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It's Wednesday, it's mid-day. That can only mean one thing

Gordon Brown has done a bunk

No, he's actually in. I thought the G20 would have persuaded him to take the day off again

Cameron should lead on Lord Myners

What will Cameron go on?

I still think he should be asking about UK Plc's credit rating. "Can the Prime Minister assure the country that our AAA credit-rating is not in danger, despite his spiralling public debt?"

Had Harperson been standing in, it would have been good to ask about expenses not being enforceable "within the court of public opinion"

" Cameron again asks about sorting out the pubic finances:"

Hey, this is not time to beat around the bush.

whenever I see Nick Clegg im reminded of a jibe Churchill leveled against Attlee, "One morning an empty taxi pulled up at the Common's and Attlee got out."

Pathetic lies from Brown. If he treats the world leaders like this he won't get very far.

Whatever have tax havens to do with recession?

Most of our stimulus comes from the automatic stabilizers.
We just about afforded the additional measures already taken. Are they working? Like France and Germany should we wait to see whether they are working?

Mr Brown wiped the floor with Mr Cameron, he accuses the Prime Minister of saying the same thing i.e. "The Tories are the do nothing party", but Mr Cameron has no answer to that accusation .

When will he say what he will do instead of just complaining about what the government is doing.

"Whatever have tax havens to do with recession?"

They're trying to reduce the possible flight of taxpayers funds before they ramp up taxation.

Gezmond007- It is for Brown to answer the questions at PMQs- the hint is in the name of the session

"Mr Brown wiped the floor with Mr Cameron, he accuses the Prime Minister of saying the same thing i.e. "The Tories are the do nothing party", but Mr Cameron has no answer to that accusation .

When will he say what he will do instead of just complaining about what the government is doing."

As many people will tell you, he will only do this when he actually needs to, which is right before a general election campaign.
The less time that Labour have to prepare an attack line on certain policies, the better.
Such is the luxury of opposition.

I would like to hear more from Cameron along the lines of, "why do this when you could implement our plans" etc etc

Did anyone spot Brown's classic line

"I came into politics because I'm worried about unemployment."

Who else would give him a job?

Mr Brown wiped the floor with Mr Cameron, he accuses the Prime Minister of saying the same thing i.e. "The Tories are the do nothing party", but Mr Cameron has no answer to that accusation

Brown does say the same thing over-and-over. And as Cameron said as an excellent response, ever since he used the attack the Tories ratings have gone up.

If this is Brown wiping the floor with Cameron, let's have some more of it please - that way we will be rid of Labour next year.

When will he say what he will do instead of just complaining about what the government is doing.

This is Prime Minister's Questions, not Leader of the Oppositions' Questions. If Brown wants answers from Cameron on a Wednesday at noon, he needs to swap jobs.

"The Tories are the do nothing party", but Mr Cameron has no answer to that accusation".

Well Cameron has an answer, Gezmond007, and he used it at PMQs - but don't let the truth stand in the way of a glib soundbite. As he pointed out, every time Brown uses this untruth, the conservatives go up and Brown goes down in the polls.

In fact, it is perhaps rather better to be "A do-nothing - that would make things worse - party", which Labour is.

Brown is treating the symptoms, not the cause and is loading debt on debt, all on top of the "Brown Boom and Bust".

I hate Brown, personally and politically. However, today he wiped the floor with Cameron. It was almost embarrassing, the ease with which he dismissed the boy Dave.

Mr Dave had better liven up his act, I cant believe that he lost that battle when he has so much ammunition!

I did enjoy seeing Jacboot Smith yawning, what do you think she was up to last night?

Cameron shows once again that he is a lightweight with no policies and no idea. Gordon Brown looks and talks like a Prime Minister Cameron does not.

Gezmond007@12:26 'When will he say what he will do instead of just complaining about what the government is doing.'

Here's a brief excerpt from what we've been saying:

1 We will freeze council tax for two years by reducing wasteful spending on advertising and consultancy in central government

2 We will abolish Stamp Duty for nine out of ten first-time buyers and raise the Inheritance Tax threshold to £1 million. Both of these changes will be funded by a flat-rate charge on non-domiciles.

3 We will provide tax cuts for new jobs with a £2.6bn package of tax breaks to get people into work, funded by money that would otherwise go on unemployment benefit

4 We will cut the main rate of corporation tax to 25p and the small companies' rate to 20p, paid for by scrapping complex reliefs and allowances

5 We will introduce a £50bn National Loan Guarantee Scheme to underwrite bank lending to businesses and get credit flowing again

6 We will give small and medium-sized businesses a six-month VAT holiday, funded by a 7.5% interest rate on delayed payments

7 We will cut National Insurance by 1% for six months for firms with fewer than five employees, paid for from the above changes to the company tax regime

8 We will encourage a new culture of saving by abolishing income tax on savings for everyone on the basic rate of tax and raising the tax allowance for pensioners by £2,000 to £11,490

To repair the broken economy in the long run, we need economic responsibility. That means:

* A responsible fiscal policy, bolstered by independent oversight.
* A responsible financial policy, bolstered by a renewed role for the Bank of England
* A responsible attitude to economic development that fosters more balanced economic growth

Osborne calls for new banking settlement

Monday, February 2 2009

George Osborne

George Osborne called for a new settlement between banks and society in a speech at the London Stock Exchange.

