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I absolutely believe this to be true. The rest of the country realise that when times get tough, you cut spending and make cuts where you can. It is what generations of parents have taught their children. No reason at all the government should not be doing the same thing.

But I thought this was our policy - maybe it needs to spelt out more clearly and in a simple message style

I think the mood has changed but we need to be wary of how we propose to reduce spending. Questions in polls on spending and tax can be misleading. People make all sorts of assumptions when answering but we also know that confronted with a school or hospital closing in their area, they are equally if not more animated by that issue. I think we need to point to non-essential areas that Labour are committed to and say we will remove those so that we can protect key frontline services and reduce the debt and seek to reduce the burden of tax.

I think this is pretty obvious, given that every voter in the country is combing through their standing orders, direct debits and receipts. Why shouldn't government do the same?

I would also suggest we propose a pay freeze on senior public sector workers (anyone on £70,000 pa or more), starting with MPs and their perks. Our party would then be seen to be leading from the front on "belt-tightening".

We're all guessing but some of our guesses have to be true for WE represent sections of society and are voters.

Okay, so anyone could have told them if you ask the man in the street is he happy government is spending so much money, he'll say "not likely". Furthermore, he'll rattle off at least 3 things he doesn't want the government spending his money on and then rattle off another three things which the man in the street would say 'should be done'.

Since I'm a man in the street, here's mine.



PROMISE - AN INDEPENDENT LIST OF CUTS ON ALL GOVERNMENT SPENDING and add the savings up to come up with a figure like the LibDems £20 billion.

Then, say that the way to generate spending of REAL money as opposed to relying on people ( and the poor ), to bail out government waste, is to give them more real money in their pockets in the form of a tax cut...i.e. REVERSE the government's pathetic 10% tax rise for the lower paid which make up a third of all voters !!!

Then tell them how you'll pay for that by reversing the Vat Trick Brown thought he'd pulled off !

Next on your list is stop saying it was the housing bubble which caused this crash when it wasn't. To do this is blaming the people for having assets and undermining the confidence we should be exuding!

Build more houses, control speculation in the housing market, influence the puchasing of homes by switching stamp duty to the seller, and for god's sake get rid of those stupid home information packs !

That's it from this man in the street until the General Election when I want to hear WTF you are doing about EUROPE and my democracy.

I am surprised it is that marked but it certainly shows that CCHQ is being over-cautious.

My only caveat is that that is an abstract question and Labour will put much more specific questions about cuts before the public. However, explicitly promising that not a single doctor nurse teacher or policeman will lose their job should blunt that criticism, whilst allowing considerable room for manoeuvre.

So it takes a ComRes poll actually to get through to people what many of us have been saying for a very long time here and elsewhere. But there's little sign that the party hierarchy really believe in a course of action that involves substantial reduction in state expenditure, leading to a general lowering of taxes as and when it can be done. Scrapping of some 'big coupon' sacred cows like ID cards and NHS national computer schemes would raise little opposition and in many quarters enthusiastic approval.

Gordon Brown has so comprehensively wrecked the joint that the cuts are inescapable while lower taxes may be delayed.

It'sa policy that for a long time has been popular with about half the electorate but - as Tim points out - that concept has become mainstream. But Cameron and Osborne lag behind, trying to be all things to all men.

Nobody is talking of closing hospitals and schools (MG at 0928) but ridding ourselves of highly-paid administrators of this that and the other crazy and completely unnecessary tasks (things like 'multicultural solidarity" with salaries of £30k upwards - see Guardian jobs!) .

A complete cultural change is needed in Whitehall and in Town Halls (in the latter the permanent staff are ones doing the ruling quite often as Hammersmith has demonstrated) . State pensions must be aligned at once with private sector pensions starting at a standard age for both - 66 at once moving to 66.5 and 67 in two years.

If Cameron really wants to be sure of winning handsomely he should also tackle the running sore of the EU which costs us a small fortune each year. My personal belief is that to move by stages, incrementally through a referendum on Lisbon to restructuring our whole relationship with the EU (with the threat of withdrawal of course] would carry the people with us/

Then he could shed all his beliefs in the false, crippling religion of Climate Change. This is crazy and the public know it's crazy. It will ruin us otherwise.

But this ComRes poll points above all to the Tory Potential and the gap between actual and potential which is the Tory Achilles heel.

