Labour’s moment

It is difficult squeezing a moment in for Labour with the huge run of news on Scottish secession, English votes, global warming policies and now possible further war in the Middle East. Today I will try, as this is Labour’s week and it would be good to hear from you o n the main alternative on offer in UK politics.

Mr Miliband’s speech summed it all up. Please don’t mention the deficit. Pease, please don’t mention immigration. The EU is just fine, and those open borders have to be accepted. Mr Balls showed how tough we will be in his speech by saying for two years child benefit will only go up by 1% a year.

Mr Miliband has defined the Labour party as the party of the NHS. It is fast becoming the party of the NHS, by some in the NHS, for others in the NHS. IT is at the centre of all they do and say and will clearly be the centre piece of their campaign.

This year they decided to switch the ever popular money from a Mansion Tax. Last year it was going to restore the 10% Income Tax rate. This year it will be spent on the NHS. They carefully exaggerate the amount it will raise by not allowing sufficient for all the income poor people living in expensive London flats who will be allowed to roll up the tax until they die or move.

Offering £2.5bn extra for the NHS which already has a £108 billion budget will not make a lot of difference. After all, this government has increased NHS spending by £10.7bn a year since being in office. This year the increase in spending is £2.7bn or more than Labour ‘s latest plan.

Labour’s vision is of a more equal UK with more spent on the NHS. They may achieve greater equality on their plans, as there would be plenty of reason for rich people and successful companies to move out of the country. They wish to collect less tax from the rich by increasing the rates back to the levels that collected less tax. They are remorselessly anti big business, having special attacks planned on banks, energy companies, finance companies,tobacco companies and others.

Their vision plays well to their narrow core vote audience. Their aspirations that more people should have good training and acquire skills, that more people should be in better paid jobs and more people should own their own home are all things I agree with. The issue there is why didn’t they achieve more in each of these areas when they were in power for 13 years with large majorities? And how does bashing business and potting taxes up help achieve any of this?

One of the curious things is that by7 putting the management of the NHS at heart of his campaign Mr Miliband has denied himself a message in Wales and Scotland. In those parts of the UK health spending and management is devolved to the Scottish parliament and Welsh Assembly. When Labour sends out literature to save the NHS they will be asked which election they are fighting, as the Uk Parliament does not decide !


  1. Antisthenes
    September 25, 2014

    If anyone wants to know what Labours policies will do for the UK they only need to look across the Channel at France or perhaps at Venezuela. Much of what RedEd proposes for when he is ensconced in No 10 is or has been tried in those two countries and others past and present. The results are and have always been negative Hollande has made France one of the sick nations of Europe and is now trying to role back many of his and his parties socialist policies and practice with little effect so far because they do not go far enough. Venezuela with it’s price controls is making for shortages and high inflation and instead of rolling back it’s destructive policies is blaming everyone else and becoming more authoritarian. That is what the UK has to look forward to if Labour is once again allowed govern.

    1. Richard1
      September 25, 2014

      As ever the economist Allister Heath has an excellent summary in the Daily Telegraph. He makes the point that Miliband’s solution is a bigger and bigger state, more taxes,more subsidies, more regulation and more price fixing by govt. He draws attention to Labour’s absurd plan for carbon free electricity generation by 2030, something which would clearly only be achievable at momumental cost to the economy, and is of course completely incompatible with Labour’s own plans for energy price freezes! Miliband is an absurd figure. He and Balls have taken Labour back to the far left policies of the 70s. Let’s hope they don’t get away with their strategy of seizing power on the back of 35% of the vote and relying on the bent parliamentary boundary setup.

    2. Lifelogic
      September 25, 2014

      Indeed but Cameron is not that different with his minimum wage controls, daft employment regulations, his gender neutral insurance premiums & pension annuities, compulsory pensions, fixing the energy markets with nonsense green
      subsidies, helping people by £60,000 electric cars with grants ….. better perhaps but not by very much.

      1. Lifelogic
        September 26, 2014

        Indeed but Cameron is virtually the same, more green crap, more regulation, 299 tax increases, waste all over the place, Pro EU heart and soul, ever bigger government……

  2. Lifelogic
    September 25, 2014

    Labour are the party of the state sector unions (who are already 150% over remunerated), magic money tree lunatic economics, the anti science “renewable” religion, the politics of envy, the buying of votes with other’s stolen money, the job destroying higher minimum wage, counterproductive price controls on energy, a new rent act, more regulations on employment (even self employment it seems), rents and similar.

    It helps no one, not even tenants or the people on the minimum wage who lose their jobs. It has the opposite effect to that intended. Cameron is clearly a little better but he is essentially pushing the same leftwing agenda with his absurd gender neutral insurance & annuities, his failure to simplify employment laws, his half baked new enforced pensions, his acceptance of all thing EU, his NHS and cast iron ratting, his failure to cut waste and the deficit, his failure to sort out the dysfunctional, in three letters N H S …… Above all his failure to win the last sitting duck election. He has another easy election against the hapless Miliband but show no sign of winning this one.

    Vote Tory we are like Labour but not quite quite so bad.

    Why not Vote Tory for a real vision of job creation, growth and freedom:

    Cheap non religious energy that works, a rapid EU referendum, an efficient but far smaller state sector, lower taxes, abolition of the hated IHT tax, an NHS that actually works (rather than a rationing system that kills thousands, easy hire and fire to create jobs, real competition in banking so cheaper bank margins, a far simpler tax systems so fewer non productive lawyers, HR experts and accountants.

    1. Lifelogic
      September 25, 2014

      So Cameron is planning yet another pointless war, bombing with Tornado aircraft. I can remember working on minor design aspects of these aircraft nearly 40 years ago, then called the MRCA (multi role combat aircraft) with variable geometry swing wings.

      What more stupid reason can one give for starting a war than a couple of people being beheaded by a few mad people? The bombs will not distinguish well between the innocents and the evil.

      1. Tad Davison
        September 25, 2014


        The bombing campaign will only disperse these odious people, thus creating many more and very small targets. I wonder if the opponents of IS are going to use a Cruise missile for each of the fundamentalists, assuming of course, they can find them.

        That such groups as IS exist at all, just has to go down as one of our biggest foreign policy disasters in recent times. Last night, I watched a YouTube Video of US General Wesley Clarke who said that following 9/11, he was told that the US intended to wreck no fewer that seven middle-eastern and African governments in five years. Who decided that, why did they decide that, and what does it say about the US totally disregarding the authority of the United Nations?

        Earlier, the BBC’s Daily Politics Show had an interview with the first Gulf war veteran, John Nichol, who gave a really good opinion of the situation as it is and the dangers of it. I recommend people see it. We have to win the hearts and minds of the people to kill an ideology, but whilst the Yanks keep stirring up trouble just about everywhere, and whilst our own cowardly politicians are too scared to stand up to them, we will have a perpetual state of war.

        We need new politicians with a whole new direction, and we desperately need those changes now!


      2. Denis Cooper
        September 25, 2014'_Ear

        “Walpole was deeply reluctant to declare war and reportedly remarked of the jubilation in Britain “they are ringing their bells, soon they will be wringing their hands”.”

        1. Denis Cooper
          September 25, 2014

          That was intended as a reply to Lifelogic’s:

          “What more stupid reason can one give for starting a war than a couple of people being beheaded by a few mad people?”

