You could get a lot of public service for £742 billion.

 

£742 billion is a lot of money. It is £11,600 for every man, woman and child in the country. It is what the UK state will spend this year whoever wins the election. It is time to ask a few more questions about how this money should be spent.

I agree with Conservative policy that we need a further period of restraint in public spending to help get the deficit under control. I think the cash near standstill for a couple of years is just what is needed as per the present Red Book plans. I do not think this need be difficult for the public sector, as there are some relatively easy ways of achieving it. Having zero inflation helps.

There is considerable scope for better buying, more quality driven systems of management, getting more  right first time and more reduction of error and waste in many parts of the public sector. There is considerable scope to reduce the benefits bill for the best of reasons, by helping more people into better paid jobs or into any kind of job.

I disagree with the official party line over HS2. I would cancel this project tomorrow,and did vote against it in the last Parliament. There is no capacity problem from London to the north. There is a commuter capacity problem into the main cities which could be more easily and cheaply solved by improvements to current lines.

The large subsidies being pushed into Network Rail, a nationalised industry, have not bought us cheaper peak hour fares, but have bought us gross inefficiencies. I would seek a new management plan to do more and better for less on the railways. Our railway performance is way below that of comparable European railways.

I would spend money on overseas aid in relation to the need of countries for help and in relation to the priorities of UK foreign policy. I would charge all the costs of the military in the ebola mission and similar activities to the aid budget. I would also charge all treatments offered free in the NHS to visitors from abroad to the aid  budget. I would do more to ensure the NHS recharges all treatments for visitors from the rest of the EU through the EU recharge system to the relevant member state governments, and expect most overseas visitors  to have insurance or cash  to pay for any non emergency treatment whilst here, if not covered by the EU arrangements.  The government has been taking action to remind the NHS of the need to charge people from abroad who are not eligible for free treatment.

I would also expect a major reduction in our dues to the EU. Either we will negotiate a new relationship based on trade and political co-operation, which should include lower charges, or the UK electorate will vote to leave. Either way there should be large savings.

 

 

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129 Comments

  1. Richard1
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Good idea on pushing some NHS costs into aid. We should be pushing as much as we can, inc from defence, into aid so as to tick the box of making this absurd commitment. You are clearly right on HS2 this is a totemic policy which makes rational voters vote Conservative with a heavy heart. You dont mention green policy? Clearly the EU- inspired, but entirely home grown Climate Change Act and the policies which flow from it are a huge issue for competitiveness in the coming decades. Conservative MPs will need to rebel on this subject in the next Parliament if there is a Conservative Govt, we can’t afford it.

    • Hope
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      The figures for the economy on deficit and debt are clear , £90 billion and £1.4 trillion and rising, as are the balance of payments. In each case Cameron failed to deliver. Tories have borrowed more in five years than Labour did in 13 years. Cameron lost the triple A credit rating.

      Cameron gold plated Miliband’s energy policy under the direction of the EU.

      Cameron will not commit to the security of our country but will commit in law to wasting £14 billion on overseas aid. Political reports show this to be the case. Of course no one would not offer humanitarian aid in times of crisis or national interest. The EU spends £2 billion of the UK overseas aid without any influence from British politicians or British taxpayers! 900,000 British citizens go to food banks and thousands are in fuel poverty.

      British citizens refused cancer treatment which is deemed too expensive, a little boy’s parents arrested through the EAW because they could receive better care abroad! In contrast the UK pays for treatment for those health tourists who fly in or take advantage ie very expensive HIV treatment. The UK cannot afford medical treatment for the world. Those who pay British taxes come first. This is not unreasonable.

      Junker has seized his moment for revenge on Cameron, he makes it clear there will be NO renegotiation of treaties while he is in office. Therefore his vacuous promise is blown right out of the water. No restraint on immigration whatsoever. Public services continue to be overwhelmed by immigrants leaving British citizens at the back of the queue!

      English taxes lavished on the Scottish and EU while the Tory manifesto does not give specific EVEL as promised by Cameron last October. Surely his memory is not that bad? Once more putting people from other countries before his own. The same with Tory local authorities.

      UK foreign policy now operating under EU umbrella. Catastrophic consequences from Cameron’s intervention in Libya as we see from today’s news. People being brought back to the UK trying to enter Syria when only last year Cameron was advocating and wanting to help the rebels, now ISIS? Did his poor judgement/actions not encourage these people to go to Syria?

      Cameron insulted his supporters, ignored them over EU referendum, gay marriage, build on every piece of rural England for his mass immigration, but would now like their support. No I don’t think so.

      • Richard1
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        I am sure Mr Miliband and Ms Sturgeon will welcome your (effective) support.

        • Hope
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          They too will get their orders from Junker, they are only different presenters of the same main EU policy decisions that the LibLabCon cartel gave away. As for Sturgeon, it was Cameron who gave the SNP everything a few months ago at the behest of Brown! Cameron is going to reap what he sowed by inflating Scottish people’s expectation after giving the SNP so much! Why would they not think that the SNP are going to get them more from the English taxpayer? It showed his stupid negotiating skills or lack of them. What say did we get, after it is our taxes that he has given to the Scottish and EU! Cameron has now forgotten to include his promise on EVEL that he delivered on the steps of Downing Street last October. Time for him to go, we cannot afford him.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 16, 2015 at 9:56 am | Permalink

          As you’re so desperate to stop Miliband, would you be willing to vote UKIP rather than Tory if you lived in one of the constituencies where UKIP now has the better chance of beating Labour?

          Unless you, and Cameron, are prepared to come out and publicly recommend to Tory supporters that they should get behind the UKIP candidates in those constituencies then you should not be urging UKIP supporters to vote Tory to stop Labour.

          But of course it would be quite difficult for Cameron to do that after everything he and his chums in the mass media have said about UKIP over the years, even more difficult than suggesting that the supposedly vile supporters of UKIP should vote Tory.

          Oh, but today the Daily Telegraph has a smarmy editorial which starts with this praise:

          “The UK Independence Party has done much that is positive for this country and its politics.”

          but of course concludes that all UKIP supporters should now vote Tory, presumably even those who previously supported Labour.

          And apparently there is a similar article in the Daily Mail.

          • Hope
            Posted April 16, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

            Cameron made it clear in the Rochester by election that he had more in common with Labour an UKIP.

          • Richard1
            Posted April 16, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

            Yes such tactical voting would make sense – I’d rather see UKIP MPs than Labour in most cases. But I doubt there are any seats where the conditions you outline are true. I don’t expect Mr Cameron to make such a recommendation – I wouldn’t if I was him. Perhaps some other independent figure – Lord Ashcroft? – could do us the public service of explaining how best to vote tactically in marginal constituencies in order to stop the nightmare of a Labour govt propped up by the Scottish separatists.

          • UKIP Supporter
            Posted April 16, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

            Mr Cameron has treated us abysmally. He’s also insulted us.

            How can 14% of the votership – more than the LibDems and Scots Nats combined – be so unrepresented in Parliament ???

            No. We must now vote for UKIP as we want to. Not Tory as we are told to.

            2020 will be too late to make a stand.

            I believe that this election is the last time we will be able to do so.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:56 am | Permalink

            Richard1, I can’t give a number but I’m sure that there are plenty of seats where the Tories have no realistic chance of winning but UKIP would be in with a chance if enough of the Tory supporters were prepared to vote tactically and it could easily make enough difference to keep Miliband out of Downing Street which is what you say you want. I don’t see how the Tories can keep arguing for UKIP supporters to vote tactically in favour of Tory candidates when they are not prepared to recommend any reciprocal tactical voting in favour of UKIP candidates.