Spectacular isn't it? Don't you at Tory HQ find?
The Indie. poll tells you that you must promise to put more money back into the pockets of the voter so they can choose what to do with it absolutely NOT follow the nuLab. lead of ludicrous public spending with non-existent money borrowed from ME.
Amazing huh!!? That's exactly what we grass roots Tory voters have been telling you 'leaders' for the last 10 years. Which is why you are only a few points ahead of the most incompetent and corrupt goverment in Britain's history. Are you going to wake up NOW???

When it comes to it you will not be able to convince people in a general election campaign that spending cuts doesn`t mean cuts in front line services. The party have tried this before and have failed.
The way to a general election victory is to come up with policys that convince people that you can manage public services better and to appeal to there better side of caring and compassion and not try to appeal to the basic selfishness of people that is tax cuts.

The message is clear, but do the Tories understand it? All we had recently from Mr. Cameron was a promise to freeze council tax for 2 years- when we want it reduced!

As said above, MPs should be leading, not following, and even a token cut in their pay and perks would create a good impression. I also go along with comments about the EU and the climate change propaganda. Relying on those wretched windmills would be a disaster

Although I think that it's encouraging to see people effectively backing policy, I would warn against using the results of just one poll. How a question is worded is very important. If you asked "would you support Tory plans to close hospitals and schools" obviously the response would be negative, so don't go on about taking an axe to spending with a general approach.

As Mike Smithson says:

I’d like to see these points tested by other pollsters in slightly different ways before coming to what seems the logical conclusion that the Tory strategies are much more voter friendly that the Labour ones.

Chances are that we have now a conservative floor of around 38/39% most of whom are committed to vote. Labour on the other hand seems to have achieved a potential ceiling of around the same figure but with the problem that their supporters' voting intention is much weaker than Tory voters.

Unless Brown and Darling can very quickly engineer the most amazing turnaround in the economy (and how likely is that?), there will be a change in Government sometime over the next 18 months.

Rather than 'softening' the Labour attack, there is an attack front to be used against them.

1. How many more higher paid civil service jobs are there now? % of workforce AND adjusted to 1997 prices.

That will show that Labour have just bloated 'management grades'. We all know that some of the job titles are frankly ridiculous and worthy of going on an attack poster.

2. Brown's previous promises to cut the civil service headcount in 2005. What happened there?

3. A Tory commitment not to cut any front-line staff jobs, they are ring-fenced and safe.

This puts paid to Michael Portillo's misgivings about fighting on an agenda of cuts. People have paid the money and seen little in return. They now face significant financial worry. With syllogistic inevitability, they will respond to a message of restraint in government expenditure. The point will be - how to put this across in such a way that the BEEB will not be able to caricature it. One of my fellow contributors has suggested focusing on ID cards. Excellent. And what about that ludicrous NHS database, too? And what about a bonfire of the quangos - promised (of course) by "New" Labour all those years ago. There is plenty of room for a determined and imaginative reduction in the scale of government. It could be massively popular.

Whilst I'm on a rant today, could 'someone', bother their backside to tell this nation that IT and not the french will be making our nuclear power plants, IT will be levying the costs of energy, and IT will be raking in the profits to this country.

I hear it requires an investment of £12 billion and surprisingly, I can find £12 billion of waste already in the VAT reduction for ONE YEAR !

It is utter madness not to revoke this ludicrous wasteful cut, to get the French to rake in profit from our people, and for them to seek French engineers and French staff to build OUR nuclear power plants !

What do we have to do to get through, make another party with a British agenda or can we Conservatives do it ?

I see a lot of scared-bunnies above. For heavens sake the party must show some guts and have a vision. They look just like "scared-bunnies" too caught in the headlights - afraid to say anything interesting or inspiring for fear of offending some socialist somewhere.

I ignore Jack Stone as a matter of principle - he was a socialist a couple of years ago and I don't suppose he's changed his beliefs that much.

But protesting "front-line staff jobs" ??? WHO defines a front-line staff job ? It'll be yet another administrator churning out bumf for Head Teachers who get so much they can't teach any more a`nd such posts are n ow difficult to fiull!

Isn't this just natural Conservative thinking?

Why on earth does it take a recession for people to be thinking in these terms - our money should be wisely spent at all times, not just now.

