This election is about ending austerity

Labour should know all about austerity. They plunged the UK private sector into the most severe austerity by their large mistakes in 2007-9. Not content with fuelling an irresponsible boom in credit in 2003-7, they decided to make the worse error of stopping it all so abruptly that they brought down several banks. They threw the UK economy into the worst recession since the 1930s. Many people lost their jobs. Incomes were squeezed. Businesses failed or became unprofitable. That’s austerity.

The Coalition have made a start to reversing Labour’s cruel austerity. Many more people are now in jobs, with unemployment down. UK output and incomes overall are now back above the 2007 level before the crash. Living standards are rising again after the sharp fall in 2007-9 and the squeeze thereafter.

Many commentators think austerity is a new word for public expenditure cuts. They need to realise that the bulk of jobs in the UK are in the private sector. 26 million people work for employers other than the state. It was this large majority that felt the full pain of the cuts. Public expenditure in real terms carried on rising in the Labour years, and rose again by a small amount in real terms under the Coalition. There were individual cuts in particular departments and programmes, but no overall reduction.

I am a strong critic of austerity. I opposed Labour’s credit binge and mega bank mergers on the way up before the crash, and I opposed Labour’s clumsy bank regulation and nationalisation which made the crash more intense and cast a long shadow over the recovery.

I want the current economic recovery to continue. To speed it we need tax cuts, not higher taxes. To fuel it we need policies that are positive for business and enterprise, not hostile to success. It was ill judged regulation from the state that brought the banks to their knees and damaged the private sector. It will be allowing people more freedom to set up and grow companies which will power the recovery.

The UK is close to the point now where the commercial banks can finance a recovery without further artificial public sector stimulus. Pursuing more anti bank rhetoric would not be a good idea. Whilst many people may  not like banks, if you damage the banks you damage the rest of the economy. What Labour does not seem to have learnt from its bitter experiences of 2007-9 is if you get the banks wrong, it is other people in many other sectors and businesses that lose their jobs or struggle to maintain their commercial activities. Sometimes politicians have to stand up for the unpopular, and explain to people why the politics of jealousy or revenge may make things worse, not better.

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103 Comments

  1. Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    It is a total mystery to me why, given all the resources at the disposal of the Conservative party, the simple and clear messages you frequently articulate so well have not been put across effectively if at all to the country at large

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Peter R

      Absolutely agree Peter, tThe Conservative PR machine and its Ministers were absolutely dire with any sort of sensible explanation of the facts at the time, when a detailed State of the Nation presentation was required 3-6 months after they gained power.

      2008 was not that long ago, but many people seem to have forgotten how bad it was already.

      The only people who seem to remember, are those who have had some sort of Benefits cut, which is repeated over and over again by the media.

      Mr Browns Social engineering, where now so many people are reliant on the State for some sort of financial help, has given Labour a huge advantage, as many of us said would happen over time.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        2009, before the general election, was the time for the Tories to hammer home to the electorate the full extent of Labour’s economic and financial mismanagement, rather than letting them disguise the reality by getting the Bank of England to create vast sums of new money and indirectly lend it to the Treasury so the government could continue to pay its bills.

        That failure in 2009 was the greatest single reason why the Tories did not get an overall majority in 2010, which fed through to the failure to get the boundary changes still leaving them at a disadvantage in 2015, as well as lining them up for criticism over their attempts to cut the deficit.

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          Dennis

          Absolutely agree with you about the points you make about the pre 2010 election.

          No one if they were clued up should failed to gain an overall majority against Gordon Brown.

          However once they were in power, and had a good look at the books, they should have come clean with the electorate about the dire financial state Labour left us in.

          Ref Boundary changes, again just shows how useless Cameron was at any sort of negotiations and an enforcement of any sort of agreement.

          To give Clegg his due, he at least punched well above his weight to get what he wanted.

          Hence the reason many of us do not have much faith in Mr Cameron relegation pledge having any meaningful success over the EU.

          Reply Conservatives knew the books were in a bad state and said so prior to the election. The main books are all published – I try to get more people to read or understand them by highlighting them regularly on this site.

          • Posted May 6, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

            Reply -reply

            Aware of what you do John, and thank you for all of the information that you make so easy to understand, but your blog whilst excellent and popular with its readers, is not read by the majority of the population who are unfortunately probably not aware of its existence.

          • Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            Cameron threw that last election with his cast iron ratting, Clegg’s equal billing on TV, his green crap ‘modernising’ and generally left wing high tax borrow and waste approach to the job. It was election a stuffed teddy bear should have won.

            Miliband/SNP should also be easy to beat but once again the man putting a left wing we are Labour but not quite as bat approach to the electorate. I hope and think he will just scrape home. At least then Miliband will not be able to rob me (and damage tenants & supply too) with his absurd rent act II/ legalised theft proposals and the counter-productive insanity of attacking nondoms, the hard working & the rich any further that Osborne already has done.

            Any Cameron victory will be despite/not because of Cameron and much thanks to Miliband & SNP.

          • Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

            Well Osborne as we know, since taking over, has increase the national debt by some £400Bn (more than Labour did in thirteen years) so in many ways the UK is in an even worse state now. Not repaying the debt or in the black by 2018 as Cameron pretends.

            At the same time living standards have, at best, been stagnant. Growth has largely been in GDP ((not GDP per cap) and mainly in lowish pay jobs, where people are usually a net financial liability on the state. As they pay in far less than they get in benefits, schools, health and other government overheads.

            Labour/SNP will be even worse if they get in but Cameron/Osborne are truly dreadful too. No sensible vision at all.

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          The problem with highlighting Labour’s mismanagement particularly with regard to public spending is the fact that, in opposition,Cameron and Osborne were willing to match Labour’s profligacy-there was no talk then of mending the roof whilst the sun shone.It was only after the debt crisis when Brown seemed to be scorching the earth ahead of a likely Tory victory that the tune changed.

          Reply Their bigger mistake than the spending was the bank crash

          • Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

            Indeed the bank crash, the inept rescue by Brown and subsequent damage the banks (RBS/Natwest in particular) did to the real economy by huge over charging or just sucking the money out of them for no good reason.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      JR, cast your mind back five years ago when you were highligting all the political talk nonsense on the coalition’s spending cuts that were not happening. Your party had all the political pain but the cuts were somewhat different from reality. You made that absolutely clear. We have NOT seen the 80/20 spending cuts versus tax rises, quite the opposite. We have had huge tax rises and small spending cuts. No bonfire of quangos, overseas aid enacted in law to waste £14 billion a year, EU club fees increased and higher under Cameron than any other PM.