      3. zorro
        September 25, 2014

        Why would ‘ISIS’ present this glossy production? Surely they wouldn’t goad the West into undertaking air strikes on them, and soon after bomb Syria as well which is what Cameron wanted to do last year.

        So if we are to believe what is presented before us, ISIS have created the circumstances which allow the West to undertake what it wanted to do last year,but was denied by its representatives in Parliament…… Who would have thought that?

        I always thought the name ISIS was strange…. What self respecting extremist Islamic organisation would call itself after a female goddess from the polytheistic pantheon of Egypt…?


      4. Bob
        September 25, 2014

        ” yet another pointless war, bombing with Tornado aircraft”

        I remember seeing them at an air show at Duxford as a teenager. Fantastic that they’re still operational. I believe there was Tiger Moth and a Spitfire too – how long before we need to bring those out of mothballs?

  3. Richard1
    September 25, 2014

    It was a very dreary and uninspiring few days. Mr Miliband himself is clearly woefully inadequate as a potential prime minister. It is quite wrong of him to put himself forward given this. labour seem to feel that promising a little bit more money to the NHS but setting their faces absolutely against any reform is a vote winner. Perhaps it is but its clearly absolutely the wrong thing to do. I wonder how Andy Burnham, the minister responsible for the NHS when c 5,000 people died at mid Staffs unnecessarily has the gall to continue with this discredited line?

    The rest was populist: tax the pantomime villains such as people in expensive houses in the south, hedge funds etc. There was nothing at all about building a prosperous and competitive economy. The mansion tax by the way would quickly turn into a wealth tax such as that which has done so much damage in France. Labour should ask itself why countries like Sweden, even under a social democrat govt, abolished wealth and inheritance taxes.

  4. Roy Grainger
    September 25, 2014

    I live in Hammersmith where the very successful Conservative council were voted out despite having reduced council tax by 25% over several years alongside improvements in services. The main reason Labour won was because they highlighted the reorganisation of regional NHS A&E departments which will lead to a reduction of these facilities in Hammersmith. Never mind that this is nothing at all to do with the council. They put out a leaflet saying the council were letting people die by this NHS rearrangement. They trotted out local patients to say they would die if they could not get to an A&E department in less than 10 minutes – never mind that the overall plan called for more specialist and effective A&Es to be established in different locations. They got support from local TV celebrities. As a result they won with a massive swing from the Conservatives.

    Labour nationally will follow this strategy. Their “Save the NHS” is a brilliant slogan for them because it presupposes that the NHS is at risk. It is even better than their equally mendacious “Stop the NHS being privatised”. Never mind that spending has increased in real terms every year of this government. Never mind that the last time they were in charge thousands of people needlessly died through NHS inefficiency (Mid-Staffs), never mind that in Wales the NHS is in crisis under Labour rule. They have a powerful message and it will be hard, probably impossible, to counter.

  5. Mike Stallard
    September 25, 2014

    Two things really stand out here.
    The first is how London-centric the Labour Party is. Out here in the provinces, people can live perfectly happily on their wages – I know, I live in a community where people are into factory work, into retirement and into looking after the disadvantaged. No problem.
    However, I know of a family where the Dad works in London and he has to live in Peterborough – 80 miles of commuting. This means he has to doss in London to deliver his soft drinks.
    The second thing is how very TUC dominated the whole thing is. More Pay! But we all know that money is not the problem outside London. When my wife and I started off as a nurse and as a teacher way back in the 60s, as professionals we scraped by, but we had enormous respect in the local community and enormous respect in the classroom/ school/hospital/local community. It isn’t about money if you are a professional: it is about job satisfaction. Take that away (and we have) and all you are left with is bed pans and appalling behaviour. No wonder we are short of teachers and nurses!
    That could be why Mr Miliband isn’t scratching where we are itching. He is living in a tiny bubble of PR – just as much of a spin merchant as Mr Blair used to be.
    The questions is this: is Mr Cameron any different?

  6. Peter
    September 25, 2014

    The war on poverty has replaced opportunity with dependency. Milliband hasn’t learnt the lesson of Hollande, who is desperately trying to row back his quaso-communist policies after thousands of French wealth creators escaped to South Kensington aka the 21st arrondissement of Paris.

    Conservatives should shout from the roof that Labour increased spending on managers in the NHS from £200 to £2b and that no Labour govt has left power with more people in work than when they were elected! Focusing on the NHS is evidence, pure and simple, of Milliband’s 35% policy. The only thing that will disrupt the gerrymandering electoral system is if English votes for English Laws rumbles into the next election.

    1. Lifelogic
      September 25, 2014

      Well the first lesson of Hollande what that he won the election. Voters can indeed be conned by left wing drivel, promises and bribes of other’s money.

      Especially if the opposition, as currently, is just socialism light and does not even make the moral & practical argument for lower, simpler taxes and huge reductions in daft regulations.

  7. Old Albion
    September 25, 2014

    Labour lost the tiny tiny chance of me voting for them when they backed away from English representation.
    So will it be the Conservatives or UKIP or no one……………?

  8. John Pilcher
    September 25, 2014

    I find it hard to think that we are likely to spend billions of taxpayers money on air strikes on IS terrorists in Iraq/Syria. Do we learn nothing at all from experience, look at Libya. A fortune was spent bombing rebels/terrorists for what gain. Libya is now basically a failed state. Unless land forces control the territory only a limited effect will be acheived. We should not commit to this further interference in the middle east. The money would be better spent at home. Mrs Merkel or President Hollande can spend some of their taxpayers money to assist president Obama for a change!

  9. Narrow shoulders
    September 25, 2014

    The NHS would not need so much money if the population was not rising disproportionately through immigration.

    Education would not need so much money if the population was not rising disproportionately through immigration.

    Housing and in work benefits would not need so much money if the population was not rising disproportionately through immigration.

    Tne economy may not grow so quickly if the population was not rising disproportionately through immigration. Does that really matter to anyone but government and business? Per capita GDP growth delivered using a skilled workforce, trained at business’ expense rather than importing cheap labour, would be more productive than this current model.

    Conservatives as well as socialists need to see beyond business, the EU and re election. We are drowing out here.

  10. Ian wragg
    September 25, 2014

    If the entire country worked for the NHS they had the whole budget it wouldn’t be enough. Such is the nature of the beast. It is a job creation scam for the socialist unions.
    I listened to Andy Burnham yesterday and fell asleep. Yadda yadda, more of the same. When the TRIP or whatever it’s called gets signed the Nhs ad we know it will be doomed. Thank God.

    1. Lifelogic
      September 25, 2014

      If the entire nation worked for the NHS they clearly would not have any budget at all as no one left to tax to fund it. But I am quite sure they could find reasons to justify such levels of staffing. All that homeopathy and vanity treatments to fund. All those whiplash insurance fraudsters to “treat” & write report for too.

  11. nigel
    September 25, 2014

    JR: You are quite right. The Labour offering is abysmal and hopefully will only appeal to their core voters who would vote for them anyway.
    However, the Conservatives need to avoid becoming complacent. Labour could still be the largest party if the traditional Conservative voters are divided or disaffected and vote (or do not vote) accordingly.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 25, 2014

      Labour is still set to not only be the largest party but have an overall majority.

  12. Roy Grainger
    September 25, 2014

    Ed’s vision of a more equal UK should mean that the owner of a house in London worth £2m should pay the same %value for his popular mansion tax as someone living in an equivalently-sized house in Northumberland worth £400k. What’s not fair about that ?

