What has the Coalition done for you so far?


              People on this site love to knock the Coalition. As host I don’t censor  your criticisms  or even censure you  for doing so.

              In the interests of democratic debate and fair presentation, I thought today I would ask if any of you did like some of the things the Coalition has done. Someone the other day said they did like the ending of the M4 Bus lane, and the abolition of Home Information packs, though they would have liked the Energy reports to have gone as well. I agree that I thought those two items were good.

              I might add that I have  liked the ending of long detention without trial or charge, the increase in Income Tax personal allowances (any income tax cut is a good thing), the cap on Housing benefit claims, the stated intention to get the deficit down, the one million new jobs which the private sector has generated so far and the veto on the new financial Treaty to stop the UK being dragged into it.  Abolishing the South East England Development Agency was also a good moment. Some of you are doubtless benefitting from the more generous state pension payments.

                  On Monday the Times published a list of 50 areas where they expected disagreement between Lib Dems and Conservatives in the Coalition. They asserted that many Conservative Ministers have come to the conclusion I advanced at the outset, that a minority Conservative government would be easier. Then  people could see which things the Lib Dems blocked in Parliamentary votes.

             However, the Times  list did not always reflect the feelings of the respective parties and made more of the disagreements in some cases  than is warranted. They argued, for example that Conservatives were against sorting out the lop sided extradition arrangements with the USA, when many of us have pressed Mrs May to do just that. They say Conservatives want to hold internet service information for police use, when many of us are worried about the impact of that on freedom. They suggest Conservatives are keen to push up rail fares – not the ones I know. They argue the Lib Dems want income tax cuts. I can assure you so do Conservatives.  They see Conservatives as resisting bank reform. Many of us have been going hoarse demanding it. The picture is more complex than the Times suggests. Their list also repeated items to make it look longer. 

           The one major area where the difference is large and important is over the EU. Several of the items related to EU powers and policies, where there is one Eurosceptic party and one pro EU party in the coalition.

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  1. Sue
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    No. This government has made my life much less pleasant and much more stressful. Perhaps it’s because I’m too aware of the “nanny state” and democratic implications of the EU to appreciate the pluses (although, think as I might, I can’t recall any). They say ignorance is bliss but that’s what was intended all along. The lack of information and decision making for ordinary people is what has caused the disinterest in politics in the first place.

    There is now so much wrong with this country and how it treats it’s citizens, it’s hard to know where to begin.

    There are alot of decent MP’s trying their best to do the job they were elected to do. Isn’t it about time the unelected of Whitehall have their powers curbed? I think you should be concentrating on returning the decision making back to the elected representatives of our country. Mr Cameron over-reaches his mandate when he enforces the whip in what he knows to be a popular vote. That has to stop and Mr Clegg should be told a few home truths about the popularity of his party while he has the helm. Stop making us pay for the bogus climate change fiasco (Carbon Tax Now Destroying Australian Economic Prosperity) -It and the EU are what is killing this country.

    We are living in an illusionary democracy. We want the reality back.

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Just a plug, if I may, on the subject of the EU and Daniel Hannan’s essay ‘A Doomed Marriage: Britain and the EU’. I didn’t need to be persuaded of the argument as I voted ‘NO’ in the 1975 referendum but I bought it following Mr Redwood’s recommendation recently. Buy for yourself and especially for your EU-enthusiast friends. Spread the word, it’s a corker!

      • Vanessa
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        Try reading “The Great Deception” by North and Booker it is a brilliant history of the EU and shows how each and every British Government has been ripped-off and humiliated in every meeting they have had with the EU. To try and curry favour our ministers have given away fish, rebates, water, north sea oil – you name it they have given it away so the EU “likes” them. God help us all. Tony Blair, we are told, stopped going because it was such an unpleasant experience. So much for our influence.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        I am sure it is good and probably quite right but is it not rather depressing reading? Especially given the current outlook with EU fan Cameron, Clegg and soon Miliband for at least the next 8 years. By which time there will be no escape possible and no real democracy remaining.

      • Kenneth
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        The BBC has completely ignored this book

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

          Of course they have.

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

            Just as they ignore all the real science that clearly shows the global warming scare to be, at best, a huge exaggeration.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      The lack of information and decision making for ordinary people is what has caused the disinterest in politics in the first place.

      I actually take the opposite view on this, it is because we are now to well informed, this and other blogs, the .gov web portals, newspapers, broadcast, we can even plough our way from that minefield of looping web pages that are the europa.eu portals (if we wish to do some virtual self harm…) etc. are all just a ‘click’ away and because we have access to so much information we know feel helplessly unimportant. We know what is happening but we know that we can’t influence any of it, hence all the mounting disinterest.

      Ignorance was bliss…

      • Tad Davison
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, and little wonder they want to put the brakes on the internet and control what we read there!


    • Patrick Loaring
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      I agree with what you say. It looks like Labour will get in at the next election either with a majority or in a coalition with the Lib Dems. Since Labour are so good at financial management of the economy we will no doubt find ourselves as a basket case once again calling in the IMF.

      The politicians make promises and then when in power do something different, so why bother to vote when it does not seem to make any real difference! This, I think, has a lot to do with the public disenchantment with politics.

      • A Clark
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Ballot papers should be changed to add “I choose not to vote!”. There is never a good choice.

    • James Sutherland
      Posted August 24, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      The ‘nanny state’ aspect is particularly grating for me – the appalling censorship proposals from Claire Perry’s committee (apparently now trying to sneak that Internet regulation out through the Education department, since Ofcom had already dismissed the proposals as fatally flawed), retaining rather than reducing or reforming the TV License (a switch to technical enforcement with viewing cards, rather than threats and surveillance from TV Licensing, would be welcome and cost-neutral or better)…

      Trimming income tax would have been nice, but the VAT and fuel tax hikes were more visible, leaving at least the impression of an increased rather than reduced overall burden – a major own goal.

      On extradition: lop-sided or not, why has the McKinnon case taken almost a full decade now without a conclusion? Why does there seem to be no time limit on this process? Moreover, if we wanted a criminal from the US and ten years later they were still debating whether or not to hand him over, would anyone really believe the process was biased in our favour?

    • Tiernan
      Posted November 20, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      You should leave poor dave alobne,

  2. alan jutson
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    The main things that really stand out.

    The good news

    The raising of the personal tax allowance.

    The willingness and attempt to look at Benefit and Welfare reform, and to try and find a solution to the Benefits trap.

    The attempt to drive education standards higher.

    Unfortunately all of these whilst moving forward, still have a very,very long way to go before they are either fit for purpose, or are at suitable levels.

    Not much for two and a half years, but then perhaps I need reminding of some others.

    The bad news

    Borrowing still out of control
    Spending still out of control
    Taxation system ever more complicated
    Taxes too high
    The EU membership fiasco
    Rising Foreign Aid
    Defence cuts too far
    Law and order failure on sentencing (early release of prisoners)

    • oldtimer
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      That is a good summary.

      The unfortunate fact of life under the coalition is that some good iniatives (education and welfare reform) have been buried under many bad measures. On the assumption of office, the coalition said it recognised the hole the country was in, but has then dug an even deeper hole for us all. A major contributor has been tax policy which has produced the predicted result of reducing tax revenues. The coalition also remains committed to ineffective, if not harmful, policies (energy and aid policy). The relationship with the EU, and the EZ, remains deeply unsatisfactory. There is no evidence whatsoever that the coalition can punch its way out of this particular paper bag.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      I would add to your list the Green Religion, that destroys so many jobs so pointlessly.

      Not enough incentives to work and too many to encourage the feckless.

      No sensible rights for easy hire and fire.

      All costs jobs and make everyone poorer on balance.

    • WillE
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      taxes too high and spending still out of control yet you think the defence cuts are too high? Unfortunately we will either be taxed at a higher rate to sustain our armed forces or this spending will have to be reduced, a point you have contradicted above this. I for one am opposed to the defence cuts due to my current employment however, it seems very hypocritical to criticise the current coalition for spending too much when you are stating the defence cuts are too much. I think that in terms of welfare reforms and cuts the current government has made much more efforts that the previous labour regime to control our ever increasing deficit. I guess that is just one man’s point of view

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink


        Not hypocritical at all.

        The Defence Budget is small by comparison to some Departments, thus less of a cut here (and the percentage was large for this department), would be more than made up by the same percentage elsewhere.

        In addition I did not mention cutting waste.
        Sir Philip Greene identified Millions of pounds of complete waste which could be saved, not heard much about action on this list of late.

        Did not mention Benefit fraud, and whilst this is probably a small percentage of the overall Benefit and Welfare budget, it is a huge amount of money because the budget is so large.

  3. Pete the Bike
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I’m pretty sure the million new jobs you mention are despite government not because of it. Aside from that you have mentioned other successes but they are all small beer. The coalition was formed to eliminate or at least reduce the deficit in public spending and cut red tape. They were the stated aims. Neither has been achieved or even started in any noticeable way. If the government were a private company it would be in receivership and it’s directors in court for fraud. The country is hemorrhaging money in bailouts, EU payments, foreign wars and massive bureaucracy and it’s only answer is to print more money to stop the bond markets collapsing. If it wasn’t that Greece and other deadbeat nations are filling the headlines sterling would have died.
    To claim success for the coalition is like claiming the first day of the Battle of the Somme was a success because we gained 50 yards of mud at the cost of thousands of men.

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      I like the analogy in your last sentence, sums it up quite nicely…..


    • RDM
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      The rise in Employment was (mainly) in London, Part-time or Self-employment!!!

      What about all the new regulation i.e AWR?

      Higher Energy prices and the lack of competition (monopoly suppliers)?

      Unresolved(Failed) Banking Systems, lack of competition, lack of Type of finance, etc… i.e Project(Technology) Finance?

      Failed Devolution!

      Destroying the Seven estuary with one big concrete, 20th century, solution. If it wasn’t for Devolution, and the Labour party, there could be loads of smaller (sustainable) solutions along the S Wales coast!


      It is a nonsense to suggest that a country, with it’s own currency, can’t Grow on its own, by at least its trend rate, minus some debt burden? But zero growth, to me, indicates a failed Banking System, especially within the Regions.



      • alan jutson
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink


        Anyone done any calculations on possible silt build up for the possible Severn Estuary.

        That is the problem with many hydro electric systems which eventually make them unworkable over a long lifetime of use, or more inefficient than original calculations suggested.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

          Original calculations are always prepared with a view to raising finance and getting the go ahead look at the channel tunnel, HS2 and all the rest. Divide revenue by 10 is usually about right

          5 mins with a calculator and an envelope shows it is a nonsense even before silting and maintenance costs.

        • RDM
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

          Not since the last report in 2006:

          The damage done to the Estuary is irreversible! Before the effect of Silt is taken into account, not forgetting the wildlife (Bird & Sea Mammals & Fish) dependent of the silt, let alone the damage done to the Bristol Water way! There a thousands of jobs currently dependent on Bristol and Avonmouth docks?

          The Economic case has far from being made, but to generate wealth and to be sustainable, I would like to bet on smaller projects around the Estuary, inshore and offshore. Skills and products that could be exported?

          I’ve seen all this nonsense with the £2bn Cardiff Bay, it was just a legacy scheme for Lord Thomas (Ex Speaker)! All they had to do was to revamp the docks? No, they used it to Pump money into the Economy (Infrastructure spending), which promptly left!

          “Invest it in Wealth Generation!”
          Should be a guiding principle!



    • JimF
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      No, more like we lost less yards of mud than under General Brown, whose cunning plan it was to send all the fittest and most able over the top naked and unarmed, whilst letting the least able snaffle all the pies deep in their trenches.

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    I liked to see Mr Cameron genuinely enjoying himself with Prince Harry at the Olympics. The Labour government never did this properly. I liked the way he took a back seat during the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee. The last lot never did this.
    I like the way that the bureaucrats are slowly being reduced in numbers and that there are more jobs in the private sector. I had not expected this.
    I like our Conservative MP who was elected on an open primary. He is good. Steven Barclay.

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Mike, the emphasis on slow. There are really too many inhibitors on business in the regulations and too many people being publicly employed in shuffling money to the feckless.


  5. Gary Gimson
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    But surely more generous state pensions (of which you seem to trumpet) must mean additional government expenditure, which I thought you were trying to constrain.
    Getting generous pension payment under control would be one way of reducing the deficit. Unfortunately and noting yesterday’s figures, the deficit is not under control and government borrowing goes ever upwards.

    Reply: I support decent pensions for people, and controlling the costs by a higher retirement age to qualify for the state pension.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Re “controlling the costs by a higher retirement age” the problem is if you have been working 7 days weeks in a tough manual job, paying your way, doing the best you can for your kids, never abusing the system, there is a limit to how much longer your body can keep going. These folk had been left to believe they would get state pension at 65 which is what they plan for.

      I dont mind retirement age creeping up for office workers, but for tough manual workers we need to be sensible.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink


        Very true, at 65 the mind is still very willing, but the body is often weak, especially if you have been doing manual work for 50 years.

        You only have to look at what age manual building workers start to look for something else. they usually look for something less physical from the age of 50 onwards, not because they want to, but because they often have to.

      • APL
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        Ian Gill: “These folk had been left to believe they would get state pension at 65 which is what they plan for.”

        Now I wonder who .. led people to believe that?

        Oh, that would be politicians, who over the last sixty years haven’t seen a group of the population that they didn’t think it prudent to buy their vote with public money.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Great, can I work even longer then?

      Personally I favour reducing public sector pensions and sharing out that particular pot with every pensioner. After all it was other pensioners that provided the money for all the years they were working.

    • A different Simon
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Gary ,

      Either a proper state pension of approximately double the current size needs to be paid to everyone who qualifies or a pitiful state pension is paid to all and the shortfall is made up by means tested benefits .

      People need the same money to exist either way so it should be cash neutral and cost the same .

      It boils down to a choice of what cues society wants to send out . Means tested benefits encourage people to spend everything during their working life and trust the state to look after them during their own age .
      Proper pensions encourage people to save for a comfortable old age .

      There must be a movement away from 100% pay as you go pensions by implementing greater deductions from peoples income but these deductions have to be beyond the reach of short sited poli’s .

      I don’t know how you stimulate demand but getting people to spend every penny is not the answer .

      Surely it is not so much a question of whether we can afford to have proper pensions as whether we can afford not to have proper pensions ?

  6. lifelogic
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    I agree that the points you make are also (though rather small) moves in the right direction, but far too little too late. No movement on the absurdly restrictive employment laws, no movement on inheritance taxes as promised, no real increases in the incentives to work, relative to not working.

