Open thread

Tonight is our day off from the YouGov daily polling and I’m not expecting any other polls overnight. It’s been a while since I’ve had an open thread, and I’m having to moderate a lot of partisan arguments on the normal threads as the polls tighten. So, the comment policy is suspended here for you all to have party political arguments (the quid pro quo is that you all stick to the policy on the other threads!)


434 Responses to “Open thread”

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  1. @Jason

    Okay forever….

    or until the centre right turns left.

    It will also kill Punch and Judy politics.

    I think in effect AV might lead to the merging of progressive elements in British politics into one party.

    It will be what Blair and Ashdown planned 14 years ago by another route.

  2. Epocher,

    I have a cousin who was vacationing in Chile. I’m just taking the woe is me approach to the recent polls.

    I wasn’t being serious.

  3. Progressive

    Labour on civil rights?

    ID cards, new treaty with u.s on extraditions like in the gary mckinnon case.

    Tories are more progressive in civil rights than labour.

    Tories have made huge strikes in gay rights.

    Tories are really a modern party but Labour has scared the public to death about the 80’s which is thirty years ago.

    What is really terrible about this election some great new candidates will lose to the labour old guard because of fearmongering.

    It doesn’t strike anyone as pathetic that Brown keeps talking about the tories and the 1980’s when none of the same tories are still around. Brown has been in power for 13 years time to stop blaming other people.

    Major left with a far better economy and Major would have never gone into iraq.

  4. @PADAV

    really gerrymandering? Is it Labour that decide the boundaries? It is tactical voting and popularity that give the disproportion in the seats to vote. In 1983 the Torys won 10 seats to every 1 % of their vote whereas labour got around 7 seats for every 1%, this was reversed in 1997. If the tory’s were so worried about this then why the opposition to PR or av. Because they know their support as a second choice is very low amongst the other parties as compared to labour and the lib dems.

  5. I recall seeing a poll towards the end of last year that showed that of those who said they would vote Conservative, 1 in 2 said that they were open to changing their voting intentions!

    If we assume arbitrarily that half of them actually do change, the Conservative share could drop by something in the order of 25% (i.e. from, let’s say, 40% to 30%).

    There will be tactical voting. I expect Lab and LD voters will place their vote to secure a Labour government – in the LD view in order to implement AV (PR) for all elections.

    The electorate know that the banking crisis etc was not of Labour’s making. Voters however will recognise that GB and AD took and are taking the right steps to limit/mitigate the damage and stimulate growth.

    Like myself a lot of the electorate remember the appalling state of the NHS, education etc under the last Conservative government.

    The UK has been transformed for the better under Labour. In addition to the substantial improvements to NHS and education, working conditions and rights have dramatically improved. This government has introduced for example the national minimum wage, annual leave entitlement of 28 days for all workers and flexible working and family leave rights.

    The tories’ recent pronouncements have been crass. Why would anyone vote for selling our bank shares at less than the prevailing market rate? How does that help the UK economy?

  6. What strikes me most about this election how Brown has been able to have Mandelson as his closest adviser and still be able to say tories are out of touch.

    Mandelson from partying with vacationing with the rothschild or setting up meetings to get energy companies into iraq.

    Brown never has to answer about Lord Paul.

    Majority of the tory candidates didn’t have priviledged backgrounds and didn’t go to private schools.

    Majority of tory candidates aren’t what Brown has portrayed the tories as.

  7. @Epochery

    Just like Labour’s hypocrisy for not wanting proportional because then they would have to govern with the lib dems and labour mp’s want all the power. Labour wants AV because it will help them keep a majority in the future. Of course they like it because they get more mp’s without having to share power.

    With AV labour with 35 percent of the vote gets 56 percent of mp’s instead of 55 percent.

    Labour only is bringing up AV now to entice the lib dems in a hung parliament.

    In 1997 Labour promised electoral reform and ditched it right after the election.

  8. @Jason

    So was I. Labour seem to be warning about the 80’s as the tories did in 97 about the 70’s the winter of discontent etc. I think the circumstances are similar to 74′ with 2 close elctions, economic difficulties etc. the difference then was the oil crisis, high inflation and industrial strife.

