General Election strategies

Clear choice at the next election: unlimited and uncontrolled immigration under Mr Blair, limited and controlled immigration with the Conservatives.

Any views on election strategies would be welcomed

79 thoughts on “General Election strategies”

  1. I think the focus on immigration is a difficult one. There’s no question in my mind that a legitimate asylum seeker arriving first in the UK should be granted asylum here. What bothers me is economic immigration, especially when masquerading as legitimate asylum cases (but with no supporting evidence), and asylum cases where the seeker did not ask for asylum in the first EU country they arrived in. It’s a difficult line to tread between being fair and being a soft touch, and I think as an election issue it’s wide open to cheap attacks by other parties, over the top reactions, and accusations of playing the race card.

    I think the Tories strongest campaign issue should be small government, and giving responsibility for public services and decision making power back to those who can best use it, ie. teachers and doctors and nurses, not bureaucrats. That has always been the main reason I prefer Tory to Labour, and it’s a very defensible position – less red tape, more productivity. It just needs to be clearly spelled out, and not oversold with big numbers.

  2. I think the biggest problem with this election will be getting people out to vote. Lots of voters dislike all the main parties, and won’t bother to take part. If you can beat the apathy, then you could win.
    I hate negative campaigning, but if you can get the electorate to laugh at Tony that would be good. Humour would be good. Also, harness the power of the internet, get your message all those people who sit at work surfing all day. Tim probably has some good ideas about this..

    Have a “photoshop’ competition with prizes. get people to photoshop a winning campaign for you.

    Oh, and don’t forget hte cheerleading Melissa..

  3. Phil – I think the Tories strongest campaign issue should be small government, and giving responsibility for public services and decision making power back to those who can best use it, ie. teachers and doctors and nurses, not bureaucrats.

    I agree with this. As a nurse I would love to see lots of my managers out of a job, and more people actually looking after the patients..

  4. What about a campaign that recognised that we are one species, on an unpredictable planet, in great danger of destroying ourselves by polluting the environment and pursuing horrific wars. How about love and peace as a political standpoint. How about unity rather than cheap political stances that are merely a disguise for the desire for power of messrs Blair, Howard et al.
    No, bugger it, that would be silly. Let’s just focus on keeping the Croats out.

  5. The Tories have New Labour over a barrel when it comes to red-tape, etc, for New Labour is THE party of the middle manager. If they weren’t Cabinet Ministers, the Labour government would all be management consultants, making up ludicrous schemes to convince businesses to employ them.

    I like the idea of the ‘action plans’ unveiled at the Conference, though they might be a little complicated and long-winded for an election campaign. Perhaps they need an overarching, one sentance strategy from which all the policies can be drawn. Focus needs to be brought upon the chronic overspending in public services – it is the truth that you can spend less better in, for example, the NHS, and that reducing costs need not result in poorer service.

    Howard is right to attack all the pointless Units and quangos that Labour have created, all of which seem to produce glossy brochures, expensively designed websites, and little else. This is a profound difference in attitude between the Labour and the Conservative parties: faced with a problem, Labour will ALWAYS created a new institution, with all the resultant costs, to deal with it. The Conservative, traditionally, resists this and attempts to solve problems within existing resources.

    Michael Howard is brave for trying to hold a mature and sensible debate about the immigration issue. I doubt that he will be allowed to continue for long, though, as mud-slinging from the other parties will reduce the discussion down to accusations of prejudice. I would resist the imposition of a quota for asylum seekers, however, as there must always be exceptions to such a rule.

    One plus point for the Tories is that Labour seem to have drifted away from their grand schemes and seem to be very narrowly focussed at the moment: fox hunting, smoking in public, licensing laws. Hardly the stuff of revolution. It’s almost enough to remind one of John Major’s last few years.

    So, the Tory line should be: Smaller government is efficient government is cheaper government is better government. And just hope that people listen.

  6. Vicus – that’s the most constructive thing I have known you to say. Fantastic – many thanks. I see you are obviously an idealistic environmentalist.

    >Love and peace – good line

    >One species – not sure I go with that – who would be the prototype?

  7. I’d suggest a focus on small government, too. It’s the main thing I like about the tories. Immigration policy is not really something that would be likely to sway my vote either way. Howard’s timing of his announcement was most unfortunate, however, as it caused my roommate and I to debate the pros and cons of it instead of doing work. 🙁

  8. The Tories are driving me nuts on this one. They should be attacking the government on their return to the bad old days of tax-and-spend and their incompetence in Iraq. Immigration is such a non-issue!

