Congratulations to the President on cutting spending

President Obama has done the right thing in signing approval for $85 billion of cuts in US public spending. He is still playing a blame game with the Republicans over who is responsible, but it is his signature on the order. Maybe the only way a democracy can order any cuts in public spending is by blaming someone else for them. It takes a real borrowing crisis in the markets otherwise to create the conditions for real cuts, as in Sweden and Canada in the past. Apparently Mr Obama would rather increase taxes a bit as well as cutting spending. Both reduce demand in their first round effects, so I can’t see how his preferred option is better.

Whilst cutting spending, the President claims that the cuts will be damaging to growth and jobs. He forecasts half a percent off the US economy as a result. It will be interesting to see what happens. I suspect the US economy will keep on growing this year, despite the cuts or because of the cuts. The cuts have clearly got the support of the markets. The many individuals and companies who have expressed their view this week by buying or selling securities approve of the cuts. The US Stock market has gone up, and US bonds have been fine.

The US economy is growing again because they have mended their banks. The commercial banks can lend on the money being created by the Fed. It is growing thanks to shale gas and cheap energy. It is growing thanks to its strong enterprise sector and its good technology. The lost public sector output should be replaced by private sector output in these conditions. More importantly, the fact that the US is seen to be tackling its deficit and future debts is good for confidence, the magic ingredient in any recovery.

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  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    If I were a (democrat-ed) (and I saw a fellow democrat-ed) in the White House , I should be looking for a few goodies, wouldn’t you? I wonder, personally, how the president actually feels about the cuts. Is he secretly very relieved? Or is he actually guilty about betraying his electors?

  2. alexmews
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Thx John.

    i agree. And i think the coalition had the mandate to do much of the same when they came to power. As Liam Byrne said “there is no money left”

    But instead the coalition just talked cuts. It was a PR story not a real one. And the banks are not fixed. And costs are up etc etc.

    stasis and a wasted opportunity. I cannot see much change over the next two years as the coalition drifts on. Nobody ‘in’ the system seems to have the power or the initiative to drive reform.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    How times have changed.

    We now congratulate someone for trying to live within their income.

    It would seem the norm is to spend more than you have.

    And they say education has improved !!!!

    • zorro
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      He has been dragged kicking and screaming with these cuts which are a pin prick compared to their overall debt. The FED is still effectively creating US$85 billion per month through QE and mortgage security subsidy. They are still in very bad shape, no matter what the mainstream news may suggest. There is a lot of propaganda out there at the moment……Perhaps we should ask the Department of Homeland Security as to their assessment of the future. Their massive ammunition (hollow point) and armament purchases might suggest that they are preparing for something different.

      The energy policy is assisting the US economy, and certainly not anything emanating from President Obama.


  4. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    President Obama has been dragged kicking and screaming into public expenditute cuts which will impact most upon the military.

    He deserves no credit for fiscal responsibility in the fifth year of his presidency with a national debt in excess of $16 trillion.

    • APL
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      JR: “President Obama has done the right thing ..”

      Before everyone gets carried away, Obama has in effect agreed to cut $850 from a budget of $38,000. It is barely even a pin prick.

      reply Every little helps, and the US is on track to cut their deficit by more than the UK is doing.

      • APL
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        JR: “Every little helps, and the US is on track to cut their deficit by more than the UK is doing.”

        Yes, I agree. But they are doing less than the absolute minimum – and probably too late.

        JR: “more than the UK is doing. ”

        That isn’t hard because the UK government isn’t even trying.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      @Glenn Vaughan: “President Obama has been dragged kicking and screaming into public expenditute cuts which will impact most upon the military.

      Wow, I didn’t realise that Obama was responsible for the entire US national debt, and when did the GOP ever make $85 billion of cuts in one stroke of the pen, and indeed it was only on the Obama’s watch that this was even possible…

    • wab
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Let’s see. What are the biggest factors in the “out of control” US national debt?

      (1) The economic crisis of 2008. I wonder who was president then.

      (2) The Bush tax cuts. I wonder which president implemented these tax cuts and said they would pay for themselves, which they did not.

      (3) The Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I wonder which president started these two wars and put their entire cost onto the national debt.

      Yes, Bush is far more to blame than Obama is for the problem. If the Republican Party was not run by (people of poor judgement-ed) then the US would be in far better shape to solve their problems. It is Obama’s great misfortune to be running the country at a time when the Republican Party en masse has gone over the edge.

  5. lifelogic
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Indeed and there are so many areas that could be cut with out anyone damage. For example all the people who are hired to massage death statistics in the NHS.

    The similar jobs in police crime statistics and many other areas of parasitic activity.

    All the people involved in subsidy for the green energy racket, all the people in government who merely push government propaganda at the masses, about half of the BBC. (The top BBC people are all overpaid by a factor of about four too) the car cash camera on bus lanes and box junctions.

    These pointless jobs are not confined to the state sector either. The gender neutral insurance, the renewable energy religion, the absurdly complex tax system, the no win no fee racket, the absurd employment laws, the EU ……..all create pointless and worse positively damaging jobs all over the place. Get rid of them all.

    A cut is not really a cut as the money has to be taken from the wealth creators or borrowed first. Leave the money with those who create it. That is best for all in the end.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      LL could you please come clean and tell us on whose health’s service you are dependent on these days, just so that we can see how it measures up to the NHS?. I hope you are not one of these expats who flies in for care though at the same time exempts himself from paying UK taxes?

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        I never visit the NHS at all since I left about 5 years ago. I and my family do not see doctors ever really I have been lucky. I did take one of my daughters, twice to the doctors and once to casualty, here you pay roughly £20 each time you go, they see you very promptly, and it works far, far better than the NHS does and is clean and customer friendly.

        In fifty odd years I do not think my doctors have done anything for me anyway – save a few inoculations, and taking my appendix out. The NHS misdiagnosed that 4 times before they finally did take it out. Mainly I suspect as they did not have space in surgery anyway and were not very sure. The appendix used to be the second commonest cause of premature death in males before they learned to treated it too!

        I just try not to get too fat, not to drink too excessively, walk a fair bit and take the occasional aspirin as needed. Most improvements in life expectancy are due to improvements in inoculations, child birth, better sanitation and some fairly cheap antibiotics rather than expensive treatments in later life.

        As Rumpole of the Bailey once said –

        “There’s no pleasure on earth that’s worth sacrificing for the sake of an extra five years in the geriatric ward of the Sunset Old People’s Home, Weston-Super-Mare”

        • Nina Andreeva
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

          I note that you still have not told us whose system only charges twenty quid a go, just so that I can do a “like for like” comparison to the NHS

          • woolfiesmiff
            Posted March 3, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink


            You only need to look at the 17 , yes Seventeen countries with better healthcare systems than the NHS ( WHO best health outcomes v cost )

            France , Italy , San Marino, Andorra, Malta, Singapore and Spain are the top 7

            The comparison is available here


            Luckily they don’t take into account the death of patients in care due to incompetence or else the NHS would be even further down than the 18th it currently is.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 3, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

            I also would like to know what country LL is living in, because if it is not the UK then he really has nothing to complain about with regards to the BBC, he doesn’t pay the TVL – but does get to view it for free via satellite…

            Lifelogic, have you ever thought about taking up knitting as you really are boxing yourself into a corner here, by all means comment but cut the rants about what you do not use nor pay for!

          • lifelogic
            Posted March 9, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

            Jerry – I do have to pay TV licence fee on my holiday lets in the UK (but it is at least tax deductible).

          • Jerry
            Posted March 14, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

            @Lifelogic: You watch TV in your own holiday lets?