    We also have the totally mad gender insurance laws, the paternity leave proposals, the lack of an extra runway at Heathrow and Gatwick, the lack of any real deregulation, more green energy subsidies and building regulation nonsense, wind farms and even perhaps the absurd Severn barrage proposal.

    Above all we have seen no real cut in the vast numbers of the state sector doing nothing of any use or actually doing positive damage. The private sector had done very well indeed, to create one million new jobs, despite the state sector (and the banks) bashing them over the head at every opportunity. It could do far more with a state sector of half the size, which did not bash them all the time and with some functional, competitive banks.

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      As John firstly mentions (tongue firmly planted in cheek) the great government successes such as the almost abolition of HIPS ans the ending of the M4 lane (sic)…..it puts into context the first two and a half years of activity. Far more has come onto the books to inhibit progress rather than to assist it.


      • lifelogic
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        Indeed just the green energy nonsense, the equal gender insurance tosh, and the no retirement rules costs industry a fortune alone. Soon the forced pensions rules too and paternity rules?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic, This is the second time in as many minutes that you have had a gratuitous swipe at a Severn Barrage. Personally, I think it is madness to have the ability but apparently not the will to take advantage of the simply immense amounts of power available to us in this way, with all due apology to some bird or other forced to shift its rear end out the way or become extinct (highly unlikely) for all I care. If a barrage is only for the big people, unlike us apparently these days, then it is even more obvious, given that we are an island, that we should put in place very easy to understand (in that the tides will come and go, with huge high and lows each day, barrage or no barrage) marine turbines. We should make these in the millions, instal them everywhere round the coast and replace them as necessary when sea water corrosion gets to them. Job done. I am pure as the driven slush on this and have no investment or financial interest in this matter whatsoever.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        Corrigendum–Sorry, should of course have been “install” and if it not clear to some from my effort above, the large tidal ranges blessing these shores also mean strong flows both ways as sea water moves in and out. As I say, it is my idea of bonkers not to take advantage of these flows with (underwater) marine turbines to generate power–with little or no effect on wading birds or much else. And we don’t need some Committee deliberating for decades to tell us this. As always if the Liberals oppose the idea (cannot imagine why they would except for the fact that they are Liberals) then that is good evidence that it is a splendid idea.

        • alan jutson
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink


          As long as silt build up does not destroy the project, I would agree it needs looking at, but look at silt calculations first.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink


            Thanks. Best I can understand, silting up might well be something to worry about in the case of a barrage but not in the case of (two-way) turbines suspended under water, anchored to the sea floor and driven by the in and out flow of the tide itself.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

        Just look at the economics of it all it with the silting and running costs it makes no financial or environmental sense – nuclear, fracking, gas, oil, better efficiency, an extra jumper, hot water bottle and coal make far more sense. You have to enclose and alter hugely a vast area with an expensive barrage to get much power then it all silts up anyway. It will not happen it is even madder than wind and PV just another silly PR distraction.

      • stred
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        The only qualified member of the DECC team, Prof MacKay gives interesting figures on p216 of his book Sustainable Energy… available free via DECC website.

        The Severn Barrage potential is 8 Gw at a cost of £250 per person.
        Tidal stream is 18……………..£350 pp

        Onshore wind 35…………….£450
        Offshore wind 29…………….£650
        PV farms 48…………….£3200
        PV in Arabia………………………..40…………….£5700 (Libdem plan)
        + HT lines by German manu’ 50……………£15
        (PV on roofs not even considered)

        It would appear that the Severn Barrage is not too bad, compared with most others. Of course in the UK it will cost as much for the enquiry as to build it and we will never even start.


        Solar hot water……………………..2.5……………£1200
        Waste incineration 3……………….£140
        Heat pumps………………………….210……………£1000
        Wave farms 1.9…………….£100
        Nuclear 45……………..£1000

    • uanime5
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic a new study has been conducted showing that the size of the public sector has no effect on the private sector in developed nations. So there’s no need to shrink the public sector to “help” the private sector.

      Read all about it here:

      • Richard
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

        Its just unfortunate that we are having to borrow over £10 bilion a month to pay for it all.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

        Jon Moulton is clearly right and this article is clear nonsense. A relatively large state is not, in itself, a bar to growth perhaps not – there are many other factors. But a huge state sector, delivering almost nothing of real value and over taxing the productive to fund itself is clearly not going to help – how can it?

      • stred
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        Especially when much public waste is added to the Real Public Growth figures.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        So if the size of the state were to exceed 70% of GDP, that would have no effect on the resources available to the private sector, would it? Even the Swedes don’t think like that any more.

        And please note: a blog on the Independent’s web site is not “a study”.

        • uanime5
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          Depending on the welfare levels and amount of contracts given to the private sector by the state it’s entirely possible to have the state exceed over 70% of GDP without harming the private sector.

          Please note: study is any examination of the data and drawing conclusions from this data. The fact that the results of this study were published on a blog rather than a scientific journal does not undermine the validity of this study.

  7. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Nothing in a word – in would be amazing and maybe beneficial if a Government did absolutely nothing but they don’t and the Coalition has done bits and pieces on the margin without any decisive action. One recent day to day example – wheel clamping. I read that the Bill coming law shortly does not do the obvious and outlaw the practice completely and deem it theft there are numerous exceptions which means the activity and scam goes on and no I haven’t been clamped.

    This country is in a real mess with power rapidly shifting in the world. Instead of opening our borders to all and sundry and Government still thinking that we can fight other people’s wars we need to look after our own. We need to fight our corner on the economic front by radically changing our approach to financing the country. The Big Society should be about people being encouraged to stand on their own feet by real carrots and real sticks. For me the most obvious example of the Big Society is the USA where its citizens seem passionate about the country and the flag and the anthem. Cameron and Clegg are more about the freeloading society.

    More evidence that Cameron is rapidly losing old Conservative support:


    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      A good point, it might have been interesting to see if we had elected a teddy bear which engaged in neutral activity and see if we had been better placed economically by now. In fact, a teddy bear may have defeated Brown.


    • lifelogic
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Indeed why would anyone sensible give to the current Tories they are not likely to win again and are clearly no better than Labour on most big issues. You probably won’t even get a place in the Lords now for doing so.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      ..The Big Society should be about people being encouraged to stand on their own feet by real carrots and real sticks.

      I can agree with the first part of this sentence, but not the latter part. How about “Society will have to stand on it’s own feet because the government is going to nothing other than protect our country our persons and our property”

  8. Stephen Almond
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    “…there is one Eurosceptic party and one pro EU party in the coalition.”

    Really? Can you be more specific in differentiating which is supposed to be which?

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      I quite agree. There are obviously backbenchers (such as our esteemed host) in the Conservative party who are anti-EU but I don’t see any effort by the government to actually change anything in relation to Europe.

      In historical terms the Tories are the most pro-EU. They took us in without a referendum. They signed up to the Single European Act. Took us into the ERM. Signed up for Maastricht. Supported enlargement. Allowed many more areas of law to become acquis communitaire. Promised us a referendum on Lisbon – and then reneged on it. Not a very Eurosceptic record.

      Reply : The Conservatives negotiated the budget rebate, opted us out of the Euro, out of common borders, out of the social chapter, out of the fiscal treaty and out of common defence. Labour gave away part of the rebate, took us into common borders and the Social chapter, and doubtless would have signed us up to the Fiscal treaty if they had remained in charge.

      • zorro
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply – maybe John maybe…..but it was still the Tories when in a majority government who did those things, and, to be honest, a lot of the opt outs tend to be worked around in different ways. Osborne still trying to fiend ways to bail out the Euro with taxpayers cash.


        • lifelogic
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink


      • Tad Davison
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        I must be missing something. Had we not been part of the EU in the first place, these opt-outs wouldn’t even have been an issue, so who was it that took us into the EU without proper reference to the people?

        It’s a deplorable smokescreen to suggest how good the Tories are for negotiating these opt-outs, when it was they who were the architects of Britain’s downfall by getting us into the EU mess.


  9. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    “The one major area where the difference is large and important is over the EU. Several of the items related to EU powers and policies, where there is one Eurosceptic party and one pro EU party in the coalition.”

    In theory this contrast in positions should have been insurmountable. However as with many ideological differences more communality than expected can be found if the practical detail in the moment is examined. The requirement to do this in this instance has led to some deep insights.

    The Lib Dems have had to accept that the practicalities of the current situation prevent political integration at present. Both parties have been forced to wrestle with ideological positions in complex practical circumstances and that is a good thing.

    I have a personal wish that both parties would also find communality in supporting projects such as twinning which create voluntary intelligent links and understanding both within Europe and beyond. I’ve written about what’s already happening and what might be done next here: http://mathseducationandallthat.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/twinning-schools.html
    Surely members of both parties could support such a policy? It would lay the foundations for intelligent redefinitions of international relations which built confidently into the future, making it easier to break political links without seeming to end friendly relations. It also lays the foundations for a positive and intelligent redefinition of our contribution to international aid – which could instead be based on the existence of two way voluntaristic links and the development of human capacity.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Twinning is a fine idea in principle, but it is also a typical example where the EU has taken over something which could be good and turned it into a tool to promote its eurofederalist agenda. To be clear about this: I do not want my country to cease to exist as a sovereign independent state and become a subservient state, or mere regions, within a European federation, and I have no time for the outright traitors who actively want that – Heath was just such a traitor, even though technically he did not commit treason – or for the various fellow travellers who’re prepared to go along with the subjugation and eventual extinction of their country to serve their own narrow interests.

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Heath was just such a traitor, even though technically he did not commit treason..

        He committed treason technically and in every other way imaginable.

        • rose
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          I should say the one treasonous thing he didn’t do was sleep with the Sovereign’s wife. But that was impossible for him to do – and anyway, he would have been most unlikely to have done it, even if he could have.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          There was an Act of Parliament, passed at the instigation of Heath as Prime Minister, but nonetheless passed with the votes of a majority of MPs and a great majority of the Lords. Even if some of those who voted for the ECA72 could plead that they did so under a degree of pressure or even duress, they too would all have to be arraigned for treason or at the least misprision of treason.

          Reply: The incoming Labour government confirmed our membership and then put it to a vote of the UK electorate, who voted Yes. Calling all Yes voters traitors is not helpful! You need to help persuade them to take a different view n ow.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

            Obviously the millions who were duped into voting Yes in the 1975 referendum were not traitors; it was those who actively and knowingly performed the duping of the electorate who were the traitors then. But no parliamentarian who had voted for the ECA72 could have any reasonable excuse for having been duped, as the taxpayer had provided them with the time and resources to consider the matter in proper detail rather than having to rely on the lies propagated through the mass media. It’s another matter whether any of those MPs and peers who let us down so badly in 1972 should have been charged with the crime of treason, rather than with a lack of patriotism compounded in various degrees by selfishness, laziness, indifference and incompetence.

      • stred
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        Our Leader of the council, mayor or whatever he is called for his £100 k plus allowance, was chauffeur driven in his limousine to the town in France which is twinned with his borough for the annual get together and booze up. When they come in return, they use public transport.

    • Bob
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      There’s nothing quite like a bit of plain speaking.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        @ Bob 🙂 fair point.

        Links with government can be done two ways:
        1. by political (and possibly monetory) union.
        2. by direct voluntary links between people.
        Small amounts of low cost government effort can dramatically improve our ability to do the second type of linking, as is currently being shown by the way the British Council is supporting international links between schools (as described in my blog).

        If there was more of 2 going on people would feel better about breaking political links (because they would have other ways in which to build positive links between countries).

        Is that any better?

  10. Kevin R. Lohse
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    You are right to remind us that the Coalition has made some changes for the better, though,”the stated intention to get the deficit down”, looks more like a good intention signposting the road to Hell with every monthly borrowing requirement. I would add Mr. Gow’s fight to the death with the Educational establishment and the Health Secretary’s knock-down, drag-out scuffle with the vested interests of the PS Health Unions to remove Sovietisation from the NHS as two more areas where the Coalitions is a force for good. Upgrading the Nation’s communications is preparation for the future which should not be subjected to the degree of Luddite scorn it has attracted, but rather seen as an essential debate over our descendant’s future. If nothing else, such debate would highlight the wish of the Greens and the more extreme Left to de-industrialise the nation thereby enforcing a drastic population decline and reducing the lives of the majority to the short and nasty one enjoyed by those who lived in mediaeval times.
    Personally, I would like to see free prescriptions for the over 60’s (that includes me) to be raised to 65 and kept in line with the legal retirement age and then means-tested. Also, the Winter fuel allowance to be means tested as well. Both these measures were introduced as blatant election bribes and should be discontinued.
    We have fought and died for over 600 years to avoid being dominated by a monolithic European power, often being the only free liberal democratic nation in the European area. I see no reason to join a monolithic, unaccountable undemocratic and wholly corrupt bureaucracy now or ever.
    The totally bonkers idea of “renewable” energy becoming the base-line provider of the country’s energy should be kicked smartly into the long grass. Germany is a stark example of what happens if that path is followed, and the USA an equally stark example of the consequences of the provision of a new cheap energy source. The future is fracking, and the Coalition should swallow their pride, ignore the special pleading of highly-placed rent-seekers and start to develop the new resource.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      We have fought and died for over 600 years to avoid being dominated by a monolithic European power, often being the only free liberal democratic nation in the European area.

      Actually this applies more to Italy than the UK because during most of this time period the Italian city states were republics that elected their leaders while the UK was a feudal society. Even the Holy Roman Empire was more democratic as they elected their ruler.

      • Kevin R. Lohse
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        Your history books must have been different to mine.

        • uanime5
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          If your history books claim that the UK was a democracy 600 years ago they’re clearly wrong. Having the king and nobles create policies isn’t democracy, it’s a plutocracy.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        Oh, yes, and the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church have invariably been on the side of progress and enlightenment. And there are faries at the bottom of the garden.

        • uanime5
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          You’ve really shown your lack of knowledge in your post Lindsay McDougall.

          First the Pope (elected by Cardinals) only ruled the Papal States (central Italy), the rest of Italy was independent.

          Secondly there was major progress and enlightenment in Italy during the Renaissance, when many great religious buildings and works of art were created.

          Thirdly religion, progress, and enlightenment have noting to do with the fact that the Italian City states (such as Venice, Milan, Genoa, and Pisa) were democracies while most European countries (France, England, and Spain) were autocracies.

          Perhaps you should ask your fairies for advice before posting.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 24, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

            Thank you for the history lesson. It seems that a lot of progress in Italy was made in spite of the Church of Rome, not because of it. We’re all agreed about that. Tell us about Galileo and the Church of Rome. Tell us about the restrictions on weekend trucking in Europe, imposed by the EU to satisfy its masters in the Church of Rome.