      Recently you were trying to make a case about the lunacy of the EU energy and the UK Climate Change Act will hurt business, when your party has tried to disguise the facts from the public that it freely promotes the EU on all such matters, including all the green crap CO2 emission nonsense that will cost business and households a fortune. Once again, you made this clear to the readers in your blogs.

      I find it difficult why in recent weeks that you have tried to spin otherwise, it only acts to support why the public do not trust politicians, as they will say anything to get elected. Could you let us know your true position on both issues please. Not what your party wants you to spin the day before the election. If you have strong views against the Climate Change Act most would think you would vote against it, you did not.

      Reply I have reaffirmed my position on both matters. I have explained again the course of spending and borrowing over the last Parliament. I do support the proposed course to eliminate the deficit over the next Parliament. I was against the Climate Change Act and its EU driven wind energy policies in the past and remain against them. I supported Conservative MPs in the last Parliament who led the campaign to remove onshore wind subsidies, which is now Conservative policy.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        JR, your conviction on the Climate Change Act was not committed enough to vote against it. Loyalty to party, whip system.

        As above, most people agree with a lot of what you say here, unfortunately your party does not. The Tory party moves more and more to the left under Cameron.

        Reply I seem to remember the whips wanted me to vote for it, so they did not see my opposition as loyal!

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

          The important point to ask is why it was a whipping matter at all. Your party was in opposition and yet still felt somehow obligated to support crackpot EU policy.

      • Posted May 7, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Yes but Cameron and most of your party’s leadership is largely pulling in the opposite direction to you. Virtually the same direction as the Libdems and Labour, but for a few minor differences.

        If you elect a wet, socialist, 299+ tax increasing, £400bn debt increasing, EUphile, greencrap, modernising, untrustworthy, election throwing, PR spin doctor to lead your party then this is alas what happens.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      It is a mystery to me why your party has allowed Labour to get away with repetitive lying about the NHS and allow them to make it a major vote winner. A leaflet has dropped through my door from Labour stating ‘ The Tories are a threat to our NHS- worst A+E crisis on record- Extreme cuts which threaten the survival of our NHS- Waiting lists at their highest levels for six years.’. No mention of the much higher promises on spending by Conservative, Libdems and UKIP, that spending has increased or that GPs and drug supplies are private, private contractors were used by Labour where better value obtained or that the worst scandals occurred under their government. Perhaps you could see if your management could spend a little time countering the lies in the last few hours.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Yes it is extraordinary isn’t it? I assume the explanation is the Conservative leadership feel they have 35% of the electorate in the bag and they are playing for a few 10,000s of votes in marginals, and such people will best be won by targeted gimmicks. Depressing but I assume (and hope) they have done their homework.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        Some real vision would have been a far better approach. They needed to start a positive growth snowball rolling to victory but lefty Cameron did not even try.

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          Well that’s a bit how it looks to me but I assume they have made a careful calculation and have played it the way most likely to win. After all there’s probably c 40% of the electorate who will never vote Tory whatever the arguments/evidence/campaign. We will see.

          The Tories seem to have played the debates well. The one thing that’s come out of them is everybody should by now be aware that Miliband can only become PM with the support of the SNP.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      I totally agree!

      Where is the positive message, the call to enterprise, something to get the youth fired up about?

      All we get is week responses to the BBC’s constant “Labour say’s” narrative.

      Give us a reason to believe!

      But then David Cameron is a Cultural Marxist, just like most of the PPE school, who are hell bent on destroying everything that western civilisation was built on.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Cameron is indeed a dreadful lefty loser in the John Major/Ted Heath mould.
        Anyone who likes to piss money away on ‘green’ energy and force gender neutral annuities and insurance by law is clearly both innumerate and irrational. Had we had high inflation doubtless Cameron would have introduced a ‘prices and income policy’ just as daft as Heath’s was.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Delia’s Recipe 4 Disaster
      Take one …. Scotsman
      Add One insolvent Scottish run Bank (Hbos)
      Take one solvent English Bank (Lloyds)
      Allow …..Scotsman to blend together.

  2. Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Indeed Miliband, with his absurdly damaging proposals to destroy the property rent market, his religious belief in expensive greencrap energy (plus bizarrely energy price controls at the same time) and his determination to drive the rich and hard working out of the country (with his spite, envy and theft by legal statute) will do huge damage. Just the threat of it is already doing huge damage.

    Cameron is a dreadful lefty, wrong on grammar schools, on greencrap energy, on the EU, HS2, on ever higher tax rates, on the NHS, on open door immigration and on the hugely bloated size of the (largely incompetent) state sector.

    Nevertheless a Conservative overall majority is a far better outcome than Labour/SNP. Hopefully post election the sensible wing of the Tories can knock some sense into their dreadful “New Labour” leader. I would say replace him but Boris Johnson, Theresa May (who seems to want to ban free speech) or the others in the running do not seem very good options either.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      A huge lack of confidence, loss of jobs and massive economic damage will clearly result from a Labour/SNP victory.

      Whereas a Cameron victory (if combined with a huge change in direction from the current lefty, wet Tory party, and towards cheap sensible energy, far less EU, far smaller government, far lower tax rates, far simpler taxes, far fewer regulations and a state sector that actually works) would provide a huge boost to confidence, jobs, investment and prosperity.

      The useless Miliband has done his best to help the Tories. If Cameron fails a second time he only has his idiotic EUphile, tax borrow and waste, dumb, leftyness to blame yet again.

      To throw one sitting duck election may be regarded as a misfortune; to throw two just looks like moronic, lefty stupidity. The country is nearly 50% for a Tory/UKIP position yet Cameron is just offering them ‘New Labour’ mark II.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        ” The country is nearly 50% for a Tory/UKIP position.”

        I’m afraid that even though this is probably the case, under the current electoral system it will never be reflected in the outcome.

        Whatever happens tomorrow, none of the parties are going to propose a satisfactory and fair change to the electoral system. Labour will fight tooth and nail to stop any changes, especially for England.

        We are heading for at least five years of instability with the FPTP system clearly past its sell-by date and no agreement or inclination amongst parliamentarians to replace it. As a result, English voters will suffer the biggest democratic deficit.

        Ironically the SNP is likely to be the party that breaks the logjam and fixes the problem for us.

        Sturgeon will almost certainly engineer another referendum, or if she thinks she can’t win one so soon, she will at the very least secure full fiscal autonomy and the removal of the deterrent from the Clyde. Both will be to the advantage of England in terms of jobs and taxation.

        As I have said elsewhere here, if I were Cameron I would call her on Friday morning and immediately offer her full fiscal autonomy.

        However it comes about, full fiscal autonomy for Scotland will make the call for full EVEL irresistible and even Labour would have to concede it. That would also make boundary changes necessary to reduce the size of the Commons and equalise the number of electors in each constituency.

