It’s the politics, stupid

It’s the politics, stupid.

We seem to be in a real mess.
So what does Mr Brown have in mind?

He tells us that he need to take the banks into “temporary” public ownership. They can rebuild themselves with some public capital and assistance, and a rash of guarantees against past mistakes. Then they will be floated off, with the shares being sold at a “profit”..

Can he really believe this? I do not know any Minister prepared to say the bank shares can be sold before the next General Election. Is Mr Brown really so altruistic that he thinks he can tidy the banks up , give them a lick of paint, so a future Conservative government can have the pleasure of selling the shares off after a year or so in office at a healthy profit? I doubt it. Looking at the state of the banks he has bought, that is a very unlikely scenario.

What Mr Brown has in mind is altogether very different. Prudence and adherence to Conservative spending plans was a useful device to persuade voters in 1997 that the economy would be safe in Labour hands. After the 1940s and 1960s devaluation crises and the 1970s IMF crisis Labour needed to change the polling which said consistently Labour governments end with too much borrowing and spending in a collapse of financial stability.

By 2000 the polls told him that spin job was done. He started to increase the spending and the borrowing, breaking his own sensible rules – for those rules were just political, they were not meant to constrain him once he wanted to flex the national credit card for real.

When the enormous spending and borrowing started to go wrong the government needed to spin itself out of trouble. The first line was that people should not “talk us into recession”. All would be well as long as no-one forecast a downturn. When that was overtaken by events, we were told “The UK is the best placed to weather the storm, and will have a lighter version of it”. When that fell to bits they concentrated on spinning that they will “do whatever it takes” to get us out of it, meaning there will be a rash of initiatives and mega buck spending.

Throughout they have told us this is a “global problem”, without pointing out that the downturns in Japan, Germany and China are very different from the downturn here. They don’t have the same excess of too much borrowing and very broken banks. Their downturns result from the UK and US crises, because they were too dependent on exporting and lending to us. They told us the crisis was made first in the US, glossing over how a British bank, Northern Rock, regulated by a British Regulator and lending to British people experienced such a catastrophe.

They now think the crisis gives them cover to do what they have always wanted to do: spend limitless amounts of money on everything they want to do in the public sector. They will borrow as much as they can. Frightened that maybe the markets will rumble them and deny them too much lending, they have now decided to buttress their position. They will instruct the banks, especially the ones the taxpayer owns, to lend more to the government itself. And they now have instructed the bank of England to buy up government debt to keep the price up. In other words they will now print as much money as they like to spend as much as they like in the run up the election.

Taxpayers – and the incoming government – will be left to clear up the mess.

The economic stragey has ended just as one feared – in too much debt, a vioent boom/bust cycle and a weak pound.

The politicians think they can ignore that cruel reality by the spin cycle. We will be told the government is on our side, has done all it can and should. This government believes it can buy votes with taxpayers own money, and now believes it can buy votes with money it simply prints.

The government may even be happy now. It thinks they can spend and spend their way to the election like there’s no tomorrow, paint the Tories into the cuts corner, and await the applause of a delighted and subsidised electorate.

The polling and the electoral responses suggest many voters see it otherwise. They know the reality is a broken economy, a massive debt , and years of lower living standards as we wrestle with how to pay it all off.

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34 Comments

  1. Posted March 8, 2009 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    And across the Atlantic, Obama is spending money on things they haven’t invented yet.

    The U.S, Recovery and Re-investment Plan is; – “Investing in the science, research, and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries”.

    ‘Obviously’ it ‘WILL’ lead to new discoveries and entire new industries because the President of America wants it to. Only, last fortnight before the unemployment figures came out, Mr O was predicting the creation of 3 million jobs only to find out he just lost 4.4 million jobs on arrival of the new figures. I think “shock” is the word I’m searching for.

    Meanwhile, Good old Gordon here, who’s very Flash but only with our cash, is saying much the same yet hiding our unemployment figures no doubt as he buries them in a wrapper of training which no one I ask knows anything about.