            And a bigger question: Who got it right – Garibaldi or the Lombard League?

  11. Iain Gill
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    dropping national id cards was good

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      In principle yes – unfortunately because of weak entry/visa controls – too many people are staying on in the country and using services. ID cards could have been used to gauge entitlement to services. They were poorly sold to the public. I suspect that in the long run they may appear again……


      • Martin
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        “weak entry/visa controls ” – could you give us some evidence of this? The UK is a notoriously difficult country to enter. We lose billions from rich Chinese visitors who can’t be bothered with the visa hassle.

        UKBA (or whatever it is called this week) is hopelessly overloaded checking passports to the nth degree. (The cracks were papered over for the Olympics but will doubtless re-emerge.) Incidentally were the same checks to be applied at the roads into and out Mrs May’s Maidenhead constituency I expect many illegals etc would be found.

        • zorro
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

          Well, your last point is evidence of weak, ineffective border controls. I have no problem with genuine, bonfire visitors who spend money and leave on completion of their visit. Why should I? I am dismayed at the inability to grant visas to such people instead of granting visas to bogus students et al, or allowing people to enter the UK illegally. The training for the staff at the border during the Olympics was inadequate an numbers were purely for presentational value. I wonder if refusals/removals of those who arrived at airports was up or down compared to trends or how much contraband/drugs/forged documents were detected….?


      • APL
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        Zorro: ” .. unfortunately because of weak entry/visa controls .. ”

        So because of a failure of the State to enforce its own laws and regulations in relation to immigration, it decides to introduce another department of State to deal with the result of the failure of the first department.

        Better to deal with the problem at root, rather than attempt to apply sticking plasters over the policy failure of the department of immigration, or whatever they are called today.

        • zorro
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, I do not support ID cards in principle (fortunately I remember who I am most of the time 🙂 )…..however, poor immigration control is leading us down this road. Remember your Hegelian dialectic – problem – reaction – solution……


      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        seperate issues

        this and the previous govt are engaged in open doors immigration policy they just refuse to be open with the voters about it, plenty of ways of doing the sensible thing without needing id cards

        • zorro
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, but as we see, one will bring about the other eventually.


    • stred
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Thanks Iain. I was trying to remember what it was.

  12. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    From the article: ‘the one million new jobs which the private sector has generated so far’

    And this has what, precisely, to do with government?

    I could expand my business but I will not employ people ever again. I’ve done it before and, as a small business, it made my life hell. I started living my life for my employees – if customers pay late they still want their salary in the bank on the same day every month. Oh yes, getting the work and keeping THEM employed suddenly seems to be MY job. And laying awake at night worrying about cash flow, and paying to employ them! Yes, Employers’ National Insurance is a real incentive to employ people. Oh and Statutory Maternity Pay and Paternity Pay and paying them to lay in bed when they are ill… in the sort of competitive global economy we have now these things are luxuries we cannot afford – yet the government insists we provide them. And a pension for heaven’s sake! If you employ more than a few people you have to run a pension scheme! It’s madness. Oh and then there is VAT to administer too. How businesses with a few staff ever make money baffles me.

    So, government, make it such that if I have work for someone I can employ them, pay them and let them sort out their tax affairs. I’d rather pay them more than have the burden of employing them in the current system.

    But, notwithstanding that, what has the government done in two and a half years?

    Bonfire of the quangos? No.
    Deregulation? No.
    Renegotiation of anything with Europe? No
    Planning laws changed to allow more housebuilding? No
    Immigration brought under control? No
    Tinkering at the edges? Yes

    That’s all that has happened. Just tinkering at the edges.

    Maybe the fact we are in a crisis has escaped the government. It seems to be sleepwalking into allowing Labour back in.

    As things are you have not one hope in hell of getting elected in 2015.

    It is time for radical action. If you are going to borrow a fortune use it to slash tax rates. At the moment, as always, you give with one hand and take with another. Raise the personal allowance and drop the 40% threshold. Once upon a time you had to be a high flyer to pay higher rate tax. Now a train driver can pay it.

    Do something radical for heaven’s sake. Slash VAT to 10%. Starting point of 10k for tax and then flat rate of 20% above for EVERYONE. Watch the tax pour in as the economy booms through demand. Bring some confidence back. Then the banks will lend to fund business expansion.

    NOTHING is going to happen unless government makes it happen. Banks won’t lend and businesses won’t expand against the current backdrop. Everyone is terrified of losing their job so people are saving instead of spending.

    It’s time for something Mr. Redwood – anything. A plan. A sense of purpose. A feeling that someone is at the helm. You are hamstrung by having a pair of toffs in charge but people would forget all Eton boys nonsense if they thought the PM was in CHARGE of something. As it is he just seems happy to keep the chair warm for Miliband – heaven protect us.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink


      To boot the PAYE people who have paid holidays and sickness with a fixed salary always seem to say “you are so lucky to have your own business”

      Most do not have a clue how much time it takes, the financial cost and risk involved or the commitment needed.

      Come to think of it, neither do many Politicians.

    • Mactheknife
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Liked the list….

      Bonfire of the quangos? No.
      Deregulation? No.
      Renegotiation of anything with Europe? No
      Planning laws changed to allow more housebuilding? No
      Immigration brought under control? No
      Tinkering at the edges? Yes

      You missed…

      British Bill of Rights ? No
      Affordable sensible energy policy? No
      Developing the manufacturing sector? No

      I’m afraid some of this can at least be put down to the coailition and the stranglehold of the LD’s over Cameron.

      Clegg has proved himself to be immature and incapable of governing in the national interest as he is so fond of telling everyone.

      The Conservatives have a short time left in office so little time to rescue the situation. It must start now.

  13. Lord Blagger
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Disabled since Thatcher has risen from 1 million to 1.5 million.

    Either the NHS is maiming people on a massive scale (true, (tens of thousands have died in NHS establishments -ed) over the same time), or hundreds of thousands have been getting benefits they shouldn’t.

    The reason is down to fraud. Not fraud by the claimants, but fraud by people like you who let it happen for political expediency.

    Or do you have another word other than fraud for giving away other people’s money, getting into debt, in order to be elected?

    Otherwise there is bugger all that has happened.

    Deficit – still there, rising again.
    Debts – still there getting exponentially larger.
    Debts – still hidden off the books.

    Still waiting for you to fulfill that electoral promise and tell us what the true debt is. You’ve said its been published but in spite of me asking where (and others too) you can’t provide the numbers or a link.

    I’ll ask again. Where is the debt figure for the state pension? The state pension that people have paid for up front? The state pension that you owe in return.

    Without the numbers or a link the only conclusion is that you made it up. Deliberately, and everyone knows what that would make you.

    Reply: I wrote a blog replying to your false complaints about deficit figures as you well know.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      ‘Where is the debt figure for the state pension? The state pension that people have paid for up front?’

      What are you talking about? Surely the state pension is unfunded. Today’s pensions are paid by today’s taxpayers. So, yes, part of the deficit will be being caused by paying state pensions. But you can say that about any government spending. Why are you picking on the state pension.

      The real scandal with pensions is public sector pensions. Brian Paddick stated when standing for election as the London mayor that he gets 53k a year pension. FIFTH THREE THOUSAND POUNDS A YEAR! And he’s a young man. He could live for another 40 years or more. His no doubt index linked pension is going to cost millions of pounds! How many taxpayers’ tax each year will be used to just to fund his pension?

      And the country is full of people like judges, MPs and senior council officials who retire on truly staggering pensions.

      Why we put up with it I have no idea. I really want to get into the position of paying no tax so they no longer rip me off.

      When the income tax threshold goes up to 10k – my wife and I are going to stop working and limit our income to 20k – with everything paid off and 2 new cars we’ll be able to live a comfortable life by dipping into our savings each year.

      At last we will no longer be tax contributors and paying for other people to live fantastic retirements travelling the world being paid for by other people’s money.

      • norman
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        I know someone who isn’t in a management role in a public sector, it’s about equivalent to a nurse but isn’t a nurse – not manual labour and requiring knowledge but not requiring exceptional ability to gain entry.

        Because he started at 18 he will retire at 60 with a pension pot of over a million pounds. We counted it out. He can take a large lump sum (can’t remember exact figure but it was certainly six figures) and a ‘smaller’ (although would dwarf someone doing similar job in private sector even with this reduction) or forego the six figure lump sum and receive an enhanced pension.

        Imagine someone who probably hasn’t earned more than £50k a year more than five years in his working life retiring with a million pound plus pension pot.

        I don’t know why people don’t seem to care about this just now but as we continue to get poorer (and we will, make no mistake about that) the absurdity of these collosal pensions will start to create real social friction when others who have worked hard all their life are struggling to put food on the table on the basic state pension plus a private pension into which they’ve paid the same as our public sector friend.

        You’re sitting on a time bomb but this lot will be long gone when it explodes so as Cameron showed when he backed down to all the demands in order to get a meagre increase in contributions now (a disgrace, I’m sure there are worse PMs in history but I’m racking my brain to think of one) he doesn’t care about the future of the citizenry, only of himself and his clique. If there was any justice, well, let’s leave it at that so that Mr Redwood doesn’t have to get out the red pen.

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

          Indeed – a mate of mine is a highways inspector for the council. A relatively menial job. No management responsibility. Just inspect a formation before a road is laid and other, utterly undemanding, tasks.

          He keeps going on about his pension and how he deserves it because of all the contributions he and his employer have made.

          His contributions are feck all! Never more than £100 a month. I have saved more than that for donkey’s years – but I, of course, have never had an employer doubling my contributions and I have had to save with a pension provider who was completely and utterly useless. Net result? He’ll get a pension of two thirds of his final salary and, as you say, equivalent to a pension pot of a million quid or so, and I’ll get a pension of about £20 a week.

      • sm
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        If only beware inflation, council tax and other indirect impositions. Everyone will be made to suffer until a point is reached, when the vested interests must fight amongst themselves and the ruling class effectively disintegrates. Up then pops our strong leaders.. choose wisely that is if you think you actually have a choice.

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      The only answer you will get is pay as you go and print to pay the bills with resultant inflation because that is the way it was set up and the politicians have not bothered amending it properly.


      • A different Simon
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        Is that why public sector pensions are index linked ?

        • zorro
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          Quite probably, but the history of democratic government since 1914 compared to the 19th century is one of devaluation, constant inflation and price rises….


    • uanime5
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      The number of disabled people has risen because more conditions have been recognised as disabilities. Those suffering from stress, depression, CFS, asbestos related injuries, repetitive stress disorder, vibration white finger, and so on wouldn’t have been considered disabled in Thatcher’s time.

      Also due to medical improvement people with disabilities such as down syndrome and cystic fibrosis are living longer. This also accounts for a rise in the number of disabled people.

  14. GJ Wyatt
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Free schools and social welfare reforms are big pluses.

    • norman
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      With people as passionate and knowledgeable and with the drive and ambition of Gove and IDS can you imagine how much better these could have been under a competent leadership? It’s a pity these two talented individuals are being held back.

      Still, others more talented still, our host for one, aren’t even getting the chance to be more than lobby fodder while riduculous 29 year old clerks get plum jobs at the Treasury, or someone whose main acheivement on his CV is press officer for the Cairngorms being number 2 at the Treasury. And I’m not knocking Danny Alexander, he seems a decent sort, but compare John Redwood and him.

      Is it any wonder things have gone from bad to worse under this shower?

      • zorro
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        It’s not what you know it’s who you know…….


  15. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    I thought it would be a very short list. Not only short but one which shows a totally pathetic performance. Amongst the list I have no interest in the M4 bus lane or the South East England Development Agency; abolition of home improvement packs whilst retaining the energy survey is fairly meaningless; what part the government played in creating one million private sector jobs is a mystery; pension increases were only as a consequence of higher inflation sanctioned by government and engineered by their agents in the BoE; the veto on the new financial Treaty is still an unknown quantity but Cameron’s commitment to our membership of the EU is not; the cap on housing benefit was set too high and hasn’t begun yet; the ending of long detention without trial or charge and the increase in Income Tax personal allowances are good things. I omitted from your list the most important item and the one which was said to be the factor which created the coalition in ‘the public interest’ viz. ” the stated intention to get the deficit down”. Such a pity that this “intention” hasn’t proceeded beyond that – an intention. You showed back in 2010 that this intention was a sham. Pretending to be making severe cuts when the real intention was to make any reduction by tax increases whilst planning to double the national debt in just 5 years.
    If, as a loyal supporter of your party and the coalition, this is the best you can offer in their defence then I repeat my previous question – why do you still support a party and a government when they are wilfully doing many things with which you disagree and failing to deal with the economic crisis. You know what needs to be done, you are an MP and yet you are just as impotent as the rest of us, as we head for the financial rocks.

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink



    • APL
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      JR: “why do you still support a party and a government when they are wilfully doing many things with which you disagree and failing to deal with the economic crisis.”

      Poor old John Redwood, party before country runs deep with him.

      An emotional attachment to the shell of an organization that no longer exists. Like so many other organs of the establishment, including the CoE, hollowed out from the inside and only pretending to be what it once was.

  16. me2
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Er, brought peace?

  17. Acorn
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Is this going to turn into a Monty Python sketch. “What have the Romans ever done for us”. How many ball-breaking, liberty zapping pieces of legislation have they repealed; not just amended but repealed with a capital R? Show me a list.
    How many ball breaking, liberty zapping policies have been thrown out with great fanfare, only to come in through the back door? Like mobile finger-print scanners in place of ID cards.

    How many government entities – central and local – now have, what will morph into, US style SWAT teams under the RIPA Act? A gang of uniformed sociopaths smashing your front door down, because you left your bin bag on the pavement eight hours to early.

    “All democracies turn into dictatorships—but not by coup. The people give their democracy to a dictator, whether it’s Julius Caesar or Napoleon or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the general population goes along with the idea … What kinds of things push people and institutions into this direction? (George Lucas)

  18. Martin Cole
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I am afraid the headline to this posting gives a clue to the very real dilemma into which you have now been placed. To see that more clearly may I suggest you turn the question around and direct it towards yourself.

    Your honest answer must surely terminate at a point reflecting the facts that everything in which you once believed and towards which you strived, has been compromised by your support for your present party’s leadership and its alliance with the actual Liberal Democrats now within the Government.

    A Coalition Government, which your votes retain in power, merely to implement the ever-growing totalitarianism of the EU, as I believe is reflected in yesterday’s 4G announcement, HS2 and the borrowing figures.

  19. Electro-Kevin
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink


    I think there have been serious inroads into the problems of welfare dependency/sickness benefit but there is a long way to go.

    I like the fact that A level grades were not breaking records again this year.

    I like my own Conservative MP who has taken my issues very seriously and reported back on them in full.

