Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cameron Shows the Way

This afternoon David Cameron is making what I think might be one of the most important speech of his leadership so far. it's a landmark speech in that it sends out a very clear signal about the direction a future Conservative government will take. In fact, it reminds me of a speech I heard Margaret Thatcher make in the autumn of 1978. It was that speech which inspired me to join the Conservative Party. At the time, I was a Liberal. But I watched the speech, realising that I agreed with every word she said. I suspect that many people reading this speech, or watching it, may feel the same. It says the things which need to be said, and demonstrates that he knows what needs to be done. If you want to read the whole speech, it will be on the Tory Party website soon. But here are the most important passages.

Over the next few years, we will have to take some incredibly tough decisions on taxation, spending, borrowing – things that really affect people’s lives. Getting through those difficult decisions will mean sticking together as a country – government and people. That relationship, just as any other, is strengthened by honesty; undermined by dishonesty.

Gordon Brown doesn’t understand how important this is. Despite the gravity of this debt crisis despite the serious consequences of not dealing with it he still can’t stop his politics of spin; smoke and mirrors; treating people as fools.

Remember, two years ago it was the election that never was. He told us he bottled it because he thought he was going to win. This time last year it was the 10p tax con.He taxed the poor for the sake of a headline, claimed that no-one lost out, and then spent billions of pounds compensating them.

Last week it was the U-turn on YouTube.

After telling us to wait for the independent enquiry on MPs’ expenses, he suddenly popped up to announce his own plan. And what was that great new plan? Paying MPs to turn up for their job. No receipts. No questions asked. More taxpayers’ money.Less accountability.

But the most cynical trick yet came in last week’s Budget. Everyone could see through what they were trying to do: “Don’t look at this vast hole in the public finances over there look at this pathetic piece of class war posturing over here.”

When I see Brown and Darling, I’m reminded of those people who come to your door; one pretends to read your gas meter, while the other robs your house. 50p income tax when you have a budget deficit of £175 billion? That’s not responsibility - it’s distraction burglary.

There’s no responsibility left in Labour. They’re already set to have the highest borrowing in the G20. And yet, unbelievably, this Government is planning to spend and borrow even more. They’ve just announced a spending increase - not a cut, but an increase - of £20 billion for next year. They’ve delayed the cuts until after the election. Now I wonder why that could be?

Last week, Labour had their chance to set out their alternative, to show how they would lead us out of this crisis and they completely blew it. And now, I just think people are completely sick of it. Sick of Labour’s cynicism; sick of their incompetence; sick of their irresponsibility...

...So it will fall to this Party to offer the responsible politics the country expects in this age of austerity. But it expects more from us than a hair shirt and a stern lecture...

...Does the age of austerity force us to abandon our ambitions? No. We are not here just to balance the books. There’s more to our mission than coming in like a bunch of flint-faced accountants and sorting out the finances. By the way, I want to make it clear I’ve got nothing against accountants.

The last time I talked about flint-faced accountants I got a letter from the wife of an accountant saying: “Dear David Cameron…my husband isn’t flint-faced – he’s actually very good looking.” The question is: how does government help achieve these wider aims in the age of austerity? And the answer is: by delivering more for less. That in turn means four big changes for government and the role of the state.

First, a return to traditional public spending control. Second, a new culture of thrift in government. Third, curing our big social problems, not just treating them. And fourth, imagination and innovation as we harness the opportunities of technology to transform the way public services are delivered...

...So the first, and most obvious part of delivering more for less is to deliver the ‘less.’ The days of easy money are over, and we have no option but to weed out spending that is not essential.
In opposition that means not making pledges you can’t keep – and we haven’t. It means not signing up to spending plans you can’t afford – and we didn’t.

We’ve made a good start by making sure we won’t arrive in government with a whole bunch of unaffordable commitments. We opposed the £12 billion Labour wasted on the VAT cut. We were against the fiscal stimulus. We said they should reduce their spending plans back in 2008. And now we’re saying they should abandon their irresponsible plan to increase spending in 2010.

Controlling public spending and delivering more for less must start right now. Not next year, not after the election – now. We’ve made it clear that a Conservative government would spend less than Labour.

We’re not frightened of their idiotic ritual chants about “cuts.”

Everybody knows that Labour’s Debt Crisis means public spending cuts. And instead of putting them off, Labour should be making them today. Here’s how they could start – by reversing those extensions of the state that do more harm than good and which Britain would be better off without.