        Right-of-centre English voters will eventually get the Government they want thanks to Sturgeon rather than in spite of her.

        Reply If the country is under 50% for Conservative/UKIP we lack the majority we need for EU change, unless we learn how to get more than 50% of the seats under FPTP. We will need more than 50% of the vote for the referendum which follows.

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:42 am | Permalink

          Chris S. The problem is that Eural McCameron would rather set fire to his sporran than hand his homeland over to the likes of Mz Sturgeon. He also does not want a Con/Ukip majority, which might stop him rigging any referendum in favour of staying in.

          • Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

            I think the answer to this is fairly simple. The reason Cameron/Clegg/Miiliband are shovelling shed loads of money from English taxpayers over Hadrian’s wall is to retain us in their EU dream. If Scotland does vote to go alone they can hardly not give the English its own Parliament so the EU balkanisation would have to cease.
            As the Tories are only likely to get at best one MP in Scotland any other explanation doesn’t make political sense.

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

          To reply:

          Yes and half the Tory party are Ken Clark types anyway.

          Reply Not so. There is but a handful of Conservative ex MPs/candidates who support continued EU membership on current terms or worse.

          • Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            OK 45% are Ken Clarke types and most of the leaders are too.

          • Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

            Beg to differ re Reply–I reckon that by far the majority of Conservative MP’s, although they might emphasize that they agree that the EU isn’t perfect, would not vote to leave in a decade of Sundays. Certainly my own MP is that way and so absolutely pathetic on the subject he seems really to believe that the EU is preventing conflict.

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          I think that you’re greatly underestimating the strength of leftish anti-Tory sentiment across the country. Including among UKIP supporters, who should not be just lumped in with Tory supporters as the Tory leadership likes to pretend even if they don’t believe it themselves.

          By splitting the leftish anti-Tory vote the Liberals/SDP/LibDems helped the Tories win elections in the past, and in fact in 2010 if the LibDems had united with Labour then they would have beaten the Tories hands down; it was when support for the LibDems collapsed in the second half of 2010 that Labour alone overtook the Tories in the opinion polls; but now, since around the end of 2012, the Tories have been helped by the rise in support for both the SNP and UKIP, in both cases at the expense of Labour much more than that of the Tories, so once again splitting the leftish anti-Tory vote.

          All that is clear from the opinion poll charts here, for GB:

          http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/polls.html

          and here, just for Scotland:

          http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/polls_scot.html

          But how support swapped around between the pro-EU parties would be of limited relevance to the outcome of an “in-out” EU referendum, which would be determined far more by the solidly, and unscrupulously, pro-EU positions taken by almost all of those controlling the mass media, which of course will shape the views of many of the voters.

          Reply Polling has indicated that the largest group within UKIP supporters were former Conservative voters, but there were also significant numbers who did not previously vote at all and former Labour voters. From memory it was about twice as many former Conservatives as former Labour voters. Personally I have never argued that because someone used to vote Conservative they will automatically “come home”. Parties do not own voters. The issue is how badly do UKIP supporters want an IN/Out referendum, and how should they cast their vote to get one, given the state of the polls and the fact that only the Conservative party of the parties likely to win most of the seats is offering an IN/Out referendum. To me it is obvious, as someone who has devoted a lot of time and political capital to exposing the loss of our democracy to the EU, that we need a Conservative government to sort this out. If you want a Conservative government you have to vote for one.

          • Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

            Sorry Mr Redwood. We simply don’t trust the Tory cast iron guarantees or the no if or buts promises. My branch has a mix of all previous parties and several who stopped voting for years. They are generally better read on political issues than the average Joe/Gill and hence why your party won’t get them to return. It’s a simple matter of trust. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
            Remind me how the last elections contract on immigration control is doing? The unelected Mr Junker refuses to allow any change to free movement so immigration will continue at invasion levels and public services will start to fail. The renegotiation is just a pipedream that no one believes. Just like yesterdays revelation from Denis C that Cameron hid a energy agreement form the EU in the £1.7 billion surcharge baloney! Another good day to bury bad news!

          • Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

            It’s been a game of two halves, as they say.

            The first 7% of UKIP support, up to about the end of 2012, doubtless included far more erstwhile supporters of the Tory party than those of other parties, but that changed for the second 7% which includes far more erstwhile Labour supporters, albeit that many of those voters are recorded by pollsters as having previously been LibDem supporters on the basis of how they had voted in May 2010.

            Reply You normally proceed with facts. The latest Evening Standard Poll for London says in London 3 x as many UKIP from Cons than from Labour – and shows a recent squeeze on the UKIP vote forecast for tomorrow.

          • Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

            Reply to Mr Redwood’s reply which included this statement:
            “…..The issue is how badly do UKIP supporters want an IN/Out referendum, and how should they cast their vote to get one, given the state of the polls and the fact that only the Conservative party of the parties likely to win most of the seats is offering an IN/Out referendum….”

            The issue is trust and those who have moved to UKIP do not trust Cameron to deliver on a fair IN/OUT referendum, so you will not win them back to the Cons Party. It is this key fact that so many in the current Cons Party fail to acknowledge. Ostriches come to mind on this matter and also on the issue of insisting that renegotiation is possible of such fundamental principles of the EU such as freedom of movement. The present Cons Party has to come to terms with some stark realities and unless it does, its days will be numbered.

          • Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

            JR, as you know London is not typical of the whole country in many respects. I look at the opinion polls charts for the whole of the UK, or to be precise for GB, and it is clear that overall UKIP has been eating into support for Labour since around the end of 2012. The 7% or so that UKIP has gained since then has come from somewhere, and it seems unlikely to be just a coincidence that Labour has lost about 10% over the same period while the Tories have barely moved, maybe now up by 1%, and the movements of the SNP, the LibDems and the Greens all taken together may amount to a total loss of only 3% loss for Labour.

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

          It will be interesting to see the popular vote for each party and compare it to the seats won. That will show the failings of our, so called, democracy.

          The “Voting Age Turnout” will be interesting, it has been slowly dropping since the 1950s when it was in the 80s percent; it was 61% in 2010, 65% of those that bothered to register.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        Chris is absolutely right. Under the PR system we would probably be heading for a Tory/UKIP government. But under the FPTP system many of the votes on the right will be nullified on Thursday. To beat the FPTP system, right wing voters need to vote tactically. In other words, vote for the party which has the best chance of beating the left wing candidate and this applies particularly in the marginals. Unfortunately, as some contributors to this blog show, many people will simply vote for the party which has the policies closest to their own views. They need to vote clever and make sure their vote does not help the party whose policies they like the least.

        Chris is again right when he recommends full fiscal autonomy for Scotland. The parliament which spends the money should also be the parliament which has to raise the money. It would be interesting to see which tune the SNP sang on austerity when they were the ones who had to increase taxes in Scotland.