  2. eeyore
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Your case, and the Conservative cause, is helped hugely by breaking down the cost of the State into a per capita figure. Billions are other people’s money, hundreds or thousands are our own. I dearly wish Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne would learn to talk in pounds per head.

    A family of four might be astonished to find they’re paying £46,400 – or someone else is paying it for them. They may even feel a little less aggrieved that others are wealthier than they are when they see how much help Old Moneybags really gives.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      I agree eeyore, my question is if spending costs £11,600 for every person in the UK including children how much do we take per person per annum.

      • acorn
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        £10,450.

        • acorn
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          Having read the Conservative manifesto, I have to admit it could be a contender for the Booker Prize.

          OK, it does read like Huxley’s “Brave New World”, WE will supply you with this; WE will supply you with that. You WILL be told what day of the week, you will have your arse wiped according your Hatchery number.

          What it is silent about is the level of private sector household debt, and the the UK’s propensity to import stuff. The former has to increase for the government to run a budget surplus, if we insist on importing stuff for the “good life”.

          To get this manifesto to work, the Pound will have to drop to parity with the US Dollar and be lower to the Euro. Holidays in Cornwall not Florida.

          • libertarian
            Posted April 15, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

            Acorn

            Absolutely right, the Conservative Manifesto sound exactly like a Labour one, socialist, big state, keynesian, take your money away give part of it back and pretend you are “investing” nonsense. Its never worked, it isn’t working it won’t work.

            We need to radically cut waste & the spending of taxpayers money on pork barrel projects, special interest groups, quangos and fake charities.

            The nearly £800 billion taken in tax is more than enough to spend on essential public services.

        • a-tracy
          Posted April 16, 2015 at 6:51 am | Permalink

          Thank you.
          Do you know if this is this typical in Europe? Was there a time we lived within what we collected?
          I’ve had personal debt over the years, like most people, to buy a house, furniture, to set up and develop business ideas with the aim of being being debt free, not deficit free, debt free. Most people blame the banks for Brown’s bust but it was people who borrowed money then didn’t and couldn’t pay back, I knew people who took on crazy interest only mortgages signing their own references unlike when we had to provide financial accounts.
          How and why do we borrow money to give to the EU, Southern Ireland, Greece when we’re up to our necks in it?
          Why do we keep pretending we’re a rich nation, we’re living well beyond our means and everyone needs to know these figures.
          I’m from a working class family my parents still work in their late 60’s early 70’s because they can’t afford to retire without significantly reducing their standard of living, about half my Mums state pension goes on Council tax. They would look at taking in £10,450 and spending £11,600 per person and understand that.
          Property should never have been allowed to become such a keystone of our economy.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      I agree spending by item per taxpayer is an excellent idea, but what happened to this policy – I have yet to see my breakdown of taxes paid?

  3. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Reduce subsidies for companies employing low paid workers ( often immigrants) through tax credits. The savings from this may enable employer’s NI to be scrapped.

    Stop paying for immigrants` children to be educated for free unless they are earning £30K per year.

    The cost of government has soared in pursuit of economic growth, the tool for that geowth had been population explosion. Simple solution really which would also bring down the price of housing thus saving more money. Shut the gates to all but the most skilled and fully supported family.

  4. Excalibur
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Doubtless it will be pointed out by others, JR, but ‘The Times’ today says the President of the European Commission, Jean-Paul Juncker, has ruled out any re-negotiation of Britain’s relationship with Europe until late 2019, at the earliest. In the circumstances, would it not be wiser to leave the despotic EU forthwith, and to re-negotiate our position from one of strength ? We could then arbitrarily say how much we were prepared to pay and could negotiate any new relationship on our terms.

    • A different Simon
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      If Cameron cannot delay an EU referendum indefinitely , he would definitely want to delay one until 2017 .

      Le Catastrophic will leave office in 2017 and most likely be replaced by Sarkozy .

      Merkel will no longer be the only heavyweight poli in the EU .

      Sarkozy will have to take measures to deal with France’s lost generation of youth uemployment and Cameron could be a natural allie in reforming the EU .

      That said I trust Sarkozy more than Cameron but still only as far as I can spit .

    • Vanessa
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Excalibur – the Times piece is written by (ill informed people ed), Juncker does not have any control over Treaty change. This piece will probably be revisited when Cameron gets a “comma or full stop changed” and then it will be heralded as an amazing turnaround.

    • Qubus
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      How much longer are we going to let ourselves be pushed around by the second-rate, unelected politician?

      • formula57
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Until they retire of their own volition and the third-raters now awaiting their turn take their chance.

    • Timaction
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Only one patriotic party offering unequivocal referendum and control of our borders with the return of our sovereignty. Brilliant properly costed manifesto by the peoples party. Everything you would agree with Mr Redwood. Couldn’t help notice the tired rhetoric from the Torygraph reporter. Controlling our borders and limiting access to our health service is not racist. No where else in the world would this PC cancer be levelled at the only patriotic party.

  5. Duyfken
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    You refer to getting “the deficit under control” and I wonder what that means. Should there not be some overall aim for any UK government to achieve? That could be to reduce the national debt to a certain figure or to a certain percentage of GDP or other variable. As a truism, the nation’s out-turn can only reduce the debt if there is a sustained surplus—any deficit could therefore be seen as not being under control, or rather that the debt remains beyond control. Labour apparently aspires to reducing the annual deficit (presumably just a saving of £1 each year would achieve this pusillanimous ambition), whilst Osborne seems to have found face-saving excuses for his failing to eliminate the deficit within the time-scale promised at the last GE.

    Is a reduction of the UK debt something which is imperative, moderately important, desirable but unnecessary in the short-term, or just irrelevant to the UK’s economic well-being?

    • oldtimer
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      I suggested, the other day, that the taxable capacity of the UK is about 35% of GDP. Co-incidentally an article was published on Cap-X on this very topic. It quoted an article from the Guardian which revealed that, over the 50 years since 1964 the tax take has oscillated around 34-36% of GDP with occasional excursions above or below this level.

      The first objective for any government is to recognise this fact of life and budget its expenditure at no more than 35% of GDP. For the avoidance of political fiddling with numbers both the % and the GDP should be calculated on the known base of the prior year, not some airy, fairy projection into the future. That approach would provide necessary discipline over spending plans and would be more likely to generate an annual surplus towards reducing the national debt.

      • John E
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        An excellent point – and GDP is more likely to grow if that number is kept to the low end of the range, rather than taxing the life out of everything and everyone productive.

        • oldtimer
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          On a rough calculation this approach would set a limit of c£700 billion for public spending some 40 billion below JR`s headline number or 5.7% reduction. That should be the aim.

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        oldtimer

        Agree absolutely about fixing expenditure to the last years tax take, have made exactly that point on this site for the last 5 years.

        Given the above you should never have a deficit or get into any more debt, indeed it is what I would guess the majority of households do in this country already, why should politicians be allowed to think or be different.

    • Vanessa
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Duyfken – the debt will fall if Britain’s economy grows. It is measured as a percentage of GDP so will reduce if this grows. They will do nothing but borrow more and more because politicians think that this is what we want from them.

      They spend more and more on “pie-in-the-sky” projects (HS2) which we do not want or need because that is what they do – THEY SPEND AND SPEND. What else is there to do ? The EU makes all our laws for us.

      Have you ever considered the important issues which they DON’T talk about in this election ?

      • Duyfken
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for explaining my point more fully Vanessa.

  6. JoeSoap
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    This is a slice from the UKIP manifesto and none of it appears in the Conservative one. I think you need to justify to a constituent who might vote for you why you are clearly at odds with Conservative policy for the next term. £11,600 is a drop in the ocean when you are offering the “chosen many” subsidies on buying houses from Housing Associations, massive extra NHS spending to attract even more overseas health tourists, building HS2, subsidising green energy, and no let up on foreign or EU payments.