  20. ITF_Tory
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Clearly this government has done some good things, such as its reform of the education system, getting the defence budget under control, keeping Britain’s AAA credit rating, etc.

    But, when the coalition first started, they asked the public for ideas on how the government can save money – the public then submitted ideas through the Treasury’s website (the Spending Challenge). We haven’t heard much about it since then. The only info I can find is a single page on the Treasury’s website, and it looks like the only ideas actually progressed are very minor ones, such as removing the requirement for parish councils to have two signatories on cheques. If the Treasury thinks that will save much money and eliminate the deficit, then perhaps that’s why the deficit is still enormous, and debt is piling on top of more debt.

    I’d also like to know why the government is spending so much diplomatic and political capital, and taxpayers’ money, on this whole Julian Assange saga. They claim it’s about the law, but HMG has overridden that in the past by saying that it’s not in the public interest to prosecute, etc. Is extraditing Assange really in the British public’s interest? I doubt it. Perhaps our politicians should spend a bit more time on major problems actually affecting our country, and stop wasting our money. I should point out that I don’t have an opinion on Assange himself either way.

  21. Colin
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    “I have liked the ending of long detention without trial or charge”

    John, they haven’t ended it, they just changed the name. Very New Labour.

    Personally, for me, the Coalition’s failure to get the economy growing has meant that I’ve had to endure unemployment, and am now having to sell my home at a loss to pay debts as a result. The Coalition has personally cost me £45,000, and the loss not only of my home but very possibly the prospect of ever owning my own home again. There’s a strong chance I’ll end up having to survive on Housing Benefit in retirement as a result. So forgive me if I’m less than impressed with the Coalition’s performance.

    Sod the M4 bus lane. It’s the economy, stupid.

    • APL
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Colin: “I’ve had to endure unemployment, ”

      Ditto, and not very pleased about it!

  22. sym
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The good: M4 lane. Flat nominal council and tv taxes, so inflation-adjusted they have indeed come down, probably by some tenths of pounds. Can’t think of anything else.

    The bad: we pay some thousands more in income taxes, which really hurts; prices have gone up, significantly so, as a combination of higher VAT and general inflation (probably QE had some influence). In particular fuel has gone up hugely, and so did passenger air duty and transport fares around London, including the congestion charge. The Beast has been hungrier than ever.

    The ugly: the realisation that the Cameron’s Conservatives are not interested in helping or making it fair for people like us, and that in fact we are nothing but pluckable tax geese for all the parties. Worse, the Tories, in their quest to show that they aren’t “nasty” (to the BBC and Guardian, I guess) have gratuitously elbowed people like us in the face, while sanctimoniously preaching about those with the “broadest shoulders”.

    Instead they should have taken head-on the client state (public sector and benefits) and balanced the books. In one year – Swiss style – not in 20 or ad calendas graecas, as seems to be the case. Or not be in government if they can’t. What they did was to discredit the very idea of an alternative.

  23. Matthew
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    You’ve mentioned most of it – including South Development Agency
    I would rank the closure of our local RDA as being a real achievement. Whereas established businesses are finding it hard to secure bank lending, even where there is good security.

    The people that ran the RDA wasted significant sums on hopeless cases on poorly thought out plans. There was a long list of bust enterprises.
    They opened up offices throughout the world to represent the region, the benefits weren’t obvious.

    Michael Gove’s education reforms

    Getting out of Afghanistan – good thing – only not soon enough.

  24. Bryan
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    The best thing the coalition has done is get rid of the Labour Party as a Government and in particular Mr Brown who, it seems, has no trouble claiming tens of thousands of parliamentary expenses whilst never attending.

    The worst thing is continuing the waste of tax payer money (borrowed because we are broke) on overseas aid, most of which seems to go to feed corruption.

    The best thing it could do is split up so the Conservatives could become a minority Government. Mr Cameron would have to listen to his backbenchers to keep them on board, and the Labour party would be put on the back foot.

    • Mark W
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Overseas aid is a highly potent issue. I must confess some of the world’s genuine sufferers seem far more worthy than our domestic “relative poverty” “sufferers”. A chap a few streets away from me seems to have faced real suffering this year as the rain has prevented his daily BBQ / garden disco’s every afternoon. Maybe the DSS can install a Wimbledon style roof at tax payers expense for him?

      Whilst in principal providing aid is a natural act of compassion I do question why we do it, in our circumstances. I think it has far more to do with keeping a foot on the world stage of leading nations than anything else. Why do we need to do this. We aren’t a leading nation anymore. We delude ourselves, possibly memories of empire or our part in the USA-USSR won second world war. We even made our Dunkirk retreat sound like a victory. (Not that I in any way fail to respect the bravery and courage of our country in those dark times). We should accept we are a small country with the good fortune to have a world class financial sector (trusted the world over), a resonable manufacturer and a quality provider of higher education. We have traditions of freedom and liberty under the law. But we are not a world player any longer and should save ourselves the expense of trying to be. Then our friends the USA may choose one of its other special relationships to take to war in future. (Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Israel have USA border control in their own countries for air/border crossing, we don’t. We are not that special to them).

    • Sir Richard Richard
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget that Cameron, even though he has plenty of his own money, took out a mortgage on a new property so that he could put the mortgage down as expenses. Essentially, he made the taxpayer pay for a new house; we’re talking about more than tens of thousands here…

    • uanime5
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      In a minority Government Cameron wouldn’t have to listen to his backbenchers if he could convince the Lib Dems or Labour to support him.

      The problem with a minority Government is that even if your whole party supports you it’s impossible to pass legalisation without other parties voting for these bill or abstaining.

  25. Tad Davison
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Maybe the question ought to be, what could and indeed should, the coalition be doing, rather what they have already done. Just a trifling matter I know, but I notice we’re still part of that massive and unsustainable drain on our resources, the EU, and I don’t see any let-up in the pursuance of a fully-matriculated socialist, federalist super-state that few of the voting public have an appetite for.

    Apart from some very worthwhile back-benchers like Douglas Carswell and Peter Bone, I don’t see anybody taking the Lib Dems apart for their lunatic stance on the EU, which makes me think that general Tory party acquiescence is really just another form of quiet endorsement. In other words, a con!

    We contributors to this blog could put the pro-EU people in their place any day of the week, and indeed do, so why can’t the bulk of the parliamentary Conservative party do the same?

    Steps in the right direction have been painfully slow. I keep getting told off by my good lady wife for swearing, and it would help my domestic harmony if the Tories got their act together and got on with spelling out their anti-EU policies. If it upsets the nutters in yellow, then let them argue against common sense and risk oblivion at the next election.

    By sharing power in a coalition, it has exposed these looney pro-EU liberals for what they are, but that message needs to be driven home to a lot more people yet before we begin to turn away from the disaster that is the EU. The Tories have to make themselves electable again by being much more forcefully Euro-sceptic, but there’s nothing more frustrating than watching a lily-livered plonker miss an open goal, unless of course, they don’t really want to score it in the first place!

    Tad Davison


    • APL
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Tad Davidson: “so why can’t the bulk of the parliamentary Conservative party do the same?”

      Tad, it’s because they don’t want to.

  26. merlin
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    In response to your question “what has the coalition done for you”-the only way I can answer that is the overall impression that this administration has upon me as an individual. The coalition has had two and a half years to sort out bankrupt britain and they are spending and borrowing more than labour did. House of lord’s reform and gay marriage seem very important. The relationship with the EU, still more and more directives emanating from Brussels taking more powers from the UK parliament. Labour well ahead in the polls, so overall the answer for me is nothing. I would have preferred a Conservative minority government at worst followed, probably by a another swift election with the return of a Conservative Government. The description and overall impression is stasis. The UK is unfortunately too emeshed in the EUSSR to govern itself and there is no single party or leader that will stand up for the Uk and leave.

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      We have stasis when we need anastasis….


  27. Richard1
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    The strongest policy areas are welfare reform and school reform, which seem to be proceeding despite the best efforts of the left – civil servants, unions, the BBC etc – to frustrate them. Also the boundary reforms offer to make our 1st past the post system properly democratic. But economic policy is weak. The Conservatives should state clearly that they believe state spending must be financed over time by tax revenues (not ever-increasing debt) and that the tax take must be set at a level at which it 1) is competitive with other countries and 2) doesn’t distort and disincentivise economic activity (Keynes thought 25% of GDP should be the limit). Voters need to be clear at the next election that a Conservative govt would promote supply-side growth policies and run a sustainable fiscal policy. At the moment there is far too much emphasis on gimmicks (HS2, the Severn Barage, housing subsidies, subsidised lending, QE etc). None of these will make the UK competitive or provide the incentives we need for growth.

    • sjb
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Richard1 wrote: Also the boundary reforms offer to make our 1st past the post system [“FPTP”] properly democratic.

      Over nine hundred thousand people voted UKIP in the 2010 General Election (“GE”) – but they have no MPs. Some contributors expect UKIP will poll even better in the next GE. But even if two million people voted for them it seems likely that FPTP will continue to deny them a voice in the House of Commons.

    • David John Wilson
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      To make Britain more competitive we need tax reductions, if there are to be any, in areas that will increase that competitiveness. A prime target should be employers’ NI. This will reduce the cost of exports, help small companies with their cash flow, allow retailers to hold if not reduce prices etc. It could be aimed mainly at the under 25s thus helping to reduce unemployment in that age group. Any effect on government departments will reduce their demand for tax payers’ money.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Also the boundary reforms offer to make our 1st past the post system properly democratic.

      No they won’t. FPTP will still allow people to become an MP with 20% of the votes even if boundary reforms go ahead.

      • David John Wilson
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Permalink


        I think that you maths is a little out. It is very rare for an MP to be elected with only 20% of the vote. It needs at least 6 candidates almost splitting the vote evenly between them.

        I do wish people would stop making up statistics and then quoting them as fact.

        • uanime5
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          While it’s rare for an MP to be elected with 20% of the votes nevertheless it is a fact that this can happen under FPTP. However under AV, STV, or PR this would be impossible and no party would be able to get 47% of the seats because they got 36% of the votes.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 24, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

            So what? Anything is preferable to those dreadful Party lists that we have to choose between for the 2014 MEP elections. Can I choose Danial Hannan plus UKIP candidates? No, I can not. If I want Daniel Hannan, I must also vote for a load of dreadful Europhile dross that the Conservative Party imposes on us.

            Let us hope that the process of choosing Conservative MEP candidates is more transparent and less biased than it was in 2009. Mr Redwood would do both himself and us a favour by trying to exert an influence.

  28. Graham
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Would like to have said something supportive about tackling immigration (etc) but unfortunately there is nothing discernably positive to show.

    Oh well – it will be too late very soon to do anything anyway.

  29. Major Frustration
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Good try JR – is there a reshuffle in the offing?

  30. zorro
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Believe me John, it gives me no pleasure whatsoever to comment on the Coalition. What annoys me was Cameron’s inability to deliver a Conservative government because of his machinations…..All we have done is state the progress/lack of progress so far and the inhibitors to progress.

    In paragraph 3, you mention that you like the ‘stated intention’ to get down the deficit (not even the debt) which speaks volumes. In paragraph 5, what you describe is almost a party within a party. It can’t go on like this for much longer.


  31. APL
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    JR: “Several of the items related to EU powers and policies, where there is one Eurosceptic party and one pro EU party in the coalition.”

    If you want measured replies you need to stop baiting your readership with this (quoted) sort of ‘inaccuracy’. It is provocative and incorrect.

    Even if we take your assertion at face value and I imagine you want us to believe the Tory party is the EUrosceptic member of the coalition, clearly the Lib Dems aren’t, then an EUrosceptic party led by EUrophiles is the same as two Europhilic parties in the coalition.

  32. Liz
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    The education and welfare reforms, if they are carried out properly, are the most important things the coalition has done. Trashing the education system carried out by the left in the name of social engineering over the past 40-50 years has left this country at the bottom of the Western education systems league table. A tragedy for a country that must live by its brains. Solving the huge amounts of waste in the welfare system would go a long way to reducing the defiucit.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps the best way to fix the education system is to replace A-levels with the International Baccalaureate. As this qualification is independently assessed there won’t be any grade inflation and it makes it easy to compare how well the UK does compared to other developed countries. Odd that the Government doesn’t want to implement this.

      • zorro
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        Some schools do have it. I understand that it is more challenging overall, which would be a good thing.


      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        Or we could restore A levels to the standard that they were before UK governments (mainly Labour) starting dumbing them down. Then we wouldn’t need to kow tow to the French.

  33. Mark W
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    There is no doubt that little details are occuring that could never recieve publicity. For example the huge MOT testing centres of commercial vehicles appear to be, being wound down and the professional testers are spending days performing the MOT tests at commercial sites. Initially this must be an additonal cost to the governemnt, but long term the upkeep of the premises as well as the capital of the governemnts balance sheet will be a saving. These tiny examples must exist in other industries, noticed only by those vigilant enough to care.

    The ridiculous clash of ideolgy over public vs private is one that has been permitted to “centre” on the left’s side. For example I have my teeth checked at the partial expense of the NHS, but in a private practice, as do many people. Far more efficient envirmonent than a hospital could ever be due to it being specialized in teeth. Are Specsavers evil as they are private providers of eye care?

    Where the Conservative party have failed, to my mind, is allowing conservative view to require an apology of some sort. Why? Have confidence and spend a little more time being critical of the left’s agenda. This isn’t a new problem. It has been going on for some time.

    The Jimmy Carr tax avoidance was a open goal for debate. He was allowed to get away with a hollow apology (a real one would have been to have repaid a few years worth of previously avoided tax, not just start paying now). But to me Jimmy Carr was correct in his action. I wouldn’t wish to pay over £ 1.5m in tax either. If the combined Tax/NIC rate was nearer a more realistic 30% it may have been different. And why does the NIC still exist, the merger of these two is long overdue. To his credit Gordon Brown did achieve the merger of Customs & Excise with Inland Revenue. Along with the minimum wage they were Labours sole contributions to the greater good.

  34. The PrangWizard
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    It takes time to stop the momentum of a juggernaut and I was encouraged at the outset, but I’ve lost confidence that anything worthwhile can be done in the coalition. I always feared that the LibDems would be a subversive and treacherous drag on progress, party above country for them every time. My concerns were about the seemingly endless growth of the State and the march to state control over every aspect of life and the criminalisation of innocent activities. Credit where credit is due and some things have been done, but no-where near enough. The State remains far too complex, virtually out of control and democracy is in danger.
    Somehow steps must be taken, radical ones, to reduce the size of the bureaucracy. Simplify the processes and the state will shrink of its own accord. We know that but how the heck do we do it?

