The media and the debate


              There are  two “truths”  retailed today by the media about the debates that need to be challenged.

                The first is that politics has changed irrevocably to a multi party model, because we saw 7 leaders in the debate! Current polls suggest that the 2 main parties now command a better combined share of the vote than they did in 2010 – around 70% compared to 65%.They also suggest that 3 of the 7 parties are likely to win just a single figure number  of seats between them, as they did in 2010. The party likely to come third, the SNP, will not attract a single vote let alone win a single seat outside Scotland which has just 9% of the seats on offer. The UK does not suddenly become a multi party democracy because of a single tv programme. The voters will decide if they want several parties involved in a government, and in recent weeks the polls have been moving more in favour of the 2 largest parties.We have had a Parliament for the last 5 years where neither major party had a majority.

                The second media myth is that the leaders of the Greens, Plaid and the SNP did a great job challenging the “austerity politics” of Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem. This is a bizarre distortion of the debate. The 3 main parties of the 2010 Parliament all clearly want more jobs, higher living standards and a bigger UK economy. The debate is about the politics of growth, and how you best speed and secure it. Based on Labour’s  crash of 2008 and other past experience, all 3 parties agree that excessive public sector debts and deficits can create recession and force spending cuts.  Labour, Lib Dem and the Conservatives are having a debate about the speed of deficit reduction, and the affordability and priorities for spending as they are all persuaded that it would not be a good idea to go the Greek route of spending and borrowing beyond your credit worthiness. They speak for most people in taking this view. All 3 parties wish to boost spending on the NHS.

                    Plaid, SNP and the Greens may well want to spend more of other people’s money, and want to borrow more. They were not put under any serious pressure last night to explain why countries that run up excessive debts usually get into serious financial trouble and end up forced to make spending cuts we have no wish to make. Nor were the parties of the left last night willing to share any work on figures which might have exposed the huge gap between what they think they can raise in extra taxes on the rich and what they wish to spend.  The fact that some Labour voters prefer the Leader of the SNPto their own leader, and some Lib Dems prefer what  the Greens said last night, is not going to make much difference come election day. The former group cannot vote SNP even if they wanted to, and the Lib Dem vote fell off a cliff in the polls a long time ago.


  1. agricola
    April 3, 2015

    Three large paragraphs and you managed to avoid a mention of UKIP, well done. I would suggest this is an indication of just how big a threat you consider them to be.

    Last night after extensive note taking I scored them as under.

    1. Nigel Farage for articulating very clearly what the real problems are and why they concern the British people across the political spectrum.

    2. David Cameron for stating clearly the economic state of the country and why he should be allowed to continue.

    3 Nick Clegg for an honest appraisal of what they have helped achieve.

    Best result for the UK would be for all three to form the next government. Clegg there to curb the excesses of some Tories. Farage there to ensure that the voice of the people is heard and in a position to ensure it is acted upon. Without him, whoever gets into power will ignore the british people as they have done for the past five years. In terms of England where 85% of the population is, the other participants were an irrelevance and a future government as I suggest should see that they are put back in their boxes where interference in English politics cannot occur.

    1. Lifelogic
      April 3, 2015

      Clegg and Cameron have almost exactly the same views why have both there? Clegg is wrong on every single issue but perhaps civil liberties.

      Cameron is only dragged toward EU renegotiation, lower taxes and some common sense very occasionally by UKIP, a few sensible backbenchers and the electorate near elections. Genetically he is just a daft Libdem at heart.

      1. Hope
        April 3, 2015

        Cameron lied that he halved the deficit, no qualification to GDP. £90 billion and rising. Darling reduced the deficit more in his last two years than Osborne has in five years. Health tourism is a fact, Guido Fawkes points out Farage was correct. This bill is of course is in addition to Foreign Aid! Why shouldn’t British people who pay their taxes come before world travelers?

        1. petermartin2001
          April 5, 2015

          “Darling reduced the deficit more….”

          Before the 2008 GFC the Govt deficit was around 3% of GDP. Afterwards it shot up to nearly 12% in 2009. Since then its fallen back to about 5%

          Did Darling cause it to rise and then make it fall? No of course not. It rose because people were scared after the GFC. They started saving more and borrowing and spending less. Therefore taxation revenue fell. Government had bigger welfare bills so the deficit rose.

          The process is part of what Keynes termed the automatic stabilisers in the economy which ensures there is a recovery after a financial disruption. It’s best to go with the flow and not fight against those stabilisers.

          The deficit is best considered a ‘barometer’ of what’s happening in the economy. We look at the barometer but we don’t try to change its reading directly. That makes no sense at all.

          Countries who do ‘go with the flow’, like the USA end up doing better. The UK 2010 coalition government thankfully realised after a couple of wasted years that it was on the wrong track and started to get on the right track. There’s still a problem of low wages and low productivity though which means we aren’t fully on the right track yet.

          Countries on the wrong track are France, Italy, Greece, Spain who are forced to be there by euro rules. There’s no recovery for them.

          The recovery, when it happens, will fix all deficit problems. Firstly a healthy economy will mean increased taxation revenue. Secondly, if the economy is healthy no-one is going to worry about the deficit. The US$ is surging at present as investors buy up $ securities. Are they worried about a $17 trillion (or is it $18 trillion by now) deficit?

          I don’t think so. There are those in the USA who can’t make head nor tail of it all and are pushing for a balanced budget. I can’t see them getting anywhere but heaven help us all if they do!

          1. Edward2
            April 5, 2015

            One moment you tell us only the State can create wealth and now you tell us that Keynesian theory means the State should do nothing as its all a natural process and it will all come good anyway.

          2. petermartin2001
            April 5, 2015


            …. you tell us only the State can create wealth

            You must be confusing me with someone else. Wealth is created by all productive workers and companies. But its just doesn’t happen without the right economic framework. Government has to play its part in creating the right conditions to prevent that productive capability going to waste.

            Otherwise we have workers hanging around unemployed at the same time as jobs that need doing to relieve the problems caused by that unemployment don’t get done.

          3. Edward2
            April 5, 2015

            Perhaps your big State has choked off demand with all its borrowing and high taxes.
            Smaller State equals low taxation equals increased demand.

          4. Edward2
            April 5, 2015

            Private individuals would rush to apply to do the jobs you mention need doing, unless the state got in the way.

          5. petermartin2001
            April 7, 2015

            Smaller State equals low taxation equals increased demand.

            That could be right -providing the question of the levels of taxation and spending are set only to control inflation. If taxation is set too high or spending too low, to try to eliminate the deficit, then it’s possible to have a small state with insufficient aggregate demand to ensure reasonably low levels of unemployment.

            The question of the size of the State is a political issue, about which there would be a large measure of disagreement. It’s possible to have close to full employment with a large State or a small State and we can both think of examples of both.

            In practice, when the economy isn’t doing well, when unemployment and business failures are high, the pressure from the electorate will be for a larger State. The “Government needs to do something about it” argument.

            So the best strategy for those who might advocate a smaller State is to not overtax , not worry too much about the deficit, concentrate on reducing levels of unemployment, and let a healthy economy take care of its own deficit. A sort of Reaganomics approach, if you like.

    2. Mondeo Man
      April 3, 2015

      I too think we would have been ignored without Nigel Farage. But he is on dodgy ground.

      I wish he’d make clear when he states that he is standing up for ‘British people’ that he means white British, black British, brown British… otherwise it sounds like “foreigners… ” this and “foreigners…” that. It’s dead easy to make him look racist when he’s nothing of the sort.

      The twisting of his words and ideas by Plaid, SNP and Greens that immigrants are being treated badly (when they’re not) or being blamed (when they’re not) were both wilfully dishonest.

      Plaid’s claim that “The immigration debate was unhelpful to the Welsh economy…”

      Pardon ? WHAT debate ? The silence has been deafening on the issue of out-of-control immigration and Farage is right. Despite all Government efforts it is at record levels because of our EU membership – it could well cost the Tories their election and I hope it does.

      We Mondeo people are terrified of being called racists. But what we are even more terrified of is BEING racist. It challenges our own self image of being kind, fair and intelligent people.

      One thing we can be sure off. Immigration and a referendum wouldn’t even be under discussion were it not for Farage. For daring to step into this political and ideological minefield he is our hero.

      1. Hope
        April 3, 2015

        Sturgeon advocated for Scotland. Who advocated for England?cdisgraceful. They advocated for the EU, health tourists, Welsh, but how about the English taxpayer who picks up the bills for the LibLabCon cartel clowns? At what cost is devolution to Wales, Ireland andScotland? I am beginning to think it is time to cut them loose without bail ie Ireland.

        Westminster politicos are clearly not fit for purpose, this was the resounding message I got from last night.

    3. DaveM
      April 3, 2015


      I pretty much agree with everything you say. I’d also commend Farage on his ability to actually quote figures rather than speak in vague, unsubstantiated soundbites. And behave like a human rather than a robot.

      From last night’s debate, I learned:

      1. The Green Party lives in cloud cuckoo land, wants to give all our money away and ban cars.
      2. Clegg is still a very good speaker and would be better off without Cable round his neck.
      3. Milliband knows what needs doing but can’t do it because of his party, probably hates Blair and Brown for the legacy they left him, and is very badly briefed.
      4. Cameron talks the talk but I don’t believe his promises.
      5. Scotland and Wales should be independent!! (Please, please, please!)
      6. Con HAS to deal with Ukip in some way shape or form to win a majority.

      Were there 2 debates last night, by the way? Only, listening to the BBC I think they saw a different one than I did – according to them it was easily won by Labour and the SNP!??!

      1. Denis Cooper
        April 3, 2015

        There must be literally hundreds of millions of people around the world who would be overjoyed if somehow their country could cease to have land borders with foreign countries, and here you are wishing not just one but two such land borders on England.

        1. DaveM
          April 3, 2015

          I don’t think we’re really talking about an Afghanistan-type situation here, do you? More like the kind of relationship we have with Ireland.

          Unless you believe the conspiracy theories about the EU somehow fabricating an army with no money or people, declaring war on England, circumventing the Royal Navy and the RAF, managing to somehow assemble an invading army of at least 400,000 (that would be the required ratio and wouldn’t include air or naval forces) and sweeping through England.

          I also can’t imagine Scotland or Wales harbouring huge numbers of terrorists and providing camps for them on the borders so they can pop over and attack us.

          And as far as drugs, illegal immigrants, etc are concerned, the huge majority come in through England anyway. Not that we can do anything about much of it because our border forces are hamstrung and strapped thanks to the lack of control and the volume of migrants (thanks to the EU).

          1. stred
            April 3, 2015

            Dave M. Another advantage of a separate Scotland. We could go abroad without paying for a ferry. It would not be long until they had to offer discounts on whisky. Best of all we couls tell them to pay for the subsidies on all their excess wind electricity and charge them for the carbon tax on gas when there is no wind, as their coal station has to close to suit the EU.

          2. Denis Cooper
            April 4, 2015

            I don’t really know what we would be talking about, and nor do you, and nor does anyone else. What we do know for sure is that once Scotland and Wales had become independent sovereign states all the powers that are presently reserved to the UK government and Parliament, which is dominated by MPs elected in England, would be irreversibly transferred to their national institutions and the English would no longer have any legal control over what policies they adopted. It would be foolish to just hope for the best and assume that during the effectively unlimited time available after they became independent they would never have governments which were hostile to England, and for example it would never be necessary to fortify and patrol the land borders which you are so keen to have recreated. As an Englishman it is not my place to say that they should not be allowed to become independent even if that is what their populations really want, but also as an Englishman it is not an outcome that I would welcome because it would very clearly weaken England. And it could even trigger the disintegration of England itself, with increased pressure for Cornwall and Northumbria and London to follow Scotland and Wales by becoming independent states.

            Incidentally I have no idea why you refer to “conspiracy theories about the EU somehow fabricating an army” when it has already started to do so with Eurocorps:


            “Eurocorps a force for the European Union and NATO.”

            As the EU Commission President Romano Prodi told the Independent fifteen years ago:

            “When I was talking about a European army, I was not joking. If you don’t want to call it a European army, don’t call it a European army. You can call it ‘Margaret’, you can call it ‘Mary Ann’, you can find any name, but it is a joint effort for peace keeping missions – the first time you have a joint, not bilateral, effort at European level.”

