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Seat belts fastened, fuel tanks topped up and political and patriotic motivation system running sweetly. Lead me to the battlefield!

Andrew Lilico and Warwick Lightfoot both back a fiscal stimulus today

I thought the whole party backed fiscal stimulus - it was the funding of it that was at issue?

Tories want people to spend by giving them back some of their own money - labour want to people to spend by borrowing in their name and giving them loans (to be paid back with interest as higher future taxes) whether they want them or not.

And a point that I think the tory spokesmen aren't making enough of is not just that the government borrowing will have to be repaid later -- but that it will have to be repaid with interest later... It may be obvious (if you think about it), but highlighting the cost of the interest on the governments new borrowing will get peoples attention, because spending is spending - when you spend doesn't seem to matter too much, but noone likes paying interest.

At least the public will get something by spending the borrowed money - but the interest is money that could have been spent on something real - but is going into bankers pockets.

Yep, I'm ready for a fight as well. Bring it on!

While Brown scurries around to talk up one-way trade deals and make Britain even more dependent on a spiraling service sector selling on the goods that other nations produce, the Conservative party should move in the opposite direction, making a promise to rebalance the economy by encouraging the development of a greater internal market. Not shutting the door on trade, but making the case for Britain trading with Britain, giving us the opportunity to buy goods made in our own country and made by our own industries.

Brown's record is so patently flawed - it only needs a critical in-depth analysis by the conservatives to blow it out of the water - that he must fear throwing away his overall working majority, even if he were to win a snap election.

I have many times argued that, had the conservatives really put the pressure on Brown's economic record before the last election, the Labour majority would have been down in the twenties. With all the backbench revolts, first Blair and then Brown could then have been under real pressure.

Tony: That's off topic! Let's not have another debate here on your views of economic policy.

The Tories have gone from 20pc ahead to 3pc ahead in three months.
Don't fool yourself that Brown can't go ahead by an election winning 6pc and stay ahead if he offers a real anti-recession package and the Tories have nothing to offer in return.
These are very dangerous times for Her Maj's opposition.


The world is in a financial mess. I have created the seeds of recovery and the world is following my lead.

Now I need to know I have the backing of the British people to ensure that we recover from these difficult times....You know that a strong Labour Government with the experience and policies we have is the best for the Country.

Gordon Brown when calling the election for the last weekend in January 2009..December 10th 2008.


The economy is going to be the dominant issue, and is going to over shadow everything, with Conservative economic policy descending into a complete shambles, all Labour has to do is ask the question do you want us to run the economy or George Osborne, the chap who couldn't even manage the economic brief of the opposition.

Right now if the Conservatives want any chance of winning the next election they have to move Osborne!

DCMX - but the tories do have nothing solid to offer - they aren't in power, so everything is theoretical - whatever their proposals people have to guess whether they would be better or worse that what we actually have, and that is down to pure persuasion.

Another line that I liked because it rang true:-

12 years of partying on the credit card, the bills due, baliff at the door - tories say "sober up, sort it out and live to party another day"; labour say "keep drinking, stay p*ssed, maybe he'll go away"

"The Tories have gone from 20pc ahead to 3pc ahead in three months."

Actually, it's between 3 and 13%.

"Don't fool yourself that Brown can't go ahead by an election winning 6pc and stay ahead if he offers a real anti-recession package and the Tories have nothing to offer in return."

I certainly won't fool myself that anything offered by Brown will actually prevent a severe recession.

Editor, David Cameron himself has talked about rebalancing the economy. This is a relevant topic and one in which the Conservative party can score big come the next election. However, if you prefer to duck the real issues in favour of political minutiae, then there is not much point in having a debate or in me contributing to a tinkering sideshow.

Thanks for this Tim. And for the link to Matthew Parris' column today. I think I'm right if I say that Mr Parris is unique among Fleet Street writers, not only in that his view of Brown hasn't flip-flopped all over the place (that means you, Anatole Kaletsky, Polly Toynbee et al.) but also that his view is correct: Brown is flawed and delusional and weird.

