The long shadow of Labour spin


One thing the last Blair/Brown government was good at was spin. They got their MPs and supporters to repeat over and over again the same mantras.

Whatever the question about the economy, they told us “No more Tory boom and bust”.

Whatever the complaint about yet another Labour tax rise, they told us “No more Tory tax rises”.

Current state spending was called investment. They told us it was all for better schools and hospitals – “no more spending on Tory economic failure”

They posed as the architects of a more equal UK, and told us they would lead a manufacturing revival.

Instead, we had a bigger boom and bust than any of the cycles since the 1930s. We had more tax rises than under the Conservatives. Social security spending leapt upwards. Inequality rose. Manufacturing continued to sink as a proportion of the total.

Today some of the spin lives on. There are times when the Coalition seems driven by inaccurate Labour spin, frightened to challenge the totems of the former era.

The Coalition is also shy about making its own claims for itself.

What is the purpose of the health reforms? I say to offer more choice and better treatment.  What is the official official slogan?

What is the attitude to taxation? Is it a necessary evil which on the whole does harm, or is it a moral crusade, a way of changing people’s lives and behaviour?

What is the attitude to savings? Are savers good? If so, why are they penalised with ultra low interest rates and inflation?

The Coalition needs some strong new high level messages. It would also be refreshing if they are accurate, unlike the Brown/Blair ones.




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  1. lifelogic
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    It would indeed be refreshing if they are accurate, unlike the Brown/Blair ones. Refreshing but highly unlikely.

    Had Cameron put the highly moral and valid case to the country, that a smaller state and lower taxes would benefit all, then he would have won the election outright.

    Even before the election he was sounding like a pro EU, big state, tax borrow and waste, fake green socialist. He still does.

    The government still think that pissing billions away on wind subsidies, a state that is 50% too big and HS2 is “investment”. No doubt the new spitting tax officers are investment too.

    How are those promised profits on the PIGIS and IMF loans coming on Osborne can we refund them to tax payers – with reductions in IHT perhaps yet? Or is that promise/lie dead now?

    So what is Osborne doing today trying to get yet more taxes on companies. Less growth will result.

    Government by the state sector for the state sector the other 80% are just cash cows to be milked to this government. And they are not even producing enough milk so lets kick them so more with an £80 spitting tax perhaps. Or some more box junctions fines they cannot avoid.

    • zorro
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Well, they are asking me for £60 for a speeding fine on the motorway or to attend some course…….Perhaps I should direct the spitting inspectors to some phlegm ridden areas for a profitable stakeout too? At least they can spend it on salaries in non productive jobs……


      • Bob
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        “Perhaps I should direct the spitting inspectors to some phlegm ridden areas for a profitable stakeout too? “

        They’re only interested in people who are likely to pay, not people who are likely to stab them.

        Same approach is applied to TV Licenses. They don’t bother about people living on sink estates. The leafy suburbs are safer and more profitable.

        • zorro
          Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

          Got it in one….


        • Mazz
          Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          Bob … Same approach is applied to TV Licenses. They don’t bother about people living on sink estates. …

          Oh yes they do! They have been hounding a person I know for months now, even turning up on their doorstep.

          After telling the TV License (BBC!!!) person that they did not even own a TV and also that they would not give their name, the TV Licence people sent a threatening letter warning them that they are now opening an investigation.

          I believe this is harassment and the person involved should be able to SUE the TV Licensing Board. (Fat chance that they would get anywhere with that!)

          I got so annoyed and fed up with them sending me letters telling me that it was an offence not to have a license that I gave in and rang them to say that I did indeed have one and that they should already know that.

          It is not up to the public to prove that they have a License, it is up to THEM to prove that someone does not have a License but try telling THEM that!

          • Wilko
            Posted February 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

            There is so much needlessly wasted work & money involved in issuing & chasing millions of individual TV licence charges.

            Nearly 100% of people have & / or watch TV. A sensible Govt would raise the money via an existing tax stream & pay the BBC what it needs in one simple lump.

            Perhaps 2% of the population have no connection with TV. It would be better to allow the 2% to claim a non-user benefit than harass 98% in a wasteful paper-chase.

            If any of the 2% were false claimants, they would be very easily recognised as a sharp-focused target. Evaders within the present method are disguised within large numbers of law-abiding citizens.

          • Bob
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

            Alternatively, do what Sky, Virgin and BT do.
            No pay – no watch.

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Permalink


      • Bazman
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Who would you expect to find on speeding courses? Megabike pilots? Big red sports car drivers? Suped up teenagers? Fat businessmen? Reggie Reps? Dozy woman drivers? Nope. At the class I attended everyone was strangely the suburban middle aged type a few mph over the limit. Don’t tell them that speeding is fun. It’s off message and can get you thrown off the course. “No. I’m not a copper” meant he was an ex copper. You will be amazed at the ignorance of the drivers in general about driving and the laws relating to it. Interesting if you ride motorbikes and I will say the course is quite informative and passes a morning. Got to be better than a ticket. 89 in 70 if you’re interested. Throttled off before I began to see dinosaurs.

        • zorro
          Posted February 17, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          Thanks, I did one years ago, roughly the same experience, a bit of an ex copper employment scheme but better than points…you were lucky, I was told that 86mph was the limit for the test.


    • Bazman
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      The British voters do not want an unfair and unjust right wing government giving massive tax breaks to the rich and cutting the living standards of the population and the infrastructure to pay for it. Had they promised this there would have been a whitewash. The Tories know this. The idea that the state does no good and if it were reduced to a skeleton level everyone would be better of is a fantasy in a modern advanced country like Britain. Europe would just surge ahead of us. Especially high tax and spend Switzerland/Germany with sky high prices. Would the population just accept mass unemployment and a crumbling state to fulfill your ideological dogma? The private sector would not just fill in the gaps that’s for sure. More inane ranting. You cannot even put forward why massively subsidised nuclear power is good, but subsidies are bad. Ram it.

      • Edward
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

        So we can survive and prosper with a State that spends over 50% of GDP and has to borrow£150 billion each year and adds to a long term debt of over one trillion and rising.
        The game is up. It cant carry on.
        We need to reduce State spending until income equals expenditure.
        The longer we leave it the more painful the adjustment will be.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 17, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          Reduce state spending for who and what? Reduce state spending and collect more taxes. Taxes that should be collected as toll payments for the use of infrastructure is the only way forward. The trickle down effect has been exploded a s myth across the world. With even George Osbourne talking about exploitation of third world countries by large corporations. Think it does not happen here. Do tell us you fantasies about the Laffer curve and trickle down of oats to sparrows. Funny how Iceland Norway, Germany, Switzerland with all their high taxes ridiculous prices and regulations are better off then us? The race to the bottom is being lost it seems.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

            Reply to this lifelogic. Oh! You can’t as it is sense. Ram it.

        • uanime5
          Posted February 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          The high tax levels in Germany and the Scandinavian countries demonstrate the fallacy in your argument. The solution is not that we need to cut spending but that we need to prevent so much tax avoidance and evasion.

          • Edward
            Posted February 17, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

            Baz and Uni,
            We need of to cut Government spending and at the same time reduce tax evasion, which is illegal and lower taxes to give people more money left to spend.
            I never spoke about Laffer nor trickle down, were you having a left wing fantasy?
            To get both of you having a go, I know I must be right

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

        Well Thatcher won three elections (four if you could the one Major won off her coat tails). Before everyone saw his true pro EU socialist colours and he then buried the party for 3 terms. Now Cameron has half won one and looks like burying them for another 3.

  2. Single Acts
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Whilst I won’t argue that the communication strategy is something of a shambles, it does rather lack for substance to significantly promote.

    If you asked voters to name three major government success stories, I fancy they would be scratching their heads. This may go some way to explaining why a man of Mr Milliband’s somewhat limited talent and experience may be prime minister in 2015.