    • Timaction
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Just read the UKIP manifesto and not one policy can be argued against. We just get the same old propaganda from the msm and cartel. The only party with costed proposals to reduce our debts whilst increasing national security. EU, foreign aid and health tourism would save us £28 billion with further £9 billion from stopping EU directives and bureaucracy. I see Junker has put paid to Cameron’s sham of EU renegotiation. Now its time for him to put up or shut up and move over for the ONLY patriotic party who wants to rule Britain on behalf of the British!

    • Vanessa
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      JoeSoap – it is debateable as to whether selling the houses owned by Housing Associations (Charities) is actually legal. These properties do not belong to the government. Interesting manifestation of hubris (God-like) ! Something we all accused Blair of.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        As I recall, the government did not own TSB or the water companies.

      • JoeSoap
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        The charities also known as private schools are obliged to provide access to their facilities to the general public in order to maintain charitable status. This trick applied to the sale of charitable housing is not beyond the power of a Conservative government.

  7. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Its all very nice saying what you would do. However if you expect us to vote Conservative, why did Dave not get all of your stuff onto parliament’s timetable instead of clogging it up with non issues like gay marriage? Anybody who works for a living…………………………………… and votes for one of the neo-lib parties deserves whats coming to them.

  8. sm
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Re your final paragraph John, I see from this morning’s Telegraph that Junker has apparently said there will be NO negotiations with the UK about Treaty obligations etc while he is in charge. To which one can only say, surely: BOO!

    Reply I do not believe him on this, but if true we can just vote for Out if we have a Conservative government

    • DaveM
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      SM,

      I’d say HOORAY – just the fact that an unelected foreigner tells a whole country that it cannot even talk about renegotiation must be a huge boost for a potential OUT vote!! Plus, the fact that the Con manifesto promises a referendum by end of 2017 means it will be a straight IN/OUT vote with no wool-pulling half-baked so-called Renegotiation Deal to muddy the waters.

      Having said that, Juncker’s already changed his stance on that once in less than a year so I wouldn’t listen too much to what he says!!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        The European Commission is refusing to even negotiate with the Swiss over freedom of movement; one official has suggested they should have another referendum when maybe they would get the answer right.

        http://openeurope.org.uk/blog/swiss-told-to-vote-again-on-free-movement-except-this-time-the-stakes-are-higher/

      • Qubus
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        Is Juncker just playing at politics and trying to damage the Conservatives chances of election?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 16, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink

          On the face of it that seems the most likely explanation. However it is possible that the opposite is true, that Juncker is actually trying to help the Tories in their efforts to suppress UKIP by giving them something against which they can react and so demonstrate their euroscepticism, which he knows is in almost all cases no more than pseudoscepticism. And the Times has a follow-up article today in which a clutch of Tory backbenchers have duly reacted, with Jacob Rees-Mogg, David Davis and Mark Pritchard all being quoted condemning Juncker, and also Schulz, for their interventions.

          This may seem to be a rather outlandish conspiracy theory, and maybe it is, but on the other hand people in politics do play such games, as we saw recently with a parliamentary candidate who covertly tried to get the EDL to stir up trouble locally so that he could gain kudos by stepping in as the peacemaker.

    • Timaction
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Simply not believable Mr Redwood!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      If we weren’t in the middle of an election campaign I would point out that treaty change is not in the gift of the President of the European Commission.

      So while Junker might well try to obstruct renegotiation and treaty change for the remaining four years of his present term, and even for the following five years of the second term he might well get, he could not actually prevent the process.

      Instead it would be the President, and some members, of the European Council who would either stop a UK proposal for treaty change under Article 48 TEU dead in its tracks or make sure that it died a slower death.

      However as we are in the middle of an election campaign I will point out that last summer Cameron must have been perfectly well aware that it would make little difference to his prospects for achieving the desirable treaty changes he claims to want whether Juncker was appointed as the new President of the Commission or somebody else was appointed, and if there was any real basis for the huge and misleading and ultimately futile fuss he made about that then it could only mean that in fact he has no plans to seek treaty change but would be satisfied with some minor pieces of legislation made under the present treaties.

      As for the observation that 2019 is two years after 2017 and negotiations could only start after the promised referendum rather than being completed before it took place, of course Cameron could have taken the good advice of some of his colleagues and committed to holding a “mandate” referendum before seeking treaty changes, to be followed later by a referendum on whatever he had got through his renegotiations under that mandate from the British people.

    • bigneil
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply. Does anyone actually believe Cameron or his replacement would offer a referendum? I have heard many say that if HE offered one, then won the election, quickly followed by his resignation . . .his replacement would cancel the referendum, saying it was Cameron that offered it, not them. The public mistrust and dislike of your leader John is way beyond what you could imagine. You probably read the comments sections in various papers to get a feeling for “public mood” – remember that people have to temper their comments on there, or else banning will follow. Think what people are saying when they CANNOT be in fear of being banned. Believe me, it is a lot worse.

    • Richard
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Mr. Cameron has only promised a referendum if he is PM and after negotiations with the EU have taken place. If the EU refuses to negotiate then there is no negotiation and no need for a referendum.

  9. alan jutson
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    John

    You sound like a traditional conservative of 30 years ago.

    Shame your leader and most Ministers do not agree with you.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      So we had the Conservative manifesto.

      Additional Childcare provision good.

      Minimum wage tax free, moving in the right direction.
      But
      Please remind Mr Cameron that most people work 35 -40 hours a week not 30, so its not a tax free wage as stated, just yet.

      Right to buy from Housing Associations !
      Does the Government even have the right to order housing associations to sell their own properties, what next, Private landlords ?

      Why should the taxpayer subsidise huge discounts to tenants.(at least that is what I understand to be the case from the media)

      Cannot understand the logic of selling existing stock at a large discount and then expecting organisations to build new ones, which could also be sold at less than cost.

      If the government is so keen for everyone to own their own property, then re introduce MIRAS as an incentive across the board, even limit it to a maximum mortgage amount if concerned about the so called rich abusing the system.

      My concern expressed in yesterdays post seems to be correct.
      Another day, another manifesto, more bribery with our own money.
      So disappointing.

      We really do deserve better, but I guess enough are either convinced or fall for all of these pipe dreams.

      Some will even vote for the Greens !!!!!

      • DaveM
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        I might vote for the Greens, purely because they provided me with an hour or so of amusement as I flicked through their manifesto.

      • stred
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        AJ. Having once worked with an architectural and quantity surveying firm which specialised in finding sites, designing, costing and administrating competitive contracts for housing societies, the same thoughts occurred to me. Our senior QS said that building new houses to replace those sold at a big discount could only work on a historic basis- ie. by fiddling the figures. Sometimes new schemes could be made to work by councils not charging the market price for sites and providing a hidden subsidy. It has never been possible to replace like with like.

        Housing societies are not government agencies and Cameron has no right to order them to sell what they have worked hard to provide. The management of estates will become more expensive and difficult.

        If a family has the good luck to qualify for a low rent housing society property and can save for a mortgage, then there is no reason why they should be favoured over people less lucky. In London these properties may be worth £300k and a £100k discount will be given, in some cases to families recently arrived. Many young couples in London and other cities cannot afford to have children and never qualify for subsidised housing. Why not just bung families in social housing £100k an tell them to buy another house on the normal market. like everyone else?

        This manifesto twaddle seems to have been thought up as a desperate attempt to win votes from the generation following those who benefitted from the Thatcher policy. However, it will annoy those many young voters who see others being subsidised and gaining what they cannot afford themselves, with some of their taxes going to fund the shortfall.