    1. Lifelogic
      September 25, 2014

      Indeed and the chap in London may also be trying to service at £1M mortgage and paying to park his car on the road. Then he will pay 40% IHT on death to boot.

      Perhaps also paying for schools too as the available local “free” state sector ones might rather leave something to be desired on the quality/violence/education standards and drug dealer front.

      1. Lifelogic
        September 25, 2014

        Not to mention the higher insurance he has to pay (due to the much higher crime and accident rates), higher council tax, the congestion charges and other motorist mugging activities that the London boroughs are such experts in.

    2. Leslie Singleton
      September 25, 2014

      What is so special about houses anyway, especially as houses often have mortgages? Are mortgages and other funding simply to be ignored so that for example borrowing £2 million and buying a house at that price incurs the tax? There might be something at least in theory to be said for a Net Worth tax but to ignore one whole side of the balance sheet is utterly bonkers. Did not Miliband mention fag packets the other day? And the practicalities such as valuation and keeping track of house price inflation varying all over the country are enough on their own to make this unreal idea a non runner; not to mention the extra pure overhead for the additional bureaucracy involved. Can a third of voters possibly be so daft as to buy in to this?? I sincerely hope not. I live in a converted rented cowshed BTW.

    3. matthu
      September 25, 2014

      That is probably only the first anomaly that will need to be ironed out should they ever go down that route.

      The next anomaly is what to do with charities that own property? (The National Trust owns hundreds of millions of pounds worth or property.)

      Once you start having to make exceptions you create loopholes that other brighter minds will exploit.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    September 25, 2014

    It would help if Osborne stopped pretending that his handling of the deficit and accumulating debt was a success when it is clearly a failure. The Telegraph reports: “The Treasury has borrowed £45.4bn so far this fiscal year, 6pc higher compared with the same period last year. But back in March, the OBR was forecasting an overall fall in borrowing in 2014/15.”
    Added to this we learn: ” The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has changed the way it measures our public finances, throwing fresh light on the precise state of the nation’s coffers.
    The latest revisions help bring the UK in line with European accounting standards, but they don’t make great reading for the Chancellor.
    According to the figures, Britain’s debt mountain is £127 billion bigger that we first thought…….In total, the government owes its creditors £1.4 trillion as of this year. ”
    It isn’t only Miliband who chooses to forget about the deficit and immigration; look to your own party’s failings in those regards. We shall await clear and honest appraisal of both these issues at your conference next week – just joking!

  14. Denis Cooper
    September 25, 2014

    Yet despite its vacuity, and especially that of its leader, the Labour party still attracts the support of more than a third of the electorate, and it is still ahead of the Tory party albeit the gap has been very gradually closing.

    It has been greatly helped by the collapse in the level of support for the LibDems, having taken far more of that support than the Tory party; and of course on top of all that there is the continuing bias in the electoral system which means that the Tories have to poll around 7% more votes than Labour to get an overall majority.

    Hence the UKPR polling average quoted here yesterday:

    has Labour on 35%, just 2% ahead of the Tories, but that 35% would be enough to get Labour an overall majority of 16 and something approaching absolute power.

  15. Shieldsman
    September 25, 2014

    Miliband had to big promises for the NHS, the SNP wrong footed Labour in Scotland over this.

    Miliband repeated the promise to freeze energy prices.
    Decarbonise the electricity industry by 2030.
    This is an impossibility unless we start building new Nuclear Plants very soon. At present rate of progress Hinkley Point C won’t be online until 2024.
    Labour are very supportive of the green movement who are anti-nuclear.

    Create 1 million green jobs.
    Does he plan to implement the Campaign against Climate Change latest paper, (third edition 2014), and establish a new Government department the NCS.
    Another million government employees guaranteed a job for life in the National Climate Service.

    Right at the end of the paper ‘written with the support of trade unions and environmental groups’, and then listed are all the big trade unons.

  16. Denis Cooper
    September 25, 2014

    JR, can I take it that your £108 billion budget for the NHS is the total UK government budget for publicly funded healthcare across all four components of the UK? In which case, how is it divided up between them?

    When Andy Burnham speaks about the NHS, does he mean services across the whole of the UK or just those in England? Because if it is the latter, in the future wouldn’t he be making some of his comments at the conference of the English Labour Party prior to the general election for the separate English Parliament, which of course we English should be granted to complete the transformation of the UK into a federal state?

  17. DaveM
    September 25, 2014

    “Their vision plays well to their narrow core vote audience”.

    This is the key sentence, and I agree. However, there is still the issue of the “Monty Python” Labour voters. It seems, though, that in the upcoming by-elections Ukip will be taking votes from Labour (the BNP did it a few years ago in local elections but people feel less guilty about voting Ukip than BNP). Again, this suggests that the Conservative Party needs to have some serious and grown-up discussions with what is now the third-largest party.

    From what I saw, Miliband’s speech was abstract and vague, promising huge increases in public spending with no suggestion as to where that money would come from. Which is good for the Conservatives provided they can give hard facts and figures in response.

    He kept banging on about local people and what they wanted, and seemed to suggest that the only thing people in this country really care about is the NHS and making the rich poorer. In my experience of living in several different towns and cities, most people only care about what happens within a mile of their homes. And if immigration is messing up their lives, they’ll vote for the party which offers the solution – ie a Euro Referendum and proper border controls.

    One thing he did get right, though, was the fact that people want to know which party will make life better for them and their families. In my opinion – and I make no apology for bringing this subject up – if an English parliament which devolved more spending power and other powers to local councils (local councils whose leaders were members of said parliament and were serious players and local people) then it is more likely that people would be more satisfied with their lot.

    Apprenticeships – tick VG
    Sufficient housing – tick VG
    Support for action in the middle east – tick VG (and I am more than likely to go there if it escalates, so I’m not just advocating sending other people’s sons to war)

    Off topic:

    1. If we had four national governments the UK Government could concentrate fully on Iraq/Syria at this time and forget (momentarily) about Scotland etc.

    2. Today’s Times, Page 2, bottom right hand corner.

  18. DaveM
    September 25, 2014

    P.S. One thing the people really want is a strong leader who does what he/she says.

    95% don’t care if he/she was educated on Mars on in a Bangladeshi back street; they don’t care if he holds his trousers up with rope or lives in a palace. As long as he/she is strong and does the job well.

    1. Tad Davison
      September 25, 2014

      I agree, but honesty comes into the equation too Dave. In my view, duplicitous people need not apply, which tends to rule out the present leaders of the three main Westminster parties.


  19. Paul
    September 25, 2014

    It doesn’t help. It is a ‘get the core vote out and we will win, nuts to everyone and everything else’ strategy.

    The problem with their ‘aspirations’ is that it is, well, simplistic bilge. It’s like going around saying ‘we should get a cure for Cancer, these should be our top priorities’. No-one is actually going to say, no we shouldn’t look for a cure, but it gets you precisely nowhere in terms of actually *doing* it.

    Being in power means you have to deal with actual reality, as Mr Hollande has found, as indeed has Mr Clegg and his LibDems. Actual Reality has this annoying habit of overriding theory and wishful thinking.

    It is a major error to even look for coherency, logic, rationality in their claims. They are designed purely for their core vote, and their core vote is basically pretty dumb. It is like people I know who borrow money, max out their credit cards and then somehow it’s everyone else’s problem that they are in debt and being chased for it.