        I am not quite sure what point JR is making in his reply. The House of Commons simply needs a majority to get a referendum on the EU bill through. In the referendum which follows there will be a different dynamic. For instance, we should not assume that Labour voters are as pro-EU as the Labour high command.

        Reply I am making my usual point re the EU. Somehow we need to unite on how to tackle it, and need to demonstrate we have well over 50% support.

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          UKIP voters will I think vote more tactically that the polls suggest. Cameron has done his best to throw a second election but might scrape home. Doubtless we will still have to suffer Ed Davey, Vince Cable and the rest of the lefty dopes if he can cling to power.

          • Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

            JR, you seem to forget that Cameron ordered a three line whip to prevent an EU referendum taking place, he spent £18 million pounds of taxpayers’ money to promote closer union to the Eau when he promised not to- you were at the debate! He broke his promise to you and other Tory MPs to have a debate on the EAW, even May said it was not your party’s finest hour! Look at the people he surrounded himself with in cabinet over the last five years! JR at least recognise why normal people in the real world do not Trust Cameron.

            Good luck tomorrow with your seat. I hope the Tories are defeated so the party has the chance to change for the better and the modernisers are dispensed with.

          • Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

            LL
            Doubtless we will still have to suffer Ed Davey, Vince Cable and the rest of the lefty dopes if he can cling to power.

            That will achieve exactly what we have had for the last five years. We need real change and if CMD has learnt anything in the last five years he should be exercising more control about who will be joining the top table.

          • Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            I am not sure I agree Lifelogic.
            On the VERY odd occasion that I have been a victim of even a minor crime I have insisted on reporting it to the police. This is because I am sick to death of seeing politicians of both of the main parties saying that reported crime has gone down when it is more likely the case that people just do not bother to waste their time.
            By the same token there is no way that I can vote Tory tomorrow despite having done so for the past 30 odd years. I would get sick to the stomach hearing Cameron say that I had given him a mandate and I could not live with that. I am sorry to say that if it takes a Labour/SNP shambles to get me back a Conservative party and leader that I can proudly vote for once again then so be it.

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

          Stephen – It isn’t just a matter of getting a UKIP/Conservative majority through the skewed electoral process.

          If that did happen the country would be ungovernable because of Left wing rioting, BBC bias and Whitehall obstruction.

          • Posted May 7, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink

            Mr Mondeo Man – Over the last five years we have had rioting, BBC bias and (no doubt) Whitehall obstructionism. The present coalition has continued to govern and I think that a Tory/UKIP coalition would also manage to govern.

            On the previous political allegiance of UKIP voters:

            This poll by YouGov of over 30,000 individuals suggests that it is the Conservatives who have been the big losers to UKIP.

            http://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2015/04/who-are-the-political-swingers.html

            But what, in all honesty, would we expect? The Conservatives are closest ideologically to UKIP and suffer accordingly. If the Greens were to make a surge in UK politics, it would be Labour who suffered the most.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Yes it is extraordinary isn’t it? I assume the explanation is the Conservative leadership feel they have 35% of the electorate in the bag and they are playing for a few 10,000s of votes in marginals, and such people will best be won by targeted gimmicks. Depressing but I assume (and hope) they have done their homework.

  3. Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    There has been no austerity. Government spending continues to rise, each party threw more money at the electorate during this campaign especially your own. There has been too many tax rises in the last five years and too much immigration.

    Leaving the EU and ceasing to subsidise business through tax and housing benefit is the way forward. Fewer clients of the state means concentration on service delivery rather than capacity can return to those areas where the state should be involved.

    Good luck and best wishes for tomorrow Mr Redwood, your maintenance of this site during the campaign is a further credit to you.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      I could not agree more. You would think we had just suffered five years of Labour at its finest. National debt doubled, continual deficit spending despite promising to eliminate it. Overthrowing a dictator and making things worse for the people that live there. 300,000 more people into the UK last year alone, whose principle economic activity will be consuming goods and using services with other peoples money. After this I have absolutely nothing to be frightened of with Red Ed as PM.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Spot on. There is NO difference between Red Ed or Red Dave. They are all EU luvvies dedicated to the cause of subservience to their Masters abroad. I can only think the Tory’s motive is their CBI and Corporate sponsors who we subsidise with in and out of work benefits at English taxpayers expense.

        Reply The CBI and large quoted corporates do not sponsor the Conservative party

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          I think the common denominator here is EU funding of the CBI and EU influence ensuring that large corporations have an ever-increasing population to sell their goods and services to, while making life difficult for SMEs.

          The saddest and most despicable aspect of this is that many of our treacherous parliamentary representatives have sold, and still are selling, our country down the river in exchange for a seat on the EU gravy train!

          This has been a disastrous election campaign, disgracefully and slyly influenced by EU funding of the BBC.

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          Osborne had to accept that the UK deficit is higher than Greece today. How embarrassing after he promised to eliminate the structural deficit by now!

  4. Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Actually this election is beginning to look to be more and more about a constitutional crisis.
    I welcome this, because sooner or later someone in government is going to have to address the lack of equality, fairness and democracy experienced by England.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Yes but they perhaps Labour/SNP will address it only by trying to make it even more biased in their favour.

  5. Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I wonder how things would have turned out if Labour had decided not to follow the EU model by taking the prudential supervision of commercial banks away from the central bank and handing it to a separate regulator. That didn’t work out well here and it didn’t work out well in Ireland either, and in both cases it has now been reversed.

  6. Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    You make it sound so good and a rip-roaring success. Yes, the fight against austerity has its place, but so does crime, the housing crisis, an appalling record and bad judgement on foreign policy, disasters and capitulation towards the EU wrapped up and spun as successes, and so much more besides.

    I was rather hoping the Tories would give me so much more to vote for. About the only thing I agree with and can’t pick holes in, is that a Labour government would be an unmitigated disaster!

    Tad

  7. Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Thanks, indeed, for maintaining this site during the campaign. If the economy does not work, none of the redistibutionist and collectivist policies of Labour can be paid for. Labour therefore borrows ever larger amounts to blight the future of our children and in a perverse way claims it supports social justice! No, Labour and the other lefties are to be avoided on the ballot paper.

  8. Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Having gone through the mill of unemployment during the tender administration of Labour I fully agree with your observations. You should realise that some people have never recovered from that period and will not enjoy the fruits of recovery.

    I would also add that we need MPs and senior civil servants who have good experience of life in the private sector. Perhaps in addition to the constraint on immigramnts having contributed NI for a number of years before claiming benefits there should also be constraints on those who would be employed by the state. Anyone who would seek to dictate how their fellow citizens should live should have had to go through their struggles first.