The Shadow Chancellor stressed the settlement must allow “a profitable and successful financial” services sector in the UK – but must also provide protection for taxpayers and the broader economy.

He attacked Labour for allowing banks to become over-extended and for ignoring the risks of the “asset bubble”:

“No doubt the bumper tax receipts flowing into the Exchequer meant no one was very keen on calling time on the merry dance. But it has left us uniquely ill-prepared when the music stopped.”

George condemned the idea that the only goal of macroeconomic policy should be to keep consumer price inflation near target:

“We believe government should take a view on asset prices and seek to manage the overall level of debt in an economy. Our proposal is to put the Bank of England in charge of that task.”

He explained how, through our Debt Responsibility Mechanism, the Bank of England will monitor the levels of leverage in the system and call time on excessive debt.

And he emphasised the international aspect to the banking settlement:

“We would require banks across the world to set aside more money in the good years to provide them with a greater buffer for the bad years. I am delighted that this now appears to be on the agenda for the G20.”

6th of March 2009

George Osborne's speech on the "broken economy"

George Osborne has set out out ways in which the Conservatives would fix what he called the "broken economy".

In a speech to Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, Mr Osborne set out plans to reform corporation tax, as well as saying that "home truths" for both companies and individuals must be faced to restore the economy.

The party issued the following text of the speech:

“This morning I was at Jaguar-Land Rover in Castle Bromwich. This afternoon I will be talking to employers in the Black Country. Large or small, businesses in the West Midlands and across the country are facing a desperately difficult time. Orders are down. Sales have slumped. Import costs are rising. Credit has dried up. The prospect of mass unemployment now looms, with all the heartbreaking consequences for families and damage to our society we know that brings.

We have been arguing for many months now that this is a monetary crisis that requires monetary solutions. Getting the banks lending again to companies through a big, bold and simple National Loan Guarantee scheme is the urgent priority.

It distresses me that the credit scheme the government eventually promised to set up, and which was supposed to start this week, is still on the drawing board.

Like so many other promised government initiatives, from the housing repossession plan to the support for trade insurance, to the car rescue package announced two months ago, Ministers don’t appear to know the difference between a newspaper headline and actually delivering real help on the ground. This dithering and paralysis in government is costing people their jobs and their businesses and their homes.

It is the scandal of inaction and it contributes to the widespread feeling best expressed by the CBI Director General a fortnight ago that ‘there’s little sense of a coherent strategy’ in the government’s approach to the recession.

It may seem, therefore, a distraction that the political world in Westminster is asking whether or not Gordon Brown should apologise for his role in the mistakes that led Britain into this economic mess.

The Chancellor thinks he should. So too does his closest ally Ed Balls. But the Prime Minister thinks he shouldn’t. The rest of the Cabinet is divided.

Does it really matter, you may ask. What use is an apology to a struggling business or a family losing their home? In fact it does matter. This is not about some Westminster game – it is a disagreement about the future direction of our economy and the foundations for recovery.

For if, like Gordon Brown, you believe that Britain is simply the innocent victim of a banking crisis that came from America then you would agree with him that there is “nothing to apologise for”.

And because the Prime Minister believes none of Britain’s problems are home grown, his solution is simple too. Apply the sticking plaster to an otherwise healthy body; urge the Americans to improve their financial regulation; try to get some international early warning system so we spot future trans-Atlantic storms; and pump the bubble up again.

That, boiled down, is the Prime Minister’s answer to the current economic crisis. He won’t say sorry for his mistakes because he really doesn’t think he made any.

I take a fundamentally different view – and so do an ever growing number of the British people.

Our banking system is not separate from our economy, it is a reflection of it.

Our banks hold a mirror up to the worst excesses of our society. And the unsustainable debts in our banks are a reflection of unsustainable debts in our households, our companies and our government.

That is what the man who was Chancellor for ten years has to apologise for. And it means that applying sticking plaster and lecturing the Americans won’t work – because the model of economic growth pursued in Britain in recent years is fundamentally broken and needs fixing.

In short, where you stand on the question of the prime ministerial apology says a lot about where you stand on the future direction of economic policy in our country.

That is why, for Gordon Brown, ‘sorry’ really is the hardest word.

Let me explain why I think the banking crisis is a mirror of a deeper problem that infected the whole of our economy.

We can all now see that our banks lent more than was safe and made most of their profits from business models that turned out to be unsustainable when the bubble burst. British banks became amongst the most indebted, most leveraged in the world, with tangible assets thirty nine times tangible equity compared to seventeen times in US banks. But as an economy we weren’t saving enough to fund this debt. So our banks and shadow banks sucked in hundreds of billions of pounds from abroad.