    I also see Cleggy Boy is at it, trying to make political advantage in a pathetic attempt to carve out a place for the ‘Lib Dims’, by saying look at us, we had nowt to do with it, we’re the party you can trust, despite their Chief Economic spokesman old Vincie Boy hasn’t got a bit of paper with either ‘experienced or educated in that field’ written on it.

    Lastly, I wonder if anyone else has noticed or whether it’s just me, who’s telly has constant ‘news’ reports of nether regions such as China and Brazil and the poor souls in Africa on it as opposed to the empty factories, large numbers of unemployed, protests up and down the country and a wrecked economy that but for the grace of God, will take the rest of my life to be sorted (if ever)? Or is that just ‘old news’ which doesn’t fit with Gordon’s Global pipe-dream Plan which he alone keeps stuffing us with?

    Incidentally, I’m not one for protectionism per se, but I’m neither one for telling porkies either. The ONLY “Global Player” on the field is us. Brown needs to concentrate more on us than he is on his image and the BBC needs to concentrate more on his image than they do on the rest of the globe. Shame though it is, they could make a start by asking where Brown has used all the money he gave the world ‘prior to finding out we didn’t have any’?

    • brian kelly
      Posted March 8, 2009 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I’ve noticed the telly’s deafening silence and lack of serious discussion other than [on the BBC mainly] anodyne, almost token, questioning of govt ministers on what is the single most important issue of the day – the crisis affecting our country.

    • SJB
      Posted March 8, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Rugfish: “‘Obviously’ it [US Recovery & Reinvestment Plan] ‘WILL’ lead to new discoveries and entire new industries because the President of America wants it to. ”

      Basic science does bear fruit.
      http://www.ast.leeds.ac.uk/~knapp/basic_science.html
      (see section 3.2, particularly: “One might ask whether basic circuits in computers might have been found by people who wanted to build computers. As it happens, they were discovered in the thirties by physicists dealing with the counting of nuclear particles because they were interested in nuclear physics.”)

      I think Britain has an excellent (if not the best) record in this field. Yet the state spends just £1.6billion on research. Small potatoes compared to the billions it ‘invests’ in uber-computer systems.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 9, 2009 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      Just heard on the News tonight that the US is investing Government money into stem cell research.

      Lets hope they do not get any of Gordons DNA.

  2. Posted March 8, 2009 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Your posts and succinct style make me always realise why I am a Conservative. Sadly our population is en masse to dum to realise when they are being systematically shafted. Always by Labour.

  3. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Can anybody explain the point of “asset price insurance”?

    Ie, Darling’s “Asset Protection Scheme”.

    It doesn’t actually remove the toxic assets from the bank’s balance sheet: they stay there until the bank finally gets round to sorting through them, revaluing them, and then deciding which to sell, and which to keep at a written-down valuation.

    And as the bank goes through that process, because Darling has idiotically given the bank his guarantee that those assets have a certain minimum value, in exchange for a pathetically inadequate “insurance premium”, the taxpayer may be stumping up potentially gargantuan sums of money.

    If Darling, in his great wisdom, has correctly guessed the true value of the insured toxic assets – which nobody else can do, not even the bank – then there won’t be a great problem.

    If, as is very likely, his guesstimate is wrong, then –

    If the assets turn out to be worth more than he thought, the bank will keep that surplus.

    If the assets turn out to be worth less than he thought, then the bank will take a first loss, but after that the taxpayer will make up 90 percent of the shortfall.

    So, for example, if the RBS toxic assets that Darling has already insured turned out to be worth only 50 pence in the pound, not the minimum of 87 pence in the pound that he has guessed, the taxpayer would hand over £120 billion, permanently, to compensate RBS for its own past stupidity.

    That would be an average of £2000 for every man, woman and child in the country. It might be less, but it could also be more.

    Why?

    Why is the taxpayer expected to make a straight gift of this money, rather than making it a loan to tide the bank over, until it can repay it with interest?