            And didn’t you notice Juncker calling for an EU army to sort out Russia over Ukraine?

      2. Edward Saunders
        April 3, 2015

        “Miliband knows what needs doing but can’t do it because of his party, probably hates Blair and Brown for the legacy they left him, and is very badly briefed.”

        I suggest that you are wrong on this issue. Miliband is not being held back by his party. On the contrary, half of his party, or more cannot abide him because of his clear soft Marxist views. Remember it was the trade unions that got him elected. He is a Brownite and harks back to old Labour. He learned his political philosophy from his father, a confirmed Marxist. His first instinct is soft Marxist old Labour: the state knows best. Remember how he said he would make TV political debates compulsory, until he realised that this was going too far, even for him. Remember how his immediate reaction to energy prices was to threaten to control them. He, and his ilk, will try to control business at all levels. People with his political beliefs cannot resist state control.

        1. Bazman
          April 4, 2015

          Your view being that the all services and companies should be under private control even though this is often against the interests of the majority of the population. The trade union represent the wishes and hopes of millions. You seriously thing they will be upheld by a an elite few? Deluded dogma.

    4. Timaction
      April 3, 2015

      Indeed. The winner of the debate, as expected, is not mentioned at all.
      None of them would get into debate about the EU or foreign aid or treating foreign nationals for HIV. English people with health needs are human beings too Ms Sturgeon! What other Country on Earth would treat me for HIV as an English National if I arrived there without insurance cover? Our socialist out of touch legacy cartel just don’t understand the anger of English people that they tax us to pay for everything foreign. EU, foreign aid, health, education, housing, tax credits, family allowances for children living ………abroad. The unfairness of the Barnet formula! They’ll get it come May 8th!

      1. Mondeo Man
        April 3, 2015

        None of the six on that stage will ever have to queue for NHS treatment, Tim.

        Nowhere else on earth would allow people to turn up, go to the head of the queue and claim a lifetime of treatment without having paid for it. Sometimes at the exclusion of British people denied life extending cancer drugs because of the cost.

        The one thing to note here – on a Tory blog – is that David Cameron didn’t support Nigel Farage.

        1. Timaction
          April 3, 2015

          I read on another political blog earlier giving a tongue in cheek scenario where an English patient is denied treatment for a complicated cancer because the NHS, with finite resources, was paying for the HIV treatment of a recently arrived foreign National. About £100 million a year to treat foreign nationals with HIV. Outrageous. They just don’t get it.
          I fed up to the back teeth of being taxed for our cartel parties to give it away. They are always generous with our money.

          1. lifelogic
            April 3, 2015

            Not only foreign nationals treatments but they fund endless quack medicine that does not even work, tattoo removals and vanity treatments.

          2. Bazman
            April 4, 2015

            What if the tattoo prevented that person from finding work as it said. ^%(% OFF! on his forehead? Would that be quack vanity treatment.
            You need to look at the cost of your deluded world view on the individual and the state. Doctors appointment fees leading to greater costs in the long run, no minimum wage dead end jobs subsidised by the state, massive rents paid by the state to private landlords for overpriced housing due to a lack of state housing. Shall I go on? I shall.
            Fantasy free markets ripping of the customer such as banking without effective regulation. Regulation that you would have been against as it would have stopped lending on property. Not only your ideas are fool proof. Anyone who wants to borrow ideas are too.
            The list goes on.

  2. Iain Gill
    April 3, 2015

    The media let us all down. 2 of the leaders were straight forwardly wrong on their facts, and none of the media dealt with this.

    For me it showed clearly how low the quality of our political class is. These are not the best people this country has to be pm. The whole candidate selection and so on seems to be broken.

    There is a big obvious gap in politics as I dont feel any of these are representing the public well. And the way things are being said by supposedly educated leaders is just designed to mislead, not helped by poor quality journalism.

  3. Richard1
    April 3, 2015

    The construction that the three women from these minor left wing parties somehow outperformed is completely contrived. As you say they were not challenged at all on some of their ridiculous assertions about how taxing the rich will magically produce more money. They can be safely ignored, although it would be nice if they could take a few votes from Labour.

    One lie that needs to be nailed is Miliband’s claim that if only Labour had regulated the banks ‘even more’ there wouldn’t have been a crash. They made all sorts of useless bank regulations but ignored the only thing that matters – capital structure. labour presided over an unprecedented rise in the risk of the bank sector in the UK due to messed up regulation and out of control money supply growth. labour took the UK into the crisis with a 5% structural deficit – not as bad as Greece but on the way there. The financial crisis and recession did not waft over from America like avian flu as Labour want people to think. It was caused by the incompetence and tax borrow and spend policies of the Labour govt. Mr Cameron needs to hit harder on this issue in the future. Miliband’s lies must be nailed and Labour must be prepared to take responsibility for the disaster of their economic policies.

    Reply I agree. I did warn of inadequate cash and capital for banks, in the Conservative Economic Policy report.

    1. Richard1
      April 3, 2015

      Correction: Labour must be forced to take responsibility for the recession they caused

      1. Iain Gill
        April 3, 2015

        The recession was caused by the sub prime crisis. Lots of folk in the US sold mortgages they couldn’t possibly afford, based on over valued housing, and those mortgage books sold on in small chunks as secure investments. An over priced housing market not unlike ours at the moment. Sure the labour party, the civil service, and the whole political and journalistic class got the handling of the recession wrong, but fundamentally it was caused by heavily manipulated housing in the USA coming undone.

        1. Richard1
          April 3, 2015

          That is only partly true. The first bank to go under was Northern Rock in the UK, which was not due to US sub prime. Had banks been leveraged even 20x – where they were for a couple of decades pre-Labour – or more sensibly perhaps 5x, they wouldn’t have become insolvent. as it was they were leveraged 50x. Then Labour compounded the error with the foolish and unnecessary bailout. That was taken on at a time the UK was already running a big structural deficit – when we should have been in surplus. So we got eventually a Greek-style 11% deficit and a need for retrenchment. We should not allow Labour to escape their righful share of blame whatever the errors made in the US and elsewhere.

          1. stred
            April 3, 2015

            When it all hit the fan, Gordon was interviewed on TV and said that we had to get back to the situation where banks could raise leverage levels. Obviously he still had not understood the reason for the crash and he then went on to save the World.

        2. Denis Cooper
          April 3, 2015

          So why did that have such an impact on our financial system? But not such a severe impact on the financial systems of some other countries, how did they escape the consequences we suffered?

          1. Richard1
            April 3, 2015

            See above. UK banks were over leveraged. The crisis did hit the banks of other countries.

          2. acorn
            April 3, 2015

            Because the UK financial sector was valued at five times the UK GDP. The US was less than a third of that. Iceland about seven times its GDP.

          3. Denis Cooper
            April 4, 2015

            So, in other words, the UK financial sector had been poorly regulated and was more vulnerable to events elsewhere in the world than it would have been if it had been properly regulated, and as that poor regulation was the result of the Labour government wrecking the regulatory regime Labour cannot escape responsibility by pointing to what happened in the US with sub-prime mortgages, or indeed to any other external factors. I well recall newspaper stories at the time that the Governor of the Bank of England, Eddie George, had privately threatened to resign over Brown’s proposals, and I’ve always thought it was pity that he didn’t actually do that and so make his opposition more widely known.

            Reply Peter Lilley as Shadow Chancellor and I as Shadow DTI opposed Brown’s Bank regulatory reforms and warned of the dangers when e did it

      2. StevenL
        April 3, 2015

        Recession is a natural part of the cycle. To avoid these really nasty bank crash recessions based on big booms and busts in credit and land prices, land value taxes are needed. Existing taxes like VAT and payroll taxes, which damage productive businesses, can be reduced or eliminated completely.

        1. Edward2
          April 7, 2015

          Where do I get the cash from to pay a tax on land I might own?
          Do I sell a little bit each year?

    2. Lifelogic
      April 3, 2015

      “They made all sorts of useless bank regulations but ignored the only thing that matters – capital structure.”


      Then Labour rescued the banks totally incompetently and leaving their customers to be further squeezed/ripped off by the banks. This made the recession far worse killing investment, jobs, growth and forcing many companies to down size.

      1. Lifelogic
        April 3, 2015

        The by then government owned RBS/Natwest behaved appallingly even to good solid customers hugely damaging UK growth and the recovery.

    3. Tad Davison
      April 3, 2015

      You make a fair point Richard, and I especially like the line, ‘Mr Cameron needs to hit harder on this issue in the future’.

      I can’t understand what has stopped him thus far. If I were in Mr Cameron’s place, Miliband and the Labour party would be history, not a re-emerging threat.

      Maybe my working-class roots make me too aggressive, less subtle, and less inclined to suffer fools gladly than the conventional Westminster politician who is too scared to ruffle people’s feathers. But on the other hand, that might be what the country needs. In Mrs. Thatcher’s day, a lot of people disagreed with her, but they still voted for her because she was seen as a strong leader, and of course, she won three general elections on the bounce.

      Before 1997 General Election, I recall John Major saying something to the effect that, ‘Fight? I haven’t even begun to fight yet.’. Well we’re still waiting! And the nice Mr Major got a drubbing!

      There’s a lesson in that little lot for any leader who cares to take it on board.

      We want strong leadership! When do we want it? NOW!


      1. Lifelogic
        April 3, 2015

        Exactly, people know exactly what they want when it is offered to them. Politics is not about dipping you finger in the water asking focus groups or people what they want, they often do not tell the truth. It is about offering them a positive uplifting vision. Cheap energy, more jobs, lower taxes, more efficient services, selective immigration, higher living standards, a restoration of UK democracy …

        Please say what they think casts them in a good, kind and generous light not the truth. Most people understand full well the dreadfully poor services and lack of value for money the bloated and over remunerated state sector delivers.

      2. Qubus
        April 3, 2015

        One problem is that Cameron is essentially a decent chap, not like that idealogue Miliband. He just doesn’t seem to hammer the points home hard enough, not like at PMQ where he usually has Miliband stuffed. He should have made a lot more of the note left in the Treasury by Liam Byrne. I am sure that even I could have stated it in an a less give-away fashion. It should be repeated again and again throughout the electioneering period.

        I can also remember either jack Straw or David Blunket stating categorically on TV that he saw no upper limit to the number of immigrants. Why no mention of this? Labour think that they can say “we made a mistake” and that that is the end of the matter.

        Of course Miliband wants to talk about the future, because he has no past that he can relate. Why doesn’t Cameron say this?

        1. Lifelogic
          April 3, 2015

          What was “decent” about his branding of UKIP supporters as fruit cakes & closet racists.

          It is Cameron’s policy of EU migrants good other migrants bad by law that is clearly racist.

      3. Richard1
        April 3, 2015

        I fear that on some of these issues Mr Cameron is not adquately briefed, he should read JRs blog more often. Another example was Paxman asking him with mock incredulity what the debt was. Mr C waited for the answer – there’s no need to be defensive on that, of course the debt would go on rising if we are still running a deficit. That’s why running a deficit unless you really need to is such bad news, it’s like turning round an oil tanker to get rid of it and control the total stock of debt outstanding.

    4. Lifelogic
      April 3, 2015

      I thought the three women were all dreadful, even in comparison to Miliband & Clegg. There are plenty of sensible people of both genders around, but so very few seem to choose politics.

    5. Bazman
      April 4, 2015

      The Tories and their supporters would have been and were against any regulation that restricted banks doing what they wanted to increase profits both where fooled by the bankers that this was all for the best and the taxed profits could be spent on the country.
      In the end the bankers crashed the system and paid nothing for doing this defended by the Tories who would just oversee the whole thing again as they are funded by the same people. Oh! Really John….? As if…
      Its a bit like the collapse of the USSR. How many other the supporters where convicted of any wrongdoing? One or two were shot and the rest just carried on as usual with different hat on becoming very rich in the process.
      In this case its communism for the rich as I have consistently maintained.