Is it possible that the political class are now so removed from normal life that they simply can't relate to such simply measures?

We are governed, or could be governed, by people, on the whole, who have no real life experiences other than politics or high flying jobs - that too must change...and for all their talents, "A" listers won't naturally fill such wide gaps across the political spectrum.

The country is crying out for moral courage, high principles and a level of compassion to those that fall on hard times through no fault of their own - CCHQ, the nation awaits.

Speight and Huxley are UKIP supporters.

The message for the Euro elections should be:

* we will get an EU rebate
* we will renegotiate our position within Europe if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified (William Hague, Birmingham 08)
* we will stop 80% of our laws emanating from the EU
* we will withdraw from CAP as this costs every family in the UK £2,500pa in dearer food
* we are the Eurosceptic party, we do not have to leave to prove that

The message for the county elections:

* freeze on council tax for 2 years
* freeze on public sector pay for anyone earning over £40k
* freeze on CEO's pay and bonuses
* freeze on public sector jobs
* cull of non-jobs such as PR, diversity and race relations advisors
* no cuts in services
* get rid of elected mayors, cost of office, etc for local authorities - no more paid roles

Messages for a General Election

* no cuts in services
* freeze on public sector pay above £40k
* tax cuts, flat tax, freeze on council tax
* cut in non-jobs in government PR, diversity and race relations advisors
* cut non-jobs in the NHS, increase doctors and nurses
* overhaul of the welfare system, everyone has to work, welfare is not a lifestyle choice
* simple messages on Broken Society and to fix it


I agree with number three as below.

3. A Tory commitment not to cut any front-line staff jobs, they are ring-fenced and safe.

For the rest, it's simple, there should be a weekly requirement of 40 hours or so work for each person employed in the bloated public sector. Take away sickness and holidays and work on an efficiency rate of say 75% for each department.

If the headcount is above that required by your work requirement data, then you produce a scorecard matrix for skill levels and attributes, assess all staff and reduce numbers accordingly.

That's exactly what is happening across the private sector right now.

"The message is clear,"Posted by: Edward Huxley | December 23, 2008 at 11:03

The problem is that the message might be clear but the problem, government spending, is not at all clear. Labour have milked this shamelessly with concocted calculations of the number of nurses increasing or decreasing etc and the fundemental point is that over years they have been allowed to get away with it enshrining it in Britian's recent politics.

This is not a technical problem of the number of administrators (most of the higher paid being professionls such as nurses or teachers) it is a general perception by voters at the start of any debate - put simply the line is that the Tories, during the 18 years, cut the public services and any talk of government economies by the Tories means cuts again.

The sillyness of all this is that, during the 18 years, the Tories substantially increased all public services. If everybody recognised this any Tory discussion of government economies would be treated seriously and be easier to sell.

The plain truth is the Conservative Party is run by the enemy. If you want sensible fiscal policies then get rid of Letwin and Osborne and you are half way there. Put in someone with City and International experience such as Lindsay Jenkins and you will walk the election. I do not believe Cameron has the brains or the balls to be Prime Minister and deal with the total ******* **** of a mess the Fabians have given to us as the final legacy. Wake up you silly foolish people - your currency has been issued with a Fabian message - LOOK! We have smashed the country and the currency! And they have the audacity to proclaim it on all your new coinage and they can do this because none of you "get it".

Message to George Osborne and to David Cameron:

Take a tip from this bloke !


It really is so blindingly obviously right for a country to bear down on all unnecessary spending (and also some that is desirable but not necessary) in times of recession, as long as any such statement is counterbalanced by something along the lines suggested by Jonathan at 10.09:

"However, explicitly promising that not a single doctor nurse teacher or policeman will lose their job should blunt that criticism, whilst allowing considerable room for manoeuvre".

The conservative front bench has got to show more determination in getting such a message across to the public at large. It will need a concerted effort in the New Year.

They need to learn two or three punchy messages, something Labour is very good at doing, and another one should be the simple truth that Brown was personally largely responsible for our current mess, when he was chancellor.

Just a matter of time for our message to get through. The news agenda has been too crowded for Conservative comment in recent weeks - but this proves in Brown called a spring election we could still win the arguments!

The public back tory policy, they back the Conservatives - they just need to be reminded of that.

Eurofighter list several aims for the Tories` Euro election policy, including a rebate, renegotiating our position on Europe, stopping 80% of our laws emanating from Brussels and withdrawing from the CAP.