    Why is the government not taking a first charge on the bank’s assets, in case in the end it fails and so it can’t repay the taxpayer gradually out of future operating profits?

    And why is the Official Opposition still adopting such a supine attitude to a scheme which Vince Cable has described as “a disgrace”, “a betrayal of the taxpayer’s interests”, and “a fraud at the taxpayer’s expense”?

    Would you, or George Osborne, or David Cameron, willingly become an investor with unlimited liability in an insurance company run by Alistair Darling?

    I wouldn’t, so why should I be forced to do so through the tax system?

  4. Posted March 8, 2009 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    It all reminds me too much of the 50’s and 60’s, the uneven and unpredictable workings of the financial “credit squeezes”, the politicised direct control over so much of companies investment policies and location that proved so disastrous to the economy as a whole. As we look at the present government and its handling of the financial and economic crisis we have the dreadful thought that George Browne drunk was a better man than Gordon Brown sober.

    • APL
      Posted March 9, 2009 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      Demetrius: “It all reminds me too much of the 50’s and 60’s, ..”

      I think you are right to be so reminded. It was the ’50s and ’60s when the government last intervened in, on that occasion heavy industry on such a scale.

      Then it was the Nationalization of British Rail. The forced merger of one bad motor company with one half decent motor company one of which might have stood a chance if the other had been left to die, leading to British Leyland. We all know where that led. Or likewise British Steel.

      Each considered to be crucial to industrial policy. In just the same way that Brown thinks the Banks are today.

      The Banks may be important. But the lesson we should learn from our past experience is that POLITICIANS HAVEN’T GOT A CLUE!

      85% should never be let near a business.

      If British Steel, British Rail and British Leyland are what’s in store for British Banking. We would do ourselves a big favour and shut the lot down tomorrow rather than let the politicians near the banks. Too late, of course. There isn’t a crisis so bad that a politician can’t make it worse.

  5. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Good review. Every day that goes by allows more harm to be done. I shall keep repeating, ad nauseam, what are you going to do to eject this menace?

  6. alan jutson
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    The problem is John that it has worked on the electorate so far, that is why they have been in power for so long.
    Most of us who run our own finances in a sensible way and do not borrow out of sight could see through this sham, but we have to face up to the fact that the majority of the population did not, or they trusted the Conservatives less than Labour at the time.

    Labour took advantage of turmoil in the Conservative party of recent years, spun a good story and won three times.

    We are now in a situation where once again as you say its all ending in tears and debt, as history once more has shown.

    The problem:
    Still not enough of the electorate appear to have deserted support for Labour, and or, not enough have come over to support the Conservatives.
    Your Party should be sweeping the floor with this lot at the moment, and be so far ahead that you should be out of sight. The fact is whilst you are ahead, you are not far enough ahead by a long way to even think about a sizable majority at the next election given that you require 10% more votes than Labour to get over the boundary changes conundrum to draw equal.

    Present company excepted, your Party needs to sharpen up its act and communicate a simple and meaningful message to the electorate, otherwise horror of horror we may get stuck with this shambles again, do not wait for a General Election campaign, you need to start now if you are to try and build up enough support to win and win well.

  7. Lola
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Give that script to George Osborne. Get him to learn it. Give him the backup training and factoids to support it in argument with the spin merchants in New Labour. Point him at the media and tell him to get on with it and say it all the time, everywhere.

  8. Posted March 8, 2009 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Now is surely the time for David Cameron and George Osborne to deploy an argument that parliament has not been consulted on much of the financial decisions taken by govt which stand to ruin our country.

    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 on Europe, and make public their intentions in that place before half the Tory supporters fathom it out themselves that nothing is going to be said other than 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.

    http://rugfish.blogspot.com/2009/03/lord-tebbit-said-enoch-powell-was-right.html#links

  9. Ian Jones
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I am honestly afraid of what Labour will do in the next 14 months.

    It really does look like a scorched earth policy hidden as an economic revival policy.