      Reply Nonsense. I argued strongly against the excessive growth of bank balance sheets and against the mega mergers.

      1. Hefner
        April 5, 2015

        Sorry John, you argued and argued but to no avail. I hope that by now you know that even as a Conservative, if you are not in the Government your voice counts for almost nothing: when there is a vote, you follow or are told to follow what the whips tell you to do. And it is very rare that MPs do not follow what their whips are telling them to do. Prove your point for once, and publish the number of times you actually had the guts to go against what the “centre” told you to do.
        I agree it is a very difficult situation, but as long as we are stuck with first past the post and do not have a larger number of internally consistent parties, there is very little hope of improvements. You can wax as lyrically as you wish about the Mother of Parliament, Magna Carta and the likes, but the British system needs an overhaul.

        Reply I voted agsinst anything transferring more power to the EU and in favour of a referendum.

  4. Hope
    April 3, 2015

    Oh dear, no mention of UKIP. Cameron lied that he halved the deficit without any qualification to GDP. It is running at £90 billion! His false claims about renegotiation seen for what they are, hot air and small beer because the other 27 nations will not allow it, they want our taxes without giving us a say how they are used and Cameron content for that to happen while trying to con the public otherwise. No wonder he does not want a debate with Farage. They are losing to him. Osborne not wanting to discuss why he is giving away £14 billion in foreign aid, a sixth of which is spent by the EU without any say from the UK! I am sure the president of Uganda is happy with his LeR jet provided by us or that the dictator in Belerus is grTeful the UK gave him £1 billion to help is autocratic rule, no hungry mouths to feed to there. How many doctors and nurses could this money provide for British citizens?
    Sturgeon p155ed all over him, no wonder he caved in to her every demand for Scotland and this is what we can expect from any of his. Egotiations. Clegg beat him, Salmond beat him and the EU always beat him. He is an arrogant out of touch loser.

    Reply I did mention UKIP as one of the 3 parties which will win practically no seats on current polls. Your intemperance to David Cameron is not shared by many, as DC currently leads the party in first place in the polls.

    1. Richard1
      April 3, 2015

      UKIP are choosing to define themselves as the anti immigration party. Mr Farage has even adopted the leftist tactic of attacking ‘corporations’ for wanting cheap labour. He is right on issues such as overseas aid and HS2 but has backtracked from other sensible policies. Farage has also foolishly started to play the numbers game on immigration. What if 100,000 dynamic entrepreneurs and highly skilled workers wanted to come to the UK? Would Mr Farages committee stop it ? The only rationale for voting UKIP in the election is if you are in a marginal constituency where the Comservative has no chance. Otherwise it’s a vote for Miliband.

      1. Qubus
        April 3, 2015

        But that is a rather foolish hypothetical question that was asked. The probability that 100,000 highly qualified engineers would apply to come her is zero. And, if it did happen, one would simply review the situation.

        1. Robert Christopher
          April 3, 2015

          And UKIP want border control, that will allow who we want into the country, not ‘no immigration’. It is what other countries such as Australia, do.

        2. Richard1
          April 3, 2015

          It is possible that 100,000 highly worthwhile people might want to come, and it could be right to allow it. The problem with a cap is you box yourself in.

          1. matthu
            April 3, 2015

            Farage is not advocating a cap, as far as I am aware: he is advocating selective border controls.

            So the right to choose the type of skills we admit and the type of skills we turn back at the border according to circumstance.

            The right to bring in those skills from whatever corner of the world we choose without being obliged to give preference to Europeans over any other country in the world.

            Not being obliged to discriminate against otherwise perfectly eligible immigrants purely on the basis of nationality.

            I believe he expressed the view that by adopting these policies he hope we would be able to reduce annual net immigration to a more manageable level.

            That is very far removed from bringing up the drawbridge, and not the same as imposing a cap.

            Almost every other serious politician accepts that levels of net immigration have been too high since the turn of the century. Where they disagree is in how we can tackle the problem.

          2. Mondeo Man
            April 4, 2015

            Richard 1

            I think you’ve missed the point. Farage said repeatedly that we want an Australian style points system.

            He is being painted as anti foreigner and anti immigration. He is neither.

            What we are all against is uncontrolled mass immigration and being put to the back of the queue behind the recently arrived.

            With this system in place the economic recovery (a low interest house bubble boom if ever there was one) matters not one jot:

            – there will never be enough resources

            – there will never be enough jobs

            – there will never be enough NHS

            The average person, therefore, is stuffed and has nothing to lose by voting Ukip. Everything to gain in fact.

            I predict now that within two years (probably sooner) this economic boom will have unravelled. But what we have is Mr Cameron telling us that we have something to lose when we don’t.

            Common sense tells us that we can’t keep stuffing the country with, mainly, poor people and expect the average person to get richer or see their quality of life improve.

          3. Denis Cooper
            April 4, 2015

            That’s really not a problem, as there could be provision for the cap to be varied in the light of unexpected events. So let us say that Parliament has passed an Immigration (2016 Programme) Act setting a limit of 50,000 immigration places for the year 2016, and then something happens in the world which means that a lot of very highly talented and decent people are looking for a new homeland. All that needs to be done is for the government to introduce an Immigration (2016 Programme) (Amendment) Bill to add more places for the year, let us say another 50,000, and perhaps adjust the points system so that those very valuable people are given preference, explain to Parliament why it wants to do that, and get the amending Bill passed. And later the Bills to authorise the annual immigration programmes for 2017 and perhaps 2018 could set lower than usual limits, to compensate for the sudden major influx that occurred in 2016.

      2. Denis Cooper
        April 3, 2015

        But what if not 100,000 but 100,000,000 dynamic entrepreneurs and highly skilled workers wanted to come to the UK? Would you stop it?

      3. Mark B
        April 4, 2015

        The solution is to take what you need. All the rest can wait.

        1. Denis Cooper
          April 4, 2015

          Well, they can either wait or look elsewhere for a new homeland.

    2. JoeSoap
      April 3, 2015

      Reply to reply
      The only poll that matters…. and that will show UKIP as the party with the most increased support since 2010. You choose to ignore the elephant in your room as you always have. In an era of marginal parties doing well you will have to review your ideas eventually.

    3. Mondeo Man
      April 3, 2015

      Reply to reply

      In a country that fears another Labour government with the most awful Labour leader since Foot there should be a huge difference between Labour and the Tories in the polls.

      There isn’t.

      Ukip may not get many MPs but they attract a good share of the votes.

      1. Lifelogic
        April 3, 2015

        Indeed Cameron is about to throw another sitting duck election by being a Libdem in all but name.

        1. Bazman
          April 4, 2015

          Again you seem to think deluded right wing policies such as the abolition of IHT, privatisation of the NHS, and no employment rights or minimum are supported by voters many of which are poor or on below average wages.
          Why do you think they would vote for these policies and put any government advocating them in power? Understand?

          1. Edward2
            April 5, 2015

            I didnt realise any of these were policies of any current political party.
            Are you having a deluded fantasy?

          2. Bazman
            April 5, 2015

            Lierlogic proposes extreme right wing policy as ‘sensible’ and any party that puts these ideas forward would win and election. All evidence says different as most people rely on the state in some way and as a landlord he relies more than most only lacks the wit to see this and extreme right wing party would rein in parasitic landlords first for sure. What he means is a government that gives corporate welfare to those businesses he decides are the most worthy such as private housing and services for those most able to afford it.

          3. Edward2
            April 5, 2015

            I havn’t got that message from Lifelogic’s posts but I realise you have.
            I disagree with your point on housing benefit though.
            It is paid to tenants who qualify and who need a roof over their heads.
            It is often used to help pay the rent off housing associations, charities and Local Authorities.

            There is a large private buy to let sector but the majority of landlords won’t rent to housing benefit recipients.

    4. Lifelogic
      April 3, 2015

      David Cameron is only (and then only just) in first place in the polls because Miliband is so useless and no one in there right mind wants a Miliband/SNP/Salmond/Sturgeon government.

      Cameron, given a working compass & sensible policies, should be way out front. The Tories and UKIP have nearly 50% of the electorate behind them after all.

      Yet Cameron insists on being essentially a Nick Clegg pro EU wet.

      He is pro tax borrow and waste, pro ever more EU, pro expensive green crap energy, pro pointless wars, pro an open door (EU good/others bad and clearly a racist by law) immigration policy. Also pro over regulation of virtually everything under the sun.

      The good news for Cameron is UKIP voters will generally vote intelligently for the best stop Labour/Libdum candidate – be that UKIP – or in most cases the Tories. The bad news is that if he fails to win an overall majority (as looks very likely) he will not find anyone sensible to do a deal with other than perhaps a tiny few Irish MPs.

      Farage was of course totally wrong on a “free at the point of rationing, incompetence and death NHS” which will never work well nor be efficient – but largely right on everything else.

      1. Mondeo Man
        April 3, 2015

        Lifelogic – Farage should have minimised his comments on immigration and stuck to giving it to Cameron on the national debt and his poor negotiation skills.

        Voting ‘intelligently’ to keep Labour out isn’t intelligent at all.

        This recovery is nothing of the sort and will unravel. A chance to force a reformation of the Tory party and get rid of the wets will have been missed.

        1. Lifelogic
          April 3, 2015

          Well it is not idea but what else can the voters do given the voting system. UKIP’s 0-4 MPs will clearly not hold any real power this time.

        2. Narrow Shoulders
          April 3, 2015

          Farage knew exactly what he was doing @MM. He already has your vote, he will not get @Richard1’s so he targetted the demographic who will vote for him by making the ladies look unconcerned or even bullish about immigration. Voters for Labour and Conservative are unlikely to change so he needs to convert as many undecided or have not voted previously as possible. He made me cringe at times yesterday but he played a political blinder for two hours.

          1. Narrow Shoulders
            April 3, 2015

            The HIV comment was not something that made me cringe, seeming an actually quite practical approach to an organisation with limited, if massive, resources.

            The HIV immigrant situation has been highlighted today by the position Westminster council has found itself in where it has been told it can’t rehouse an HIV positive immigrant with five children in Milton Keynes as that is too far away for someone with a serious illness. Did the judge take into account how far away she is from her homeland?

            This is our money that is being spent.

          2. Mondeo Man
            April 3, 2015

            Narrow Shoulders

            I agree. He had nothing to lose by being nasty.

            I see a rebuke by Gary Linnekar as being highly commendable.

        3. Mark B
          April 4, 2015

          I very much agree. It is the Wets that have caused all our problems. Wets being those in the party that are more liberal / socialist in view and tend to be part of the establishment, the old school tie and the landed elite. I would give modern day examples, but someone like MacMillan is probably closer to what I mean.

      2. Bazman
        April 4, 2015

        The NHS is very efficient in many areas often bidding less than private companies for contracts. You like Farage with his 60% of HIV patients lies need to be brought to book and like him you have a fantasy world view unfettered by any facts that you just repeat hoping some will stick. either that or you are both just thick a possibility as Farage claims not to read, listen to music or watch TV and you are unable to accept any facts that contradict your deluded world view and pseudo science/economic beliefs.
        This election will be fought against the likes of both of you and Cameron’s lies and fantasy untruths and not on any real facts or truths. A political fight and nothing more.
        Milliband should take Blair as his example in this election on this point.

    5. agricola
      April 3, 2015

      Leading in a poll is just that and no more. If you read the papers almost everyone won. I scored DC at number two. he was very competent on the economy, but had nothing to offer on immigration. Very strangely the whole question of national sovereignty failed to arise in any meaningful sense.

    6. DaveM
      April 3, 2015

      To reply: They’ll win hardly any seats because you and your bedfellows Labour have manipulated the constituency boundaries beautifully to suit yourselves – Ukip may get 16% of the vote and win 3 seats, SNP may get 5% and win 45, etc etc. And you talk about democracy every day – where’s the democracy there?

      This is why people here keep urging you to actually speak to them – the policies which are making them popular are the ones you agree with yourself Mr R.

    7. Gary C
      April 3, 2015

      ‘Reply I did mention UKIP as one of the 3 parties which will win practically no seats on current polls. Your intemperance to David Cameron is not shared by many, as DC currently leads the party in first place in the polls.’