        • a-tracy
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          Well stred this policy has annoyed all five member of my family and a couple of people at work who are waiting for social housing and have been renting privately for years. Who picks the winners, how many of the beneficiaries will not have been born here, are there any limits to this generosity with other taxpayers money.

  10. Martyn G
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    As Chair of Resources of an state primary school I have just attended a governor seminar put on by the education LA regarding the CC decision, after 2 years of negotiation and thought, to outsource the provision of HR, Finance and Payroll services. Our CC considered using a commercial provider but concluded that would always involve a profit motive, whereas outsourcing to another CC would not.
    Thus these services are now this year to be moved to another CC on a ‘no profit’, shared cost basis. The other CC has an established, live and fully integrated management system in use by its schools, to which all our schools (and academies if they wish) will transit in stages between July and December this year. Our CC thereby makes significant economies (reduced staff and costs) and its schools they will get an improved service.
    At the ‘coal-face’ level I am concerned as to the impact on my school leadership (not least on the staff) regarding the training and time needed to implement the changes, for which we are assured support will be provided in the transition stages but clearly, if the will is there at the local authority level, significant economies can always be made.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      But who would be held accountable if something went wrong with those services which your County Council had outsourced to another County Council? If some complaint was made to an elected councillor would he be saying that it was no longer anything to do with him, because that particular function was now being run by another County Council not by his?

      • libertarian
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Denis C

        Thats EXACTLY what happens in my City. The Council outsourced to another Council. Anything that is questioned, subject to complaint, or requires intervention we now get the same answer. Sorry its not in our control. The outsourced council are currently attempting to close 50 businesses by suing them for wanting to pay their rates monthly rather than annually. The outsource council say they are just administering the scheme, our council says its not up to them its up to the outsource council.

        Democracy has been completely removed. Both are Conservative councils both have Conservative MPs’ ( one not for much longer though I suspect) . The Conservative Party are the most anti democratic anti small business party

      • Martyn G
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        Although not privy to the details of the outsourcing agreement between the two CC, we are assured (!) that our CC will remain responsible for delivery of service and for resolving any snags with the other CC on our behalf.
        It does look like a good deal to me – assuming that is that the transition stages and support provided to enable that before going live is as effective as promised!

  11. nigel
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    This sounds remarkably like the UKIP manifesto! But I like it.

  12. Old Albion
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Yes all very lovely JR……..
    Yesterday the Conservatives launched their 2015 election manifesto. I wasn’t expecting much, but you hinted on this blog, they would address the English democratic defecit.
    I understand most media outlets wouldn’t bother with anything about this issue. But I have seen and heard nothing, zip, zero. What happened?

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Exactly. Despite John reminding us this week that the Tories only have 9 seats outside of England, and despite leading us to believe otherwise, there is still no English manifesto or mention of the English question in their manifesto, only the insulting sop of English vetos for English laws, not even the promised English votes for English laws. Meanwhile the Tory party, who owe their very existence to England, have promised to empower Scotland, Wales & NI even further but no such empowerment for England. In their own words, ” the UK Goverment will continue to govern England.”

      Cameron and your party have continued to stick two fingers up at England John. There is absolutely no reason for England to vote for you any more than there is for the other anti-English parties. In fact despite voting Tory my whole life, I am beginning to despise them as much as I despite Labour and the Lib Dums. I’m now beginning to think the best thing that could happen to England in May is to have a Labour/SNP foist on us against our wishes to wake the English out of their apathy and finally realise how much they are despised by the Con/Lab/Lib parties and maybe then, and only then, might England demand the same democratic rights as the rest of this so called Union. England deserves a party which cares about England and sadly that party is not the Tory party.

      • Richard
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        If the SNP are as successful as current polling suggests, and the Con/Lab/Lib parties continue to refuse to implement symmetrical devolution, then I expect all 3 parties to suffer the same fate in England as they have already experienced in Scotland.

  13. Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Especially when our “Rolls – Royce” public servants are by even the most restrained of estimates wasting 30% of what they are allotted to deliver our services…..

  14. Cliff. Wokingham.
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    It is a pity that you are not leading the party!

    I was very dissappointed with Mr Cameron’s manifesto; far too big state for my liking, then again, unlike Mr Cameron, I am a Conservative.

    If a party was sincere about reducing debt, cuts would be cuts. Here is my problem; if you slash one budget and then transfer those “savings”(sic) to another budget, especially given that its borrowed money, there is no real reduction in debt.
    I am not sure whether the green’s or the Conservative’s manifesto made me angrier. I would expect the Green’s manifesto to be bonkers but, I would not expect a true Conservative manifesto to be so socialist in it’s nature.
    John, I don’t suppose you’ll answer out of party loyalty but, are you happy with and one hundred percent behind the manifesto announced yesterday by Mr Cameron? Will this “BluLabour” manifesto alienate even more of the core vote?

    Do you feel we as a party have been asleep too long and allowed the media and the left to set the agenda? Will we ever be able to convince people that getting on and having ambitions to better ourselves is a good thing? Will we ever be able to convince people that we need to live within our means and that there is no magic money tree and that the state has no money of it’s own? Will we ever be able to have a sensible debate about what the state should be doing for us, without all the emotive language and scaremongering?

    Again, in my opinion, our manifesto has got to be the least Conservative manifesto the party has ever produced.

    Reply I set out here my thoughts and how I intend to influence the debate. That is why I published this this morning rather than a restatement of the Manifesto which all can read for themselves.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      Once again you have assuaged your conscience. It seems to me that you are much nearer to UKIP than the Conservatives.

    • forthurst
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      “I am not sure whether the green’s or the Conservative’s manifesto made me angrier.”

      Were I a Conservative, one would make me laugh, the other cry, although I accept it is cruel to mock the afflicted.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        In fact the Ukip manifesto wouldn’t have been surprising as a Tory manifesto not so long ago.

        Now that is deemed to be extremist and ‘fantasy’ politics.

        This is what voting tactically to keep people out rather voting for what we actually want in.

        It’s intensely frustrating and I’m done with it.

  15. Matt
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    “The large subsidies being pushed into Network Rail, a nationalised industry, have not bought us cheaper peak hour fares, but have bought us gross inefficiencies”. I wonder how you have drawn this conclusion. According to the latest pan European report UK rail has some of the highest productivity across the region. Since the privatisation of the rail companies rail productivity has increased dramatically, rail use has increased and rail subsidy per passenger km reduced. All this is being done whilst the UK rail industry maintains one of the best safety records in the world.

    My source…. http://www.networkrail.co.uk/European-rail-study-report.pdf

    When you make such erroneous statements about one subject that I know a little about I wonder how reliable the other things you say are.

    Reply There was an official report into Network Rail efficiency compared to international railways commissioned by the government on which I drew.

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Well, JR, it seems that the government can get an awful lot of childcare for £350 million a year, so maybe all of that £742 billion a year is equally well spent?

    When I first heard media reports on this Tory free childcare proposal I did a quick sum in my head and came up with a cost of around £8 billion a year.

    But then it emerged that Cameron had done a Brown, saying that he would give families free childcare worth £5000 a year when that would in fact be only £2500 extra on top of the £2500 which is already in place.

    But even after allowing for that deliberate misrepresentation on the part of Cameron the fact remains that there are about 800,000 children in the UK between the ages of 3 and 4, and another 800,000 between the ages of 4 and 5, and knocking off some for the parts of the UK where this offer would not apply, and then knocking off some more for those children who start school before they are 5, there could be up to a million or so children who potentially qualify for the additional 15 hours a week free childcare, so at the stated cost of just £350 million a year that would be £350 a year each, £7 a week or less than 50 pence an hour, when I know that the admittedly very good nursery attended by one of our granddaughters charges more like £6 an hour on the basis that a child can be there for up to 10 hours, from 8 am to 6 pm.