    1. Tad Davison
      September 25, 2014

      Simplistic bilge for simplistic people to swallow Paul. I heard a number of delegates say what a good bloke Gordon Brown is, and that he should be given some sort of role in a future Labour government, possibly in the Treasury!

      Ya couldn’t make it up could ya!

      The gullible Labour core vote might care to read the Telegraph’s piece on why Brown sold our gold at knock-down prices, and who it really helped. It sure as hell wasn’t the UK tax-payer. That wouldn’t quite fit in with their socialist ideology. It doesn’t even fit in with mine, and I’m a capitalist!


    2. Sam
      September 26, 2014

      This is exactly right.

      Swing voters are seduced by invented comfortable truths. Those inclined to the left believe that the deficit is a bogeyman invented by Conservatives in order to conceal a secret grove of money trees. Those inclined to the right believe that a vote for Farage will magically spirit them away to a Never Never Land where England lies alone in an infinite sea, and banks are all run by Captain Mainwaring.

      They won’t allow the cold hard reality of the deficit or of the modern world to intrude on their sense of satisfaction at crossing the box that makes them feel best.

  20. alexmews
    September 25, 2014

    If Labour campaign on this manifesto, there is a huge opportunity for a small state, deficit reducing, aspirational party who stands up for individual liberty, enterprise, prosperity.

    Is that you guys?

    1. Tad Davison
      September 25, 2014

      I’d say it sounds more like UKIP Alex.


    2. libertarian
      September 25, 2014


      “If Labour campaign on this manifesto, there is a huge opportunity for a small state, deficit reducing, aspirational party who stands up for individual liberty, enterprise, prosperity.”

      This need has existed for a long time & is becoming more urgent. Sadly not a single person in the political establishment has the vision, leadership skills or courage to do this. I had hoped that Carswell and Hannan who write extensively about this would have gone that route but sadly not.

      I still await the formation of iDemocracy the Direct Democracy Party

    3. matthu
      September 25, 2014

      small state? hardly
      deficit reducing? not currently
      individual liberty? unfortunately, no
      enterprise? not with all the over-regulation and green crap around
      prosperity? certainly not across the board

      so that would be a no then.

  21. Colin Hart
    September 25, 2014

    What effect will Labour’s plans for more doctors, nurses, midwives and care workers have on the immigration figures?

    1. matthu
      September 25, 2014

      Bi-directional flows. Junior medic and nurses coming in, etc ed. Senior medics packing their bags.

  22. a-tracy
    September 25, 2014

    “Offering £2.5bn extra for the NHS which already has a £108 billion budget will not make a lot of difference. After all, this government has increased NHS spending by £10.7bn a year since being in office. This year the increase in spending is £2.7bn or more than Labour ‘s latest plan.”
    Then why is this just not getting over to the electorate. Are the NHS Managers just misrepresenting what is going on in the NHS with all this extra money so that they can re-elect their union paymasters to achieve higher pay and benefits for their own people? What have the Conservatives instructed this £10.7bn to be spent on, is this just spending in England? Are we talking about just England here? Is the Scottish NHS delivering more per pound (after all there service and spending has been devolved since 1997 hasn’t it? So all the panicking up North about the Scottish NHS what was that about? Did their settlement drop during your years and if not why wasn’t this the shout out to the media).

    I went to a meeting locally where our emergency stroke care has just been contracted out to a hospital much further away with no transport links out of hours, what the hell! I take it that was a decision by NHS commissioners paid a wage to look after our local care rather than our political leaders, well why didn’t our local MPs do anything about this. I actually do trust the Conservatives with the NHS its the NHS managers I don’t trust but who is holding them to account for the money they are given? Why aren’t we hearing from Jeremy Hunt when Labour are spreading all these rumours

  23. Bert Young
    September 25, 2014

    Labour’s case is a lost one ; their conference has gone badly wrong doing nothing to attract voters ; the last straw was the throw away suggestion of giving votes to youngsters . On the other hand the Conservatives have not moved yet to embrace UKIP – the only real move likely to succeed in bringing about a majority . The latest opinion poll in Clacton shows UKIP with a substantial majority – over 50% , both the Conservatives and Labour trail miserably behind . Clacton may not be the ultimate picture for the rest of the UK , but , make no mistake , the public are disenchanted with the current leaders and are desperate for change . I thought for a time that if Scottish MPs were excluded from voting on English matters it might sneakily give the Conservatives an edge , however , since this matter is to be left until after the election , that advantage has gone out of the window . Farage has emerged from all this pre-election waffle still as the “man of the people” with policies that should result in winning many seats from both Labour and the |Conservatives ; it is this margin that Cameron badly needs and I doubt now that he can do anything to bring them into his fold . I know that my responses to your blog do not always meet with your approval ; I do write honestly as I see it and as I understand my friends do ; thank goodness I am eye to eye with Norman Tebbit and Oscar De Ville .

  24. oldtimer
    September 25, 2014

    It sounds like dog whistle politics, intended to appeal to Labour`s core vote. The current opinion polls suggest it might work in returning Mr Miliband to No 10. From what I gather from what was said, and also not said, Labour is wholly unprepared to take on the responsibility. It is especially vulnerable on two issues; immigration (as the party responsible for opening the flood gates) and on English Votes for English Laws, or EVEL, (an issue on which it has its head firmly planted in the sand).

    1. Tad Davison
      September 25, 2014


      I recall Miliband giving an interview recently in which he said darkly, that at lot of people have underestimated him. That’s certainly true of his brother!

      I saw absolutely nothing at the Labour Party conference that inspired me in any way. Instead, I saw lots that worried me immensely. If Labour get into power, we in the UK and more poignantly, England, have a huge problem. But not withstanding what might happen at other party conferences in the days ahead, I haven’t yet seen anything from ANY of the three main Westminster parties that inspires me either.

      It is for the Tories to respond to Labour and blow them out of the water, but look at what we’ve got and who we have running the country. I’m not sure we’re going to see the massive and necessary changes in Tory policies and personnel before the next election.

      The Tories are worried that their own core vote will be split by UKIP because they haven’t been true to their own core values, and people have understandably drifted away. It’s up to the Tories to correct that, but hands up who really thinks that’s going to happen!

      They think their inexorable drift to the left and cosying up to the EU, is something the voters are crazy not to want and that the Tories have an automatic right to their support. How naïve they are, and what an arrogant position by an out of touch party.


  25. anon
    September 25, 2014

    “…and those open borders have to be accepted…”

    I want open borders but I don’t want to my taxes to pay for benefits other than for UK nationals. This circle could easily be squared by imposing the cost of benefits on the recipients home state. This does not break EU law – there is no discrimination based on nationalism, and as ‘donor’ country we can hold the money at source.

    There are other things that I find repugnant about the situation though … for example, taking the hardest working/most capable people from a country when that country needs them the most; this applies not only to EU nationals but doesn’t India need doctors? Also, social services using these people as a source of employment security and personal profit.

    1. FrankC
      September 25, 2014

      “I want open borders but I don’t want to my taxes to pay for benefits other than for UK nationals.”

      My suggestion is that nobody gets any benefits until they have been in the country for, say, ten years. People born in this country will automatically qualify. Others will have to work or survive on any cash they have.
      And make it retroactive.

