The PM’s economic gaffes are more serious than his latest verbal disaster

Let me share a secret with you. I have heard a number of politicians in private say disobliging things about constituents and even about members of their own political party. These same MPs or candidates have been civil to the very same person when meeting them in public. Yesterday I heard the authentic voice of the Gordon Brown I know. He is often tough on dissent and unsympathetic to the causes of dissent. It should have been less of a surprise than the media claim it to be.

Far worse than Mr Brown’s refusal to understand the concerns of even his own supporters has been his disastrous conduct of economic policy. On the eve of the big debate, the one he vaingloriously boasts is there to allow his further coronation, let us remind ourselves of the outcomes of the 13 long Brown years in charge of the UK economy.

1. Almost 6 million people of working age not in employment but on benefit.
2. 13 years of manufacturing output and employment falling – we were promised a manufacturing revivial. Manufacturing output rose under Margaret Thatcher when Mr Brown said the Tories were “cutting it”. Manufacturing has fallen to a new low as a proportion of our economy under him.
3. The biggest recession since the 1930s after being told there would be “No more boom and bust”.
4. Falling living standards, as Labour furiously devalues our currency to try to stave off a worse crisis. Living standards may fall by a large 3% in a year.
5. Inflation high by world standards despite the economy being flat on its back.The failure of Mr Brown’s so called indepenent Bank to keep inflation to 2%, owing to the bad fiscal and monetary policy he is following.
6. A banking crisis which included the first run on a British deposit taking bank for more than 100 years. This was an entirely British bank regulated by British regulators and lending money to British people, so the government blamed the Americans.
7. The UK economy was the last of the major economies to stagger out of recession. Growth in the last quarter has remained pitifully slow.
8. He has built up record levels of debt which we will all have to pay for years ahead, and now wants to double it again over the next Parliament.
9. He sold much of our gold holdings at rock bottom prices.
10. He has presided over a massive expansion of the surveillance state and the bureaucratic society, with an unaffordable increase in spin, form filling, regulation and box ticking.
11. He taxed and regulated many pension funds to death, so most people now cannot join a final salary pension fund.

There’s eleven good reasons why we need a change of government. The economy is not the reason to re-elect Mr Brown. The economy is not Mr Brown’s strong suit or success story. It is a far bigger reason than Mr Brown’s recent conversations why we need to a change of PM and a change of course.

Promoted by Christine Hill on behalf of John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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46 Comments

  1. Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Let us hope Mr Cameron can highlight all of these failings and more tonight.

    In addition DC needs to be able to counter the excuses and spin Brown will use in attempting to defend his position.

    Who would have thought that it would take so long, for all of the failures you list, to be finally exposed by the media.

    Many of the general public still do not understand the real and dire state we are in, that is why it is important that any new government should publish in full, the real state of UK PLC finances, including all off balance sheet liabilites.

  2. Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Which Brown will we hear in the debate tonight – the public voice of fantasy or the private voice of reality? A rhetorical question of course.

  3. Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    John, we are in the throes of another house price boom underpinned by taxpayers money. In the 2008 price crash we listened to the politicians talk about how we should have seen the unsustainable boom and done something about it, and how we must not allow it to happen again.

    Barely 2 years on it IS happening all over again, but worse with even lower rates and QE. Why is the housing issue not at the top of the political agenda? Why is Brown not being taken to task over the dire state of UK house prices and the social choas they have created? I despair everytime I watch an interview with him as none of the obvious questions are ever put. I hope tonights debate will address this issue.

    I'd start off with the 1997 budget quote about not allowing house prices to get out of control, ask what went wrong with that pledge, then ask about failing to spot the blindingly obvious bubble which many ordinary people were warning about for 7 or 8 years, then failing to do anything about it, then pouring tax breaks onto property investors and BTL, when the answer comes back as 'we need more shared ownership schemes' (which the Tories support too) I would then point out the house price inflating nature of these schemes and how grossly unfair they are. The fact we have them is evidence enough that prices are too high.

    Also the pointless stamp duty cut for First Time Buyers has already been totally wiped out by the house price rises in April alone, which I suspect was what the cut was all about.

    (I am posting as Simon2 now to distinguish myself from the other Simon)

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Brown was boasting about having re-ignited the housing bubble in Cardiff just a few days ago. I can only assume he is like a suicide bomber, determined to take down as many with him as he can. He even thought it appropriate to tell a young voter that having 50% of a tiny flat was affordable housing. Half a loaf is better than nothing, and nothing is better than Gordon.

