The Lib Dem conference- depressingly negative


      It was bad news this morning to wake to the briefing from the Lib Dem conference. We heard of their three priorities – tax the successful more, stand up to “ruthless tories”, and stop people getting high salaries.

       I want to hear policies for growth and recovery, policies to lift people out of low and no incomes, policies to create a nation of owners, policies to skill and enthuse a new generation of people. I want some inspiration and optimism from the government. It doesn’t look as if I will get any of that from the junior  Coalition partners. Jealousy is a powerful political emotion, but hope is a more inspiring one.


  1. Brian Tomkinson
    September 18, 2011

    It was predictable that we shall hear little but the politics of envy from your coalition partner (I said as much yesterday). The other thing which you should find annoying is the way so many of them take the opportunity to bad mouth the very people who gave them the chance to be in government (something they thought would never happen). Your own party colleagues in government do nothing but praise these duplicitous partners. Whilst this is preferable to the way in which the LibDems behave towards you it’s to be hoped that behind the scenes they are no more than the very junior partner.

  2. lifelogic
    September 18, 2011

    It is reported that Danny Alexander it to announce 2,250 extra government inspectors in a crackdown to be unveiled at the Liberal Democrat conference today.

    Doubtless it will inconvenience industry and create jobs for a similar number of accountants in the private sector and raise no net tax. So that will be perhaps 4500 more people doing nothing useful towards (indeed working against) the countries wealth and lowering the competitivity of UK industry. Also yet more gold plated pensions to fund.

    Well done Danny just keep kicking the Osbourne’s “leeches” until they all go taking their tax with them!

    1. lifelogic
      September 18, 2011

      The best Nick Clegg could do to defend the EU on Andrew Marr this morning was to point out, yet again, that Britain “is part of Europe” (geographically) just in case we hadn’t noticed.

      Clearly Westminster school must have a good geography department but perhaps it seems it left Clegg a little lacking in economics, business, maths, democratic government and logic.

      What on earth, Mr Clegg, has this statement, about our geographical position, got to do with the suffocating EU system of government – in this age of world trade and instant communications? Is that really the best you can come up with as a defense of this evil, corrupt & non democratic system of government? I am vehemently against the EU but could defend it rather better than that if I needed to.

    2. lifelogic
      September 18, 2011

      I would not encourage anyone to evade tax but to use the many legal methods or just leave the country for one with a more sensible leadership. But since the Danny Alexander has clearly gone totally mad I feel I need to make the following points in response to his policies as below.

      “would ensure 350,000 top earners paid their “fair share” of tax.”

      I assume by fair share this means about 30+ times what the government actually spends (perhaps 13K per person) on badly organised, often incompetent and totally unwanted “services” like HS2, green energy, propaganda, pointless wars, vote buying, Edinburgh Trams and the rest.

      “Efforts to raise an extra £7bn by 2015 from evaders were “on track”, he said.”

      Doubtless at a cost of £4bn (or similar in costs) – so that is yet another £7bn+costs taken out of the economy to be spent or wasted far less efficiently by the state sector – perhaps to employ more tax collectors to harass yet more people and divert them from productive activity.

      “The new 2250 new staff will be employed to scrutinise the accounts of an additional 350,000 people who each have a total wealth of more than £2.5m.”

      So they own just a small house in a better bit of London (or just have a good BBC or state sector pension pot) do we really want to use taxes to pay for 2250 more staff just to harass them. It will divert them from their productive activities, annoy them, raise little tax and hopefully it will make many move somewhere more sensible than Cameron’s slow motion train crash.

    3. Mike Stallard
      September 18, 2011

      I was quite simply appalled by this outrageous suggestion. I am glad you were too.

    4. Paul H
      September 18, 2011

      The real reason that the tax inspectors can’t keep up is that they are too busy try to (mal)administer an over-complex tax system that no-one really understands – let alone themselves. And then fining taxpayers for getting it wrong, whilst immune from any come-back from their numerous mistakes.

      A much better solution would be a much simpler tax system that everyone could understand and which could be policed by the existing HMRC staff (or maybe even fewer). Yet, unbelievably, Osborne seems hellbent on adding even more anomalies and high marginal rates than Gordon Brown probably fantasised about in his wettest of dreams – all in the name of some kind of illusory “fairness”. I give up.

      1. lifelogic
        September 19, 2011

        Indeed when I first dealt with the revenue about 25 years ago they were not quite “efficient” but were at least fairly competent. I now find they are appalling in general with only one or two notable rare exceptions which still occasionally surprise me with their efficiency.