As a country, we lived beyond our means. Our banks borrowed money from China to lend to us, so we could buy the goods the Chinese produced. We could see it in the huge current account deficit that persisted for a decade.

But it was explained away with talk of a new paradigm of low inflation, stable growth and the end of ‘boom and bust’.

For a while almost everyone was persuaded, and even amongst the sceptics almost nobody put the whole picture together.

As I said in my speech to the Conservative conference here in Birmingham last year, “we forgot that an economy built on debt is not an economy built to last.” Or as Warren Buffet puts it more colourfully, it is only when the tide goes out that you see who has been swimming naked.

The truth was that Britain’s economic growth of the last decade was a boom founded on an unsustainable current account deficit which itself was largely driven by unsustainable growth in consumer spending across the board.

Many consumers funded this spending boom not from earnings or savings, but borrowing – often borrowing secured against the value of house prices which themselves were booming on the back of cheap credit.

The result is that by the time the boom turned to bust, our households were the most indebted of any major economy, more even than America’s, with debt to income standing at 175% for the average British family compared to 140% for the average American family.

The huge losses suffered by our banks from UK mortgages and consumer loans that are now turning bad are a reflection of that unsustainable consumption. A stark illustration of just how much the economy was reliant on unsustainable consumption growth is that if consumer spending had merely grown in line with incomes over the decade between 1998 and 2007, average growth would have been 0.7% lower. Every year.

That may not sound much at first, but it means that our GDP would have been about 7% lower - £100bn lower - in 2007. That’s more than £4,000 for every household in the country. And now those debts are being called in.

Of course it wasn’t just consumers.

Too often, companies, like banks, just increased leverage to increase returns on equity, without increasing returns on assets – the sound returns that drive sustainable growth. And, of course, far from trying to rein in this unsustainable household and corporate borrowing, the Government was leading by example.

Year after year Whitehall itself lived beyond its means with persistent budget deficits and increasing off balance sheet liabilities, pumping up demand yet further and building up debts that will take a generation to pay off.

Amazingly, if PFI spending and outsourced contracts are included, two thirds of job growth between 1998 and 2006 was down to the public sector. That’s not sustainable either economically or fiscally. That’s not how you build a sound and stable economy.

As David Cameron said back in September 2007, just days after the run on Northern Rock, “the increases in debt in the UK economy – personal, corporate, and Governmental – have added a new risk to economic stability.” Given that the diagnosis of what went wrong touches almost every sector of our economy, the treatment must be equally far-reaching. Of course we must improve financial regulation and reform the short term bonus culture in our banks, and Conservatives have been leading that debate.

We were amongst the first to call early last year for tougher regulation of bank lending in a way that dampens the credit cycle instead of amplifying it.

We have called for reforms to the failed tripartite system of financial supervision, returning more powers to the Bank of England to call time on excessive debt. But we cannot hope that better financial regulation will allow us to continue where we left off.

We need a fundamentally different model of economic growth that is sustainable and responsible.

First, British businesses must become less dependent on debt. This is already painfully clear in our banking industry. As well as the difficult process of recapitalisation we have already seen, it’s clear that in the long term banks will have to hold more capital and leverage will have to be lower. But we don’t just need to recapitalise our banks. We need to recapitalise the whole of British business.

Debt has to give way to greater ownership.

I believe in the coming year we will see that happen, and a number of rights issues are already in the offing.

As the Director General of the CBI said earlier this week, “equity capital is likely to play a much more prominent part in corporate capital structures in the future than it has in the recent past”.

Given the scale of the debt problems, I believe there is role for government in encouraging this recapitalisation of British business to take place more quickly than it otherwise would.

That is certainly the case with new business start-ups.

One of the most damaging impacts of the credit boom was that real venture capital in exciting new businesses was squeezed out by highly leveraged private equity. Figures from the British Venture Capital Association show that early-stage investments have slumped from 11 per cent of total equity value invested in 2000 to less than 4 per cent in 2007.

You might think that the middle of a recession is not the time to be investing in the businesses and entrepreneurs of the future, but you couldn’t be more wrong. It’s actually exactly the right time.

Half of the top 50 US companies in the Fortune 500 were incorporated during a recession, including seven out of the top ten. Even in this savage downturn, new markets and business opportunities are emerging all the time, and if we don’t seize them someone else will.

It is start-ups and new technology, not bail outs, that will drive our recovery

Government could play an important role, either through co-investment along the lines of the Prudential’s new UK Companies Financing Fund, or a new Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation – which became today’s 3i.

Unfortunately Labour moved in the opposite direction in the last Budget, increasing the tax levied on venture capital investments at the very beginning of the recession. But it is not just new start ups that need our help.