    The government clearly faces serious challenges that are seemingly beyond their capacity to address (how much more so Labour?) but without two or three major policy successes, it seems to me you will have nothing to campaign on in 2015. Just saying “Well it was all Labour’s fault and anyway Dave says you can have an unspecified referendum and an unspecified time and this time he really really means it, is the path to hell.

    Maybe I just associate with skeptics but i don’t know a single person who believes the referendum will happen.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      three major government success stories

      ERR WELL

      M4 bus lane gone
      Hip packs nearly gone still the silly energy drivel.
      New anti squatting law (but only for residential properties god knows why)

      I cannot think of much else positive. Countless negatives too many to list.

      I don’t know a single person who believes the referendum will happen either. Certainly not on any fair basis with Patten at the BBC. Firstly Cameron and his socialist/EU /fake green/Tories are history in 2015 – other than as an EU bureaucrat perhaps. Secondly he would find a way to rat again as he has done on Lisbon (it is not now a treaty but part of EU law) and IHT (we cannot do it because of the Libdems not even in 2015 if we have a majority and not even in 2019 so get lost you did not really think we meant it did you?).

      • Bob
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        “I cannot think of much else positive.”

        They said they would increase the National Speed Limit to 80mph.
        They haven’t done it yet though. Probably just another false promise.

        If only the EU would spend some of our money on our roads.

        • Timaction
          Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          “………If only the EU would spend some of our money on our roads”.

          No it goes on Eastern European roads, infrastructure and their respective farmers. Our politicians think this is a good idea. Utter madness.
          The EU is all about political union nothing more or less and trade is just simple spin as we don’t have to be in it to trade with it!!

        • Bob
          Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          Stop Press
          Just heard on the radio that free NHS IVF treatment will be given to lesbians. 6 cycles at £8,000 a pop.

          I’ll bet these sacred cows of political correctness will not experience the abuse and neglect that the Mid Staffs victims suffered.

          • Single Acts
            Posted February 17, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

            I was forced to pay for ours. Fine. I do not expect anyone to pay for me. I do rather resent having money coercively extracted at gun point to fund others however when said treatment was denied me.

            Serves me right for being a married, law-abiding taxpayer. Lesson learned.

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

          The government spend lots on the roads mainly blocking them with red traffic lights, empty bus lanes, cash cow cameras, pointless islands and lots of PC multicoloured tarmac – with pictures of bikes.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 17, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

          Speaking of roads maybe some of you free market fantasists could tell me how the car industry survives given the number of absurd safety regulations, product testing, and consumer protection that blights the car industries efforts to produce cars and how this regulation allows new and better models to be produced even in Germany? Imagine if these safety precautions and emission laws were applied to food we would all starve! Ram it.

          • Edward
            Posted February 17, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

            Because Baz, there is very little alternative to a motor car if you need to get around, and the laws you talk of apply to all manufacturuers so they just add the cost of all this onto the price you pay.
            Which is why a standard saloon car costs £15,000 and then depreciates like a stone to its real value 3 years later.

          • Single Acts
            Posted February 17, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            Er, food is subject to extensive regulation. The regulation has failed. You think more regulation is the answer….?

            It’s not regulation that makes cars better, its competitive pressure.

          • lifelogic
            Posted February 17, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

            “how the car industry survives” – well car travel is quite efficient and popular relative to inefficient trains and the like beloved of government. It can survive without absurd subsidy.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

            Another one needing reply from the fantasists of course they cannot as they know this will get them squashed. Ram it again.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

            I would say their is very little alternative to eating and if you think the car industry has got this far on safety and emissions without laws and regulation and is due to competition you are even more of a fantasists than I thought. The food standards will be improved with less regulation? Just like banking was? Dreamers.

          • Edward
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

            You had several replies, as you have been demanding, to the question you asked originally about cars and the effect of regulation.
            Are you now going to
            a) totally ignore these replies
            b) repsond with some childish rudeness and claims of delusons,dreamer, fantasy and other rubbish or
            c) give us a mature reasoned reply explaining why your views are right
            I have a small wager on which one it will be.

    • zorro
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Of course it won’t……because there is no way Cameron will beat Miliband when he couldn’t beat ‘sitting duck’ Brown with all the advantages. What story does Cameron have to tell now? Five years of economic waste of time….and extra regulatory burdens from Cameron, the ‘low tax’ Tory…..LOL


      • lifelogic
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

        Fives years just making everyone poorer.

  3. Steve Cox
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    What else would you expect from the man who styled himself as ‘the heir to Blair’?

    • zorro
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Indeed, people can’t say that they weren’t warned……


  4. colliemum
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    The Labour spin you describe – especially the meme ‘investment’ for spending tax payers money – is now used worldwide. Literally everybody, from Pres. Obama down, is using it.

    This spin works because it’s become more and more refined on the one hand, since the time it was first used, but nowadays it only works with LIVs, the Low Information Voters. Others, like e.g. those who comment here, have become more adept at smelling out spin, and more cynical both towards those who use it and towards the politics being spun.

    May I suggest that instead of better spin and better ‘messages’, which all MPs must be ‘on’, a la Mandelson, we deserve the truth.
    It is high time that politicians stopped spinning, stopped treating us as idiots who only need to be shown a shiny object to stop asking questions.
    We deserve the plain truth, and politicians who are not afraid to speak out, regardless of the ‘message’ from the top, will earn trust.

    Only very slightly OT: I think the way headquarters have treated Dr Rachel Frosh, for daring to re-tweet a remark (words left out) – is utterly shameful. This scandal is a good example of the damage of spin and being ‘on message’ is doing to political discourse.
    I hope you can do something about this, John.

    • Bob
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      ” the way headquarters have treated Dr Rachel Frosh, for daring to re-tweet a remark (words left out) – is utterly shameful.”

      I’m afraid that Cameron is fully on message and the Tories are dancing to Labour’s tune.

  5. Old Albion
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    John! It’s the English Health reforms………………………………

  6. lifelogic
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    “a more equal UK”

    “BBC think” enforced “Equality” is just an excuse for more state sector jobs. Inequality is beneficial to a large degree as incentives are needed. As in, if you work overtime this Saturday you will be £200 better of than the other chap who is not doing. The inequality that needs addressing is the one where the state sector is 150% over paid and pensioned relative to the 80% cash cows who pay them.

    Even if Cameron thinks insurance premiums should be, right on and “gender neutral” it will not change human nature, honed as it has been over millions of years. It will just cause inefficiency, the wrong financial signals to people, extra cost on the insurance/pensions industry, people getting the wrong pensions, expensive new electronic monitors and some pointless deaths and injuries.

    Well done.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      lifelogic–You are way out of date talking about mere “Equality”, it’s “Identity” now. Even the wretched non-procreational so-called “marriage” is based on one of the partners being putatively identical to the opposite sex so that makes it all right. I bet there are people out there working on ways for men to give birth.

    • zorro
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      But they will feel a warm glow with a sense of being morally superior and culturally progressive, and so ‘right on’…..


    • Mark
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      The BBC notion of equality seems to be in paying nearly £300,000 to a former Labour cabinet minister to be Director of Strategy. Equality – more jobs for politicians of the left to drive BBC content. Equality – more than ten times average earnings, and 4.5 times more than an MP, because we’re so worth it at the BBC.

      The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

      • Bob
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

        As with any communist system, the leaders are the only ones who get rich.

        Take a look at North Korea where the people are starving, but the double chinned leader is living the high life.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

        I wonder if he will also ask the BBC to pay for his personal tax advice in his new job.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 17, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

          It could be worse he might even ask them to pay his tax like in state owned private banking.

      • stred
        Posted February 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Head of News during their Newsnight cock up has just been made head of radio. A highly paid ‘powerful woman’.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      How do you propose to increase the income of society or is this inequality a good thing providing ever cheaper labour to be subsidised by the state? Your fantasy of letting the rich become more rich at the expense of the poor will not go unchecked. Its human nature..