    Of course not all of those children would necessarily qualify for this free childcare that a Tory government would provide at an exceptionally low cost to the Exchequer, it is only for those children who have all parents working; but then apparently if the father was working full time it would only be necessary for the mother to find a part time job for at least 8 hours a week in order for that condition to be fulfilled.

    To be clear, I am not opposed to the principle of state subsidised childcare even though I believe that in the majority of cases by far the most valuable work a mother, or for that matter a father, can do is to bring up the next generation to be competent and humane individuals and good citizens. The reality is that many women do want to carry on with paid work when they have become mothers, and others may not want to do it but have little choice because of the punishingly high costs of housing, now determined much more on the basis of two incomes to pay the mortgage rather than one.

    However I wouldn’t be surprised if in practice the annual cost of the Tory manifesto proposal far outran the stated £350 million a year, potentially by as much as an order of magnitude, and moreover that figure does not include the capital costs of providing the increased capacity which would be required, and for the foreseeable future that would mostly be money that the government either had to borrow or get printed.

    • Hope
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      There are children not born or set foot in the country whose parents receive child allowance! Could this be taken from overseas aid as well?

  17. Tad Davison
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    John,

    Your post makes excellent sense. So do most of the replies, and they show the disparity between common sense policies and some of the ones espoused by present Tory party leadership.

    You have been fairly consistent throughout, and that gains our respect, but the ones who really sicken me, are those Tory MPs who once thought as you do, but now argue for the more ridiculous policies of Cameron and Co. such as HS2. It makes me wonder just what a hold the whips have on them if they can go from true blue to pale pink in such a short space of time.

    Some of us will not change our minds and our principles until the evidence is there to show our original ideas were wrong. In the late Tony Benn’s words, we are signposts, not weathercocks. I believe you too are a signpost, and we need as many of those as we can get. However, we could also say that Mr Cameron is a signpost, it’s just that he’s pointing in the wrong direction.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      After seeing the launch of the UKIP manifesto this morning on the BBC news channel, I can’t help but think Mr Cameron has missed an enormous opportunity. The rest of the manifestos have been very lack-lustre by comparison.

      Tad

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Tad

        Yes, I have to say I found the UKIP Manifesto sensible and rather well thought out.

        Jobs for ex servicemen on our borders.

        Reduce Foreign Aid

        Reduce the spend in Scotland

        Ban on all immigration for 5 years, unless we need certain skills.

        Leaving the EU.

        Charging visitors to use the NHS, derided by all at the time, but now even the government thinks its a good idea.

        Indeed I would vote for them myself if JR was not my local candidate.

        • Hope
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          But people like JR are being squeezed out of his party as CCHQ sends a list of three to the area to choose. Even Lord Tebbit spoke against it. The Tory party is slowly dying. No point harnessing yourself to a corpse.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted April 15, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

            Hope,

            The Tories sure have changed from the party I once voluntarily fought and pounded the streets for. One of my friends in the parliamentary party has also noticed the pressure and the sleight of hand of the party machine. He’s made to feel like he’s bed-blocking, and the party wants to replace him, despite the fact he has worked hard to make the seat a safe one and has been in place since 1983.

            I often try to see where it all went wrong. Certainly Mrs. T’s political assassins were around in numbers in 1990, but I thought it would be they who were purged and not the other way around with the good guys being pressured.

            I could vote for JR were I in his constituency as he’s firmly anti-federalist, but as for some of the rest, I have very little in common with them. Their pro-EU credentials make my support all-but impossible, so I have to go with my conscience.

            Tad

  18. formula57
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    So “There is considerable scope for better buying, more quality driven systems of management, getting more right first time and more reduction of error and waste in many parts of the public sector” but when has there ever not been? And more pertinently, what has Mr “do more with less” Cameron done and intend to do about reducing that scope?

  19. Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    If only JR’s post this morning was the manifesto of the Conservative Party !! ; I would definitely vote for it . Sadly the Conservative position is still a long way off . I sincerely wish that Cameron will back down and come to a deal with UKIP , it would represent a shift to the right and re-ignite the vitality badly needed .

    There are many things in the manifesto Cameron launched yesterday that are sensible and worth supporting but – and it is a big BUT , the Scottish threat is there and the referendum is a long way off . Coming to a deal with UKIP and agreeing to an earlier referendum would be a huge step forward .

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      According to an opinion poll I saw a deal between the UKIP and Tory leaderships would most likely help Labour. It would drive away enough UKIP supporters and enough Tory supporters to cut the total number of votes they got in combination below the total that Labour would get, which would be increased by some UKIP supporters reverting to that party.

      • Hope
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        Tory supporters up north should vote UKIP, they helped Labour win their last by election. This appears more reliable than any poll.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 16, 2015 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          And that is what Cameron would publicly recommend to the Tory supporters in those constituencies, if he didn’t think that stopping UKIP was far more important than stopping Miliband.

  20. Iain Gill
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    John,

    I used some of those web apps designed to help choose who to vote for. I used your view, as expressed on this site, as the answer to all questions. Guess what it recommends voting UKIP, as UKIP most closely matched those views.

    Worth thinking about eh.

    Reply It certainly is not my view! That is naughty misrepresentation.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      As it’s a secret ballot, and as there’s no compulsion for a candidate to vote for himself, and as JR is assured of a substantial majority with or without his own vote, an obvious solution to this dilemma presents itself to my mind.

      Reply Do not be so absurd.I want a referendum and only a Conservative government can secure one. Why don’t you join me in voting for one?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        In general terms because I want to leave the EU, and I’m not prepared to endorse a party which I know is determined to keep us in the EU by hook or by crook, by fair means or foul; in more specific terms because I won’t vote for somebody who doesn’t care whether I or any other of her innocent constituents get carted off to rot in a foreign prison and is prepared to commit a gross abuse of parliamentary procedure to get her way on that; and that’s just for starters, I might say, I could add other reasons.

        • Hope
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          Well said. You could have highlighted that Cameron promised his own MPs in parliament they would get. Debate on the EAW. May claimed it was not their finest hour! I think it is far worse than that, you believe a word Cameron says even those loyal MPs of his.

      • Martyn G
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Denis, the vote is far from secret. Check what happens when you register at the arrival desk to cast you vote and you see that as they prepare the voting slip, the clerk writes in pencil on the reverse your precise voter number.
        That does not of course affect the voting count but after the dust has settled and in certain circumstances which seem pretty vaguely defined to me, the slips can be and sometimes are later used to identify the party you voted for. I would not be at all surprised to find that perhaps much later this data is sold on to advertisers etc. In short, the vote is only secret if the slips are destroyed immediately after the election. Which they are not.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

          Yes, it is possible to trace your ballot paper and see how you voted, but it’s not a quick and easy thing to do, and technically it needs a court order before it can be done:

          http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/council/elections/voting.htm

          “At the close of poll the documents which list the serial numbers of the ballot papers and who they have been issued to are sealed in special packets and cannot be opened without a court order.”

          No doubt it would be very much easier if we had electronic voting, which would also have the advantage that the whole election could be rigged without the need to mess about filling in large numbers of false postal ballots.

      • forthurst
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Don’t worry Denis, JR is still in the closet, but one day he’s certain to be out and proud!

        Reply It is because I want to restore democratic control in the UK that I support the Conservatives, and urge all others who want an In/Out referendum to do the same.

        • Hope
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

          Be realistic JR. Look at Cameron’s record on the EU and his broken promises, including Tory MPs.

        • matthu
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          If I vote Conservative it will be construed as support for all their manifesto policies, including support for the climate act, HS2, mandatory 0.7% overseas aid, uncontrolled immigration, cuts in the defence budget, increased borrowing, no right of recall etc. etc.