            Also, surely it is your customers who pay, via the cost of the lets, you do not pay for these TV licences personally…

        • A.Sedgwick
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          In my experience a private GP costs at least £65, which is prohibitive for normal use. The NHS system for GPs is anamalous, they are self employed but subservient as if employed. I would favour a completely private GP system for a fair charge per visit say £10 with the GPs able to write NHS prescriptions and refer ideally to any hospital with the state or state insurance picking up the bill. On a rare visit to a private GP for a family member, blood tests were taken immediately with results and explanations after a short wait. Rather different to the NHS process but the snag was it cost £400.

          • Nina Andreeva
            Posted March 3, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

            By the nature of what is involved blood tests come back very quickly whether you pay for them or not.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Is the trickle up effect a good thing. The rich getting richer and the poor becoming more poor or are you telling us this does not happen?

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        If people want to be comfortable or even rich they can be, unless they are very lazy, ill or very stupid.

        They just have to want it enough and be prepared to make the sacrifices needed. Lost of people want to be rich but simply do not want to do this.

        So long as they can live, eat and drink – what are they complaining about?

        • Bazman
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          Rather depends where they are able to live, eat and drink. The idea that it is all their own fault if this place is below par as they have not made enough sacrifices is for the birds and right wing religious fantasists.

          • woolfiesmiff
            Posted March 3, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

            So what is it exactly that stops poor people working harder and making more money?

            How come its perfectly possible for those with the drive and determination to succeed can do so whatever backround they come from?

        • Jerry
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          @Lifelogic: “So long as they can live, eat and drink [and pay the mortgage or rent, don’t forget] – what are they complaining about?

          Trouble is, increasing numbers can’t, as demonstrated by (I think) Helen Goodman MP in a speech in the Commons this last week [1], perhaps Lifelogic you should try living on the UK’s NMW, in fact might I suggest that all MPs do so – and that would give you more than Helen Goodman had to live on as she was using the JSA benefit as her starting point, less the forthcoming “Bedroom Tax”.

          [1] with apparently very few Tory or LibDems MPs present in the chamber, shame on them…

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      JR Christopher Booker today says the banker’s bonus controls are not under EU competence as the law refers only to self employed. Thus Cameron can block them. Is this right? Will he just nod them through though- like the no retirement rules and the equal gender insurance/pension nonsense?

      Reply It seems unlikely that they have got the legal position wrong. Anyway, challenges to their view have to be judged in the ECJ! I will make enquiries.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Those on a bonus should be able to get as much as the shareholders that they work for will let them get away with. No need to worry about the EU just ignore them (see Terry Smith of Tullet Prebon’s excellent article in yesterday’s “Guardian” for the reasons why). However JR I just hope you are not supportive of them because you believe in the concept of “too big to fail”, a tax payer put and “if we do not do as they say the system will seize up and London will look like Mogadishu” etc?

        Reply: As a regular reader you should know I opposed the nationalisaiton of the big banks, and have always said no bank should be too big to fail – I argued for the controlled administration approach which has now been adopted for future crises but not yet unfortunately for the one we are living through.

        • Nina Andreeva
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          Not to worry I just thought I detected a bit of backsliding!

    • zorro
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Any news on Sir David Nicholson yet?……thought not.


      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Even if Dave did sack him you can bet your last pound he would walk off with a load of compen, knighthood intact etc. While just like those who got the bullet when the Strategic Health Authorities were found to be of no use, he would float back up to the surface in some sort of consultancy role with the NHS. Not bad for a (man-ed) with a degree from Bristol Poly and no medical training.

    • livelogic
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      I see Peter Hargreaves the founder of Hargreaves Lansdown has it exactly right in the Telegraph today:- “It is time to face reality: taxes won’t help in reducing the deficit, and they stifle business”.

      The only aspect of the UK that is doing we is the low taxes nondoms let us extend this low tax systems to the rest.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        @Lifelogic: It will need more than just low taxes (both personal and business), it needs the bureaucrats to get off the backs of aspiration, I’m not sure if even the Tories want that, after all it would not be right for the little guy to be able to undercut the big guys would it, something that many small and one-man-band companies can not do at the moment simply because of the central government and LA bureaucracy. Then there are other costs, such as often having to have the latest documents that prove suitable training achievement but which are no different than the previous except that the new documents have a new name or number. 🙁 /rant…

  6. stred
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Re spending reductions. Our ‘conservative’ council in London has started a crazy paving project along the whole high street, which is now completely blocked for months. I asked a foreman why they were changing the grey paviours, put down a few years ago, for buff ones and big buff paving flags, which crack easily. He laughed and said they had to move the road over a bit, indicating about 9 inches. This would make the footpath wider. It is already wide.

    The district Met police must have received instructions from the large PR department, which are currently running ads on commercial radio telling us that the terrorist squad is waiting for phone calls and ‘working for us’. Or dealing with rape cases sympathetically. This time they have come up with a prevention package, handed out at tube stations in a large brown envelope.

    On the outside is a checklist with tick boxes. The questions are to make certain that the police officer dealing with your crime has done his job properly. Is this because the management can’t trust the officer to take his own checklist around?

    Inside there are the usual crime prevention leaflets about locking up etc. But the one which caught my eye was a scheme to stop car theft. The car owner has to put a sticker on the back window which states whether the car will not be used at night.
    Then, police following the car will be able to see whether it is likely to be stolen if it is on the road at night. Brilliant! Lets hope cars thieves don’t get to know and take the stickers off.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      The usual waste and government absurdity everywhere.

      • Bazman
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        No mention of profiteering in your rants any reason does it not go on or is this outside your right wing ‘think’.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        Bazman “Profiteering” well certainly governments do that all the time and with the threat of imprisonment to back it up.

        But if you mean in the private sector, it is largely buyer beware, but I agree with some government controls.

        I would for example make power bills/ loan / insurance simpler and more comparable by forcing companies to offer a standard pricing methods and terms among others offers. And not rip off customers who fail to switch.

        I would stop pay day loans over a certain rate.

        There are intelligent ways the state can intervene, on occasions, they just so rarely do it sensibly. Often because of being in cahoots with them perhaps. All those party donors and “consultancies” to consider.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        LL as you spend so much time out of the UK, apart from being curious about where you get your healthcare from. Where is the Shangri La that have you discovered that has no lazy civil servants, penal taxation and a political class in tune with Cameron co.It cannot be possibly be anywhere in Western Europe, North America or Australia. So where is it?

        • lifelogic
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

          Well there is plenty of choice Switzerland, Monaco, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Ireland (as an Irish nondom), Bahamas, Holand
          Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Panama, San Marino, Seychelles
          Campione d’Italia, United Arab Emirates, Labuan, Malaysia
          Curaçao, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Jersey (UK), Guernsey, Isle of Man, Turks and Caicos Islands, Alaska, Delaware, United States, Florida, Nevada, Texas, South Dakota, US Virgin Islands, Wyoming – Depends rather on your financial situation, climate preferences and interests.

          • lifelogic
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

            Also – Hong Kong, Gibralta Andorra, Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands,
            Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Dubai, Eastern Europe, Gibraltar, Liechtenstein,
            Malta,Panama, Singapore, St Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos Islands, Denmark, United Kingdom (for non uk doms)

          • Jerry
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

            Lifelogic, just admit it, you live in the NW of the UK, in a council house and your ‘property portfolio’ is the LA housing that you and your family live in – oh and that you are “Joey” from Bread! 🙂

            Quips aside, sorry but I really don’t see why you are so reluctant to say, it’s not as if anyone is asking you for a house number and post code, you’re not on the run are you?!..

    • Bob
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink


      In the West Midlands the police advise that you leave your glove box open to demonstrate to thieves that there’s nothing worth stealing inside.