  3. JimF
    September 18, 2011

    Sorry, you have to wait until everything is fair. Then you can start discussing things like growth and success. So says Mr 8%.

  4. English Pensioner
    September 18, 2011

    Two thousand more tax inspectors to ensure that all the rich pay their tax!
    I don’t know what their salary will be, but at the lowest likely figure of, say, £25.000 pa each, this will cost a cool £50 million in salaries alone, without all the overheads such as office accommodation, pension, travel expenses, etc, which normally double the costs.
    Do the LibDems really think that they are likely to recover this money from the rich?
    This is pure politics of jealousy, which along with their proposed mansion tax, is making them more left wing than Labour.

    1. Nick
      September 18, 2011

      It’s very simple. They need to keep their client state in jobs.

      In reality we have massive inflation. However, the government hides the cost of its ‘services’ from the RPI and CPI index.

      So taxes / services provided = cost.

      Taxes are up, services are down. The cost is rocketing.

    2. Tom
      September 18, 2011

      As we all, or most of us, know there is a huge black economy in this country. Not a mention from the Lib. Dems about tackling that tax evasion.

  5. Peter Campbell
    September 18, 2011

    That’s what you get for going into coalition with lefty loons with a thin grasp of reality. After all they still believe in the EU and man made climate change and you can’t get much more gullible / daft than that.

    1. Jon Burgess
      September 18, 2011

      I think that just about sums up what I was thinking!

      But then again, we’re not getting any optimism from your lot, either Mr R.

  6. Duyfken
    September 18, 2011

    It’s obvious that the LDs all regard their Coalition partners as their real enemy, always sniping at Tory policies. What is the point of going on with such creatures?

    1. uanime5
      September 18, 2011

      If the Lib Dems side with Labour the Conservatives won’t survive as a Government. they’re just too unpopular.

    2. Jon Burgess
      September 18, 2011

      I think we now know that Dave is happier being PM ‘constrained’ by the Lib Dems than he would be as PM in a Tory majority government. He is one of them, after all.

      Why more of the Tory party aren’t happy with this, though, is the million dollar question

  7. Javelin
    September 18, 2011

    I guess your learning that life is going to get tougher at the end if a coalition as the partners seek to differentiate themselves. The Tories must stick to the Center ground and let the LibDems drift off to the political outskirts. I think the public recognise the 50% tax band is self defeating yet the libdems need to say it isnt to show they are banker bashing.

    What is most important here is to understand the world post-euro crash. The public will not just be angry at bankers but angry at Governments for spending too much on wasteful stuff and not making their tax pound work harder. The time is coming to overhaul Government just as the Vickers report has for banking. I can confidently predict we will be talking about compassionate tax, investment tax and wasteful tax as well as attractive tax rates. The talk of high taxes is a luxury of an economy that can afford to free wheel. In the post Euro crash world objectivity will become a priority.

    1. APL
      September 18, 2011

      Javelin: “The Tories must stick to the Center ground and let the LibDems drift off to the political outskirts.”

      A misstatement of the terrain.

      The Tories are on the left, the Liberals (and Labore) are further to their left flank – to paraphase the BBC – ‘ on the extreme left’*, on the right flank of the Tories cower one or two people like our host and perhaps David Davis.

      * You do never hear any person or party characterized as on the extreme left. Yet if there is an ‘extreme right’ then logically there must be an extreme left.

    2. sjb
      September 18, 2011

      Javelin wrote: “I think the public recognise the 50% tax band is self defeating yet the libdems need to say it isnt to show they are banker bashing.”

      A recent YouGov poll found that only 37% of Conservative voters supported abolishing the 50% tax rate. For all voters the figure dropped to 23%.

      It is suggested that support for abolition would increase if an independent peer-reviewed study demonstrated the measure is counter productive. Just banging on about the Laffer curve does not appear to be sufficiently persuasive.

    3. uanime5
      September 18, 2011

      99% of the public don’t pay the 50% band so they don’t care about it. Though they may object to the rich getting a tax cuts while their wages fall in real terms.

  8. Dennis
    September 18, 2011

    The most depressing thing is that Messrs Cameron and Osborne must have gone along with this. What on earth are they thinking. Adding an extra 2000 state employees to the taxpayers’ salary bill is just madness when the country is fighting for economic survival. The number of directors and deputy directors at HMRC is already staggering. I thought the plan was to cut the number of state bureaucrats not to start buying more in significant numbers on behalf of the taxpayer.