    If I might use the state pension as an example. Could we go, or should that be return, to a paper based entitlement system? Everyone can purchase entitlement stamps, whenever they wish, as many or a few as they wish. A personal thing. Stick the stamps in a book which we all have to keep safe, and when enough have been saved by whatever age is deemed ‘pension age’ the state pension can be collected. X number of stamps buys Y amount of pension.
    Just a thought and only about the state pension system, for consideration.

  35. Atlas
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    It is not a lot but probably the dropping of ID cards. Mind you, I think Gove is trying to put some quality back into our educational system – and that could be the most important result of the Administration.

    Like others who have contributed to this posting of yours I find precious little to applaud and an awful lot to be dismayed at. How much of this is down to Policy (which is misguided, nay malevolent sometimes) and how much is down to the Personalities of the Ministers is not easily answered from outside the proverbial Westminster bubble. I presume the civil service are the source of 90% of the legislation, with Ministers in their usual role of being rubber stamps.

  36. Sir Richard Richard
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Isn’t it telling, that the M4 bus lane has to count as one of the coalitions greatest achievements?

    Even avoiding the EU, opening a new grammar school is still illegal, we’re still slaved to green zealotry, pistols for sports shooting are still illegal, the Equality and Human Rights commission is alive and well, the Equality Act and Human Rights Act are both merrily interfering with our lives, police still drive in cars the majority of the time instead of walking on their own through neighbourhoods, etc., etc.

  37. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I’m glad that it’s no longer necessary to stand outside SEERA meetings holding placards and handing out leaflets. However we must have a devolved Parliament and government for the whole of England, not just to give the English some kind of parity with the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish, but also to put a final stop to the attempts to break up England into EU regions. Because the enemies of the English, both domestic and foreign, have no intention of giving up on that and they will keep trying.

    Apart from that I struggle to think of any specific measure taken by the coalition which I actively welcome, it’s more a case of putting up with some things and hating others.

    But in general one has to be grateful that it hasn’t heeded the reckless advice offered by those who assume that it would be possible to simply chop public spending by a quarter without collapsing the economy.

    Unfortunately the coalition seems to be going a bit too far in the opposite direction; there must come a point where the Bank of England has to stop creating new money and using it to rig the gilts market so that the government can fund its budget deficit.

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Last point – in theory yes, but there are some unique circumstances which are allowing them to continue this course. Namely, the mess in the Eurozone, the expectation of massive QE to save the Euro, massive QE in USA, and UK non membership of the Eurozone to name a few. If we were in the Eurozone now, Greece would be a sideshow.


      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        Yes, maybe the eurofederalists should be grateful that we didn’t join the euro, although that won’t stop them trying to get us into it.

  38. norman
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    So after two and a bit years the reasons we have for voting Conservative next time are:

    A stated intention to lower the deficit by raising taxes (they are raising both. I may as well state I want all citizens to visit Mars next year but should this be a reason to vote for me?)

    A closure of some bus lane somewhere that no doubt makes life a little easier for some people. I don’t even know where the M4 is.

    The million jobs created – why is that a reason to vote Conservative? What specific policies encouraged those? The increase in National Insurance? Capital Gains? Increase in regulations? No sir, you can’t claim credit for that, chances are this would have happened under Darling / Brown, nothing suggests to me anything this coalition has done has encouraged private sector job growth.

    Raising lower threshold – a Lib Dem policy and a good one. The Conservative counerpoint of lowering the middle threshold to pull millions (yes, it is millions) more into the 40% bracket so the ‘rich’ don’t benefit doesn’t seem like a reason to vote Conservative to me, and that was the proposition, not why we should vote for the coalition. If anything this policy is a reason not to vote Conservative.

    Increase in benefits (pensions as well as 5.2% on all the rest). Do you realise the size of deficit and debt we have? Are you really sure you want to include this on a list of reasons to vote Conservative rather than Labour? What would Labour have done differently? In fact they may even have performed better. Again, another reason not to vote Conservative.

    So to sum up the main reason to vote Conservative is that they’ll print massive amounts of money, borrow massive amounts of money, massively increase taxes in order to hand out a few sheckels to pensioners.

    How does this gel with the expectations you had in May 2010? Although knowing Cameron and Osborne better than any of us they may have actually done better than you thought! For the rest of us there is no reason to vote Conservative over Labour, remember that’s the question, why you rather than Labour? Listing things Labour would also have done and saying ‘there you go’ isn’t cutting it.

    Vote UKIP or stay at home friends. They have no chance of winning an MP but we must deny Cameron and Osborne as many votes as possible and send a message to the Conservative party that we want a successful government who will improve the situation the country finds itself in.

  39. David
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I am very happy about the benefit cap.
    I think it makes Britain a lot fairer place.
    However I think it does not go far enough. I know some pro single mums who live in housing that I cannot afford. Why should someone get a nice house because they had a baby with a stranger?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink


      That gets me going every time! The welfare state is not so much benevolent as malevolent in a lot of cases. It removes self-reliance, and in its place, promotes indolence, sloth, and fecklessmess. Some people who find themselves thrown onto the rocks of adversity through no fault of their own, are deserving of the nation’s help, as befits a civilised society. But a policy that rewards old yo-yo knickers for having kid after kid without any intension of ever contributing to society, or their children’s upkeep, just has to be wrong.

      I want to see the elimination of child poverty, but creating more of them with misguided policies simply isn’t the answer. Some will always milk the system with little or no regard for those who pay for it all.

      So where is the legislation that would put this right?

      Another let-down and a black mark against this useless coalition, although I am more than confident IDS would do things differently if he could. So where is the blockage in the system?


      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        It would be a start to measure poverty in absolute terms rather than relative terms. At the moment, if the poor get an income increase of 1%, the middle classes get an income increase of 10%, and the well-to-do get an income increase of 20%, the official statistics will record an increase in poverty. Duh!!!

        • uanime5
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

          If prices increase by more than 1% then the poor have become poorer in real terms.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 24, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

            I was referring to real increases after inflation is taken into account. You can’t get away from the fact that egalitarians portray more as less.

  40. Alte Fritz
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    There is an interesting difference between how people feel and what can objectively be pointed to as a set of achievements. I feel that the Coalition is trying in very difficult circumstances, but its principal attraction is that it is not the previous government, now, all too easily forgotten.

    The Coalition would have to go a very long way down for that massive advantage to be forgotten.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Given that the economy was growing after the previous Government has to bail out the banks but has not stopped and is heading towards recession it seems that most of the current problems are due to the current Coalition.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        It wasn’t growing half as fast as the government’s deficit.

        • uanime5
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

          Given that Osborne has increased borrowing but reduced growth Labour’s plan was much more effective.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 24, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

            Labour didn’t have a plan, just a spending binge.

  41. Julian
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Cancelling id cards was a very good thing. Continuing with the aircraft carriers was good as well. Also the coalition has put a bit more emphasis on Parliament as the decision making body in a democracy.

  42. Anne Palmer
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Do YOU like the Coalition Government John? Exactly who voted them into power? The LIBDEMS seem to have more powew than the Conservatives because they have to be kept on board, don’t they?

    I used to always vote for the Conservatives until I realised that I was wasting my vote, for they seem to want to have the money the vast expenses and the votes but want foreigners to make our laws that even they have to obey. Soon, and especially now that our PM has implemented the EU’s Regions via the EU’s Localism Bill with its elected Mayors and elected Police Chiefs, there will be no point in having anyone at all in that once wonderful Houses of Parliament. All very sad.

  43. merlin
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    What has the Coalition done for you so far is the question, this makes the assumption in that Government does things for you, you as an individual do things for your self, likewise all Governments do things for themselves to benefit there own intentions. Consequently the less Government, and the less laws the happier I am. The sooner people realise that in order to be successful in life you have to do things for yourself the happier we will all be. Over the last 20 years the impression has been made in gullable people’s minds that somehow Governments exist to help you which they don’t. Governments exist in order to gain power so that they can control you completeley, and they all have hidden agendas in order to accomplish this. Unfortunately and I am sorry to repeat myself again but we now have more Government, laws than we have ever had before and under this Coalition and EU laws and governance are acceleratring rapidly.

  44. scottspeig
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Michael Gove’s school reforms – although would have been easier/quicker/better to reintroduce grammar schools

    NHS reform – I do support Lansley’s reforms and hope they find their way through.

    IDS welfare reforms – although I would have preferred him to have gone further.

    The end of the good.

    The bad – continuation of socialist economics, introduction of stupid legislation (gay marriage, lords reform etc), a useless PM, interfering in other Nations’ civil wars, spending money we don’t have on foreign countries (incl. some that don’t even need it ie India & Pakistan).

    Thats off the top of my head, and not even a mention of the EU until now!!! Plus you have the idiotic decision of giving Scottish 16 year olds the right to vote in a referendum and thinking it won’t create a precedent! I mean, How do these idiots get a job?!? Seriously!?! And I do mean IDIOT!!!

    Anyway John, the only solution is a new PM, a new Chancellor, a new front bench, and some backbone. So unless Cameron announces ghis resignation and installs some conservative MPs into the cabinet, you as a party will fail to govern sensibly and fail to win an election for the 5th time in a row!!

  45. merlin
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Generous state pensions £130-£150 per week if your’e lucky, £6000-£7000 a year, you must be joking!

  46. Paul
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    The only good thing about this Coalition is that now they have shown the public how incompetent it is, the Conservatives and David Cameron have no chance of being re-elected in 2015 and that can only be a good thing.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      But as has been repeatedly stated here, we only replace like with like, one pro-EU government for another.

      Labour would be just as big a disaster as this present shower. Last time, I voted Conservative as a tactic to get rid of Brown. Next time, I’m voting with my conscience, for the only party that says the right things – UKIP and if that upsets some of my life-long Tory friends, then so be it. The message is clear. Change their leader in order to change their direction, or go down the tubes. It’s entirely up to them. Remember the 1983 landslide? There is still a vast reservoir of support for pro-British, anti-EU policies. All it needs is the right person to lead us, and get rid of all the ‘wets’.


      • APL
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        Tad Davison: “Labour would be just as big a disaster as this present shower.”

        Let’s not forget that Labour were a big disaster and largely presided over building shambles that the wretched ConLib coalition has utterly failed to address.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        Don’t fool yourself, Tad. Labour would be ten times as big a disaster as the “present shower”. They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They think that our massive deficit and debts will just disappear. They have opposed every single coalition cut – and those have been puny. And they have proposed few specific tax increases, even though they will need a massive tax increase to fund their programme.

        Finally, they signed the Lisbon ‘Treaty’ without so much as a by your leave and are manifestly content for the UK to be a province (or several provinces) in a Franco-German Federal Superstate.

  47. merlin
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    According to this article we have one of the worst state pension systems on the globe-what ever happened to all that tax I paid?


  48. Michael Read
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    NHS. Not a dicky-bird. Said you wouldn’t. A bare-faced Lansley. And you did. Oh yes, you did. You did. You did. Just like the bleedin’ railways. A special curse and sticking pins permitted here for Southeastern Railways. The bloody deficit. The Bullingdon Bovver Boyos – Dave is looking, well, just like a Dave, as in gormless and defeated. Need I mention the Aid budget. The EU, of course, the EU – but the EU zombie warriors are already here in Whitehall and Town Hall. Taking that down will mean a Grand Star Chamber for the public sector (something subtle for the NHS, I admit). I forgot the bankers, obviously. Nick Clegg needs to be taught some terminal manners.

  49. forthurst
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful; after thirteen years of anti-English government, there obviously was little left to do, so steady as you go was always going to be the right approach. In particular, the government should be congratulated on being especially paranoid with ordinary people expressing dissent with their multicultural utopian vision. With so many people in the coalition or their financial backers not in point of fact being English and having an inbuilt bias against if not outright hatred of the English people, this is hardly surprising. (etc etc) So well done, keep up the good work; closing the M4 bus lane was particularly impressive. Incidentally, what will all you ‘Conservatives’ do when most of your prospective supporters have either died off or emigrated? Perhaps you could become the Gay marriage Pink party and steal Brighton Pavilion from the Greens.

    • forthurst
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      There is an article in today’s FT, “Oliver Letwin: the unseen architect of coalition policy” otherwise Cameron’s mainframe computer, followed by a reader’ comment:

      “Its a rather strange puff piece that attributes to Letwin both the Poll Tax (which brought Thatcher down), the Beecroft and NHS reform fiascos. Surely that makes him Steve Hilton’s rival as Labour’s secret Wunderwaffe?

      Beecroft has no evidential base, no intellectual coherence and no electoral support. It would lead to a continual flow of news stories about 19th century style abuses playing exactly to Labour’s songsheet. Could Letwin put Labour in power for 10 years for a second time ? They must love him to bits.”

  50. Dan H.
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Rather than the ranty whinge-fest that this thread seems in danger of becoming, let us instead look at the possible alternative to the Coalition.

    Imagine a minority Tory administration, with the Lib-Dems by turns siding with Labour and Conservatives as the whim took them, and Parliament being thus hamstrung most of the time. Absolutely NOTHING would have been achieved under such a regime, save for further balkanisation-by-stealth by the EU and a continuation of the electoral boundary gerrymandering.

    We should really consider ourselves truly lucky to have the Coalition; the alternative would have been far, far worse!

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Yes, nothing being done might have avoided some of the anti industrial tosh which has come on the books……Oh, and Cast Elastic could have called another election, and campaigned vigorously (unlike in 2010) for a good majority…..


    • Tad Davison
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but you make a valid point, and that leads me to conclude the following:

      The removal of Labour and Gordon Brown was of the utmost imperative. There had to be some kind of coalition agreement to see that happen. I would have preferred the Tories to then re-group, come back with proper anti-EU policies to make them electable outright (the very thing that denied them outright victory in the first place, but late is better than never) and call an early general election as happened in 1974. But I wonder if the Lib Dems would have joined a coalition without the chance of being in government for a five-year fixed term?

      We can only ponder and speculate, but I think Cameron could now call their bluff and push for proper anti-EU policies, and let his coalition partners take any flack for their lack of implementation.

      The people are broadly Euro-sceptic and want representation. They presently don’t have that. They will warm to a party that promises to deliver. To make this point again, the Tories have a massive chance to take the country with them, and the others would have little choice but to follow their lead. That they don’t seize this golden opportunity tells us their hearts are not with it.

      It’s depressing, but as others have rightly said, we’re not going to get out of this pro-EU hole in decades! We really DO need change right now, just like we did in May of 1940, because this nation’s entire future depends upon it.