Our corporate sector’s excessive dependence on debt is deep rooted in the structure of our economy. In particular, economists have long pointed out that our corporate tax system favours debt financing over equity.

Interest costs are fully deductible with very limited restrictions, while the returns on equity receive little or no tax relief.

Gordon Brown’s decision in 1997 to abolish the dividend tax credit for pension funds made an existing imbalance worse. The result is that the UK is widely regarded as having the most generous tax treatment of debt interest of any major economy. That’s economically inefficient at the best of times, but it makes even less sense now that we understand more about the dangers of excessive leverage. There are several ways that we could begin to undo this imbalance by reducing the costs of equity financing relative to debt.

I have long argued that there is a powerful case for looking at stamp duty on shares, which raises the costs of capital and reduces investment. But I believe the time has come to look again at the generosity of interest deductibility in our corporate tax system.

Clearly this would require careful consideration of the treatment of banks and the UK-based treasury operations of global companies. And we would need to consult very widely and give businesses plenty of time to adjust. But by reducing the tax breaks for debt we could potentially fund a significant reduction in the headline rate of corporation tax – a key determinant of our international competitiveness.

I have already committed to reduce the headline rate from 28p to 25p by reducing complex reliefs and allowances, but we will need to go further if we are to keep pace with an increasingly competitive global economy. The prize could be considerable – a simpler and more competitive tax system, more jobs and investment, and British business that are less dependent on debt.

If reducing the dependence of our corporate sector on debt is the first priority, the second is doing the same for the public sector. The next government will inherit the worst public finances since the Second World War. Independent forecasters predict that Government borrowing will be more than 10% of GDP, and official debt will be soaring towards £1 trillion. And yet the long term demands on our public services from an ageing population and existing commitments will continue to rise.

By 2050, we will have gone from having four people of working age for every elderly citizen to a ratio of just two to one, with knock-on consequences for our tax base and pensions system.

On current policies these pressures will increase total spending by 3% of GDP over the next 30 years. That's about £40bn in today's terms, or 8p on the basic rate of income tax.

So Britain has got no option. We have got to bring the public finances under control. If the government has lost the appetite to confront this truth, then the opposition has not.

We will come off Labour’s unrealistic spending plans. We will bring about major reforms to the culture of Whitehall, putting the emphasis on value for money. And we will overhaul the way government spending is controlled by creating an Office of Budget Responsibility to act as a rod for the back of all future Chancellors.

But government will never be able to both live within its means and provide quality public services unless we embrace reform. Now is the worst possible time to take our foot off the pedal on public sector reform. Yet this is exactly what the Government is doing.

From complaints from academy schools that their hard won freedoms are being reduced, to growing concerns that the welfare reform agenda is stalling, all the signs are pointing in the wrong direction.

In contrast, whether it is Michael Gove’s radical plans for Swedish-style school reforms, or the plans for real welfare reform that Theresa May and David Freud are developing, it is the Conservatives who are now driving the reform agenda.

Reform is vital for its own sake – to deliver real improvements in services. But the fiscal crisis has created a new imperative.

Ultimately, as the Chief Executive of the Audit Commission has warned so starkly, unless we press ahead with reform and get the increased productivity that brings, then the quality of services will suffer.

Conservative reform is the only way to avoid Labour cuts. By turning their backs on reform that is the course that Labour are now pursuing.

But with reform we can not only live within our means, we can start to tackle Britain’s long standing social problems of welfare dependency, educational under-achievement, crime and persistent poverty. And we can begin to bring the national debt under control.

So we must tackle the addiction of our corporate and public sectors to debt. But this will not be enough to create a sustainable economy unless we can do the same for the whole country.

We need a structural increase in the amount we save and invest as a country. The persistent current account deficits that have dogged the British economy for so long are a simple arithmetic reflection of the fact that we have been saving less than we need to fund investment.

Our national savings rate is one of the lowest in the developed world. For too long we have been investing too little to support continued growth at the rates we have become used to.

Our infrastructure and our capital stock are simply wearing out. This is not a sustainable position to be in – we cannot continue borrowing to pay for growth.

As Mervyn King said recently: “As part of a longer-run rebalancing of the UK economy, an increase in our national saving rate, both private and public, is necessary.”

We need a structural increase in the amount we save.

That's why, as a first step, we have called on the government to abolish tax on savings income at the basic rate in this spring’s Budget. In the short-term, it helps those innocent victims of the recession – savers hit by close-to-zero interest rates.

In the long-term, it encourages saving and goes a long way towards eliminating the double taxation of savings as recommended by the Meade report 30 years ago.

Savings are the basis of sustainable private investment.And investment is the basis of a sustainable economic recovery.

So how can we generate an investment-led recovery?

Not through the kind of public works projects which the Government talk about, but haven’t delivered.

As Samuel Palmisano, Chairman and Chief Executive of IBM puts it, “launching ‘public works’ projects – putting people to work with shovels and jackhammers to put money into their pockets – is not the way to jump-start a 21st century economy – or to build a competitive advantage in the different world that is taking shape.”