  9. @jason

    We have had electoral reform although not in westminster, local and european elections have all tried different systems of voting. It may have hurt labour but they should have had a referendum early in their government, but they seem to be loathe to go to the public, much as they resist calls for public enquiries on a range of issues, they dont want a referendum where the result may make them weaker in government.

  10. The reason I will be voting Labour is that I believe the Tories still believe that unemployment is an acceptable price to pay for longer term growth.

    I am convinced that all signs point to an ’emergency – we’ve just looked at the book and oh dear’ Osbourne budget within weeks of any election victory.

    They were largely wrong on the right steps to take in the immediate wake of the financial collapse. Their policies are unclear, and seem to change whenever any serious flaws or unpopular consequences are revelaed. Their education policies are elitist and unworkable. Their approach to Europe is still unhelpful and will only lead to trouble. Their tax policies will only benefit the wealthy, and they seem to have no coherent ideas for stimulating new industries or promoting green technologies.

    I am no big fan of the work of the government in the last seven years (Iraq mortally wounded the genuinely brave renaissance in social democracy which New Labour heralded), but as someone who grew up in the North of England in the 1980s I shudder at the thought of the consequences of GO’s confused ideology and callous economics. They don’t deserve power at present – their programme does not offer change, but bad medicine.

    I’m hoping for a hung parliament, and a result which makes it clear that the natural progressive majority in this country want to see a Lib/Lab coalition working for a socially progressive and economically cautious emergence from the recession.

    As for the deficeit, I get the sense that most people’s common sense (a phrase beloved of the right) will lead them to sympathise more with the gradual and forensic approach to repayment and cuts offered by Labour. They want to see cuts made with a scalpel, not an axe.

    ‘A future fair for all’ is a better slogan than ‘Vote for change’.

  11. @spencer

    There will be no real cuts in the emergency budget.

    I have read reports that tories have had aides go through the budget to see any cuts they can use for 2010 and they have found very little.

    The cuts are going to wait until april 2011.

    Labour cares about unemployment? Mandelson refused to help the plant that shut down in teeside.

    Mandelson really looks out for the common man.

    Labour gave money out without strict rules and RSB is giving out huge bonuses.

    Labour also double crossed lehman brothers sale to barclays which sent the whole world economy off the cliff this myth that labour was so good is a joke. In the middle of the credit crisis brown was saying on his last speech as chancellor we are in a golden era.

  12. “Their policies are unclear, and seem to change whenever any serious flaws or unpopular consequences are revelaed”

    So, Labour making a 180 degree u-turn from promising investment to copying the Topy policy of cuts is not a change that makes any Tory policy changes melt into insignificance?

    “The reason I will be voting Labour is that I believe the Tories still believe that unemployment is an acceptable price to pay for longer term growth.”

    Where have you heard them say that? Sounds like you have been scared by Labour’s propaganda and are just repeating it. Anyway, there is already massive unemployment .

    Those who support Labour seem to be completely in denial or ignorant of the facts.

  13. @spencer

    Mandelson is helping companies get drilling contracts in iraq while not helping corus.

    Having MOD take maimed soldiers who lost an eye to get back payments isn’t a future fair to all.

    Gordon Brown thinks the iraq war was a good idea and will testify to that next week.

    Brown supported the war and underequipped the soldiers and still has them riding around in unarmored landrover vehicles. That isn’t a future fair to all.

    Mandelson parties with the rothschild’s and gaddafi’s son that is the future fair to all. Lord Paul is the future fair to all.

    Labour better hope tories don’t get into power because then their fearmongering won’t work anymore as the cuts are phased and don’t start until 2011 and voters will see the tories as a progressive modern party.

  14. “What I don’t understand is how Brown bashers explain the international context to all this. If the crash is Brown’s fault then why did the rest of the world fall over at the same time.”

    Well the economies of the world are so interlinked that it’s surely not surprising that if you lose a couple of major economies, they’ll do serious damage to the others. The UK was in the group that fell, not the group that got pulled down however so yes, the international context is very explainable.