  51. Arunas
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    What the Coalition has done? Very little of what they have promised and what they have been voted in for. Deficit, big state, quangos, welfare, immigration are still growing. NHS is even bigger money sink than it used to be, and delivering less for that. Red tape bonfire is just a churn, replacing old red tape with the new one, which is probably more expensive than leaving the old regulations in place. HS2 is forging ahead regardless of excess capacity on existing lines. Airports are at capacity and are limiting foreign trade; there is no even a debate in sight. City is crumbling under the weight of its past excesses. Nationalised banks record loss after loss. RBS lost so much value, the shares had to be consolidated to remain listed on the market.
    The only bright spot, and the most important one, is the education refoms that Mr. Gove is quitly pushing ahead. If I had to choose a party again, this single achievement would outweight any of the other failings. I am very surprised to see this main achievement omitted from the list.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      How are Gove’s plans to have schools without qualified teachers going to fix any problems? Nations that have a better education level than the UK do so because their teachers are well trained, not by hiring whoever is cheapest.

  52. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, I don’t think that a minority Conservative government could have delivered deficit reduction on the scale required. It’s possible to argue that the Coalition hasn’t delivered either. However, with the temporary boost of the assets of the Post Office pension fund, the probable resumption of economic growth and a further round of public expenditure cuts, we should (after the 2013 budget) have got the annual deficit down to below £100 billion. After that, coalition will be unnecessary.

    Then, at long last, we will be able to specify the European policy that we want if we get the opportunity to govern alone.

  53. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    There are – no doubt, good aspects of the Coalition Government. They are not Labour (Blair & Brown & Co.) – which is a big plus. After Labour’s Wars and destruction of the Economy – any Party would look like an improvement.

    The Coalition’s early warmongering in Libya was a big disappointment. Libya may not had been a bastion of Free Market Democracy, but it was better than the Anarchy that exists there now. Plus it cost Tax Payers £3 million per day to destroy a Country. Labour’s disgusting lies over WMD got us involved in Iraq after first entering Afghanistan. Con/Lib then carried on with this policy in Libya without hardly breaking step with the previous Government.

    The austerity measures (although in a Household Budget would work), in a National Economy do not work, are are not working. To cut back spending on items or services that one cannot afford certainly works in a Household, because the source of money in a Household is always created from outside – unless one has a printing press in the Garage.

    A National Economy has a subset Banking and Money Creation Sector. The Government is another subset of that Economy where it has to Borrow most of it’s money from the Private Money Creation Sector. If the Government does not Borrow and the Private Sector Reduces it’s borrowing – the available moeny in the System Reduces, despite negative interest rates.

    In an Austrian School of Economics style World, Low Interest Rates would be indicative of excess amounts of capital looking for investment. This should trigger Businesses to take advantage of that excess of Liquidity and Invest in new Production to promote future consumption. This assumes a fixed and stable monetary system – usually backed by Gold or at least created by the Government – equally stable.

    Unfortunately we do not have a fixed money supply that is simply passed between savers and borrowers, we have debt based money that has to be borrowed into existence. We have the insane situation where we have too much debt and low interest rates in order to encourage more debt, low interest rates encouraging malinvestment and Quantitative Easing storing up a huge force for Massive Inflation if we ever get out of life support.

    It’s not Banking Reform we need, it’s Monetary Reform. Banking Reform without Monetary Reform, in our system, is like handing out Plasters in a Battle Field – it’s not going to save anybody.

    Paul Krugers comments regarding Inflation (is it theft?), where he stated that a small amount of inflation (“3%” – closer to “11%” ) is worth it if it helps the unemployed out of their misery, may be well intentioned and sound well intentioned but seems to skate around the real problem of adding more debt to existing debt. We can’t drink ourselves sober, we can only drink ourselves to death with debt.

    We have two options (excluding Monetary Reform):
    1. Carry on with Quantitative Easing and try and keep the Economy Inflated with barely enough money (or debt) until massive Inflation wipes out all our debts and savings.
    2. Stop Quantitative Easing and Increase Austerity Measure, and watch savings skyrocket and debt become impossible to pay – that includes Treasury Bonds issued by the Government.

    Treasury Bonds divert investment from productive enterprise – if the Government Issue Currency directly (like with coins and notes), more savings would be directed at improving the Economy, the National Debt would Reduce, we could get rid of Brown’s DMO and start to focus on Positive Aspects of the Productive Economy – but I guess too many vested interests in this dead carcus of an Economy are still interested in picking the rest of us clean before retiring to the Bahamas.

    Despite that, it is true that Pensioner’s have had increases (nearing the RPI rate of inflation) and have been slightly better of, but many elderly are forced to pay for their own Nursing Care despite having paid into the NHS all their working lives – which in many case, started at 14 years old. They are now watching their savings being used to pay for medical expenses. Thanks to both Labour and Conservative Governments. Student Loans have also increased, enslaving a future generation – assuming there isn’t massive inflation, of course.

    Nice Try – but it would be nice to have a fairer apprasial of the Coalition – warts and all. Funny how you can miss the fact that the Coalition got us involved in a War (one which I am glad to say you didn’t vote for, although many other “Nice” MPs did vote for it – including Labour MPs).

  54. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I would like to be positive about the Conservative Party too. Please walk this way to the Time Machine.

    I think that if you want to go back and recount Conservative Successes you may have to go back a few years to Robert Peel’s Conservative Government of the 1800s, where he created a Police Force (now the Police is being cut) and introduced the 1844 Bank Charter Act – preventing Private Banks from creating Bank Notes and Coins (but they forgot about credit money which is why the Economy is in the state it’s in today).

    Back then, they had an unstable economy too, created by – wait for it; excessive Private Bank Credit. Chris Graying should know all about this as he studied History at Cambridge. To be fair to Robert Peel’s Government, things didn’t get really bad until 1971 – thanks to Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War. Harold Wilson – thankfully; kept us out of that War and was also honest about inflation with his “the pound in your pocket” speech.

    The Conservative Party does have successes, but just like Labour, hasn’t had any recently.

  55. Derek Emery
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Where the coalition is failing most is in tackling the economy. Policies have made little real difference and growth is low. Policies are set in stone even though they are not working. I suspect there will be low growth next year and the next but bureaucrats and politicians are obliged to be eternally optimistic where the economy is concerned. It’s likely that that Greece will leave the EZ by early next year which will make the UK situation worse.

    There needs to be real changes to return to growth. I’m not sure how much the Libs Dems would prevent changes but their primary interest is to have a booming public sector and to be locked in with the brain-dead anti-business EU. All bureaucrats and 90+% of all politicians have zero understanding of the private sector so are unlikely to come up with anything that works in the real world because they have never been there.

    Adam Posen has said the he and other external members have suggested doing other than just buying gilts and the central bank should consider buying private debt, securitised debt, and bonds issued to finance construction or infrastructure.

    The Bank is taking about more QE which has zero affect as far as improving the economy can be seen by the public. Reform has has some debates on austerity see http://www.reform.co.uk/resources/0000/0435/120718_The_Austerity_Debates.pdf

    The coalition present themselves as lacking intellect, drive, and lacking comprehension of the problem and living on hope that miraculously their present unchanging policies will somehow work. They haven’t worked for over two years and they are not going to work for the next two years either.

    Gay marriage, women of boards etc are all polices that emanate from the unelected EU elite and will do absolutely nothing about the central problem of the economy which the coaliton are continually proving they are not capable of solving. They are just a way of filling in time because the coaliton is clueless about how to fix the economy.

    It is likely they will lose the next election because the economy is what matters most to the public. Labour are Keynesians so the answer to all problems boom or bust is to borrow and spend more on the public sector. I predict that the debt/GDP ratio will continue to climb upwards until a point is reached where commercial lenders are not interested in lending to the UK at rates we can afford. Then the Labour answer has to be print money of steroids to maintain our unaffordable lifestyle.

    • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      You are absolutely correct – the economy is the one thing that the Government should be tackling.

      Keynes was reported to have once said:

      “By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.”

      This seems to be the Policy of both Labour and Conservative (oh, and probably that other Party too – the Small Party).

      Keynes also said:

      “Education is the inculcation of the incomprehensible into the indifferent by the incompetent”
      – this reminds me of neo-classical Economists who currently advise the Government.

      As the Economy is important, I would propose that we have two new Parties:
      1. Neo-Classical Economist Party – i.e. People like Prof Paul Krugman
      2. Classical Economist Party – i.e. People like Prof Steve Keen

      After observing the Important Policies of Labour and Conservative Party over the last few decades, it’s difficult to get A fag paper between any of them.
      1. FirstBuy Scheme – Conservatives
      2. Shared Equity – Labour
      Both dumped Tax Payers money into the Housing Bubble and made Homes more unaffordable helping people buy homes they couldn’t afford at an inflated price. Both Taxed and Spent money into Wars.

      Both are clueless about how to fix the economy and are leading all of us into an economic death spiral. Despite the obvious failures of their Policies (it’s now becoming routine to expect more QE), they refuse to listen.

      The people they choose to listen to are people who did not predict the Crisis. The people they choose NOT to listen to are people who DID predict the Crisis. It is no wonder that the Economy is headed for disaster becasue they are unable to even make common sense decisions about what to do. It’s almost as if the Government is not even in charge because I refuse to think that they are really this stupid.

  56. Mike Fowle
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Dear John, I enjoy your comments but have become increasingly disenchanted with the comments that follow, which so often seem purely negative, with people riding their particular hobby horses, and quoting the Daily Mail and the Telegraph (nuff said). So I am not going to bother to read the comments any more – I shall just read your posts. But for a final comment, I feel that the Coalition was faced with an impossible situation, they have attempted to tackle the deficit, whilst trying to avoid imposing hardship. Possibly that is mistaken, but that is an understandable position. I believe David Cameron is an essentially decent man doing his best. I find the personal vitriol levelled at Cameron in particular but other leading members unpleasant and unfair, but also adolescent. So please keep on posting John, but that is why I shall be observing radio silence in future.

    • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink


      I expect you will not read this but it is useful to know what other people think besides Mr Redwood and his Politician Friends.

      “I believe David Cameron is an essentially decent man doing his best. ”
      (why does this sound so naive).

      A man who goes to one of the most unstable regions of the World (Middle East) and also Asia – accompanied by Arms Dealers suggests a man who is not totally committed to peaceful means of conflict resolution. If you witness two men having a brawl in a Pub in front of you, most people would not immediately supply both men with Firearms. That is what we continue to do in Syria, after first doing it in Libya. If Libya supplied weapons to the IRA, these weapons did not help calm the situation – it prolonged the agony, but to agree with arming rebels in Syria is to agree with supplying weapons to the IRA. The only people who benefit are arms dealers.

      A man who actively sort Military Action in Libya – which has pushed that Country into a state of Anarchy, even if – at the time; it seemed like a good idea, nevertheless has resulted in making the region even more unstable.

      A man who sells Military Hardware in the Middle East and Asia could also be essentially a decent man in a family setting – I guess. But please think about the Families who have been affected by Mr Cameron’s actions, and the future Families who will be devastated by those shiny new weapons after they arrive.

      Some comments – may indeed; be slightly light hearted (at first glance) but there are some very serious and well intentioned motives behind them also.

      • rose
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        ” I expect you will not read this but it is useful to know what other people think besides Mr Redwood and his Politician Friends. ”

        I agree with Mike Fowle.

        If one had the interests of the politicians at heart one would have wished them not to be in government at this time. They are in an impossibly difficult position, vis a vis a fickle and uneducated electorate which has got used to being bribed nad is still being encouraged hourly by the media to believe that is the right awy for government to behave; quite apart from being in coalition with people who disagree fundamentally on both the EU and on taxation and public spending, on the size of the state, and the best way to deliver education and housing etc. and then there is the little matter of the existing permanent secretaries and all those under them.

        As for what to do when a great injustice is about to be dealt: maybe an older and a wiser man would just stand back. But you cannot expect a youngish PM who has been to a school which inculcates chivalry not to feel obliged to intervene. That is being decent. It may not be statesmanlike.

        • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink


          “They are in an impossibly difficult position, vis a vis a fickle and uneducated electorate ”

          This is a very good point and – I would suggest; the first port of call for a Government to enable itself to do the right thing. But I believe that the Government is not going to be able to do this as the people who supply their Campaign Contributions (this is well known) have vested interests in maintaining a badly informed Public.

          Poor Media coverage – inaccurate information in the form of Television Programs (often referenced on this site) and educational materials need to be improved to educate the Public of the realities of the World and not used to manipulate public opinion inorder to accept predetermined policy.

          Julian Assange is often threatened by American Journalists, Politicians and other spokesman due to the embarassing information that he has made available. None of which has resulted in the loss of life of any serving personnel. The shocking actions of Helicopter gunships gunning down unarmed civilians in Iraq was not an isolated incident but has the affect of swaying public opinion away from fighting these pre-emptive Wars or Humanitarian Interventions. Iraq – despite the media propaganda; is worse now than before the War. Eelctricity and Water are in short supply, along with security. There is a chance that Iraq will fall into Civil War.

          The BBC continually pumps out false or misleading information about how the Economy works – which also leads to Public acceptance of policies which actually are making the Economy worse. They also backed up claims of WMD in 45 minutes, which led directly to the Iraq War.

          So you are correct – we need to address the issue of an “uneducated electorate” and all point out inaccuracies in misleading statements or broadcasts in the media wherever we find them.

    • The Realist
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Mike, nothing is impossible if you have the will , drive and fortitude to do what is necessary and right. You sir are reflective of why we are where we are.

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Mike, that would be a shame as I have missed your previous comments.


  57. David Langley
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I did get an increase in my pension, most grateful. I would give it you back if you would get out of the EU project now. I thought a coalition might be good for the country, but I am afraid its the old camel story again, designing a camel when it was supposed to be a racehorse. Not fit for purpose I am afraid, too many members looking for a future sinecure at the EU head office.

  58. David Langley
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    By the way I saw a MP resigning the other day on the box. Some deputy PPS, he said HE was strongly opposed to something. Shouldnt that be “my constituents are strongly opposed” or is that taken as read. I think we have witnessed the London and promotion effect, once you are in the job the electorate comes second that put you in it. Not all MPs are like that I am sure but a resigning issue depends on what we want , the constituents that put you up there to act on the policies you put forward.

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      No. MP’s are not delegates. They are free to act in accordance with their beliefs and concience. You seem to be saying they must do exactly what YOU want them to do.

      • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        Is that why they can have one thing in their manifesto and do the opposite when they get elected?

      • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Nick Clegg?

      • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Funny, I thought MPs were delegates too – silly me.

  59. colliemum
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Is that ‘you’ as in ‘me, personally’, or ‘you’ as in ‘your community/the country as a whole’?

    If it’s for the whole country, then yes, there are some positives, the ones you mention and the few added by others above.

