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(Sound of cyber-Champagne corks popping on ConHome)

Excellent news.

Congratulations ConHome!

Crowing and I told you soes? Unseemly.

Let's let Ozzie think this was all his bright idea.

Er yes - but it was a wholly different set of spending plans when the original policy statement was made.

About time.

Now we just need a pledge to make massive cuts in beaurocracy....

Well done, Tim. Nasty screeching sound as Dave does a handbrake turn. Wailing and gnashing of teeth from Platform 10 as Blue Labour bemoans the fact that the Tories are no longer committed to ever higher taxation and public spending, to "show that they have changed."

So, is this Dave moving to take control of the Osborne 'situation'?

Was George anywhere to be seen in this decision?

Exactly Richard, Osborne can hardly attack Brown's new tax cuts as irresponsible while promising to continue them when in power!

The most telling point:-

'Why is Brown choosing to embark on this course?'

Yes why Mr Brown - unfunded tax cuts, more and more borrowing, wholesale nationalisations - more and more and more debt.

It is like me blowing what is left of the credit on my credit cards and then waking up in a few months from red letters from my bank for money I can't afford to pay.

But of course the main difference is that Gordon can make us and our chidren pay for his spending splurge.

Some people will be grateful cause they can't see the long term damage Brown is causing this country.

At long bloody last. Now how about deep cuts in the bloated, inefficient and ineffective UK state machine?

But well done CH for being ahead of the curve.

Nothing on the BBC website yet, with Ed Ball grinning away on the front page. Typical.

Excellent news. I thought Cameron gave, by far, his best performance on the economy so far.

I think he has set out the position well, although I think that it still may have been more politically expedient to draw up a list of public spending commitments to axe, so that he could have supported Brown's giveaway but could have paid for it by axing ID cards, RDAs and the like...

Cameron obviously has more faith than I in the British public seeing through Brown's cynical tax cuts...

I don't particularly care about what role ConHome may or may not have played in this, but let me just say THANK GOODNESS.

As was pointed out above, the pledge didn't commit us to sticking to any hypothetical set of spending plans the government might conceivably (or otherwise) make, so this isn't really that much of a U-turn, but it is sorely needed.

Now let's have some robust policies on sensible cuts in spending, to take the fat out of the public sector and allow prudent tax cuts that will really stimulate the economy - and win the next general election.

re JH nothing on BBC website yet

Actually if you click on the story from the main page you get a 'file not found page'. It's also not on BBC24 which is covering the Ross/Brand story

Finally. Shame he got it wrong for so long, despite many of us telling him what he needed to do, as he looks opportunist rather than conviction based and right.

Hypocrite, opportunist.

It's on the frontpage of the BBC politics page now...

Page last updated at 10:57 GMT ... so was there, as usual when someone says "Nothing on the BBC website yet" as if trying to imply some sort of bias


Yes , we are getting there gradually . Well done!!!

Good but to be fair when we said we would share the proceeds of growth that was fine but when there is no growth we of course have to be more innovative about cutting waste in spending. Our approach is not for more debt and borrowing and Browns unfunded tax cuts but a more responsible position. Unlike Labour who have run up huge debts and planning to run up yet more debts.

now lets start closing schools and hospitals!

"At long bloody last. Now how about deep cuts in the bloated, inefficient and ineffective UK state machine?"

good about spending - yes. although, as one commentator has already pointed out, Labour's spending plans have changed somewhat in recent weeks.

However, cutting jobs in the public sector at a stroke would worsen the problems currently faced by so many families struggling with higher food bills, fuel costs etc.

this in turn would worsen the cycle of deprivation of which the heart-rending case of baby P is an extreme example.

Now, I am not suggesting that anyone who loses their job will go home and bludgeon an innocent child to death. Nor am I inferring that we should protect people whose jobs are possibly non-productive. However, I do feel that the broader picture and structure of the state sector needs to be looked at soberly and in great detail before radical reform can be mooted.

So, he's promising to "curb the growth of spending." This means he's still wedded to spending growth. Still no clear blue water.

He's made Osborne look a right chump pushing this annoucement out himself. Still, the "lightning rod" theory of Osborne's role has a little more credence.

