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The Telegraph continues to morph into a left of left rag. Not worth the trees sacrificed.

"In defence of the Tory frontbench, the extent of the economic mess which needs to be sorted out will not be clear until day one of a Cameron Government when George Osborne is given the key to 11 Downing Street and he gets to look at the books for himself".

With all due respect, Jonathan, although what you say is true, it just will not suffice. The electorate has a right to know whether or not the conservatives have an answer for the problem that is there for all to see - now. How does the government get the banks lending again?

As Liam Halligan points out, GO is "content just to throw darts at Labour and score political points". That simply is not good enough.

As you will realise, many on ConHome just do not believe that GO is ready to become chancellor. He has not had experience in business or banking, and, as far as I know, is not an economist or accountant. Basically, he does not come over as a 'figures man'. He is a very competent and able politician but the treasury team is vital to the success of a Cameron government and not to have Fallon and Redwood in it seems to me to be absurd. They do know about these things.

I have for the last three days tried to encourage you to use John Redwood's blogs as articles for ConHome that would up the level of debate on our present economic mess. JR has confirmed that he would be happy for you to do that - and that he would serve in DC's cabinet if asked.

I would welcome John Redwood's incisive views on the economy - this would be a welcome counterbalance to Gideon Osborne's mealy-mouthed comments.
Of course, I doubt that the Leader would like this, particularly as John Redwood is an unreconstructed Conservative unconcerned by the desire of CCHQ to make the party appear "nice".

I think the party knows what needs to be done but it is difficult to articulate from the predicament of opposition. We need spending restraint and to prepare to live in an age when there will be less cheap money. In practical terms that means public spending cuts and a savings culture.

The party has the right political strategy for this moment, coupled with the right instincts to address the long term economic crisis we are likely to inherit in the next fourteen months.

Now is surely the time to deploy that parliament has not been consulted on much of the decision taken by govt.

They should also be making a pitch on what this means to our democracy (again), and what the government thinks also of our treaties with Europe which forbid such 'interference' by government in the banking industry.

They should also perhaps take a leaf out of Lord Tebbit's book and make public their intentions in that place before half the Tory supporters fathom it out themselves that nothing is going to be said but a load of eyewash.

If they haven't read his speech or indeed if they didn't attend it, then I suggest they enlighten themselves as to how to make an argument in opposition and win the hearts and minds of the British electorate.


Gids delivered 'uncomfortable truths' to fill the vacuum where a credible plan is supposed to be.

Unsurprisingly, most people don't need a politician to explain thay they are suffering, they want a politician to detail his plan to get us out of the mess.

And if the Cameroons keep coming out with the total b0llocks that they won't know the state the country is in until they are in power and 'see the books', then they must be the most uninformed people in Britain.

This line is just another dishonest attempt to provide excuses why there is no 'Grand Tory Recovery Plan'.

Still, I am sure that Gids will spend less time as Chancellor than Shadow Chancellor, so a recovery plan is emerging;

#1 Get rid of Labour
#2 Get rid of Osborne
#3 Appoint as Chancellor a Tory whose judgement during the crunch has not been as poor as Osborne's.

Given the debasement of our currency (and so theft of the value of our savings) by brown/darling - and the unfortunate acceptance of this by the tory front bench. It would have been good to see David Mundell put in his place over Scottish bank notes by his own party rather than Labour!!

As if it isn't bad enough having brown/darling corrupting our currency, allowing private scottish banks to do the same would have been a step way too far.

Worries over the phrases 'public spending cuts' and 'tax cuts' are out of date now...

Brown has redefined these - "tax cuts" are now "increased public spending on tax credits".

Given this complete volte face - why aren't brown/darling being held to account?

The fact is two public schoolboys are in charge of the Conservative Party. They have never run anything. The only thing they really know is they want to be in office. They are completely unprepared for what is going to hit them.

I think the party knows what needs to be done but it is difficult to articulate from the predicament of opposition. Wrong, no it is not difficult. It requires guts and conviction and real leadership stating clearly what needs to be done.

This speech from George Osborne should have been made about three years ago. There is little wrong with his assessment of how a Conservative government should build a sustainable future, but any optimism has been shattered by this!

For it seems that Osborne has failed to notice the plethora of initiatives - interest rate cuts which have ruined savers without achieving anything, or the massive VAT cut which has no effect at all, the first recapitalisation of the banks at astronomical cost which has not helped a jot to solve the crisis. Even now , on the very day that the whole economy is put at risk by Darling’s ruinous last throw of the dice, he doesn’t mention it all. The economy is not just “broken’ it’s in its terminal last phase before the whole nation goes bankrupt.

His speech today is a massive irrelevance. Why is nobody suggesting that major cuts in taxation AND spending would be vastly less risky than QE and would not incur the same massive debts for the future and would stimulate the whole economy. If interest rates were raised again, savers - and NEW savers - would start saving again. This despair makes everything grind to a halt while we head for the plug hole.