    If it’s for me personally, then it has cost me lots of money – by not sorting out the economy, by not sorting out inflation but prettifying it and using CPI rather than RPI, and by not reining in QE, by not splitting banks into High Street and Investment banks. The abysmal savers’ interest rates together with inflation means that many like me cannot afford any longer to spend money on things we need to replace. My cooker, for example, is now eligible to stand for Parliament … and any breakdown or accident is something to be dreaded. The rise in personal allowance does not make up for this.

    What the coalition needs to do has been chewed over here and elsewhere for some time now. There is however one issue which has been raising its ugly head ever since your colleague David Willets wrote that infamous book.
    I am talking about the more and more acrimonious intergenerational ‘warfare’, which is turning into straight elderly-bashing. It is sad that this government has seemingly given this warfare tacit support by the infamous ‘granny tax’.
    I have no recipe as to how to change this, but I’m blowed if, after years of having to sort of apologise for being white and thus suspect of being ‘racist’, I now am forced to apologise for the temerity of getting old.

    I wish, above all else, that this issue will be addressed, seeing that Dilnot is on the table again.

  60. Bob
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    The two best things the coalition have done is:

    1. Increase of the national speed limit to 80mph

    2. The repatriation of powers from the EU

    Credit where credit is due.

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      No.2….? Have I missed something?


    • Bob
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Zorro.

      The two best things the coalition have done is:

      1. Increase of the national speed limit to 80mph

      2. The repatriation of powers from the EU
      2. Freezing the TV Licence fee

      Credit where credit is due.

      • zorro
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink



      • Richard
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        Number 1…. the 80 mph speed limit….sorry have I missed that…still 70 here in the Midlands
        Actually you are lucky to get above 40

        • Bob
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink


          2nd correction

          The two best things the coalition have done are:

          1. Increase of the national speed limit to 80mph
          1. Implied that they might increase the national speed limit to 80mph at some point in the future if the Lib Dems will let them.

          2. The repatriation of powers from the EU
          2. Freezing the TV Licence fee

          How’s that for a list of achievements? and only halfway through their term of office too!

  61. Credible
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    It would help if we had a chancellor who knows something about economics. He has, I believe, a history degree and no experience in anything except politics. Then we have a secretary of state for education who knows nothing about education (he was a journalist I believe) and the list goes on. A bunch of very rich (some corrupt) career politicians with little knowledge or experience that is needed to get us out of this mess. Not that the other parties can bask in any glory mind.

  62. rose
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    “They argue the Lib Dems want income tax cuts.”

    Not the ones I hear. This is the main difference between them: the conservatives wanted tax cuts, including a vote winning cut in inheritance tax, and the liberals didn’t, though they made a great song and dance about that bottom tier of taxpayers – as if only they wanted that reform.

    I was very pleased about the redesignation of gardens as green field sites, done in the first week or so. And yes I was pleasced about the HIPs. It seemed it might go on like that, including the QUANGO cutting – and then suddenly the liberals and civil servants started getting obstructive, and not just over the EU.

    I was pleased that the foreign policy was more common sense and less “ethical” i.e. less naive. I was pleased that the manners and standard of English improved markedly. This may not matter to some, but I have really appreciated it, and no longer curl up with embarrassment when HM’s ministers utter. I really appreciate for instance, having Sir George Young as Leader of the House. What a civilized and civilizing presence, and how obviously intelligent and honourable. I infinitely prefer the sweet nature and charm of George Osborne and Danny Alexander to Gordon Brown and Ed Balls.

    In short, I don’t feeel they are a bunch of ferrets fighting in a sack as I used to during the Brown /Blair days. I enjoy listening to people who don’t use ghastly jargon too. Straight plain English from Mr Maude and Mr Letwin. I know the media pretend to hate good plain English and call it “gaffes.” But I have been missing it since the 1980s when only the underlings used pretentious jargon.

    The other thing I like is that there aren’t endless media-pleasing reshuffles. This must make for unmpopularity on the conservative back benches in particular though, as there are so many more of them than liberals wanting jobs. but it reassures me that ministers might just be at last getting the upper hand with their civil servants, not the other way around.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      You are very easily pleased.

      • rose
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        We were asked specifically what had pleased us. Surely it is only polite to reply?

        • rose
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          I could make a long list of things that haven’t pleased me – the holding down of interest rates and the printing of money would probably be at the top, and the increases in public spending in real terms, as well as the failure to tell the liberals where they get off over the EU and taxation. But that is not what we were asked for..

          • rose
            Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

            Oh, and of course, the failure to shut the door on mass immigration.

    • rose
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Another thing I like is that they aren’t all the same – Eric Pickles and Ken Clarke are both delightfully confident and clued up, but very different. Lady Warsi is different again. One feels people are allowed to differ in their opinions too. This is healthy and normal, and to be encouraged, but another thing the media pretend is undesirable. The stereotype of a ministry of all Etonians is more absurd than it has ever been. Anyway, Etonians have always differed hugely – look at Tam Dalyell and Jonathan Porritt for instance, to say nothing of Nicolas Ridley as compared with Douglas Hurd or Sir Ian Gilmour. The differences between Etonians can be much greater than between, say, Jeremy Browne and William Hague.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      A cut in inheritance tax isn’t vote winning as only the wealthy will benefit from it. A cut in VAT is a different matter.

      • rose
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        so why did the opinion polls reflect that it was?

        • rose
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

          People have aspirations, you know, even in this incentive destroying country.

  63. Mr. Bubbles
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Just three or four main good things really (though only one even remotely affects me):

    – Gove’s school reforms.

    – Increase in Income Tax personal allowances

    – Work programmes and certain benefit changes. As a young person who’s currently unemployed and genuinely looking for a job, I’d very much welcome the chance to take part in a work experience programme in my locality. So that work scheme that caused protests is actually a step in the right direction in my opinion.

    – Scrapping ID cards.

    Unfortunately the list of bad stuff is much, much longer:

    – Increasing the foreign aid budget (this is a disgrace, and the main reason I will not vote Conservative at the next election, and regret voting Conservative last time around. I can barely begin to express how angry this policy makes me).

    – Our EU policy. The second major reason I won’t be voting Conservative whilst the current leadership remains in place. We’re still signed up to ever closer union. We still don’t have a party at Westminster that represents the public’s view on this issue. And we still haven’t had a referendum.

    – The mess that is the health reforms. I don’t even know what they are, and nor does anyone in government except for the health secretary apparently (and no, I’m not prepared to just trust that he’s got it right!). It wasn’t in the manifesto and they said they weren’t going to introduce another pointless reorganisation of the NHS; it seems like an entirely self-inflicted and unnecessary wound at this point.

    – Continued funding of Union pilgrims.

    – House of Lords reforms.

    – HS2.

    – The attempt at votes for prisoners.

    – The lack of spine revolving around the deportation of foreign criminals.

    – War with Libya, continued presence in Afghanistan. I’m sick to death of our politicians sending troops off to die in pointless wars and getting involved in conflicts that are none of our business. The last war that was actually justified was the Falkalnds Wars in 1982. Stop using troops to big up your egos, it’s disgraceful.

    – ‘Continuity Brown’, as Douglas Carswell calls it – bailouts, debt, money printing, spending, and so on. A chancellor who’s clearly unqualified for the job (jobs for the boys is alive and well!), a Business Secretary who hates business, and a general air of incompetence the surrounds almost the entire cabinet.

    – Going in completely the wrong direction on law and order. Sentences need to be tougher, not more lenient. And Ken Clarke would be advised to keep his mouth shut on the subject of rape.

    Those are just the negatives off the top of my head. I’m sure the list would be much longer if I sat down and thought about it.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      – Work programmes and certain benefit changes. As a young person who’s currently unemployed and genuinely looking for a job, I’d very much welcome the chance to take part in a work experience programme in my locality. So that work scheme that caused protests is actually a step in the right direction in my opinion.

      Well I’ve got good news for you, as the Work Programme is voluntary you can go on it right now, rather than being forced to go on it by the Job Centre after being unemployed for a year.

      While on this programme you’ll be assigned a provider that will force to come into their office every week to perform a 2 hour voluntary job search because doing anything useful is too much hassle for them (failure to comply will result in your benefits being stopped). Sadly there’s no opportunities for work experience because talking to companies is hard. Enjoy doing the same pointless thing every week for 2 years.

      If you want to take part in work experience I recommend the Mandatory Work Activity where you’re forced to work for 4 weeks in which ever company the Job Centre sends you to (usually a shop where you stack shelves). Alternatively you can be made to take part in the Voluntary Work Experience for 8 weeks. In either case failure to comply with any order from your employer will result in your benefits being stopped for 3 months.

      Remember the Government is committed to bullying the unemployed relentlessly until they stop claiming benefits and become homeless, so you may want to practise finding bins to eat out of and using newspapers as a blanket before winter sets in.

      • Cliff. Wokingham
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink


        I am starting to worry as I find myself agreeing with you on this topic.

        I should also point out that forcing people to work for nothing is also a criminal sanction loved by the courts at the moment; X number of hours of unpaid work. Now before someone says that people on the work scheme are not working for nothing because they’re getting their benefits, I suspect many on unpaid work as a judicial punishment too, are getting benefits. I am sure they don’t loose pro rata for the time they’re working for free.

        Does this scheme/scam effectively criminalise the unemployed?

        If there are jobs, firms should recruit people to do them and pay the going rate. Dispite what the court has recently said, working for free and being forced to do so IS very similar to slavery in my opinion. The state should not act as a constant source of cheap labour for private companies, just to make those companies and shareholders even more profits. Please note, I think companies making profit is a good thing but, how they make those profits is also important. The work scheme seems to me to be little more than YTS for adults and we all know how useful the YTS scheme was.

        There is still money about and we need the media to stop scaremongering about how we’re all doomed. This will restore confidence in people and companies and they will start to spend again. The way our economy works, we rely on people and companies spending money they have made. Whilst everyone is scared stiff, everyone holds on to their cash and the only people doing well are some dodgy businesses that use the fear created to exploit people more through longer hours and less pay.
        We have taken a great step backwards in this country and we need to rebalance things now. Sadly I have no confidence in our leadership to do it so, perhaps we’re all doomed, especially given we have another party with the same crazy ideas sat in the wings ready to come back in a couple of years time; the ONLY difference when Labour do get back in, will be a different face in a different suit. The policies and outcome will be the same.

        • Bob
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          Quite right, the best way to get people back to work is not to pay them for doing nothing.

          It’s all about incentives and disincentives.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 24, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

            Yes. Why is the cap on benefits set equal to the average salary? You may have heard a back bench Tory MP from Leicester contrasting the £25,400 pre-tax average income in his constituency with the £26,000 tax free benefit cap. Cap lower, please, IDS.

          • David
            Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

            I agree 100% the benefit cap is far too high.
            If you can’t afford to live in an expensive part of London – don’t. I would like to live in a nicer part of London but I can’t afford to.

  64. Barry Reed
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the government as a coalition:
    We have useless wind farms when the wind is too strong we have no electricity when there is no wind we have no electricity. There is no policy on future generation of electricity so we can look forward to power “blackouts” in the not too distant future.
    To pay for these subsidised wind farms my electricity bill has gone through the roof.
    We have “Green Taxes” that aren’t green at all, Danny Alexander and Osborne should be honest and just call them taxes.
    We have been refused a referendum on the EU, Cameron promised us an open and honest government, totally transparrent, this government appears to have forgotten they are supposed to be a servant of the people, what we appear to have is an elected dictatorship.
    I would like to say something positive about David Cameron’s coalition Government but I’m afraid at the moment I can’t. As the saying goes they couldn’t run a bath!
    From one extremely dissapointed Conservative supporter.

    • bob webster
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      As if the “feed in tariffs’ were not pernicious enough, we now learn that electricity consumers may have been fiddled out of 660 million by energy companies who are deliberately overloading the national grid to gain stand-down payments for their windfarms. Will anyone go to prison? Not a chance.
      Will the suppliers responsible have to pay compensation to the domestic and business consumers they have ripped off? No way.
      This is symbolic and symptomatic of the UK the last Labour Government created and which this miserable, inept coalition is all too happy to perpetuate. Their achievements so far? VAT at 20%. Public spending still out of control along with the deficit and national debt. Economic growth flatlining. Mass immigration continuing unabated. No repatriation of powers from the EU. Endless u-turns and backsliding from the most spineless and untrustworthy PM since Chamberlain.

  65. Barbara Stevens
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    My crouch would be ever silly green taxes, which customers cannot afford to pay on top of the bills they already receive. The rest of the world does not impose these kinds of taxes, at least I’ve no knowledge they do. So why should we. Has most of our energy companies are foreign owned now we are locked in to ever increasing prices, as they are based in the EU. We’ve seen enough of how we are robbed on a daily bases. Of course green policies are a Lib Dem practice, and they care not one jot how people will pay for their mad ideas. My anger is the Conservatives going along with it. Come next winter many will not be able to warm their homes, and in the 21st century is a disgrace, while the last, and this government fritter our money on foreign aid, against our wishes. Gordon Brown gave money away everytime some one knocked on No 10, they left flowing with cash, and Cameron appears to be doing the same. What’s the difference between them, none as I see it. I’m disapointed with the Conservatives, big time; we were promised much and got zero. Promises broken, on immigration, the EU, and no real impact on benefits at all. They still live the life of riley as I can testify with my neighbours. Who’s kidding who here?

  66. peter davies
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    I want a government that backs off our lives by taking away the armies of clip board bureaucrats, cuts taxes, gets the national finances in order and doesn’t interfere with our lives any more than it needs to.

    The coalition has done bits of this though nowhere near enough. Also a government that has the backbone to rescind anything pushed upon us that doesn’t suit us, like undesirables we don’t want but cant get rid of because some unknown judges in Strasbourg told us.

    I get the feeling that the tories would be the most likely to do this but are probably hampered by the libs.

  67. Jon
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Putting aside what made Christine Legarde shudder at the thought had Labour won the election I’ll pick one general area of great satisfaction.

    Since May 2010 I have enjoyed the same type of feeling that I did when Boris first kicked Livinstone to touch. A sense of oppression being lifted and freedom returning.

    We lived under “positive discrimination”, any regime regards its’ form of discrimination positive. The fact is it was discrimination, all people should be free and equal so its been fantastic not having that socialist big brother discriminatory anti British, anti white male anti achievemennt anti historical achievements anti private sector chucked into the opposition.

    It was so refreshing to see Mr Cameron and others busying themselves with foreign trade missions! Those aren’t in the Labour dictionary. There’s many more things like the non jobs, the £80m to China, the £800m to India, the £60m to fund palestinian terror propaganda,, anyone questioning the (conduct of particular religions and groups in danger of being branded racist-ed) Its just being branded racist for raising issues that we raise against similar people in other communities.