      We have a quite silly situation created by "regulation" at the moment. Institutions that are required to hold top quality bonds have been forced sellers of Greek and Spanish paper, and simply because the rating agencies continue to act through their telescopic rear view mirrors, money has been flooding into gilts, which remain a "permitted investment".

      In the mean time, the debt that funds over 25% of our mortgages is propped up by the Bank of England – off balance sheet for now, but most of it falls due by end 2011. However, if it can't be refinanced in commercial markets, it will add to the National Debt, making current deficit and debt projections a complete nonsense. I doubt whether "funding" what would be over £500bn in the next 18 months can be achieved via QE without triggering a gilts and sterling crisis, or extremely rapid inflation (and high nominal interest rates for borrowers). RPI is already running at around 8% if you look at the trend in recent months. The bubble will burst. Brown will try to claim "It wisnae me!" when we know he is to blame.

      We need people with the good plain common sense of Mrs. Duffy to ask the right questions and speak truth unto power and those who would usurp it. She did at least pose good questions on National Debt, benefits and immigration – far more searching than the journalists in fact.

      • Posted April 29, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        I am glad you mentioned Gordon's "we didn't overbuild" comment from Cardiff. What is your take on John Gappers article about the rating agencies in the FT today? I would be most interested to know why you have not gone for their throat. As in current soccer matches, players will always try and get away with cheating if the referee seems to be condoning it!

        • Posted April 30, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

          I have always regarded rating agencies as not particularly useful ever since I had to deal with a finance department that insisted on using them to rate the creditworthiness of major businesses we were dealing with whilst ignoring intelligence that made it clear the ratings were seriously out of date (usually, though not always overstated). That was long before they held their current prima donna role or could be bamboozled by products they didn't understand such as CDOs. Regulation has given undue prominence to the established oligopoly, and prevented the emergence of competitors who act in the interest of (potential) creditors, rather than being captive agents of the banking system. In many ways, it has parallels with the ISA – the institution that is supposed to tell you whether someone is fit to work with children – where the use of references and proper interviews is likely to be at least as good a guide.

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      There is a nice summary of the forthcoming debt refinancing mountain that includes some charts from the CML and the Bank of England Stability Reports here:
      http://thefinanser.co.uk/fsclub/2010/04/uk-banks-

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      What other commodity does the press rejoice in when it goes up in price ?

      House price rises are deliberately conflated with economic success.

      'Success' depends where you are on the housing ladder. About the only people who can count themselves as winners are those who sell at peak and take their money out of the country to places where they have better priorities.

      The whole thing is a filthy con.

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      The best reply is to flip out of Sterling – its gone down a hell of a lot already, but I think it will carry on going down if Lib/Lab pact is what we are left with. And/or move overseas. Don't forget, in terms of most currencies, UK housing has already declined about 30-40%. Simply leave the country, thankfully globalisation makes that easy.

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      As I predicted, the politicians answer to the high house price problem is more pathetic shared ownership claptrap. If they think people will be happy buying 75%, 50%, 25% of an overpriced house for the amount it should cost to buy a better whole one then they are SORELY mistaken.

      This is not solving the problem, it is creating an even bigger one, why is no-one taking them to task on this crucial issue?

      When the rise in house prices makes 50% of a house unaffordable will we start seeing 5% shared ownership schemes , then 1%? It is a PATHETIC crumb they are lobbing to the young homebuyers (or should that be part homebuyers) of the future. PRICES ARE TOO HIGH, simple.

      • Posted April 30, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Simon 2

        Tend to agree shared ownership not the way to go because it is expensive.

        No matter how much of the ownership percentage you own, you still have to pay 100% of the maintainance costs, 100% of any improvement costs, but you do not get 100% of the benefits of this expenditure.

        If you only own 50% of the house/flat or whatever it is, you really pay double your share (100% of the cost of repairs and improvements) but only get 50% of the gain, should prices rise.

        Not a good return, or investment.

        • Posted April 30, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

          I think in many of these schemes you don't get the benefit of shelter from price falls, so essentially you are on risk for the rent on 50% and the mortgage on 50% and you end up with negative equity. They are just devices to over-value properties and keep the housing bubble inflated, the same as multi-generation mortgages that appeared in the bubble in Japan. That must be a huge benefit to the pseudo finances of Housing Associations and of banks who get a high "valuation" to justify their lending portfolios. Until the bubble bursts that is, when the geared positions all come home to roost.