The investment that we need is in the technologies and infrastructure that can underpin a smarter, greener and more competitive economy in the future.

Just look at California. More than $3 billion was invested by the private sector into Californian clean tech companies in 2008 alone. This private sector investment is also yielding tangible results. Green jobs are growing at twice the rate of non-green jobs. And one in five of these jobs is in manufacturing, helping to keep industrial centres afloat during the recession.

The same approach – investment leading to economic growth – can be achieved here in Britain and here in the West Midlands.

BT’s announcement earlier this week that it has cleared the regulatory barriers that were preventing £1.5 billion of investment in fibre optic broadband is just the beginning of what can be achieved.

Over the next decade Britain will need massive investment to upgrade not just its broadband network but its energy and transport infrastructure – and we should be trying to front load as much of that investment as possible.

We have already set out proposals for billions of pounds of investment in home energy efficiency improvements, micro-generation, smart grids, undersea DC cables and other vital network infrastructure. And we are committed to building Britain's first national high speed rail link from London to Birmingham and onto Manchester and Leeds. In each of these examples we are talking about engaging private sector investment.

What government needs to do is remove the regulatory barriers that are holding that investment back. And in the current climate there is clearly a role for government guarantees and credit insurance to minimise the financing costs, but that could be done fairly simply within existing regulatory structures. And in return, utility companies could be required to commit to maintaining high levels of investment.

The result would be many thousands of new jobs and a solid foundation for a competitive low carbon economy in the future.

Our economy is broken and Gordon Brown’s sticking plasters won’t mend it.

We need a new model of growth.

We need to change from an economy built on debt to an economy powered by savings and real returns on effort.

A corporate sector less dependent on debt, with more equity investment in start-ups and the success stories of the future. Public sector reform so that government lives within its means and delivers world class public services at the same time. And a country that pays its way in the world – saving and investing more to build a truly sustainable economy.

This is the compelling vision that I believe can restore confidence today and belief in a better tomorrow.

But we can only make it real if we are willing to confront some uncomfortable truths and tell people what they may not want to hear.

It means telling people that they can’t rely on massive increases in house prices to fund their retirement, and that they will have to save for a deposit to buy their own home.

It means pointing out that increasing profits through ever higher debts is not a sustainable way to build a business.

It means explaining that government can’t just spend money on every worthy cause that comes knocking on the door, and that difficult reform is a necessity when money is tight not just a luxury when budgets are rising.

The ‘money for nothing’ society has to end.

The age of irresponsibility is over.

We need to tell it like it is.

And the truth is that Britain is going to have to work hard and save hard to get out of this hole.

The Conservatives are ready to tell people these home truths, and the country is ready to hear them.

People have had enough of problems avoided and difficult decisions postponed – we can all see where that has got us.

It’s time for an honest assessment of our problems, because that is the first step to solving them.

Only then can we start to build the economy and the society that our country deserves.”

Jack Stone has spoken! But I'm not too sure why he thinks the Great Snot Gobbler looks like a Prime Minister or ever did. I'm not too sure either why he bothers posting here unless winding people up is his sole pleasure in life. Well, I suppose that beats self abuse.

Thankyou for the novel Conand.

"1 We will freeze council tax for two years"

Once again the Conservative sums don't add up. Council tax is controlled at Local Government level by delegated legislation. Central Government cannot freeze council tax.

So how is he going to fund all of this Conand when he is talking about cuts and making difficult decisions.

Sounds good but have heard all this kind of thing before. Things don,t add up.

Good of you to respond so fully to Gezmond, Conand. Not sure how long you've been reading this site but Gezmond pops up every Wednesday to tell us that Brown triumphed over Cameron in PMQs.I suspect that most readers don't take him remotely seriously as in almost every case it's not true.
Actually I thought Brown was superb today we really are lucky to have him as our PM, certainly the finest ever Labour Prime Minister and possibly our greatest peacetime PM.
What makes Brown really stand out from the crowd is a willingness to listen to other points of view and promote people of genuine talent even though they may not agree with him. Thus we have heavyweights like Darling, Balls,Milliband and the incomparable Smith all in the same wonderful cabinet. Aren't we lucky? Happy April 1st everyone.

joshuwahwah@12:56 'Council tax is controlled at Local Government level by delegated legislation. Central Government cannot freeze council tax.'

Most of the funding for local government comes from the Treasury. Council Tax is only a small proportion of the money. You don't actually know anything about politics.

Yes I know that Conand. However, Central Government cannot freeze council tax and that is a fact and you know it and if you don't you know even less.

Don,t be so patronising Malcolm , Wednesday is the only time I get to look at what,s going on .

Actually I don,t always say that Brown is better than Cameron. Your actually wrong . Cameron is at his best when he is more statesman like and when he shows more decorum and stops shouting.

Thats where he lets himself down.

