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It is a start. He needs to keep this up, but he needs a heavy hitter on the economy. Leave Osbourne where he is but persuade Clarke, Lamont or Lawson to become the spokesman on financial matters. Like Hague in 97, Osbourne is "too early" and aother 10 years will mature him nicely.

Labour rarely wheels out Darling. Yvette Cooper does a lot of Labour's treasury interviews. Why not do the same?

Hawkeye is spot on; bringing on someone to provide specific rebuttal in a focused way is one way of massaging the transition between Osborne, who is not coming across as he should, and a much strong Tory message. This is a debate they need to nail down, and fast.

"This is a debate they need to nail down, and fast."

As could be seen by the response of the audience in Any Questions to Teresa May's fumbling and bumbling answers on the economy, and on Question Time where Dame Pauline Neville-Jones was equally at a loss to know how to argue the points. This is all the result of the failure of the Shadow Treasury team to lead on the issue or to establish a clear line of attack (other than useless housing analogies) with the result the rest of the MP's don't have any theme to their attack against Labour's mishandling of the economy, or able to come up with any supporting data to put before the public.

According to Gold Radio's news at 11 (not a perfect source I know), the government are borrowing 15 billion to cut taxes with........

I can't find owt on the BBC, so I'd take that with a pinch of salt for now....

How right Iain is at 11.39:

"This is all the result of the failure of the Shadow Treasury team to lead on the issue or to establish a clear line of attack (other than useless housing analogies) with the result the rest of the MP's don't have any theme to their attack against Labour's mishandling of the economy, or able to come up with any supporting data to put before the public".

I suspect that many of us have argued - or even written down - a narrative for the shadow treasury team, starting with a correction of all Brown's dodgy facts. I haven't seen it but apparently CNN carries out a fact-find during a political debate, so, if that happened here, Gordon Brown would be shot down before he started.

Edmund Conway pointed out in the Telegraph Property Section yesterday that "Had the BoE pushed interest rates that little bit higher when house proces were rising, it could have prevented our housing market from becoming among the most overvalued in the Western world, thus ensuring that the bust would not be as painful".

He also added: "It (the BoE) was restrained from doing so by the fact that it is explicitly supposed to target inflation - specifically, an inflation measure (the CPI) which does not even include house prices".

A comparison between regulatory practices in Spain and this country would reveal that a bank like Santander has been able to gobble up three of our failing institutions and grow to being the fifth largest bank in the world (from having been a small regional bank 20 years ago) without resorting to buying the sort of toxic rubbish all our banks appear to have indulged in.

Santander's chief executive has said: "In the current environment when many of our competitors are returning to traditional banking, we have the advantage of never having departed from it".

Why has Mr Brown's regulatory system failed this country so badly and why is the taxpayer having to pay so dearly for his mistakes? Also, why has the opposition not exposed all of this?

After all,Brown started fouling up in 1997.

Still nowt on the BBC, but ITN are going with it http://itn.co.uk/news/9cb6cd4caa47725ae0de8c4f4422d432.html

what you talking about Comstock? ... it's the main story on the BBC News Politics Page

Is there ANY inflation measure in use which includes House Prices?

How about condemnation of the fact that our pension funds are still being taxed. It should be stressed that this is an outrage that the Tories would rectify. It is doubly galling when politians benefit from an impossibly good pension themselves. 'Impossible' because 1, the country can't afford it, and the other gold plated public pensions and 2,it would be impossible for a private sector worker in a with the same salary to build up a similar pension pot.

A lot of the drivers to the succesful management of this crisis in the UK sphere will not be found in the Treasury, but will be found in BERR and Local Govt.
You will need very good people there who can identify the wastage of the millions poured in, communicate that wastage so that the political and local will emerges to tackle it, and lastly produce realistic (as opposed to sound-bite driven) solutions to either make those millions work or claw them back for redployment.
Under Gordon, the Treasury has become a dark tower which imposes its fiat nilly-willy over every Govt Dept, riding roughshod. Freeing up creativity in the real business world will pay better dividends than getting technical with fiscal rules.

Agree with Iain @11.39. Why are our best bats not representing the party on Question Time and Any Questions. Pauline Nevile -Jones was average but she was shown up by Brian Eno of all people, who hammered Straw. Theresa May was a little better than usual but still allowed Benn to get away with the outrageous lie that our debts are lower than the average of our competitors. We've got to do better than this!

Malcolm, it is mostly the same old small collection of party faces on both QT & And Questions. I wish we had as much variety from the Westminster guests as we do from the media etc.

I have always believed until recently, that the political parties choose who goes on the programme to represent them. Then I read somewhere that it was in fact the QT team who choose who they invite on?

Would appreciate anyone being able to correct or confirm my impression of this?

When Nigel Farage was bumped recently it became obvious in the commentary that followed that the BBC invite guests onto Question Time (although I am not sure what influence the party has in offering guests)

Maxing out credit cards - fixing dodgy plumbing. Why the dumbing down? Can we no longer speak in grown up language to the electorate.