So our frit, flip-flopper of a Leader yet again U-turns: talks big, triangulates Blairite left, folds, crawls back to a vaguely Hagueish right wing position. Has ever a faction spoofed more than the Mods? But the real question is, who, o who, will win the coveted "Two Legs Better" award? While CH threads offer plenty of willing talent, my money's on Danny Finkelstein.

Shouldn't someone point out that all Brown is doing is attempting to buy votes - probably for an early general election. Lets work it out, £30B for say, 1 million votes, £30,000 a vote - that seems a bit expensive to me.

Labour also talking of spending cuts according to Paul Waugh;


To turn this economy around we need the room to operate. Labour's spending plans tied our hands and limited our options. This is a victory for common sense.

Very welcome and long overdue. If conservatives everywhere can't support this, then its time to leave the Party. Its traditional, tried and tested Tory tax and spend policy - control spending, reduce borrowing and/or cut taxes.

I'm very pleased with this announcement as it opens up an old but significant ideological difference with Labour. This should be our line of attack all the way up to the next election. We'll look back on this day and remember it as the day when we won the next election.

Getting somewhere at last...

Shouldn't someone point out that all Brown is doing is attempting to buy votes - probably for an early general election.

Yes, but you have to be careful not to sound like a hypocrite - arguably any positive spending/taxing policy is a "bribe".

Labour also talking of spending cuts according to Paul Waugh

And putting taxes up later on, according to the Times. That should be good ammo for Cameron and Osbourne.

Excellent news, let's slay the Keynesian ghost!

"I want to be honest about the problems we face, and how we will overcome them".

We all hope that DC delivers on this promise; I am totally fed up with Brown misleading us for all these years and I would still ask for the sort of analysis of the "Gordon Brown recession" from the shadow front bench, rather than from all the (very able) people like John Redwood, Howard Flight, Ken Clarke, Jeff Randall et al who have repeatedly done so recently but have not got the publicity that GO or DC would attract.

With this lurch to the right David Cameron as just lost the Conservative party the next election. People will not vote for sackings in health and education. They will not vote for longer waiting lists for operations and schools that are failing down not to be rebuilt and modernised.
Through naivety and the pressure from the extreme right-wingers that make up most of the grass roots of the party Cameron as fallen for the trap set for him by Gordon Brown.
The Prime Minister and I have no doubt we will now be calling Gordon Brown that for many years now must think christmas as come extra early this year.

It should not be too hard to find nearly £100bn public spending cuts. We could pull out of the EU (£15bn), curb carousel VAT fraud (£3bn but requires us to leave the EU), cut out legal aid for those who are not bone fide UK residents (£1bn), cut foreign aid not directed to recovery for natural disasters (£5bn), reduce the number of public servants (other than doctors, nurses or policemen) to the same level as in 1997 (£50bn), disband all the non scientific Qangos (£10bn), limit the inflation proof element of public service pensions to £20K pa (lots in the long run ), have a single set of MPs for the HoC, Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly and limit pay to £50K pa with one secretary supplied by HoC and overnight/travel expenses only (£0.1bn), limit all public service salaries to £100K max (£?Bn).

Some of thee money saved could be spent on building the nuclear power stations we so desperately need, reequipping the Armed Services and paying the junior ranks decent salaries, updating the rail network and reinforcing our coastal defences. The remainder could be used to do away with employers NI (which is a tax on jobs so encourages unemployment) and raising the tax threshold to £10k, or £20K for a married couple (balanced, in part, by doing away with tax credits).

These policies would actually stimulate employment in productive work, rather than just suck in imports of consume goods.

There you are, George Osborne, I have just set out an economic policy for you!

I remember recently a Republican congressman talking on the night of the presidential election defeat saying what he regretted most was that the Republican party had stopped supporting fiscal conservatism, and had lost respect as a result.

Good to see that David Cameron is not going to make the same mistake.

It is also a vindication of your stance Tim, and more generally of those party members who won't just believe whatever they are told to by the leadership (like Labour party members do ), but continue to be driven by principle.

I attended a meeting with a homeless persons charity this morning. Over a cycle of homelessness it costs the local authority and NHS anything between £20,000 and £40,000.