  9. I know there are voters who have been dismayed at the relaxed attitude this government has displayed towards immigration but I doubt it will be a decisive issue.

    The real problem for Michael Howard is that despite clouds on the horizon, the government has not yet delivered an economic hiccough sufficently great to upset electoral inertia. The Tories are therefore reduced to highlighting single issues which when they have significant voter potential can be neutralised by the usual vacuous government promises.

    Against this background the Tories have needed and generally failed to dig deep to get new policies on ground where Labour and the Lib Dems won’t follow . I know the Tories want to occupy the centre ground but doubt they can out-centre Labour. The Tories have had plenty of time in opposition to get new policies but there seems little to show for it (and little opposition as well it seems).

    That said issues which concern me (but may be not your focus groups) in no particular order include:

    Taxation: increase personal allowances to realistic levels (?7/8K) and make them transferable between parents with dependent children (much simpler and more efficient than Brown’s inefficient tax credits); consider undoing some of the tax breaks Labour have given to the rich and pass them on to lower and middle income earners whose relative tax position in real terms has often worsened under labour;

    Health service: get the managers off the practitioners backs but also ensure money is not wasted

    Pension reform (Labour have failed to deliver in just the same way the Tories did post Maxwell)

    ECHR: derogate from it so that we can deal with threats to our security how we want to not how anyone else tells us to

    Crime and disorder (try and change the culture whereby ordinary people feel the Home Office, the Courts and the Police are more interested in the perpetrators of crime than its victims (unless it’s traffic offences etc))

    Family Law: I do not think Mr Howard should have been so sniffy about F4J; I think reform of our slewed family law is well overdue and more of a vote winner than a loser

    Civil service / public employers: reverse labour’s public sector job creation scheme save in front line jobs in health and education

    Armed forces: increase manpower to deal with overstretch

    Constitutional reform: second chamber elected by proportional representation with clearly defined jurisdiction; judges (see below); MPs: reduce their number as already suggested by a Tory MP I think; West Lothian Question: pass an act so only English MPs vote on English questions;

    Judges: see above re ECHR and tell them the law means what it says not what they would like it to say; if necessary scrap ECHR;

    FSA/Investment: clip the FSA’s wings and encourage investment (return to PEPs perhaps)

    BBC: end the charter and substitute with an annuual parliamentary vote; flog off local radio and Radios 1,2,and 3. Flog off BBC1. Etc etc to let the BBC focus on quality not pap. Make Channel 4 no different from any other commercial station.

    Oh yes: i think supporting ID cards is outrageous but no doubt the Central Office bods do not care.

    Government double talk and hypocrisy (focus on examples of this and how the Tories willl be different; I am sure we can all think of examples)

    Civil Service: an Act to ensure independence and an end to political advisors

    I know some of the above have been touched on by the Tories but not all. In addition even where the Tories have suggested reforms it is either too little or the message is not getting through.

    Above all try and be radical on Tory/Conservative issues especially where there is no real cost (like some parts of constitional reform). And try and show the Tories as friends of the monarchy. Michael Howard’s suggestion Price \harry should make a public apology made me squirm and wonder what country I was living in.

  10. What would I hope the Tory party offers at the next election?

    Low government intrusion in both everyday life and the commercial world, lower taxation for all, smaller government, more freedom.

    Service provision should be basic but good, with incentives to use means that lower government-spending.

    Basically a party that promotes individual responsibility and a government that promotes enterprise and invention.

  11. I think that this policy is one of the few that has really made me consider not voting Conservative at the next election.

    I think the fundemental problem with the Conservatives are two fold. Firstly they seem a reactive party, always willing to jump on the latest issue. Secondly they provide no grand vision.

    And vision is what people seek, what they desire. True leadership shold show that there is something to aspire to… something to reach for.

    This is one of the reasons New Labour was a success, it offered a new and different approach.

    The Conservatives shold state that they have bold and worthy aims, and state how they will meet those aims.

    Curing cancer, halving poverty etc etc these are things that inspire.

    Stating that we will set a limit on those who we will help is not.. It is folly.. It is not compationate Conservatism.

  12. Immigration in itself is not a big issue for me. I’m much more concerned with the fact that most of the current problems are down to Home Office mishandling.