      They also put notices on lamp posts declaring that “car thieves operate in this area”.

      Tough on crime eh!

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        I think I would prefer to live in a place where I can just leave the doors open and not worry thanks.

        The police’s job is to provide real deterrents to criminals and make sure I can do safely – not lecture me on how to live my life.

        • APL
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

          lifelogic: “not lecture me on how to live my life.”

          You must have noticed the other areas of an individuals private life the State now presumes to interfere in.

          Because we pay for the Welfare state, we are now lectured on how much food we eat ( obesity) the types of food we eat, how much exercise we take, if we drink too much or not enough, how many cigarettes a man smokes, the list is endless, YET:

          For each of these pettyfrogging demands and instructions, the state indemnifies, thereby encouraging the undesirable behavor, so you can get a gastric band on the NHS, the STATE will build a ramp to your bedroom and hire a forklift to carry you to your hospital bed for the emergency treatment to address your self inflicted overweight, on the other hand, if your self inflicted condition arises from a state disapproved behavior, smoking or alcohol – each significant revenue sources for the government, you are vilified and persecuted.

          The state has inverted (perverted) the relationship between the customer and provider, so that the service provider (NHS) makes demands of the customer, the patient.

          • livelogic
            Posted March 9, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink


        • Jerry
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          @Lifelogic: Unless you live within a gated community or on a private island there are very few places in the world were one can do as you wish, of course you could live in a country that, whilst allowing your to leave your doors open, stops you enjoying other freedoms, such as how you (or your wife/daughters) dress or what you can drink etc.

  7. livelogic
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Not likely to get much confidence with “I will not lurch to the right” Cameron it there.

    We do not need him to “lurch to the right” just stop his tax, borrow and waste, stop the expensive energy by government religion, reduce payment that augment the feckless and fire all the people in the state sector that do nothing useful.

    So what does he do? He goes on about the protecting the NHS. The appalling thousands of early deaths producing dis-functional NHS over which he presides. Free at the point of rationing (etc ed) so often.

    The man is surely (wrong-ed). He should put on a disguise and go and look at the the worse parts of NHS it is often appalling.

    Reply: He said he wished to be on the common ground, Keith Joseph’s phrase, not the centre ground. That was an important and sensible statement. he says he wants to be where the UK people are – and has now said Conservatives will repeal the Human Rights Act and renounce the ECHR, something some of us have been pressing for for some time.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Regrettably his common ground is different from the majority’s common ground.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Common with the libdem common ground – so wrong on everything pretty much from the EU, tax, spending/wasting, over regulation, the gifts to the feckless to green quack overpriced energy.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      JR, regarding the part of your reply about the repeal of the Human Rights Act, a Private Members’ Bill was debated on Friday and then withdrawn.

      Do you know if there was something fundamentally wrong with this Bill which meant that the Tory part of the government was unable to support it and try to push it forwards, if necessary with amendments?

      Human Rights Act 1998 (Repeal and Substitution) Bill:

      Debated and withdrawn:

      Incidentally, do you know why before the debate Mr Elphicke proposed that the House should sit in private?

      Reply: The Lib Dem part of the Coalition would not agree to Conservative Ministers voting for any such legislation, so there would be no majority for it.

      • JimF
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        “Reply: The Lib Dem part of the Coalition would not agree to Conservative Ministers voting for any such legislation, so there would be no majority for it.”
        It’s all rather reminiscent of the sinner repenting at the gates of St Peter. It’s kinda too late to count then.
        If this sort of thing had been put in the last Tory manifesto and (more importantly) stuck to, the scenery might be quite different today.

        Reply Many contributors to this site just ignore the fact that the Conservatives do not have a majority for anything on their own. Anything we want to do has to be brokered with the Lib dems, or requires Labour acquiescence.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          Clearly the Conservatives will be even further from having a majority if all the Conservative ministers vote as directed by the LibDems.

          reply They vote for the compromsie positions they negotiate – it is a Coalition. What is there that is so difficult to understand about this?

          • JimF
            Posted March 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

            With respect, it is difficult to understand how they got into having to make compromises in the first place. Can you imagine Mrs Thatcher, in her day, first losing to the disaster that was G Brown then compromising with a party with the likes of “Welfare before work” Barron in it?

          • David Price
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:54 am | Permalink

            To reply .. I understand the there will be constraints on action in a coalition but not on presentation surely? The Libdems, for example, are not backward in displaying their contempt of their coalition partners or the electorate.

            Perhaps if that part of the conservative party in governement made it crystal clear to the public when the Libdems were blocking an initiative or reneging on agreements there might be less irritation of the supporters.

            I suggest the acquiescent silent partner approach doesn’t foster any degree of esprit de corps let alone willingness to support and the promises of true conservative policies after the 2015 election are utterly meaningless. Why vote then for a majority partner that didn’t at least visibly try to introduce conservative policies now?

          • APL
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

            JR: “They vote for the compromsie positions they negotiate – it is a Coalition”

            Clearly Cameron is a useless deadweight when it comes to negotiating, god help us if he was in charge of the re-negotiations with Brussels!

            He clearly needed to be prime minister more than he wanted to negotiate a good coalition agreement.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

            @JimF: Very true, Mrs Thatcher never lost an election, why, because her party sacked her before she did…

      • zorro
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        This is oh so predictable – STOP THE NEWS – Home Secretary and PM will do something about HRA and withdraw from the ECHR…….

        But didn’t they mention that they would do this before the election….? They have done nothing substantive since, but then of course the human shield (Lib Dems) has stopped them doing so……What nonsense! How will anything be different in the next two years? Last time I looked the Lib Dems were still there, but maybe Cameron has persuaded them to vote for his plans…..LOL……This is nothing but pathetic posturing with no hope of happening. They will just blame the Lib Dems again in the forlorn attempt to convince the electorate that they are credible and capable.

        They are of course doomed……Next thing, Cast Elastic will be promising to hold an IN/OUT referendum after he has been voted out of power. Oh sorry, he’s already done that. How can anyone put any faith in his words?……John, your continued faith in this man is most illogical……


        Reply Helping write a good Conservative manifesto for the next election is to me important. I welcome today’s news about the ECHR and Human Rights legislation. The Lib dems have of course refused to support any such moves this Parliament.

        • JimF
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

          You cannot be this gullible. These “promises” become less and less credible. Cameron wants to keep us in the EU.

          Can you really imagine a scenario where
          a/the Conservatives win the next election outright
          If No the remainder is irrelevant
          If Yes
          b/Cameron produces an EU referendum and wins a yes vote
          If No Cameron would resign and the remainder is irrelevant
          If Yes
          c/ Cameron then decides to remove us from the ECHR and Human Rights legislation?

          • Jerry
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

            @JimF: Can you really imagine a scenario where;

            1/. UKIP wins at least one seat at Westminster (if not then the rest are irrelevant).
            If yes
            2/. UKIP win enough seats to even be considered a major party of a coalition and were they would not need to compromise to avoid being seen as the party that caused an immediate re-run of the general election and thus get punished by the electorate.
            If yes
            3/. UKIP would be in a position to be the majority party and thus form a government.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        That’s an astonishing statement; it means that Tory MPs who are ministers are now effectively taking the LibDem whip; not even just the Tory whip, but the LibDem whip.

        But what exactly would the LibDem part of the coalition do if Tory MPs who were ministers decided to listen to their own constituents and voted for it, rather than allowing LibDems elected in other constituencies to dictate how they must vote?

        Reply Conservative Ministers have to follow the Coalition whip – there is no Conservative or Lib dem whip apart from the agreed positions of the Coalition government. Conservative MPs do not always choose to follow this whip, as you will have noted. If a Conservative Minister wishes to adopt a Conservative policy and then get the Coalition to vote for it, he needs to persuade Messrs Clegg and Alexander first.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          I will remain polite here.