    As to the banks, you really should have punished those individuals responsible in a quite visible and obvious way.

    Good luck tomorrow.

  9. Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Age has meant I have witnessed many election campaigns ; this one tops the list for “boring”. The outcome is a precarious one and , as often as I have tried to read the polls and listen carefully to the opinions of others , I cannot see a “black and white” outcome . The possibility of any sort of a deal between Labour and the SNP will drive the economy into a black hole ; another Conservative / LibDem coalition will put the right wingers into despair .

    I regret very much the lack of real leadership of the Thatcher mode and the fact that it lacks real life experience – something the ordinary bloke in the street can identify with and respect . Where and how someone can emerge and re-energise the spirit of this country I cannot see ; my hope is it is out there somewhere .

    Reply Surely no boring. Beneath the soundbites and fury there are these fundamental issues about the future of the UK and our relationship with the EU, whether we should intervene again in the Middle East, whether to keep our nuclear weapons – plenty to interest any democrat.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      I agree that it has been far from boring: the race is close, the issues are of vital importance, the outcome is far from clear and will remain so for some time. Great changes are afoot.
      re austerity: My income has steadily declined for 7 consecutive years, simply because of the ever lowering interest rates. We have almost reached the state where they will have to remain minimal forever, because public and private debt is so great it cannot sustain any increase. Retirees like myself, who depend on savings for income, have taken as big a beating as any section of the community, and can do little about it.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      “The possibility of any sort of a deal between Labour and the SNP will drive the economy into a black hole”

      Then obviously the Tories should not try to force Labour into a deal with the SNP; it would be very much in the national interest for the Tories to be prepared to exercise a degree of forbearance towards a minority Labour or Labour/LibDem government, should either of those emerge as a possibility.

      There is no constitutional rule saying that the largest opposition party must always vote against whatever the government proposes and constantly try to bring it down; there is the option of abstention, and just as votes may have a price so may abstentions; and I don’t think the public would actually thank the Tory party, or in fact any other party, if it was seen to have voted to precipitate a repeat general election within just a few months.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        It is possible that HRH Phil reads this blog. If so HRH, could you please suggest to HRH the Mrs that she has the right to sort out the mess, as she did in Australia once. Another election under proper PR would put the separatists back in their kennel and keep the Greens ( Charles would be pleased too), Kippers and Libdems happy and also produce a government which reflected the views of the whole country, rather than bits of it.

  10. Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    The Conservative party appears to have failed to imprint on this election narrative the need to eliminate the deficit and start the long and painful process of actually reducing the national debt. Instead the prevailing narrative is that such a neccessary course amounts to “austerity”. Perhaps the GE votes will prove this judgment to be wrong but I am not optimistic that they will.

    The electorate has been told that yes, there is such a thing as a free lunch and that others, namely the “rich”, the occupants of “mansions”, the “non doms” and the “bankers bonuses” are there, ready and waiting, to pay for it. Many are ready to be persuaded that this nirvana is indeed at hand; after all, they think, it will cost them nothing. The Conservative party campaign has failed to puncture this illusion.

  11. Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    JR: “Sometimes politicians have to stand up for the unpopular, and explain to people why the politics of jealousy or revenge may make things worse, not better.”
    It’s a pity that during this election the leadership of your party has failed to do just that, preferring to pander to the magic money tree brigade.
    This has been a carefully stage-managed election by the political establishment ably supported by much of the media. Many days have been taken with discussion of the aftermath, before the election has even taken place, based on opinion polls used as propaganda tools. How the LibLabCon leaders must love the thought that they can forget their manifestos the day after tomorrow and get down to the grubby wheeling and dealing that they enjoy so much.
    This election is a choice – a vote for 3 parties who all look and sound the same OR a vote for UKIP, for REAL change.

    Reply I don’t think any of the leading players want continual interviews on possible permutations post the result, but that is what interests a free press

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      Perhaps if they had been prepared to answer questions about where the money was to be found for spending or what specific spending cuts there would be and not, in your party’s case, tried to talk up the prospects of the SNP the media would have been less able to talk about coalitions and deals.
      You must by now have heard Mr Cameron repeat (he said it again on the BBC Question Time) that the £25bn saving you are planning is achievable by saving £1 in every £100 spent by government for two years. As you told us that government spending was around £731bn, I make saving 1% equivalent to £14.6bn after two years or £10bn short of the £25bn .
      Why can’t I get the figures to add up? Perhaps it is because they don’t!

      Reply I have set out the figures for you in past posts.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply,
        I genuinely wanted to understand the calculation. You have never explained how it is possible to reduce spending by 1% for two years and save £25bn and I can only surmise that it is because it just doesn’t add up but you could never admit it.

        Reply The maths are very simple – I do not understand your problem.
        The savings of 1% compound over the 2 years so your sum is wrong.

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          Brian, I have yet to find one number that is anywhere near the truth, particularly from Conservatives. Compound interest makes little difference over two years. Bullshit baffles brains.

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          Y1 £731B reduced by £7.3B = £724B
          Y2 £724B reduced by £7.2B = £717B
          Total Spend for 2 years = £1441B
          without cuts it would be
          £731B + £731B = £1462B

          So £1462B – £1441B = £21B saving over 2 years.

          Close enough to £25B if other factors are also accounted for (Interest / Inflation?) I would think…

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply,
          If you save 1% of £731bn in year one that is equivalent to £7.31bn. Having cut by that amount the new spending figure should be £723.7bn and saving 1% of that is £7.237bn. After two years the spending should be £716.45bn or a total reduction of £14.55bn from the initial £731bn. Where is the other £10.45bn?
          In order to save £25 bn over two years by reducing by 1% p.a. would require an initial spending total of £1250bn.

          Reply in the second year you save 1 plus 1%

  12. Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Good luck tomorrow Mr Redwood.

  13. Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Thank you very much Dr JR for hosting this blog and providing us with a sounding board for what should be mainstream conservative values and best wishes in your own constituency battle. Would that more like you in terms of outlook and experience formed the bulk of the Parliamentary Conservative Party instead of the Liberals in disguise that we often find.

  14. Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    This election is not about ending austerity, real or imagined. It is not about laying the blame for it’s existence, we know where that lies. The economy , important and fragile as it is, is what the politicos would like you to think about when you enter the polling station. The short term selfish option.

    The real question is about the sovereignty of the United Kingdom with the EU diluting it at every opportunity, and the likes of the SNP acting as a fifth column to further it’s demise. None of the main parties have felt capable of discussing this, as they prefer to see our sovereignty bleed to death in the gutter of their ambition. They are aided and abetted by most of the media and the BBC in particular. Only one politician is prepared to articulate the threat, and he is derided at every opportunity.