    They are looking to add as many public sector jobs as possible as well as spend as much as possible on its core vote. The Tories will then take the blame for clearing up the mess and back comes Labour.

    It is the worst politics ever as it is gambling with the future of every single person in the country. Disgusting.

  10. RD
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Given what I read in the papers earlier this morning about Brown’s in flight spat with journalists, 30,000 ft above the Atlantic, where he claimed they “just don’t get it” and that he has nothing to apologise for, the man may be as deluded as to think they will get in at the next election.

    Rugfish, I also read that Osbourne is calling for an urgent debate in parliament – tomorrow I think. Interesting reporting though, you had to trawl through the paper to find the small article that said so.

  11. amedin
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Great posts as usual John.

    It’s quite frightening really that a 1st world government blatantly sets out to debase the currency. The usefulness of a currency is determined by confidence and should not be undermined in such a manner.

    In answer to other comments about the lack of a Tory ‘action plan’:
    my theory is that they are just following the advice of media training practitioners – if your opponent is already floundering, then just keep quiet.

    The logic is that any attacks launched could backfire and allow your opponent an escape route. A recent example is the Sir Fred pension hoohah – while obviously disgraceful it was a brilliant distraction from what should have been the real issue (ie why are standing behind all the liabilities of a megabank)

    Admittedly, this is not the conviction politics many of us would like to see but on the other hand the state of the economy is already providing a damning indictment of the current government.

  12. Waramess
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Does anyone remember the ” Treasury Model” employed so disasterously by Messers Wilson Callaghan and Healey back iin the awful ’70’s?

    A machine comprised of shutters and other state of the art mechanical triggers which, after pouring in a bucket of water at the top, could show exactly how the economy would react to the addition of new money.

    I wonder whether they have actually dusted down the old model or whether they have built a new version with which to monitor progress.

    Try not to laugh at the madness; this was not so long ago and was subscribed to by the Bank of England.

    A far better wheeze for winning the next election would be for them to gift one thousand pounds, tax free, to every man, woman and child in this country, weekly for the six weeks leading up to the next election.

    The cost, a meagre threehundred and eighty billion pounds or so, a snip compared to the cost of bailing out the banks.

    That might be too transparent but at least they would clearly understand what they were doing

    • mike stallard
      Posted March 9, 2009 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      I would much prefer the government to get their hands off other people’s money entirely.
      It is called “tax reduction” (or financial easementation – FE).

  13. A. Sedgwick
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Most commentators, amateur and professional, have concluded that Brown and his sad team are leading us from disaster to disaster in their quest to maintain power. Given the unfairness of the current constituency split and the over representation of MPs in Scotland, a hung parliament cannot be ruled out, especially as Brown has two more giveaway budgets to reveal.
    My recurring theme is the Conservatives have an opportunity greater than 1979 to achieve a mandate which will not only correct the failed and flawed New Labour tenure but prepare the country for the massive changes of this century. Regrettably the adjectives that come to mind for Conservative policies so far are indecisive, half baked and timid. One day we are going to realise that we are no longer a world power and should stop pretending to be one. Brown’s forcing himself on Washington this week was nauseating. Three of many suggestions : pull out of Afghanistan, guarantee an in/out EU referendum and dramatically simplify the tax system rewarding the hard working majority. A crusading and clear alternative is needed and not a marginal variation of New Labour.