Only problem; there is not the slightest chance of Brussels agreeing to a single one of them. And what then, BETTER OFF OUT.

When the country assesses this policy more closely rather than the lilly-livered, no detail drivel that Cameron spouts this will be treated with the contempt it deserves.

I mean saying lower public spending, but where? Lower taxes, but where? The Cons are treating the public as idiots and have given up their right to bang on about 'Broken Britian' when under them they will be taking money away from schemes and services that tackle the problem.

A credable party for government? I shudder at the thought!

If the list proposed by Eurofighter was official Tory policy and there was confidence that an incoming Tory government would implement such an agenda (together with enhanced spending on defence and a new civil nuclear programme) then there would be little need for UKIP.

But unfortunately there is about as much chance of the Cameroons committing to this as there is of finding blue cheese on the moon.

So I am just about to post my cheque to the UKIP treasurer (Marta Andreasen - Remember her? She is the former EU Chief Accountant sacked by Commissioner Kinnock for refusing tom agree the bent EU accounts) for the UKIP election fighting fund.

All you have to do to kill off UKIP, my Tory friends, as to replace your leadership with those who truly reflect the views of most of you.

Yes, David at Home. If only Eurofighter`s list could be adopted by the Tories (and it would need some crystal clear wording to prevent any backsliding)UKIP could pack up and we could all join, or rejoin, the Tories. Unfortunately Messrs Cameron,Hague and co. are determined to stay in the EU. come what may. so the choice at the moment is either New Labour or Blue Labour. Very little difference.

I`m also sending a cheque to Marta Andreasen

The Tories should promise to cut all unecessary public expenditure. There are whole departments I've no doubt you could live without. Give the electorate the choice - low public sector expenditure, low taxes, or higher taxes and a larger public sector.

Tory policy is very vague. The person in the street has no idea what the Tories stand for. This needs to change.

Posted by: David_at_Home | December 23, 2008 at 13:14

We're like Yanky drivers who've been asked to step out of the car to do a line walk to prove we're not over the limit.

If we fall off, we're drunk like UKIP, and if we don't then we're back in the car to smash into the next available lamppost on the next political bend because we forgot to turn on the ignition and left the steering lock on!


An International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist has criticised the UK's 2.5-percentage-point cut in spending taxes.

Olivier Blanchard, the IMF's chief economist, said that the temporary cut in VAT would not significantly influence shoppers' behaviour.

Eurofighter (strange bit of anonymity) at 1158- I am emphatically NOT a a UKIP supporter and I have made it repeatedly clear on my lists and here on this blog that I think that UKIP is a corrupt disaster which has been the main reason that the Tory has been so ambivalent about the EU and has consequently betrayed our country. I wonder where our anonymous friend got that whacky idea from Unless the Party wakes itself up over Europe I can't vote for them in the euroelections - purely tacrtically I will vote for UKIP or the BNP whicjever causes the most alarm.

I was a member up till 2000 but left in disgust along with about half its then membership SO A WITHRAWAL OF THAT UNTRUTH PLEASE!

What I want is a Tory party with a thoroughly radical approach to Europe starting with an immediate referendum on Lisbon and going on (backed by the threat of withdrawal - the threat will be enough) to a total renegotiation of Britain's relationship with the rest. Not very different from what he said at 11598!

And to Edward Huxley - who I like very much but don't often agree with despite what HIM at 1158 thinks! - I can only say you're wrong. To talk total withdrawal would lose us votes here and in any case is not right for Britain. We have to share a place in Europe with the rest and a semi-detached stance is the right one. (see Switzeland especially) I beleve that a 2-speed Europe would benefit the whole continent and would stop this silly infighting here. I don't think we'd be alone

This thread was originally about spending restraint, so I'll comment on that first. Restraint is the new zeitgeist - on Government & Personal finances. Regardless of what Spendy Spice at #10 wants.
He who tunes in wins. Are you listening Messrs Cameron & Osborne?

Secondly, on the EU. We continue to have some strangely stubborn MP's who want to hand over even more sovereignty to faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels.

So, let's be democratic. Have the referendum on the Constitution or 'Treaty'. I know who will win.

Then let's return to the 'in Europe but not run by Europe'. And any change to the rules WE create can only be altered after a referendum.