That's unfair Tony. I'm very happy for you to discuss your economic views and there have been many opportunities that you have taken and will, I hope, continue to take. This thread isn't on that topic.

Before anyone is asked to rate brown, they should see this:-


The comment 1:40 in to it really couldn't be more on the money...

Thanks Tim - great thread.

Another reason

During election campaigns the Conservatives will get more coverage/a more predictable amount of coverage. Also things like campaign broadcasts cannot be twisted or spun by Labour sympathisers in the media (unless they're very controversial). Thus it makes it easier to get the message across.

Graeme, Parris was rightly critical of the party for a time - mostly when it kept sucking at elections and didn't realise it needed a new approach. I think he's on the ball too. Happy to see that Polly Toys-out-of-her-pram-be is upset.

My view is like Eveleigh's - lock and load!

We'll be alright, but Tim's right that it will be a white knuckle ride. Firstly, we have to hold our nerve and mustn't undermine our leadership - though balanced, measured, constructive criticism should be fine.

Secondly, I think we still haven't begun to nail him sufficiently for the mess we're in. When people start to feel real pain in their lives (as some of us already are), they've got to really believe that Gordon and his friends caused that pain - whether through sins of commission (irresponsible spending and debt) or omission (failing to spot the massive increase in risk in the banking system that they were in charge of regulating). It is their fault. It all happened on their watch. Brown keeps talking about it all coming from America. He is wrong. The US sub-prime was the match, but the tinder box could have caught light at any time. And the spark could have come from many different places. The problem was the risk levels that had been allowed to rise so dramatically across the banking system - of which the City of London is probably the world's hub. How can this not be laid at Gordon Brown's door? He was in charge for ten years. The man allowed Britain to sleepwalk to this disaster.

The clip recommended by pp above is worth looking at. Gordon Brown is deeply psychologically insecure and can be rattled again if we get him off the turf that he's so comfortable with and has been tinkering with for years. He's looking happy because he's back on familiar ground. Get him facing fast moving events on anything that he's less familiar with and we'll see the confused ditherer again.

Are we seriously going to have Spelman as Party Chairman during an election campaign?

We need someone much stronger and in the mould of Thorneycroft, Parkinson, Tebbit and Patten.

If Spelman is still Chairman you can be sure that she will be charged with expenses fiddling during the campaign.

Spelman is a disaster waiting to happen.

Things are tough for the Cameroons and its about to get tougher. So what should we do? That's right lets bury our heads in the sand and repeat positive things to make ourselves feel better.

Voters are voting for change but they are tending to reject right wing parties for left wing parties.

DC will get alot of attention during an election. Previously this was seen as a good thing. But things have changed, now its all about judgement. Is tha what people associate with Cameron when they see him? No. His image is no longer an asset.

Let's not try and fool ourselves by giving too much attention to other issues. It's the economy. We risk fooling ourselves by giving too much attention to other issues.

As the recession bites it could well make Brown more popular as people see him as the only way of getting out of it. After all who would have thought the present economic situation would benefit him?

Despite your above comment the electoral system still benefits Labour more than it helps us.

Finally the top issue is the economy and our man is wounded. That's a big problem.

We are at war and the stakes are just as high as they were in 1939. Only now our enemy is bankruptcy and extreme, widespread poverty and hardship.
Our Government has for over 10 years appeased our enemy through false promises to the people, oveseas investors and friends. Indeed those promises have the possibility of having been outright lies, as in the case of WMD dossiers but on an even grander scale of treasonous spin.
Now this Government is seeking to move from appeasement, through debt, to capitulation and a surrender to even greater levels of occupation by overseas baliffs and creditors. If they are allowed to give this surrender then we become as culpable as they in the loss of this Country. A minor and neglected state of Europe. Hitler's work complete!

I doubt the assertion that the media (BBC you prbably mean)will give equal coverage to THe conservatives. The BBC are more partisan than ever, at the moment, they won't chage that just because an election is called. If we look at their coverage of recent Party conferences, in their BBC1 6pm and 10pm news slots, The Tories got very little, if any headline exposure, compared to Labour, even in 2007 when there was supposed to be an election very soon, they gave Cameron's speech a tiny slot compared to the mass love-in, they gave Brown.
The COnservatives are not fighting Labour, so much as their media shills, mainly the BBC.