      I would suggest the vast majority of both Conservative and Labour voters would vote for their colour regardless and would continue to do so while the UK sinks beneath the waves, what the poles really show is the amount of voters who vote the same way as their parents do/did.

      To keep us from sinking we need floating voters (pun intended) who look to politicians that have the courage to fight for us with an honesty not seen in the red and blue camp, sadly we will see many voting the same way as they have many times before without thinking.

      Did I mention UKIP . . . . . . . .

      1. Hope
        April 3, 2015

        Not shared by many…. that would be about 65 percent of those polled do not want Cameron. If those who choose none of the above the figure drastically changes further against hum. And that is skewed by the question asked!

    8. Brian Tomkinson
      April 3, 2015

      Having tried and failed with smear and inuendo, I guess the Conservative party’s tactic is now to ignore UKIP the one party offering real change at this election. Perhaps that’s why East Yorkshire Councillor, Michael Burchill, last night defected from the Conservatives to UKIP saying the Conservative party “has been consumed with enforcing its will on the membership without consultation”.

    9. David Murfin
      April 3, 2015

      ” I did mention UKIP as one of the 3 parties which will win practically no seats on current polls. ”
      No, you mentioned three unnamed parties that would, but named two of them in your comments on tax and spend.
      The only conclusion I can draw is that you wish UKIP to be dismissed as an irrelevance.
      I usually read your comments with interest, and usually find them sensible, but sometimes …

    10. Iain Gill
      April 3, 2015

      Funny intemperance to David Cameron is shared by everyone I know including those who plan to vote Conservative. His explanation of the deficit and national debt is beyond parody. Its so much of a con. His failure on immigration. And so very much more.

    11. Timaction
      April 3, 2015

      Intemperance? We’ll see about the numbers as the people will decide. The legacy parties are not for the people but themselves, their leaders, spin and deceit for their masters in the EU.
      It’s only a matter of time and knowledge. The truth will prevail. Your leader talking about delays in in and out work benefits will NOT stop the invasion and he knows it is only a means of kicking the can down the road as always. UKIP will!

      1. Hope
        April 3, 2015

        This is the passive Cameron who called UKIP supporters closet racists and fruit cakes! Later claiming to want to win them back! I preferred his party’s previous slur on its rural supporters, turnip Taliban. Heir to Blaire, self acclaimed liberal conservative, green. The fact is who knows what he stands for he does not strike me as a Tory.

    12. graham1946
      April 3, 2015

      Reply to reply.

      Just reading these comments over the last few months must surely show you that Cameron is despised by the many, not as you state. The fact that his party seems to be marginally in the lead at present is the result, not of love for Cameron or the Tories but an even bigger dislike of the Labour crew, especially I would say, Balls even more than Milliband. Being the least worst option is not much to be proud of.

    13. Qubus
      April 3, 2015

      What is the sense in borrowing more money, just to give it away as foreign aid?
      This should be stated.

  5. Lifelogic
    April 3, 2015

    Much truth in what you say. The voting system rewards large parties and regional parties very unfairly.

    The systems is however what it is and the choice is between the appalling Miliband/SNP or Cameron. Few in England want the former and Cameron could easily have had this election in the bag. He needed to move towards UKIP policies or have had a UKIP understanding/deal thus taking some of their support back and not splitting the vote. He is about fail to get a majority again (in what is a sitting duck election). This because of his past ratting (on the EU, the deficit and IHT), his moronic green crap line, his love of the EU, his failure to get fair constituency boundaries, his total failures on “tens of thousands immigration” and his lefty big government/over tax/over regulate approach to almost everything he touches.

    The man is essentially a Libdem/career politician at heart, he is simply in the wrong party.
    We only had this silly debate, with all the minority, irrelevant and regional parties there because Cameron did not dare to debate on Farage without them. Cameron’s position on the EU, open door immigration, the deficit, IHT, taxation in general and all the green crap lunacy was clearly indefensible from a Farage line and Cameron knows this.

    However good Cameron is as a dodgy “cast iron” salesman with the gift of the gab he cannot defend the patently indefensible.

  6. Margaret Brandreth-J
    April 3, 2015

    Nick Clegg is always the best as he talks about balance which is exactly what the country needs.He projects more integrity and believability than any other.I would certainly vote yellow if it wasn’t for the European thing.Incidentally I still thought that they were working together during the debate.

    Farage brings up truths that others simply will not face. All others want to hide behind a veil of popularity seeking and are frightened to say that our country is being drained by immigrants.This is not divisive , it is true. When I manage a home and have children, I would be silly to have more than I could afford. If I could only afford 4 beds in my house I would not have 8 people living in it.Adoption and fostering set these rules too.

    Pretty Julie Etchingham out performed everyone.

    1. Iain Gill
      April 3, 2015

      Clegg tells us when the deficit is zero we will be in the black. We won’t we will still have a massive national debt. Cleggs balance is running the national debt higher for evermore.

      1. Margaret Brandreth-J
        April 3, 2015

        Well he didn’t know the difference between debt and deficit.He actually admitted that he got things wrong and was learning.One sentence can last a life time. John Peiner also agrees with me that Clegg is a natural.

        1. Mark B
          April 4, 2015

          He may well be ‘learning’, but he is doing so on our time and with our money. We do not elect people to high office unless they understand basics like this.

          It is things like this that make me angry, and the fact that people like our kind host are not in a position to do real good for the nation and are just put on the sidelines, so to speak.

          1. Margaret Brandreth-J
            April 4, 2015

            I love John to bits and respect his knowledge , but Vince Cable was there (he couldn’t take Cleggs place) and did a pretty good job.

            I feel the same in my position.. out with the old experienced and in with the new clumsy learners. Am I right?

    2. Margaret Brandreth-J
      April 3, 2015

      i.e Nick Clegg still seemed to be working in co with David C

  7. Old Albion
    April 3, 2015

    The whole thing was a disappointment to me.
    As usual, people shouting across each other. As usual, no detail on tax or spending, just outline ‘maybe’ ideas.
    I can’t understand how Nicola Sturgeon was allowed in the debate, she is irrelevent outside Scotland. I nearly threw up when she said she wanted students with ability, not ability to pay. A generous stance that doesn’t stretch to English students, naturally.
    Leanne Wood come over like a willing and over excited sixth former. Her attack on Farage when he told us 60% of HIV patients in our NHS (I assume he meant Englands NHS) were not Bitish citizens, was unwarranted. Like so many Lefties, she doesn’t like the truth.
    Although Julie Etchingham made the point, there are four NHS. From there on in the debate proceeded as though there was one.
    Natalie Bennett, laughable. A woman who knows nothing about running a country and would prefer everyone (except her, naturally) returned to living in caves and eating grass.
    Nick Clegg, apologising, again. Remorse won’t win him any seats. I hope they get wiped out.
    Miliband and Cameron. Or Punch and Judy. You can’t tell ’em apart. The only thing Cameron had going for him was, despite the many failures of the last five years. The economy has made an upturn. If Miliband got his hands on the economy we would be back where we were in no time.
    And that leaves Farage. Who as ever, told it like it is. I hope UKIP make significant gains and get many more MP’s in the house. If Cameron can muster a small majority and would work with UKIP. We might actually continue the recovery and get out of the money drain called the EU. A bonus being the Scots would then demand Independence in order to stay wedded to their new masters.

  8. JoeSoap
    April 3, 2015

    There is only one party which wants to balance the books and hasn’t broken any earlier promises to do so.
    There is only one party which can and wants to reduce immigration from former Communist countries of the EU.
    There is only one party with a proper solution to funding education and the NHS.

    How come you don’t mention them? You seem a bit shy.

  9. alan jutson
    April 3, 2015

    Not seen the media reports yet, but did view the so called debate.

    One thing for sure, we should never have such a debate with so many Party’s present ever again.

    Given so many Party’s, it was just an exercise and presentation of promises, with very little time for any forensic examination at all, to any of the costs of those promises.

    Cameron did not look his usual assured self, Fararge looked too animated, Miliband looked as usual over coached, Clegg came across well, The SNP showed they are sure fired Nationalists, Plaid tried hard but looked like they were pleading, The Greens were in the land of dreams.

    Without anyone independent drilling down into the detail it became quite honestly a farce.

    So easy to criticise the present Government, so easy to make all sorts of promises. Just like last time, I thought Clegg came across best, and played his cards just right for this occasion.

    1. alan jutson
      April 3, 2015

      Clegg seems to be able to use these type of situations to the best advantage, because he always has the out, that he is never fully responsible given he is a junior partner, however he does seem to have the knack to be able to get most of the credit for what people like.

      Clearly he is able to punch above his weight and at the same time is believable, no wonder his negotiation team got the better of the Conservatives in the divvy up negotiations for the set up of the coalition.

      Agree with you John that the main Party’s are the Conservatives and Labour.

      I think the Liberals will lose seats, but will do rather better than expected.

      Ukip will get a lot of votes, but few seats.

      The SNP will I am afraid gain many seats, and as such will make governing the UK in a fair way, a lot more difficult next time.

      The fact that every Party present other than UKIP would prefer a coalition with Labour rather than the Conservatives, is not good news for either yourself or our economic future.

      Afraid the true economic and financial arguments have not yet been got across in any meaningful way to the General Public at large.

      1. DaveM
        April 3, 2015

        Even Ukip would go for it if Labour promised a referendum on EU membership – Farage said so himself.

        That would leave Labour free to throw in the towel in Scotland and most of Wales and concentrate on becoming the English working-class party, ably assisted by the city mayors they’ll impose everywhere.

        And we’ll all live in a wonderful socialist land as the Conservative party dwindles away, unable to regain power because they threw the chance to rearrange the constituency boundaries, and no regional parties will deal with them. Cameron won’t care though – his mates in Brussels will square him away as a thank you for destroying England.

        Just hope Miliband and his mates don’t decide to offer an EU referendum Mr R!!

    2. Mark B
      April 4, 2015

      I seem to remember that, Clegg did rather well in the 2010 debate. Still lost two seats and looked like he was going to be booted out as leader, only for the Tory’s to rescue him at the last.

      One can only hope for a bit more of the same, minus the coalition bit.

  10. Bert Young
    April 3, 2015

    The polls and the media can say what they like ; I saw the fracas last night ( there was little else to watch !) and concluded I didn’t take a shine to any of them . There is no doubt that Sturgeon is a nasty bit of work and needs to be curtailed from any influence after the election . Farage is something of a hothead but did make good points for UKIP . The “Green” woman struck me as a deluded communist . As for Cameron and Milliband , I’m glad that Farage highlighted the fact that neither of them had done a proper job . Frankly I wouldn’t want to vote for any of them .

  11. Liz
    April 3, 2015

    These debates”are treated as “game shows” by the TV media – one even having people giving points on cards as per “Strictly Come Dancing”. They were only interested in who “won” not in the content. – something they made clear over and over again. David Cameron was very wise not to have taken part in a “head to head” with Ed Milliband and would have probably been better to go with his first instict and not take part at all. They are superficial, with non typical hand picked audiences, only showing who is the best actor and not who might be best at running the country.

  12. John
    April 3, 2015

    Surely the clear winner of last night is the Conservative negotiator with the broadcasters Whoever he or she is, succeeded completely. The outcome was a messy draw. By the time that the public open their Easter eggs this event will have faded from memory. By polling day it will be an irrelevance. That is precisely what the Conservatives need to do as they hammer home the central themes of competence and trust. I have grave doubts whether these shouting fests make any difference at all. As a viewer of the first debate between Obama and Romney which Romney won hands down I am still waiting for his surge in the polls!

  13. Bill
    April 3, 2015

    Agree that the SNP get away with nonsense: the lower cost of oil messes up all their calculations about the viability of an independent Scotland. And, of course, English money propped up failing Scottish banks on the watch of a Scottish prime minister.

    Agree, too, that Guardian and BBC analysis lacks proper attention to the numbers, indeed treats all numbers as if they were the same!