  4. Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    For the sake of the future of this country John, I sincerely hope that you get the chance to instill the details of your article into David Cameron and George Osborne's minds before the next episode of Britains Got Talent- Not!
    I have followed your blogs with great interest and you have a refreshing ability to put your finger on what is wrong with the economy, explain it in simple English and make eminently clear and reasonable proposals on how to fix it. The more I hear about how badly the economy has been handled the more I despair for the future of the country- you only need to see what is happening in Spain today and Greece before this. Please set Cameron his homework before tonight or I shall have to Fire Up The Cointreau (or some other medication to take the pain away!).

  5. Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    And who could argue with what you said?
    From down here, where we are constantly told how to live, what to do, what is "unacceptable" and what is going to happen (after a pretence of "asking us to join in the debate"), it is a real joy to see the Leader of The Right Thinkers telling us what he really thinks of us.
    It has cost him the election.
    And he knows it.

  6. Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Has nay political party worked out how much could be saved by rolling back the surveillance state, not just the ID card scheme.

    How much do ineffectual cctv schemes cost to implement and run?

    What about removing speed cameras from all the location where they do nothing other than provide a distraction for drivers and collect revenue. Why do you never see a speed camera outside a school?

    Will a conservative government continue the Labour trend of fund raising through fines?

    Speeding fines, bin fines, parking fines, tax fines (even if the HMRC is wrong) etc etc etc.

  7. Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I disagree.

    The most serious gaffe is mass immigration – the economy is minor compared to this.

    A nation can always pull together during times of danger and hardship. It can always become great again. And in any case I'd rather be poor among decent people than rich among scoundrels. Alas we are no longer a nation.

    We no longer feel special in our own country. We are treated with utter contempt by the political class for speaking our minds, as Brown demonstrated so clearly yesterday. Our nation was destroyed by the Major Government and New Labour. I'd give all my worldly goods to be British once more. And you should be prepared to do this too.

    The economy comes second. Make our people great and you make the country great.

  8. Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Dare I say that Cameron will this evening be judged on whether he allows Brown to get away with the claim that the recession was global and that it unhinged his successful managment of the economy.

    This will be an opportunity to nail this mans mendacity once and for all and show him for the charleton he is

  9. Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    We've been told to come in at 1AM on Election Night to trade specially devised 3 month short sterling futures ("election night specials").
    http://www.euronext.com/fic/000/056/535/565357.pd

    • Posted May 2, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      This has now been highlighted in today’s Financial Mail under the headline “Speculators poised for 1am poll swoop.” We are told speculators could make a quick killing after the futures market in bonds agreed to open for the first time in its history from 1am on Friday. This could undermine the borrowing plans of a new government if investors take the opportunity to dump gilts.
      What a headache for a new government!

  10. Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I’m sure that we all say things, behind people’s backs, when we should be candid with them face to face.

    The thing that surprised me was that the lady in question was polite and she asked a few legitimate tame questions.
    What Mr Brown was annoyed about I don’t understand the enconter went well.

    You missed off withdrawing tax credits from pensions and rises in income tax, NI, Stamp duty.

    Reply: Indeed – the destruction of the pension funds was another serious offence.

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Norman Lamont started it.

  11. Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I can enjoy a bit of Brown baiting as much as the next man and the coverage of Bigotgate has been fun.

    However, having watched the footage of the initial encounter between GB and our new national heroine, I wonder why people aren't picking up GB's latest Brownie.

    As far as I can make out in response to her national debt questions, he said

    "Because we have got a deficit reduction plan to cut the debt in half over the next four years. We've got the plans, they've been set out today."

    Now it may be a slip of the tongue and everyone makes mistakes (insert Mandelson style excuse of your choice) but he does not have plans to cut the debt in half over the next four years.

    Why is our Prime Minister allowed to get away with lying to pensioners on something as important as the national debt?

    I am already acutely aware when I talk to people that they misunderstand the difference between deficit and debt and GB usually plays on that with his use of words but this time it was an outright lie …

    Reply:Many Labour figures do that – I think they get to believe it!

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Paul

      Agreed, I suggest it is deliberate confusion.

      JR
      Perhaps they (Labour MP's) do not know the difference, and they really do believe that deficit IS the actual debt.