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Bazman–Just because you would like the rich (so I presume) to give more (I say “more” because they already “give” a vastly disproportionate amount in tax) their riches to the poor, that is not the same thing, nor even close, as you begging the question whether the rich became rich “at the expense of the poor”. One does not make the poor richer by making the rich poorer. Maybe the rich became so whilst employing people who would otherwise have been poorer still.

      • Edward
        Posted February 17, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        The new rich elite are the bosses in the State sector on their fat salaries and golden goodbyes and inflation proofed pensions.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 17, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

          Is that the state owned private sector?

          • Edward
            Posted February 17, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

            I presume Baz, you mean quango land, charity land and local council land and companies who do nothing other than supply the State sector, then yes

          • Bazman
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

            No. I was talking about the utilities, banking and the railways to name just a few.

          • Edward
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

            I think we agree on this one Baz,
            The utilities banking and railways are almost monopolies and have a similar overpaid top management
            Oh and I almost forgot to include the BBC

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    The trouble is that we are Gentlemen. We don’t argue: we just know.

  8. Stewart Knight
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I’ve been saying since the late nineties that the only way to counter Labour lies and dishonest spin, is to beat them at their own game, and that is what we should do now. How effective was it when Osborne said, simply, he wouldn’t take any advice from one of the architects of this mess we are in? Balls and Labour were in complete disarray, and more importantly, right so!

    That simple tactic should be the plan of attack as it is effective and understandable by everyone, and makes Labour go on the defensive instead of making the agenda as they do now and make that wet weekend Cameron go on the defensive.

  9. Jerry
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    One thing the last Blair/Brown government was good at was spin.

    Indeed, but they learnt all they knew from the previous Tory government, the first party to use a professional ad-agency, those of a certain age and beyond will remember the Tory bill-board poster message of “Labour isn’t working” (against an image of men and women in line as if waiting for their DHSS handouts) only for the Tories to be elected and unemployment pass the 3m mark within a few years – ho-hum.

    Sorry if I keep sounding harsh but after 40 years of keen interest in politics (of all shades, not just one) nothing much is new or news any more, call me a cynical old fool if you wish but I’m more than sure that (apart from those Tory voters who would vote for a paper bag if it has a Tory rosette attached) most people want to read about what the Tories are thinking, saying or even doing – but then again, with the current state of the deficit, with the (non-adjusted) unemployment figures, with job losses and outlet closures from retail chains seemingly each week etc. you might correct, attack is the best form of defence…

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Jerry please do you research before posting. Labour were using Boase Massimi Pollitt from the early 70’s onward well before Saatchi’s came on the scene (check their Wikipedia article). Also I do not believe the Tories have had the help of top Hollywood film producers like David Puttnam and a parade of “luvvies” like Labour when they want to manufacture the truth.

  10. Peter Davies
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    You could write a book on the number of lines of tripe spouted off by members of New Labour and their cronies in well rehearsed parrot fashion as part of their 24/7 marketing machine.

    In fact I might just do that one day when I get the time.

    One of the most infamous of course was the one used time and time again leading up to the Iraq war until the claims were found to be fake and put together by a spin doctor used to running tabloid newspapers so they then had to quickly come out with some another well rehearsed excuse.

    I have long felt that since the Blair era politics really has been dragged into the gutter and what troubles me is that in order to get elected the Tories felt they needed to choose someone to lead them in a similar way albeit not quite as spin savvy.

    Why cant we just return to semi honest politics where the leaders say it how it is, stop all this PC mumbo jumbo and just be honest with the electorate.

    Starting with explaining properly the things that are preventing proper recovery i.e too much debt, too much red tape, and high energy prices to prop up flawed energy policy, then explain the likely consequences as has been showed in other countries of printing money and inflation.

    Mrs T had her enemies and of course made mistakes but at least she did things and made decisions with real conviction and for the right reasons and as evidenced (apart from things like the CFP) she did fight in her country’s interests – we just don’t see that from the current generation, no wonder so many people are done with the 3 main parties.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Cant remember if the CFP was under Mrs T or Major, if I have this wrong I apoligise

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink


        This is the story, I can’t vouch for its complete accuracy but it seems quite crediblei n view of subsequent events such as the illegal eurozone bailouts:

        “Another revealing measure of how deeply the culture of deceit had now set in was the curious story of the common fisheries policy, and the Heath Government’s response to the crude ambush set up by the Six to ensure that, as part of their price of entry, the four applicant countries, Britain, Ireland, Denmark and Norway, would have to hand over to the Community their fishing waters, the richest in the world. (all documents cited on the CFP are from PRO files in FO 30/656-9)

        On the very day the applications went in, June 30 1970, the Six hastily approved the principle that member-states should be given “equal access” to each other’s fishing waters, under Brussels control. The point was that, because this had now become part of the acquis communautaire, the body of existing Community law, the applicant countries would have to accept it as a fait accompli. Within a few years, as everyone knew, national fishing waters were due to be extended out under international law to 200 miles. Because the waters belonging to the four applicant states would then contain most of the fish in European waters, this would give the Six an astonishing prize.

        In fact the Six knew their new fisheries policy was not even legal. Among the Foreign Office papers released in 2001 was an internal Council of Ministers document, dating from June 1970, which shows how desperate the Brussels lawyers had been to find some article in the Treaty of Rome which could be used to authorise such a policy. There was none. The policy therefore had no legal justification, and other papers show that the Foreign Office knew this too.

        But so determined was Mr Heath not to offend his prospective new partners that he decided not to challenge them. Britain would simply accept the illegal new fisheries policy, even though this would mean handing over one of her greatest renewable natural assets and would spell disaster for a large part of her fishing fleet.”

        • Peter Davies
          Posted February 17, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

          There you go then, if it wasn’t legal then it should not be now. Another nail to stick in the EUSSR coffin

        • uanime5
          Posted February 17, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

          The logic in this article is flawed. If there weren’t any EU articles regarding this policy then under EU law it is neither legal nor illegal (technically it is unregulated). So while there wasn’t any EU law to compelling the UK to accept the CFP it wasn’t illegal to create this policy and ask the UK to accept it.

          Clamming that the absence of a law authorising something means that this action is automatically illegal is just wishful thinking on the part of eurosceptics.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

            You’re clearly unfamiliar with the fundamental principle of “conferral” as laid down in the treaties.

            See Articles 3, 4, 5, and 13 TEU.

            Or allow a former Vice-President of the EU Commission to educate you:


            “As we know, the Union is built on the principle of conferral of competences and it will act only in areas where it has been given the competence to intervene.”

          • Peter Davies
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

            Denis is not talking EU law being broken he is referring to international UN laws which govern the boundaries of international waters – the UK and others have opened their territorials waters to all so certain countries can wipe out fishing waters having long relieved the Iberian Peninsula of valuable fish stock

    • Jerry
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      @Peter Davies: “You could write a book on the number of lines of tripe spouted off by members of New Labour and their cronies in well rehearsed parrot fashion as part of their 24/7 marketing machine.

      Indeed but do remember that such books have already been written about the same happening during the Thatcher and Major eras.

      she [Mrs Thatcher] did fight in her country’s interests

      That is a point for debate!…

      • Peter Davies
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        She did sign the Single European Act which she openly acknowledged later was a big mistake though she did fight for rebates which (Blair-ed) gave away in return for NOTHING.

        I guess she had too many EUrophiles around her at the time

        • Jerry
          Posted February 25, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          @Peter Davies: “I guess she had too many EUrophiles around her at the time

          Indeed… It was Thatcher who pushed for the Single European Act, she -like the CBI- was in love with the EEC/EC at the time (as long as she was getting her own way, I guess some on the right are just the same today….) and saw the (then) EC’ as a ready market for UK goods and services. It would have been quite easy to have taken the UK out of the EEC/EC back in the early to mid 1980s, either via a manifesto pledge or referendum. So yes, in the 1980s the Tory party was far to europhile, it was only with the prospect of the Euro currency and ERM that caused many in the Tory party to become eurosceptics.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      The great shame here was the number of Conservative MPs who believed it and voted for the invasion. To his credit, although he always seem get a kicking when his name is mentioned here, Ken Clarke saw right through it and voted against.