So scrap the ID cards scheme. Cancel the ContactPoint database. And get rid of Regional Assemblies and all that useless regional bureaucracy. Those may be easy choices for Conservatives. But we’ll need to make hard choices too.

It is not easy, or popular, for governments to take money away from people. But when there are still millions of people in this country living in poverty, and when the age of austerity means we must focus on the real priorities can we honestly say it’s right for people earning over £50,000 a year to get state benefits in the form of tax credits?

With a Conservative government, tax credits will be there to help make society fairer, not the state bigger. And we must apply the same discipline throughout government. That means making sure that public sector pay and pensions reflect the realities of the economic situation.

Let me make it clear to everyone who works in the public sector: we will honour existing pay deals, including any three year pay deals. But many of them end next year.

And this is the deal we’ll be offering you then: We will help you by getting rid of the central direction and bureaucracy that undermines your professional autonomy and morale. And in exchange we will ask for your help in solving Labour’s Debt Crisis by keeping the cost of public sector pay only as high as the country can responsibly afford.

Ever since I became leader of this Party in 2005, people have been asking me to tell them, not in general terms but in specific detail what a new Conservative government would do on tax and spending in a Budget in 2010. George and I have resisted that pressure and I believe experience shows we’re right. Detailed plans or shadow budgets would become quickly out of date. But in the weeks and months ahead, the Shadow Cabinet will redouble its efforts to identify wasteful and unnecessary public spending.

Make no mistake: I am very clear about how much more work there is still to be done in order to identify significant future savings. We will carry out this work. We will do so responsibly. And in time, we will set out the hard choices that lie ahead...

...With a Conservative government, if ministers want to impress the boss, they’ll have to make their budgets smaller, not bigger. On my watch it will be simple: if you do more for less you get promoted if you do less for more, you get sacked. If we’d had this approach over the last twelve years, I don’t suppose there’d be a single Labour Minister left.

But this culture of thrift must apply to the civil service too. So we’ll impose a new fiduciary responsibility on senior civil servants – a contractual obligation to save the taxpayer money. And every government department needs a proper finance director.

Some of them today aren’t proper accountants – flint-faced or not. With such huge sums of public money at stake a Conservative government will make sure we have the professional financial controls the taxpayer has a right to expect...

...If a company is failing and new management comes in, transparency is the first thing they demand - opening up the books and seeing how every penny is spent. It’s going to be the same with us.

So today I can announce our ‘People’s Right to Know’ plan – a democratic check on wasteful spending. Every item of government spending over £25,000, nationally and locally, will have to be published online. If you want to see how it could work, look at the Missouri Accountability Portal. It will show you why transparency is such a powerful tool in controlling public spending...

...People have a right to know exactly how much they’re getting. So we’ll publish online all public sector salaries over £150,000. Let’s see which officials have been getting rich at the taxpayer’s expense - and whether they’re worth the money.

Today we’re publishing a list of some we already know about. Ed Richards at OfCom – he earns over £400,000 a year. In fact, if you took the top thirty salaries at Ofcom, the communications watchdog, you could provide the whole of Cheltenham with free broadband access.

And then there’s the British Waterways Board. The salaries of their top four employees – Robin Evans, Nigel Johnson, James Froomberg and Phillip Ridal – add up to £900,000. That’s thirty nurses.

In the age of austerity we’ve got to ask ourselves what we really value in the public sector: and I know what the answer is. It’s not the fat cats but the frontline workers...

...Fifteen years ago, I was in the Treasury as we had to deal with public finances that had got out of control; debt that had got too high. We had to put up taxes, and I hated it. But it was the right thing to do and that lesson has stayed with me. That’s why I’m a fiscal conservative.

That’s why, when it came to that big decision to oppose the VAT cut and the so-called fiscal stimulus, I didn’t consult a focus group or an opinion poll I just knew it was the right thing to do. And there’s something else.

I know that if we win the election, we’ll be judged a successful government if we deal with the debt crisis - and a failure if we don’t. Believe me, I get that.

I think people know by now that I want us to stand up for the poorest in Britain and to show that fiscal responsibility can go hand in hand with a social conscience. And they know I will stand up for the aspiring and the enterprising, kicked in the teeth by a Labour Party reverting to type.