As I have been saying for about a year or more, if we do not make cuts voluntarily they will be forced on us in the end by the IMF AFTER we have wrecked the country. Anyone fancy that ?

When the house is on fire - as it is - and you're waiting for the fire brigade you save what you can, not sit down and discuss whether or not to go ahead with the loft extension. But veven worse the fire brigade is Osborne and he hasn’t had the 999 call yet!

He ought to have said "the government is risking the future of all of us with his insane gamble which is the last bolt he has in his locker because he's wedded to borrowing ever more to throw the money on the fire for future generations to pay back. The crashing mistakes they've made already jeopardise the welfare state and will force up taxation to pay off his debts. The public must know that life cannot be easy from now on. "

The man gets through a major speech without once mentioning the vast gamble Brown-Darling are taking with our country

There's a near terminal crisis on but he hasn't noticed. This confirrms that man should get out of politics and try and get a professorship somewhere.
He's unfit to be Shadow Chancellor much less the real one

I read Halligan's article this morning also and yes he make's some good points, particularly about politicians taking the easy route (ie QE )

However when I heard Theresa May on Any Questions ( Radio 4 ) defend QE I have to admit to some shock.

Cameron / Osborne must surely make their position clear now on QE, and if against it they must explain clearly what they would do instead

Phyllis Crash | March 08, 2009 at 11:14

What is the difference between 2 public school boys and 2 secondary school boys in this situation???

I think it is a little unreasonable to ask the Shadow Chancellor to reveal much of his plans for 12 months hence when the man currently at the helm cannot tell us what will happen in a months time and his boss, the Great Clucking Fist cannot tell us when the General Election might happen.

However much we advocates of the Redwood/Fallon/Lea/Randall analysis and its suggested solutions may welcome a sinner apparently repenting from the intellectually dishonest approach of (1) lukewarm support for Government financial measures that might work and (2) their later denunciation only when they have clearly not, this all seems to be too little, too late. It is not necessary to see the books, or to be fearful of disclosing policies and proposals too early, when we all know that what lies at the heart of the UK recession is government living beyond its means. Labour is in denial on this crucial point and an effective opposition should be explaining now exactly how it would tackle the problems, rather than simply aspire to be returned to office and only then start looking for solutions. Specifically, why we have not had some far more forceful criticism from our front bench of this week’s debasing of the currency is a mystery.

"Specifically, why we have not had some far more forceful criticism from our front bench of this week’s debasing of the currency is a mystery."

Especially when its not that hard, as has been pointed out in the Quantitative easing debate on the Centre Right discussion board. For we have the Government issuing £118 billion Gilts according to the PSBR (though its going to be a lot more) while at the very same time its buying £75 billion of Gilts in quantitative easing. Essentially they are shuffling £75 billion of Gilts between a desk in Bank of England’s to a desk in the Treasury. And when you boil it all down what you end up with is that the Government are printing £75 billion of funny money to pay Government bills.

David Cooper and Eveleigh must - if they've read the whole speech - have seen that it is a very sound academic exercise about what Osborne as Chancellor would have done if he'd taken over the Exchequer 3 years ago. But now it is totally irrelevant.

Darling is doing things to the economy which have already failed at enormous cost and now his latest QE scam puts the nail in the coffin of all final salary pensions and cooks the books in doing so. He is almost certainly going to cause hyper-inflation when this fails too as most commentators think it will. But Osborne never mentions any of this at all - there might be no crisis going on! Maybe there isn't in his rich household but most of us want to know what hope there might be with the Tories. None, apparently, since he hasn't noticed

If Theresa May really said that she should be sacked for straying onto the Shadow Chancellor's pitch - normally a hanging offence - but it shows the total lack of coherent leadership. The trouble is that Cameron has stuffed CCHQ with lefties and is himself uncomfortable getting into economic topics.

The party has the right political strategy for this moment, coupled with the right instincts to address the long term economic crisis we are likely to inherit in the next fourteen months.

Posted by: John Scott | March 08, 2009 at 10:18

Many people forget that Brown and Labours' majority is easily able to ambush the Opposition. Cameron will be a great PM. Just can't come soon enough.

Can't CCHQ put together a montage of all the footage of Tories calling into question the credit bubble o ver the last 10 years.

The fact is that we DID warn people that Brown's Economic "Miracle" was all built on cheap consumer credit. Hague said it, Portillo said it, Howard said it, Ken Clarke said it.

Let's put together an "We told you so..." broadcast.

The criticism is unjustified.

The real problem is that the political writers have run out of new angles to write about on the politics of this recession.

I think I have to agree with most everybody else. Although I don't mind George Osborne, he seems a very able politician and a decent man, in times like this you need a powerhouse as Shadow Chancellor.

Even though I don't believe (as others do) that the big question is: "how do you get the banks lending again?", I do agree that there is a problem that desperately needs the right person at the helm.

Put GO and John Redwood on a panel talking about how to fix the economy and you'll quickly see what's what.