    I think the party should focus on a return to a useful civil service that actually facilitates the running of the country rather than generating masses of useless paper showing “targets” and “quotas” that in no way help in actually getting stuff done!

    I’d also like to see Mr Howard actually opposing Labour’s policies, using sensible arguments based on facts rather than rhetoric and hyperbole. I’m very angry about the feeble acceptance of the ID Cards bill. If the Tories want to save us money, then abandoning that scheme would go a long way.

  13. Vicus Scurra: ‘we are one species”

    Melissa: “One species – not sure I go with that – who would be the prototype?’

    We are all homo sapiens sapiens, not merely homo. This is sometimes overlooked. Unlike cats and dogs, and horses and monkeys, we can all interbreed. Humanity is narrowly defined and that is one of our strengths.

  14. I had to laugh at the poor conservative spokeman on Radio 4’s PM today who said that they weren’t producing this campaign to appeal to the popular vote, but because it was a genuine concern for at least 1/3 of voters. As for Mr Howard’s response when asked if his parents would have been let in under the new policy; saying it would have been easier for them made no sense. If he is saying, as he appears to be, that Labour are letting anyone in then how is a system where you must pass tests easier than a free for all?

    Ok then ….

    So if we limit the genuinely needy, the legitimate immigrants because our quote is used up (because by definition a quote has a limit) what else should we do? Shall we place a quote on people seeing their doctors, because as we know most people in the doctors’ surgeries should really have gone to Boots and talked to the pharmacist.

    No, lets have a quota on MPs spouting nonsense (after which a custard pie must be thrown), a quote on MPs avoiding answering the questions that were asked (after which a mild electric shock should be administered) and a quote on MPs salaries, instead of allowing you all to vote for pay rises.

  15. Lurking here for a while has been fun… I must say, reading everyone’s comments has restored (some of) my faith in the future of British Conservatism. My views tend toward the classically liberal (libertarian if you must) and it’s good to see that much of the portion of the Tory vote that reads politicians’ blogs also find themselves at odds with Mr. Howard’s illiberal views on immigration, ID cards, law and order, etc. Fantastic to see the support for smaller government too.

    Unfortunately I don’t think these are issues that are going to help much with the non-blog-reading portion of the electorate. Which is a bit of a pain because that’s basically everyone.

    Lower taxes, made possible by scrapping pointless programs (such as the ID card scheme 😉 might scrape through. But apart from that, the lines have already been drawn.

    More blue-sky? School vouchers would be great but not for this election, a few years’ worth of public debate would be needed. Could work, though. Healthcare vouchers? OK, I’m getting carried away here.

  16. The Tories are wasting their time on this immigration issue. It’s not an important issue. Yes we will need to adapt our policies over the coming months and years, but this is not something to put “blue sky” between the CP and the LP. Labour will react and do something and then the wind is out of Howard’s sails.

    Likewise, regarding some of the comments above: The issue of “big government” or “Labour being the party of middle managers”, etc. This is not something to create “blue sky” between the CP and the LP. It is stupid for people to go on and on about Labour mismanaging the economy and being inefficient, etc. when (if we are honest) they are doing a pretty good job managing things.

    The Tories need to pick a few key issues, make a principle out of them, and stick to them.
    (1) Iraq. This is a big issue. There is nothing wrong with Howard saying “Many (but not all) Conservatives supported the war. But we do not support the lies and deceit that led to war. Punish Tony for this”. Howard tried to say this once, but retreated when Labour got ballistic and accused him of oopportunism. It is easy to explain that this is _not_ being opportunistic. Howard needs to pull out his MP’s who voted against the Iraq war on this issue to support him. Labour went ballistic because this is their weak point. Stick to it, don’t be a coward.

    (2) University fees. Again this was a weak point because Labour broke an earlier manifesto item. But the Tories were weak and let them off the hook (again & again & again). A clear promise to scrap University fees need to be made. This is an area where Labour are weak and it is an important issue to the youth vote. Make clear and simple promises to scrap University fees, and stick to them.

    (3) People are insecure about their pensions. Promise to put money into this. Work out some clear and simple proposals which even the semi-senile 70 can understand. Make it substantial, in monetary terms. The last government under-invested in social services and welfare. Show that you are no longer weak in this area.

  17. Oh good grief. Howard has just come on TV. Tell him to get a haircut and do something about that “sweep-over” Smeagal number.