          Do I really want to lend my support to all of that?

    • stred
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      My son and his mates don’t know who to vote for and are tapping their smart phones to find out. He is not going to vote Conservative because his app has told him that the party is for the ‘rich’. He is actually comparatively rich but has not spent much time finding out how much of his pay packet is being snaffled and started to ask where it is being wasted.

      Presumably a large number of other first time voters are also tapping their apps for instructions. As most of these are designed by youngish geeks who probably think the Laffer curve is a comedians technique, they could lead to a lot of them vote for Labour and the Greens.

      If they had been watching Politics Today they would not have learned much about UKIP’s policies. The first half hour was with Lord Finklestein who, despite being a financial expert and advising John Major, talked about paying off the deficit. Then we had the Libdem ………. boy being grilled at length by Andrew Neil. More time with a little known independent Liberal party and a Northern Irish socialist. Finally the last 12 minutes was devoted to UKIP’s manifesto but avoided any questions about it. Instead the female interviewer kept asking which of the two useless contenders for no 10 would the kipper prefer, when he didn’t like either of them. Finally we had a Polish prince, born in the UK inviting Mr Farage to a duel because UKIP is causing many Poles to be beaten up. The producers are female too and it would be interesting to know whether they deliberately avoided talking about the only manifesto which had been independently verified. The bias is now blatant and they are too arrogant to care.

      • eeyore
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Your son and his mates sound thoughtful young chaps. I like that. They have twigged that the Conservatives depend on prosperous people for their votes. We all know that Tories are ugly brutes. Unless they deliver prosperity no one will vote for them and they won’t get into government.

        Labour politicians, on the other hand, are lovely. They are full of heart. They love the poor (though not to the extent of sitting next to them on the bus) and depend on their votes to gain office.”Labour is nothing if not the party of the poor” (Lord Hattersley, 2010). Labour needs ever more poor people to keep their vote up. That’s why they trash the economy every time they’re in – it’s the most efficient way to create more Labour voters.

        Labour is also equalitarian, as was Napoleon the Pig. Conservatives are (or should be) libertarian. Again, a clear choice for your son and his friends.

        So if they fancy being free, self-respecting and prosperous, Tory may be the ticket for them. Hold your noses, young fellows, and take the plunge! But if dependence and poverty, envy, resentment and decline are more to their taste, I urge them strongly to vote Labour, who on their historical record will deliver without fail.

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        Stred

        Agree with your comments about Daily Politics.

        Even my wife said what a waste of time the so called interview was with absolutely silly/childish questions to the UKIP guest.

        Made her feel quite cross, and she is no UkIp supporter.

        Clearly the media and the left wing are out to try and disrupt all things UKIP, which may of course backfire in the polling booth if it goes too far.

        Reply THey dont just do this to UKIP!

        • Iain Gill
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

          I am cheesed off at the number of Liberal party PR tweets that the BBC has retweeted. Nowhere near the same number of retweets given to other parties. The BBC is turning into a bigger joke every single day.

        • Hope
          Posted April 16, 2015 at 7:09 am | Permalink

          Oh yes it is. When are the Tories questioned over their racist immigration policy by selecting EU nationals over the rest of the world? How about Scottish and EU university graduates receiving FREE tuition in Scottish universities when their English counter parts have a life time of debt? This is based on nationality. The English taxpayer is paying their competitors to have an advantage at any job interview and through life by discriminatory practices by the Tory party (and coalition).

          Ming Campbell MP is the chancellor of St Andrews University and presides over awarding the degrees, the same Lib Dem party who promised they would not allow tuition fee increases, when has he or Clegg been grilled over this issue?

        • alan jutson
          Posted April 16, 2015 at 7:09 am | Permalink

          reply – reply

          “They don’t just do this to UKIP”.

          John I agree, but it seems to happen far more to them than any other Party.

          Shame, because interviewers trying to be “clever” for their own amusement, is actually shutting down real discussion, of some real issues.

        • stred
          Posted April 16, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          Clearly, the question was asked to show that Ukippers are Tories in disguise and, as the interviewer stated, that a survey of ex Conservative councillors preferred Cameron to the other duffer. The purpose would be to discourage the Ukippers from a Labour background and persuade them to return to the fold. In fact a lot of ex Labour hold nearly identical views to ex Conservative, both wishing to waste less on the EU, greencrap and silly uneconomic projects, while allowing unrestricted immigration, and spend it on what matters to UK voters.

    • Posted April 15, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Can everyone play this game?

      Who would the Progress faction of the Labour Party be advised to vote for? The Lib Dems or the Tories?

      Would those on the anti EU left be advised to vote for UKIP too?

      Would Ed Miliband be recommeded to vote for the Socialist Workers Party?

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Iain

      Yes it gives interesting results as questions are simple, straight forward and devoid of all spin.

      Does not factor in the local element though.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      Without descending into the normal anti-UKIP propaganda, would you please identify with which of their manifesto commitments you disagree? I think you will be hard pressed to answer.

      Reply The whole Manifesto – it is based on the absurd ides that they can win a GE outright and then vote to leave the EU just like that. It is fantasy politics.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply,
        How disappointing that even with your intellect you are unable to rise above blind party loyalty.

        Reply It is disappointing that you do not agree that we Eurosceptics have to unite to win – without 326 seats in the Commons we can do nothing. I am doing my best to get that majority for an In/Out referendum. You seem to be doing your best to try to stop me.

        • JoeSoap
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

          Not trying to stop you, just trying to re-direct your efforts to where they will be more effective.
          There are more “ifs” in your method than ours.

        • Posted April 15, 2015 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

          For many voters the prospect of voting for an EU referendum is an enticing prospect. But the way the polls are looking at the moment, a vote for the Tories looks, at best, like a vote for another coalition.

          So what then? Will the Tories make the price of their participation in that coalition the inclusion of an EU referendum, as did the LibDems in 2010 with their choice of referendum subject?

          Or will David Cameron use the lack of an overall majority as an excuse for not having one?

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply,
          There were less than 100 of your MPs in the last Parliament who were Eurosceptic. Why should I vote for someone just because they are Conservative but may be as rabidly Europlie as Ken Clarke and, dare I say it, David Cameron? In addition, I find myself agreeing with most of the UKIP manifesto – far more than with yours or any other party’s offering.

        • Hope
          Posted April 16, 2015 at 7:13 am | Permalink

          That will not occur in the Tory party. The last leader to express an anti EU theme was stabbed in the back by her own Europhile MPs. Major w elected on the back of her, when the public realised what he and his Europhile friends were about your party was ousted and has lasted to date. Most of us agree with some of your sentiments on the EU JR, but your loyalty, dogma, rises above sensibilities to where your party is headed. You a a minority that is shrinking within your own party.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 16, 2015 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          But you know as well as I do that if Cameron, or Miliband, or Clegg, ever ran an “in-out” referendum on the EU then they would move heaven and earth to make sure that it was a referendum to stay in.

          None of those conditions laid down in the UKIP manifesto –

          “Only British citizens will be allowed to vote and there will be strict spending limits for both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps, together with fair, balanced and equal media coverage of both arguments.”

          – would be observed, and moreover the government would not only permit but actively arrange for unlawful foreign interventions on its side, certainly from the EU and probably from the US as well.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply to reply:

        Fantasy politics.

        No. Just a matter of rejecting current politics with an indication of why.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        You can’t dismiss the whole of a party’s manifesto just because it has little chance of winning this election! On its contents, yes, and that would apply to almost all of the Green manifesto, but not on its chance of winning.