          Near the end of his Mail on Sunday article today:

          Mr Elphicke tells readers:

          “It is because we need to protect our ancient customs, liberties and freedoms that I presented such a Bill to the Commons to replace the Human Rights Act.”

          But he doesn’t say that on Friday afternoon he withdrew his Bill, after the Tory minister Damian Green told him that “now is not the time to embark on wholesale changes to the human rights framework”, efforts to reform the working of the Strasbourg court are still ongoing, the Commission has only just reported, more debate is needed, etc etc etc to kick the issue further into the long grass.

          It’s a pity that he didn’t insist on pressing his Second Reading motion to a division, because then we might have seen the Tory ministers voting against it.

          Then I read this quoted from the Sunday Times:

          “The leadership is considering one more concession on Europe to reduce UKIP’s appeal. Two groups of Tory MPs, led by the backbenchers John Baron and Bill Cash, plan to step up a campaign to push Cameron into introducing legislation before the election to put the promised 2017 EU membership referendum on the statute book. The prime minister has not closed off the idea, even though the chances of Lib Dem or Labour support for such a bill might be remote.”

          Well, Mr Baron’s Bill on this was due to have its Second Reading debate on Friday, until that was changed at the last minute so that instead it is now scheduled for April 26th – when the House of Commons is not expected to be sitting!

          So what is going on here?

          Is it just devious manoeuvring to string the public along for a bit longer?

          And, to repeat an earlier question, why did Mr Elphicke ask for the Commons to sit in private before the start of that debate?

        • zorro
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

          So Clegg/Alexander have the veto power on any proposed measure…..a party with less than 20% of the seats that the Tories hold has the whip hand over government policy……and people are supposed to believe that Cameron would enact these policies on HRA, ECHR and an EU referendum after 2015 with a majority Tory government, having failed to beat Brown on 2010….incredible.


          • Jerry
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

            @Zorro: That might be the case but they hold the balance of power, without the LibDem qualified support there is no government, call an election! Oh and when that does happen you better just remember that whilst -in 2010- Mr Brown might or might not have been unpopular most of the electorate understand that they are either chosing their constituency MP or a party, not a leader (who like they have, can resign and be replaced by the party at any time), the UK doesn’t have an elected President…

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

          A reply to reply has missed moderation here.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      He also stated “I want people to be able to look back at this government and see that we paid down our debts”. There he goes again with his mendacity. He always planned to double the debt and any pretence that the increase in the debt i.e. the deficit would be eliminated by 2015 has long since been abandonned. With such deceit why should I, or anyone else, believe that he will do any of the things that you are clinging to in order to justify still supporting him? I am sorry but the man is a complete charlatan, just like his hero Blair, you may be taken in by him but millions of the British people are not.

      • JimF
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        Yes, they really do live in la la land. If you watch Ed Milliband in his TV interviews, he’s also been coached in Blair-speak. This sort of estuary speak, somewhere between Berkshire and Essex, with the tone being “I’m a reasonable kinda guy, you know, and what it’s really important to understand is blah blah blah” Same with Cameron, Hague (with extra vagueness added) and now Gove seems to have joined the club.

        In contrast Farage’s mannerisms, humour and straight speaking in themselves are a breath of fresh air (metaphorically speaking).

        • Jerry
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          @JimF: “Arthur Daley” had everyday mannerisms, humour and straight speaking but would you have bought a car from him?!

      • zorro
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Oh yes……’we are paying down Britain’s debt’…….As you say mendacious tosh…


      • lifelogic
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        Indeed the debt in 2015 will likely be double that when they took over and they will still have a deficit.

        • zorro
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

          Mind you, doubtless with Cameron’s logic, he will borrow more money on the debt in one year and then use it to balance his annual spend and say that he has eliminated the deficit. He would probably expect us to believe it too….


      • matthu
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        No doubt Mr Cameron meant to say I want to be able to look back and hear people saying that this government paid down its debts …”.

        It’s easy to make a mistake.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Your answer is privatisation and these arguments are a backdoor way of getting this. How profits before patients will work is not explained by you. Hedge funds are not going to be in the business of healthcare for altruistic reasons and as for regulations have a think about banking except this time we are talking about health. You are proposing a healthcare system like dentistry and we all know about that one. Blind belief in the free market that when questioned you have no answers and have the audacity to talk about the BBC and certain ‘thinks’. How about you right wing ‘think’ that will put millions in this country into further hardship and ill health. I’ll pull you every time on your fantasies (etc -ed other bloggers do think you should tone it down a bit)

      • A different Simon
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        I agree that privatisation is not the answer though have no particular objection to private firms being subcontracted for particular services .

        Those people who are in good health often seem to be unable or unwilling to envisage their own health taking a nose dive .

        Consequently they tend to consider spending on healthcare a cost rather than an investment .

        I have extensive experience of the national health as a patient and as one might expect of an organisation this size the service and facilities ranges from the best to the worst available anywhere .

        I’ve notice that there are quite a few hospital doctors in their late forties onwards who are sophisticated erudite people who don’t want to work that hard at that stage in life and reaching that age myself (thanks to them) I can understand it .

        They don’t always seem well organised but perhaps it’s best for their secretaries to deal with that sort of thing rather than have it imposed on them from above .

        • Nina Andreeva
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink


          Please can you tell me where this hospital is where “there are quite a few hospital doctors in their late forties onwards who are sophisticated erudite people who don’t want to work that hard at that stage in life” so he can send in his CV for a job?

          The reason being my other half fits that profile and has been “on call” last Friday and Saturday night i.e go in at 9pm back out at around 1030 am and then back to work again on Monday morning. That is the norm for most doctors I know

          • A different Simon
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

            This was an observation regarding specialists who use houseman and registrars as water carriers .

            This is commonplace throughout most industries from software development to football where a striker is paid to put the ball in the net not for their work rate .

            I sympathise with your other half being on-call . Your time is not your own when you are on-call even if you don’t get called and I find it soul destroying having to do it without any reward .

            The urge to work everyone harder than necessary seems to come from the beancounters in their crusade to impose mediocrity and misery on everyone else , stamp out flare and combat real quality .

            The obsession with trying to measure everything is another symptom of ingrained mediocrity .

            Better to use people for their knowledge and strengths rather than try to organise flare people .

            You can teach a pig to sing but the pig won’t enjoy it and it doesn’t sound very nice .

          • A different Simon
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps a better example than a footballer would be a salesman .

            Their idiosynchracies are tolerated and nobody in their right mind would try to get them to fill in a timesheet and (some might-ed) only fabricate it anyway .

            At the end of the day every employees livelihood depends on the salesmans ability to sell and nothing much else matters .

      • stred
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        Baz seems to think that dentistry is a free market. Certainly, the NHS part of it isn’t. The system works like this.

        Dentists offering NHS charges are also allowed to provide private treatment. Often, this is offered as an extra if the patient wants such luxuries as white fillings for back teeth or mercury free as these are considered unsafe in many countries.

        Many larger practices have partners who take on younger dentists, who keep about half of their fees and pay half to the practice. This is why some dentists make £200k and juniors a quarter or third of this. In really large practices the number of juniors may be even larger.

        However, if the younger dentists wish to open their own clinic and offer NHS subsidised treatment they need permission from the local trust panel, who include the dentists who already operate in the area. The young upstarts are allowed to find a wealthy area and open up a private only clinic but not in areas which already have ‘sufficient’ NHS clinics. Unfortunately, most people are not that well off and continue to use the mixed NHS/private dentists. I know of one young dentist who lost his large investment just because of this.