The charity are able to do the same work for £2,000 and 75% of the people going through their programme are still in their homes and free of drugs etc after two years.

You want to cut homelessness? Maybe you want to make more use of charities like these who do what they do for the love of humanity and care for their fellow "man".

The side effect is that there is a huge public spending benefit. 10:1... seems like a no brainer to me.

I know it's tempting to crow Tim but I think you should have resisted it.
To be honest I thought we were right to do what we did then and we are right now. Labour's spending plans have changed dramatically in the past few months and it would have been the height of irresponsibility to just accept everything they're doing.
The bit that most impresses me about this speech is the section on honesty. In times of hardship I think it's incredibly important to be straight with people. If Cameron can do that he will be a far better PM and a better man than Brown could ever be.

And shouldn't someone be asking just how Brown's fiscal stimulus is going to be funded? In the longer term we know the answer - the taxpayer. In the short term the answer appears to be by increasing borrowing. However, that is contingent on someone being willing to lend. I gather the normal way of raising this sort of borrowing is through gilts but in the current circumstances there is hardly likely to be a rush to buy them.

A vision of Darling following in Healey's footsteps by going to the IMF with his begging bowl begins to appear. Perhaps that explains Brown's recent trip to Saudi Arabia to try to persuade them to provide funds for the IMF. We seem to be in danger of entering Faustian territory here.

As for taking a long hard look at the structure of the state sector, we could perhaps start by requiring single mothers who live on social security to attend day centres with their children at least 5 days a week. Someone would then be seeing those children on a regular basis to check for signs of abuse. And, in the longer run, it could well work out cheaper than the army of social workers and family support workers who seem to go around with their eyes shut.

Good work Mr Cameron.

The right move - but it seems as if we have been scrambling all over the place to find an effective and reasonable stance

Jack Stone @ 12.23

With respect, you are talking utter nonsense. David Cameron hasn't said yet where the growth in spending will be slowed and you conclude that there will be sackings in health and education. And if schools are falling down after 12 years years of binge spending then where has all the money gone?

Couldn,t agree more Jack , what a big mistake ! Oliver Letwin's name is all over this idea . Remember what happened last time he got involved ?


>Jack Stone

You must have listened to a different announcement to the one I did.

I didn't hear any reference to plans for sackings in the NHS or education - only to slow the growth of spending.

You are indulging in a classic bit of New Labour spin - set up a huge straw man that seek plaudits for knocking it down"
And if you really think that this move of all moves is an election loser, then please offer your servives to Campbell and Mandelson to help draw up Brown's election strategy!

Phew. At last a more specific statement of opposition. I was getting worried that the party was sliding into vague negative politics again. This shows pragmatism and the 'reasonable stance' your refer to Northern Tory.

Jack Stone, which of course is precisely what Cameron said he'd do. Oh, wait - he didn't. I can think of about £100 billion of wasted money without going anywhere near those precious schoolsnhospitals.

Now that the Conservatives have come out from behind Labour's spending skirts they will have to argue their case, question is do they have the people to be able to do that? I've just seen Hammond on the Politics show being questioned on the subject along the lines of attack Labour will pursue. I've got to say it wasn't very convincing.

A long overdue commitment, it's been obvious for some time now that the NuLab spending commitments were just not sustainable.

The next nettle to grasp is getting money to flow through the economy once more; give the 'middle income' group more disposable income and promote spending what you have and disengage from Brown's policy of spending what you don't have.

I still do not believe that we have banged on enough about the fact that Brown's fiscal policy positively encouraged people to borrow to spend. It really is time for a "Blame it on Brown" campaign.

I've just seen Hammond on the Politics show being questioned on the subject along the lines of attack Labour will pursue. I've got to say it wasn't very convincing.

hmm.. I thought he did well.

Good timing from Cameron. In few months time already we will be aware that any "fiscal stimulus" will be wholly inadequate to turn around economic sentiment or stimulate an economy which is deleveraging at a very fast rate . The only thing it will produce is a higher tax bill and possibly erode further confidence in the currency and GBP denominated assets. At least we will be able to say " I told you so" few months back and show how utterly incompetent and reckless this government of ours is.