We will show that social responsibility can go hand in hand with personal ambition. But what people also need to know is that I will stand up for responsibility and thrift.Those are values this country needs today.

Labour’s leaders say only they stand for fairness. Fairness? These Labour ministers, saddling future generations with debt? These Labour ministers, making our children pay the price of their incompetence? Their “fairness” is utterly phoney.

So let’s turn our anger into passion ad our passion into action to give Britain the leadership she needs. Yes if we win the election, we may not see the full fruits of our labours in the lifetime of our government. But if we stick together and tackle this crisis our children and grandchildren will thank us for what we did for them and for our country.

Now, I defy anyone to tell me that wasn't an impressive, inspiration and content-loaded speech.


Guthrum said...

was not impressed or inspired Iain- sorry

wv exclever- v. apt

Anonymous said...

Gordon's Mobile will be flying!!!

Andrew Ian Dodge said...

It might be impressive for him, but it pails in comparison to the speech by Dan Hannan in front of Brown in Brussels. It lacks a certain passion that one really needs in a good leader. In these dire times Britain is looking for a great leader not merely a good one.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

OK, that wasn't an impressive, inspirational and content-loaded speech.

Sorry that Guthrum beat me to it, too.

Plato said...

I look forward to watching it - I thought it sounded very encouraging and of course it won't compare to Dan hjannan on the printed page.

I don't imagine that sounded quite so compelling on A4.

I am very pleased that they have gone balls out about the spin, sacred cows and CUTS!!!!

Perhaps this is a more sophisticated form of Punch and Judy but it works for me.

PS cheap shot by naming certain quango drones just because BWW sounds dull - I have no problem with these people being paid too much but to heap personal crap on them is a no-no in my book. It's not their fault someone wanted to pay them so much.

And no I'm not related!

Jimmy said...

I presume he doesn't go in to demand in terms that the named (for no apparent reason) public officials be attacked, it's simply to be implied.

Disgraceful tawdry populism. Any doubts about his fitness for office are clearly dispelled here.

Nikostratos said...

......MORE FOR LESS.........How many smarmy Management consultants have I sat in front off and who said that.

As meaningless as it is ineffectual

The way Dave is going on he will be bringing back rationing

Catosays said...

I stand to be corrected but I sense a steel fist under a velvet glove.

Oh God, I do hope so.

Working Class Tory said...

it was apparently the speech of his life... and it needed to be.

This was the perfect opportunity for Dave to show he is the Prime Minister-in waiting.

Next: rebellion over the new expenses ideas.


John said...

Iain, your erection is showing.

I agreed with much of what he said, but it wasn't overly impressive or inspirational.

Declaration of interest: I'm a Lib Dem (It's a common fallacy that we are all lefties, many of us are quite centrist.)

Jen Something or Other said...

Am I the only one who has not managed to view the webcast? The progress wheel just spins - no video.

Can you put the videos of the speeches on your blog, Iain?


VFTN said...

Bit cheap of Cameron to accuse Labour of "distraction burglary" then to do the same thing himself by highlighting the big wages of a few civil servants.

Robert said...

Still not firm promise of a referendum then?

no longer anonymous said...

"And fourth, imagination and innovation as we harness the opportunities of technology to transform the way public services are delivered..."

Details David, details!

Johnny Anomaly said...

I shall sit up and take notice when someone makes the most obvious saving of all and cancels Trident.

Wyrdtimes said...

The Conservatives - continuing the British tradition of putting England last.

judith said...

I'm with Iain on this speech - Cameron is giving it to the people straight, in language they can understand.

I see no reason why these people earning fantastic salaries shouldn't be named - I'm paying for them, after all. And I'm so glad he mentioned eradicating the nonsense that is Regional Administration.

This is just what is needed - a demonstration that significant public spending cuts can be made without harming front-line services.

As for Jimmy's 'disgraceful tawdry populism' - ah bless, never a shred of that in Labour politics, is there?

leyther said...

You're just a mouth piece the Tories

Anonymous said...

No speeches since Churchill and Martin Luther King read well.

If you read between the lines, it is the mailed glove over the iron fist - and no clunking to be heard.

Pace the early posters (IRU drones?) it is intelligent and thoughtful - a non electioneering address to the Tory Party. And some naming and shaming was well deserved. Hope there's a lot more of it to come.

jailhouselawyer said...

What more Thatcherism?

