't believe that at least one of my balls is made of crystal we can soon put that right.

Richard, you are right that we must re-double our efforts, but I think we will do OK in the Euros while also working in our jobs, running our small companies etc. We can't make progress easily in parliamentary elections due to fptp, but we can provide ideas for Labour and the Tories - hence posting here.

I would agree with you that the Tories are looking more positive, just in the last couple of days. It is extremely gratifying to see them lift the UKIP clean-coal policy and to read the outstanding post on insurance-based healthcare from Reform today. Very encouraging for us all. At this rate I might apply to rejoin, especially if Mr Cameron revisits his thoughts on nuclear, and a few other issues. Thanks for your comments.

Sorry to post again but I just lurve Patsy's thought that I accused her of joining the Notting Hill Carnival. She even says she went to one of the first ones!


It seems the September Revolution has been overtaken by events. The Tories' rather embarassing lurch leftwards has proved almost hilariously badly timed, and a backtrack is really a political necessity, not a choice. Only now, the Tories can't say they were right all along, even though they (almost) were...

Well done, Red Dave.

Voters will never believe that we are serious about saving the British economy till they believe we are serious about getting government spending under control.

Talking about tax reductions without dealing with government spending does not convince the voters - and they should not be convinced.

The bravest thing that Conservative Home has done is to campaign against the "we will increase spending as much as Labour will" policy.

I have not said that campaign was brave in the past, and I apologize for not doing so.

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