    If you cannot discuss this key question, you are unfit to govern, whoever you claim to represent.

    Reply I have devoted numerous columns, speeches and other interventions to these crucial issues. You read and comment on them then ignore them!

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      I appreciate the effort you have made and do not ignore it. However your party and the other two have avoided the question of sovereignty, deeming it to be too toxic. From sovereignty flows the answer to many of the other problems we suffer.

      What is it about the none elected EU that causes them to put it before our sovereignty. From the sterilisation of this election campaign stems the boredom of the electorate and I suspect the indecisive outcome on Friday.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      “If you cannot discuss this key question, you are unfit to govern, whoever you claim to represent.”

      Reply I have devoted numerous columns, speeches and other interventions to these crucial issues. You read and comment on them then ignore them!

      Unfortunately, on past form, you will not be amongst those selected to sit around the cabinet table while the remainder of your lot comprise those who feel inhibited about discussing the issues on sovereignty and democracy that matter.

      etc ed

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Exactly Matthu, would like to know how the leadership justify not having someone of Mr Redwoods experience and common sense in the cabinet, but including people like Davey and Cable, it beggars belief, also the sacking of Owen Patterson.

  15. Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I presume it does not break election rules to wish you well tomorrow!

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Of course it does, if you want to do that you must list all the candidates who are standing in Wokingham!

      So while I agree with you in wishing JR well I will not follow another commenter by wishing him good luck, which he obviously will not need.

      Reply This site has the necessary imprint and other requirements so I can use it as a candidate in the Wokingham election. This I do under local issues. Endorsements are welcome.

  16. Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I am not a constituent of yours Mr Redwood, nor do I intend voting for your party. But you write a calm, courteous and well-informed piece almost every day of the year. I would support electing you to parliament by acclamation! Good luck tomorrow!

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Endorsed emphatically, backofanenvelope.

  17. Posted May 6, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Ending austerity? – – I listened to a lady on the radio last night on about the (people ed) coming from Libya – and this island being the preferred destination of choice. The lady said countries would ALL have to take a share of the people. What happened to stopping the ( large scale migration ed)??? It makes no difference if the self-proclaimed EU authorities disperse the (people ed) – once settled anywhere in the EU they can all move here and out comes the free houses, free benefits, free healthcare and free schooling – and eventually later in their non-contributed free lives – a free pension. l would like the same. I suppose most people on here would like a financially worry free life.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Too right we would but that won’t happen. The usual hard working people will pay for those who can’t be bothered and those who think they can come here and get it all for free. Immigration whether it is legal or not cannot be controlled all the time we are in the EU. Nigel Farage is the only one who is straight about this fact. One day people will be sorry they didn’t listen to him. How can anyone not link the lack of housing with immigration? They all have to live somewhere and they all have to attend hospitals, doctors surgeries, schools, and all other facilities. Someone has to provide this and it costs money. Guess who is going to pay up!!

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Ian – It’s why the French PM is telling asylum seekers to claim it in France (he doesn’t really want them to settle there. Once they are EU citiznes they can just stroll into Britian and be off France’s hands.

      This is why the average person in Britain is going to get poorer whomsoever is in power, regardless of how many jobs they create or how many houses they build.

      And once the next downturn comes…

  18. Posted May 6, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    This is not the first time we had an election to end austerity…1979 springs to mind also when Labour had binged us into the arms of the IMF. We may return to the 1970’s under Mr. Miliband and his statist ideas that seem so popular with many voters and commentators…Ironically, many educated people and most young people seem to see the 1980s as a period continuous austerity and “kootz”. I recall the time as one of renewal but then I am probably on the wrong side of history as taught in our places of education and as covered by the media. Labour’s line that the financial crisis was caused by greedy bankers and capitalists who need to be punished will doubtless become the orthodoxy.

    The first posts here today explain why we might well wake up with the Labour Party/SNP in power Friday. Fingers crossed…

  19. Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Could not believe my ears this morning when on Breakfast time everyone they interviewed said that too much emphasise was being put on the economy!!!! Pardon! Surely if we don’t have a healthy economy then everything else suffers. Also one of those interviewed said he didn’t have a problem with the SNP in a coalition. That is when I switched off in despair. SNP/Labour is the last thing we need. I sincerely hope Salmond will lose his seat. Could we be that lucky?

  20. Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Not content with fuelling an irresponsible boom in credit in 2003-7 ??

    I’ve just had a look through the Conservative Election manifesto for 2005. I managed to find plenty of criticism of the government’s fiscal policy , ie taxes and spending being too high, and lots of other stuff about the country needing more police etc, but I was less successful in finding any reference about how the Labour government had created “an irresponsible credit boom”. I couldn’t see any criticism at all of Labour’s monetary policy of the time.

    The only sentence which is pertinent to monetary policy, that I came across, was “We will maintain the independence of the Bank of England in setting interest rates”. So it seems there was general agreement, at the time, that monetary policy shouldn’t be government’s responsibility anyway.

    I’m not a professional economist, so perhaps someone could explain to me how government was supposed to control “an irresponsible boom in credit” if, by the general agreement of the main political parties, it had no control over the level of interest rates?

    Reply The issue of excessive credit was raised regularly in the Commons of 2005-10 well before the excessive boom and crash.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Dear Peter Martin, You ask the fair question of how the Government was supposed to control an irresponsible credit boom when monetary policy had been handed over to the Bank of England and, one might add, bank regulation had been handed to a separate Financial Services Authority with predictably poor leadership?

      This seems to have been the Treasury’s position at the time. The Bank had done well until 2003 when it started making mistakes on interest rates that only became apparent from 2005. One reason was that, although the Bank’s target was inflation, it operated within a Treasury brief (drawn up by Mr Balls) that raised the supposedly sustainable trend growth rate to 2.8 per cent. Wishful thinking, even at the time.

      More directly, I recall reading speeches and interviews with members of the Bank’s monetary policy committee in which they said it was not their responsibility if there was a boom in mortgages/house prices and credit cards if the economy as a whole appeared to be on track. This, they said, was a matter for Government/ administrative action.
      What could be done? Lots of things. For instance, a stamp duty rise or perhaps just a temporary surcharge; a tax on credit card transactions ( as opposed to debit or charge cards), or an annual duty on credit cards, for which invitations then formed a high proportion of junk mail.
      Needless to say, none of these would have made Mr Brown or his successor popular, though there could have been many more subtle measures. And one of the, admittedly lesser, reasons for handing interest rates to the Bank was to avoid the odium of sometimes raising them.
      Incidentally, nearly half my junk mail currently comes from estate agents, so the next Government may soon face similar choices.