  14. Edward2
    April 3, 2015

    It was tactically bad to agree to a 7 party debate for Labour and the Conservatives.
    If pressurised into taking part they should have insisted that as each candidate spoke there was a footer on the TV screen giving the number of MPs this party leader has.
    Additionally there should have been figures on the screen showing the percentage of the vote and the number of votes cast for each party at ghe last election.

    As speaking time was roughly equal it gave an impression of equal importance and power base of each party.

    1. Mondeo Man
      April 3, 2015

      Edward 2 – The same can be said for any televised debate on anything.

      The Left always get disproportionate representation as a higher proportion of them become activists rather than doing proper jobs.

      1. Edward2
        April 3, 2015

        I dont agree with your statement…the same can be said for any televised debate on anything.
        This was unique
        The first time 7 leaders prior to an election had a debate.

        They had fairly equal time.
        I thought SNP and Plaid and Greens got more than their fair share but thats just the impression I got.

        Reminding viewers that, for example, the Greens have just one MP and UKIP only two would have been a useful bit of information for this unusual format.

        PS where were the Ulster MPs?

        1. Mondeo Man
          April 3, 2015

          The word I used was ‘disproportionate’ and not ‘equal’.

          Equality of exposure is unfair in this case.

  15. oldtimer
    April 3, 2015

    I do not find this so-called debate format very useful. It quickly descended into a loose maul with two or more debaters talking over one another so no one can hear what is being said. Last nights session, with added the Spin Room comments, was more a case of media self indulgence than a useful insight – other than to confirm my belief that most of those there can think of lots of ways to spend other peoples money but are clueless about how they will pay for it or do not care.

    Far better, in my view, is a one on one interview with a skilful and knowledgeable interviewer such as Andrew Neill. That is probably the reason Mr Cameron will not give him any airtime for such a session. I find that Mr Paxman is a less effective interviewer as the first TV session revealed.

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      April 3, 2015

      Andrew Neil is the best political commentator by far in this country. His knowledge and detailed understanding of all political issues is of such a high calibre that Cameron, Miliband and Clegg dare not face him in an interview.

      1. Lifelogic
        April 3, 2015

        Also he comes from the intelligent centre of politics not the loopy left as nearly every other interviewer does. Needless to say the BBC has no one to the right of centre. Indeed I am not even sure they even employ anyone numerate or with a basic grasp of engineering or economics (in front of the Camera anyway).

        The interviewer’s personal politics clearly comes out in nearly every question they choose to pose. Not to mention the insufferable PC drivel they all endlessly come out with – on gender, race and discrimination issues.

        1. Bazman
          April 4, 2015

          Or the deluded lying right with no grasp of any truth of engineering/economic facts telling us that there is no such thing as a unfunded tax cut and the free market economics always gives the best result even when it does not and other such drivel that the telle suddenly just stops understanding when challenged and is just repeated later on?
          That type of interview? Religious nonsense pretending to be fact carrying the same weight as thought out and considered argument? That will be the one.
          No reply as you have no idea.

          1. Edward2
            April 5, 2015

            Are there any deluded left wing policies?

  16. Chris S
    April 3, 2015

    I thought the whole debate was a waste ot time.

    Only parties putting up candidates in at least 75% of UK seats should have been included. Giving the Welsh Nationalists a UK-wide platform seemed particularly bizarre as they can’t even poll higher than third or fourth place on their home turf !

    We learnt almost nothing new and after two hours of politicians simply restating their entrenched positions, only two memorable points come to mind :

    Nigel Farage most closely represents the view of the average voter on foreign aid, abuse of the health service and Europe.

    Nichola Sturgeon is determined to impose her will on the whole of the UK irrespective of the outcome of the election in England. Judging by her impressive performance and given the chance, she will make mincemeat of Miliband in any negotiation. The tail would not just be wagging the dog, she will be swinging it above her head.

    It seems to me that from the current position, the UK as currently constituted is doomed.

    Cameron has made fundamental and vitally important mistakes which will have long term consequences :

    Firstly he should never have allowed Clegg to renege on the boundary changes which were clearly part of the coalition agreement. The 20 seats that this would have given him would have been crucial in outvoting Labour and the SNP at the Queen’s Speech. Unless Labour abstains, Cameraon probably can’t get a program through the commons even if he is the largest party.

    Secondly, attempting to appease the SNP with English taxpayers money has backfired spectacularly. Whatever the outcome of the election, the Union is lost.

    If Cameron is in Downing Street, the SNP will make a clean sweep in next year’s Scottish parliamentary elections by continuing to blame England for all of their own failings. They will then call another referendum which they will win.

    If they support Miliband and start voting on English issues to keep him in power, English Nationalism will ignite a call for constitutional change which will be irresistable.
    Miliband’s solution will be the Balkanisation of England which will be almost impossible for a future Conservative Government to reverse.

    Ironically from the position we are now in, the only way a Cameron Government can keep some form of union together would be to go for full and equal devolution across the four home nations and to move the submarines from Faslane to Plymouth. This can be paid for by abandoning HS2. The remaining savings can be used to reinforce the defense budget.

    Full devolution will allow Sturgeon to claim she has achieved 90% of what she wants. Being a canny politician she will take full devolution because it means she won’t have to take the chance of losing a second referendum. It will also save the loss of all those naval shipbuilding jobs on the Clyde which would be lost to Portsmouth if Scotland gained independence.

    1. Old Albion
      April 3, 2015

      “If they (SNP) support Miliband and start voting on English issues to keep him in power, English Nationalism will ignite a call for constitutional change which will be irresistable”

      How I wish it would. Sadly England seems to remain apathetic.

      1. Mark B
        April 4, 2015

        I would not be too sure on that. We are slow burners. If a mainstream party were to seriously pick up on this issue before or after the election, and make it one of their central policies, you could see an awful lot of people turning out in favour for them.

        After the GE, will come the council elections. These elections, just like for Le Pen and the FN could be the springboard needed.

    2. Bill
      April 3, 2015

      Agree! Apart from the fact that I did not find Sturgeon in the least impressive. Any idiot who keeps using the word ‘progressive’ and ignores the facts of economic reality is deeply unimpressive however loud they shout or insistently they maintain their mantra.

  17. stred
    April 3, 2015

    I missed some of the debate, as I was stuck for 30 minutes waiting to go through the non toll collecting Dartford toll booths, It struck me as a poorly chaired series of party political broadcasts, with no rational debate allowed. I suppose this is what happens if a news reader is selected for personal appearance rather than ability.

    For example, when the ‘debate’ turned to the student loan question, Mz Sturgeon was allowed to score points with our yoof by saying how unfair loans were, but no- one asked how she paid for it using English taxpayer’s money. Nigel was trying to be heard but was ignored by the chairwoman. He could have pointed out Ukip’s policy of replacing student loans with grants and paying for it with savings from foreign aid, HS2 and EU contributions.

    The disgusting scheme to prevent a proper debate with the party with support 3x that of the Libdems and Greens and an English base, unfortunately worked. My son came home after watching it with his friends, all university business graduates. He was impressed with the women speakers and thought Farage was a loser. Such is the bias of the education establishment. I think he regards me as an amiable fool.

    Talking of amiable fools, the question of whether Red Eddy is one, or a cynical con artist, became a bit clearer. He had been trained to look at the camera sincerely and avoid looking (silly ed) so it was possible to look directly at his eyes. I don’t think a con artist could have maintained that vacuous stare for that long etc ed

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 3, 2015

      Well, you could first point out to your son that around the world there are about 35 million people suffering from HIV/AIDS, with about 2 million more getting infected each year:

      Then you could ask him how many of those many millions he would like to come here for free treatment on the NHS, with the prospect that while they were alive they would spread the infection further in this country.

      It’s all very well feeling good about taking in a few sufferers and helping them, but there are potentially millions. Even Cameron had to say last night that we could not take in the very large numbers of Syrians who might qualify as refugees.

      1. stred
        April 4, 2015

        Thanks for the figures. Tried and failed. He has learned ‘equality’ at skool and uni and , despite having to pay off his huge student loan, seems to want to pay for equalising the rest of humanity. I think they thought Nigel’s HIV points were a bit homophobic, not realising that most cases are 3rd world and all types are involved. I will keep trying and am hoping he doesn’t decide to become a vicar.

  18. Tad Davison
    April 3, 2015

    ‘Plaid, SNP and the Greens may well want to spend more of other people’s money, and want to borrow more. They were not put under any serious pressure last night to explain why countries that run up excessive debts usually get into serious financial trouble and end up forced to make spending cuts we have no wish to make.’

    Very true, but I blame the programme’s format. There wasn’t sufficient time for the politicians who have their feet on the ground, to blow the fanciful nonsense of the borrow, tax, and spend, head-in-the-clouds dreamers out of the water. And of course, that includes Miliband whom I notice, was the only one to play to the camera and treat the event like a party political broadcast. As such, he revealed his true intentions and his total insincerity.

    The Daily Mirror’s Kevin McGuire said on the BBC this morning that he thought Nicola Sturgeon did best, but unfortunately, she is firmly one of the dreamers, so it seems there’s a common bond with these hot air loving lefties, and reality isn’t their speciality.

    As for the suggestion from some media commentators like the female member of the panel of last night’s Question Time, that first past the post is dead, is a complete nonsense. Commeth the hour, commeth the strong leader with a clear direction and ways to get the job done. That is precisely what the country has been crying out for, and were one to emerge, they would have a sizable and workable majority, make no mistake about it!

    Tad Davison


  19. Ian wragg
    April 3, 2015

    So we have 6% of the electorate supporting the greens who want to increase aid by 50% and remove immigration controls. I would like to meet these silly people
    CMD came across as his usual smug arrogant self lying about the deficit and the Welsh bird thinks it’s ok to treat the world’s sick when NHS Wales is in meltdown.
    Nigel as usual was clear, concise and honest which could not be said of Millipede.

  20. Mockbeggar
    April 3, 2015

    Everyone seems to believe that Miliband is winning the argument over the NHS. I’m given to understand that Lynton Crosby has told the Conservatives to avoid the subject and concentrate on the economy.
    I don’t pretend to be an expert like Crosby, but it seems to me that the Tories have a very good case to put and that Jeremy Hunt can argue it as well as anyone. His opposite number behaves like (and looks like) a ventriloquist’s dummy repeating all that nonsense about ‘privatisation’ of the NHS. A large part of the NHS is, of course, private, and is run by the GP service. Frankly I don’t care who provides my healthcare so long as they do a good job at a fair price. What I do object to is the fact that something like 485 senior managers in the hospital sector are earning far more than the Prime Minister, some of them over £250,000 I believe.
    I remember when hospitals were administered by clinical staff and the decision to bring in ‘professional managers’. It seemed like a good idea at the time to free up the medical staff to do what they were trained to do. Of course, they needed underlings to prove that they were professionals and now these lunatics have taken over the asylums. This was compounded by Labour’s introduction of arbitrary targets that had everything to do with headlines and precious little to do with successful outcomes.

    1. stred
      April 4, 2015

      Judging from the latest story from my local contacts, neither party should focus on the NHS during the election. The patient had bad and continous stomach pain 2 months ago. NHS GP (private) prescibed antacids and referred to consultant (NHS). The hospital offered first was the local royal etc (NHS). The waiting time was 6 months, but after complaining the patient was told that she could have an appointment at the Nuffield (private paid NHS) in 2 months. Further visit to GP and a blood test eliminated some diseases. No simple inexpensive non invasive test for the bacteria discovered by the Australian nobel prize winning doctor and previously ignored for 10 years by our consultants. Additional relaxants prescribed in the meantime and an invasive probe about to be shoved in after a 2 month wait.

      Can anyone imagine such a process happening in France or Germany? It would be settled in a week.

  21. acorn
    April 3, 2015

    Interesting to note that you are soft-pedalling on the Osborne’s missed deficit reduction plan A; now that you have discovered it is keeping the economy lifting off the runway! The smart move would be to dump Osborne, and learn to love the deficit. The UK government will have to run a deficit, if it wants to keep being a net importer; and, the Household sector wants to save a bit.

    I think the SNP, (which has the most appropriate economic policy for the whole UK), has missed a trick. It could put up as paper candidates for the SNP in England. £500 and nomination papers in by 4pm Thursday 😉 . I wonder what sort of a protest vote that would attract in England?