    This is sending out a very serious negative signal to the markets that the Coalition is not serious about implementing its plan for deficit reduction. Utterly irresponsible and opportunistic to let the politics of envy put unnecessary risks in the way of the deficit reduction plan and a potential plan for growth (yet to be seen).

    1. lifelogic
      September 18, 2011

      I suspect that the cost of each one with all pension overheads, training and the rest considered will be about £100,000. So that is £250M or about the income tax and NI from 40,000 typical private sector wealth creating workers.

      Although in my experience of HMRC very few nowadays seem to have much training or much understanding of their own absurdly complex tax system.

      1. Mike Stallard
        September 18, 2011

        Have you read today’s Mail?

      2. David Price
        September 18, 2011

        My favourite measure of public sector wastage, I came up with a different result .. though not far off at 42,000.

        An average loaded labour rate of £100K is probably reasonable, which I assume also includes the costs of processing their tax returns.

        According to ONS average private sector pay is £468 pw or £24,336 pa as of June 2011. Less £6475 personal allowance gives £17861 taxable so assume 30% income tax and employee NI combined giving £5358 pa per private sector net tax contributor.

        2,250 HMRC employees @ 100K LLR will increase the size of the public sector by 0.37% and cost our economy the output of 41,000 private sector employees. I wonder what the return on cost will be? They have to increase tax receipts by more than £225m to make the exercise at all worth while. At the least they must cover the interest on the defecit we are no longer paying off.

        I don’t know what current rate UK Gov pays on loans, assume it is 2% which adds a further £4m pa interest throwing aways the efforts of another 750 private sector workers bringing the total to nearly 42,000 net tax contributors.

        Add to this the additional pension load created by the 2,000 new heads and no doubt other costs. The question is just how much extra tax will they recover anyway given the more affluent tend to find ways to significantly reduce their tax bills. In comparison I wonder how much extra tax might arise from dropping the 50% rate?

        John: is there a way to directly measure and monitor the return on costs of these extra 2,250 tax inspectors? Was any justification put up that details the amount of tax that would bve recovered?

        Reply: I have not seen one, but it is something Ministers ought to be asking and monitoring.

        1. lifelogic
          September 18, 2011

          Thank you for you more considered numbers – mine were done rather quickly in my head. It is clearly a financial nonsense – also I rather suspect that the rich tend to keep their tax affairs fairly straight/honest or at least so the revenue will not catch them anyway. They are not that stupid. It seems unlikely they will raise much tax – certainly less than they will loose in costs and by encouraging people to leave.

          The usual approach of the revenue in investigations is to cause as much hassle and inconvenience to the tax payer as they can distracting him from productive work and hope he will then pay them something to go away. Rarely to the investigator have much knowledge of tax law. But they can force the taxpayer to incur costs on professional help.

          The distraction then reduces taxable profits and thus tax the following year or might even force him to down scale his business are make staff redundant.

          The proposal is clearly absurd.

          1. David Price
            September 19, 2011

            The modus operandi you describe sounds immoral, more like something for the playground – if you won’t give us your money then you can’t have it either..

            I’ve started looking at the coalition’s programme published in 2010. Section 29 covers taxation and near the end it has the statement “We will make every effort to tackle tax
            avoidance, including detailed development of
            Liberal Democrat proposals.”.

            So the LibDems are going after people who legally avoid paying tax, I wonder if this is why the phrase “morally repugnant” is now being bandied about rather than references to law by those paragons of virtue.

            For the benefit of the person who makes childish ad-hominem attacks in an earlier thread I would also point out that the same document has 9. Defecit Reduction – “We will significantly accelerate the reduction of the structural deficit over the course of a Parliament, with the main burden of deficit reduction borne by reduced spending rather than increased taxes.”

            What is good for the goose etc – if the LibDems wish to pursue, at tax payers expense, those tax payers who are legally minimising their taxes then I have to question whose morals are repugnant and suggest we action section 9 bullet 2 and significanly reduce some of the public sector costs.

            I am not affected by the 50% rate or the latest witch hunt, but I keep hearing a statement by pastor Martin Niemöller in the back of my mind when I read what the socialists and LibDems are getting up to.

        2. Electro-Kevin
          September 19, 2011

          Interesting that they’re cutting the UK Border Agency by 25% at the same time as this.

  9. Denis Cooper
    September 18, 2011

    I notice that the Fixed Term Parliament Bill finally received Royal Assent on September 15th and so is now an Act.