      • Bob
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink
    • lifelogic
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      To reply:- good but I will judge by his actual actions on Human Rights Act and the ECHR.

      He said he will “stick to his current path” which is about 180 degrees out from what is needed. Tax borrow and waste, expensive green energy tosh and more silly regulations everywhere.
      Now EU control of bank pay, no retirements and gender right on insurance.

      Anyway he cannot do anything as he threw away the last election and he thus has the mad Libdems running the show.

      • zorro
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        He will never change his mind on anything with regards to his moral compass…..That, you can be sure of….


    • uanime5
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      I doubt the Conservatives will ever get a majority if they’re calling for a remove of people’s human rights. After all people do appreciate having a right to a fair trial, free speech, and life. They also appreciate torture and slavery being illegal, especially when the Government believes in forcing people to work for free.

      Reply Conservatives also believe in these fundamental rights, but think a free Parliament and independent courts in the Uk can uphold these values.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        U5 do have a read of Stalin’s 1936 constitution and look at all the protections of civil liberties in it. If they are are going to get you, they will and you know where you can shove your constitutional guarantees as they drag you off at three in the morning. I want out of the ECHR because I am sick of getting the run around from it, especially when many of the “judges” in it received their domestic judicial appointments inside the Soviet Union itself.

        If grand election strategist Osborne had come up with this last weekend they might of won

        • A different Simon
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

          Nina ,

          Did you grow up under the old Soviet Union ?

      • Jerry
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        @U5: I have to agree with JR and the government on this, no one is getting rid of “Human Rights”, for one thing the UK would still be subject to the UN charter which includes human rights, what the government wants to do is remove the country from the (now) overly political ECHR, that parallels the UN charter anyway, and that is actually stifling as many human rights as it is protecting.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          No what the Government is clearly trying to do is make human rights unenforceable in the UK by removing the only method normal people have of forcing the Government to comply with human rights.

          Also when the ECHR gives rights to people you don’t like it isn’t stifling human rights, it’s protecting human rights.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

            @U5: Unless the UK leaves the UN the government can not take anyone’s of Human rights away, and when the ECHR stops me from doing something that’s acceptable under the UN charter then the ECHR is taking away my rights.

            Tell me Uni, if the ECHR was being used to facilitate right-wing political policies would you be so supportive?

      • David Price
        Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        People are not calling for the removal of human rights just the removal of an unelected and unrepresentative group as arbiters. You wouldn’t be abusing your right to free speech to commit libel would you?

        For someone who claims they have studied law I’m surprised at your lack of knowledge of English law. Or do you believe trial by jury is less fair than bench trial practiced elsewhere? Are we to believe your socialist heroes are upholders of the right to life given the consequences of their stewardship of the NHS revealed in recent months? As for free speech that has been systematically eroded during the period of Labour’s administration with the canker of political correctness, though that doesn’t seem to stop you making false claims and accustions

        Contributing effort in return for welfare payments until you get a job is not slavery. Slavery would be if you worked and the welfare payments were withheld which is nmot the case.

        By the way the ECHR does not guarantee provision of welfare payments ( certainly in the absence of work), housing, education, health care or any of the other freebies you demand.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          How exactly are people going to enforce their human rights when the Government is planning to remove the only way in which people can enforce these rights? Your argument makes it clear you don’t understand what you’re talking about.

          Funny that you should mention libel laws because until the human rights act was introduced in the UK free speech was considered a privilege, not a right. After the HRA the defamation laws had to undergo massive changes to comply with the right to free speech.

          Your comments about slavery also show that you haven’t done basic research as human rights prohibits slavery and forced labour.

          • David Price
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

            Do you recall the Labour government attempting to rescind trial by jury in 2002? I don’t recall you speaking out against that attack on human rights.

            Your assertion that the Conservatives are attempting to remove human rights is clearly false. The exercise is to remove unelected foreign judges from arbitrating on human rights issues in a sovereign state. If you persist in asserting something that is false to damage another party you are enagaging in defamation, which in writing is libel.

            You didn’t actually read my comment about slavery did you.

            I also note your lack of response to my final comment so I assume you agree that education, welfare, health and housing are not a human right

          • Jerry
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

            @U5: Tell me Uni, how is the UK government going to stop people from enforcing these human rights, are they planning to ban elections, ban the courts, sack the Judges, what will stop people doing what they did well before the EU, the ECJ and the (miss-use of the) ECHR, that is, campaign for a change in the law or by electing a government that will bring in such changes to the law?

          • zorro
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

            So do you think that British judges would allow this to happen?…..I don’t think so……A lot of the decisions the government doesn’t like are made by British judges. I doubt that they will suddenly turn into hang’em and flog’em monsters……


      • uanime5
        Posted March 4, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Given that the courts can’t strike down legislation that violates human rights and the Government has often made laws that directly violate human rights it’s clear that the current legal system is incapable of protecting human rights.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          We now have a Supreme Court, as well as an independent judiciary and an overiding ability to elect a Parliment which can bring in further protections should the people of this nation decide that is what they want.
          Human rights started here in the UK.
          We were centuries ahead of most nations on this planet.

  8. Gary
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    But can we trust it ? The US treasury issued $80 Billion in new govt bonds just 2 days before they announced the $85 billion cuts.

    The total govt debt(without long term obligations such as social security) : $16 trillion

    To see this go to the govt debt website and enter the period 27 Feb 2013 – 28 Feb 2013:

    While the US FED has said that it is doing QE3 until 2015 of $85 Billion per month. Of that, $45 billion is mortgaged backed securities, which should make you wonder if the banks really are healthy ?

    • Nick
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      And then look at the UK.

      Government debt is 1,100 bn.

      That’s the biggest lie going.

      The ONS put the off the book debts for the pensions at 5,300 bn,

      Total all government debts and you are well over the 7,000 bn mark.

      Pensions debts, 31 March 2005, at £1.347 trillion
      End of December 2010, of £5.01 trillion for the pensions.

      So in tad over 5 years, the debt went up by 3,663 trillion.

      732 billion a year, on top of the deficits.

      They are bankrupt. They are fraudsters because they are taking money for pensions, voluntary contributions, and hiding the risk by false accounting.

      Section 2, 2006 fraud act.

      reply You are only bankrupt when you can no longer pay the bills. The UK state is still paying its bills.

      • MickC
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        The UK state is NOT paying the bills. The UK state has no money, it never has had, or will have. That i the nature of a state.

        The UK TAXPAYER is still paying the bills-but the ability to do so is eroding very rapidly.

        The WILL to do so has actually vanished. Given the choice the majority of taxpayers would tell the state to default-it worked just fine for Iceland.

      • APL
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        JR: “The UK state is still paying its bills.”

        QE = fraud when paying the bills and illustrates that Nick is correct, the UK is bankrupt.

        The lack of urgency at the top is breathtaking.

        Reply As you know, I do want lower spending and faster progress in cutting the deficit, and have often identified areas for reducing spending. However, a sovereign state (in monetary policy at least) can always print money to meet its debts if necessary. This only becomes fraud if it triggers a rapid inflation, devaluing the money being repaid to an unacceptable degree.

        • APL
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          JR: “As you know, I do want lower spending and faster progress in cutting the deficit .. ”

          None of which things the government you support is doing. And now it’s revealed the Lib Dems are actually running the Tory party in Parliament!! Astonishing.

          By the way, I know what you tell us you want, I am sure that is what you want too, it’s just that you support a government that isn’t providing any of anything you or I want!

          JR: “This only becomes fraud if it triggers a rapid inflation, ”

          No, it simply a covert fraud, what you seem to be saying is that fraud is only fraud when the victim becomes aware of it. I disagree with you on that point too.