      • zorro
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        On the law of averages, even Ken Clarke will get it right some of the time like Jeremy Corbyn and George Galloway!


    • Peter Davies
      Posted February 17, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      I was sent a pdf called “Better For Britain” on twitter from a group of labour MEPs. A complete load of hashed tripe that was about the same standard as Billy Liars WMD document.

      I wont post the link here, it should be easy enough to search on google and its idiocy should make most sensible people cry

  11. Andyvan
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    The only trouble with criticising Labour spin is that the coalition does the same, maybe not as well but still spin. It tries to give the impression of austerity yet is spending more than Labour ever did. George pretends to be a Tory but taxes more than Gordon. Dave pretends to stand up for Britain in Europe yet offers only ifs, buts and maybes with the occasional “triumph” manufactured to keep his party from kicking him out. Paul Valéry said “Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them.” To which I’d add “lies are the tools to do so.”

    • Jerry
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      @Andyvan: Indeed, like the spin on the true figure of unemployment, the counting of the unemployed who have been forced to work unpaid (in effect workfare) who then get removed from the headline figure as if they are in proper employment is pure spin by the DWP and actually unlikely in this day and age to fool anyone other than the true blue Tory. It will not be fooling the floating voter, and it is these voters who Cameron et al need to win over by 2015.

    • zorro
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      All I can say John is that thank God the PM doesn’t partake in such grotesque examples of spin/lies when he addresses the nation. I mean, could you imagine him standing there saying that he was ‘paying down Britain’s debts’ on national TV…….I mean really…..


      • zorro
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        though I suspect that you might have been alluding to that in your last sentence…… 🙂


  12. forthurst
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    “Are savers good?” Yes, they’re good, as are milch cows. They are particularly popular with banksters who harvest them, and politicans who like to see their banksters well fed so they in turn can tax the savers’ capital repackaged as banksters’ salaries and bonuses.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    How about this from your party leader over and over again: ‘You can’t borrow your way out of a debt crisis’. Pity Cameron and Osborne don’t practice what they preach but they are too addicted to the drug of spending someone else’s money. Or how about this one from your most recent party political broadcast by Cameron: ‘We’re paying down Britain’s debts’. This was excused as a slip of the tongue in a pre-recorded and presumably scripted broadcast. The government plan is to have doubled the debt they inherited over the 5 years of this parliament. How about forgetting the spin and just getting on with being competent at the job? If you ask most people they don’t believe a word politicians say. At the end of the day its the results that matter.

  14. oldtimer
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Someone once said:
    ““If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    These days we have spin. And contemporary spin is much more subtle. Sometimes the spin is indeed simply untrue – an outright lie. Sometimes it is a half truth. Sometimes it is worded in ambiguous terms to permit plausible denial later if or when it is exposed. Mr Blair (who trained as a lawyer) was a master of this technique; it was on display during the run up to the Iraq war. It seems to be an essential tool for success in contemporary politics. Some are better at it than others. It helps if you have a sympathetic media to reinforce your spin. BBC reporters have admitted a left wing bias inside the BBC. The Guardian is clearly a pro-left newspaper. Traditionally papers like the Telegraph, Mail and Express have leaned to the right but currently appear to be increasingly disenchanted with the Cameroons. It can be seen and heard daily; it is marked by selective editing, interviews and articles. Often it is very effective in supressing debate or changing the terms of the debate. The relative prominence given to the Staffordshire hospital deaths (downplayed by the political class) and the horse meat scam (amplified by the political class) is a current example.

    There is much to be said for saying things as they are – straight talking – rather than as you would like them to be. It seems to be a fact of life that we cannot expect straight talking from politicians in power or who seek power. For them spin is the order of the day.

  15. matthu
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Labour spin. Not to confused with what the PM is saying today:

    “In tough times, its important to explain to people that going green is not just about saving the planet it’s about saving households money,” he said.

    “If we preach at people about greenery and make it all sound terribly expensive, I don’t think we’re going to take people with us.”

    What he seems to be saying is that the public have seen through the expensive green energy policies, so now we must change our story and pretend (do politician’s ever lie? Oh yeah, I forogt about the last DECC spokesman) thagt it is all about saving money.

    That is a huge whopper, Mr Cameron.

    “From next April, the Government will be imposing its swingeing new “carbon tax” on every ton of CO2 emitted by producing electricity from fossil fuels, rapidly rising from £16 a ton to £70 by 2030. In all the media’s obsession with how fast our energy bills are rising, this is scarcely ever mentioned. But this tax alone will add billions a year to our bills. Within 17 years, it will be well on the way to doubling them. ”

    All this in the name of green energy, exposing the spin of the PM. (His grasp of cost savi ng is no better than his grasp of debt. )

    • con
      Posted February 17, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Dave’s grasp of the truth seems to be the issue here. Either he doesn’t understand the issues or he’s lying.

      This whole green issue reminds me of the eu scam. The politicians knew exactly where the eu was heading but also knew the public would not like it so they lied. The eu deception, by all governments, this one is just the latest, has been going on for 50 years.

      So with green energy, the politicians know it is bad economics but it’s their latest ‘ism’ and their way of showing that the UK is ‘leading the world’. Pathetic, no wonder there is no trust, worse, there is outright cynicism.

  16. Nina Andreeva
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Spin more like doublethink! My other half received an invite in the mail this morning from Ed to attend his “People’s Policy Forum” in Brum next month. I know immigration causes them a problem in the opinion polls but this is ridiculous. The accompanying brochure calls them now “One Nation Labour” and inside there only photos of Ed talking to white people, one photo does include a couple of black faces but they are so out of focus that they are totally unrecognisable.

    I would love to go instead but as longtime party member Walter Wolfgang found to his cost they have strong arm tactics for anyone who dissents at their rallies.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      John why are you holding this one up in moderation? I can send you the invite and brochure to show that I am not making anything up here

  17. A different Simon
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    New Labour is still adept with the spin “The squeezed middle” is absolute genius as everyone can apply it to themselves .

    The “Big Society” similarly can mean anything you want it to mean but is nowhere near as good .

    As you say , manufacturing shrunk more under New Labour than Margaret Thatcher which was in itself a disaster leading to the unbalanced economy and over exposure to financial crashes .

    As for taxing to build hospitals and schools , Labour didn’t build any , they just committed us to leasing them under very disadvantageous PFI contracts .

    The irony is that Alistair Darling was almost a lone voice in pointing out that with John Major’s wheeze of PFI which takes advantage of the Govt not using accruals accounting , that the costs would look very high if interest rates went down .

    Osborne created an OBR and of course anything which has to have the word “responsibility” in it’s title will make the Govt act more responsibly .

    How about the Coalition moving the Govt and public sector over too internationally established accounting principles ?

    How about letting people know that the liabilities run to 7 times the official national debt .

    How about getting a house building program going and changing the culture in the UK from everything revolving around house prices and encouraging MP’s to divest their property portfolios ?

    How about scrapping defined contribution pension schemes in the public sector starting with your own ?

    • A different Simon
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      If you don’t do the things I mentioned you are essentially no different to New Labour , no matter how you spin it .

      • Bob
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        George Galloway on this weeks Question Time, described the Lib/Lab/Con representatives on the panel as three cheeks of the same [backside]; if that were possible.

        Probably the first time I’ve ever agreed with him.

        • Robert Taggart
          Posted February 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

          Hate his politics, but, love his cheek !

      • Bazman
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        It’s amazing how quiet Labour are. If I was in the Labour leadership I would say this is a good time to politically grab the Tories round the throat. Must be in the post?

        • uanime5
          Posted February 17, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          They’re probably waiting until closer to the 2015 election. Sadly the electorate have very short memories.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

            Got that right. After the pool tax fiasco and the biggest riots ever seen they still got back in.