  22. Narrow Shoulders
    April 3, 2015

    What you write is a fair assessment Mr Redwood. The SNP leader performed well by putting her main policies across in a measured manner and was largely unchallenged about her rabid socialism and nationalism. She also was not put under pressure to defend SNP performance in government, blaming everything on the boys club at Westminster. No wonder she came out well.

    Mr Farage will not have lost any support and may have gained some with the exposure. At least he tried, he and the Green woman put themselves out there as alternatives.

    Your leader did not drop the ball which was his aim.

    As you say politics today is no more multi party than yesterday The two main parties offer much the same policies propped up by the yellows. Voters should still use their vote to register an opinion. Who wins will make little difference in the long term so we should take this opportunity to show how we feel.

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 3, 2015

      Sturgeon was only present at this debate because for a long time now there has been no effective challenge to her rabid socialism and (Scottish) nationalism IN SCOTLAND. The Tories have more or less vacated the field and left it to parties of the left, and at present there seems to be no way back for them. Moreover some English Tories have succumbed to the temptation of trying to stir up resentment against the Scots among the English for their own narrow party advantage. I’m sure that if large numbers of Scots had carried on voting Tory then English Tories would have displayed quite different attitudes towards the Scots in general, they would not have set out to disparage them as they have done and there would have been none of this talk about it being a good idea to get rid of Scotland.

      1. Bill
        April 3, 2015


      2. stred
        April 4, 2015

        Perhaps partition of Scotland would be the answer, with an enclave for Scottish Tories in Edinburgh and Fife, guaranteed by NATO. They could also have the submarine base partly staffed by needy citizens of the Socialist Republic of Sturgeon.

  23. Dan
    April 3, 2015

    “If we don’t mention UKIP, perhaps they’ll go away” seems to be the Conservative strategy

  24. Kenneth
    April 3, 2015

    I object to these tv debates. They undermine the local hustings and try unsuccessfully to fit a presidential format into a parliamentary democracy.

    We already have leaders’ debates most weeks in Parliament and the hustings gives us our local debates.

    That said, it was refreshing to have a host who refrained from imposing her own agenda. BBC take note.

  25. fedupsouthener
    April 3, 2015

    Sturgeon was allowed to get away with murder last night. Her comments on free uni places really made my blood boil. This was not picked up enough by the other leaders. The fact that Scotland gets free dental checks, free eye checks, free prescriptions and free university tuition is down to the fact that they receive more money per head than England and Wales and Farage was the only one to point this out. Labour just want to stay on side with them to grasp power at any cost and the Cons want the SNP to do well to keep Labour out. Is any one doing anything for the GOOD of the country and not just for their own interests? I had to wonder if some of the audience were suffering from a case of embarrassment over comments from Farage about HIV and foreigners getting free health care. Political correctness came to mind as everyone in our household cheered from the rafters over his comments which were perfectly true. How can people moan about lack of money for their loved ones when we are giving out free treatment to the rest of the world? As Farage said, how many are we going to let in to get free treatment? Nobody could answer. We must have a fairer debate over immigration and illegal immigrants and health tourism so that people do not feel bad about supporting a leader who wants to stop it. The comments about job losses by Clegg if we leave the EU were expected. Nobody put him right on that either. The debate did nothing to change my mind or how I am going to vote. I want change!

    1. DaveM
      April 3, 2015

      “Is any one doing anything for the GOOD of the country and not just for their own interests?”

      Nail. Head.

      The answer is of course, No!!!!

  26. Denis Cooper
    April 3, 2015

    “Current polls suggest that the 2 main parties now command a better combined share of the vote than they did in 2010 – around 70% compared to 65%.”

    Taking the numbers from here:

    in 2010 the three most popular parties had these shares of the votes cast:

    Conservative 37.0%
    Labour 29.7%
    LibDem 23.6%

    while their levels of support in the most recent averaged opinion polls are:

    Conservative 33.9%
    Labour 32.4%
    LibDem 9.3%

    So the first two of the old parties together won 66.7% of the votes in 2010, and now their combined support is around 66.3%, which is not significantly different.

    On the other hand combining the support for all three of those old parties, in 2010 they won 90.3% of the votes but now their support adds up to only 75.6%, and that is a very significant drop of 14.7%.

    Going back to around the end of 2012 the position was significantly different, then the average opinion poll ratings of those three old parties were something like this:

    Conservative 33%
    Labour 43%
    LibDem 10%

    with the first two adding up to 76% and all three together adding up to 86%.

    The broadbrush picture which emerges is that in the first half of the last Parliament, roughly speaking, the three old parties together lost only 4% support, but in the second half they lost another 10%; the reasons being that when support for the LibDems collapsed after formation of the coalition government most of the 14% they lost simply switched to Labour, the main reason why Labour went up from 30% to its peak of 43%, but since then support for Labour has been eroded by 11% while so far the Tories have only picked up an extra 1% or so and the LibDems have drifted down a bit more.

    So what has happened to the 10% of voters who have stopped supporting any of the three old parties over the past two years or so, and in particular those who have stopped supporting Labour, given that the levels of support for both the Tories and the LibDems have been more or less static, with only small changes?

    As I have said previously when looking at the results of by-elections, the simplest way to make the numbers add up is to assume that the 7% of extra support gained by UKIP since around the end of 2012 has mostly come from voters switching to UKIP from Labour, not from the Tories as some continue to assume for no very good reason.

    Indeed if you follow OFCOM and treat UKIP as a fourth major party, then it can be said that in the 2010 general election the four parties which are now classed as major parties won 93.5% of the votes, and now according to the averaged opinion polls their combined support is running at about 89.2%; that’s a drop of about 4%, roughly accounted for by the gains and losses of the SNP, the Greens and other minor parties.

    Reply. The 2010 figures were Labour 29%, Conservative 36%, total 65%
    All recent Ugov polls have Labour/Conservative on 70 or more – todays shows Conservatives st 37% snd Labour at 35%. The longer time span of March Poll of polls has Conservative/Labour at 68% but rising.

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 4, 2015

      JR, it’s a small and often overlooked detail, but normally the published opinion polls are just for Great Britain rather than for the whole of the United Kingdom including Northern Ireland. The differences between our percentages at the last election arise simply because about 2.5% of the total votes were cast in Northern Ireland and that dilutes the percentages achieved by the parties which do not contest elections there. As the opinion polls exclude Northern Ireland from their samples and from their percentages so too does Electoral Calculus, treating it separately; it would be inconsistent to do otherwise. So my 2010 figures taken from their table are just for Great Britain, and the Tories and Labour together got 66.7% of the votes cast in Great Britain, and my current figures taken from their table are also just for Great Britain and their combined support in Great Britain comes out as is 66.3%. While the most recent UK Polling Report average is also just for Great Britain, and that has the Tories and Labour level on 34%:

      and so their combined support in Great Britain is now 68%.

      However my chief point here is that since the last general election 14% of voters have dropped their support for the LibDems, but that is no longer showing up in significantly increased levels of support for the other two old parties. It did so initially, when most of those voters lost by the LibDems switched to Labour, but since then support for Labour has been eroded. Of course it could be no more than a coincidence that as support for Labour had declined by 10% since the end of 2012 support for UKIP has risen by 7%, but the obvious explanation is that UKIP has extended its appeal leftwards across the political spectrum.

  27. libertarian
    April 3, 2015

    The only reason that nothing much will change is that our shambolic non democratic system is still in place .

    Here are the real predictions

    1) The person who runs the country will NOT have got the majority of the votes

    2) There will be an unrepresentative hung parliament

    3) UKIP will NOT get any more than 3 seats if they’re lucky

    4) Who ever ends up as PM WILL NOT implement most of the manifesto promises made

    5) England will continue to be totally ignored by ALL political parties

    6) There will NOT be an EU referendum

    1. Mark B
      April 4, 2015

      7) They will enact policies that they want but never would dare tell the electorate at the time.

  28. paul cohen
    April 3, 2015

    Well, I thought Nigel Farage made a good fist last night – concise, clear and delivered in a confident manner. E Milliband was his usual gurning self, too emotive and pleading – a man to crumble under pressure. Unfortunately all the main speakers seemed to have been over coached, and one could almost see the strings attached to their bodies.

    The main subject last night was the plight of the NHS finances – a seemingly bottomless pit as far as resources go. In 1947 when Bevan launched the NHS the available treatments on offer were very limited by todays standards. People were surprisingly fit after years of rationing, and obesity was uncommon. Today obesity is a major problem and will get worse, the NHS will have to cope with this situation with an even higher cost.

    There was an interesting article in The Times yesterday pp35, about the NHS in its present form, stating the UK ought get over its insular and inward-looking attitude to healthcare. It stated that people are in love with the NHS, but if they compared it with other similar systems they would find it wasn’t so great. Compared with figures on Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands for instance which combine insurance based systems – where insurers and hospitals are independent of government – with regulation and subsidies to ensure everybody is treated. We seem to have been blind to the experiences of our European counterparts. As for abuses of the present system, again there seems to be little appetite to stem this. Try for instance to get treatment in Austria without an EHIC card and you wouldn’t get past the front desk.

    Incidentally I thought that the omission of any questions last night about our state security was rather worrying.

    1. graham1946
      April 3, 2015

      NHS figures.

      What figures are you referring to? Presumably it is cost? If so, don’t believe all you read in the papers. According to the latest world figures for 2014 we get a good deal from our NHS and it is if anything underfunded compared to the main economies and are as follows:-

      Canada: 10.9 percent of GDP
      Denmark: 11.3
      France: 11.7
      Germany 11.3
      Japan: 10.1
      Sweden: 9.6
      Switzerland: 11.3
      USA: 17.9

      We should be spending more, not less – we are way short of the best in spending, but considering what we ask it to do probably the best value around. Not to say it can’t be improved but it is the lowest of the big nations. Insurance companies must at all costs be kept out of it. We know they don’t like paying out – look at the horrendous deals they offer on annuities and how slow they are to pay out for things like floods. Last year’s flooding has not all been settled yet.

      Reply These figures are not comparable. Overseas systems include the costs of insurance/raising the money but the UK figures exclude the costs of tax collection

      1. graham1946
        April 4, 2015

        Of course it includes insurances – that’s the way others run their systems so it has to be shown as a cost. Why are these figures not comparable? Why would the World Bank use a different system for the UK? Does this mean that your govt is fiddling the figures it sends in? Are you saying that after the re-organisation and spending of £3 billion your govt. is still running an inefficient service.? I’d have thought you be supporting your govt view that they are doing a wonderful job with the NHS.

        Reply The UK figures leave out the costs of raising the revenue because we pay out of taxes!

      2. stred
        April 4, 2015

        Interesting that Switzerland and Sweden are not much more cost, much better service and the average income is higher- twice in the case of Switzerland.

      3. Edward2
        April 5, 2015

        How much do they spend per head?

    2. Chris S
      April 3, 2015

      It was interesting to read Paul’s comment about Austria.

      Only two weeks ago my wife broke her leg near then end of our skiing holiday in Austria. After she was brought down from the mountain in a stretcher we were taken to a private clinic in the resort ( there is no hospital there) by private ambulance. Sensibly the ambulance stopped at another lift station on route and collected a young English guy who was walking wounded.

      My wife received excellent and prompt treatment and just two hours later was released with a shiny new plaster cast, copies of three X Rays, a prescription for two different drugs and a pair of new crutches.

      The bill, which included First Aid treatment and recovery off the mountain and a 15km ambulance trip to the clinic, was just €711 ( £519 ) which I had to pay immediately. Knowing what my UK private dentist charges for treatment taking half of that time, I thought this was extremely reasonable.

      We had insurance thanks to an HSBC Platinum Card and will be repaid the full cost. The insurer has already paid for four airline seats and a private ambulance taxi to Munich airport and by another to our home from Stansted. The two ambulance taxi journeys took a total of seven hours.

      I have no idea what the NHS would say that this would cost on their finance model but I intend to find out. Somehow I doubt that it will be anywhere near competitive with what we paid for a truly excellent service.