      Reply Indeed – Mr Brown intervened to change the target rate of inflation, switching to the CVPI, which encouraged the Bank to keep rates lower for longer, building more credit. Some of us warned against that at the time as well. The Lib Dems as well as the Conservatives as a party warned about excessive credit.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        Dear outsider,

        What seems apparent to me now, although it wasn’t so at the time, was that Government should have taken back monetary responsibility from the BoE, and as you say, bank regulation from the FSA. That was what was needed. But hardly anyone was saying that then. Certainly not Conservative politicians. I can’t see how a tax on credit card transactions would have been any real substitute. In any case, they are used more for convenience than as a source of credit.

        The problem was a general fad at the time, probably it still is, not just in the UK but elsewhere too, for giving away too much economic responsibility to central banks. If economies failed to reach certain growth, inflation, or unemployment targets, as defined by government, the CBs were instructed to correct these using interest rate adjustments.

        Interest rates in the UK, and the USA too, ended up being too low in the years prior to the GFC. They must have been, otherwise we wouldn’t have had an unsustainable credit boom. So, if all the macroeconomic controls had been with government, and they had raised interest rates as they should have, what else would they have needed to do?

        They’d have had a problem with a rising £. Exports would have been less competitive.Domestic demand would have fallen as borrowing and spending fell, leading to reduced economic activity, lower growth, business failures and increased unemployment. They would have had to counter this by having a looser fiscal economic policy.

        Was the Conservative Party advocating a looser fiscal policy behind the scenes? If so, it hardly ties in with their accusation of it all being Labour’s fault for spending too much!

        • Posted May 7, 2015 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          Dear PM2001, Many smarter folk than myself do not seem to understand that economic cycles are inevitable in a market economy for a simple arithmetical reason. Some parts of the economy, such as retail sales, tend to grow in line with the general level of activity while others, such as investment in new capacity, are sensitive to changes in the rate of growth.
          Changes in interest rates are a good way of moderating fluctuations in investment. But in an economy such as the UK , which depends unduly on the price of second-hand homes, or the US, where consumer spending reacts to changes in stock market prices, big swings in interest rates tend to exaggerate financial and economic cycles. So it is foolish to depend too much on monetary policy. That is why some of us “commonsense” folk worry about what will happen here in, say, three years time.
          The Government needs to play its part by adopting the same policy that Joseph advocated to the Pharaoh 3,500 years ago: store up surpluses in the good years to pay out in the bad years, in other words Gordon Brown’s Golden Rule that Budget deficits and surpluses on current spending should balance over the cycle.
          In a democracy, however, it is hard for any Government to sustain a Budget surplus because it will be faced equally by calls for extra spending and lower taxes. This dilemma is eased by targeting 2 per cent inflation rather than stable prices but the essential problem remains.
          Nigel Lawson cut taxes when he ought not to have done. Mr Brown kept raising spending by raising the supposed trend growth rate and pretending that we were not yet in s boom.
          One answer to this dilemma, now being pioneered in the eurozone, is to cut out democracy and leave both monetary and fiscal policy to wise, rational officials. Not working too well, is it. One day, perhaps someone will try honest politics.

          • Posted May 13, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink

            “The Government needs to play its part by adopting the same policy that Joseph advocated to the Pharaoh 3,500 years ago: store up surpluses in the good years to pay out in the bad years”

            Joseph advocating storing up grain. If Egypt had worked with a fiat based currency (govt IOUs) he wouldn’t have advocated storing up those IOUs. That wouldn’t have made any sense at all. There’s a big difference there.

            The population couldn’t have eaten paper IOUs. They’s have just made whatever grain was available more expensive.

    • Posted May 7, 2015 at 1:11 am | Permalink

      Credit was allowed to run ‘off the leash’ as bank profits were needed to help pay for Brown’s spending boom – a boom that was endorsed by Mr Cameron.
      Critics of this policy found they got sacked.

      Another fine mess Mr Cameron has his sticky fingers on.

  21. Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Good luck John.

    I will probably be voting UKIP this time, mainly due to the immigration situation, out of order uncapped intra company transfer visas being used to destroy the UK IT workforce, and lack of straightforwardness about the national debt from the main party leaders.

  22. Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    The civil service is managing the downfall of the British empire with lot of people at the top with interest in it, to make sure they come out ok. A politician is there to make laws and take instruction from civil servants about the laws they wish to make and make sure they are not interfering with other agreement all ready signed like transatlantic agreements with the usa agreement with Europe and the rest of world also institution like IMF and all the rest.
    What the people want will always come last and come through the budget if anything is left.
    We all know how other empires ended up and can all see this empire going the same way and there is not a lot salve plebs can do about it because voting will not do it.
    The rich list out the other week, 550 billion extra for a few at the top and wages cut for plebs, this does not matter i am just pointing out that the ones up the top see thing going down and are a position to take more, sometimes they do not even ask for more it just comes their way because establishment policy.

    The only thing you can try is to object by not voting, like a politician in the house of commons they abstain and is recorded as their disapproval.
    This will cause them problems because now they will have to think about you and what their are going to do to get you to vote, then you have won something without the help of a politician.
    The other thing you can do is go a long with them, sell very thing off like they are doing and rack up the biggest debt ever and then when you are left with just a shell burn it down like the people in all the rest of the empires did.

  23. Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    John, can you shine any light on the link below please?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/nick-clegg/11580558/Nick-Clegg-could-back-Tory-plans-to-end-onshore-wind-subsidies.html

    Is there any truth in this and will Cameron stop onshore subsidies? This is very important to some of us and would help many families paying their energy bills. Is it just a ploy to get us to vote Conservative?

    Reply As I have explained before Conservatives are pledged to get rid of onshore wind farm subsidies for new projects – a win some of us had in the last Parliament. I cannot speak for Mr Clegg’s intentions.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that info John. It is Mr Clegg that worries me. He seems to say the words he thinks people want to hear and then reneges on his word.

      Thanking you for all your efforts on this blog which has been very informative and thought provoking. Good luck for tomorrow.

  24. Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    “I want the current economic recovery to continue. To speed it we need tax cuts, not higher taxes. To fuel it we need policies that are positive for business and enterprise, not hostile to success.”

    I’d agree with that. If spending is to be frozen then we need tax cuts to compensate. That’s not only good economics it’s good politics too. So why wasn’t there more emphasis on reducing taxes in the campaign?

    There was a good article by Paul Krugman in the Guardian recently, “The case for cuts was a lie. Why does Britain still believe it?” who incidentally is slightly better qualified in economics than I am, who’s nevertheless saying pretty much the same thing about the “austerity delusion”.

    Conservative politics doesn’t have to be about spending cuts and bringing about high levels of recession and unemployment. It didn’t used to in the 60’s. But that’s the popular perception at the moment. Until that changes the Conservatives will never regain their nationwide, meaning the UK not just England, support they once enjoyed under the more enlightened economic policies of PM’s like Harold Macmillan.