        • David Price
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:57 am | Permalink

          Amazing? Best for Labour if they kept very quiet indeed;

          – Their administration of the NHS saw people dying in squalor for lack of water while they focused on commercialization and offering their services to other countries.
          – Under their administration the BBC has gone from being objective and trustworthy to being an organisation of overpaid Labour schills that harboured and protected one of the worst serial rapists and child abusers in the last century
          – They mismanged the economy utterly, claiming no more boom or bust they blighted our economy and admitted to spending all the reserves condemning it to just bust. And what did they spend it on? Buying banks rather than simply lending the money, aid to Asia and Africa, (words left out-ed) designer sofa’s, billions on senior civil servant pensions …
          – Labour politicised the police
          – Labour allowed the press to trample on people’s privacy
          – Labour dragged us in to two wars of aggression

          All this and they now deny their responsibility by trying to shift all blame on to Brown.

          Meanwhile the Labour chieftains did very well for themselves didn’t they – perhaps you should ask nicely if they will share all their new wealth with the poor.

          You must all be very proud.

  18. JoolsB
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Cameron and the party are rubbish at playing Labour at their own game, instead they are always on the defensive rather than the attack. For instance, they could have used Mid Staffs and the other health authorities under investigation as an attack on Labour’s mis-management of the NHS in England and as a reason for pushing their health reforms but we’ve heard almost nothing of a political nature from Tory mouths even when the BBC’s reporting of it failed to give any dates of when it happened. Of course we all know it happened on Labour’s watch but younger voters could be forgiven for thinking it happened under the coalition.

    Same with taxation, Cameron is allowing the LibDums to take all the credit for raising income tax levels whilst they, the Tories, are taking the credit for the granny tax which sees pensioners ‘who’ve done the right thing’ paying more tax and the lowering of the higher tax rate. Labour politicians can’t open their mouths without repeating the mantra “the Tories have given a tax break for millionaires”. As Osborne didn’t have the guts to take it back down to Labour levels, the least they should be shouting loud and clear at every opportunity is how Labour spent their 13 years in office (except for the last few weeks) helping their millionaire friends by letting them pay less tax than they do under the coalition.

    On Labour’s proposed mansion tax, what Miliband fails to tell us is that they will also revisit council tax re-valuation for every home in England, something Balls didn’t deny when grilled by Andrew Neil last weekend and which will probably result in council tax bills doubling again under Labour just as they did last time and what are the Tories saying on that one – absolutely nothing.

    The list of where the Tories should be but are not attacking Labour is endless but of course the biggest trick which the Tories have missed is to point out time and time again how Labour shafted England on a daily basis thanks to their dog’s dinner of a devolution act which has made every man, woman and child in England second class citizens both politically and financially. They could point out how if Labour get back ino power, Labour will not stop until England is broken up into regions thus ending any chance of England being recognised as a nation ever again, denied a voice and self determination forever meaning unelected Celtic MPs can continue governing England thus keeping Labour governments in power for ever more. Of course Cameron isn’t going to say anything to help either the Consevative party or the people of England by addressing the English Question because as we have seen, he is every bit as anti-English as Labour and the LibDums.

  19. Jonathan Tee
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    It isn’t just New Labour spin that is a problem, even old socialist spin goes unchallenged.

    The Conservative party has just drummed out of their ranks someone who dared to dispute, in private, the old socialist fallacy that totalitarian governments spring from the free-market capitalist Right.

    When Conservatives are not willing to defend the essence of what they do and do not stand for, why should anyone listen to their defence of other things?

    And to anyone who says that such abstract arguments do not matter – take a look to the discussion sections of any national newspaper and you will find myriad tu toque attacks upon the Conservatives. You can hear the same in any pub in the land where the conversation turns to politics.

  20. Neil Craig
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    The problems are that

    (A) There are relatively few in the Conservative party who are willing to openly speak up for economic freedom, more of them are like Cameron with his “sharing the fruits of growth” and ever more “global warming” subsidy and regulation.

    (B) not unrelated since this affects who comes to the top in party politics – that the state broadcaster censors appearances and debate involving anybody who supports free enterprise, or when they occasionally appear “unterviews” aggressivly, interripying any answer before it is completed.

    And obviously the BBC censor UKIP with an intensity the Soviets would have admired.

  21. Chris
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    The simple response is for the Cons Party to tell the truth, and ditch the spin. It is the carefully crafted/stage managed appearances of David Cameron which are such a turn off to the voter. We have had enough of all the deceit of the Labour years, and I, for one, are completely disillusioned to find that the Conservative leadership seem to be as bad as the last government. That is why Nigel Farage appeals so much to the electorate. He is bold, direct, and tells things as they are. He confronts the issues that are so wrapped up in cotton wool for the Conservative leadership – immigration, the EU, and many more. No political correctness from Farage, which is so refreshing. The days of Blair and spin are over, but the trouble is that the Conservative leadership has not moved on, and seems to want to emulate Tony Blair. Utterly misguided, and a policy that is doomed to failure. I seem to remember is it was Bernard Jenkin who stood up in the H of Commons and stated “how behind the curve” MPs were with regard to where the electorate was in its thinking – he was referring to the genuine euroscepticism that is rife in the electorate, but which is not much evident in the H of C. This statement could easily be applied to other areas, in particular with Cameron’s perception of how he should appeal to voters. Try some straightforward truth, Mr Cameron, based on a sound Conservative ideology.

  22. Iain Gill
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Cameron is even now out in India promising to keep the immigration floodgates open, promising to keep the work visas used by their big outsourcers uncapped, while telling the British public that he is reducing net immigration.

    Cameron is (“two faced”-ed). Its not just spin its dishonest.

  23. Liz
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Compare Labour’s intensive campaign to pin the blame for the horsemeat scandal on the Government with the same Government’s complete inability to even suggest that Labour’s target policies for the NHS might have been responsible for the Mid Staffs hospital deaths. Something that should have been hammered over and over again. They had an open goal, did not even aim a shot and might just as well not have been on the pitch. They had a great chance to damage Labour’s frequently proclamations that only they can protect the NHS and they miffed it.

    • zorro
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      It shouldn’t surprise anyone, this is why the Conservative Party failed to gain a majority at the last election – mixed messages, inability to clearly identify the problem and solution, untrustworthiness with regards to recent promises, underlying and poorly concealed ‘Flashman’ tendency, basic lack of a killer instinct……


    • Bob
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink


      Why would the Tories want to inflict serious damage on Labour’s reputation?

      A little bit of play fighting is one thing, but they would never go for the jugular.
      They’re all in it together!

      Google: The Collectivist Conspiracy

  24. Acorn
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I think we the English – remember us, we are the serfs that don’t have a devolved parliament thingy, like the rest of the UK – are missing a trick.

    Inorder to settle a bet, which I lost, it was necessary to enquire within the Scottish independence Command Paper Cm 8554. How sad is that. Anyway, you may be aware that when a Minister jumps up and says he wants to re-invent Borstals for wayward teenage (offenders-ed) (Cm 8564), there is usually a Comand Paper or similar. I expect JR reads every one of them word for word. They are often called green or white papers. , says the following. “… , it is hard to envisage any scenario whereby the UK
    Parliament would ever have a mandate from the people of the rest of the UK to
    dissolve the UK by voting the state out of existence, and the UK would therefore assume the position of the continuing state. (Paragraph 2.17)”.

    (No-one-ed) ever asked us English for a mandate in the first place; we demand a referendum in England as well as Scotland on Scottish independence. [pause for cheering]

    Now here is the trick we are missing, I quote. “The EU is founded on the Treaties which apply only to the Member States who have agreed and ratified them. If part of the territory of a Member State would cease to be part of that state because it were to become a new independent state, the Treaties would no longer apply to that territory. In other words, a new independent state would, by the fact of its independence, become a third country with respect to the EU and the Treaties would no longer apply on its territory.” Letter to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, 10 December 2012”

    Whoopie; the English dissolve the Union tout de suite . We get rid of the Scots and the EU in one fell swoop. England, a proper nation state once more and at last! And, we would still have more off-shore tax haven territories, than any other nation.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 17, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Breaking up the UK would not get England out of the EU if the MPs elected by the English still wanted England to remain part of the EU.