          • zorro
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

            Fraud Act 2006 – The Act gives a statutory definition of the criminal offence of fraud, defining it in three classes – fraud by false representation, fraud by failing to disclose information, and fraud by abuse of position……..Your fraud argument could hung on one and three……arguable at least….


          • APL
            Posted March 6, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

            zorro: “Fraud Act 2006 ”

            Using a government definition of fraud sounds much too much like sitting in judgment on your own case. Long established to be against natural justice.

            One makes a representation to a party, on the basis of which an agreement is reached, including an undertaking to return certain monies to that party. KNOWING and intending all the while that your behavior will mean that you will not meet the terms of the agreement – that is the very definition of fraud.

        • zorro
          Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply – It is often the interest on debts which is the killer. If QE is done interest free it can be a tool which governments can and will use with some effect as an economic tactic.

          To be honest, it is not fraud as such, as you are not compelled to keep your wealth in that currency. Money is only a liquid means of exchange, and you can use many means to store your wealth. Fiat based currency is not a wise choice in which to store your wealth.


          • APL
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

            zorro: “, as you are not compelled to keep your wealth in that currency”

            For all intents and purposes the mass of the population in the Sterling zone are compelled to transact their daily lives in the sterling zone.

            zorro: ‘Wealth’

            At the risk of sounding like Bazman or uanime5, there are relatively few people in the economy who could reasonably be described as wealthy, a very significant proportion live hand to mouth, these people especially are being defrauded by QE.

            1) they can’t leave even if they wanted to.
            2) the staples necessary for a basic ( I hesitate to say subsistence ) existence are just those things that are increasing in price as a result of QE and government inflationary policies.

            Neither are these policies unique to the Tories by the way.

          • zorro
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

            APL – I was a bit cold blooded in my reply there – I by no means approve of the current tactics but was trying to explain the rationale…….but people must look at ways in which to protect the value of their assets when such people hold the reins of power…..


      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Unlike the Greek state the UK state is indeed still paying its bills, although to a large extent thanks to one arm of the UK state creating vast sums of new money and indirectly lending it to the arm of the UK state which has to pay the bills.

      • Bob
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        “reply You are only bankrupt when you can no longer pay the bills. The UK state is still paying its bills.”

        With freshly printed money!

  9. Electro-Kevin
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    In contrast to the US I think Britain has blown it.

    I think the Tory party has too. It may never win a general election again.

    Telling us not to vote Ukip because it will deny the Tories victories is not a good enough reason. Do we really want the Tories in because they are ‘a bit better’ than Labour ?

    The people aren’t demanding a ‘lurch to the Right’ as Mr Cameron alleges. If we wanted a lurch to the Right we’d have been voting BNP.

    Will we ever be credited for not having done this ?

    • MickC
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      “may never win a general election again”?

      The reality is that it will NEVER win another general election.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        Mick – Sad to say that I don’t think the Tories care about taking the LibDem’s third-position role in Parliament.

        ‘Won’t lurch to the right’

        What ? Be a proper Tory ?

  10. Jerry
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    It [the USA] is growing thanks to shale gas and cheap energy.

    Indeed, just like India and China are, just like Russia is, why are so many in the EU and UK so blind to this? 🙁

    The lost public sector output [in the USA] should be replaced by private sector output in these conditions.

    That sounds all good and dandy but will these private companies do this -unreservedly, the problem is that so much of these public services in the USA (and here in the UK) are run by the government simply because they would either not make enough profit or any profit, some might even run at a loss and thus need subsidising, will any private business be able to offer a like-for-like service and who pay and if it is still the government via taxation why not keep them “not for profit”?

    • uanime5
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, just like India and China are, just like Russia is, why are so many in the EU and UK so blind to this?

      India and China are growing because they are filled with people who will work for a pittance, so they can make things cheaply. Unless the UK is forcibly turned into a third world country the UK will never be able to compete with China and India on price.

      Given that Russia’s economy is based on exporting natural resources, such as gas, cheap gas would be bad for Russia.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        @U5: Neither can do any of that without cheap energy, why do you think china is still building coal fired power stations at the rate of something like one opening each and every week.

        As for Russia, it needs to be cheap for the Russians, you really don’t think that Russian industry pays anything like the same price for gas as the West and former soviet states such as the Ukraine?…

        • uanime5
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

          China and India can have growth without cheap energy if they focus on industries that are labour intensive, rather than energy intensive.

          Regarding Russia as they’re a net exporter of gas they will get less money if the price of gas decreases. So if the world gas prices fall it will be bad for the Russian economy.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

            @U5: Re India and China, well yes they can of course do as you suggest but their market will be very limited, as it was 20/30 years ago when they were doing exactly what you suggest…

            As for Russia, yes indeed, hence why they keep limiting supplies and thus forcing up the price as the west’s free markets enter a bidding war to secure the ‘scarce’ supplies. But you miss the point, Russia in independant of these world energy prices, thus their industry can compete in any market – unlike other countries that have been hood-winked by the “Green AGW” agenda whose own energy reserves are being left untapped.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 5, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

            @U5: Re India and China, yes they could but both wish to be in the modern world, not stay in the world they have been in.

            As for Russia, if they suggest that the supply of gas will be limited they can (and do) force the price higher, it is exactly the same game that OPEC play with oil prices.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 5, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

            Oops, sorry about the dup posting, had forgotten that I had already replied…

  11. Andyvan
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, do you actually investigate the claims you make about America? They appear to be entirely based on government propaganda rather than the real world. Obama has accepted a minuscule cut not of current spending but of projected increased spending. He will still be running a larger deficit than ever before in history and leading a government more vast, dangerous and over armed than any in history whilst destroying more liberties than any president ever.
    The man is not tackling the deficit, nor has America fixed it’s banks. Both are out of control and should the Fed stop injecting cash into either both would probably collapse. Let’s have some real comment please.

  12. Nina Andreeva
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    John, I could not agree more for us investors Obama is doing just fine. Though for your FT portfolio have you not considered NYSE IJR and MVV? I have had a great run with these since Christmas (though sitting in cash now) and with them being $ denominated they have also benefitted from the coalitions destruction of the pound. Though if you believe the US banks are back in rude health, why not put your money where you mouth is and invest in them?

    However for the ordinary American this is essentially a recovery without any quality jobs being available for those that need them. Just look at the number of discouraged workers, the number of average hours worked, the average hourly rate of pay etc let alone the number of them on food stamps and you know the aggregate demand will not be there for this “recovery” to fizzle out soon without more printing which essentially means the sequestor was a waste of time

  13. Nick
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    What cuts?

    He will be spending more this year compared to last year.

    That’s not a cut, that is an increase.

    More lies from politicians.

  14. Bazman
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    In Cambridgeshire this long term quest for ever lower council tax bills has given the area the lowest education budget per child in the country. At one point the council had a 10 million pound surplus which should have been spent on more police or services on lowering the council tax bill. They instead gambled it on the stock market and lost.

    Reply Education receives full grant aid from central government, it does not rely on Council Tax. It was a Labour government which gave Conservative authorities like Cambridgeshire low funding!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      On a point of information, are councils allowed to gamble their reserves on the stock market? I thought that central government sent out circulars advising councils on the best and safest places for their reserves – Icelandic banks, at one time! – and I find it hard to believe that the government would knowingly allow councils to gamble on the stock market.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        They do not invest in the stock market but they do look for accounts where they can store our cash that appear to have a market leading rate of interest. However they tend never to learn anything (as you would expect, as prior to Icesave a load of them, especially in my native North East, lost a load of our money when BCCI was closed down

    • Bazman
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      The reason for this underfunding is from the days when county councils decided for themselves how much money should be raised in Council Tax to spend on schools, Cambridgeshire’s Conservative ruling group prided itself on having a low tax and low expenditure on schools. Thus the situation we are in today.
      There has been a campaign for a fair national funding formula, based upon an independent analysis of the needs of pupils and the educational programme the government expects schools to deliver. This approach was rejected by the Conservatives in the last decade of the 20th century and again by Labour in 2002.
      The current government says that it will implement a fair funding formula from 2014-15. The omens are mixed. On the positive side, it has introduced the Pupil Premium to give extra funding for pupils eligible for free school meals. Sadly, its academies policy has diverted funding away from the county council, making it more difficult for them to provide the services needed by the most vulnerable.