I did not know Speight was UKUP!
Government spending could be slashed radically and front line services need not be affected.

Take the Mod (please do, no one else wants it!), it lists 96,000 civil servants on its pay roll. We only have about that many soldiers. Many of the civil servants are emplyed doing jobs that ex servicemen could do at a saving on pay and pensions. Many posts could be abolished too since servicemen work much harder and more effectively as a rule.
A third factor is that a considerable number of MOD civil servants are employed to find answers and arguments for the Treasury who in turn employ legions to prevent the Services using money to get equipped and remunerated to function properly- hence the shameful debacle in Basra, caused by undermanning and indifferent equipment compounding the Pentagon's "shock and awe" approach showing little learned since Vietnam.

Keep your powder dry. Labour Ministers are so redundant of ideas, they are begging to know our policies on cutting waste. Hence their present mantra, 'the do nothing party'.

I am sure the research experts in our Party will have identified several areas that will contribute towards cost savings thereby avoiding tax rises.

Labour are resigned to raising taxes because of their breath taking borrowing requirements that defy logic.

The electorate will deliver their verdict soon enough.

Some ideas for tax cuts. Off the top of my head:

1. Investigate the plethora of Quango's. Value for money? Really needed? If not. Closed.

2. Public Sector Headcount freeze. As they retire/resign, they are not replaced (extra 1 million over past decade so there's plenty of redundant capacity)

3. An end to Brown's Tax Credit fiasco. Leaks Billions every year. Closed. Any tax credit type benefit handled by Inland Revenue.

4. An end to expensive foreign wars.

5. Abolish TV license fee. Make the lefties at the BBC compete with ITV/Sky et al.

6. An end to the pointless Windfarm subsidies. Build Coal fired stations NOW!

The Labour Party's policy on tax, spend and borrowing is extremely silly, and we have a better one.
The findings of this survey therefore are very encouraging - and indicates that we must really hammer home our message to the people, now that our line on the economy has been sharpened up.

" Public sector Restraint "???

Public sector cuts with a tax incentive for the working man/woman and the Tories would race away

May I make some suggestions for slogans for the next election?


THE CHOICE IS SPENDOHOLICISM WITH HIM (picture of Gordon Brown throwing money onto a fire whilst smiling) OR LIVING WITHIN OUR MEANS - VOTE CONSERVATIVE.

This poll tells me that is the message we need to hammer home.

John Prendergast I like your ideas on the civil service.

John Prendergast at 1523 - I've never made any secret that I was in UKIP for about 3 years and left in disgust more than 8 years ago , I was there when there was everything to play for and when it was a principled and honest party.

But after the first successes in the Euro elections the party was hijacked with the aid of ballot-rigging and I left along with nearly half the membership. Someone calculated the other day that for every UKIP member there are between 3 an 4 ex-members. Since I left there have been endless sackings, crises and actual illegalities. I'm well out of it. The way to sort out THAT mess is through the Tory Party - there's no other way.

A vote for UKIP is a vote for Labour and the LibDems - there's only one party that can oust Labour from office and that is the Conservatives. People are realising that which explains why the LibDems and UKIP are not benefitting from Labour's incompetence.

"Tory lead would increase to 17% if spending restraint became the issue"...

In other news; The Pope is a Catholic.

Sounds easy doesn't it. Look, ask people if they want lower taxes, they will say yes, ask them if its important to have a properly funded NHS, they will say yes, all of it please. Cut taxes and public spending and make people redundant, fine do that, but don't be so foolish as to think it will make you popular.

Votedave. My Conservative friends used to urge me to vote Tory "to get Labour out". They have so far failed to see that even if the Party wins the next election which is by no means certain it will make little difference and eventually all our laws will be made by Brussels, instead of ONLY 80% as at present.

I think Christina knows that UKIP contains many honest true patriots who just want to stop our country going down the Eurodrain. All we get from Mr. Cameron is the repetition of "we will not leave it there" when pressed about a referendum. And his MEPs are still in the federalist EPP!

This isn't surprising. Conservatives should not be afraid of being the nasty party. Millions are yearning for a party that will take a firm line on spending, tax, immigration, Europe and crime. Tories should not fear 'another Howard-style defeat' but recognise that the mood has changed.

I am unable to understand this post. But well some points are useful for me.

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