    Section 2 sets out the two routes to an early general election:

    If Cameron wanted an early general election to free himself from the LibDems, then I guess that Labour would feel obliged to support the motion:

    “That there shall be an early parliamentary general election.”

    so that the number of MPs voting for it easily exceeded the required minimum of 434 – “a number equal to or greater than two thirds of the number of seats in the House (including vacant seats)” – while the second “no confidence” route could carry the risk that Labour and the LibDems would try to put together an alternative coalition.

    However at this point an early general election would terrify the markets and immediately send us on the same downwards spiral as Greece, so both parties and the country will have to put up with the coalition for several more years.

  10. Caterpillar
    September 18, 2011

    So if the “junior” Coalition partners don’t give the policies, we will shortly see if the senior partners can/do. Tied in for nearly 4 more years? Hmmm.

  11. Mactheknife
    September 18, 2011

    What did you really expect from the LibDems Mr Redwood? Some shining beacon of light with ideas for successful growth? Come on now, you have been in partnership with them for long enough now that to know that theirs is the politics of envy. I fail to understand why the Conservative leadership seem to genuflect in their direction at every opportunity, like they were the majority. Certainly, as an ex Labour voter I see their malign left wing influence across government policies and I ask myself was this what I voted for in turning to the Conservatives ?
    A recent YouGov Poll said 63% of the pusblic thought they were irrelevant, so why do Cameron et al think they are not ?

  12. Graham Swift
    September 18, 2011

    Just what one could expect from the lunatic LibDems. To all extent the Liebour trendies. Better if Cameron dumped them and ruled as a minority government. If that results in a general election the electorate will realise who was responsible and LibDems would vanish. I doubt if a majority would vote for Red Ed as PM with popeye Balls as Chancellor. And if they did the IMF would be in charge within weeks or the UK would have triple Z status and be in a worse position than PIGS.

    1. uanime5
      September 18, 2011

      The Conservatives wouldn’t survive as a minority Government because their policies are too unpopular. They wouldn’t have been able to pass tuition fee increases or reform the NHS without the support of the Lid Dems.

  13. Antisthenes
    September 18, 2011

    I am not given to conspiracy theories but if I were it would go something like this. The left know that they can never have their socialist utopia if the capitalist system and free markets continue in their centuries old march in improving everyone’s standard of living. So they have insidiously over many decades put in place with the unwitting connivance of many on the right regulations, taxes, human and equality rights and wealth distribution that undermine wealth creation. Now seeing how effective their strategy has been they now want to ensure that nothing is done to upset that strategy and the march to a socialist paradise is not thwarted. In fact they can see that socially and economically total disaster is poised to happen so maintaining their anti-wealth creation policies is sure to give them victory.

    However if my conspiracy theory is not true, which is most likely, then the left are just a bunch of loons. If it is right then at the end what may emerge is not necessarily going to socialism but national socialism.

  14. Martyn
    September 18, 2011

    The HMRC has long been defined as being ‘not fit for purpose’ and now Cameron and Osborne seem to think that the solution is to employ another 2000+ inspectors to hound the rich. It would be interesting to see if the ensuing witch-hunt includes Cameron’s father! I have no doubt that there are hundreds if not thousands of competent workers within HMRC who would like to see things improve, but unless the government finds the courage to impose a root and branch cull of the obviously incompetent management structure, nothing will change for the better.
    It may be that many of those already working in HMRC on taxing the rich will be one of these ‘additional 2000’ employed for that purpose, but imagine the morale-uplifting effect on those whose work is taken away by someone else being brought in from the outside to boost their work. In effect, saying ‘Sorry, Bloggs but you are not up to the task so we are bringing in someone who can do it better’….
    Team morale, motivation and efficiency start at the top. Sadly, HMRC does not appear to benefit from that happy state and the employment of another 2000+ people will do nothing other than add to the cost of running this mis-managed and poorly led department.

  15. Bernard Otway
    September 18, 2011

    The libdims I have nicknamed to my friends the CorporalJones/Private Fraser party in other
    words Don’t Panic/We are doomed,also the LCD party ,not liquid crystal, LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR,ALL must be DRAGGED DOWN except of course the LEADERS

  16. Ken Morton
    September 18, 2011

    What I do not comprehend is how the ‘Orange Book’ Liberals, or are they the Democrats, co-exist with their more wooly-minded colleagues. I am sure that at some point divisions will become apparent within the Lib Dems, especially as the election approaches and the Scottish referendum campaign begins.