"Now, I defy anyone to tell me that wasn't an impressive, inspiration and content-loaded speech".

It wasn't. I feel a fisk coming on.

It was as content loaded as the small Easter eggs inside the over sized packaging.

iain dale's underpants said...

Oh my God, I think I've just come.

Blowhard said...

Excellent speech. A real handle on the issues.

Hacked Off said...

Jimmy, I think your prejudices are showing...

The Penguin

Anonymous said...

Dan Hannan's speech (wonderful as it was, was a demolition job on one man.

This was a constructive speech that applied to the whole country.

And if he don't stick to it, there's little old us to keep him honest, that has never happened before.

And yes, I'm right wing, but I suffer from the occasional libertarian dizzy spells, just don't tell anyone....

Oldrightie said...

So rather than study the words and meaning let's just let dear, blessed and quite fabulous Brown and Company continue the quite magnificent rape of our future generations. Obo is certaily well named.

Anonymous said...

Guido points to a good headline from the BBC
"Bra boss withdraws Labour support "

"The Scottish boss of the Ultimo bra empire said the UK Government's recent moves risked alienating business and damaging the economy.
The 37-year-old branded the new 50p top rate of tax "a disgrace".
Leading Scots QC Paul McBride also announced he had abandoned lifelong support for Labour and joined the Conservatives. "

But oh dear - the loony fringe cannot help themselves can they?
"it pails in comparison to the speech by Dan Hannan"
So which front line services would Mr Hannan cut?

Some other people here have not yet quite succumbed to the realisation of just how much debt we are generating and what we need to do to bring it down.

EVERYONE will probably be forced to reasses again after the summer - that is if the IMF are half right.ejrhyar

Jimmy said...

"And fourth, imagination and innovation as we harness the opportunities of technology to transform the way public services are delivered..."

I wonder if he also took a courageous position on motherhood and apple pie.

Obama had his number.

Unknown said...

Beyond highlighting how much Ed RIchards et al get paid (which I agree is a disgrace), what does Cameron propose to do about it?

And how much will the finance directors he is going to appoint to each ministry be on?

Anonymous said...

Not a word about the EU. His silence on the subject is deafening as is his silence about immigration. Pakistan is about to implode and he mentions nothing about foreign policy. Crap just as I have been expecting: vacuous and innocuous; he wants power at all costs.

wilson said...

what is theis "Society" that Dave talks about ?

James Burdett said...

I have to say I was impressed. I think that he is signalling a move in the way the state and public sector are seen. He is moving from the old model of the state as paymaster and provider to one where the state funds and facilitates service provision. I think anyone who claims now to not know what a Cameron government would look like wasn't paying enough attention.

I think that he is absolutely right to be caustious. I'd rather he was cautious in opposition and radical in government than radical in opposition and never get any further.

Tory Bear said...

Amazing speech from Hannan too.

Steve Horgan said...

Excellent speech. It sets out a totally different vision for the economy and the country. Honest about the problems that we are facing and realistic about what needs to be done to solve them. Also very good critique of the government. He also and quite rightly raised the very high salaries that some quango bosses have been awarding themselves.

Unknown said...

I mean, really, where is the policy in this? Is he going to cap civil service salaries? If so, to what and how much money will it save? And is he going to address the much greater issue of public sector pensions? If not, all this naming and shaming is just a Tory version of the politics of envy.

neil craig said...

I'm glad he's "not frightened of their idiotic ritual chants about “cuts.”

If he stands up to them & says not only that we need solvency but that if we go further it will be possible to reach at least world average growth rates (twice what Labour managed). I am convinced that to inspire he has to offer something better than managing decline better than Labour.

A party which offered that would enter office with a mandate for change & would thus be in power as well as in office.
Didn't know you were an ex-Liberal Iain. Many of the best people entered the party because they were attracted to liberal ideals & left it because the party is opposed to them.

Jon Lishman said...

I thought it was pretty good. "Sound" I think is the word. But when he says things like "I totally get that" it makes him sound like a 14 year-old schoolgirl. But the policies are taking shape and they're, erm, sound.
Now to get rid of labour before they complete their 'project' of destroying the country.

Btw: this might be interesting...

Annabel Fairclough said...

Are you thinking what we're thinking?

Again Cameron had the opportunity to say something erm interesting. He didn't. Quangos are of course easy hits and it renders any argument cheap. And what deal is he offering to the public sector? Behave or I'll get you!