This is putting principle above politics, and should be applauded. But I fear the electorate aren't mature enough to wean themselves off the "spend, spend, spend on me" mentality. Tories must hold on, whatever the polls show (and they will show a fall - Tories may even lose the current lead).


This made me laugh. Pot, kettle, black comes to mind.

Two cheers, Dave. Now tell us what cuts and where.

Fantastic rant by Cassius on Brown's weasel words yesterday:


"The British people understand the word tax, they understand the word waste and they understand the word debt – three things which you have made the central features of their economic lives over the past eleven years. They understand the word recession and they understand the word inflation, both of which you told them (dishonestly) you had abolished. And they understand that a plan to get out of debt by increasing borrowing is at best an unlikely solution to a common sense problem."

"hmm.. I thought he did well."
Norm Brainer

If you think he did well then The Tories really are going to be in deep doo-doos trying to compete against Brown's revitalised spin machine.

We seem to be offering only spending cuts and austerity in the hope of jam not tomorrow but in the distant future.

It might make good economic sense but how do we expect to win an election?

I think I saw bits of it at far distance at work earlier today. Good to see that straining my eyes was worth it... I await further statements on this before changing my mind regarding membership of the party. But this coupled with Tory statements on child protection are very welcome indeed, if a little belated...

"I thought he did well."

Norm Brainer, well he told us that 2010/11 spending commitments of 2.3% growth couldn't be afforded but didn't say why, 2.3% in the publics mind isn't that big a number.

Then when confronted with the 'cuts' question he couldn't deflect the assumption that the cuts would be to schools and hospitals, and left it so vague that opposition political parties will fill in the gap with nightmarish cuts to essential services!

If you think he did well then The Tories really are going to be in deep doo-doos trying to compete against Brown's revitalised spin machine.

You might be right. I thought he did well as he seemed calm and considered and didn't just say soundbites and things he thought people would want to hear; the tactics that have worked for labour even if they tell lies or don't make sense.

Then when confronted with the 'cuts' question he couldn't deflect the assumption that the cuts would be to schools and hospitals, and left it so vague that opposition political parties will fill in the gap with nightmarish cuts to essential services!

I think even if he said there wouldn't then people would say there would be.
How it came across was not that they would be trying to cut as much as possible, but looking for savings - and people know there are savings to be made even in schools and hostpitals. If they said they wouldn't touch these things it would make them look as if they were only out to please people and pay lip service and not do what is right.

Careful what you wish for, you may just get it...

I am 100% in favour of this - but it will be interesting to see what the country think.

A Tax Bombshell only worries those who pay tax... And efficiency savings aren't good for the people whose job is part of the inefficiency...

Excellent work.

What WOULD make you happy, Louise? Oh let's guess - Labour winning the next Election.

The timing of this announcement is perfect.

Until recently Conservatives were not in a position to argue convincingly for spending restraint: commentators and the nation as a whole were generally content with the economy, trusted Gordon Brown’s economic ability and saw no reason to change. On top of that, we were poorly positioned to criticise, our credibility having been damaged by underfunding the NHS and education while last in office.

Until now David Cameron was right not to spend his precious media time blowing into the wind by attacking Labour spending plans. Better to argue from our strengths.

But at this particular moment, with Gordon Brown’s economic castle plainly crumbling, the Pound under pressure and in a lull in the banking crisis, there’s media time and public appetite to listen to alternative spending plans. Spotting this moment, understanding why not to go before or later, is why David Cameron is the best leader we’ve had since Margaret Thatcher.

Norm Brainer, watch the Channel 4 news with Osborne trying to explain the policy then tell me that the electorate will buy it!

And it couldn't be said Krishnan Guru-Murthy is a Paxman.


To paraphrase Ted Heath- "rejoice! rejoice! rejoice!"

I have been concerned for some time that we were competing with Labour in a ludicrous Dutch auction to see who could spend the most.

At last, provided we pledge to protect frontline services, we now have the opportunity to behave like Conservatives again.

There are dangers of course, because we will hear the usual nonsense about "Tory cuts", but if ever there were a time to be bold, this is it.