      The salient facts are that 82% of all MPs are elected in England, and at present it would be a struggle to identify even 2% who reliably want to leave the EU.

      As a theoretical extreme it would be possible to have 49% of MPs wanting to leave the EU, all of them elected in England and making up 60% of the MPs elected in England, but for them to be outvoted by the other MPs elected in England plus all of the 18% of MPs elected elsewhere in the UK voting solidly to stay in the EU, but we are miles away from that kind of scenario.

      If the UK broke up, by whatever route, then by far the most likely outcome would be for all of its fragments to remain in the EU, each as a member state in its own sovereign right rather than as part of the UK, with the EU treaties having been amended as necessary to accommodate that new legal reality.

      And the necessary EU treaty changes would be negotiated and agreed in good time, ready to come into force at the same instant as the final break-up of the UK, so that there would not be even a microsecond during which “the Treaties would no longer apply to that territory”.

      Surely nobody can suppose that either Cameron, or Miliband, would ever allow any part of the UK to be “accidentally” removed from the EU and above all from its Single Market, even if they had to make major concessions to other EU member states to get their agreement for the necessary treaty changes?

  25. Terry
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    For a PR expert, Dave Cameron has shown a distinct lack of prowess in this area.

    It has been the case for all of our Tory PM’s but why is it? Why should they not lay out their achievements and lay blame on the Labour incompetents that ran the country before them?

    If Dave is to be re-elected he had better get his gentlemanly white gloves off and show a lot of bottle. Stop your naive, passive approach and go on the hard offensive. Starting with Eastleigh.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Yeah he showed his prowess at PR as Lamont’s SpAD too. Presumably it was Dave who was feeding Norm with such memorable one liners as “green shoots of recovery” and “unemployment is a price wort paying” etc.

    • zorro
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      He can still be a gentleman (doesn’t need to be nasty) whilst getting a clear message across which people can unite behind – attributing proper blame but advocating realistic solutions.


      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        Eh Flashman? What about all these Conservative MPs who keep claiming that they are frozen out of his inner circle? Hopefully in 2015 the Conservatives will not make the error as they did in 1963/64 by choosing some one from the wrong background. I have not got anything in common with Cameron (though he does send his daughter to the same state school as my niece) He has not gone through the struggles that everyone else and that probably accounts for him getting his priorities wrong like pushing so much for gay marriage instead of more pressing and down to earth topics like the economy. The Conservatives were once right when the rejected Douglas Hurd and caused him to complain that they were behaving like a Maoist cell because he had been to Eton. DH is a nice man, I have even had a drink with him in a boozer in Witney and he got into Eton on a scholarship, but for most of the electorate once they hear the word “Eton” they automatically think of underserved privilege and vote accordingly.

  26. Max Dunbar
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    The Left are just better at propaganda than the Right at the moment. The Right are too apologetic and diffident and have allowed the Left to dictate to them the political ground on which they must compete in the “spin” war. Having softened-up the public with repetitive propaganda Leftists can then introduce laws which enforce the propaganda, even under a Tory administration. In other words propaganda becomes law and any natural dissent can be stamped out.
    Leftists are aggressive and self-assured. Good propagandists can capture language and use it effectively and repeatedly until the original meaning of the word becomes corrupted or even permanently changed. There are many more “leftist” words in circulation than “rightist” words. It is difficult at times to avoid using these words, so ingrained are they in the mind by constant repetition.
    Mrs Thatcher was the last Tory leader with any conviction who could take the fight to the enemy in this way and beat the Left at their own game. We need a Tory Party with conviction because without conviction the creative energy required to dream up effective counter-propaganda will just not materialise.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      The left are better at propaganda? Not true the world has lurched to the right massively over recent years. What was considered right wing is now considered centre. Labour believed the bankers and right wing fantasy completely. The rich pay less tax than they have ever done and the poor and the middle have seen their incomes fall or remain stagnant whilst the only policy of many governments is beggar thy neighbour. Even now Labour are afraid to rock the boat. After all that has happened. Just because the world is not right wing enough for your fantasies and lets face could it be ever unless it affected you? Does not mean it is not on the whole more right wing than it has ever been. Ram it.

      • Edward
        Posted February 17, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        Come off it Baz, Ive read some nonsense from you in the past but this tops it all.
        You cannot seriously say that Europe and USA are more right wing now than say 30 years ago.
        Even socialist politicians and writers would not agree with you.

        • uanime5
          Posted February 17, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

          30 years ago bankers wouldn’t have been able to pay themselves million pound bonuses for just doing their job. Europe and the USA have gotten more right wing, which is why the wealthy no longer need to justify their bloated salaries and why aggressive action is seen as better than diplomacy.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

          Economically the world has lurched to the right. Fact.

          • Edward
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

            As usual you confuse certain words Baz
            A fact to you is actually just your own opinion, which you are entitled to, but this may or may not be right, sorry to shock you.
            For it to be a fact you have to provide proof and you havn’t

          • Bazman
            Posted February 19, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

            It’s not really worth going there, but the rich pay the least ever tax and across the world, utilities, farming and transport systems are being made to become private enterprises with little thought to the interests of the people who have no choice but to use them and their shareholders and managers who do not and in many cases believe they should not whilst awarding themselves ever larger pay outside the control of the state. As uanime5 banking being a prime example. Is this all just my opinion? Would it be also my opinion that the sun will rise tomorrow or a fact?

          • Edward
            Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

            Well Baz Im afraid its your opinion again.
            No real evidence I can see, but a valid and passionately held opinion none the less.
            I think you are wrong, but unlike you being a free market deomocrat with an interest in the rights of others opinions, I wouldnt ever say it was crank, delusion, fantasy, chump, idiot, ram it, or any other rudery you apply to anyone who offers an opinion you dont agree with

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted February 17, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Its not really possible to reply to this garbled and incoherent stuff. Calm down and take your time writing it.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 17, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          Is it rocket science to you? Pretending you can’t understand something will not make the point go away. The point being that the world has become more right wing. So much for the left being better at propaganda. Read it again slowly.

          • Max Dunbar
            Posted February 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

            Thats better. Brevity and accuracy is always best.

  27. alan jutson
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Labour : Very good at spin, very poor on policies

    Caolition: Very poor at spin, very poor on policies.

    • zorro
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Good summary…..


  28. uanime5
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    The purpose of the health reforms is to sell the NHS to private health companies, many of which MPs and Lords have a financial interest in. They increased the amount of private healthcare provided by NHS hospitals from 2% to 49% to encourage NHS hospitals to focus more on private patients than NHS ones. It has never been about offering more choice because people had a choice of NHS hospitals before these reforms were introduced.

    Given that the Government wants people to spend to keep the economy going I’d have to say that they don’t consider savings a good thing.

    Here are some new high level messages the coalition can use:

    “We support millionaires and punish the poor”. Examples are tax cuts for millionaires and real term benefit cuts for everyone else.

    “We have no idea how to run the economy”. Examples are that 5 of the past 6 quarters have been negative and the double dip recession (may become a triple dip).

    “We support forced labour so private companies can make more money”. Examples are forcing the unemployed to work in Poundland by threatening to remove their benefits for 6 months.

    “We support massaging unemployment figures”. Examples are removing millions of people on the two year long work programme from the unemployment statistics.

    “We support the bullying in education to force them to comply with Gove’s ideology”. Examples would be forcing schools to become academies and bullying everyone in the DfE who doesn’t agree with Gove.

    Reply Even by your standards this is extreme nonsense.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      The truth hurts.