      When we lived in Germany back in the 1980s we found the German insurance-based medical system brilliant and had our first son there.

      Whether we were visiting our GP, the anti-natal clinic or the hospital we were always treated like customers. after all, we were free to choose where to have treatment at any facility covered by our insurance. We also have some experience of the French system which, while appearing as good as the German scheme, is wasteful and costs the country a lot more.

      The Socialists demonise anything other than socialised medicine but if we swapped to an insurance-based system on the German model it would have no fear for me.

      I suspect it would be less expensive in the long run because it would be constantly improving it’s working practices to become ever more efficient.

  29. Dennis
    April 3, 2015

    “The 3 main parties of the 2010 Parliament all clearly want more jobs, higher living standards and a bigger UK economy. The debate is about the politics of growth,…”

    This is why I’m not voting – it’s all about greed and unfairness although they don’t realise it.

  30. Colin Hart
    April 3, 2015

    Not a mention of defence nor of energy policy.

  31. Denis Cooper
    April 3, 2015

    I have just read that only about 7 million people, or maybe households, watched this debate; whichever it was, only a small minority of the electorate could possibly have been directly influenced by it, although others may be indirectly influenced by the attendant media discussion of it.

    I think the most interesting thing to come out of it is the widespread popularity across the whole of the UK of the views put forward by Sturgeon. As people outside Scotland will not be able to vote for SNP candidates, those who liked what she said will have to look for the nearest equivalent. Obviously that will not be the Tories; less obviously, it may be another party also seeking an independent future for their country, UKIP; it could be the Greens to some extent, and it could be the LibDems to some extent; but I guess that for many of those who were impressed by Sturgeon Labour will be seen as the nearest available surrogate for her party outside of Scotland, and her expressions of friendship towards people in the rest of the UK will largely disarm any fears about what could happen if a Labour government had to depend on her for support.

    It’s all nonsense, of course; as I’ve said before, there has been nothing worthy of the name “austerity” in the UK, not in the way that for example Greece really has been and still is suffering “austerity”; overall there have been no “Tory cuts” to public spending, as JR has repeatedly demonstrated even if that message has not got through to the public; and the Scots are in a favourable position, because Scotland now has a good economy even without the top-up of oil revenues recycled from the UK Treasury through the Barnett formula, and what can be afforded by a generous Scottish government for the benefit of Scots in Scotland cannot necessarily be afforded in the rest of the UK.

    Anyway we shall see whether this debate has any discernible impact on the opinion polls; again, it is only my guess, but I think it will be difficult to see much effect.

  32. Brian Tomkinson
    April 3, 2015

    Blame your leader. After all it was he, who in fright at the prospect of having Farage involved, insisted that the Greens be there too followed by the nonsensical inclusion of nationalist parties from Scotland and Wales whilst leaving out the Northern Irish.
    Now Gove is singing the praises of Sturgeon who, whilst leading a party intent on squandering more £billions,undermining our defences and seeing Scotland break up the UK, is not even standing for the UK Parliament. This is just overt political opportunism as you want to see Labour wiped out in Scotland just like your party has been. Such action diminishes your party even more.

  33. Qubus
    April 3, 2015

    The point is that there is a finite amount of money available to the NHS. Would people rather treat foreigners for their diseases and thereby deny their own mother an urgent operation?

  34. Stephen Berry
    April 3, 2015

    JR hits many nails on the head here but he missed the third media myth. Traditional party politics and austerity economics had indeed been challenged. But challenged by three woman no less. Male dominated politics and economics will never be the same again!

    In fact austerity economics, which simply states that in the long term you can never consume more resources than you produce, can never be challenged. It’s as much a feature of the world as the law of gravitational attraction. Mrs Merkel (another woman) had it right when she remarked just before the last German election. “I call it balancing the budget. Everyone else is using this term austerity. That makes it sound like something truly evil.”

    The Tory strategy on the debates is beginning to look like a masterstroke. Much amused to see Miliband criticised by the left for not spending enough when in power. Hope to see more of this at the ‘Challenger Debate’ from our three female musketeers.

  35. REPay
    April 3, 2015

    “They were not put under any serious pressure last night to explain why countries that run up excessive debts usually get into serious financial trouble and end up forced to make spending cuts we have no wish to make.”

    The current election debate seems to be rapidly descending into a Dutch auction…this will favor the parties of the left. I think we need more about how indebted we are and the costs of the interest repayments to every man citizen – not in terms of billions. Debt repayment money cannot be spent on services. Meanwhile the Labour Party is advocating an even larger role for the state in the economy – as though 40% of GDP were not quite enough.

    We are one of the most indebted (people and govt.) of the G20 – number 7 at $35,000 circa 22000 GBP (before unfunded liabilities such as old age and public sector pensions). Two places behind France which Mr. Miliband has held out as a role model.

  36. petermartin2001
    April 3, 2015

    Based on Labour’s crash of 2008 and other past experience, all 3 parties agree that excessive public sector debts and deficits can create recession and force spending cuts.

    Do you really believe this? In 2007, public debt in the UK stood at 44% of GDP. In the USA the figure was 42% of GDP. Are these figures seriously suggestive of “excessive public sector debts”? This was just as true of the right-of-centre US government as it was for the left-of-centre UK governments. There’s no political bias in saying this.

    It wasn’t government who defaulted on any debts. Every penny and every cent borrowed by both UK and US governments , then and now, is perfectly safe for the lender. It’s the lenders to Northern Rock, the RBS , the Lehman Brothers and many other private banks who have lost money. If these banks had not been bailed out by the taxpayer many other lenders would have lost money too, and the financial system would have collapsed.

    We know the crash of 2008 was serious. The USA nationalised their failing banks. Could anyone have predicted that would ever happen?

    Private sector debts were much higher and were what caused the problem. Household debt was close to 100% of GDP. Add another 100% for total normal business debts. Add another 200% for financial sector debts.

    There is little or no discussion on the extent of non -government debts either in the UK or the USA. Mainstream commentary is all about the extent of public debts. The extent of private debts is largely ignored as if it doesn’t matter. It does matter – especially when debts go sour and can’t be repaid. The UK and US governments are models of financial proprietary by comparison to their private sectors. Yes, public debts in both countries have increased in the meantime, since 2008. They have had to to bail out the excesses of the private sector.

    If all three main parties are coming out with this kind of nonsense, and I suspect you are at least right about that, then all the more reason to not vote for any of them.

    1. petermartin2001
      April 3, 2015


      should be “The UK and US governments are models of financial propriety ..

      1. Bill
        April 3, 2015

        What this comment ignores is the huge amount of public money that is spent servicing a debt, and that this debt is placed firmly on the backs of future taxpayers i.e. the young. I do not accept the argument advanced by Petermartin2001. It is obvious that tax receipts ought to match public expenditure and it shows just how far we have slipped from this ideal when debt grows perpetually, finance is devalued or at risk of being devalued and restraint is thrown off in the face of strident but innumerate demands.

        Let’s work it the other way: is there any theoretical limit that should be set to public expenditure? Yes, of course. Once you ask this question, it is obvious that public expenditure is not funded from an infinite money tree in the sky.

        1. Edward2
          April 3, 2015

          And I would add that the comment that unless the banks were nationalised the whole financial system would have collapsed is a nonsense.
          Only a few banks were in trouble.
          Most banks in most nations were and still are healthy.
          This cover story, now become myth was put around by “save the world” Gordon to justify the panic wasting of several hundred billions to satisfy his natural desure to nationalise various banks as well as to save his beloved Scottish bank

        2. petermartin2001
          April 3, 2015

          ….the huge amount of public money that is spent servicing a debt

          This is a myth. No-one gets rich lending to government as anyone who has a National Savings account will know. The interest you’ll get is just about enough to cover inflation – some of the time!

          The cost of servicing the debt is about 3% of GDP which compares to a peacetime average of 4%.

          The cost is higher than it need be because of old borrowings. New bond issues would be less than this with interest rates as low as they now are.

          It is obvious that tax receipts ought to match public expenditure

          Why is it obvious? Am I missing something? The Government is an issuer of currency not a user. Where do you think that £10 note in your wallet comes from? Government has to issue the currency by spending it into the economy , not too much and not too little. The amount of money it gets back in tax can’t be more than it has created in the first place. That’s just not possible.

          It has to be less- otherwise none of us would have any money. No savings – nothing. We’d have a barter economy. Or we’d have to use the $ or the euro!

          1. Edward2
            April 4, 2015

            If you were right when you talk about the £10 and the tax then no one could ever get any richer.
            Plainly over the last 100 years we have.
            And taxes have risen as a result.
            Wealth is created by people.
            Money is just a store of value. A piece of paper with a promise built on confidence.
            How did primitive societies that had a very small government or none at all ever manage to improve their standard of livjng because according to your logic without big government initiating the economic process they would remain poor.

          2. Denis Cooper
            April 4, 2015

            “The Government is an issuer of currency not a user.”

            Still getting it the wrong way round, then.

            “Where do you think that £10 note in your wallet comes from?”

            Well, I don’t know about the ones that you may have in your wallet, but all those in mine say “Bank of England” and are signed by the Chief Cashier “for the Governor and Company of the Bank of England”.

          3. petermartin2001
            April 4, 2015

            Money is just a store of value

            No. It’s much more than that! Thinking that to be true is one of the failings of modern mainstream economics. If it were true we’d never have had the 30’s depression. There was nothing wrong with the currencies of the time according to that definition. If it were true we’d never have had the 2008 GFC. Inflation in the developed world was well under control even though gold had long since ceased to be part of the monetary system.

            If it were true, then all the countries of the eurozone wouldn’t have any problem with the euro. There’s nothing wrong with the euro as a ‘store of value”. But, they obviously do have trouble with it. It’s not just Greece. It’s all the countries that aren’t big net exporters. On a superficial analysis the 3% rules on government budget deficits and 60% rules on debt to GDP ratio seem reasonable enough. So, there shouldn’t be a problem, should there? So, there can’t really be a problem if everyone just stuck to the rules!

            If mainstream economists approached their subject scientifically they would not think like that. They’d look at how things actually are in the real world and devise their theories to fit what they observe. If a theory doesn’t explain observed reality then its no good. It needs to be thrown out.

          4. petermartin2001
            April 4, 2015


            The quick answer to your point is that the BoE is “owned” by the Treasury Solicitor legally, but I doubt if he’s bothered including it in the contents of his will. It’s nationalised – even though governments try to play up its independence. But, as we both know, and no matter what laws are written, when push comes to shove, when the Govt needs money the BoE will do exactly as it’s told.

            That’s the way it is in the USA too even though the Fed isn’t , strictly speaking, nationalised. When Ben Bernancke faced some hostile questioning from Congress, (their complaints on QE were very similar to yours), he was quite open about the way the Fed is not at all the independent body of legal fiction.

            Both the Fed and the BoE are just another part of government.

          5. Denis Cooper
            April 4, 2015

            Since 1946 the Bank of England has been publicly owned, as you say all the shares are held by the Treasury Solicitor, but nonetheless it is not part of the government. It is not unique in that, I’m sure you can easily think of other bodies which are in public ownership but which are not included as part of the government. Moreover in 1998 Parliament, which is sovereign over the government as well as over the Bank, legislated to give the Bank operational independence from the Treasury regarding the conduct of monetary policy, unless Parliament agrees to the activation of reserve powers. So the Bank is still the currency issuer, as can be seen from those £10 notes, while the Treasury and the rest of the government are just currency users like you and me.

          6. petermartin2001
            April 4, 2015


            You’re obviously determined that the BoE shouldn’t ever be considered to be a part of the government but even if we grant your wish, and say it isn’t, it doesn’t change anything very much.

            There’s only two ways money, as ££, can be delivered to the UK economy. Directly, when government spend it in. It needs its ‘account’ at the BoE to do that of course. Or, indirectly, if the BoE purchases foreign currency reserves (bonds , securities etc). ££ are then released on to the foreign exchange markets which then enables overseas buyers to buy UK goods.

            The UK isn’t big on exports, as we all know, so the latter option is just a theoretical possibility at the present time. But if the time ever came the decision to release those ££ , just like all big exporters release their currencies, would have to come from government. It would be a policy issue – not an issue for the BoE to decide “independently”.