I look forward to seeing some flesh on the bones before too long!

Just watched Hammond’s interview on Daily Politics on BBC iplayer.

Lily livered.

All of us faced with reduced income cut our expenditure immediately. Most of us have already done so and may do more.

Nor is our cutting limited to discretionary expenditure - new TV, car etc – but also to basics - food.

Cameron wants to cut government spending in 3 years time – until then he will back Labour's plans. And his proposed cuts in 3 years are minimal.

Is he saying 'crisis what crisis?'

Now reflected in the polls too.

Has George Osbourne Vanished or is he still taking his thumb and Snout out of the PIE?

To all those who think George Osborne is doing a grand job. Michael Fallon first called for this pledge to be abandoned in an article in the Telegraph on 18th February 2008. Time for a grown up as Shadow Chancellor, methinks.

About bloody time. Now pull your respective fingers out lads and get on the attack. If we are to have an election in 2009 a line of attack is needed, and this is brilliant. Well done.

This will blow up in his face, he left that interview with the impression he woke up this morning and it seemed a good way to get a headline and hell sort the policy out after. he just couldnt get across the fact it was a reduction in an increase not a cut, im sad to say he left the viewer with the impression that it was a cut.

Look out for every part of the country to be told there local school, hospital, SOCIAL SERVICES will have to cut back if george gets into the treasury.

I think something has changed people seem to want government to take control and rescue them and support services that they now do not beleive can be left to the market.

Big problem is Labour are seen as the Nanny government , control, regulation, spending and the conservatives free market , small government. And the banking crisis has changed the climate even americans voted for a liberal big government president. Cameron needs to realise government spending, regulation etc is no longer(maybe temporary) being seen as a bad thing thats why people seem to be turning left

Wee sleekit cowerin timorous beasties. It seems the worms have turned. The crowds are throwing up their sweaty night caps and shouting for joy. What a horrid sight the CONswerves are these days, though as the Right side of the political ruling matrix I suppose we cannot expect any better. What's the difference. Vote "None of the above"

About schools:
We have a failing Comprehensive with a monopoly here in Wisbech.
It is about to be given a huge spending programme.
Why? That won't bring in more teachers, or improve the standard of education, will it.
Meanwhile we have four schools for naughty boys (mainly), one of which has no less than 12 boys in a three storey building which was once an hotel.
Waste, waste, waste.
And, of course, the bureaucrats are right in there. It is not, believe me, all teachers who work for the education service; there are, for instance, no less than 6 "experts" working full time on advising school governors how to do their job.
Read the Guardian's adverts lately?

Most people have grown up with a system that says it is ok to borrow money and spend money you do not have. Will the line YOULL HAVE TO PAY THIS ALL BACK ONE DAY really work?

People do it every day in thier real lives store cards, credit cards , finance , loans without much thought as to how and when they will pay it back. So I really do not think if they are given a tax cut they are going to worry that one day they will have to pay it back when it comes to money in ur wallet people only tend to think in the short term. And Cameron and osbourne running around warning that the sky will fall down one day will really carry much weight when they are standing a shop queue spending that tax cut!

I think a rethink in the line of attack is needed urgently!

God Cameron and Osbourne have got to stop going on tv telling the country they need to live within their means, people are hurting and to keep saying that seems a little out of touch.

And they are in danger of bringing the toff argument to the fore, it wont be long before someone confronts them with the line ^Isnt it easy to say that when you are as wealthy as you^ they are in big danger of seeming very out of touch with the way ordinary people live in this country


Unless the tories are going to get in in the next few months brown will already have got his new credit card and be heading into town to spend, spend, spend and treat all his mates.

If brown goes ahead, the tories will be in a position to say 'told you so', if he doesn't then they can say 'you stole our polices again'. But at the end of the day Brown is PM and what hes says goes. We can't stop him burning our money until the next election (and if Brown gets back in, I will stop creating wealth, retire very early and be heading off in my yacht (some people cruise and get by on £2000 a year - maybe all the unemployed should be set adrift?))

rob, i agree,

Nu_con has not yet grasped the the debt-culture is such that a lot of folk live for now, next 6 months and don't mind paying back later! pun intended.

hence the NU_Con line is unlikely to stick.