    • wab
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      It would be good to know which of these points are allegedly extreme nonsense.

      Gove is trying to force all schools to become academies. The Tories have always hated local council control of education.

      “We have no idea how to run the economy.” Considering that Mr. Redwood spends some time on this blog explaining how badly the government is running the economy, presumably he at least half agrees with this point.

      Are unemployment figures being massaged? Who knows. The last Tory government certainly did this by dumping unemployed people on disability benefit.

    • David Price
      Posted February 17, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      When Labour were responsible for the NHS they had people dying in corridors for lack of beds and water while concentrating on ways to commercialise the NHS. You happily spout their propaganda but do you really understand what kind of people these are?

      Just before the 2010 election, Labour Health Secretary Andy Burnham was promoting NHS Global saying “The NHS could generate additional funding from other countries and organisations using its knowledge and products”. Burnham said the health service was “now looking to explore new international opportunities to export its knowledge, skills and services”

      Commercialised NHS reforms all dreamed up and instigated by your Labour buddies led by Andy Burnham, Balls, Milliband et al …. Why do you think it was such a central piece of the Olympics ceremony?

      • uanime5
        Posted February 17, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        Under Labour hospitals were only allowed to treat 2% of their patients privately, under the Coalition his was increased to 49%. While Labour may have favoured some privatisation the Conservatives favour much more.

        Also what has the coalition done to prevent people dying in corridors for lack of beds? If nothing then they’re no better or worse than Labour.

        • David Price
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

          At least this administration has listened to the complaints and is trying to get to the bottom of things. What did Labour and its groupies do – ignore the warnings and complaints or buy the silence of those they needed to?

          You persist in ignoring the damning evidence that Labour failed utterly for years in its stewardship of the NHS and desperately throw up any data you can dream up as a smokescreen.

          Where is your evidence that Labour offered only 2% private care and what sort of care was it? Is that their excuse for the shambolic treatment of patients?

        • David Price
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          For someone who is vehemently against any private sector achievement your defence is the same as saying Labour were only a little bit pregnant.

          The fact we know about the atrocious treatment through the Francis report demonstrates the coalition has done something. What exactly did Labour do to address the situation when they were in power other than let it happen and hope it would be kept quiet?

  29. con
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    A government lost at sea, says it is unable to do anything it claims it wants to do either because of the eu or its coalition partners.

    Labour were first with eu mass immigration so they could say there wouldn’t be too many, and when that proved untrue, quickly branded critics as racists.

    What does Cameron appear to be doing? Floundering. He says he wants to control it but does nothing about it and the truth is he probably can’t. He says he wants to restrict benefits, nhs etc and almost before he finished speaking he was rebuked by one of our eu masters. And if it hadn’t been the eu Clegg would have slapped him down.

    What is the truth? Does Cameron really want to control these things or is it just populist talk ahead of a by election?

    I would have thought that Cameron had learned from the 2010 election that facing both ways doesn’t lead to success. People aren’t stupid and can see through it. Worse, they just dismiss everything they are told.

    If this is the tory version of spin, it doesn’t work.

    Maybe a big shock like being utterly trounced at Eastleigh will be the wake up call, but I fear the conclusion will be that lost at sea means being sunk.

    Great pity.

  30. David Langley
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Taxation without representation is not good and there we are talking about the EU again.
    The less the government taxes us the better we like it. It would be good to determine just exactly what we get for our money and what we get from the borrowed money. If we are paying enough tax to support the NHS and Education and Security including food etc security. If this could be done at a lower level and the higher tax and borrowing is being done to finance the tasks that Cameron decides we must do and have and not us requesting them, then we have a strong case for ditching all this “Nice to haves” and the government taking its thieving hands out of our pockets. Borrowing on bond markets without so much as a please to me is arrogance and thieving. I do not like debt and I do not approve the governments borrowing and then giving it away like some crazy lottery winner.

  31. David Saunders
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    No change – no chance, as someone once said. Applies today.

  32. Pleb
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    In a glimpse of the potential consequences of mass Bulgarian and Romanian immigration in 2014, from the current German experience. Several German cities are begging for help from central government in dealing with the fallout of the influx, which they say includes severe problems in schools, illegal working, increased benefit pay-outs, and (other social problems-ed). The cities of Dortmund, Hanover, Duisburg, Berlin and Hamburg all say that the ‘the social balance and social peace is extremely endangered’ by (words left out-ed) migration. This is compounded by the fact that German courts have ruled that EU citizens from Bulgaria and Romania are entitled to healthcare and social benefits in Germany even without a valid working permit, adding to worries that any attempts by the British government to implement controls could be thwarted in the courts.

  33. David Langley
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    My comment about tax fairness and policy has gone, however summing it up as, do we pay enough taxes to fund the essentials? If we do not are we borrowing to fund these essentials and if we are the Government should keep its thieving hands off our money. Stop paying out to projects like foreign aid, the EU and stupid wars that are none of our business. No Middle East country or members of, is going to have a go at us if we let them get on with their own business.

  34. Derek Emery
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Whatever the question about the economy, they told us “No more Tory boom and bust”.

    I would have thought they would be quite embarrassed by this statement as they lead the country into the biggest bust ever.

    • Bob
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Strictly speaking Gordon Fulfilled his promise; we didn’t have a “Tory boom and bust”, did we?

  35. Bazman
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    To get themselves elected Labour knew they had to out spin the Tories with their lapdog support of the press. They did it very well and The Sun I suspect was (pressured-ed)) that if they blindly supported the Tories there would be consequences. The came around as we all know.
    The Tories have a problem these days. The unions are now weak and we have massive pay differences because of this. They got what they wanted, but now have fewer scapegoats. They are now looking for them in the working and non working poor the natural enemies of the Tory party, but this is going to wear thin on the voters and blaming the previous government looks more like an excuse the longer they are in power. People are quite happy to spin themselves though seeing themselves a middle class because they work in an office. 15k a year and you are middle class? This will be the new Tory spin I suspect.

  36. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    “What is the attitude to savings? Are savers good?”

    The government attitude has long been and still is schizoid.

    On the one hand, saving is good and should be encouraged. On the other hand, because savings income is aggregated with earnings for income tax purposes, most of those who are in a position to save automatically have to pay tax on their savings income. But then on the other hand again, the government will set up special, complex and restrictive schemes so that savers can to some extent avoid paying tax on their savings income.

    None of it really makes much sense.

  37. Antisthenes
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Liarbour is spinning the horse meat scandal for all it’s worth. Total inaccuracies, ignorant of the fact that the EU set up the monitoring system not the FSA and telling bare face lies about the response; saying it was slow and ill directed when in fact the opposite is obviously true. The left time and again have shown that they are incompetent and that their policies do not achieve their objectives and have and are doing enormous damage. It is no wonder that they are good at spin as they have had to do so much to cover up their inadequacies and without which most would see through their ridiculous ideology.

    • zorro
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      You would think that the Downing St machine would have come with these facts already and flogged it for all its worth along with the Labour ‘target culture’ disasters…..the fact that they haven’t says it all.


  38. rd
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    What is the purpose of the health reforms? I say to offer more choice and better treatment. What is the official official slogan?

    The NHS needs privatising and competition outside the Government guaranteed sector. If some can afford private healthcare – same as with Child allowance – why should we able to use services payed for by the less fortunate?

    What is the attitude to taxation? Is it a necessary evil which on the whole does harm, or is it a moral crusade, a way of changing people’s lives and behaviour?

    Changing peoples behaviour is not the Governments job. People are free. The Governments job is to help people not to need the Government and after that maintain the defence of the realm and basic public order through the courts etc…

    What is the attitude to savings? Are savers good? If so, why are they penalised with ultra low interest rates and inflation?