      Reply Labour introduced national tax financed ring fenced grants for the schools budgets. the Coaliton may change the relativities between the high grant recipients and the low ones a bit. I am interested to see you think they should favour low trant authorities more.

  15. Richard1
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    The US is an inspiration. Even with a left-wing president who spouts all sorts on nonsense on subjects such as taxing ‘millionaires and billionaires’, makes spurious assertions about the threat of global warming and seems to favour protectionism, still the country is capable of recovery. This must be due to the low state/GDP and tax/GDP ratios, to the fact that the green religion is largely ignored in pratice (shale gas etc) and to a long tradition of entrepreneurialism and economic freedom. Its also of course about the balance of power between the President and Congress and the federal and state governments. The most free-market, low tax oriented states are performing best.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Give that the best performing states have higher minimum wage and higher taxes it seems that low state and low taxes are actually bad for the economy.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        … and which would they be? Facts please!

        • outsider
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:03 am | Permalink

          Presumably not India, China or Russia as above.

          • uanime5
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

            I was referring to US states.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

            Well then Uni you are wrong because the USA states have lower overall taxes and less welfare cover than the UK

        • uanime5
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

          Studies have shown that higher a minimum wage results in an increase in spending with a negligible effect on jobs:

          • Edward2
            Posted March 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

            Well you may have hit on something here Uni.
            We could put therefore put up the minimum wage to say £15 per hour (plus restore the differentials as required by the Trade Unions) and then we would all be rich.
            Perhaps we could also ban overtime and reduce the working week to 30 hours and wipe out unemployment at the same time.
            But perhaps I’m having a right wing, or is it left wing, fantasy.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          Norway and other Scandinavian countries. Germany, the list goes on.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        An assertion unsupported by facts. One of the reasons the US federal system works so well is people simply leave high tax states and move to more dynamic low tax states (from California to Texas eg).

        • uanime5
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          Argues from an unchecked source -ed)
          Here are some specific quotes:

          Four of the nine states without income taxes are actually doing worse than the average state in regards to economic growth per
          capita: Texas, Tennessee, Florida, and Nevada.

          Six of the nine states without income taxes had higher than average annual unemployment rates over the last decade: Texas,
          Florida, Tennessee, Washington, Alaska, and Nevada.

          So what exactly is your evidence that Texas is benefiting from lower taxes?

          • Richard1
            Posted March 5, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

            Such is your vituperation when confronted with facts contradicting your views that editing of your reply is required! (Thats the trouble with socialism – ‘the facts of life are conservative’ as Mrs Thatcher reminded us.)

            Texas is one of the fastest growing US states – check the stats – businesses are choosing to move there. Nor is it just all energy. Texas is a hub also for other sectors such as IT and healthcare.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      @Richard1: The Democrats and Obama is not left-wing, more the like the left of the Tory party (the Thatcher era “wets”). It really makes by laugh when the GOP try and describe the Democrats as “Socialists”…

      • Richard1
        Posted March 5, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        I agree they are not scoialists, it is a parody. But they are taking the US somewhat in the wrong direction. The reason for US economic success over 2 centuries is small government, low taxes, entrepreneurialism etc. Obama and the Democrats – at the margin – dont seem sympathetic to that tradition.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 6, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

          @Richard1: That would why the Dow in the US saw a record high yesterday, because Obama is taking the country in the wrong direction!

          Reply: a new high because the Fed is supplying plenty of new dollars to buy assets with.

  16. behindthefrogs
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    There is a lot of scope for the government to make cuts without affecting critical welfare.
    Why are we hearing such a huge rant about defence cuts? The huge pile of unusable purchases is typical of the lack of control and waste of money that could be prevented. Why do we still have forces in Germany? These cause us to contribute £1.5 billion pounds to the German economy including employing hundreds of German nationals. There are many other costs of keeping troops there like children in boarding schools that could be avoided. The cost of bringing all the troops home would be saved in about 18 months and many of the civilian support jobs would be transferred to the UK while others would no longer necessary.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      “Why do we still have forces in Germany?”

      Germany is still under ‘allied’ occupation; had you not realised that? If they were a free nation, would they tolerate the never ending outpourings of hostile propaganda emanating from certain quarters?

    • uanime5
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      We have forces in Germany because there’s nowhere in the UK where you could locate such a large tank base.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        @U5: Sorry but that is total and utter claptrap, have you seen the size of Salisbury plain, much of it still used by the MOD (plus the various existing MOD installations in and around the south west that already cater for the needs of our Tanks), then there are places like Catterick in Yorkshire and so on that could be used, or even ex-RAF stations etc. if all that is needed is storage and maintenance.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

          It would be difficult to get tanks to the front line if an invasion of Europe from the east where to happen if they where based in Britain. This was the historic thinking. A lightening attack by the USSR.

  17. rick hamilton
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Political parties need to stop the schoolyard yelling and point scoring and get down to a serious agreed method for reducing national debt. After all they are collectively responsible for the mess we are in – who else?

    Take a long term view for a change. One percent cut in the national budget each year mandated by law would eventually bring the debt under control. More if the conditions allow of course. It’s hard to see how even useless politicians with no money sense could not find 1% to cut. I’m sure every small businessmen could think of something the government could just stop doing right now without any adverse effect.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure every small businessmen could think of something the government could just stop doing right now without any adverse effect.

      Just because this cut doesn’t cause any hardship to small businessmen doesn’t mean it won’t cause hardship to someone else.

      Believing you can indefinitely cut something by 1% without having any negative effects on anything else is just wishful thinking that has repeatedly been shown not to work.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        @U5: The point is to understand what the 1% cut will affect, and what effect it will have, cut what can be cut, don’t cut what can’t, doing an impression of a Stalk on a sandy beach is not really and option if it ever was, even Mr Wilson made cuts in the 1960s when the UK was in far better shape than it is now.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          I’m saying that using a small business as a criteria for what can and can’t be cut is flawed.

          Also there’s no guarantee that there will be something that can be cut.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        “I’m sure every small businessmen could think of something the government could just stop doing right now without any adverse effect.”

        I can thing of hundreds of things and many that would have a clear positive effect if they just desisted.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 4, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          @LL: Thinking and knowing are two totally different skills 😛

          • Edward2
            Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

            Lets start by looking at the ministries of state and major agencies and quangos we managed with just a few decades ago and the hugely increased number we have today.

            Every time anyone talks about cuts the response is “so you want to sack nurses and teachers and disabled care staff and cut welfare for the poor do you?
            No we don’t.

            But do we really need top staff to be paid over £250,000 per annum working in the state sector?
            Have you not heard the failures of state IT projects and defence projects which have wasted many hundreds of millions?
            Saving 1% of state spending would be easy for anyone who has run an SME without causing hardship.

            Start cutting at the top.