    I’m not sure many do entirely blame brown, it’s the fact that brown attempts to take no responsibility at all that is irritating. Clearly some blame has to rest on the shoulders of the US and UK governments for very lax regulation particularly with respect to bank lending. Take the housing market for example. The US had policies pretty much encouraging subprime lending. Similarly in the UK there was absolutely no attempt to reign in the housing market when it was clearly out of control. In fact brown redefined the measure of inflation as the CPI instead of the RPI so he could ignore the housing boom, this was merely shortsighted and greedy, it’s common sense that if the housing market goes wildly up, mortgages and rents and therefore overall cost of living rises and eventually where the RPI goes the CPI follows. Were MPs, on all sides, so happy about their rapidly expanding property portfolios (and house flipping!) that they weren’t willing to intervene?

    And before anyone gets too optimistic about the economy we may have out accelerated the eurozone in Q4 2009 but Jan 2010 showed lowest retail sales for ages and the house market dropped 1% in Jan. I’m not counting chickens currently.

    Not to mention that the supposed ‘right call’ on the resession of buying our way out via QE that was undertaken in most countries (just because eveyone does it, doesn’t make it right! – groupthink etc.) is unconvincing. All that has happened is a massive bodge job, the root causes have not been solved.

    Personally I’m not sure the tories will do any better, but I’m relatively confident they can’t do any worse and at worst I’ll have someone new to grumble about!

  15. “The reason I will be voting Labour is that I believe the Tories still believe that unemployment is an acceptable price to pay for longer term growth”

    Yes because *cuts* invariably means jobe losses. So *decade of austerity* (sounds nasty) means many job losses.

    When we get Blanchflower saying that reducing economic stimulus too soon will create another 2 million + unemployed it rings a bell.

    Even the IMF supported the Governments actions not the Conservatives’.

  16. Tories going through the budget have said the cuts would be phased from spring 2011 to 2014. They won’t be swingering cuts that labour fearmongers over.

    Labour has used utter hypocrisy over cuts.

    Brown in press conference after press conference said spending would keep increasing and there would be no need for cuts.

    Then darling talks about 20 percent cuts. Then Balls talks about more spending.

    Yet the labour media never talks about labour wobble or labour hypocrisy.

    Who would even be Labour’s chancellor if they win, brown was asked and wouldn’t even confirm darling would be.

  17. @TONY M

    History tells us that. Massive cuts in the 79-81 era lead to massive unemployment and a prolonged recession all in aid to get inflation and the defecit down. Not to mention the tax cuts for the wealthy and the tax rises and benefit cuts to the less well off. Or have the tory’s not been planning for cuts in tax just announced?

  18. @Jason

    No doubt much of what you say is true and some of it damning of the government’s record. Although I (strangely) feel I have to defend Mandelson as I think he has actually performed well and saved many jobs – through the car scrappage scheme for example.

    I wouldn’t have expected a conservative to have too much sympathy for market forces reaching it’s natural brutal conclusion on Teeside. A tragedy for that area, but miniscule in comparison to the damage that was inflicted on the Northern manufacturing base in the recessions of the 1980s.

    The bonus culture and the bloated horse trading which still continues in the greedy banking sector is hideous and disgusting, but I don’t see many solutions coming from the tories. To change this system requires an international solution unless we wish to inflict massive harm on the UK economy and the city. I DO believe that Brown is better placed to lead these sort of international steps to curb the banks that DC.

    As for the emergency budget, what you say may or may not prove to be the case. I suspect that my scenario would be the more likely to play out should the tories gain a comfortable majority. Freedom of information means that Osbourne really can’t play the ‘we’ve opened the books’ card – he ought to produce more costed plans, and stick to them shoud *shudder* he find himself in number 11.

    Whatever happens, I hope that the next few months are good for democracy, and that a fierce and clean campaign can produce a decent turnout.

  19. AL J,

    Darling is proposing massive cuts to hospitals. This labour hypocrisy and fearingmongering on cuts is gutter politics.

    You have to have cuts or the pound will collapse.

    You can’t keep spending money you don’t have.

    China is getting out of the business of buying worthless dollars.

    When AAA rating goes bye bye and interest rates rise.

    Do you want UK to be like greece and have EU come in?