    With 1950’s levels of Parliamentary representation on the horizon as the new constituency boundaries are imposed, only some of the Lib Dems will be happy to retain their martyr status. Some of them, surely, will wake up to recognise that a more realistic approach is essential.

  17. NickW
    September 18, 2011

    It needs to be pointed out fairly often that taxation succeeds in making the rich poorer, but it fails to make the poor richer.

    It would be interesting to work out a genuine rate of taxation, instead of being taken in by nonsense about “50%” tax rates.

    As a simple example, if you pay 50% income tax and then buy something with 20%VAT on it, what is your actual tax rate?

    Take a year’s expenditure for the average person. Add up Income Tax, National Insurance, VAT, Council Tax, Fuel Taxes, Insurance taxes, Airport taxes, Alcohol duty, Tobacco tax, NHS parking charges, Local Authority parking charges, (Don’t try and tell me that £20/day or more, (Lib Dem Council) is not a tax), Vehicle excise duty, stamp duty, inheritance tax——-.

    And don’t forget that if hauliers get charged thousands of pounds for their vehicle excise duty, WE pay that tax too and many other similar ones, although the cost is hidden.

    My guess would be an effective taxation rate of around 75% for most people.

    The Lib Dems appeal, as you say, to the negative side of the human spirit, and encourage that which makes society weaker, not stronger.

    1. lifelogic
      September 18, 2011

      Indeed perhaps a good way to think of it is how may hours (at say £10 per hour) one would have to work to buy something (say a litre of petrol perhaps needed to get to work) with all taxes/NI/duties – perhaps about 15 minutes work – but without any taxes perhaps just 2.5 minutes so. It is thus about 6 times the true price thanks to taxes.

    2. uanime5
      September 18, 2011

      The best way to make the poor richer is to raise minimum wage and the amount people get in benefits. Unfortunately this isn’t popular among businesses who love cheap labour.

      Reply: The best way to make the poor richer is to create the conditions for more jobs

      1. Electro-Kevin
        September 19, 2011

        We have had more jobs, Mr Redwood. The poor aren’t richer and there is a housing crisis.

        We’re missing the point entirely here.

        Australia’s economy and lifestyle is to be envied. Yes they have mineral resources and weather. What else have they been doing right ?

      2. lifelogic
        September 19, 2011

        Higher benefits is n0t popular among businesses, nor often among the poorer working tax payers who have to fund the benefits. Nor is it good long term for the recipients. Higher wages comes from more choice of available jobs.

  18. Rebecca Hanson
    September 18, 2011

    If you want to here policies for growth, recovery and the enhancement of the quality of democracy you should ask me. I’ll write you a guest blog if you like John.

    Please can we have less of these policies from your party in education? The world will be a better place. Thanks.

    1. Mike Stallard
      September 18, 2011

      I am not sure I understand your comment.
      As someone who is starting a Free School :+) I really like it when people talk about education. My own beef is that not enough is actually known about the Free Schools at the moment, and certainly our host has not been banging on about them.

      Reply: My problem in writing about free schools has been the lack of answers to my questions to the Education department when trying to help people locally on the subject.

      1. Rebecca Hanson
        September 19, 2011

        Hi Mike,

        Once place you could talk about the issues you are researching is in the ‘Free School Resource’ group found withing

        There are some constructive discussions going on and some people are blogging their experiences.

      2. Rebecca Hanson
        September 19, 2011

        Sorry Mike, I should have explained more.

        I’m writing about ways in which mass online discussion and social media can be used to enhance the quality of democracy. It’s a topic which is full of great potential.

        Re: Free School. While I have great concerns about the policy because the consequences of it have not been properly through through, I am very supportive of some of the proposed schools as there are some quite brilliant people involved and in some cases they are schools which are needed and supported by their LA.

    2. Martyn
      September 19, 2011

      Fewer, not less policies.
      Eng. Lang. 4/10

      1. Rebecca Hanson
        September 19, 2011

        Thanks Martyn – a proper mistake and I shall try to remember that in future.

        Apologies in general for the terrible typos in some of my posts. I’m multitasking on a scale that’s difficult to imagine and sometimes I just don’t get to proof read them.

  19. alan jutson
    September 18, 2011

    Just returned from a couple of weeks holiday in Menorca.

    Did not read a single Uk Newspaper, viewed little television.

    My impression on returning after a couple 0f weeks away and driving on uncrowded roads.

    The same as it was after a couple of weeks driving in Austria ealier this year, and France last year.