Gordon Brown is doing very well even though people on this site don't want to hear this.


You give councils more money from central funds and pray that they don't take their local taxpayers to the cleaners.
There is a risk that Labour and LibDem councils will do this because they think high taxation on all sections of society is morally right. They would have to answer to their electorates though.

This is all very well conand, however you still have not acknowledged the fact that Central Government does not have the power to freeze council tax. This is delegated legislation. There may be some solutions as you are right to point out, however can you please acknowledge that Central Government cannot directly freeze council tax without changing statute?

Perhaps the James Bond wannabe ought ot lean where the apostrophe is on his keyboard.

to learn*

Gezmond007@13:08 'Gordon Brown is doing very well even though people on this site don't want to hear this.'

He's destroyed the country's finances, lies all the time and has really helped destroy his party's vote.

Umm..not that well.

joshuwahwah@13:13 'without changing statute?'

True, as I said I'm relying on Councils to do the right thing. Some of them aren't Conservative run, so it is a big gamble.

Thank you for the reply Conand. I am glad we finally agreed. I do agree with your comments and believe that this could be done. I am a little concerned that ALL Government advertising might be cut. There are some very helpful websites and advertisements that have benefited some. Yes I agree that there is a lot of waste in this area but I think it needs to be looked at in some detail.

Brown says it was agreed with banks around the world and that he bought euros "which have now gone up in value".

by 300%?

Just asking, because thats more or less what gold did in that time.

I missed it, was Brown as robotic as normal?

@Jack Stone

You need a comma after the words Prime Minister, otherwise people will think that you are talking about PRIME MINISTER CAMERON.

Most people will remember Cameron's determination to get the MPs expenses issue sorted out - the bit about the long grass was very good.

I also liked the bit about "the more you talk about the do nothing party the more our poll ratings go up."

Hannan is absolutely right about Brown being "wooden and perfunctory." Brown is not at all fluent. I thought that Brown's performance today was shocking, but at least he turned up.


Could a budget resolution be used, or would you need primary legislation for a council tax freeze?

Perhaps the James Bond wannabe ought ot lean where the apostrophe is on his keyboard.

Posted by: Tommy | April 01, 2009 at 13:13

to learn*

Posted by: Tommy | April 01, 2009 at 13:14

Perhaps you should give up the criticism of others' grammatical and syntactic errors, and concentrate on the meaning of their words? You aren't exactly setting a good example.


I generally think the HoC should have more oversight of taxation. That was its primary purpose after all; I'm quite old fashioned about these things. (For more see www.talkcarswell.com) So, whatever allowed MPs the most say.


I agree with your remarks about the HoC having more control of taxation - I very much agree with that.

What I was getting at was - would you have to pass an Act of Parliament to freeze council tax? Budget changes can usually be implimented by budget resolution which is replaced in due course by that years Finance Act?

I genuinely don't know the answer to that question. Can someone please enlighten me?

Freddy. Don`t know if you have noticed or not but people are losing there homes and jobs because of the recession. What did Cameron have to say about that nothing. He says nothing because he as no idea, no policies and no answers.

"he as no idea"

Has, Jack, Has!

You clearly haven't absorbed your lesson about the difference between "their" and "there" either.

Posted by: Sally Roberts | April 01, 2009 at 15:20

You clearly haven't absorbed your lesson about the difference between "their" and "there" either.

Sally, please consider attacking his points or ignoring him - he may well be dyslexic. Using homophones is a common symptom of this. The attacks on syntax and grammar are getting wearisome, almost as wearisome as the repetitive nature of Mr Stone's original posts.

Editor Tim,

Couldn't ConservativeHome present our Jack with one of those 'learn to type' discs so that his feelings are less hurt by the rest of us taking the proverbial about his typos

@Jack Stone

I have noticed that people are losing their homes and jobs! The employment situation in this area is dire.

Why do you think that is happening Jack?

Could it possibly have anything to do with Gordon Brown? After all he has been Chancellor of the Exchequer and then PM since 1997?

Brown is directly responsible for public debt levels - they're really out of control Jack!

Brown is indirectly responsible for what was going on in the banks, because he failed to regulate them properly!

Brown is also directly responsible for people maxing out their credit cards! There are ways of stopping credit being too readily available, Jack, and Brown failed to act three years ago!

Jack, that's why I say BROWN is the worst PM this country has ever had. Anybody would be better Jack! I am confident that Cameron will be a lot better!

If Cameron announces any policies, Brown swipes them and copies them very badly. Then of course there is Brown's media choir - any meaningful discussion of policies doesn't play well on t.v. Jack.

Stone, Gezmond and Joshuwahwah are to "Tramp" Draper as corgis are to the Queen.

Does that mean they occasionally make puddles on the carpet, Super Blue?

Please, please ignore the trolls.