  12. Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Brown is, as you say, responsible for serious crimes against the British people – yet people like Mrs Duffy still were going to vote for him, even though she could see the problems. And, even now he's insulted her personally, she would rather not vote at all, than do what many of us are having to do – work out the 'least evil' scenario that will put our country back on an even keel.

    What is all this 'my father voted Labour' motivation?

    I sometimes wonder if universal franchise is a good thing, in and of itself. Maybe it requires more checks and balances to ensure people are educated to think and debate about a sound society. Our democracy certainly seems rather weak if not broken, and it is time we looked to ways to employ the 'wisdom of crowds' rather than 'rule by the emotionally led mob'.

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Amanda; a comment from a doorstep. A lady; retired civil servant. I paraphrase. "If a person has more than 50% of their income supplied by the state, they should not be able to vote".

      I asked; "does that include state pensioners, with no other income". "No" she replied. "I am applying this rule to the working age population", she added. "How did you devise this rule" I asked. She quoted the following from the ONS:-
      http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_soci

    • Posted April 30, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Universal franchise is of course the sacred cow of politics, but I have a sneaking admiration for anyone who questions it. In his novel, In the Wet, written about 60 years ago, Nevil Shute imagined a system of voting whereby everybody got one vote to start with, then gained additional votes for going to university, having a job, being married, travelling abroad and so on. It'll never happen or anything like it but it is comforting thought whenever someone issues the inevitable cry ofI have always voted Labour….

  13. Posted April 29, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I vividly recall my father trying to shrug off the Watergate débacle with, "It's a non-story really, because they all do it. He simply got caught". Well, the point is that Brown WAS caught, as was Nixon.

    Everybody goes to the lavatory and farts and belches, but most would prefer not to have it filmed. Call it prim hypocrisy if you like. Nevertheless, this tiny vignette has confirmed everything that people have been saying about Brown for years – and that his black-is-really-white loyalists have been denying.

    My wife overlapped with him at Edinburgh. He was (various unpleasant adjectives) then, and has not mellowed with age.

    As for gold, people have been missing the point for 11 years. The gold sale was not wrong in itself. What was incompetent was that Brown announced the policy. I was in the markets then, although never on commodities. It was an insane thing to do. It triggered a 10% fall in the price, creating a buyers' market. Gold stayed low for the 3 years of the sale until 2002, and only then went onto an 8-year rising trend. It's now well over $1,100/oz.

    Anyone with half a clue about the way that markets work would have quietly traded the position out, and then announced a fait accompli. What he did was equivalent to him putting an ad in the Fife Free Press announcing: "House for sale. Kirkcaldy. Must go this weekend. No offer refused". Alternatively, it's like sitting at a poker-table, frowning and saying, "Oh dear. I've got a pair of twos". It's the sort of fundamental gaffe that no street-trader would make. It was madness, and nobody's picked up on it.

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Albert M.Bankment: "It was madness, and nobody’s picked up on it."

      Agreed, buying and selling gold as such was not wrong. Agreed again the gratitious error was announcing before hand that he intended to sell.

      At the time the Labour party were engaged on a charm offensive, do you remember – ethical foreign policy and all that drivel.

      Their ethical foreign policy got us into wars in Africa, Afganistan Bosnia and Iraq. The ethical economic policy lost us billions unnecessarily.

      For once I give Brown the benefit of the doubt – believe me it goes against the grain.

      But it illustrates the old saying: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

      • Posted April 29, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        I would modify "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

        It is paved with piety and 'we know best'.

  14. Posted April 29, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    You're right. The state of the economic gaffes are much more serious. The bully-at-bay rantings of Mr Brown-Numbers do at least provide a little light relief.
    (Why Brown-Numbers? Because they're pulled out of his …)

  15. Posted April 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Lost of good points, but the gold sale is an irrelevance. I follow your blog, and I can't help thinking you know the gold is a red-herring!

    You have plenty of ammunition with the surveillance and mind-boggling debt. And if you need a 10th point to replace the gold sale, how about the growth of the unproductive sector?

    Best regards,

    Bernard, Exeter

  16. Posted April 29, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    biggest issue it exposes is that the political elite are saying one thing and doing another with regards to immigration, and that the authentic view of the problems of immigration amongst the British people are significantly more common sense than the trendy views holding sway at the centre of the political process

    immigration has a massive effect on the economy too, and i hope some of this is raised tonight

  17. Posted April 29, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Our lunchtime musings threw up just a few further points to add to what we've blogged here this past week:

    1. We hope DC will point out how much of Labour's boastful 'investment' – for which they attribute much of our present enormous deficit – is in fact on tick…PPF costs that will be paid for by our children and grandchildren from current revenue. As we said watch the 'worm' climb upwards on the dials whenever care for our kids futures is mentioned.