    Reply The Conservatives brought recovery by their mix of fiscal and monetary policies, not recession. It was Labour that delivered high spending , high borrowing and recession. Perhaps you could explain how that happened.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Prior to the GFC the level of Labour Govt borrowing was modest. At most it was 3.3% of GDP. How does that compare with the Thatcher years?

      When trying to understand what went wrong prior to the GFC we should include what happened in other countries too. Like the USA for example. There it was the Republican Party who “delivered high spending , high borrowing and recession” and who were responsible for nationalising large sections of the US banking sector.

      Yet, for British Conservatives, the GFC was caused solely by George Brown and the “overspending” British Labour government. Yet if we look at the Wiki entry of the GFC, and the subsequent slump, there’s barely a mention of Britain.

      Sadly, that’s probably inevitable in a politically polarised society but it doesn’t make for intelligent discussion.

      Reply The UK had the worst banking crisis of the majors – only Ireland and Iceland had worse banking crashes as their banks were a larger proportion of national income. You do not answer my main point.

      • Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        I’m not sure what is your main point. I wouldn’t claim that the Labour Government made no mistakes. They did. But those mistakes weren’t connected to their supposedly socialist outlook. They simply went along with the conventional economic wisdom of the time. They made the same mistakes as the US Republican administration.

        The UK derives a higher proportion of national income from the banking and finance sector than the USA. So the same argument , as Iceland or Ireland relative to the UK, would apply too.

        I’m more interested in understanding why the GFC occurred than scoring political points. The important thing is to prevent it re-occurring. The economics profession has to accept its fair share of the blame. From what I can make out many economists don’t operate on a rational scientific basis. In science we have it drummed into us that theories have to fit the facts.

        So why do many mainstream economists persist with theories which obviously don’t?

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Krugman’s article was repetition of the same argument he has used since the Coalition came into office in 2010. The slight difference is his forecasts have since been proven completely wrong – though his opinions and arguments have not altered with the evidence! His argument was comprehensively debunked by the equally eminent economist Jeffrey Sachs the following day. Check it out. ‘Keynesians’ (not really Keynesian as Keynes would never have backed the Brown borrowing boom) need to get over it- they have been proved wrong, Krugman, Blanchflower, Stiglitz et al were all parroting the same line – but the deficit has been brought down, the public sector has shrunk and the private sector HAS created more jobs and we have a restoration and recovery! How can it be?!

      Your subsequent piece is also mistaken. The crash was global but it hit hardest in those countries which made the same mistake as the UK – having grossly over-leveraged banks. The crash did not waft over from the US, it was home grown, albeit the same mistakes were made in the US. In the US there has been a proper bank restructuring. The Brown bank re-cap by contrast was a cack-handed waste of public money and has had the unfortunate (intended?) effect of giving leftists a tool with which (erroneously) to bash capitalism, markets etc. It will take years to recover form Labour. lets hope we arnt going back to Square One tomorrow!

  25. Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    So much bluster going on but there are only two options on will be in 10 Downing Street after tomorrow’s election.

    If the EU is your prime concern, one is offering a referendum the other is not.
    One has a track record of sound managment of the economy, the other does not.
    One comes from a party with a long history of an instinct for low direct taxation, the other does not.

    This is level one logic. Maybe there is the odd seat where a tactical vote could be helpful to this outcome but ultimately I think total votes cast nationally for a party might become a subject of which way the media put traction behind the result and try to influence it.

  26. Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    There is no doubt that the Conservative party has been extraordinarily lax in getting their message out over the last few years, and have dissapointed many by their lack of success in many areas.

    However Mr Cameron is still the only party leader with a grip on reality, and a fair track record, the rest seeming loonies and in the case of the Labour party “useful idiots”

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      I have been told that T shirts are available with the following message/definition.

      Ineptocracy.

      A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing and where members of society least capable to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for with the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

  27. Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I have look at the markets and the pounds and it is very quite, this suggest that markets have ruled out labour and the snp being voted into government this time round but hay the best can be wrong. The only thing that bad at the moment is government bond but that in usa and europe as well, look like they building up some bad news, we will fined out soon.

  28. Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I see that George Osborne could not answer Kay Burley’s straight question: Is our deficit bigger than Greece’s? See Guido for videoclip. Seems as though his austerity over the last 5 years has not brought down the debt (doubled it to £1.5 trillion in fact) and neither has the deficit been dealt with effectively.

  29. Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Whilst there are irritating differences with the Lib Dem coalition I would be happiest if it carried on as it is being faced with the alternatives on offer!

    With interest rates under control, business confidence and job security, private sector wages starting to rise has allowed me to get on with my life and I hope that can continue.

    Whilst many SNP supporters are voting for them to keep Labour out as they can’t bring themselves to vote Conservative, the Scottish influence on the UK is a big factor in periodically bankrupting the UK or near to. Am I alone in thinking the UK could prosper and be economically larger by the mid term without Scotland?

    We have 4 ships tied to each other with one of them continually wanting to scuttle itself and bringing down the other 3 with it. Is it approaching the time when we take an axe to that rope and go out separate ways?

  30. Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Good luck to you, Dr Redwood.

    And thank you for tolerating our comments and for your sense of fairness and openness.

  31. Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Firstly John, the very best of luck for tomorrow the country need more off you.

    Thank you so much for all your work and effort in keeping this blog going on top of all your other duties.

    I think that a lot of us out here in planet real living want a return to the days when you had a good product and were first to the market and sold your goods with no outside assistance other than your own commitment and belief in what you were doing. The rewards followed as was right and proper.

    Now this country is stifled by the subsidy syndrome, nobody seems to setting out new roads and journeys with out funding. We need to get back to the days when market forces drove the country.

  32. Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Suddenly things have got a lot more serious, with the Telegraph’s shock revelation of Miliband’s “plot to seize power”. We can only hope that the chiefs of the armed forces and the police will remain loyal and not take part in this attempted coup.

  33. Posted May 7, 2015 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    What we are seeing is the abdication of responsibility of the main political party’s. Where is the leadership and vision on tax spending and debt ?. Pointless trivia, meaningless symobolism and the avoidance of real issues has been the hallmark of this election.

    I have heard nothing on defence spending – how are we to meet the threat of ISIS and Russia with a defence budget falling short of NATO’s 2% target ?.

    Who is going to tackle the issue of a country that is consuming too much, making too little and then plugging the gap with borrowing and asset sales. These are important issues but the few politicians in the know take the attitude of ‘not in front of the children’ preferring to not engage with these issues in the hope they will just go away.

    I hope Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne find tomorrow that the contempt they have shown for the paying public is mutual.

  • 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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