So what should we do?

I don't see that you give any suggestions other than calling the Samaritans helpline.

Finally the top issue is the economy and our man is wounded. That's a big problem.

If that's true, knifing him in the back won't aid his recovery.

m dowding: You stretched that metaphor too far and inappropriately.

Two trains of thought:

A) If there is a general election early next year we may need more than seat belts to avoid a crash of our own. Pass me a parachute!

B) If Brown hangs on to 2010 then he's probably conceded (to himself at least) he'll lose.

The case remains however that it is insufficient for the leadership merely to assume that things will work out our way. They very well may not if we are just passengers strapped in for a bumpy ride rather than actively steering events.

The more we do NOW, the better we'll be later on. We may not have as much time as we think.

We need above all to offer HOPE! Hope that things can get better, that fiscal responsibility will remove the risks that endanger their pensions or the hopes and ambitions of their children. Hope that hard work will be rewarded and that sloth and dishonesty will not be...hope that our country will still be our country and that its values and liberties will survive.

We need above all to offer HOPE! Hope that things can get better, that fiscal responsibility will remove the risks that endanger their pensions or the hopes and ambitions of their children. Hope that hard work will be rewarded and that sloth and dishonesty will not be...hope that our country will still be our country and that its values and liberties will survive.

What matters is winning with a mandate to do what needs to be done.

That might mean having to tolerate a minority Labour government for two years, until their lies and incompetence is beyond question or support by the BBC.

For the sake of the country I hope it doesn't come to this.

Man in a Shed, certainly if it's a hung Parliament we need to bide our time - there would be another, more decisive election soon enough after that.

But I think we can still form a majority if we stick together and as Eveleigh suggests present a positive, hopeful message. Labour will try to win by saying "it's going to be bad whoever wins, so stick with us". Don't fall into that trap.

"Voters are voting for change but they are tending to reject right wing parties for left wing parties."

Well, they didn't in Canada, Austria, or New Zealand, among recent general elections.

The conservative party has come a long way fast under David Cameron but: (i) in my view, it was not prepared for a snap election last Autumn and was only saved by GO's rabbit out of a hat about IHT at the conference, (ii) it has failed to make the case that Brown should have resigned over his handling of the economy (as Melanie Phillips has suggested), (iii) it seems totally at sea about how to deal with the present economic crisis and (iv) if there were to be an election in the New Year (unlikely but quite possible), it appears to have very little constructive to say about the EU.
Monday will be an important day, not only for Brown and Darling, but perhaps more so for DC and GO.
If they fail to mount a really vgorous, effective and positive attack on Labour, then I fear we will see a huge wave of discontent from frustrated tories.

If they fail to mount a really vgorous, effective and positive attack on Labour, then I fear we will see a huge wave of discontent from frustrated tories.

Possibly, but many "frustrated Tories" have never really supported the leadership, other than slink off and hide when the polls were great, and emerged as soon as things weren't so great so they could start undermining them.

Everyone has a different POV. Some people will never be satisfied, others will never find fault and the rest are more open-minded. We should concern ourselves with the last category.

It's going to be a good fight. Bring it on!

Brown has already ruled out a General Election in 2009, speaking on the Jeremy Vine show yesterday.

If Brown were to break his word and go to the country, people would ask why. Why does Brown want to take his chance rather than wait until the economic storm blows over? Brown has admitted he's going for 2010- ergo we win.

Sean Fear - I know thats why I used the word 'tending'. I never said it was universal merely its a tendency. The word 'strawman' comes to mind.

"'What's the mood of Conservative MPs?' I asked a frontbencher last week. 'Is it still tracking the opinion polls?' 'Oh no,' he replied quickly, 'It's worst than that. It's not all opinion polls; just the very latest one.'"