This is quite possibly the most serious financial crisis this country has ever faced. It's not time for political games, it's time for credible figures to get to work. John Redwood is the best man for the job in the Conservatives, bar none. We desperately need him off the back benches.

Osborne raised his game immediately after the yacht thing - he needs to keep it up.

With labour MPs (i.e. Tom Harris) supporting tory policies and tories supporing labour polices (i.e. QE, bailouts, high taxes, data sharing) some leadership, direction and clear blue water is seriously needed right now.

"The fact is that we DID warn people that Brown's Economic Miracle... Hague said it, Portillo said it, Howard said it, Ken Clarke said it."

..but unfortunately Cameron instead got Letwin to announce the new era of sociocentric policies (as economy stable) in May 2007 and did a Citizen broadcast with YouTube where he praised our 'strong economy'.

"The fact is that we DID warn people that Brown's Economic Miracle... Hague said it, Portillo said it, Howard said it, Ken Clarke said it."

Then why was there a policy of "sharing the proceeds of growth" until recently?

"It's not time for political games, it's time for credible figures to get to work. John Redwood is the best man for the job in the Conservatives, bar none. We desperately need him off the back benches".

It seems so obvious, Steve Tierney, and as you can see, many of us are saying exactly the same thing. I wouldn't even mind GO as chancellor, as long as JR was first secretary, though I think that arrangement could lead to embarrassment.

For the time being, I will continue to urge the editors to publish some of JR's blogs on ConHome, so that we can get our teeth into rather meatier pronouncements on the economy than we get from the papers or our own treasury team.

Would anyone care to endorse that suggestion?

It's no good waiting for Labour to run out of steam and taking over by default. We have to offer a vision.

The reason we haven't said how we will get Britain out of this is because, simply, we don't know.

We need to be as radical and bold as Thatcher on the economy.

Yes, it means cuts in public spending.

Britain must live within it's means.

David @ 10:20
Osborne needs to be replaced, as Redwood would simply be ignored, frustrated and dragged down with him if he takes a lesser role now.

Based on Cameron digging in his heels and rewarding friendship over proven judgement in this role, we'll just have to wait for Osborne to fall flat on his face.

Then the Cameroons will realise that there is more to running the economy than putting on their 'serious faces' for the camera.

It won't take long.

ToryBlog.com at 10.32.

I fear that you are absolutely right but it would be interesting if Tim/Jonathan printed some of JR's more trenchant articles, because it might help form a ConHome view on how to get out of the present mess.

I personally believe that the government is now going along the wrong path and the longer it goes on, the greater the task for the conservatives to surmount.

At least we have broken with the insane policy of promising to match Labour government spending.

The idea that "government spending is good in a recession" is just flat false.

However, we still do not understand banking or monetary policy generally.

On banking we are trapped into thinking that the only two alternatives are "bailout or nationalize".

Actually these are not "alternatives" at all - as nationalization also means a bailout.

If some people can not understand that "bankruptcy" is not a "boo word" and is, in fact, the only way that markets will clear - can they at least understand the political position?

The political position is that if you bailout banks (whether or not you nationalize them) you have no standing to deny a bailout to everyone else as well.

"Bailout the rich but not the poor" is political suicide.

On monetary policy we are still caught up in the delusion that the bubble (in property and other such) must be maintained - by "quantative easing" (the Bank of England writing a cheque to itself) or by any other means.

The bust is caused by the credit money boom. The story of each bust is different (this one was made much worse by the insane government "affordable housing" policy in the United States pushing money at people who should never have been lent this money), but the basic cause is always the same - the expansion of the money supply to try and achieve the objective of expanding lending beyond the limits of the pool of capital provided by real savings.

Sadly once a credit-money bubble has been allowed to build up it must bust.

And efforst to keep it inflated (by quantative easing or whatever) just prolong the agony.

In my view the Conservative position has been at best feeble. Osbourne has not set the agenda and carries no credability, compare him to Vince Cable. If we were really in a strong position the media would not have made the lead oposition commentator Vince Cable. This really will not do and is very poor and weakend confidence, this is after all the biggest crisis since the 1930's. A new Shadow Chancellor is needed and quick.

Monetary easing is a concept too complicated for the common voter to grasp. We need to simplify things to a level most voters understand and at the same time turn Labour's "Do Nothing" slogan against them.

The analogy I would use is to think of Gordon Brown as a fireman who arrives at a fire but can't remember whether the liquid in his fire engine is water or petrol. Faced with this dilemma the Conservatives would move people back from the fire, ensure it can't spread and wait for it to burn itself out. Gordon Brown would turn the hoses on the fire full power and probably blow every one up in the process.

Let us give l'idiot Ecossais d'un yeu a little credit: He promised to end boom and bust and has kept half of his promise so far!

John Redwood has often used the analogy of the shower - If you go into a shower and it's too cold, you turn up the hot tap - but it takes a while for the hot water to come through. It is tempting to turn up the hot tap again - but if you do, when the hot eventually comes through there will be too much of it and you will get burnt.
Brown is turning the hot tap up and up and up and we are all going to get burned.

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