  26. Denis Cooper
    September 25, 2014

    Off-topic, no end to the trouble in Scotland, with Salmond and others contemplating an illegal declaration of independence if the SNP win a majority at the next elections to the Scottish Parliament in May 2016:

    “Salmond: We don’t need referendum for independence”

    and Salmond’s likely successor Sturgeon contemplating a second referendum with or without the consent of the UK government and Parliament:

    “Sturgeon warns of independence referendum No 2”.

    Just nineteen months available to the UK authorities to get this sorted out.

    1. Know-Dice
      September 25, 2014

      Maybe a clean break would have been better than this constant drip drip & whining from north of the border…

    2. Narrow Shoulders
      September 25, 2014

      EU sympathising Socialists.

      If you do not get the answer you want first time, ask again until you do.

      My 6 and 10 year olds try the same approach.

    3. zorro
      September 25, 2014

      Good for Scotland… Hopefully it make someone choke on their milk rather than purring….


    4. sjb
      September 25, 2014

      I am rather confused because from your comments over the years I thought you held the opinion that sovereign power ultimately rests with the people.

      But if the SNP did obtain a mandate to declare independence in the Westminster 2015 GE and/or the Holyrood 2016 election what do you think we should do?

      1. Know-Dice
        September 26, 2014

        55% of registered Scottish voters recently said No and only four areas came out as an overall Yes.

        If the SNP carry on with pushing for independence in the run up to Hollyrood 2016 how will the No voters vote?

        Will we see support for the SNP fall away?

      2. Denis Cooper
        September 26, 2014

        There is no cause for confusion.

        The UK Parliament is the Parliament of the sovereign British people as a whole, while the Scottish Parliament is the creature of the UK Parliament through its Scotland Act 1998 and despite its pretensions it is still no more a sovereign assembly than Kent County Council.

        The mistake has been to allow the SNP to depict the Scottish Parliament as representing the sovereign will of the Scottish people and therefore being itself a sovereign Parliament, when that was clearly never the intention of the UK Parliament supposedly representing the sovereign British people as a whole, English, Welsh and Northern Irish as well as Scots.

        If that had been the supposed intention of the sovereign British people acting through their Parliament, then the Scotland Act 1998 would not have restricted the powers of the Scottish institutions and listed a wide range of matters reserved to the UK institutions, and laid down that any dispute on what was or was not reserved would be settled by the UK Supreme Court, not by a Scottish court, and nor would it have included a provision that the power of the UK Parliament to make laws for Scotland was unaffected by the grant of power to the Scottish Parliament to make certain laws for Scotland.

        Should the SNP go into any election pledging to make an illegal unilateral declaration of the independence then the electors in Scotland should be given a clear reminder that to do so would be illegal under the law passed by the UK Parliament as the representative of the sovereign British people as a whole, and they should not think that the views of citizens in the rest of the UK could always be ignored as they have been so far.

  27. Mondeo Man
    September 25, 2014

    On open borders we’re watching your party’s actions – not listening to your party’s words.

    Doesn’t look good for the Tories at the moment.

    Has word gone out to the Third World “Go to England. Their Government wants you.” ? Because that’s what it looks like.

    Home Rule for England could be a gift – whilst ignoring the really big problem (mass immigration) you can dance with Labour on a meaty issue for a change, rather than on the head-of-a-pin on stuff that only matters to members of the Westminster dinner/debating club.

    We see that your party is as determined to make us as poor as the others. However many business start-ups or industry comes our way – there will never be enough to cover the influx of unvetted people coming here.

    So of Labour’s moment ? Bunch of tossers. We all know that.

    So what ? Why are we even talking about it ?

    I see that – in the long term – it will make no difference who gets in power. If you’ve seen the news you would have heard from hauliers in Calais “We’ve never seen it so bad.”

    Nearly 5 years into a Tory lead administration.

    1. Mondeo Man
      September 25, 2014

      Led – though ‘lead’ does seem quite appropriate.

  28. Bob
    September 25, 2014

    ” it would be good to hear from you on the main alternative on offer in UK politics.”

    A very subtle attempt at reinforcing the idea that we have just two political parties worth voting for in the UK. It has worked well for the LibLabCon in the past. Lets hope the voters have finally seen through it come the next GE.

  29. agricola
    September 25, 2014

    I have been watching some of the Labour conference. To me they are the same old socialists scratching around for anything that will motivate the envious in society. They have not got it into their heads that whatever your political philosophy a successful economy is the essential building block. Excessive taxation, outside the Lafiter Curve will destroy the economy. Remember what many Scottish companies had planned in case of a yes vote. As corporate governance and wealth can fly at the click of a button, Labours plans to screw them will crash about their ears. Think about who will be the ultimate losers. Bare in mind Bill Clinton’s words, ” It’s the economy stupid”.

    The second core policy subject is education. Without an educated work force at all levels there is little to build the economy with. Labour have not got their heads round the idea that it is opportunity and quality that counts, except of course for their own offspring.

    For me the only bright light in the Labour conference came from 3000 miles west in the shape of the Democratic Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio. He gave a quite inspiring speech as guest speaker with an eye for many of the corrections that need adjustment in the UK. I do not think he had an in depth knowledge of Labour because with a few tweaks it could have been just as inspiring at the next Conservative Party conference. It was the delivery and conviction that came with it that made it stand out from all the other “Comrade” stuff. Read it in full at http://www.newstatesman/print/node/211981

    He naturally failed to point out, if he was aware, that it was Labour’s total mismanagement of the economy, and many other areas over 13 years that has been the cause of much of our problems. The point is that he spoke as if he believed in what he had to say, not dissimilar to JFK. It would not surprise me if he became the next Democratic nominee for President. I thought his approach was far to open and inclusive to be carried out by a Labour government.

  30. John Wrake
    September 25, 2014

    I see you are still thinking that only Labour and Conservative Parties have anything of value to say, with your reference that this is Labour’s week. Back to schoolboy fisticuffs!

    It may have escaped your notice (though I doubt that) that this is also UKIP’s week, as they hold their conference tomorrow and announce details of their manifesto for next year’s General Election.

    What a surprise that the P.M. is recalling Parliament on the same day as their conference in order to push through his desire to involve the nation in more military action in the Middle East. There wouldn’t be any co-incidence in the timing, would there? After all, it is essential that we get involved by Saturday! Otherwise, there would be time for ordinary voters to indicate that they don’t agree with the policy and lean on their representatives.

    All the promises about greater transparency in government are really being fulfilled. Now, we can all see through the lies.

    John Wrake.

    1. David Price
      September 26, 2014

      John said “main” alternative, not “only” alternative.

      Until UKIP actually have their conference, announce their manifesto and policies there is actually no alternative to comment on yet. To otherwise blindly commend or criticise UKIP beforehand, without knowing what they actually stand for would be simple tribalism, an issue in politics that attracts frequent UKIP complaints in this blog.

      Reply All the time Labour is in the lead in the polls or a close second I will regard them as the main alternative! If UKIP overtake Labour in the national polls I will write about their approach.

      1. Denis Cooper
        September 26, 2014

        Is it not the case that with the present FPTP electoral system operating across a country which has now developed deep geographical divisions of political opinion, in theory any party with a more uniform appeal, let us say UKIP for the sake of argument, could actually overtake Labour in the national polls but still not win any seats at all, or only a very few? While at the same time Labour could still have a sizeable contingent of MPs elected just in certain areas of the country, and possibly still be the second largest party, or conceivably even the largest party, in the Commons?