Tim, even after years of tanking in the polls and sitting stuck in a core vote box, some of the parliamentary party still don't seem to have been able to grow a spine.
For crying out loud, they better find one soon or they will not cope with government on the good and the bad days.
And with Brown flushing the economy down the toilet, there are going to be a lot of bad days.

"Seat belts fastened, fuel tanks topped up and political and patriotic motivation system running sweetly. Lead me to the battlefield!"

Well said, this is going to be a rally championship in the midst of the worst winter conditions. Anyone not able to take the slow downs at the tricky bends or the acceleration's afterwards. Get out of the bl**dy car!

"Right now if the Conservatives want any chance of winning the next election they have to move Osborne!"

Iain, change the record! You obviously do not have the best interests of the Conservative party at heart.


Strapworld, I have just had to clear away the heavy snow from my door, if Brown wants to try and go for a January GE in Scotland, he come and drive the gritters and snow plows to get his own supporters out to vote!

Any GE called between now and the Spring would scream of panic on the governments part. Labour and the UKplc is not only skint, but desperately in the red. So yes, lets splash out on an expensive GE right now because Labour want to take advantage of any political gain on the back of all this bad news.

Cleethorpes Rock - Brown is an invererate liar and no-one should believe a word he says, least of all on the economy!

David Prosser in the Independent: A lending scandal of the Chancellor's own making

Really good article worth reading in full.

"Outlook: Have you ever tried controlling a gang of naughty toddlers intent on going their own way whatever the threatened punishment? Then you probably have some inkling of how Alistair Darling feels about Britain's biggest banks right now. They've had some delicious lollipops in the form of a massive state bailout, but that wasn't enough to get them lending again.

Now, if politicians such as John McFall, the Treasury Select Committee chairman, get their way, they'll be sent to bed with no tea – or at least face the threat of nationalisation, but that doesn't seem to be producing the desired result either.

The Chancellor has a nasty problem on his hands, having backed himself into a corner by promising the public that banks would return to 2007 levels of lending in return for that huge great bailout. If Mr Darling can't force them to make good on the promise, it will look as if he handed all that taxpayers' cash over for no good reason."

Its these nasty little problems that are going to deflate the much hyped expectations that Brown and the media have been dishing out in recent weeks.

read what Guido Fawkes has today...a follow up to his story last Thursday.........

Read this and just think if Cameron was to demand an emergency statement on Northern Rock (Better a debate). This would take the gloss off any giveaway, straight away!!

""""Northern Rock Sinking Taxpayers II

As Guido reported Thursday and all the papers followed up yesterday - Northern Rock's £35 billion Granite Trust is in trouble, buried in the financial jargon is one important note - the percentage of delinquent loans relative to the value of mortgages in the trust rose above pre-set levels. Three different arrears triggers have been breached - remember how Brown and Darling blatantly lied that the taxpayer's money was secured by the mortgage assets of the bank? Guido repeatedly argued that the only assets of the bank were in its branches. Net-net, the loan book will turn out to be near enough worthless or even negative in value.

The £3 billion of capital injected by the government in August can be kissed goodbye, another £3 billion will be needed soon and that will almost certainly go up in smoke as well. Well done to Vince Cable for giving the government such fulsome support in wasting billions- 28 million taxpayers won't thank you.

This is an amount enough to give every income-tax payer in the country a £1000 reduction for a year. A targeted fiscal stimulus. What exactly is the taxpayer gaining for subsidising Northern Rock?

Very good thread Tim. I hope all Tory MPs read it.

Excellent post.

A couple of comments, though. As I read the 'reason' that DC would receive as much broadcast attention as GB, my immediate thought was the BBC are likely to work for Gordon Brown. Then I read SRN's comment 1134 with which I totally agree! "The Conservatives are not fighting Labour.... mainly the BBC." We need to work out a strategy to neutralise the efforts of the BBC. (And probably they'll ensure the Lib Dems get an unbalanced high degree of coverage).