        I’ve looked at what UKIP says about leaving the EU, on page 71 here:

        https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/ukipdev/pages/1103/attachments/original/1429096952/theukipmanifesto2015.pdf?1429096952

        and it starts:

        “UKIP believes British citizens should have an in/out referendum on our membership of the EU as soon as possible. Our question of choice will be:

        DO YOU WISH BRITAIN TO BE A FREE, INDEPENDENT, SOVEREIGN DEMOCRACY?

        Only British citizens will be allowed to vote and there will be strict spending limits for both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps, together with fair, balanced and equal media coverage of both arguments.

        Following a vote to leave, we have two legal options:

        • We repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and leave immediately

        • We activate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and notify the European Council that the UK has decided to leave the EU in two years’ time.

        The second option provides for a sensible, orderly exit and this is the option we prefer.”

        As would I, except that I wouldn’t be too bothered if they skipped the referendum. Only a small fraction of what we are now enduring in the EU was directly approved by the people in the 1975 referendum, which was in any case conducted under false pretences, and the moral case for insisting that we must have another referendum before we leave is rather weak.

      • David Price
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        @Reply – But the LibDems didn’t win but the last 5 years have demonstrated quite clearly that it didn’t matter and they got their way on so many things.

        A party doesn’t have to win a majority of seats, just enough to dictate terms to a larger party. Or have I completely misunderstood the way things actually worked in the Quad?

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        reply -reply

        Come on John, no one enters a race, then does not even try because they are frightened to lose.

        Farage is aware they are not going to win, but some of their ideas are really quite old style Tory, and quite sensible.

        Clegg, is aware he is not going to win either, but he actually may just end up with more power than PR Dave.

        Cameron and Miliband know its between them for a walk over ,and perhaps that is the real problem !

        • Hope
          Posted April 16, 2015 at 7:17 am | Permalink

          And Sturgeon, she is likely to be the most powerful unelected PM from another country! All because of Cameron’s dopy give away of English taxes before the Scottish referendum which has made them come back for more. And then this was on the advice of Brown the most unelectable PM in living memory and Cameron could not beat him!

  21. majorfrustration
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Yes I could vote for a party clearly intent on implementing the above but unfortunately there aint one to vote for on 7/5. If I do get round for voting for DC and his many promises I think it only right to take a mortgage over all the assets of the entire Tory front bench so that if things don’t go right then we will all be in it together.

  22. Posted April 15, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I would agree with those other regulars posting here that our views and that of our host have a great deal in common with UKIP supporters.

    What is missing from the Conservative leadership is a backbone of natural Right-of Centre thinking. I simply don’t understand how the mind of this Conservative PM thinks. His behaviour and attitudes pose a number of questions that I would dearly love to know the real answers to.

    1. Does Cameron really believe in all the Green Crap and can’t he see the damage being
    done to our economy by such high energy costs ?

    2. Will he have the courage of his (expressed ) convictions and seriously campaign to
    leave the EU when his renegotiation strategy fails as it certainly will ?

    3. Why has he not proposed a proper and equal solution for English Devolution along
    the lines proposed by our host ? Does he not recognise the injustice and failings of the
    current proposal and why does he not seriously support the rights of his fellow
    English citizens ?

    4. How can a proper Conservative administration see the Armed Forces run down in
    such a way and fail to commit to the 2% spending target ahead of other spending ?

    5. In the light of other problems of trying to balance the books ( see question 5 above )
    why is the commitment to Foreign Aid put ahead of Defence and looking after our own
    ?

    • stred
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Answers to Chris’s quiz:-

      1. Yes because his wife tells him it is true. He is not technically minded and just wants to look like he cares for our planet.

      2. No. He has aid he wants to stay in and expand the EU to the Urals.

      3. He has Scottish blood in his veins, dislikes the English and does not want to hand his homeland over to the likes of Mrs Sturgeon. He thinks the English are a bit dozy and will vote for him even with the Scots deciding how they are taxed.

      4. The armed forces can be run by volunteers paid by businesses.

      5. Because it is important to look good and generous to the outside world and in international meeting between the elite. The speech business after leaving office is very important.

  23. Posted April 15, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    ….. we need a further period of restraint in public spending to help get the deficit under control. I think the cash near standstill for a couple of years is just what is needed …

    Why will that help get the deficit under control? What will happen to taxation revenue? If government spending is the same as previously, and spending in the non-governmental sector is the same as previously, the amount of taxation revenue will be the same as previously too! So the deficit will also be exactly the same as previously too!

    You could be thinking of putting up taxes to raise extra revenue. To achieve that extra revenue for government, will mean that everyone else will have to reduce their level of savings, in order to maintain their spending levels. More likely they will not do that, they will reduce their spending levels instead. In which case, that extra taxation revenue will not be forthcoming. The reduced level of non-government spending will then lead to reduced levels of business activity, increased levels of business failures, and increased levels of unemployment.

    So, after a couple of years, when the deficit has not improved, you try reducing spending and keeping taxation levels the same. The recession worsens. That reduced spending leads to reduced levels of taxation revenue and still the deficit stubbornly refuses to close. Unemployment rises again, business failures increase again, and the next election looms ever closer!

    So, if you want to win that election…….

    Reply See the Red ±Book forecasts. Income and output goes up in the private sector, generating more jobs and more tax revenue!

    • Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply,

      With all due respect to the authors in the Treasury’s Red Book we have to think these things through ourselves. They’ve been wrong in the past and they can be wrong again.

      There is no reason to expect the output and income of the private domestic sector to just increase, all on its own. Why would it? There’s little or no scope for any increase in bank credit expansion. Interest rates cannot be lowered any further than they currently are. There’s an excessive level of private debt there in any case. That would be one of two possibilities.

      The other possibility is that output and income could increase due to an increase in export sales. An export led recovery. Whoever might now be predicting this rarest of phenomena , is n0 more likely than the last group of wishful thinkers, who made similar predictions five years ago to be right about that.

      Reply You do have a most distorted view of how a mixed economy works!. Most UK growth comes from the private sector, with help from credit creating banks

      • Posted April 16, 2015 at 3:25 am | Permalink

        JR,

        I’m sorry to harp on about this but official forecasts have always been way off track. This is the 2010 Treasury Red Book:

        As a result of the action the Government is taking, the OBR projects in its Budget forecast that:

        * public sector net borrowing will decline to 1.1 per cent of GDP in 2015-16;

        * the structural current deficit will be eliminated by 2014-15, with a projected surplus of 0.8 per cent of GDP in 2015-16; and public sector net debt will peak at 70.3 per cent of GDP in 2013-14, before declining to
        67.4 per cent of GDP in 2015-16.

        It may be a warped view as far as economists are concerned, but I tend towards the scientific view that theories should fit the observed facts. When they produce results which are this far off, it’s the theories which need to be changed not the facts.

        Is there any evidence that the economists at the OBR do that? Do they adjust and refine their models using hindcasting techniques? I suspect not. Otherwise they wouldn’t be now saying the Govt will:

        reach a surplus {on budget} of 0.2% of GDP in 2018-19, increasing to 0.3% in 2019-20 as a result of the government’s neutral spending assumption after 2017-18.

        There is just no possibility of this happening without crashing the UK economy as long as the UK remains a significant net importer. Which it almost certainly will. It will take much longer than a few years for the UK economy to reduce its imports bill and increase sales of exports.

        • stred
          Posted April 16, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          Well the chief economist for the OBR is married to the chief economist for the Treasury, so it must be difficult to disagree with the ‘long term economic plans’, without spoiling the atmosphere at home.

  24. Posted April 15, 2015 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Now that the party manifestos have been launched, and all of their spokespersons have stated that the ‘sweeties’ will be more or less financed by economic growth, it is the right time to compute what the increase in HMRC tax receipts is likely to be.

