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« Elsewhere on | Main | Anne Main defects to Camp Cameron »



Editor, while I agree with you on the virtue of tax cuts, the Bush approach is not exactly one the Tories should be copying. He may be a low tax president, but he's also a high-spend one: federal spending has rocketed since Bush came to power. It's almost a new political philosophy that many in the GOP are very concerned about.

The budget deficit is a disaster which, along with the current account deficit, is dragging down the dollar. The whole thing is supported by the willingness of the Chinese and Japanese to buy Treasury bonds.

And all this while the US economy has been motoring along. Something has to give eventually - it would be fine if the UK was immune from this, but the world economy depends on the US. The UK in particular is the biggest foreign investor there and relies on Americans for a vast amount of our trade.

So, tax cuts, yes, but as and when it is prudent (sorry to use that word) to do so.


Lancake: We're almost agreed. Yes to Bush's tax cuts but no to his pork and spending.


I think we are! I missed last night's interview, but did DD mention borrowing in order to fund tax cuts? I hope not, as I think it's absurd.

"Economics is the only field in which two people can share a Nobel Prize for saying opposing things."

I do like Bush spending for one thing though - defence - would like to see the UK spend more on that. Good solid Tory policy too.

It is reported in today's Telegraph that Davis would borrow to cut taxes - which seems odd as he wouldn't make it a promise last night - rather a strategy.

Mark Fulford

Lancake, rather than the dollar being dragged down, Bush willingly went for a low-dollar policy. It certainly helps their balance of trade and it scares us exporters to an early grave.

Why would we want to spend lots on defence (attack) and why should this be solid Tory stuff? The insecurities Britain faces are not to do with the strength of our armed forces.


Great news - Cameron has big support and big supporters.

If Party members give him a big enough mandate, we'll look united and settled.

Oberon Houston

Editor, although Bush did cut taxes - your forgetting that he had a large budget surplus. I think the chance of Brown leaving us in that position in 2009 are... slim? It would be more likely that there would be a large debt to manage. Cutting taxes in that situation would be a very bad thing to do.


You're right Mark - they have allowed the dollar to fall. My point really was that if the Chinese and Japs stopped propping it up for any reason, it could collapse, which would be bad for us and bad for US inflation.

On defence, I just think the armed forces get a raw deal from Labour. They are undermanned, lack weapons and decent radios and are hung out to dry and prosecuted for carrying out the government's foreign policy. Plus, the TA are being asked to jobs they shouldn't because the Treasury won't pay for a sensibly sized regular army.

We have, man-for-man, the best armed forces in the world and they are an asset to the UK enabling us to punch above our weight in the world (and particularly in Europe). Tories have always been strong on defence and I think we should continue to be.

Defence spending is also one of the more productive areas of public spending - building all those ships and planes provide skilled jobs for the UK.

Wat Tyler

Despite the headlines saying "Economists rubbish DD's tax plans", it seems to be just one- Prof Peter Spencer. And what he seems to have said is that you cannot tax cut your way out of recession.

Now, I have the highest regard for Prof Spencer, and I don't disagree with him. But that's not actually what DD is proposing. His strategy is actually the adoption of a medium-term "Growth Rule"- limit the growth of spending, which allows tax cuts, which increases the long-term trend economic growth rate.

I have a nasty feeling that someone got the Prof to respond to a supposed Davis policy that doesn't actually exist. And then quoted him out of context.

Can't imagine who might do that.


The new MPs declaring for DC does seem to give the impression of a continued momentum for him. I wonder why DD is not prepared to extract the party from the federalist EPP-ED grouping in the EU parliament? His unwillingness to match DCs promise on this seems out of tune with his other promises on repatriation of powers from the EU, and spoils his overall EU stance.


Does anyone know if and when Liam Fox will declare for Cameron?

David Willetts is on Question Time next week! Has he decided to hold his nose and go with Davis or make a public defection?