  14. MartinWR
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Ah, blessed common sense. Why aren’t you a front bench spokesman John? Well maybe we’d better not go into that.
    Unfortunately, for a long time the Tories in general, and Dave in particular, indulged in the fantasy that the public sector has some kind of useful role to play in a free society, instead of being a very minor necessary evil, to be kept in check with the utmost ruthlessness lest it run amok with calamitous consequences (as it has and is doing currently). Consequently they have now left themselves up a creek without a paddle.
    It is a perfectly obvious to anyone with half a brain that a Cameroon government would have left the country a ruined shambles, exactly as the rotten Blair/Brown crew has, because it was committed to exactly the same policies of engorging the public sector. Such policies can inevitably only lead to one outcome, and that is a huge proportion of the population beholden to the state and dependant on it for unrealistically generous remuneration, conditions of employment and pensions, and consequently committed to voting for the party of the state, Labour. Not really a viable way forward for the Tories or any other party committed to the continuance of anything resembling a free society.
    So much for trying to be “nice” Tories, rather than economically sound ones.
    So much for accepting the BBC line on “nasty” Thatcherism”.
    So much for copying the empty Blairite fantasy of the “third way” when it was the next best thing to sliced bread, before it was exposed.
    It is scarcely any wonder, when after eleven years of the most disastrous, corrupt, mendacious, incompetent, spendthrift, authoritarian, downright evil Labour government we have ever known, the Tories barely manage a ten percentage point lead in the opinion polls and are by no means a cert to win the next election. That is, if there is a next election.
    I cannot think of a single measure passed in the last ten years that should not be excised from the statute book at a stroke, if we are to survive. Block repeal for the lot.

  15. Posted March 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    A pretty impressive & disheartening assessment of a decade of Labour.

    Howecer the Conservatives deserve blame for not putting the choices starkly. Throughout Brown’s reign they have been unwilling to say that his economic “boom” was no such thing – this would have been “talking down the economy”. They accepted his 2.5% growth as an achievement, ignoring the fact that the world average was 5%. They ignored the fact that Ireland, just across the water from us, was achieving 7% with no great effort. They barely mentioned that we were slipping down the competitiveness league. They let the nuclear industry be destroyed with barely a whimper. They endorsed all the Luddite global warming nonsense. They were at least as eager as Labour to prevent the building of new houses which pushed up the prices. They thought it impolite to mention the expansion of immigration.

    Instead they stuck to a “consesnsus” position but by definition if you don’t stir the other side’s consensus it sets solid. You probably have a year to persuade the electorate that there is an alternative & that you will do that alternative. That is none to long.

  16. brian kelly
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Your suggestion that the government may be happy now is possibly confirmed by Peter Mandelson on Andrew Marr this morning where he said [twice, I think] that the government was comfortable at present with its position regarding the banks. All this is an extremely murky business – we are allowed no open debate or public discussion either in parliament or out. It is all becoming horribly frightening.

  17. [removed]
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    But why didn’t our own party have the balls to tell Gordon where to stuff his bank recapitalisation? It’s clear and always was clear that it was going to fail. Why have we consistently failed to set out the alternative?

    1. Let the failed banks fail. Directors and shareholders are thrown out.
    2. Sell the entire bank to another bank with the loss of no jobs and with no savers put at risk. If we had done that in the case of HBOS we wouldn’t be in the situation with Fred Goodwin and his pension.

    The idea of pumping money into the banks is not going to alter the fact that there are going to be changes to Britain in the future. People WILL LOSE THEIR HOMES sooner or later. Why? Because they cannot under normal circumstances afford their mortgage. All the government scheme does it delay the reposessions and delay the pain. You know that, but why can’t you say it? If we had set out our stall up front we could have changed public opinion.

    As it is we’re committed to spending more and more money on a plan which will leave everyone trying to dig out of a hole. If we are a free market party then we will let banks go under and we will let an unsustainable mortgage lead to reposession. To do otherwise is to reward those who have failed to plan ahead at the expense of those who have. I would have thought that you at least would have been able to bring yourself to say these things. But it appears that in these times of spin and constant media monitoring we can never give our honest opinions.

  18. Nick Leaton
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Once elected, send everyone a vote telling them how much debt they are in from the government.

    Gilts and the pensions being the main one.

    The current putting of banking debt on the books is also bonkers, since even with large defaults, its still going to be 20% not 100% of the amount guaranteed

    Or you could just repudiate the deal, on the ground that its spending

  19. no one
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    what else do you expect from Zanu-Labour?