Iain you are really blind on this one. Cameron didn't actually say anything of substance.

Wasn't an inspiration. He is not thinking what I'm thinking. Not sure he is thinking much at all really.

Jah'sSword said...

One word sums this great speech up: responsible.
The quango's will have to go, most if not all are self-perpetuating organisations riddled with PC and H&S fanaticism.
The public sector needs a purging of all extraneous functionaries so that those who really do good can shine. Brown's client state has to be cut loose.
Free the wealth creators, control state growth, and perhaps, just perhaps, Labours scorched earth may blossom again.

Non runner said...

Spot the inconsistencies in the argument.

We'll bring in loads of accountants from the private sector. But we'll stop paying private sector salaries.

We'll stop the culture of spin and soundbites. But we'll condemn the u-turn on You Tube.

I think it reveals some pretty sloppy thinking. But the rhetoric will probably work fine as long as there are some idiots out there who fall for it.

Enlightened Despot said...

One culture that won't change is party politics first, doing the job second. I want to see what concrete commitments he will make to end the corrosive ingrained practice of permanent electioneering, constant attacks on other parties and PR-dominated policy-making.

Anonymous said...

iDave is just another leftie fascist scared of free markets.

No solutions here.

DespairingLiberal said...

It is quite a good speech, although he goes for a cheap laugh (the accountant joke) and much of it has been said before.

His top salaries thing obviously has validity and I liked the one about the British Waterways Board - goodness only knows what is still thought to justify these bonkers salaries in the age of the credit crunch.

He also mentioned cutting ID Card, which will save a truckload. But a whole shipload of cash is in two megaprojects, both of which utterly dwarf high salaries. These are the NHS intranet - running score £24bn - and Trident - nobody knows for sure, but could be as high as £66bn. Neither have or will achieve anything very much that could not have been done vastly cheaper. Both exist purely to prop up sectors of commercial companies - the latter mainly in the US, not Britain!

Sad that we always see the same rhetoric from politicians and never an honest attack on the real cause of the waste. What about closing down tax havens for example? That would deliver £12,750 for every man, woman and child in Britain in tax savings.

DespairingLiberal said...

Anon 5:33 - what has NuLab offered on Pakistan? A call centre in Abu Dhabi to vet people who want to come to Britain. I'm sure that makes all the difference.

I agree though that someone will actually need to face down the inevitable screams of outrage from the Pakistanis in Britain and ban further travel from Pakistan to Britain at some point in the not too distant future - it's only a matter of when, since that "country" is rapidly collapsing.

Anonymous said...

Even though im not a Conservative supporter, i cant help but agree with the conservative person who said "Labour has led a scorched earth policy"..

Yip any change of government will have to work very hard to clear up the incompetency of Labour, not an easy task considering unpopular decisions will have to be made.

I Squiggle said...

Not a bad speech, as “tell ‘em like it is” ones go. But that’s the problem, the electorate, the mass of the electorate, rarely like to be told things are going to be tough, and there will be cuts – you are all going to have to pay for this. I’m reminded of the Lib Dems and their 1p on income tax to pay for the NHS etc. At the time, perfectly sensible, even went down well in polling. But when it actually came to the vote?

I just question the strategy, not the sentiment.

He’s on safer ground when talking of ‘cuts’ is centred on the quango’s. Too right. As a start, anything beginning with ‘Of’ should be binned straight away, and oversight brought back to be the responsibility of ministers, and we can hold *them* to account properly.

(Loved the Hannan speech – thanks for the link TB.)

Anonymous said...

First things first. What about the EU Referendum?

Trend Shed said...

Great speech, he needn't have carried on, he 'had me at this':

"With a Conservative government, if ministers want to impress the boss, they’ll have to make their budgets smaller, not bigger. On my watch it will be simple: if you do more for less you get promoted if you do less for more, you get sacked. If we’d had this approach over the last twelve years, I don’t suppose there’d be a single Labour Minister left"

Anonymous said...

Does seem like an important speech, which makes me wonder why, as of 7.44pm,it trails behind the BAFTA TV awards on's list of headlines...

Eric Cantona said...

For me, it was a good speech with good intent and perfect at this stage of the game. I liked the targets he mentioned such as scrapping the ID Card scheme and Regional Assemblies.