    We are an overcrowed Island, with poor road qualities, with a traffic management (obstruction system) that deliberately tries to hinder traffic movement.
    We have parking restrictions everywhere, which do everything to deter shoppers from visiting and staying in town centres.
    We operate a punative motoring tax system to try and discourage movement and fairness (road tax, camera/speed/parking fines)

    We permit ugly telephone communication masts to spoil stree scenes, when our foriegn counterparts do not seem to have many of them at all (at least not as visible) but whose service and reception is still excellent.

    Two weeks driving in France last year, Parking fees Nil.
    Two weeks driving in Austria this year, Parking fees Nil.
    Two weeks driving in Menorca this year Parking fees Nil.
    Visitors to towns and attractions encouraged

    One Week Holiday in the Lake District two years ago, Parking fees £140.00.
    Visitors to Town and attractions discouraged and fleeced.

    Visited the Fiesta in Mahon last week, 200 horses parading through the city who are then made and encouraged by their riders to rear up for show and added excitement, (takes place within the crowd) who in turn attempt to try to touch the horses heart whilst it is still on its two legs, for luck as tradition dictates.
    Thousands present, not a barrier in sight, the crowd all in high spirits, but in very good humour.
    Police whilst present were few and far between.
    Not a health and safety man in sight, ticking boxes, asking for risk assesments and method statements in advance.
    Riders did not have to have public liability insurance at great personal cost, because if they had to, then no one would take part, and the Festival of centuries past would not continue. It was deemed that if you went to the Festival you took a risk, and the closer you got to a horse, the greater that risk.
    It relied on commonsese by all for its complete success.

    Compare with our Carnivals with its formal road closure orders, public liability insurance requirements, Music/performance artist licences, barriers, and such a miriad of paperwork and health a safety requirements, that now fewer than ever bother with the bother. Result, carnivals as they once were, are almost a thing of the past.

    The reason why we are going backwards in this country is because of the politics of power, control and envy, and the rush to tax everyone more to pay for it all.

    Commonsense seems to have been totally forgoten.
    We are being left behind because of political interferance, not because of the lack of it.

    I turn on the TV when I return, to see because the 50% tax rate does not produce any income, instead of just scrapping it, Clegg has said he wants to see the stupid mansion tax introduced.
    Hardly fair given that a 3 bed terraced house in London could be worth a £1,000,000, and one in Wales could be worth £25,000.

    Why is it we are so against personal improvement in this Country ?

    Work/Business does not pay enough any more (risk verses reward) in the UK, pure and simple.

    Good to read your points on immigration, the Banks, the tax system, and the EU, made whilst I was away John.
    Nor even aware the Eustace group had met yet, but good to see a good turn out.
    Lets us all hope it grows and grows quickly, it needs to.

    Keep up the good work.

    1. Mike Stallard
      September 18, 2011

      I love Spain and intend to spend next week in Asturias. I lived there – twice for a year.

      Believe me, it isn’t all beer and skittles! Where they beat us hollow is their fantastic bureaucracy. It really stops everything happening. Don’t be ill. Don’t be old. Watch out when you do any business like buying or selling a house or car. Oh – and do not on any account crash!


      1. alan jutson
        September 19, 2011


        Have a great time, have spent a few holidays in the Picos, wonderful part of Spain.
        Great fish on the coastal areas, not so sure about the beans though !

        Aware its not all great abroad, but why can we not just learn to intigrate the better parts of other countries systems and use them here instead of the worst of all worlds.

    2. backofanenvelope
      September 18, 2011

      Just to make your day – last week in Nthn France – diesel was 125. This morning in Cornwall it was 139.9. All in Sterling.

      1. alan jutson
        September 19, 2011

        Petrol in Menorca 1.36 Euros per litre

        Diesel considerably cheaper than above.

    3. lifelogic
      September 18, 2011

      My impression is pretty much the same when comparing the UK to France Italy and other places – certainly the deliberate road congestion systems employed and parking fees.

      The problem is that the state sector seems to think that it is just there to generate income and justify itself by whatever means it can get away with. Fines, late penalties, parking charges, council taxes, licence fees, planning fees, building control fees, skip and scaffolding on the public street fees, rubbish fees and all the rest of the muggings.

    4. uanime5
      September 19, 2011

      The reason why the Fiesta in Mahon can occur is not because the people in Spain have more common sense or less health and safety laws but because there are fewer frivolous lawsuits. If anyone thought they could be sued for millions of Euros if someone was injured they’d require everyone to have insurance as well.

      According to a recent report reducing the 50p tax rate to 45p would cause the treasury to lose £2.4 billion per year, so it does produce income.