  20. DBC Reed
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    We appear to be approaching the moment when all those political parties in the West which decided to pursue the notion of a property owning democracy have to leave it to people with other ideas.
    This stratagem which exempted politicians from the hard bit, providing well-paying jobs and kept them in power all the time house prices went up,had obvious flaws. It was alright when you were just keeping up house prices for the middle classes and aspirational working class, but once the hope of a good steady job was taken away and short-contract work and “working in Saudi”took over, far too many people realised that their only chance of real money was i) go self-employed and ii) pile in to property, with the result that house price inflation went out of control and millions of white van men employed themselves in various aspects of over-valued property .
    The game is up for the Homeowners’ Party (Conservatives) and the new Homeowners Party (New Labour) .The sooner they realise that
    nothing can be done with the economy until house prices bottom out, the better they will be able to accept that the banks and financial institutions will not risk another crisis of capitalism by letting house prices rise rapidly ever again.
    The idea that this is all the fault of the bankers is nonsense. It was the politicians who were calling for more and more deregulation(no names no pack drill) and more and more homeownership in demographics without the job tenure to make a mortgage practical.
    The major political parties need to sit down ,(possibly together as this as severe a crisis as that which brought about the first National government) and work out how they can run things,get elected,stay popular, with completely flat house prices. (Just like in the 50’s and 60’s)

    Reply: Some of us were calling for tougher regulation of banking solvency and liquidity which in turn would have kept house prices under better control

  21. THE ESSEX BOYS
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone have a view on the viability of David (now Lord we see) James’ proposal that he heads up a newly-created ‘£600bn Asset Protection Scheme’?

    He fears, not without cause, that the assets will be ‘forgotten about’ and none of us doubt the inability of this government to extract anything like value for the taxpayer.

    Furthermore these ‘forlorn & forgotten’ assets could easily prove to be another gravy train for an unscrupulous outgoing government.

    Coincidentally, only recently we blogged about the seemingly long-forgotten James Report. Has his time come 4 years on?

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 9, 2009 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Do you have a link or can outline where to find The James report.

      See you have mentioned it a few times on this blog would like a look.

      Reply: No link here – maybe Conservative Central Office could help you.

  22. Matthew Reynolds
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    How will the Conservatives fashion a coherent narrative on getting the UK out of recession & thus win the next general election ? It is swing voters or the stay at home brigade who need wooing by the Tories – especially in the marginal seats . I am convinced that if more voters knew about the wise things said by John on this top notch blog and if those views formed the basis of Tory policy then the Conservatives could get a landslide win in a general election. Voters want an economic recovery and John Redwood has the ideas to both deliver the UK from this recession and to make such mistakes less likely in future.

    If QE starts to work and to avoid two big defeats ( local & Euro elections this June and a general election next year ) Brown could have all three elections together in June to spare Labor’s finances the strain and have all the elections at once. Someone on Conservative Home suggests that as things will only worsen between now and Spring 2010 that a June general election could save 50 odd Labor seats. Also by getting the Labor vote out via a general election then Labor County Councilors who hitherto could rely on re-election as they faced their electors on general election day ( so people voting Labor for Westminster would vote for Labor council candidates too) might hang on. By extension that might rescue their dwindling European Parliament delegation as well.

    If QE works and if this G20 summit sanctions further borrowing and tax cuts then Brown could claim that under him Britain was doing its bit to fight a recession. Voters might feel better off and June 2009 could see a general election than the polls suggest. After all John Major was the former chancellor who led his Party to victory in a recession only to go down to defeat during a boom. If Brown could fight an election by saying that his policies where prudent ( all other nations boosting budget deficits to tackle an economic downturn ) and where starting to work .

    Should the Tories lack an economic policy or have one that seems less than robust and Brown & Darling turn round and send basic rate taxpayers a £500 cheque in the post then things could get dicey for the Conservatives. The aim for the Tories should be to not only diagnose the problems ( fairly easy ) but to say how a Conservative government would produce an economic recovery that was both environmentally sound and that reduced poverty levels while dealing with public borrowing that is out of control , shoddy bank regulation and a flawed anti-inflation policy.