      2. Mondeo Man
        September 26, 2014

        Reply to reply – The problem is that UKIP are really after the Conservative’s market share.

        What is the point of responding to the Labour ‘alternative’ if their voters will never be persuaded to come to you, nor your voters persuaded to go to them ? Labour is not our alternative to voting Conservative – UKIP is.

  31. cosmic
    September 25, 2014

    Judging from their conference the Labour Party is completely worn out, with no ideas and trying to skirt round the problems they caused in the 13 years they were in office.

    Their main opponents, the Conservatives look hardly any better.

    They bring to mind two punch drunk boxers staggering about in the 15th round, barely able to see their opponents and striking the odd weak and useless view.

    Judging from electoral calculus, Labour will win by a slim margin. I imagine this will be because of their tribal/client vote rather, than multitudes being galvaniseed by Miliband’s appeal to “Go forward with Labour for a fairer society for hard-working families” or whatever anodyne tosh he comes out with, using the standard buzz words.

    Are there any sort of families apart from hard-working ones, in politician land? Do they have any policies for idle families?

    Miliband’s best policy would have been to say as little as possible, give no lengthy speeches, and let the GE drop into his lap.

    Unreformed boundaries and the collapse of the LibDem vote have dented the Conservatives’ prospects – plus a few own goals well discussed here previously.

  32. Bill
    September 25, 2014

    Agree with the gist of all the comments above. This is all about shoring up Labour’s core vote. Last time I was in the local hospital I was astonished at the inability of the various parts to communicate with each other. I personally carried the results of one of my tests to another department and handed the paperwork over the administrator there. It seemed to me that the departments are all independent of each other like franchises in a shopping mall. Ranks in the NHS are indicated by different uniforms (white coats for doctors, green coats for cleaners) with the result that the lower echelons protect themselves by heavy unionisation. And have you seen the size of the Unison headquarters building in London?

    And then how many managers are there? We were told some while ago that there were as many managers as beds! Labour is over claiming: they say that they were architects of the welfare state but my reading of history is that in fact Lord Beveridge who, incidentally, was educated at Charterhouse and Balliol was a Liberal and not a member of the Labour Party.

  33. NickW
    September 25, 2014

    Miliband is not interested in the future of this Country, he is only interested in getting into power.

    Given that his economic”plans” will wreck the economy and that tax will have to be increased more and more to compensate for that wrecking, his taxation policy is as follows;

    Penal income tax will be paid by anyone earning more than his core vote, (which is Labour’s definition of the rich).

    The Mansion tax will be paid by everyone who owns a bigger house than his core vote, and if his core vote, on average, are not home owners, the mansion tax will be aid by every homeowner; it might take time, but it will happen.

    I rather thought that the last Labour Government tried throwing vast sums of money at the NHS, with no beneficial effect whatever; the tiny amount Miliband is proposing will be spent on pay rises for the unionised workforce with no benefit to patients; (unless of course, Miliband promises a wage freeze, an eventuality which appears unlikely).

  34. formula57
    September 25, 2014

    Labour’s offering is not of much interest and Miliband has shown himself unsuited to lead the country.

    Not mentioning the deficit nor immigration was innovative and bold in its honesty: nothing meaningful is going to be done about either (as this government has shown, contrary to its professed intents) so there is little point in drawing attention to them. To do so would be to present a false prospectus.

    The emphasis on what amounts to making life a little easier for “hard-working families” is a decent enough aspiration but the policies are for the most part some or all of weak, incoherent or damaging where they exist at all. (Energy price freezes, mansion taxes, youth tax etc..)

    Add the inability and/or unwillingness to address constitutional issues, especially providing for England, and the relationship with the EU and one is left to fall back on what Miliband seems to rely upon – an emotional commitment to doing good by the NHS – whether value for money and effective or not.

    Come the election, I would be unsurprised to hear a good deal from Labour about “wicked Tories”. Some aggressive refutation and pro-active attack would be welcome from your party.

    UKIP’s exposure of and measures to address the truly astonishing generosity of the foreign aid budget (which after its proposed savage cuts would evidently still see the UK contribute more than Italy and Spain combined) and the abolition of inheritance tax (which is a voluntary tax for the truly wealthy and a confiscatory one for most others) are the sort of policies Labour needs to make people take notice of it, preferably articulated by someone who looks like a future prime minister.

  35. Atlas
    September 25, 2014

    Off topic: I hope it will be made clear in tomorrow’s debate what the exit strategy is. I fear mission creep and another quagmire.

  36. eeyore
    September 25, 2014

    Mansion Tax must and will be the first wretched step on a via dolorosa to generalised Wealth Tax. Why – the question is inevitable and has no satisfactory answer – should a chap with a £2m house pay £12,000 pa rent to HMG for it (ending over 1000 years of sanctity of freehold under English law), when a chap with two £1m houses pays nothing? And why should a chap with £2m in residential property pay, when one with £2m in commercial property doesn’t? Why should bricks and mortar pay when land doesn’t? And why land when pension pots don’t? And so on through all other assets – shares, paintings, antiques, vintage cars and watches (at present non-taxable for CGT), a fine view or a beautiful garden (to be taxed at a notional value), even academic and judicial tenure (why not, it’s a valuable asset?) until HMRC’s finest are given powers to invade your bedroom and paw your wife’s jewellery about in the hope of totting up your total worth to something taxable.

    Procul O procul, este profani!

    Add that to proposals to “crack down on tax avoidance” and we have something thoroughly sinister. Tax avoidance is legal; to crack down on lawful behaviour sounds awfully like Prerogative Taxation, and the sort of thing we fought a Civil War to eliminate. Whose side, one wonders, would Mr Miliband have been on at Marston Moor?

    Capital taxes are morally indefensible, bad public policy, economically illiterate and a general evil, as well as being deeply unEnglish. They encourage bad government by allowing HMG to profit from its own incompetence. They reward it for deliberately debauching the currency and so forcing a rise in asset values, which can then be taxed as though it were a real gain and not just a book-keeping adjustment. Another battle for you, Mr Redwood. You really do have your hands full right now.

    1. Edward2
      September 27, 2014

      Excellent post eeyor.
      The State has to come up with new and different ways to tax us to satisfy its lust for expansion.
      Bribing voters with their promises of goodies paid for soon by a dwindling group of taxpayers.

  37. Peter Stroud
    September 25, 2014

    Ed Balls’s speech, and Miliband’s partial speech conveyed the impression of a Labour Party devoid of any sensible policies. Miliband’s excuse for not mentioning money or immigration, did nothing to inspire confidence. The fact that numbers did not stack up in Balls’s statement surely will not, go unnoticed by voters. Also it is unfortunate for Labour that the coalition has costed the mansion tax. And it has been shown that tax will need to be collected from houses well under £2M, to raise the sum required to satisfy Labours spending plans.It will also cost millions for a nation wide valuation exercise. As to the ten year plan: now where have we heard that before, comrades.

  38. peter davies
    September 25, 2014

    Lets just hope enough people wake up and smell the coffee come election time. I felt that the Tories and Labour had v similar core policies, now I’m not so sure.

    As long as the Tories can articulate a good vision whilst also pointing out examples in other countries of the consequences of what labour wish to do then they should in theory (I would hope) wipe the floor with labour come election time.