Hahahahahahaahahaha Jack Stone has come up with his most ridiculous comment to date that Brown "looks and sounds like a Prime Minister"

Gordon Brown is the scarecrow who has just been voted third worst dressed man in Britain - he is only one step away from looking as un- PM-like as Michael Foot. As for sounding like a PM - maybe you like the robotic this-months-tractor-production-figures style of rhetoric, but Primeministerial it ain't. Brown is a prat who is out of his depth. The world knows it, his MPs know it, the electorate knows it. Jack Stone obviously doesn't. Ask your man to call an election and let the people decide who looks the most primeministerial

Sorry Tim!

"As for sounding like a PM - maybe you like the robotic this-months-tractor-production-figures style of rhetoric, but Primeministerial it ain't."

I have to say Mr Hannan had it right when he described him as an apparatchik from the Brezhnev Era!

"Sally, please consider attacking his points or ignoring him - he may well be dyslexic. Using homophones is a common symptom of this. "

Final word on the subject - I have a dyslexic nephew who nevertheless managed to get a 2:1 at University in French and Politics and now has a thriving small business - no mean feat in the current climate! He is also capable of using a spell checker and would never dream of writing such drivel....

'And would never dream of writing such drivel'

From the Daily Mail forum on the 31st March. Same person I am assuming. Unfortunately the Daily Mail readers thought little of these comments and she ended up with a -65 rating at the end of the day.

"How do you know the drunken person in the House of Commons might not have been drinking BEFORE they arrived at the Party? They might have taken drugs or - they MIGHT EVEN HAVE HAD THEIR DRINK SPIKED!

It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Labour might not have arranged the stunt deliberately to discredit the Tories.
Click to rate Rating -62

- Sally Roberts, United Kingdom, 31/3/2009 8:06"

Glad you were paying attention, joshuwahwah!

It did me me chortle Sally. Keep up the good work. It makes me smile.

joshuwahwah, I would take it as a compliment if Daily Mail readers voted a comment down that much. Indeed I would be concerned if they agreed with me.


Did Mr. Cameron meet Obama today? Can't find any news on the meeting at all. Mind you I am watching the BBC so I don't really expect any.

You're very welcome, joshuwahwah! By the way, you're not one and the same as a certain "Bob Roberts" of Worcester, are you? (no relation!)

I am afraid not Sally.

Don't be "afraid" - it would be a pretty awful thing to have to admit to as his posts are even less popular than mine... ;-)


Whether something is drivel is purely a matter of opinion, don't you think?

I think that's what I was saying Freddy.

PS: Tim, I have seen a report on the meeting now.

"Don't be "afraid" - it would be a pretty awful thing to have to admit to as his posts are even less popular than mine... ;-)"

Blooming hell they must be bad hehhee. I'm only Joshing with you Sally ;-)

and I'm only Sallying with you Josh :-)


Then what was wrong with Sally Robert's post?

In my opinion, one of your first posts on this site was sexist!


You are quite right. One of my first posts was a disgrace. I have apologised since (Tim will vouch for this) and just want to debate here. I couldn't resist posting Sally's post from the DM though and as you can see she has taken it as it was intended, just a bit of fun, no malice. I hope that helps sir?

No offence taken by me at all! :-)

PMQs was always going to be slightly odd today with Brown pumped up with false pride because he thinks he has saved the world via the G20 conference. Has anyone else noticed the puppy dog look when he thinks someone is praising him? Contrast that with the defensive demeanour when he thinks he is being attacked. There is something deeply peculiar about the man's psychology.

However, an interesting point about today's PMQs was the expression on the faces of Jacqui S and Darling. Both looked poleaxed. I would guess that Jacqui S knows the game is up for her - and probably fears there is some further damaging info to come out. She may last to the European Elections but not beyond that and will more than likely lose her seat at the next General Election.

As for Darling, well Brown has a dilemma. If he keeps him in place he can hardly use him as a scapegoat when things do not improve. If he sacks him, there's a danger that he will create a Geoffrey Howe figure on the back-benches.

Actually, I keep getting this strange idea that Darling will resign and cross the floor. That would probably be to the LibDems but I wouldn't rule out a defection to the Cons. In either case, it would bring NuLabour down. Perhaps this is far-fetched, but we'll see.


I would be obliged if you didn't call me Sir! I don't use the term - reminds me too much of school!

Thank you, however, for your helpful reply.

Dorothy Wilson. Darling is about as likely to become a conservative as Cameron is to defect to the labour party.
Mind you it would benefit the Tories because he could lend Osborne some of his policies because he clearly hasn`t got any of his own at present.

"Mind you it would benefit the Tories because he could lend Osborne some of his policies because he clearly hasn`t got any of his own at present."

Silly man.

Osbourne has been quietly and consistently setting the macroeconomic policy agenda for six months now, just as he was before Brown's crisis began.

Pity Darling has had to play catch-up all along, being, as he is, hamstrung at every turn by the bankrupt, isolated economy-killer that is his former friend and your eternal hero (says a lot about you) - Brown.