    Wait until the GDP to debt ratio is 200 percent?

    It is so selfish for this generation to pile debt upon debt on their children and grandchilren.

    Next generation will be throwing darts at the leaders of today for wasting their futures for selfish electoral reasons.

    Politics should be about making hard decisions to leave your children and grandchildren a better future.

    The weak dollar and pound from debts are only helping iran as crude and brent are more expensive because of the weak dollar and pound and iran and saudi arabia get billions and billions more.

  20. @Jason

    I don’t really think that bleating about ‘the Labour media’ is credible to be honest. What Labour media? The only Labour supporting paper is The Mirror. It was the Observer which unleashed the ‘bullygate’ affair, and if you’re aiming fire at the BBC with that claim, well I’m sorry but I don’t consider Nick Robinson’s approach to be favourable to the government!

    With the pernicious Murdoch machine firmly and aggressively behind DC and the tories, I’m not sure you can make thise sort of claims without the whiff of panic emerging!

  21. Epochery

    Major wouldn’t have gone to iraq and let the UK military in a mess.

    Gordon Brown is testifying next week that he still thinks the Iraq war was a good idea because of UN resolutions.

    Iraq war lead to IED quagmire in afghanistan. There were no IED’s in afghanistan before the Iraq war. There were no IED’s in paksitan before the iraq war.

    Gordon Brown was involved in the worst foreign policy disaster imaginable and any other country would have kicked him out of office.

    Gordon Brown has left massive amount of UK troops maimed from IED’s.

    Major left a far better economy than Brown is leaving.

    I am so tired of hearing about the tories in the 80’s.

    Thatcher didn’t send troops to iraq and then didn’t equip them and then take maimed soldiers to court to get back payments.

    Just on Iraq alone Gordon Brown is a million times worse than Thatcher.

    Brown should be standing trial not running for election.

  22. I don’t know if people on this site follow football but if I say I feel the British economy is a bit like Portsmouth FC perhaps you will get the drift. Tony Blair is Harry Redknapp, Gordon Brown is Avram Grant while Cameron could be the club’s putative new owners. ( Chanraj etc|). If any of the new owners are gay refugees with a degree in art history and dodgy family who like cocaine even better.

  23. jason

    Yes you are right Labour will have to cut also. But the difference is that they will do it to minimise harm to people. The perception is that in a rush to cut, the Conservatives will damamge ordinary people.
    That’s why (although I think there is a case for upping the IHT threshold) their priorities seem wrong when they want to cut IHT.

    If we cut too hard too soon as the Tories want to – economic recovery will be put as risk and we’ll pay a heavier price. Fortunately (IMO), people remember what they did last time and are swithching off from voting conservative.

    **When AAA rating goes bye bye and interest rates rise.**

    We are not losing or going to lose our *AAA* rating. The markets and agencies have already said that.

  24. I always hear Gordon Brown rail about Pakistan.

    His Iraq policy helped Pakistan become the quagmire that it is. There were no suicide bombings or IED’s in pakistan before the Iraq war. Militants that fought in iraq went to pakistan and afghanistan and they copied the same attacks that were used in iraq.

    Suicide bombings and ied’s were unheard of in afghanistan before the iraq war.

    Then Brown holds a summit on afghanistan. He is lost on foreign policy. How can he still defend the iraq war with the mess in afghanistan. The worst part is afghan troops were willing to give uk soldiers a chance before the iraq war.

    Iraq lead to massive arm movements to countries like somalia which are now destabalized and you have hijackings at sea. IED’s are now all over somalia in attacks because of copycat attacks from iraq. IED’s are all over nigeria.

    Brown was involved in the worst foreign policy decision ever and the answer is to give him five more years? Brown rallied the cabinet for the iraq war and bashed the french approach.

    Inspectors were being allowed in and now Brown is going to testify next week that he was for the war because of UN resolutions? This is what Brown said in a tribune interview. UN resolutions? Everyone knows that the first resolution wasn’t authorization for war.

    How about this progressives?

    Think of all the money that could have been spent to save corus or jobs without the money spent on iraq.

    Please stop the hypocrisy for once. You would vote for Gordon Brown no matter what.