      Reply: When in the past the higher rate was cut the reevnue increased.

  20. Man in a Shed
    September 18, 2011

    The way the Lib Dems behave towards their coalition partners is not lost on the public. Its only the Lib Dems themselves that don’t understand how all their criticism and blackmail says far more about them than it does about anyone else.

  21. Electro-Kevin
    September 18, 2011

    I don’t think it’s jealousy that’s driving them.

    Leftism is like a religion and requires duality in thinking to support it. Even some extremely wealthy people support Leftism whilst ensuring that their own wealth is secure in off-shore havens and that their children are in the best schools – selective by post code if not entry requirements.

    What is Leftism ?

    A sense of moral and intellectual superiority. An innate desire to play God from a position of separateness with the rest of the human race.

    The rest of us tolerated them thinking they were harmless and came round to their way of thinking on some issues (rightly on women’s, homosexuals’ and ethnics’ rights)

    A key difference between us is our ability to weigh up new information and change opinion. This is to their advantage as with each concession the ratchet tightens and they gain power. They take new information and bend it to their ideologies.

    Such ideologues cannot be reasoned with and don’t expect them to ever change tack despite all evidence that they should.

    Such intransegence is why wars sometimes need to be fought.

    1. Electro-Kevin
      September 18, 2011


      They[Leftists],* on the other hand*, take new information and bend it to their ideologies.

      (6th para)

  22. Matt
    September 18, 2011

    But that Mr Cameron formed a minority government – the Lib Dems are clowns

    To hear Mr Cable verminously against reducing the 50% top rate (he talks as if a reduction of this rate would let payers of this band off scot free) excuse me Mr Cable with NI it means almost 50% of the top band is paid to the state.

    Mr Cable would rather keep this rate higher on, seems to me, grounds of ideology. Even if it means that business goes elsewhere and young kids can’t get on to the jobs ladder – and I have tremendous sympathy with these kids.

    Instead he talks about more QE –

    What’s the betting that when it all fails Mr Cable will walk away and blame the wicked Tories?

  23. uanime5
    September 18, 2011

    If the rich stop paying themselves so much there might be more money left to hire more employees or pay existing employees more money. It will be almost impossible to help the poor while the rich are siphoning off as much as they can.

    1. Jon Burgess
      September 18, 2011

      The rich stop paying themselves so much?

      Just think about what you’ve said – if the rich pay themselves too much, they’ll have to pay more tax, won’t they?

      If I own a company, took the risks to set it up and am the reason the company exists, if it is successful and makes a decent profit, pays corporation tax, employs others, pays their wages, collects NI and PAYE on behalf of the state… why the heck shouldn’t I earn what the company can afford and what I want to take from it?

      1. David Price
        September 19, 2011

        Because in the mindset of the socialists and LibDems you are being allowed to do what you want to do and any returns actually belong to the state, they will decide how much of your earnings you actually need.

        Betcha the LibDems try pushing through a law that has salaries and income going direct to HMRC who deduct what they deem necessary (tax, NI etc) then pass the remainder on to you.

    2. lifelogic
      September 18, 2011

      Siphoning off where too? To reinvest in business, to save or invest or to spend on goods and services or to pay staff, gardeners, builders and the like or to pay school fees to save the state having to do so. What is the problem apart from envy?

  24. david englehart
    September 18, 2011

    following my 68 th birthday and 52nd year in the legal profession I wonder at the irrelevance of so much i have seen and heard over these years.
    my father was an american air force member who died shortly after I was born.
    perhaps because of this mixed blood i have always aspired to get on and progress and have never been envious of those who have done better than me or had a more stable private life.
    envy apprears a very british thing.
    it is a base destructive emotion and is bringing this country into its almost inevitable decline.

    1. lifelogic
      September 18, 2011

      “it is a base destructive emotion and is bringing this country into its almost inevitable decline.”

      Indeed it is a victim/rights/envy culture a destructive emotion incubated by Labour, LibDems, many charities and the BBC and about half of the Tory party too with harm caused to nearly all and not benefit what so ever to anyone.

    2. Robert K
      September 19, 2011

      America is going that way too. Remember Obama’s infamous “let’s spread the wealth around” comment? It wasn’t his wealth he was talking about.

  25. BobE
    September 18, 2011

    In 3 years time the Lib Dems will vanish. I presume their previous vote will switch to Labour, (although they would do better with a more carismatic leader. Maybe Ed Balls). Anyway it means that Cameron n Clegg will get plush jobs in the EU. Britain will then have a labour government for at least another three terms. After we will be Region 6, EUSSR.
    My country will have been given away by nicompoops.
    The third European war was fought with burocrats and power point slideshows.