    It is no suprise that Lib Dems and Torys should be able to find much common ground. Both like freedom and equality, values not shared by socialists in the Labour party. I would say the current liberal tory is not far off Gladstones’ vision.

    I find it puzzling to see so called Liberals moving to Labour socialism, the enemy of freedom and liberties in this world over history.

    It is childish journalism that we have, we are in a dangerous place economically, our social and welfare provisions over a generation are now at risk after Labour’s catastrophic mishandling. The media needs to grow up fast, they don’t need to search far for real stories, they should stop wasting time on the rubbish that I assume was in the Times.

  68. Jon
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    .. Lets try a couple more, Brown becomes PM and first trip is to inspect the Chinese army.
    Conservatives get elected and they re engage with the Commonwealth countries (a 1/3rd of the population?) and go on business trips abroad to get work and jobs and taxes.

    Ken set up an expensive foreign office in drug ridden freedom oppressive corrupt Venesuala whilst stocking Country Hall with fine wines and PR consultants.
    Boris gets in, sells the wine and flies to New York to promote Britain for business and sacks the army of propogandists in County hall.

    Yes things are so much better!

  69. uanime5
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    While the Lib Dem’s increase in the Income Tax personal allowance was a good thing most people couldn’t benefit from this due to the Conservative’s lowering of the 40p tax rate and reduction in child tax credits. I do remember which policies were proposed by which parties.

    Unsure if the private sector has created 1 million new jobs since the coalition took power in 2010 given that unemployment constantly grew during most of this period. If 1 million jobs were created in the private sector while the number of people unemployed rose by more than 1 million unless the working population increased by more than 1 million each year or almost all of these jobs were short term contracts the number of new jobs created must have been far fewer than 1 million.

    While I appreciate the Coalition ending the New Deal and appreciate that the Work Programme is monthly rather than daily, it’s still a huge waste of time. I also dislike that the Job Centre and Work Programme providers pretend the Work Programme is mandatory and that they can punish you with a loss of benefits for refusing to do anything, when its a voluntary course and the Job Centre has to ensure the claimant isn’t being exploited. I doubt that the failure of the Coalition to tackle these abuses is an accident as certain Ministers need the Work Programme to massage the unemployment statistics.

    I did like the Coalition’s plan to withdraw benefits at a rate of 66p for every pound earned as this would fix the problem where it only pays to work 16 hours per week or full time. Sadly they didn’t implement this.

    Here are some of the things the Coalition did that I don’t like: trebling tuition fees, privatising the NHS, welfare cuts, free schools (giving taxpayers money to failed private schools), academies that aren’t required to have trained teachers, apprentice wage (cheap labour), the mandatory work activity and workfare (free labour for companies), rising unemployment, reduction in employee rights, high inflation, the cost of buses and trains rising above inflation, public sector job cuts to create private sector jobs (it was never going to work), closure of remploy, abandoning the House of lord’s reform, qualitative easing, and failure to make the economy grow at 2%.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      I looked through your long list of likes and dislikes of coalition policies to find some hint of how you would govern the country. I found none. No mention of the huge public expenditure annual deficit inherited from the Labour government and how to reduce it. Curious.

      The economy isn’t going to grow at 2% as long as there is a need to reduce the government deficit, to reduce household debt and to recapitalise the banks. There is red ink everywhere, bequeathed to us by the Labour government.

      • uanime5
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        The huge public deficit were caused by the banks, not Labour. Given that the Conservatives wanted less banking regulations had they been in power the problems would have been worse, not better.

        The Conservative Plan A was to reduce the deficit by having the economy grow at 2% of higher per year while they were in office and reduce the deficit using the additional tax revenues. So if it’s impossible to grow at 2% while reducing the deficit then the Conservatives are to blame for pursing a plan that is impossible.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted August 24, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          Bullshit. A large increase in the UK’s debt was caused by the great clunking first bailing out banks with our money when there was no need to do so. He then boasted about “saving the world”.

          As for reducing the public sector deficit, it is possible to do this even with no growth at all. All you have to do is to look at the large public sector current expenditure increases that have taken place since 2001 and reverse them. In the case of health, a full reversal is unnecessary; a partial reversal will do.

    • Bob
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      “…giving taxpayers money to failed private schools…”


    • zorro
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      uanime5, you seem to have a mental block on this one – it’s QUANTITATIVE EASING (QE) not ‘qualitative easing’ as you write…..


  70. sym
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    I forgot to mention the energy price. It kept going up under the Coalition. All that green nonsense, with Cameron being the greenest PM ever, doesn’t really help.

  71. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    One other thing the coalition has done for me – and I did not think this would be possible after the New Labour years. I am now more scared of government than I was under the Brown big brother years.

  72. Amanda
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    It is hard to be positive, when there is much to be negative about. The Brown years were dreadful, however, there was the count down to 2010 (or maybe sooner) and getting a ‘decent’ Government back in power – there was hope. Now? Cameron has killed hope – I well remember one of his first acts (after the election that should not have been ‘lost’) was to cosy up to Clegg, and try and do the dirty on the 1922 group. That said it all, and so it has gone on.

    He could have repealed the poisionous equalities act – it was passed. Have you any idea of the nasty Orwellian clauses and culture this is now ushering into the public sector and any other voluntary group that has to seek public money?

    He could have replaced the BBC Board of Governors with an ‘honest’ impartial person, who would get that evil organization back to reporting things honestly. We got Patten !!

    We could have done so much to reduce our fatal deference to the EU, its regulations and financial demands in the current circumstances. We got a lillylivered veto that has left us in nomansland, with very little benefit.

    We could have had a bonfire of the quango’s (as promised), they seem to grow.

    We could have reduced the deficit, and cut public spending; public spending has grown only now we have the ‘media’ lying to us about cuts.

    I do like what Michael Gove is doing in education, but he is hardly being supported.

    I do like the growing number of MP’s more willing to stand up for their constituents, but for doing that thay are deemed ‘rebels’ – exposing the myth of democracy.

    But, I’ll go along with Sue at the top of this list of comments – I feel my life is very much worse, and now there is no hope it will change for the better – in 2015 we will get a Labour Government back, and heaven help us all. As someone else said, the Tories – the real ones, have got to do something drastic, and soon, othewise by 2020 we will be a totalitarian, EU, group of regions.

    • rose
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Would you have preferred it if Clegg had been got hold of by Balls and Miliband? With Miss Lucas, the Welsh, and the Northern Irish socialists thrown in? All wanting huge public spending, especially in their patches? Brown didn’t have to resign constitutionally. If he had cobbled together an arrangement with the anti-tories in time, he could still be PM. Cameron, Hague, Letwin, and Osborne did a good job, on no sleep, with not many winning cards to play with, and from the weak position of not being in government. Brown eventually resigned, but he didn’t have to. He could have played his cards better. It was a race against time and it was a game of bluff. The best men won, thank goodness.

      Reply: There was no majority for a Lib/Lab pact

      • rose
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        But there was with the other stragglers and they all wanted the same thing – a big state and irresponsible public spending.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted August 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          Not the dreaded rainbow coalition?! Labour, LibDems, Welsh Nats, Scots Nats, DUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP and Alliance. Have I forgotton anybody? What would the policies of the octopus have been and what instructions would have been given to the Chief Whip? “Come and cry on my shoulder if you feel suicidal.”?

          • rose
            Posted August 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

            We may find out next time, if people go on indulging themselves in the way they vote – or don’t vote.

  73. Russ
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The fact that the M4 bus lane makes your list shows how absolutely awful this government has been. I bet if the reduction of Parish council signatories had actually been achieved you would have had that up ther too? Incredible.

    I’m afraid the Conservatives will bleed out before the next election, Labour will get in, and the next stop will be violent civil unrest until a far right government eventually seizes control.

    Sadly I am actually looking forward to the anarchy, since it is the only way to rid ourselves of the current corrupt, ineffective rabble that have silently hijacked our country, our wealth, our freedoms and ultimately our happiness.

  74. Fiona Faith Ross
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    An interesting request, and a good way to get direct feedback from the battered electorate. I’m not entirely sure, but the new initiatives in secondary education could be good. However, psychosis in policy delivery is evident in many instances (human beings susceptible to psychosis, as they are, and governments being made up of human beings), so here we go.

    Rail policy – many announcements of goodwill to improve efficiency and value of rail travel, which can only be good for economy>tax revenues, etc, but then, a dunderheaded obstinacy to proceed with HS2, which will end up as a colossal white elephant because ‘they’ will discover that they won’t be able to run at top speeds because the topography combined with English weather will not allow it, so the 15 minute saving on journey time will continue to be a myth. (Trust me, I’m old enough to be clairvoyant). The second dunderheaded obstinacy is evident in the decision to take Virgin’s Rail Franchise away from them. Is this how you reward successful private enterprise? Is this really a demonstration of the core values of Conservative principles at work? ‘If they do well, take it away from them.’ Sorry, I don’t understand: perhaps I would find Socialism easier.

    This gov. like all its predecessors, periodically demonstrates that it is deaf as well as blind, when it appoints experts and then refuses to take their advice (school playing fields). Psychosis again – if you REALLY want Britain to capitalise on the success of the London Olympics, you will have to leave playing fields in place, and not sell them off to developers, who will fail to build on them, for all the reasons we know already.

    Quantitative Easing is going to come back to bite us all, as is overspending on Overseas Aid and other non-urgent projects, the wars we are involved in – these things are hugely expensive: admit it, that is where the deficit is building.

    Finally, I’ll admit to being really thick here. I now see headlines in the media that mortgagees are about to be hit by hikes in interest repayments, as are countries like Greece etc, the expense of hiring money from the international markets. My savings however, continue to burn away, shrivelling at interest rates of lower than 1% or lower than 3% on ISA rates. I used to ‘sort of’ understand money, my own money at least. I don’t any more. The world’s gone mad.

    If we can believe anything we read in the press, the initiatives to revive the economy are no great shakes. Somehow we have to do better. Sorry to be so negative, and I know your tranche of the party talks a lot of sense, but you did ask, and there it is.

    • rose
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      I loathe travelling on Virgin trains – uncomfortable, smelly, difficult to see out of the windows, rude unhelpful staff in silly uniforms, and always giving out noisy notices. Too many business gadgets dominating the scene. Something terribly wrong with the air conditionig – (etd) And they have bought up stretches of the line so one can’t get right through from Cornwall to Scotland anymore. Can’t get right through from almost anywhere to anywhere now, because Virgin are in the way. Probably that last is the fault of the EU regulations on monopolies. Anyway, I am delighted Virgin have been sent packing. First Great Western are much nicer to travel with in every way. More like a railway, and less like a poor man’s space capsule. Probably because they are the heirs to God’s Wonderful Railway and Brunel.

      Reply: I have found staff on Virgin trains who are friendly. Difficult to generalise that sweepingly.

      • rose
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        Try travelling with a bicycle, or an invalid, or both. Try not looking like an unencumbered businessman. And I forgot to ask in my last little rant, where is the passengers’ luggage supposed to go? Virgin are notorious for being the measliest by far in that respect.

        • rose
          Posted August 24, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          And read Martin Vander Weyer in today’s Spectator. Although he must look like a businessman, he says Virgin trains make him feel sick. I always get out with a headache and very, very tired.

  75. Steven Whitfield
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    “People on this site love to knock the Coalition. As host I don’t censor your criticisms or even censure you for doing so”. JR

    Personally I take no satisfaction from knocking the coalition and i certainly do not ‘love’ doing it . It is done with a heavy heart because the leadership of a party that should represent my views has turned it’s back on me. After 13 long years of New Labour we got as PM a man that wished to copy Tony Blair. God help us.

    John Redwood’s own blog is a pretty sustained and hard hitting critique of the coalition – although he occasionally cloaks his words with the a nod or two of feint praise. If only he could see that he is ,to use Dan Hannan’s phrase, shackled to a corpse by remaining within the Conservative party.

    The party in shifting to the left appeals only to a very narrow section of former uncritical ‘Conservatives’ and a tiny minority of waivering Liberal/Labout voters . The core Conservative vote is in meltdown because of Cameron.

    I suspect like many contributors my writing is out of a sense of wanting to register my dissatisfaction at what passes for a supposedly ‘Conservative’ led coalition.
    I critise the coalition because they are largely carrying on the work of New Labour with a little window dressing designed to fool a few gullible floating voters

    I like many other former Conservative supporters are crying out for some policies and more importantly ACTIONS that can actually be described as Conservative. I sense that the country is heading for the rocks’..better to go down fighting than be a passenger.

    So I say that as a Conservative I recognise that we live in a multi ethnic country ..but it should NEVER be multi-cultural…

    I do not believe that politicians can create economic wealth by spending and taxing more

    I do not believe that increasing spending on foreign aid is wise or universally beneficial at the bottom of an economic crisis

    I believe that mass immigration is unsustainable and that actions should be taken to reduce it..not just more pointless pledges made that add up to next to nothing.

    I believe in competitive taxes and free enterprise. i believe that individuals can spend their own money more wisely than the state.

    I believe you cannot buck the markets or the laws of economics anymore than you can walk on water. None of the above issues is taken seriously by the coalition.

  76. william mcginty
    Posted November 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I actually think the coalition has done a reasonable job, labour had 13 years to do want they want to do across the other divide but lacked something .there is a few things i want to see from no10 do, and that is stop people that have just been unemployed harassing them more than the long term unemployed , (i am unempoyed btw)i would like to see a minimum wage of £8 ph, energy companies given a windfall tax again ,these things would make me vote for david cameron for the 1st time ever and switch from labour. P.S save our union and save scotland from alex salmond please.

  77. J Baker
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    I have read most of the comments on this site as well as the blog. Firstly, I am tired of hearing nothing but doom and gloom, secondly our Chancellor has failed and we are now going to have to deal with more years of doom and gloom. Thirdly the ‘nanny state’ is a necessity in our country, there will always be lesser and greater degrees of everything, but my sympathy lies with the people through no fault of their own have been forced into the benefit trap. From unemployed to scrounger because they have lost their job. This government is out of touch, they have failed, in growth, in employment and they now target the vulnerable in our society (yes there are some who play the system but there are many that do not) who have paid into a system for most of their life, monies that governments have squandered in the past, and these people are treated as parasites. The old have had their allowances cut, as have families…same old Tories, mass unemployment whilst the rich get richer. People who are sick forced back into work because of a company who are carrying out medicals and not reporting accurately. Yes there is a deficit, get the banks to pay it off they caused this horrendous mess in the first place, don’t blame people who are having to claim benefits…..not acceptable.

  • 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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