  25. Think of all the money that could have been spent to save corus or jobs without the money spent on iraq.

    Darling wouldn’t have to make hospital cuts without the money spent on iraq which lead to ied quagmire war in afghanistan.

    But no one will ever hold labour to account. They get a free ride forever and ever.

    There are more uk soldiers who are trauma patients in afghanistan and flown back to the uk daily than trauma patients in the rest of the uk. This is a war from IED’s because of the iraq war than in all of the UK. This is extremely costly.

    Think of all the jobs you would have saved from the cost of the iraq war and afghanistan war without the government being for the iraq war.

    Why aren’t progressives protesting about darling’s hospital cuts instead of on a quagmire war?

  26. Minimize harm to people.

    A government that doesn’t plan and years after IED’s allows soldiers to ride around in unarmored landrovers.

    Mandelson giving out contracts to drill in iraq and won’t save corus.

    Mandelson could have saved corus and instead threw the people out in the streets. There were protests in teeside against Lord Mandelson.

    A government that takes maimed soldiers to court to get back payments cares for people.

    Labour cares about itself and power not about people.

    Fine don’t like the tories but this saint hood about labour is unreal. Cares about people?

  27. jason

    **Politics should be about making hard decisions to leave your children and grandchildren a better future.**

    I can’t let that go without saying mu bit.

    Politics should be about ;-

    Doing the best for people. Leaving people happier , with improved lives and giving all children the chance to fulfill their potential.

    Not-to leave many communitites in devastation as the conseravtives did in the 80’s & 90’s.

    Don’t you remember Norman Lamont?

  28. Regardless of what the opposition may or may not do it is breathtaking that someone as incompetent and odious as Gordon Brown is still getting 3% never mind 30%.

    I cannot stand the man.

    5 more years of that idoit would be a fate worse than death.

  29. AL J,

    Moody’s has warned of downgrade in AAA rating after labour’s PBR.

    Markets have priced in a tory victory to deal with the debt and their will be a terrible reaction with no plan for the debt and hung parliament.

    The tories have a very sensible plan for the debt. They are waiting until spring 2011 and phase in cuts to 2014.

    There is no threat to recovery with the tories debt plan. Zero, the economy if anything is overheated and there was 3.5 percent inflation last month.

  30. Alley Cat

    “What is all the fuss about? The election hasn’t been called yet! the more of Brown people see, the more they will remember the reason they dislike him”

    I don’t agree with this. I think it’s the opposite. The more people see of Brown (e.g. the Piers Morgan interview), the more they realise that he is more than the mythical hate figure of the right-wing press but actually a decent competent guy, who has made 90% correct decisions over the last decade.

    Steve

  31. AL J,

    Industrial sector has fared worse off under labour than tories. The stats don’t lie. There is a wider gap between rich and poor under labour.

    Gordon Brown went to china to kiss up to them and their free trade. He is no savior to jobs going overseas. Gordon Brown is no populist.

    Gordon Brown and Mandelson didn’t lift a finger to save Corus. Mandelson could have stepped in and saved Corus and didn’t.

  32. Just noticed that we have one of the ‘Known Unknowns’ coming up, Lord Ashdown’s Tax Status. The Cabinet Office, specifically the non-partisan bit that handles appointments to the House of Lords, were given 35 days from Feburary 1st to publish any information they have on Lord Ashdown’s tax status and any undertakings he made to receive his peerage.

    It would also be surprising if we don’t soon hear from the electoral commission inquiry into his funding.

    It would put a damper on the Conservatives should either of those even suggest that Ashdown hasn’t paid British taxes.

  33. Hopefully reality will now dawn on Christopher and his naive band if fellow travellers.

    The Times reports Darling is going to spell out in his Budget where 11 billion of cuts will fall. The cuts were present in the PBR – but the depts not named.

    The Times says the NHS will not be exempt …

    “As latest growth figures renewed fears that the economy could dip back into recession, Liam Byrne, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has disclosed details of a secret mini spending round that he has been conducting behind the scenes. ”

    Again as I said earlier – the 4Q GDP figures were in fact not at all what they seems and were very poor.

    All told I cannot see why Brown is not calling a March 25 election.