  26. Bob
    September 18, 2011

    The government are adopting the methodology of the looters in the riots.
    When all these ideas fail to deliver growth, they will doubtless resort to wealth tax.
    It’s the way they think!

  27. REPay
    September 19, 2011

    If we keep up this fantasy that the problems are due to the rich evading tax, rather than government spending too much and too incompetently we will never get any growth! Stopping the government undertaking any major IT project will save billions. Capping public sector pensions at 60k would also help. The focus on the rich who pay 26% of all income tax is as barmy as the Labour Party’s obsession with Eton and Oxbridge when 20% of our children can’t read or add up.

  28. Robert K
    September 19, 2011

    Everyone here seems to be blaming the Lib/Dems for the new army of tax inspectors. When I caught the story on Guardian FM, sorry, the Today Programme, it was Mr Osborne who made the announcement.
    It’s all part of the pernicious attack on wealth creation and success. Rather than saying to higher earners, as Blair did, “thank you,” there is a determination to make out that high earners are intrinsically dodgy. First, the attack is levelled that no-one can possibly justify earning over £100,000 a year, so all such types must be immoral and are deserving of a punitive tax rate. This is followed up with the accusation that high earners dodge their taxes anyway, which makes it even more justified to hunt them down and impose more taxes, such as the LibDem mansion tax.

  29. Richard
    September 19, 2011

    I recall my Father saying – you need to decide, whether you want to live in a country with loads of millionaires or a country with no millionaires, because you won’t make the poor rich by just making the rich poor.

    I’m puzzled by current calls for the rich to “pay their fair share”.
    Could someone tell me how much “fair” is, 60% ,70% ,80% or even more ?

    Don’t “the rich” already pay more tax, as by definition you pay much more tax if you earn £300,000 per annum than if you earn £30,000 per annum.

    I too was depressed by the attitudes shown in the recnt Liberal Democrat Conference. Two things hit me first the desire to tax all rich or successful people more and more and secondly that all social problems could only be solved by more Government spending.

    1. rose
      September 20, 2011

      When it comes down to it, conservatives get het up about conserving woods and the countryside, and their national identity and independence. But what do the liberals want to preserve? High rates of punitive and counterproductive tax. Says it all really.

  30. rose
    September 19, 2011

    A bunch of all-things-to-all-men politicians who then come up with the weasel phrase “Policy of Differentiation” during a national emergency, don’t deserve office. But we are stuck with them, and must therefore indulge their double standards and inconsistencies, as well as take their pathetic misrepresentations of the facts on the chin. They were the ones who preached the value of coalition politics and compromise; they were the ones who wanted politicians of different parties to pull together for the national good; in short, they are the ones who like fudge – or so they said.

    But should we be surprised that these inexperienced and indecisive thinkers fall at the first hurdle, or that they show no staying power in the face of unpopular decisions? Opinion polls are all they care about, and electioneering; and protesting on behalf of first this group and then that is what they feel most comfortable doing, not governing in the long term interests of all.

    They will never win the country’s respect and trust until they grow up. They have been given the chance to do just that, and share responsibility, with respect and gratitude being deferred until success can be demonstrated. But they can’t wait: and anyway, they would rather blow it all because the over-vocal minority of socialists in their ranks don’t like conservatives. If they can’t cope with coalition and compromise in practice, even in a grave national emergency, then they should stop campaigning for electoral reforms that would make coalition government permanent. But if they weren’t full of contradictions and inconsistencies they wouldn’t be Liberals, would they? So yes, it is depressing listening to them and their apologists on the BBC and SKY, but it isn’t surprising. Let us hope the country takes note, and remembers at the general election that they have shown themselves unworthy of office. A pity, as it didn’t start out inevitably so, and they need not have degenerated like this. they could have risen to the challenge and won people’s admiration in the end.

  31. Steve Whitfield
    September 20, 2011

    The Liberals are completely potty and deeply unpopular – applying their student politics to the real world will have disastrous results. Cameron is of the same kidney that is fundamentally why he lost the election in my view.

    It’s like watching a slow motion car crash as the fools line up to demand that the Uk is made a less attractive place to do business out of pure spite.

    Unfortunately the likes of Cable, Cameron and Clegg would rather see the UK fall to it’s kneees than admit that there whole political philosophy is wrong.

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