Maybe I'm too optimistic - it just feels a bit American - joe plumber and hockey moms..

Hawkeye asked, "Labour rarely wheels out Darling. Yvette Cooper does a lot of Labour's treasury interviews. Why not do the same?"

Because we aren't that arrogant. The Chancellor/Shadow Chancellor should be accountable to the electorate and the media for the economic policy. Scrutiny is essential in democracy. The way to sound like we are good for the economy is to be good for the economy.

An excellent start.

Northern Tory - I think it is important that message is expressed in as many ways as is required to reach the maximum number of people. Same message, different language for different audiences.

Billions, Trillions, Millions, GDP, PFI -- only make sense if you have a suitable point of reference, which most people don't have. However - most people know that if you keep maxing out credit card after credit card then the day of reconing will just be all the worse. The parallel is easy to see.

I also think it is important that all messages are broadcast in all 'lanugages' so it becomes accepted as the norm, rather than occasional flurries being unexpected and possibly grating with some.

Identifying gordon as the kind of person who 'bigs it up' on credit, leaving others (the tax payer) to foot the bill is accurate, and easily understandble to all (even if some don't like the language :-) ).


RPI includes mortgage payments, and GDP deflator may include housing as well.

"Maxing out credit cards - fixing dodgy plumbing. Why the dumbing down? Can we no longer speak in grown up language to the electorate"

This is exactly what I thought. When the country is looking for a mature narrative, CCHQ (and this has Osborne's fingerprints all over it imho) just can't stop trying to coming up with yet another slogan.

In Osborne's piece in the Telegraph a week or so ago he attacked Brown for being nothing but slogans, but it took a good two paragraphs to wade through Osborne's own slogans to get to the point of the article.

Seeing Liam Fox parroting the latest maxed out was just embarrassing in its 6th-form style.

Northern Tory and GB£ (and any one else who doesn't care for the phrase).

What don't you like about it?

Is it the phrase itself? or is it seeing men in suits with plumby accents using it? or what?

Genuinely interested...


At this moment, I think reassurance will come from a solid, serious narrative, completely free of slogans.

Slogans just scream 'party political point scoring' imho which projects an image of the party more concerned about its own gain than the public's pain.

It is possible to explain your ideas simply, to highlight government weakness and your strengths in a few chosen words (because of imited tv time etc) that do not look like the result of a Blue Peter type pick a slogan competition.

I understand the attempt at framing that is going on here, but I think the Tories need to drop the idea of finding the 'right slogan' and to just explain things clearly.

Response to PP- Personally, I think it comes across as condescending - I know economic policy is complicated (and for the majority not very exciting) but do we really have to have Janet & John..

Then again the whole American election was framed in this type of debate - sad day for our democracy when we are reduced to buzzwords and childish analogy. I'm sure some focus group said this is the language that the electorate will respond to.

And yes, I do have a chip on my shoulder about our complete front bench looking as if it comes from a well heeled public school, as it makes my job very hard (selling the Conservative party to deprived communities in the North East).

Rant over :-)

"What don't you like about it?"

The fact that its sloppy politics and dumbing down the debate, and as a result you feel the people using it are doing so because they don't really understand the subject they are speaking on.

Eg isn't it a much more devastating to put this argument before the public that.. in 1997 we covered most of our borrowing needs from savings, now we are dependent on something like £700 billion from the international credit markets to help fund our mortgages and consumption which is why we are so exposed to the credit crunch...and then go on to explain Gordon Browns role in trashing pensions and savings which has brought us to this position. This nails the problem to Gordon Brown's door, where as airy fairy slogans don't and doesn't show you have a detailed grasp of the subject.

On logging on today, i was delighted to see I was listed as having comment of the day...until I read said commnet.

Is it not possible to set up accounts and prevent previously used pseudonyms being taken by others. Having previously made comment as Northern tory I wish to point out that the comment above was not made by me.

GB, Northern and Iain -- you guys clearly already understand the issues and don't need it spelt out - but there are clearly people who who have access to all the same info as youselves but still don't get it.

Surely a fresh approach to getting through to them is a good thing?

If people like Mandleson can say "I never discussed EU tarrifs", but then say that by 'never' he meant 'not while in corfu', it seems every word used can reduce the clarity of meaning of a politicians message by an order of magnitude!

"Surely a fresh approach to getting through to them is a good thing?"

I think a lot of people do get it, if not would get if treated as adults and had an adult argument put to them, and even if they didn't get it, you would at least get credit for showing you had a grasp of the detail, where as a dumb slogan cannot be anything other than a dumb slogan.

Apologies to Northern Tory1 - I am glad there is more than one of us fighting the good fight!

Simple English is the best English. Cameron's plain speaking should be welcomed. He often speaks and writes English plainly and clearly. Maxing out credit cards & fixing dodgy plumbing offer images everyone can understand. Cameron is skilled at figurative language, unlike many other politicians. He must have read George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" essay. Good on him.

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