  34. jason

    **Markets have priced in a tory victory to deal with the debt and their will be a terrible reaction with no plan for the debt and hung parliament**

    With respect jason -I just don’t buy it. It is a scare story.

    If the markets are savy they would know that a Tory victory is not a forgone conclusion. Labour has also go plans to cut the deficit -but their timing is different for the reasons I mentioned.

    I go along with the 60 economists who wrote their letter recently. I respect Blanchflower and think he’s got the right idea.

  35. AL J,

    The 80’s? I always hear Brown saying that. That is thirty years ago.

    What does it say about how you governed the last 13 years when you talk about what happened 30 years ago.

    Can’t talk about ruining the economy and the military the last 13 years.

    This spending for electoral gain can’t keep up.

    Labour borrowed 88 times more in 2009 than 2008.

    They are mortaging the future for short term political gain.

    It is political malpractice.

    Thatcher is long gone so please stop talking about the 80’s.

  36. Here’s my “Partisan” comment then.
    The BIG mistake the Tories are making is to assume Labour are unpopular in the same way they were in 97.

    Sure, there’s been a terrible recession, but most voters know they will come and they will go – the important thing is how they are dealt with.

    So the voter looks at Britain today and Britain in 97. They look at Maggie or Major and they look at Gordon.

    The Tories convinced themselves we were at that stage again, but as the election nears, the electorate don’t seem to find Labour as terrible as they thought, don’t compare GB with Maggie.

    The truly scary thing for the Tories will be if that “Oh well, I suppose Labour haven’t been ALL bad” apathy turns into “Actually, the Tories really WERE scary” fear.

    Then a hung parliament really will be the least of their worries.

    What a previous poster said about being in tune with the electorate is TOTALLY the only point really. The Tories thought they were (and are hanging on to the “do you really want 5 more years of LAbour) Well, what if the public decide they DO want another 5 years of Labour? Impossible as the conservatives find this to believe, it goes back to what I said too – “Know Your Enemy”

    I’ve been tele-canvassing all day and not ONE voter has been rude or told me they’d changed to the Tories. Not ONE – I had more in 2005 by FAR.

  37. “But the difference is that they will do it to minimise harm to people”

    Depends on what you mean by people. If you mean the actual working class then I doubt it. They mostly seem to get piddled on by labour, yet bizzarely still vote labour because that’s what they’ve always done, the lowest earning workers are still worse off under the whole 10% tax rate mess.

    Similarly those with aspirations hardly seem to get a good deal either, social mobility has dropped under labour, and the whole idea of shoving everyone through uni becuase you couldn’t be bothered to teach them properly in school has only made it more difficult for genuinely intelligent people from poorer backgrounds as they now get saddled with £20k+ of debt.

    If you mean those who can’t be bothered to lift a finger and the parts of the public sector that really shouldn’t be there, then yes I’d imagine they will experience minimised harm.

  38. Jay

    I think you mean Lord Ashcroft ;-)

    But you make a valid point. This is potentially very damaging for Cameron.

  39. As a member of the Harriet Harman & Elton John Woodcraft folk, I feel it is my socialist duty to report Harry on the very first post for using the word “Bugger”
    this may offend a bugger. Further outrage was caused by Wolf by using the words “Gay” and “Refugee” in the same sentence. This appaling attitude describes homophobia and racism . I am now going to phone my friend.

  40. @Al J

    Quite so. I do wish there was a way to edit typos here.

  41. AL J

    Tory cuts won’t start until spring 2011.

    That is 14 months from now. Inflation was 3.5 percent last month no telling what it will be like in 14 months.

    You make it sound like we are in a deflation era and you can’t make any cuts.

    This fearmongering over cuts when the economy is overheated is amazing.

    Labour way overspent for electoral gain. A lot of countries didn’t throw 200 billion at banks and massively overspend for electoral gain and they are doing just fine.

    You are so worried about the economy in 14 months?

    You have to tackle the debt sooner or later. The tories plan is sensible with waiting until spring 2011 and phasing in to 2014.

  42. AL J

    What about Lord Paul who is also a non dom and contributed a lot to the labour party.