    I hope that the Conservatives turn to John Redwood for wise advice as his commentary on this blog has been spot on – both in terms of we are in this mess and how we can get out of it. The task now is to get Eric Pickles and co to sell it to voters who are worried about the economic meltdown gripping the UK and who need to know that the Conservatives have the solutions.

  23. no one
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    sadly Matthew Reynolds the harsh reality is that whoever Mr Murdoch chooses to support will win the next election, it has little to do with the many perspectives you mention

    at the moment I would say there is a fairly high chance of the elections being postponed due to the “national emergency” of financial mess or some such, we are looking more and more like a banana repulic every day and this would seem an all too easy step at the moment, moving onto the government of national unity or one party state approach also or some such

    what with the news today that the government is planning to ration chocolate (i kid you not) anything is possible

    i for one would welcome some proper elections with anyone who has ever been a member of a political party being barred from standing

  24. Posted March 9, 2009 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    My suspicion (without questions being raised in parliament), is that the bank bailouts consist mainly, if not wholly, of monies to buy back financial instruments which were sold to foreign investors, and thus if failing to compensate or guarantee those investments, our future prospects of continuing a world financial centre, would be next to zero if we let banks clatter without support. If those investors happened to be governments, which I suspect they are. Then by our failure to compensate them, it could lead to governments around the world toppling, with all the results that would bring, including the destruction of our very own ‘customers’ and possibly even reason for war.

    On the other hand, if this isn’t the case and we’re simply paying money out willy-nilly for things we shouldn’t really have to compensate, then I’d like our politicians to be able to ask the questions which reveal WHERE the money is going (has gone). i.e. What are we taxpayers buying?

  25. mike stallard
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Read this thread and see the fear and anger in it!
    Read and hear the disappointment with the Opposition!
    It must be really disheartening for our host not to be allowed into the arena.
    One thing to add:
    Has anyone else heard the rumours about Glenrothes?
    The counting of the vote was very suspect – part of it took place behind the rostrum where nobody could see what was going on. The old Postal Vote scam, apparently, was pretty far fetched as well.
    On top of this, we sometimes (rarely) read that the electoral boundaries are biased in favour of New Labour. Why is this? I do not understand.
    The final nail in the coffin, of course, is the total control of the media and the system of State Give Aways – pensions, bus passes, dole money, pension increases, and the fact that, in some Northern cities, no less than 3 people out of every 4 are being looked after by the New Labour government.
    Would you risk your own income/pension? I wouldn’t.
    I think, myself, that Mr Brown has, despite his slovenly government antics, a very good chance of pulling off an election victory.

  26. Blank Xavier
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    JR wrote:
    > They now think the crisis gives them cover to do what they have
    > always wanted to do: spend limitless amounts of money on
    > everything they want to do in the public sector.

    This is *exactly* and *precisely* my thought.

  27. Chris H
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Turning the voters away from Labour will be tricky unless some heavyweight psychology is used. People are dumb enough to keep on putting an X in the Labour box because (a) they’ve always done it (b) they’re scared of what might happen if they don’t and (c) they haven’t got the brains to think for themselves. Conservatives have to find a way to appeal to the “dumb” part of an average person’s mind; it’s great taking an intellectual approach to all these matters but yer common man only thinks in terms of food, beer and work.
    The next election will be won on tactics, I fear and not facts. Diehard Labour voters would still support them even if they knew it would mean ending up in the poorhouse. We are heading into strange and unusual times and the old routines may not work any more. If Gordo gets back in, then it’ll be state benefits all round, id cards and probably all in euros.

  28. Posted March 9, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    There’s no copyright on blog titles but I’m flattered none the less.

    http://pol-e-tics.blogspot.com/2009/03/its-politics-stupid.html

    My conclusion last week to Brown’s political games was perhaps more graphic but otherwise much the same.

    Reply: I did not copy it from you, but well done on your choice of phrase.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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