We all know that there have to be cuts, but that doesn't mean cuts in front-line services. For example, if Cameron reduces the number of useless managers and hangers-on in the NHS, then spends half the money he saves on additional doctors and nurses, that will be a step in the right direction.

Clearly, he isn't going to offer up the Conservative election manifesto so that Brown can steal the best ideas and shamelessly say they are New Labour ideas. Remember IHT?

Flemingcrag said...

He could give the Gettysburg address and still be left floundering at the polls by the antics of these two;
Eric Pickles (Question Time)
Alan Duncan (HIGNFY)
Both of them must have known the question of second homes was going to be peppered at them yet, both gave a fair impersonation of a beached fish gasping for air in their incoherent and panic stricken answers.
The horns of the dilemma for David Cameron is; to ban any further appearances by any of his MPs on shows such as this between now and the General Election or, does he risk any more of his team showing up as stupid as these two.

Anonymous said...

I'm liking this guy more and more.

Raedwald said...

Cameron's speech was OK - but Dan Hannan's was electrifying. He spoke, seemingly without autocue, straight into the hearts of Middle England.

Watch his blog for a promised video of it.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to note that the majority of the knockers are using unregistered ids (anonymous or "name"). Can we presume that both the ZaNu labour supporters are out in force and posting under several different IDs? Probably.

As a speech it wasn't Churchill, but it did contain a solid reason for not setting out their stall too early - they don't want to make a promise that changed circumstances have made impossible to keep.

This is a responsible attitude to take - one that Labour seem to despise. Knee jerk reactions (that turn into major disasters, for lack of thought) are their stock in trade.

The speech is a shot across the bows of the fat cats. They either perform or go - with Labour it's cock it up and get promoted.

Unknown said...

Yes an excellent speech but Cameron needs to be careful. The media only really reported his comments about austerity. He is certainly correct but this is not what the public want to hear.
He must maintain an upbeat message.

Jabba the Cat said...

@ Cato said...

"I stand to be corrected but I sense a steel fist under a velvet glove."
If not then we are well f***ed.

Roger Thornhill said...

Briefly, three points

1. "We’re not frightened of their idiotic ritual chants about “cuts.”

I am not sure I believe that. Anyone facing a £175bln deficit would be really re-thinking things. I see tinkering.

2. Tax Credits. I cannot believe we see the "fairer" line trotted out. Why should single poor get taxed while others get tax credits? The fair thing to do is to abolish tax credits and raise personal allowances. No forms. No bias. No cap-in-hand. Dave still wants the government to have the final word, to be the one doling out the largesse.

3. "doing more with less". And he is posturing about cuts? Dave needs to be "doing less with significantly less". Government has to shrink and spending shrink even more if any real inroads can be made in our debt

Lets everyone wake up here- Britain is NOT a rich country. Rich is not about piles of cash or houses, but is having significantly lower outgoings compared to incomes. If it does not realise this, it has no hope of regaining its wealth.

ljuk said...

I love that speech. It sets out a philosophy of government. This is exactly what we need at the moment.

Before everyone asks about individual policies, exactly what legislative programme has Gordon Brown set out?

javelin said...

Cameron may have thought he had lots of degrees of freedom, like Blair. He may have worried what to do.

He now knows his fate must be to reform the public sector in the same way Thatcher reformed the private sector. He has no choice if this country is to stay solvent.

Steve Tierney said...

It was a perfectly good speech and contained some interesting and valuable points. It was somewhat inspirational. I thought it was on the right track and I was enthused by it.

But it had the unfortunate circumstance of coming after Dan Hannan. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. It's an impossible task.

Anonymous said...

We’re not frightened of their idiotic ritual chants about “cuts.”

Yes you are

Unknown said...

Sorry, but although the content was there, Cameron is generally an uninspiring speaker.

A good speaker knows how to 'perform' a speech...Cameron just read his in a rather dull monotone.

When you listen to someone like Dan Hannan, you can tell from his intensity that he would die in the last ditch for his beliefs. You never really get that sense with Cameron...rather you get the sense of a somewhat fey public school boy with a sense of entitlement.

Like most Tory inclined people I know, I'll vote Tory at the next election to get Labour out, but there really isnt any great enthusiasm for the Conservatives out there, even amongst life long Tory voters.

Dont be fooled by the polls. Its going to be a lot closer than people think.

Jimmy said...

"What about closing down tax havens for example?"