  39. Margaret Brandreth-J
    September 25, 2014

    Under labour I was thrown out of the NHS after continuing service for contractual errors where 2 were in circulation.

    Under labour I attended hundreds of interviews giving presentations requiring research and hard work, but did not get a job, whilst overseas workers were being brought in filling all the spaces and could not even speak the language properly , never mind be effective.

    Under labour I am now told that I am a non medical prescriber having passed exams in medicine, practised it for 40 years, administered medication , ensured that Dr’s prescribe properly. have taken prescribing exams in medicine, prescribe from the whole medicine formulary under my own scope on a daily basis.YET officially I am a non medical prescriber .. What an insult !

    Under labour I Was treating NHS patients and still am , but am not allowed to pay into the NHS pension scheme, nor paid by the NHS , yet office staff have these privileges..What an insult !

    Do all these issues which many practitioners share affect patient care ? OF COURSE THEY DO .

    September 25, 2014

    I should think quite a number of NHS management personnel are also Labour Party members. Perhaps they believe the hype of Mr Miliband and his crew concerning the NHS. No doubt they are feeling agreeably grateful.

    Few in politics however face head-on the challenges of finding an ever increasing wad of money to meet equally growing public expectations. With the Office of British Statistics showing alarming error-rates within the NHS , it is rather churlish to rant on about “cutting administration ” to fix clinical staff shortages on the “front-line.” No point complaining about wrong leg amputations when the paperwork in administration has not been checked and triple checked to minimize such tragedies.

    Who can know what is to become of the NHS when the Labour Party plays political football with it irrespective of long-term benefit, formulating policies whose cumulative effect can prove financially and practically prohibitive. They do not wish to think any further than their term of office, leaving the mess for someone else to clear up.

    Significant Mr Miliband forgot to mention the Deficit in his speech. He stated afterwards that its omission was “a politician’s occupational hazard ” . Yes, he certainly got off on the wrong foot.

  41. Richard
    September 25, 2014

    Labour market themselves as the party for whom the poor should vote.

    They want to be in power, so they design their policies so as to increase the number of poor people in the country and hence the number of votes they should receive.

    Once this is understood then all Labour’s policies become transparent.

  42. ian
    September 25, 2014

    Hi, it make no difference who wins the a election, the path is all ready set in stone. GDP= waste, to make their debts look OK. Isreals war is going well, the promised lands look to be in reach, as the usa say they will be bombing for long time to come and etc ed More green crap on the way, fracking to be put into the green camp. You need bots on the NHS always there 24 hours a day serving the public, they do operations, scans, paperwork. phonecalls, diagnosis, you name it they can do it. The intelligent robots. One payment, you see it if the robot works for the government and pays no tax the tax will not be missed because people who now think they pay tax by working for the government but do not because the money never leaves the government pocket, you pay 3 to 11 percent for your pension out of your wages but a robot has no pension or holiday pay. That why income tax and NI should go. and the operating levy should come in, the same with councils they pay your tax to the government as bulk not as a individual, they have to work it out individual, they would be better off paying same amount every month instead of that they have staff hardware and software to change the payment every month by how many people they take on or fire so they can tell you that you pay tax. The government gets into trouble when the payment go down, it a bad system to collect taxs on people because the payment go up and down all the time, when you want more money the most that when the taxs go down because lay off. Sometimes i think the only reason they have this system is so they can say to you that the person who is out of work is costing you money and services they are bad people it all their flault and your paying for hs2 and the rest. they in the stoneage, party and vote for taxs this big plan and that big plan but no money. No intelligence to be found yet on the planet BS and votes and isreal forever with the money men

  43. John B
    September 25, 2014

    The NHS is the only one of Labour’s putrrifying, Socialist corpses that has not been buried and the only thing they have as a campaign focus to fight elections, which is why they are ever eager to paint rouge on the cheeks of the corpse to pretend it is alive.

    The NHS exists to serve a political aim not to provide the best means for the population to get healthcare.

    Why the Conservative Party conives with Labour over this can only be down to a lack of guts of what passes for its leadership to tackle it head on and do the right thing… denationalise it, and open health care up to free market competition.

  44. Vanessa
    September 25, 2014

    I find all 3 parties completely devoid of proper policies which will be good for the country. Needless to say I find Miliband sounds so out of his depth as to be laughable that he thinks he will be in No.10, but the same goes for Cameron and Clegg.

    I see Miliband has donned a God/priest mantle and is calling for all “sinners” to repent and pay their taxes !! Since when was it a religious issue to pay tax? I thought it was a legal requirement ? Also, needless to say if all parties complain that companies do not pay enough tax or avoid paying tax they only have to look to themselves or in future to the EU. THEY are the ones who make the laws which we obey. If the laws are crap then rewrite them. The EU is to blame for some of the problems as any company (under the SINGLE MARKET) can register in the country with the LOWEST corporation tax – and there is nothing we can do about that.

  45. ian wragg
    September 25, 2014

    John, I’m sure you’ll be interested to know that the Belgian Government has issued a rota for power cuts this winter.
    This is a country like Britain and Germany has loads of windmills and the nuclear stations are there to ramp up when the wind stops blowing. ONLY someone has sabotaged a major generator at on of the nuke stations and there is now a shortfall of conventional power. Likewise in Germany, dispatchers are having to intervene frequently to stop the grid from collapsing due to irregular supply patterns.
    What’s your cunning plan to keep the lights on in the UK when the wind stoppeth.

  46. ian
    September 25, 2014

    Why should your wages go up and down to pay for their mistakes, your wages should be between you and your employer not you the government and your employer. Income tax came in 1945 as emergency tax to pay for the second world war but once they start to spend it in stead of paying off the debt, now they cannot do away with it, they used it to bribe you for votes and let the debt run up, just like they do today because they fear what you will do if they take all the bribe and jobs away that you have been voting on, so the plan they have is to keep going till they hit a brickwall and it all go anyway. They the government and elite and politician have not got the intelligence to get you out of it. They go from one destructive plan to another. Never ending spending to buy votes.

  47. waramess
    September 25, 2014

    That Milliband and his party have remained ahead in the polls speaks volumes.

    This is the party that virtually wrecked the UK economy ; his shadow chancellor a prime mover in orchestrating the disaster.

    How then can they retain any credibility as a mainstream party?

    Unfortunately they do so because the current incumbants are also a disaster.

    Loads of hot air and headline grabbing anouncements of what they will do and very little of what they have done, which is painfully little compared to their manifesto promises.

    Monetary policy the same as the previous government and now a big big bubble being blown in the housing market with a massive risk overhanging the government with its reckless guarantee scheme.

    House prices are being blamed on supply however there is no sign of people, other than new immigrants sleeping rough. Higher interest rates would sort the problem out, albeit painfully or, a stock of housing way in excess of demand. Otherwise, potential first timers had better become adjusted to the fact that prices will remain beyond their reach.

    Unfortunately Conservatives do not present themselves as a realistic alternative which is why they have not severely trounced Labour in the polls, as they should have done.

    The NHS continues to be part of the problem and in the absence of serious competition will remain so however much money is thrown at it.

    I guess if one doesn’t like UKIP then not voting at all will probably be the choice of many people.