    2. It's probably too late now but we maintain that 2 of the biggest game-changers ignored by the Tories are:

    a) The promise of a referendum on continued membership of the EU at the beginning of a 2nd Conservative term having negotiated in the first for the return of important sovereignty rights and a vast reduction in waste, corruption and contributions from Britain (and other states). What a potent negotiating tool for Mr Hague and his team!
    But did we read yesterday that the Union are proposing a 6% increase in contributions in the coming year at this time of austerity, meaning an extra £450m from our own overdrawn exchequer? ‘Surely shome mistake’ as Private Eye would ask!

    b) The testing and phased introduction of a National – or County – Service aimed at the young unskilled and long-term unemployed. There just aren't enough meaningful jobs to go around for these folk in an age when so many factory, mining and routine office jobs have disappeared for good and as much as we scream for 'retraining' and 'get off your bottoms and on your bikes' this will continue to be the case, sucking the motivation and soul from our young and permanently idle.

    Military/police-style training, environment, welfare/care and overseas disaster aid could offer participants a choice of meaningful work with a career pattern to go with it.
    No benefits but just food stamps perhaps for any refuseniks with the setting up and admin handled by public servants losing their jobs in the coming cull on non-essential jobs. (And no civil service style pensions of course. New age – new rules!)
    As mums and grandmas we fear for the future and make no apologies for following up on the several times our ESSEX BOYS colleagues have put forward the plan here.

    As our main courses arrived in the pub yesterday so did news of Gordon Brown's disaster day. We have always believed that he MUST be a flawed and rather unpleasant man as so many of the Westminster commentators we trust seem to have so little time for him as a man. Yesterday's duplicity involving poor Mrs Duffy, a lady who could have been speaking for the nation, merely underlines all that so many of us have suspected for the past 13 years and we so look forward to David slaying Go(rd)liath tonight and 7 days hence!

  18. Posted April 29, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Have you sent that to Cameron's team? If not you should. What else is there to say.

    Plus, thanks to Brown's wonderful gaffe, he Cameron, can now take Cleggy apart on his ludicrous amnesty for illegal immigrants.

    I

  19. Posted April 29, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    That's a very prim bit of editing of my earlier post! I don't think I used a single adjective that isn't in general currency about our pinchbeck prime Minister. Still, I accept the implied reprimand that they were 'ad hominem'!

    Anyway, my main point was about the catastrophically inept handling of the gold sale. The man is a financial illiterate.

  20. Posted April 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Gordon Brown's biggest lie is that he was in no way responsible for the "world wide recession". Not so. The fiscal and above all monetary policies of the USA and UK were primarily responsible.

    For years, the inflation measure that was targeted excluded asset prices, particulary house prices. For several years before the crash, Mervyn King was warning regularly that house prices were too high -I have found one such warning as early as 2004.

    Had house prices been included in the inflation measure, monetary policy would have been tighter in the boom years, and there would not have as much scope for the banks and the credit rating agencies to make such big mistakes.

    Germany and Japan, whose economies are based on exporting high quality products, and who were therefore in the front line when the recession came, have every right to be very angry with the USA and UK.

  21. Posted April 29, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    John

    There are some very good points in here raised about the non elected squatting PM GB and all his disasters. As a general point it is a shame that we have had to resort to negativity but I cant think of much good he has done, the man is an (unflattering medical term)

    One of your commentors (Essex Girls) alluded to the PPP and PFI arrangements which are off books. Its strange that we hear NL politicians explaining their structural deficit (before the recession) being put down to new schools and hospitals etc when clearly they favour the off book long term payments which mean they have not had this outlay to cause the boom time deficit.

    I read somewhere that GB, Mandy and co in their young radical days were mentored by the Notorious Jack Jones who was (close to the USSR)

    Is it at all possible that the NL project was put in place to deceive UK people (pretend to be middle of the road) strangle the country in red tape, create their own tailor made electorate and ruin the economy?

    Its only a question, i am sure there are more highly informed readers that on this blog that may have a view on this.