I suspect the Deputy Chairman may not be keen.

Rush-is-Right said...

I'm a Call-Me-Dave sceptic. And I thought it was pretty good. And the BWB salaries was an eye-opener. FFS, 4 guys (in a pretty ordinary company with a statutory monopoly) pulling down £900k between them? They're having a laugh!

It's encouraging that he's not afraid of using the word 'CUT'. Attaboy. Let's start with the foreign aid budget. It's outrageous that we are borrowing money and handing it out to foreign countries. Stop it, and close down the department.

DespairingLiberal said...

I agree with Roger on the big cuts - reducing top people's salaries in the public sector, whilst popular, is just tinkering around the edges. Without major existing programme cuts and mass redundancies, there is no chance of getting back within limits, even in the medium term and with fairly good growth figures. Darling/Brown know this, which is why in despair they have shrugged their shoulders and washed their hands of the worry, if that's not mixing metaphors too much.

A really convincing politician at the next election for me has to say where the deep cuts will be. My list would include

* Trident

* Sponging govt contractor companies, especially in IT sphere and particularly the ghastly bloated NHS intranet contract

* Cost of providing healthcare to foreigners for free on NHS - loads of lip-service to this over the years from both Tories and NL but no real action - one of the alleged reasons of course for ID cards. Cost is serious and rapidly growing.

* Amount lost by the EU to corruption - UK should refuse to cover EU costs of corruption and unaccounted expenditure - an independent body to be headed by Marta Andreasen could estimate this each year. Refuse to pay until EU takes accounting seriously.

* Tax havens - at the present time, the Inland Revenue has signed many sweetheard deals with big corporations and wealthy individuals allowing them to pay no tax in the UK under very dubious circumstances. Beneficiaries include people you Tories all adore like Al Fayed. Attempts to get this corrected or publicized have resulted in NuLab placing former tax avoidance specialists and friends of NL politicians in charge, who have sat on their hands.

* A windfall tax on hedge fund profits. Hedge funds have effectively made their money by cheating the little people (eg, most of us) out of our pension growth - because the better ones are simply too sophisticated for the ordinary fund managers. This legalised stealing has resulted in some individual hedge fund managers continuing to make many billions even as the full horror of the recession bites, in many cases paying no UK tax on those billions. At the same time, many pension funds are effectively withdrawing now from the stock markets as they realise they can no longer compete their, pulling the rug out from long-promised claims of shared Thatcher-style capitalism.

Lord Snooty said...

More vacuous mediocrity from Dave. Some of it made me cringe, much of it bored me to tears, but most of all I felt totally underwhelmed and uninspired. Very poor.

Paul Halsall said...

I expect Cameron to be next PM. I don't fear him, but then I though G W Bush might be OK.

As a Person with AIDS dependent on benefits, I expect the Tories to hurt me.

I might be willing to go ahead with supporting that if DC committed to

1. Stopping ID Cards
2. Stopping all universal electronic survelience (I don't care about what GCHQ does. I do mind locla coppers being able to look up my web browsing)
3. Agreed that Civil Partnerships can become Civil Marriages (I am too old and fat to find a husband, but I want that to be something imaginable to 14-18 year old kids, who I want never to have to go through the psychological torture I put myself though - even though I had the best, most supportive parents ever).

Roger Thornhill said...


Most of your cuts will not make much and seem to be coming from the wrong direction.

1. Trident - you mean Trident replacement? A very big decision and one that has international implications. One of the core roles of the State is to defend the nation, so Trident removal is not a budget issue, but outside of that (not that it should not be seriously considered, mind).

2. "sponging IT companies". No, it is the "simple shopper" of the State that is the problem.

3. NHS and foreigners. Yes it happens and needs to be sorted, but a small issue vs the grand scale of inefficiency and systemic dysfunction of having the NHS as a State run monopoly.

4. Tax havens. I want the UK to BE a tax haven! All of it. Tax spending, not income. Rich people who are not spending are investing, so providing capital for growth. Always a whiff of envy politics around Tax Havens. Note: the State does not own us.

5. Hedge fund windfall tax has a pungent aroma of envy politics IMHO ("legalised stealing" - please). This is private capital and they do tip off the market to duff investments. Short selling? To think the Hedge funds routinely kick over an otherwise solid company is a distortion. The banks crumbled because they were crock, not because of some hostile act.