As for as the recession bites with a drip drip of bad news reminding people of GB’s record and so on, this might seem a bit naive if it means bad news alone will turn people against him. He will just portray himself as the serious substantial leader who’s totally focussed on getting us out of the problems which are 'world problems’ (which of course started in America), by continuing to borrow to stimulate the economy….We’ll need to work hard in getting the message out about Labour’s record and why this made us less prepared for the downturn, but hopefully the new CCHQ campaign will make a start. As for the GE, although it may not be until 2010, maybe we’ll need to be ready anytime.

THe more the Conservatives skewer Brown over the economic disaster he has created by his policies the more they have an excuse for their own dithering when first taking office.....Brown has simply played politics with the economy for personal tactical advantage.

Brown is tactical but not strategic and he has done to Britain what Erich Honecker did to East Germany, and people feel it. So it is time to name The Guilty Men and to use the Taxpayer Alliance worksheets to show Brown has sold future generations into the workhouse as he enjoys a gilt-edged pension

I agree with Mmalcolm Dunn, this is a very good thread.

David Belchamber @ 9.43 -'Brown's record is so patently flawed it only needs a critical in-depth analysis by the conservatives to blow it out of the water.'

If only it was that simple David. First, who would understand a 'critical in-depth analysis'? The public wouldn't, even politically aware members of the public find the present economic situation complicated. The 'man on the street' mostly, doesn't understand politics letalone economics, doesn't want to understand, and despises politicians!!

pp @ 10.01 I like your whole comment - both paragraphs, the first paragraph, because as you say the conservatives are NOT in power, so everything they say is theoretical. And the second paragraph - which I think you are quoting?, puts the problem in EVERYDAY LANGUAGE - and thats what we need to do. Everybody (who speaks English!) can understand that.

Cleethorpes Rock @ 13.19 'Brown has already ruled out a GE in 2009, speaking on the Jeremy Vine Show yesterday.'

Brown is calculating and politically expedient above everything else, and it seems above straightforwardness (I won't say above being truthful), so with that in mind as any psychiatrist would say - it WILL be 2009!

I do think that the problem of the media is greater than many people are aware of. I also think that a lot of left-leaning people like 'luvvies' probably can't bring themselves to believe that one of 'their own' could be so dishonest, and apparently so clueless about aspects of the job that he had been occupied with for over ten years.

Tony Blair was such a good salesman, and Peter Mandelson a very good wheeler/dealer, that very few got any inkling of the true nature of Gordon Brown, until over the last year. Too late!

And to add someting, having read TomTom's comment (although what I say may not quite be his point), of course Labour create a client State with people dependent on help from the Big (seemingly) Benevolent State. This means one of Labour's tactics will be to scare voters about a Tory govt taking all this State help away, destroying services etc. But it also means socialism needs high levels of poverty to justify its continuation in power. It needs people to be dependent on the State, and who thus can be depended on to keep socialists in power. What's the morality of that? Only we (IDS's work) have a proper strategy against poverty.

If Labour do (extremely unmeritedly) move ahead in some of the polls, we can take some comfort in the fact that the last Brown Bounce didn't last forever, and also Margaret Thatcher was in the same boat throughout much of 1978 and Ted Heath in 1970.
It would not indicate we will lose - after all, McCain led Obama in the USA polls for quite a while earlier this year.

I've said this before, and now is a good time to say it again. If you really get the magnifying glass out on the opinion polls, both when we had a huge lead and now, there are a few interesting things that come out.

First, the big change in the headline figures is not reflected in the raw voting intention data. That has changed far less dramatically.

The big source of our apparently vanishing lead is in the issue of certainty to vote. What has gone up for Labour is the perceived liklihood that people who say they will vote Labour actually will get out and vote. There is also some evidence that liklihood to vote among Labour voters is highest in their safe seats.

Two things come out of this. The first is a reasonable suspicion that we are doing better in the Labour marginals than the overall headline opinion poll results suggest. Remember, if we have any kind of performance better than last time in say the first 100 target seats, then that is a waterfall of seats to us.

The second is that Labour know just how fickle their certainty to vote figures are. Will they risk something like bad winter weather? I doubt it, but on balance we would certainly like them to!