Its Great news. Not because he is not committing to Labours spending binge but because at last we are getting something approaching the truth about our sick economy. What is really stoking my anger is that Brown is willing to take our Borrowing to the levels of banana republics. Instead of being honest Brown is willing to fix us good by bankrupting the economy before handing it over. Labour may have bought themselves a few percentage points but at what a cost. The pound has effectively been devalued. Brown must not be allowed to fritter 30 Billion. “prudence, not giveaways." A quote from DC but it could be a quote from any good house keeper.

Wee sleekit cowerin timorous beasties. It seems the worms have turned. The crowds are throwing up their sweaty night caps and shouting for joy. What a horrid sight the CONswerves are these days, though as the Right side of the political ruling matrix I suppose we cannot expect any better. What's the difference. Vote "None of the above"

I used to wonder why the right was called right, yet was so unpopular. There is no belly in this nation for reality and truth.
Today people would rather believe in lies rather than face up to truths. Having killed God it now appears they wish to invert reality to the extent where up is down and left is right. So debt has become a virtue. I believe in values that have guided my family for generations not the false sneering steering of psychologists. Yes there are faults on both sides of your ruling matrix. IMHO the biggest error we committed as a nation in the last few generations was moving away from the gold standard of LSD. Its not impossible to insist that money be tangable and of real intrinsic value. The CON was not the conservatives but the whole global experiment..

So the party is now united. Don`t think it will be so united morning after the next election when it goes down to its fourth consecutive election defeat.
Brown as been setting this trap up for months and like turkeys voting for christmas you all have fullen into it.Absolutely idiotic.

Jack I do believe you are too stupid to be a troll but I wonder why you ever voted Conservative. In all the years you've been posting on this site you've never once shown any inclination to follow any 'normal' Conservative philosophy as in this case living within your means.Why do you vote Conservative Jack?

BBC 1 News at 6pm. Newsreader states "Tories will cut expenditure on schools and hospitals"
Did DC say that? Or is it,once again, the BBC interpretation of Conservative policies?

BBC 1 News at 6pm. Newsreader states "Tories will cut expenditure on schools and hospitals"

The way I heard it she said that what the statement meant was that DC is saying the conservatives will go into the next election saying that schools and hospitals will probably have less money than under labour and that is a daring thing to say.

I think it was an unwritten law that the media had to come out with "schools and hospitals" in response, like it was in the script and that was the part they had to play.

It's now up to conservaties to say that less money doesn't mean worse sevice or cuts, or if it does mean that then it's essential and the way it has got to be.

I have found louise's blog. She posts on politics home too.

And low and behold she isn't a tory!


It's now up to conservaties to say that less money doesn't mean worse sevice or cuts, or if it does mean that then it's essential and the way it has got to be.

You are right Norm.

I think some modern parables are needed to highlight the difference between price and value.

Baby P - 60 visits didn't save him (what did they cost? what was the value?) - 1 decent visit could have saved him (what would that have cost? what would the value have been?).


Brown/Labour - can't differentiate between cost and value...

A Cllr, you are quite wrong. Louise single-handedly won us... something... apparently.

This is good news, indeed.

I think Cameron's actions today have saved our poll lead. We have to hammer home the borrowing message.

Thank God! At LAST!!!! etc etc. As a doctor working in the NHS, and a witness to unrecontructed profligacy and waste, you could start by cancelling the Big Brother NHS national computing scheme: £12.6 BILLION so far, and nil to show for it.

Robin Jackson

Its much better yes but has he learned nothing? Its his modernising agenda, after all.

All he needs to add to his interview (where he allowed himself to be skewered over where the cuts would fall) is

.. I can't give you precise details now, because I don't know how terrible its going to be BUT I promise that not a single teacher, nurse or doctor will lose their job...

and Labour's canard will be defused

At last, David Cameron is embarking on a clear financial message. It has semed, over the past few months, that the conservative shadow cabinet had been sent on holiday whilst all around us falls apart. For too long Gordon Brown has had a free ride. Now that Cameron has found his second wind lets get on with the task of building the conditions for a Conservative Government.

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