    Saving is wise, let those who don’t save learn the hard way. Interest rates can’t rise right now or we will default – which will happen sooner or later anyway. Bailing out the banks will eventually lead to UK default.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      RD to avoid getting moderated by making potentially libellous comments about private hospitals. I would say if you think you will be getting a better standard of non clinical care in a private hospital, ask some of your friends who are medics as to whether they would choose to go private and I think you may be surprised at the answers that you get.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 17, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Changing peoples behaviour is not the Governments job.

      What about reforming prisoners?

  39. Jon
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Labour did hide their intentions through spin from what they were about.

    On the lack of good messages from the conservatives an example for me was in relation to the move by Brown to rain in and hit pensions and savings in the face of an ageing population. Back then it seemed obvious to label Brown’s pensions black hole as it would be relevant not just now but for the next 20 years. Look how long the nasty party tag stayed. The opportunity wasn’t taken.

    On savers returns its not all bad news and there is a battle ground there. Active fund managers have had a great year giving good returns to savers. The very think Miliband wants to take away from savers. Don’t get me wrong I thing there are issues with fund manager bonuses but thats very different from what Labour want to do. These funds are the ones that have outstripped the FTSE average but a large margin last year more than negating the returns on cash for those with a mixed portfolio.

    The Conservatives I feel are sometimes too polite compared to Labour. I wouldn’t want to see them operate at that low level but the fact is Labour deliver a lot of cheap punches that get through. Taking the moral high ground won’t reach some sections of the electorate.

  40. Duncan
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    I can’t think of Labour spin without thinking of the help it gets from “our” BBC. John, why on Earth do we tolerate the chronic left-wing bias of the BBC. It really is intolerable. Is there not something we can do about it – more specifically, why does our (present) government do something about it.

  41. The PrangWizard
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t it time that you moved out of your British MP’s mindset? This time you have mentioned Health policy reforms. But which nation do the reforms apply to? Is it not just England? You have not said.

    I appeal to you again to stop denying the existence of England. You mislead many readers in these posts – it must be spin – yours this time.

    • JoolsB
      Posted February 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Well said Prang Wizard. The biggest spin is carried out by Cameron and the Tories just like Labour before them with their deliberate conflation of Britain and England when talking about policies because they know full well that most of what any UK Government does nowadays, be it £9,000 tuition fees or £75K upwards care home bills, health reforms, selling of assets etc, only affects England but they can’t say the forbidden ‘E’ word insisting on referring to ‘the country’ instead in their deliberate ploy to imply the whole UK is affected. At least John has shown your comments. I made a similar comment on this blog yesterday and also accused Cameron of being as anti-English as Labour. It has not appeared – why is that John?

  42. wab
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    It’s hilarious that any Tory would complain about spin under Labour, since the only job our Glorious Leader ever held in the real world was in PR. How many politicians, of any party, give honest answers to any question they are asked?

    “Are savers good?” Well, if anyone believes that then presumably they also believe that borrowers are bad. It would be good to move away from this puritanical middle class view that savers are somehow virtuous people. They are no different from anyone else, and most of them were borrowers at some point during their lives (i.e. had a mortgage).

  43. Tad Davison
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    And Labour perpetrated the biggest ever gerrymandering con on the British people by opening our doors to all and sundry. And as one former Labour cabinet minister admitted, most immigrants tend to vote Labour. The can’t win in England without the electoral system first being tilted in their favour, (it being necessary for more people to vote Tory in order to get one elected) and then swamping the place with people who are likely to vote their way.

    I’d bar the culpable ones from holding office ever again, but Cameron is going to hand them victory on a plate with his lack-lustre stand on the EU, the bedroom tax, and the pressure on the genuinely disabled.

    Tad Davison


  44. Credible
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    We’ve never heard any spin from the Conservative party have we? It’s what politicians do and always have done.

  45. Pleb
    Posted February 17, 2013 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    My report about the German citys asking for help due to excessive immigration has been cesored. I will try to post it again tomorrow. But it does seem that I have been censored.

    Reply: I do have to amend the wording and it will take time to do that.

  46. ArchiePonsonby
    Posted February 17, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Would you care to comment on the quoted comment below Mr. Redwood, which does, I believe, contain much truth, and as I have long believed you to be a “responsible English MP”?

    “Politically, Britain is very seriously ill, and has been so for far, far too long. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to see that very clearly.

    The fact that the cancer of the past fifteen or so years has been allowed to continue unchecked is not, at all, a good sign.

    Who was it who wrote: “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country”?

    Responsible English MPs – if such animals still exist! – need to take a long, hard, sober look at what is happening to England, especially, and to the United Kingdom as a whole.

    The time has come to forget party politics, and party squabbles, and to very urgently consider the nation’s best interests.

    There is this big, huge iceberg up ahead, and it may be a good idea to turn the Ship of State around.

    As Dave said : “We are all in this together!”

  47. Robert Taggart
    Posted February 17, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Liebore are still at it…
    Concerning cuts – “too far, too fast”.
    Concerning character – “…out of touch…”
    There be more – but enough of this.
    Question. Why can the Tories not do likewise ?

  48. Iain Gill
    Posted February 17, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    It amazes me all of the main parties have policies remarkably close to each other and counter the wished of the majority of the working population. A few examples:

    They are all anti car in flavour, road thinning, speed cameras, no understanding of the realities for folk who drive high miles to earn a living. I would say the majority of the working population are broadly in line with policies of it amazes me non of the main parties take this up.

    The pollution regime in both power production and output from other industrial processes, just pushes costs up far in excess of the average of the developed world resulting in production shutting here and being moved to India and China where the same things are produced with more associated pollution than we ever produced – pushing up world pollution and killing British jobs. We really need to get a multi national anti pollution policy because the current nonsense is killing our wealth creating ability.

    The “equality” regime. Far too much favouritism for favoured political sections of society and no real over arching “lets just treat absolutely everyone equally on merit” style policy is rife throughout all the political classes.

    The immigration regime, come on the difference between the rhetoric and the reality is massive. Everyone can see the politicians would have mile long noses if they were Pinocchio.

    Far too much over complex tax and benefits added on constantly added. If we had a simpler easier system not only would it save significant admin costs it would also be much easier to ensure everyone really was paying in fairly.

    The NHS it amazes me that nobody really speaks up for “power to the patient”!

  49. Wilko
    Posted February 17, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    During an earlier PMQ session, David Cameron did counter Ed Miliband’s ‘One Nation’ mantra with ‘One Notion: Borrow, borrow, borrow’. It seemed an effective retort at the time, yet is probably too weak for re-use.

    Labour attempt to gain mileage from recurring references to Conservatives being a party favouring the rich at the expense of the poor, using the reduction of the top rate of income tax as evidence, often effectively, however spurious it is. David Cameron’s response, claiming that the ‘top rate’ of tax will be lower during every year of Coalition Govt than any year of Labour’s Govt, does have traction, but is wordy.

    Short, strong, recognisably-truthful terms, which present a high level of imagery in their contrast are needed. The words should be chosen for their strength of recall too. Double or treble meanings work harder. ‘Labour isn’t working’ worked well. Others, such as alliterations, and those with inner rhymes often have more power, because they make a kind of music.

    Just as Pavlov’s dog responded to the sound of the bell, many people respond to a carefully-crafted verbal trigger, automatically thinking about what is intended to be communicated, even if only hearing part of it.

    ‘A Mars a day helps you ……..’ is a crude example of this.

    Decades after its last use ‘It looks good, it feels good, and by golly …..’ may still prompt large numbers of older people to know which words follow, and more importantly, the ownership of the brand which used it.

    Maybe the specialists supporting the Conservative party are not thinking enough about the effectiveness of their communications, or perhaps there are not enough suggestions from anyone else.

  50. Wilko
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Combative party messages are stronger. Causing a new voter to choose Conservative merely adds one. Causing an existing Labour voter to choose Conservative ALSO takes one away from Labour. This result is doubly effective.

    In response to the need for effective messages, consider:

    Miliband stands under the Cuckoo’s Nest: Evidence on Ed.

    Once the image is recognised, it sticks. Dyeing hair is no cover up.

  • 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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