    Paul is also very close friends with the Browns.

    Brown gave him his job even knowing his financial background.

    Yes Ashcroft is a disgrace but Labour should save the hypocrisy when Lord Paul is just as bad.

    Tories are the one who brought forth the draft legislation to not allow non doms to sit in the lords.

  43. Jason

    Where on earth do you get this idea that Osborne won’t cut until 2011?

    Please give me one quote !!

    Osborne has said he will have an emergency budget within 50 days of winning the election (dream on )

    What do you think the budget will be about? His weekly grocery shopping? ;-) I don’t think so.

  44. jason

    **Tories are the one who brought forth the draft legislation to not allow non doms to sit in the lords.**

    We don’t need any laws for people to be honest.

    Give me one good reason why Ashcroft can’t say *YES* or *NO* to a simple question .

    Are you a non -dom ?

    Do you pay ALL your taxes in the UK?

  45. @Jason

    Um… Lord Paul, never contributed to directly to Labour Party Funding, only loaning Gordon Brown funds for his leadership campaign. I know that’s an odd distinction, but it’s quite different from funding a party election campaign, and was a much smaller sum of money.

    Also, I point out that the Tory’s proposal to prevent non-doms being seated in the Lords would not in any way prevent Lord Ashcroft keeping his current title, or prevent him continuing to contribute to the Conservative Party funds.

  46. Which ever party gets some traction on their economic policy will win the election.

    GB and Co should not really be the running due the complete disaster they have brought about but the Tories are not gaining ground because they don’t have a simple message on the economy. It has become all about what happens next, and that has got Brown off the hook for now.

    Maggies message was simple, you can’t continually spend what you don’t earn. Cameron and Osborne need to find a way of saying that or something similar and also counteracting the Labour message that keeping on spending is the solution. You can’t spend your way to prosperity, only investing and saving will get you there. They also need to make it clear that ‘investing’ in public services is a misnomer as you are using money created by the private sector and there is only so much to go around. At a certain point ‘investing’ in the public sector starts to become a zero sum game.

    If the Tories get this right, Labour will be in the wilderness if not it will be a very bumpy ride, and a hung Parliament is a sure fire way to ensure we do lose our credit rating. The markets will not like the massive uncertainty it will bring.

  47. @SUE MARSH
    Im afraid that you and Amber and generally Alec are the only “lefties I can have a dialogue with Sue. So I am not dissing your comment,but, I canvass in Northern Home Counties marginals and believe me if I did’nt watch the national polls I would think the Nasty Party would romp home with 200 seats majority.
    What I am saying is, it depends where you are working.

  48. Looking at Gordon, warts and all, he is undoubtedly the most experienced person active at the top of the political scene and when a country’s in trouble people are going to favour experience over the risk of the untried and untested. Gordon might also benefit from being seen as a bit like ‘one of us’ as we all get angry at times especially in the morning when we haven’t had enough sleep and I suspect Gordon doesn’t get enough sleep alot of the time! On the other side, I feel quite sorry for Cameron as he just doesn’t know how to deal with the ‘Osborne question’ – I haven’t come across anyone who’s got any time for Osborne and what’s interesting is that they can’t quite put their finger about what they don’t like about him – is it a veneer of arrogance – anyway he’s definitely a big minus for the Tories.

  49. Andrew Myers contribution on Gordon Brown >>>>>>>>

    “Odious”

    “Fate worse than death”

    “Can’t stand the man.”

    “Idiot” [unless you really DID mean “idoit” ?

    Well, here’s hoping that Conservative Central Office campaign against Brown with the same intellectual rigour evidenced in your well-reasoned points, although, to coin a phrase, I think they say a lot more about you than about Gordon Brown.

    Anyway, here’s hoping for a hung parliament, Liberal Democrat involvement and Vince Cable as chancellor – a shame he wasn’t in the job three years ago when he was, correctly, warning everybody how crazy the banking/mortgage system had become.

  50. I don’t have a mortgage so a hung Parliament won’t be the end of the world for me, but if you’ve got a mortgage expect to pay much more from May onwards.

    The Markets hate uncertainty, politically a hung Parliament is an uncertain as it gets.

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