    GDP is about £1,700 bn pa
    OBR’s growth forecast is roughly 2.3% pa = 12% over a 5 year term
    Taxation is about 38% of GDP
    Therefore, the increase in tax receipts over 5 years at constant prices is estimated at £77.5 bn.

    As long as the Parties acknowledge that the scope for handing out ‘sweeties’ is defined for a full parliament, not one year, and is dependent on the OBR growth forecast being met, then we can assess whether their promises are affordable.

    Personally, I doubt if 2.3% pa GDP growth for 5 years is attainable, given further fiscal consolidation and tightening of monetary policy. Something like 2.0% (1.5% from GDP per capita, 0.5% from population growth) is more likely. Over 5 years, it makes a difference.

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Reading the part of the Tory manifesto headed:

    “Real change in our relationship with the European Union”

    I see a succession of brazenly false claims about what the party has done in office, culminating in:

    “We want to see powers flowing away from Brussels, not to it. We have already taken action to return around 100 powers, but we want to go further.”

    Those would relate to opting out of JHA measures – some obsolete, some superseded and many trivial – under the existing treaty protocol which had been agreed by the previous Labour government, while of course keeping us in the EU Arrest Warrant .

    It goes on:

    “We want national parliaments to be able to work together to block unwanted European legislation. And we want an end to our commitment to an ‘ever closer union,’ as enshrined in the Treaty to which every EU country has to sign up.”

    These seem to be the only two demands in the manifesto which would properly involve EU treaty changes rather than changes under the existing treaties.

    As for the first, that will be Hague’s “red card” nonsense, a demand for an extension of a present system which is just another form of transnational majority voting under which the UK can be outvoted. Note that “national parliaments”, plural, must “work together” to block a proposal; it would not be the case that the UK Parliament alone could exercise a national veto, it would have to persuade enough foreign parliaments to support it in its opposition to the proposal.

    As for the second, an end to “ever closer union”, the German government, and others, have already made it clear that no such treaty change would be acceptable.

  26. miami.mode
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    It’s always seemed obvious to me that military aid overseas and treatment of some foreigners on the NHS should be included in the overseas aid budget and whilst I appreciate that our doctors and health workers say their primary, and sometimes only, concern is a duty to their patients, they should be reminded that they also have a duty to their employer. The sort of behaviour where they say that recording or chasing money is no concern of theirs would never be tolerated by a private employer.

    If health is totally devolved to Wales and Scotland then why is it called the National Health Service?

  27. Posted April 15, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Have any of you seen the latest post on the UK Polling Report site, summarising polls conducted in 2015?

    Where the polling has been conducted by telephone, there is an average 1% Tory lead and UKIP support is in the range 9% to 14%.

    Where the polling has been conducted on line, there is an average 1.5% Labour lead and UKIP support is in the range 14% to 19%.

    I have never been asked my opinion by either method, but then I don’t do social media and I don’t answer telephone calls from 0800 and 0840 to 0845 numbers. This is a simple matter of self preservation.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Well, it’s interesting that the online polls seem to be more favourable to UKIP than the telephone polls.

      I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that most UKIP supporters are poorly educated old codgers who have been left behind by progress and would be much happier living in the 1950’s – when there were telephones, but no internet.

  28. Martin
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Regarding your comments about savings in the DWP budget – the last time I looked the JSA share of the cake was very small.
    http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jan/08/uk-benefit-welfare-spending
    In works benefits and extras for the elderly such as Housing benefit is a huge chuck of that cake.

    To make real savings in the DWP budget we need more higher paid jobs so that folk are off of in work benefits all together and paying tax. This is also the cause of weak PAYE receipts – too many folk in low wage jobs and not enough in higher wage jobs.

  29. Posted April 15, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    As far as spin and belief in one person or party than another ,I am afraid that you don’t know until you give it a try . If they let you down , you don’t vote for them any more.I will not vote labour again because of the way I was treated in the NHS by a labour government who were disloyal to their own for the sake of business building ( incidentally the businesses collapsed) and short term gain.

    A blatant promise of a referendum is openly voiced . Whether any one believes David Cameron or not ;the tories would not have a chance in elections again if they thwarted the public on this.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 16, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Margaret, experience shows that a party can renege on an important manifesto pledge and not suffer too much electoral damage provided that it can smooth talk its way out of the difficulty, and that is especially true on matters where public understanding is a bit vague. So a party can pretend that a new EU treaty is completely different from a previously rejected EU treaty when the legal effects are more or less identical, or it can even pretend that an EU treaty no longer exists as an excuse for not putting it to a referendum, and in both cases it may lose only a fraction of its public support. I’m sure that if necessary the Tory spin doctors could come up with a series of alternative plausible excuses why it was simply not possible to hold the promised referendum. And I’m afraid that the LibDem councillor who told me that by the time of the next election most people would have forgotten that his party had reneged on its promise over the Lisbon Treaty was quite right; he was being cynical, of course, but he was right.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted April 16, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        On this important point where levels of immigration have not ever affected the country to such a scale , I think this is a different scenario. No spin Dr would make my mind up for me excuses or otherwise.

  30. Jon
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Good ideas, think you left off Toll motorways which are another tool. I used to be in favour of HS2 until I found out Javelin trains could be run on the existing line meaning journey times being barely different from HS2. Could spend some capital on inter connectivity, longer platforms for longer Javelin trains. Also bypass rail lines allowing passenger lines to overtake freight at determined areas so as not to slow up the passenger trains and allowing more freight to travel during the peak.

    I like the M6 toll, well worth the money.

    • Posted April 16, 2015 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes , longer platforms and better rolling stock to run on existing lines, which should all be electrified is a much better use of tax payers’ money that HS2 but maybe not as ‘sexy’.

      Or, according to a more correct economic (IMO) view, a much better use of available resources.

  31. turbo terrier
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Cannot really believe that you have not mentioned all the money being wasted on subsidies for all the renewable crap we have had inflicted upon us. With a debt of 1.5/6/7 trillion depending on what report you read that seems like a lot of money and despite everything it seems still to be rising. Mr Cameron is going to get three fifths of naff all out of Europe and with Germany slowly but surely heading for enegy wipe out due to it trying to support all the green crap it has saddled itself with who the hell in the right mind wants to be part of that club. When the Argies with their new super air force courtesy of Putin decide they want the Falkland oil then we will see the full extent of all the armed forces cut backs. We have learned nothing from the last time when troops went into Stanley with if they were lucky a couple of rounds in their magazines. The party has got to start practicing “We say what we do” “We do what we say” and it is a perception that on the really important issues over the last five years we have not been too good at that.

  32. Jon
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    On rail subsidies yes bring National Rail back into private hands but subsidies are needed. London City provides huge tax revenues to the whole of the UK. However the international crammed city cannot house the working population it has therefore many like me commute in. An holistic view should continue to be taken otherwise it could drastically change not just the revenue generated but also the Green Belt. There is a balance to be struck but we would be mad if we priced out the arteries to a City that is a wealth generator.

  33. Boudicca
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    John

    It really doesn’t matter what you think: you’re in a Party that intends doing the opposite “led” by a man who might as well be an Orange Book LibDem.

    You’re in the wrong Party. Today’s Manifesto launch demonstrated that.

  34. Mondeo Man
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Watching BBC News – the Libya refugee crisis.

    Well. We’re going to need a whole lot more public service by the look of things.

    How has David Cameron avoided scrutiny of his part in this problem which extends to Europe and our country ?

  35. Mike Wilson
    Posted April 16, 2015 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    … right first time and more reduction of error and waste in many parts of the pubic sector …

    Apologies if already noted. Not a sector I want to hear discussed.

  • About John Redwood


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

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