My point is

we never really had the huge lead that we appeared to have

the real decline in our support is nothing like the change in our headline polling figures

winning an election is a tough job, yes - a white knuckle ride, but also winning is fully consistent with where we are now.

January could be very good for us (February or March, too).

I really hope we get the chance. But will Gordon dare to try? Courage is not his strong suit, that's for sure, and he knows all about what I have written above, too.

We are about to be stitched up.

And we need to broadcast the message loud and clear that for the sake of Gordon Brown, for the sole benefit of the Labour party, for self-serving purely politically motivated short and medium term gain our country is about to be subjected to not just one but two recessions.

Orchestrated, masterminded, by our own Prime Minister the safe and prudent Gordon Brown:

The man who promised an end to boom and bust.

The same man who will deliberately engineer boom and bust this Monday. Gambling with money that we don't have he will pay out the illusion of winnings in the short term and then, having told us not to save and to spend, spend, spend, he will tax us for the money that never existed expecting us to pay with money that no longer exists.

Except, like Macavity the mystery cat, he won't be there. When the time for payback comes the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in utter contempt for the United Kingdom, knows that the Conservative party will be in government and he will have gifted the 2010 recession which will be driven by the absolute necessity to tax every taxpayer left standing to horizontal in order to hold off the bailiffs descending from Dubai and all points east.

Robert Peston tells us that he's betting on VAT vaulting to 22.5% come payback time. Robert knows, people tell him things, it's a BBC thing.

This Monday is time to tell the British electorate EXACTLY what Gordon is doing and to let the electorate make up its own mind about WHY. With a few explicitly highlighted signposts in the right direction.

The election wont be held until the last possible moment. He didnt risk it with a heavy lead in the polls and momentum, so why would he risk it now when behind and Britain entering the worst recession since the 70s?

Its Not Going To Happen.

"Sean Fear - I know thats why I used the word 'tending'. I never said it was universal merely its a tendency. The word 'strawman' comes to mind. "

Three out of four recent general elections (the other being the US) suggests they aren't "tending" to move left.

Another lot of nonsense by Montgomerie. Poll out tonight giving Conservatives a eleven point lead. Thought you would have been talking the party up now its taken a right turn as you wished it would.

I see Jack Stone the UKIP troll is back. Haven't you got someone to sue?

I believe that Gordon Brown is a very lonely man. After the bottled election and the abortive leadership challenges he has no friends. He even chose to bring back Mandleson so that he had someone to speak to. I think it is noteworthy how little his Cabinet colleagues speak of him.

Gordon Brown is therefore lonely, feeling unloved, and still really hates 'Tories'. Such a man will decide when to go for a General Election based mostly on his personal convictions, rather than mere facts.

I reckon he will go for an election whenever he thinks he can beat 'the Tories' and punish his critics. If he leaves it until the last minute and believes he cannot win, he'll probably resign rather than stand for re-election.

Brown has an exit strategy in place, and winning an election and pretending to act as a government in Britain for another five years is not part of it.

He is sold out to the supranational movement - where he is treated as a demigod who can persuade the Americans to permit the IMF to oversee their economic management. Only in dreams of one world government, from where Lenin can finally hold sway, can Brown see his final political resting place.

Being British Prime Minister is a stepping stone to the true goal of exercising non-democratic power unchallenged by any election in a position of authority over the world. Strauss-Kahn is quaking in his boots.


Isn't there a danger in the Conservatives just saying what we want to hear? Why can't a politician present us some more straightforward dilemmas?


Do you think the Conservatives need to be careful not to be seen 'talking down' the country? http://www.matthewtaylorsblog.com/politics/the-effect-on-national-mood-and-character-in-a-downturn/

RichardJ. Grow UP!!!

Not a single one of those reasons is an Cameroon policy idea to make Britain better.

Is being 'not Brown' the only strategy now?

On previous occasions GB£ I've listed reasons why Britain would be better off with a Conservative government, eg here:


This list was about why we would be likely to win (although reason 10 tried to cover the fact we have a worthwhile agenda).

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