I'm not sure that the support of these two actually means much.If I was a prospective Tory leader I would have wanted their support 2-3 weeks ago when it mattered not now.

Alastair Matlock

As Derek says above, it gives the impression of continued momentum and of widespread support across all wings of the party. Of course, votes-wise the impact is minimal, but in politics perception is important too.

I was told that at the moment Dr Fox is keeping his counsel.

On Dimbleby last week - Fox was clearly leaning towards Cameron.

Alastair Matlock

There had been rumours that Dr Fox would declare for Cameron today, having seen many of his former backers do so this week. There is still time, but they seem unlikely to be borne out now.

John Coulson

I am disappointed that Redwood has backed DC. Redwood believed passionatly in very low taxes. The values he signs up to are those being voiced by DD, this is a sure sign he is trying to back a winner to keep his Sahdow Cabinet job. How very untypical for a usually principled politician.

direction not detail

Perhaps Redwood would prefer to be part of developing tax policy detail in a Cameron led Party, rather than signing up to the Davis commitmet? strategy? or whatever it is today.

James Maskell

Im reckoning Liam Fox will declare for Cameron at the death. It would ensure he gets something good oout of the contest since his "broken society" theme went down very well this year and has if anything made sure everyone accepts that the Conservatives need to bear in mind social issues. IDS deserves a lot of credit for laying down a lot of the groundwork on this.

Yet another Anon

>>>>Why would we want to spend lots on defence (attack) and why should this be solid Tory stuff? The insecurities Britain faces are not to do with the strength of our armed forces.<<<<
There are countries out there that could become a threat and defence policy has to be as much about dealing with the unknown and covering the unlikely as well as dealing with the likely and the current situation - Russia could well re-emerge as a military threat now that their economy has recovered, China is growing fast and heading towards being the world's main power. The possibility of a Chinese attack on Taiwan remains a possibility in which case it would be irresponsible for the UK not to take military action in coalition with others to ensure Taiwan's independence - Russia might well decide to become militarily involved again in some parts of Central Asia it has pulled back from, should consideration be given perhaps to military action against Russia to get them to leave Chechnya alone, strong defence should be a primary objective of any and every government.

Cutting taxes win elections

Does anyone take Redwood and Hayes seriously when they declare for Cameron? Its about as credible as Blair's Euroscepticism.

The curious thing about DD's policy is the point neither side are making... there's a whole lot of public expenditure that can and should be cut without impacting educational or health necessities.

Its quite obvious that the right tax policy increases revenues, see Spain, Baltic States, Ireland, Australia and to a lesser extent the UK in recent years. Also, it should be noted that the wrong policy reduces real term revenues, witness Germany, Italy and Japan and increasingly the UK, and the UK should be really bothered as many other countries are seeking to make their tax regimes more attractive to investment when Brown seeks to drive it away.

If as someone does they question the need for facts on this then I encourage them to do the following:

-look at the OECD website and compare tax:gdp ratios to growth ratios
-look up Eurostat where you can download tax revenues for individual EU countries - and see the trend in recent years, plus the quantum of tax raised
-look up the tax authority/treasury websites of individual countries - these tend to have stats on tax revenues.

A look at these should make one thing clear - lowering tax rates tends to increase revenues, except where the rate being lowered in a high rate being lowered to a slightly less high, but still uncompetitve rate.