            So, for the UK, it’s just a question of how much money the government spends in (from its magic account at the BoE if you like). It will always get back less in taxes than it spends in, simply because, domestically, the population saves some of that money. (Not much at the moment though). In addition some of it disappears overseas to pay for our net imports.

            That’s why we have a deficit.

          7. Edward2
            April 5, 2015

            When I said “money is just a store of value” it was in realtion to your tale of the ten pound note and your strange view that extra wealth can only be created by the State and never by citizens.

          8. Edward2
            April 5, 2015

            Still persisting with your argument only the State can create wealth through money printing I see Peter.

            As just one example of a flaw in your theory,
            Say some very wealthy people come to the UK with foreign issued credit cards and spend small fortunes on holiday in London using those non UK banks credit cards increasing wealth of those in receipt.
            Where is the domestic State in this medium of exchange?

          9. petermartin2001
            April 5, 2015


            I’m not sure if you still haven’t got it or you are just pretending, but, assuming its the former, I’ll just try to explain it again.

            Of course it’s the citizens who create the wealth. That would include every worker (in both private and public sectors), every company who is engaged in productive enterprise, every farmer who produces food and many others who we can all no doubt think of.

            But, government, or the State has its part to play in ensuring that it all happens. It doesn’t just happen automatically. Government has to get it right.

            If it gets it wrong, we have people going hungry because they have no jobs at the same time as the farmer ploughs his crops back into the soil because he has no customers for his produce. Or, people are homeless, or living in poor conditions, because they have no jobs but the building industry is laying off workers because of the slump.

            That shouldn’t happen according to classical economics. But it happens in the real world. That’s what matters and that observable fact has to trump all the nonsensical economic theories which deny reality.

          10. Edward2
            April 5, 2015

            So it appears what we disagree about is how a Government “gets it right”in a modern democratic mixed economy.
            It should differentiate between investment spending which creates assets and may well stimulate the economy and overhead spending which needs to be very carefully controlled.
            We have too much of the latter.
            Taxes which are levied are too high in Europe and choke enterprise and consumer demand.
            A smaller more efficient State is needed which still uses tax receipts to invest in the economy.
            The problem is politicians want to be elected and we the electorate like to be bribed with promises of more spending.

          11. Denis Cooper
            April 6, 2015

            Peter, is the BBC part of the government? Or what about the law courts, are they part of the government? No, and nor is the Bank of England.

      2. petermartin2001
        April 6, 2015

        It should differentiate between investment spending which creates assets and may well stimulate the economy and overhead spending which needs to be very carefully controlled.

        Yes I’d go along with that. There’s no need to spend money wastefully when there’s lots of useful things it can be spent on.

        There perhaps should be some attempt to create a Govt balance sheet which includes all its assets, including real assets. That way when Govt build a bridge say they’ll have value of the asset to offset against the cost of the bridge.

        Or, if Govt wishes to privatise an existing asset, (if there is anything left to privatise after the sale of the Royal Mail), we’ll be able to see how that has affected the total balance sheet. If we all end up worse off afterwards, then heads should roll!

  37. Know-Dice
    April 3, 2015

    I guess we can see a CMD strategy [if he gets back in] to fudge the EU referendum issue.

    We will only leave the EU if all four regions taken individually say we should…

    That better not happen – more tail dog wagging…

    I thought Nicola Sturgeon came across well, it’s easy to give things away when somebody else is picking up the bill – I can’t stand the way she moves her head as she speaks…

    Austerity – No…it’s living within our means and not leaving debts for our children to pay back.

    Nigel Farage was unwise to bring up the HIV issue even if it’s true – gave away the moral high ground to Leanne Wood & Nicola Sturgeon…

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 4, 2015

      It’s only “the moral high ground” for those with a warped morality who believe that the British people have some kind of duty to provide not just a free at the point of use national health service for themselves, but a free international health service open to anyone who can manage to get themselves into the country.

  38. forthurst
    April 3, 2015

    “The first [truth] is that politics has changed irrevocably to a multi party model, because we saw 7 leaders in the debate!”

    No the first truth is that Cameron is a skilled political operator, who refused to debate with the main national parties in terms of their current support, in order to prevent a sustained attack on his implausible policies as well as his implausible promises given his prior record of previously broken undertakings.

    This country badly needs, not a political operator, but a statesman who can face up to the threats, challenges, and opportunities that lie before us and ensures that the reactionary left wing rabble, overly represented last night, as well as the neoliberal corporatists are not afforded the opportunity to do further serious, perhaps fatal, damage to our potential future as a prosperous independent country which seeks trade and friendship with our neighbours, but not to be governed by them.

  39. English Pensioner
    April 3, 2015

    I believe that Nigel Farage deliberately brought up the treatment of non-citizens by the NHS and highlighted HIV as it is an illness least likely to attract public sympathy. In an era where our own people can’t get GP appointments, are waiting hours in A&E, waiting months for operations and being refused drugs for cancer treatment because they are too expensive, a large part of the public will agree with him.
    He’s got his headlines, the lefties may be out in force claiming he is callous and evil, the view resonates with all those, and their families, who are awaiting treatment.

  40. English Pensioner
    April 3, 2015

    An afterthought to my previous comment.
    Perhaps we should charge all treatment of foreign citizens to the foreign aid budget rather than to the NHS budget!

  41. Cheshire Girl
    April 3, 2015

    I am one of the very few on here who didn’t watch the debate. I was of the opinion that it would degenerate into a name calling and point scoring circus. I follow politics quite closely and used to watch PMQs until all the shouting and heckling started. Jeering and yelling,despite the Speaker pointing out that the public hate that kind of behaviour from their politicians. Question Time on TV is just as bad. David Dimbleby often struggles to keep order.
    However, I’ve enjoyed reading the thoughts of posters on this site, and from what they say, it is very unlikely that it would have changed my voting intention.

  42. Stu Saint
    April 3, 2015

    The tome for a federal Britain, and an English assembly has come. Embrace the change and accept this is the start of separation from EU (control ed) and dominance.

    Oh, and Happy Easter everyone.

  43. Qubus
    April 3, 2015

    Dear JR,
    Am I the only person who heard a Labour politician say that they would increase the cost of gun licences in order to bring down the deficit. That was on the BBC Daily Politics a couple of weeks ago.

  44. Dennis
    April 3, 2015

    There was no mention of the deficit – the biocapacity deficit. Are any of them even a bit awake?

  45. David Price
    April 4, 2015

    Not a debate, more the circus the media hoped for.

    Nigel Farage’s comment on health tourism and the reactions of the others was very interesting. There is undoubted health tourism and it is costing us in significant NHS money, time and resources, disadvantaging our people while treating visitors.

    I wonder if he picked HIV for the associations it has as well as it’s properties, his comment certainly flushed out the unthinking. If those who would lead cannot think from a foundation of their primary responsibilities before reacting then they have no business being leaders. The willingness of some of these so-called leaderes to put us at risk and so freely give away the results of our labour is the shameful thing.

    Compassion on an individual basis is proper but a leader must put the welfare and wellbeing of those they are responsible for and to ahead of all others. If people want to help the health tourists then they should go to those countries themselves to help or support the charities that do.

    I notice that the Scottish nurse who caught Ebola had to be treated in England because Scotland hadn’t made any provision for such treatment. Those that applaud Sturgeon’s performance might want to reflect on her performance in this regard and the risk NHS England and other people were exposed to as a result.

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 4, 2015

      Maybe he picked out HIV/AIDS because last autumn the government decided that any sufferer from anywhere in the world who could get themselves into the country in whatever way would automatically be entitled to free treatment. It hasn’t been so widely reported that a group of backbench Tory MPs, including Dr Sarah Wollaston who I would not reckon to be a cruel and heartless person, put down an amendment that all prospective immigrants should be tested for HIV before they were accepted, as is done in Australia and many other countries. In my eyes the reaction from some quarters has been childish, simply failing to face up to the reality of the situation; many of these people who protest so loudly and describe Farage as nasty for telling the truth are the same ones who think that we should put no limits on immigration even though potentially such a policy could mean a many fold increase in our present population.

      1. Denis Cooper
        April 4, 2015

        Sorry, I should have written “in 2012 the coalition government decided that any sufferer from anywhere in the world who could get themselves into the country in whatever way would automatically be entitled to free treatment”, and the attempt by some Tory MPs to get checks in place was reported here in January 2014:

        “The amendment was backed by several senior Tory MPs including Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful back bench 1922 committee.

        The amendment was introduced by Dr Phillip Lee, the Conservative MP for Bracknell who is a former doctor. It was also signed by Dr Sarah Wollaston, a former GP.”

        They all seem to be keeping quiet at the moment.

        1. David Price
          April 5, 2015

          Ms Wood and Ms Sturgeon seemed to forget they don’t represent nor speak for the whole country and have no say on what happens in NHS England.

          Perhaps they should declare themselves mothers of exiles and welcome the tired, poor, huddled masses to Wales and Scotland, at their taxpayers expense of course.

  46. Richard
    April 4, 2015

    “The party likely to come third, the SNP, will not attract a single vote let alone win a single seat outside Scotland which has just 9% of the seats on offer.”

    I am surprised that the SNP are not contesting any seats in England.

    I would think they would be successful.

    But not because they are pro Europe, pro mass immigration and pro the Climate Change Act as there are already 4 other parties with these policies.

  47. Bazman
    April 4, 2015

    More internet nonsense from Cameron again showing his lack of knowledge or as he hopes the lack of knowledge by his supporters. This time on dirty pictures on the internet which he say he will ban. How he does not say but this may be the thin end of the wedge.
    Whats next Dave? Drug information? Gay sex? Abortion? File sharing of music and films? Politics that you do not like? Where is all this nanny totalitarian state stuff going?
    Again its not about real facts, technical limits or thought out argument just knee jerk policies that he hopes some older voters will will swallow like the banning certain TV programs they find offensive.

    1. Edward2
      April 5, 2015

      You havent really read his idea properly Baz
      It mainly concerns having to opt in to receive “adult content” on your web service.
      Stopping those under 18 in your home seeing violent or extreme content.
      Sensible rather than Orwellian censorship as you claim.

      You will still be able to download others copyrighted work for free Baz.
      Depriving those involved of their deserved earnings.
      Very socialist.

      1. Bazman
        April 5, 2015

        How do you or David Cameron propose to stop anyone such as teenage boys from circumventing the restrictions imposed such as blocked sites? For example most file sharing sites are blocked directly by all ISP’s due to court rulings but able to be accessed indirectly with as much ease allowing teenage boys to spend their money on other things as they watch and listen to the content you claim they have stolen.
        How do you propose to restrict their cunning and wit that you seem to lack. By banning the internet?

        1. Edward2
          April 5, 2015

          I haven’t managed to ask Dave, but for example BT now asks you to enter in your passwords and state you want to opt in to adult site content.
          So a friend of mine tells me.
          Gaining access to sites by more unconventional methods is a potentially illegal act which is easily traceable.
          Time will tell if those users will one day get a warning letter.

          1. Bazman
            April 6, 2015

            So big brother and surveillance is the answer then edward? So much for your free market liberal views and that is nonsense as anyone with any sense will just hide themselves on the net if this becomes the norm. So a friend of mine tells me…… How will you stop this? More surveillance and spying. Becomes clear now.
            It will be interesting to see how Cameron would run the job without encryption from his many holidays.

  48. A different Simon
    April 5, 2015

    When faced with the damage which mass immigration has done to the average and below average Britain , the Westminster parties all talked about raising the minimum wage and training Briton’s up to do the jobs immigrants are getting .

    The inference was that Briton’s weren’t getting these jobs because they aren’t good enough . Nobody admitted that the immigrants are overqualified .

    What good does it do you if the immigrant doing your job gets a pay rise ?

    When faced with the house price crisis we got yet more promises of schemes which would puff up prices .

    Nobody was honest enough to say that the problem is runaway cost of housing and that the UK has to make wages go further if it is to remain competitive .

    This “debate” was so shallow as to be useless – which is I’m sure what it was intended to be .

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