Check the record objectively (though I doubt you're capable of that).

Then go away and rethink your life. Draperbot.

@Jack Stone

It is obvious that during Darling's chancellorship, all of the real decisions have been made by Brown.

Cameron and Osborne do have policies, the most important of which is not to make things worse. Playing to the public gallery shouldn't be confused with making real decisions.

Another policy is the loan guarantee scheme, ineptly copied by Brown.

Oh! by the way announcing policies is no good if you don't impliment them quickly.

Labour announces policies but doesn't impliment them.

"The Tories are the do nothing party", but Mr Cameron has no answer to that accusation .

Posted by: Gezmond007 | April 01, 2009 at 12:26

Followed by (after Conand's presentation)...

Sounds good but have heard all this kind of thing before. Things don,t add up. [sic]

Posted by: Gezmond007 | April 01, 2009 at 12:57

31 minutes...now that's what I call flip flop!

Many thanks to Conand at 12.45 for reminding us just how much George Osborne has said in the recent past in rebuttal of the accusation that we are the 'do nothing party'. I have not always been the greatest supporter of GO but he is beginning to impress.

The trolls are out in force these days with nothing useful - and very little truthful - to say. Perhaps they could be rationed to one or two comments per thread, while Comstock and resident leftie are generally welcome at any time as they provide a salutary and reasoned alternative view.

"The trolls are out in force these days with nothing useful - and very little truthful - to say. Perhaps they could be rationed to one or two comments per thread..."

No. That way be dragons.

If you can't deal with the odd trollbot, you shouldn't be using blog formats for political ends. Go back to the passive website by all means - but expect to be roundly condemned as cowardly!

Labourlist is faliing because it screens everything anyone posts in response at all times. That's paranoid. There are no trolls there because Labourlist's weird editors are scared of them. Consequently, Labourlist is dying. (So sad!)

A blog like this is (potentially) simply terrific virtual doorstepping and canvassing.

"All comments welcome," (within reason) is the only way :)

I've got that slightly wrong. "Trolls" (paid antis and nutters) should not be encouraged. I meant that free comment always should.

I think that's a key principle.
And so, it seems, does Labourlist these days. (Maybe Draper is slowly learning. Very slowly).

Far less censorship there (though still a lot). How about this salient specimen:

After 11 years in Government this is a poor rallying message.
In three weeks it will be the Budget and a snap election. Go back to the Working Men's Club and prepare for years in the wilderness.
The press conference this morning was an embarassment, our Prime Minister bootlicking.
N A @ 6:49 pm, Wed 1st Apr 2009"

Don't let "N A" down, like Labour has, whatever his politics.

Freddy to Troll-stone: "You need a comma after the words Prime Minister, otherwise people will think that you are talking about PRIME MINISTER CAMERON."

Freddy, Troll-Stone actually knows the truth subconsciously!


I have just had a look at Labourlist - it's like a paralell universe. You'd never think that Labour are so low in the polls.

As for Labourhome - when do they take old stuff off that website?

Maybe no 'killer blows' for the sketch writers to excite themselves over, but I suspect this PMQs was about the slow burn.

Cameron has changed his language into something he can really get his teeth into - "we should never leave Britain this exposed again" - when talking about Brown's record on the public finances. The encapsulates the Tory attack: there is nothing wrong with a fiscal stimulus in principle, but for Britain where we're already in deficit, and the automatic stabilisers bite so hard (in part because of over-dependence on the City), it's dangerously unaffordable. It says Brown and Labour have been negligent about the risks they were running with the UK economy and the public finances, much like Goodwin and McKillop were negilgent with risks being run at RBS.

Brown's instinctive line of attack though is now clear when he rattled off how Tories wanted to cut pensions, and child benefit - it may be technically true, but it sounds like desperation and lies from the Prime Minister.

12.13 Pubic finances? What is Cameron on about?

Jack Stone

So can we look forward to Darling having a Geoffrey Howe or Michael Hasletine moment?

TimberWolf @ 10:29 - oh dear! Better proof reading needed I think.

"Did anyone spot Brown's classic line

"I came into politics because I'm worried about unemployment."

"Who else would give him a job?"

There are plenty of Labour MP's who may find getting a decent job quite a challenge. Brown will likely be given the Garter, but that Slime Blair will not. Blair is a committed sell out to Rome, and although its a small thing, I trust Gordon would not follow his ex-boss into purgatory. No amount of spin will absolve Blair of his complacency
in a grubby oil war. I suppose to some of the old blue boys D.C. may seem a very strange fish, but I am certain that he is Conservative even if from the Liberal wing.
Boris may have to be moved to the Lords at some stage, he is Dave's clear nemesis and could be a liability if not handled with kid gloves. Spitting venom may be a Labour tradition, getting even is a Conservative trait. Some of the Labour Bully boys and Girlz are in need of a cooling off period. Many MP's need to go and many new blue diamonds are needed to replace them.

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