When comparisons are made between Eurozone member countries and their tax revenues and expenditure etc. are the amounts received from the EU factored in? When I last checked there were only six countries contributing whilst all the others were net recipients.

simon clewer

It occurs to me that DC and DD are more of the same recipe that has led to 3 lost elections, neither looks good against the Labour party heavyweights ( though they are few and the headbangers will surely eventually prevail and destroy this government). Blair is sensible, Brown is a good economist and both are clever. Labour will probably catch another dose of common sense and ask Blair to stand for a fourth election.
The Conservative party is desperately short of intellect and ideas (and desperate), a mere shadow of Thatcher's great crusade of reason, truth and economics.
I know most of you will disagree, but could it be that while the party is hostile to Europe it will struggle to attract the best candidates?
I'll vote for us because I always do, a political party (and The Conservative party above all) is about loyalty and power, but I cannot see me being enthused to spread the gospel or pound the pavements or knock on doors until this party grows up and gets with the European Project.
And how poor are we ( intellectually speaking ), well did you see them run from the job of shadow chancellor - the plummest job in opposition and nobody wanted it.
DC and DD are not prime minister material - glaringly obvious, only the faithful can't see.
Would it not be better (and more electable) to get stuck into Europe to change what we don't like ... there's a host of statists to be taken on in Europe and disengagement is just suicidal and silly.
Is there anybody out there agrees with me? I cannot be the only "Tory and European".


Simon Clewer-

"Brown is a good economist"

Excuse me? What? So lets get this straight, you think Brown is a good economist and you are in favour of Europe. Are you sure your in the right party? Brown not only wasted the golden economic legacy he inherited in 1997 but he is also destroying the competitivness of the UK, ruined pensions, lost money by selling Gold at the wrong time and has been unbelievably lucky. Please enlighten me, what intellect does the party lack? I reckon the vast majority of the members are in favour of small government and individual freedom, free trade and a free market. It's true the party needs to be bolder and more convincing in advancing these ideas and push for more dynamic policies. What would you suggest otherwise?

simon clewer

Hi Rob,
Yes, I'm pretty sure I'm in the right party ... free trading, anti-government, anti-confiscating, never ever ever forgetting for one minute that middle England pays the bill for the British government. My big thing of the moment is that the leftist (and their baliffs) are as a Gothic horde descending on Rome to the wealth of middle England and I deeply believe that middle England made that wealth by our own endeavours, enterprise, initiative and toil and that if I am to be threatended with violence to confiscate it from me then they had better have a pretty good reason (which they typically don't have). And I would like to see Livingston imprisoned for thuggery, racketeering and destruction of public funds. etc etc etc ... I don't like being told what to do by governments, its a last resort for the common good, not a first move. etc etc etc, I suppose my tory instincts are fairly impeccable.
Personally, I love the European Project and feel that it needs a good dose Thatcherite common reason shoved down its throat ... who better to raise RoundHead hell on a duff but massive parliament than us?
There's much wrong with the Project, so (to quote the great lady), "There is much work to be done".
I suggest (to start) that we campaign to give the parliament a single home ... that will get folk chattering and its not even controversial ... we could go for Paris as it is the capital of Europe, though either Brussels or Strasbourg would be better than the current peripatetic embarassment.
Also, the party should contest every seat in Europe ... there's not much of a European polity yet, its up to us to make it. The Conservative party is a natural party of government, we can claim to be the default party of government of Europe and we are simply ignoring this rather cool trick.
I just can't help but feel that there is much more mileage in trying to fix Europe than rejecting it.
To paraphrase TB "No one here will live to see a European government" ... but that doesn't mean we shouldn't set our sites on the first European government being a Conservative one.
I've lots more where that came from .... but later ... just can't help but think that engagement is enabling, that the project needs a revolution and that we have the Thatcherite and Parliamentarian credentials to lead that revolution.

Forwards ... to the Continent !!

John Moss

The key thing here is to remember that whichever candidate wins, we have to have an agreement on philosophy, strategy, policy - whatever you prefer to call it - within 12 months and then go out and SELL IT!

The electorate is not yet in agreement with us, Labour and their friends in the media will attack us with everything they can - and if you thought the attack on David on tax cuts and Cameron on drugs was a bit harsh, just wait - so we have to stake out our ground and fight for it over a long period to win the backing.

If we stick to the, "oh it's far too early to talk about policy" line then try and sell a package in 6 months before the next GE we're toast - again.

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