  18. The PrangWizard
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard ‘we can’t do this or that because the LibDems don’t support it and we wouldn’t get a majority’.
    It all sounds so limp-wristed. Clearly the LibDems with their veto have the Conservatives in their pocket on most of the big issues, and their secret supporters and the gutless let them get on with it. tThere are too few Conservative MPs who dare to speak out. UKIP have got it right. I like what Nigel Farage says and how he says it.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      @TPW: So what is the answer, call an election, so that people like you can cut your own noses off to spite someone else by voting UKIP and thus allow the return of a Labour government? If that really is you view and what you want then perhaps Cameron should just throw in the towel, then sit back like Mr Major did and (unlike Gentleman Major) say “I told you so” when interviewed by the media about the Tory and UKIP right complaining about Labour policies…

      Of course had not so many disaffected Tory voters not jumped ship and voted UKIP in 2010 you might have had your overall Tory majority and that In/Out referendum etc.

      I like what Nigel Farage says and how he says it.

      The UKIP are like the SDP (and latterly the LibDems prior to 2010), they say what the voter wants to hear because they know that there is little or no chance of having to answer for their actions in four to five years, any party can announce free tuition, any party can announce a Flat Tax system, few governments find it as simple to implement, as the Mr Clegg found out rather embarrassingly and if you think Mr Farage will be any different should a electoral miracle happen they you are only pulling the wool over your own eyes…

  19. Neil Craig
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    The US economy is growing, which is more than ours is, but it is not growing at anything close to the world average and it could. Obama is the reason for this & does bot deserve congratualtions for it, or for accepting a move to balance the budget which he vigorously opposed and was forced on him by the Republican Congress.

    ” Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines … build more new-clear plants” Sarah Palin

    Does anybody doubt that had she been elected the US would now be in its 4th year of good growth and consequently that Obama is to blame for it not being.

    Or indeed doubt that the same causes and effects apply in Britain.

    Reply The US is probably growing faster than the advanced world average. I agree much of the growth in the energy sector is despite rather than because of the President.

    • Neil Craig
      Posted March 4, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      The “advanced world” effectively consists of the US, EU, Japan, Canada & Australia so the YS douig better than the average of them means doing better than the EY (in recession) and Japan (low growth for 20 years). Historically advanced countries have actually grown faster than undeveloped ones (which is why the 200 fold income difference between the richest and poorest is wider than before the Industrial Revolution started and there is no inherent reason why it should be different now.

      The non-inherent reason is that most developed countries (Singapore with 14% growth recently, visibly excluded) are being hag-ridden by big government parasites and ecofascist Luddites.

  20. uanime5
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Given how much Obama raised spending to provide a stimulus for the economy it’s no surprise that he can cut spending. Also Obama has chosen to cut military spending, which makes up a large part of the US budget, rather than welfare; the opposite of what the Conservatives are proposing.

    I suspect the US can recover far quicker than the UK because the US Government isn’t focusing all their attention on protecting the financial industry and is instead focusing on manufacture.

    Also Switzerland is voting on whether to limit executive pay. If this referendum passes then this will effectively destroy the Conservative argument that if bankers can’t give themselves massive bonuses they’ll all go to Switzerland.

    reply It’s not Switzerland they are going to, but Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai etc

    • Edward2
      Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Uni, Welfare spending is still rising in real terms every year.

  21. Barbara
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    ECHR, and the Human Rights Act, promises, promises, what do they mean? In real life and when the time comes nothing. Cameron should have challeged Clegg, and made a referendum available in this parliament. That would have given him a good lift, but no, he refused, we ask why if his intentions are real? As the PM he can go ahead with whatever he wishes, hiding behind a third rate party is demeaning to him and the Conservatives. Nick Clegg broke his promise on boundary changes, so challenging him then would have been a good thing. No, in a way Cameron is hiding behind Clegg, and we’ve rumbled it, and what we see is a weakness and not real honesty. He should take charge, go ahead with it and be dammed. Settle this question once and for all well before the next election. He’d gather more respect in the country and be seen to be in charge. Now he is not, he’s seen as debating waffle, and doing nothing but hide behind the ‘coalition’. I’m afraid Farage is right we’ve heard it all before.

  22. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Yes the President signed the document; and its true (though he simply lies about the origin of sequestration: i.e. his administration authored it) that it may be a cynical ploy to enact cuts in spending (not like the fake “cuts” of Osbourne & Cast Iron davey the wonder-boy main-chancer). If so it is very interesting tacit admission that even the most left- wing President in USA history knows that America can never go as far into socialism as the UK has descended. But I rather doubt it. My inclination is he believed that the GOP would utterly surrender should He win re-election. Thankfully the USA still has proper Conservatives who fail to enjoy the wisdom of the Nottinghill Set. Chaps like Jim DeMint seem to believe the quaint view that the Founding Fathers intended the Constitution as written & were not secretly a bunch of socialist visionaries dreaming of the NHS & prisoner voting rights. Crazy, right?

  23. wab
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    “He is still playing a blame game with the Republicans over who is responsible, but it is his signature on the order.”

    This whole sequester business came about because the Republicans were holding the country hostage and threatened to undermine the full faith of the US government by not raising the debt limit. In order to appease the Republican hostage takers, the Democrats, including Obama, tried various strategies and the (dumb) one settled on was the sequester, because that was the only one they could all agree on, and everyone assumed it was so stupid that nobody would actually go through with it. Wrong, Republicans were happy to go through with it, although half the time these days they whine that it is terrible and half the time they are saying it is great, so go figure.

    “Apparently Mr Obama would rather increase taxes a bit as well as cutting spending.”

    That’s because Mr Obama would rather millionaires and big corporations pay a bit more. As part of the last presidential campaign, Republicans said they didn’t need tax increases because they would magically raise money by closing tax loopholes. Well, as part of this sequester argument, Obama has suggested plenty of ways to close tax loopholes and now the Republicans (and Mr Redwood) is against this, because apparently the Republicans (and Mr Redwood) think that having a complex tax system that can be gamed by rich people (like Mitt Romney) and big corporations is a good thing.

    “He forecasts half a percent off the US economy as a result. It will be interesting to see what happens. I suspect the US economy will keep on growing this year, despite the cuts or because of the cuts.”

    Most economists (who do not write editorials for the Wall Street Journal) disagree with Mr Redwood. Of course we cannot run the experiment in parallel, and other factors might dominate these cuts. So pretty predictably in the end every side will claim they were right.

    “More importantly, the fact that the US is seen to be tackling its deficit and future debts is good for confidence, the magic ingredient in any recovery.”

    Oh joy, Mr Redwood believes in the confidence fairy, how sweet. He might find 20p under his pillow tonight.

    Reply I have never favoured a complex tax system with loads of loopholes. I prefer low flat taxes.

  24. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    That should read “Congratulations to those who imposed a ceiling on Federal debt for cutting spending”. Given that 50% of the cuts will fall on the military, it’s possible to guess where the job losses will be. The question is: can private sector jobs be created to replace them? The American banks have lending capability and there is a huge and worthwhile investment to be made in shale gas, so maybe ‘yes’.

    How about a Private Member’s bill to impose a central government debt ceiling in the UK? Just a thought.

  25. James Reade
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Wait a minute. Last week you told us the US economy is growing (erm, actually the last figures showed it contracted) because it cut spending?

    Yet again in this post you wilfully ignore the blatantly obvious point that growing economies produce smaller deficits and often surpluses due to progressive tax systems and benefits systems, and hence it’s more likely that growth causes better public finances than vice versa, as you persist in believing despite all evidence to the contrary.

    Canada and Sweden, those poster children, you may recall had large neighbours on their doorsteps growing strongly when they cut back spending. They had other sources of growth. Can the same be said for the UK, for the US, etc?

    Indeed, it will be interesting to see what happens to the US economy in the coming year, and I’ll be most interested if it doesn’t quite turn out how you anticipate John.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Is there any figure where you would you say that the borrowing and spending by the State is enough?

  • 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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