    Regards
    Pete

  22. Posted April 29, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone think DC should have kept going with 'Age of Austerity', because that is what is coming. Even if it costs the Tories the election: so what – if the other parties don't acknowledge it – they'd have been finished as parties within a couple of years of the election. Perhaps people in the UK need the pain, before they wake up to Labour and Lib Dem policy.

  23. Posted April 29, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    "The gold sale wasn't wrong in itself" says one poster.

    I would have thought selling the nation's gold to save an unloved investment bank's hide a crime of the highest level.

    It's the only explanation that fits the puzzle.

    Yet Brown is still at large rather than behind bars for life.

    Politics is just a show to distract the peasantry & always has been.

  24. Posted April 29, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    We know what we are going to hear tonight of course: the Tories are going to take £6M out of the economy.
    I hope that this time Cameron will actually speak up against that.
    Then there is the accusation that jobs are going to be cut. This will be the case no matter who wins the election,
    but hopefully under the Conservatives more so! We hear about front-line services that have to be preserved, but those are not the ones that have mushroomed under Labour. We do need to cut lots of managers (BBC comes to mind) and they have generally the highest salaries. This should appeal to traditionally Labour people.
    Another thing. It will probably mentioned that the IFS has said that the Conservatives have a bigger hole in their budget than the other parties because of their planned (very modest) tax cuts. But the deficit and debt can never be brought down sufficiently by cuts alone. Tax cuts are necessary to enable businesses to grow and it is resulting economic gains that should fill the hole in the long run. It is always the same thing: socialists think the state can create wealth, whereas only private enterprise can do this.

  25. Posted April 29, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    When telling our heroine that immigration was matched by emigration Brown failed to mention the fact that British emigres are always self-supporting and rarely a burden on the host nation. Quite the reverse of what is happening with so many immigrants here.

    Why is he always allowed to get away with this ?

    Labour has had the easiest of rides with an opposition as weak as this.

  26. Posted April 29, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Did you see Eddie George's comment – that whoever wins the next election will have to make cuts so deep they will be out of power for a generation.

    As I said Osborne can't simply cut he has to have a strategy that visibly puts the blame on Labour.

    • Posted April 30, 2010 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Sadly, "Steady Eddie" is with us no more. Mervyn King (author of "debt is real: house prices are a matter of opinion") was reported to have said this a month ago to David Hale.

  27. Posted April 29, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    Much more polished performance from Cameron…tonight he looked like a statesman, balanced and ready for power. Brown exposed to be out of touch fantasy merchant with serial aversion to the dismal factual results of his tenure both as Chancellor and unelected PM. Clegg was sweating a lot, and seemed a bit like a needle stuck in a groove. The exposure of the implications of LibDem immigration policies (an additional 1.2 million + burden) was killer blow. Also VAT on housing made him look suspect. I think we do still need to counter Brown's ever-more-desperate attempts at class division via the IHT issue. But all in all – I hope he has done enough to push the result in our favour. I still believe the rest of the week should see posters going up highlighting graphically Brown's record – just so people are sure about his factual record. A graph speaks a thousand words – especially when coupled with that ridiculous smug smile at the end of his closing statement. Keep up the good work JR!

  28. Posted April 30, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Let me put some other thoughts on immigration here:-

    Immigrants do a lot of the dirty jobs that "British" people refuse to do. Many of our farmers who grow fruit and vegetables (which we buy cheaply at the supermarket) employ legal immigrants.

    I don't suppose East Europeans picking cabbages or fruit are ever interviewed by the media. Lot of immigrants do unsocial hours jobs that locals won't do. Imagine how an East European crop picker feels about paying tax and NI only to be slagged off in the media as a scrounger.

    There problems with asylum seekers who are clearly economic migrants. Some doubtless do play the benefits system.

    How any government tackles illegals without treating legal folk very badly is not easy.

  29. Posted April 30, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Gordon Brown will go down in history I believe as an arrogant fool. His contempt for anyone else's opinion (seen for instance in the House of Commons as well as heard in the back of his car) is not only appallingly bad manners but helps explain why he has been such a disaster. He KNOWS he is right and everybody else is a bigot or a toff. The list of mistakes – and yes, I would certainly include the sale of gold reserves – is a good summary of his incompetence. Incidentally, the gold sale is also relevant because it was a typical piece of Brown deceit. In a written answer Patricia Hewitt – then a Treasury Minister – announced we were selling about 3% of our reserves. 3% of our total reserves but about half our gold reserves. Deliberately misleading.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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