  48. ian
    September 25, 2014

    I would vote for any person who stood up and said no more taxs on my wages, that is tax free wages, that means they collect they tax as usual from councils, companies and so on but not in my name, my wages is between me and my employer and no one else. how you work it out up to government, i have put part of my plan forward on this

  49. Iain Gill
    September 25, 2014

    Most people who use the NHS think its a disgrace, this idea that we all love it is a fantasy put about by the media luvvies. Surely there must be some politician prepared to speak out against the rubbish service and lack of choice and buying power in patients hands? I sit with family in hospital waiting rooms and every single patient around me is complaining about the poor service they are getting. Why oh why do we persist with this view that its a national treasure? You only have to see the case of the boy where the medics were refusing to allow the parents to take their child abroad for treatment to know how out of control they have become, and they never did say sorry for that.

    And yes you are correct to mention immigration, but then none of the political class will really address it, they all want to pretend to be tough but keep the doors wide open. Cameron has kept the uncapped ICT work visa tap wide open, continues to give indefinite leave to remain to lots of people the average person in the street would not endorse as a welcome newcomer, and so on. Again where are the politicians really saying what the majority think?

  50. Newmania
    September 25, 2014

    You are right here was little substantial about the Labour offer but when living standards have been under pressure for so long the Conservative Party must do more to address the accusation they are the Party of the rich and they don`t care about the rest.
    Much should be made of raising the personal allowance which might be at risk under Labour .
    The claim that there are people in £2,000,000 chunks of real estate who are poor, is frankly absurd . Have you any idea what has been going on out here, how families struggle to get by counting pennies? That, if you will forgive me, is precisely the sort of remark that does makes life easy for Ed Milliband . What is wrong with the Mansion tax exactly, I am unclear ?

    How infuriating it was to hear Labour lay claim to “One Nation”. That is Conservative territory I would like to hear reclaimed.

    1. Anonymous
      September 26, 2014

      Newmsie – The denizens of this area sleep under the arches covered in newpaper.

      1. Anonymous
        September 26, 2014

        PS – Going on previous rates of house inflation – just how long before the average house is subject to mansion tax ? 25 years ? 30 ?

    2. A different Simon
      September 26, 2014

      Newmania ,

      The mansion tax is a bad tax for a number of reasons :-

      – it gives people the impression that someone else must pay

      – it cuts in at an arbitrary level , like that even worse tax the stamp duty transaction tax . Thus it does nothing to introduce a negative feedback on prices of houses below the limit which might discourage speculation .

      – implies that the people living in those places have done something wrong and is designed to promote jealousy (surely they must have done something wrong to be penalised ? )

      – is based on the combination of the value of the land plus the improvements , not just on the value of the land so does not deter land banking or encourage efficient use of land .

      Shifting taxation from labour onto land is a great idea but a mansion tax is not the way to do it .

      A location value tax is i.e. an annual charge for exclusive use of the commons paid for by all landowners in proportion to the rentable value of the location regardless of any improvements to the plot of land .

      1. A different Simon
        September 26, 2014


        Ed Milliband *knows* that a mansion tax is a bad tax and that the right way of taxing land is a location value tax .

        There is no doubt whatsoever that he absolutely knows this (and many Conservatives know it too) .

        Yet Ed Milliband insists on putting a mansion tax in the manifesto rather than a location value tax .

        This is silly season . Batten down the hatches because we are going to get a lot more of this rubbish for the next 9 months .

  51. The Masked Marvel
    September 25, 2014

    Their aspirations that more people should have good training and acquire skills, that more people should be in better paid jobs and more people should own their own home are all things I agree with. The issue there is why didn’t they achieve more in each of these areas when they were in power for 13 years with large majorities? And how does bashing business and potting taxes up help achieve any of this?

    Precisely. Unfortunately, it’s a steep uphill battle against the uninformed and those for whom ideology trumps reality. One antidote might be a concrete offering of training in a specific field which will guarantee well-compensated employment: programming. We’re already in an age where computer code affects and improves our lives in countless waves. This is only going to increase exponentially. Offer a scheme to teach (insert sainted, protected demographic here) children to code. The chap who invented the Raspberry Pi can suggest a useful path. He’s doing it for African children via the UN, so why not in Britain, the country of his birth?

    As for the NHS issue, whether or not control has been devolved is irrelevant. It’s an ideological issue, remember, not a practical one. Spouting Left-wing shibboleths will resonate with the faithful (the NHS is a sacred cow for both Left, Centre, and not a few to the Right) regardless of where powers for change lie. This is true for business and taxation as well.

    PS: Try telling Dave this, yeah?

  52. Sam
    September 26, 2014

    John, there is no point in trying to pick holes in Labour’s “plan” for Britain, because there is no plan. There is nothing there. Labour’s strategy is to rally the hereditary supporters in its rotten boroughs, and rely on electoral unfairness accompanied by a Ukip insurgency to deliver up No.10. They do not need to provide cogent policies to achieve that, just promises of bread and circuses.

    The terrifying truth is that everyone in this country who takes a passing interest in financial affairs will probably agree with you, but it won’t matter.

  53. Lindsay McDougall
    September 26, 2014

    Let’s look at the overall fiscal numbers. Government borrowing was £108 billion in FYR 2013/14 and it looks like being similar in FYR 2014/15. Labour has identified £20 billion of extra public expenditure, taking annual borrowing to £128 billion.

    Given that a non-inflationary annual deficit would be about £30 billion and that anything more than £60 billion would be unacceptable, then Labour has to find between £68 billion and £98 billion per annum in extra tax revenue. That would take about 4 years given the limit of economic pain that people are willing to take (about £20 billion per annum).

    Labour’s favourite taxes are income tax, employer’s NI and corporation tax. If Labour are returned to power, watch out for significant rises in these.

  54. Robert Taggart
    September 26, 2014

    Liebore has long been – and be so even more now – the party of the Public Sector in general and the NHS in particular.
    Methinks the Tories would do well to use this to their advantage next May – Liebore has de facto become a single issue party – they know how to spend money but not how to earn it !
    Signed – life long state scrounger !

  55. petermartin2001
    September 26, 2014

    Politicians do need to show more honesty in their views IMO. Saying things just to get votes brings the whole of the political system into disrepute.

    Ed Balls, the 2014 version, is banging the drum for economic austerity. Whereas Ed Balls, 2010, was taking a much more Keynesian position. A much more intelligent position. IMO.

    This was his Bloomsberg speech of that year.

    So, why the change?

  56. Peter Turner
    September 27, 2014

    In Wales the NHS is experiencing a contraction of services from the rural periphery into the urban centres. As there are not very many urban centres this means that waiting times are lengthening, journey times for patients and visitors are lengthening, ambulance response times are inadequate, attendance at clinics can take all day and adequate Accident and Emergency services are hard to find. These are all symptoms of a failing service and in Wales the NHS is run by Labour and has been run by Labour from the date of Devolution.

  57. ian
    September 27, 2014

    The NHS is a political football, it is not in the interest of two big party to fix it, each party has it own activist in institution like the NHS, it always at the top of manifesto for votes. While you have party political system it will never be fix no matter what they say. Only time the NHS and other institution will be fix is when they do away with party politics because then it will not be a political battle ground and it will be fix because nobody has got anything to gain by not fixing it, that the secret on how to do it. You must modernize the voting system and the tax system for the country to go forward other wise you are at a died end. It alright for politician to talk they have private medical cover.

    Reply I do not have medical cover

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