  18. For an election slogan, how about:
    “It’s your last chance to let Tony Blair know how much you trust him, whether you’re inside his Cabinet or not”

  19. As people talk about the issues surrounding immigration, its often all too easy to forget some of the reasons why so many people want to comt into our country in the first place.

    That’s why I’m really glad to see that Boris is getting behind the Make Poverty History campaign, by wearing the armband in the top right corner of the blog.

    Many thanks,


  20.’s projection for a May election is Lab 35%, Conservatives 30%, Liberal Democrats 24%.This translates into:

    Labour 366 (minus 35)
    Conservative 166 (no change)
    Liberal Democrat 82 (plus 31)

    That would leave Labour in government and the Lib-Dems resurgent. A double defeat for the Tories. Could they recover sufficiently to win an election in 2009? It seems unlikely, doesn’t it?

  21. Promising a free vote on ID cards would be nice.

    Boris never did explain his reasons behind an abstention, which, when he did write a Spectator(?) article opposing ID cards quite a while back

  22. Melissa

    I might not always be a bearer of good local news, but the story might not have a real substance. Yet as we know, history is replete with governments that, on reflection, have won one more election than they really deserved …

    Britain’s struggling Conservative opposition struck new difficulties yesterday when it was reported that even its new campaign director, the Australian Liberal mastermind Lynton Crosby, believed the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to be unbeatable. Lynton Crosby … helped engineer Australian Liberals’ win

    [ ]

  23. Wifey said: “Have a “photoshop’ competition with prizes. get people to photoshop a winning campaign for you.”

    They already tried this. Use any search engine to track down the results of ‘let down by labour’


  24. Great idea. Let’s restrict immigration. I’m listening to Michael Howard on Five Live as I write. He’s recommending that unwanted immigrants are somehow shipped out to ‘centres’ in as-yet-unspecified locations abroad. Couldn’t agree more. Let’s ship out the Ugandan Asians, and the Huguenots, and the Normans, and those pesky Saxons for God’s sake, and while we’re at it there are probably a few Roman descendants still kicking around. Hell, we could really go with our logic and pack the Celts into longboats while we’re at it. This would be SUCH a successful country if we just left it to the Beaker People…

    Mind you, we’re going to need an awfully large ‘centre’. I wonder if they’ll lend us America?

    When oh when oh when oh when are you Tories going to grow up on this issue and start looking at real problems?

  25. Argh. Why did they start on immigration? I live in a town with a large and mostly peaceful immigrant minority of various races. The local conservative group are generally well-behaved in things like the local communities forum. Now you want them to start saying “it’s great you’re here, but we’re gonna try and stop any more coming”? Electoral suicide.

    Immigration also tends to bring out the worst tendencies of conservative support. Never mind Labour and their loony left – that’s a minor PR problem compared to the ranting right-wing.

    Unfortunately, small-but-good government isn’t something conservatives here can lay claim to. The first two years of conservative rule in the local council has seen expansion of various “big government” programmes without solving basics like the rubbish collection cock-up contract signed by the last administration. The bin men are getting assaulted as a result of citizen frustration with collect-to-rule and fly-tipping, but the council is just going to send residents a letter while the “Best Value Improvement Plan” is about stuff like writing call centre scripts. It wouldn’t surprise me if we lost our conservative MP at the next election.

  26. Am really getting a good sense of people’s vision for the future and their current frustrations and burning desires.

    Andy – good slogan!

    Tim – you sure do have plans for the Election..look forward to seeing them unfold in due course

    Simon – One species as in One Nation? an extension of the Disraeli view to encompass global thinking – that does sound radical

    Boris said he would be posting something for the blog soon … he is definitely gettin da han of it

  27. Melissa – I just spotted your reply to Vicus way way back. I’m puzzled. Why on earth do we need a prototype for a species?

    I may be wrong, but it seems to me that Vicus was sugesting we all stop twittering on about quangos and crime and small or large government and the highly unlikely possiblity that 50 million Croats are going to come swanning in here and take all our jobs away oh woe; and turn our attention instead to the issues that might yet kill us all. The science on global warming is there for all to see: any responsible government, that put its conscience ahead of its re-electability, would be declaring a state of emergency today. Not at some vague unspecified point in the future when we all manage to sit down and agree on our Kyoto quota percentages.

    Oh, and by the way: if you do want a prototype for the human race, how about the one that started reaching into its collective pocket on Boxing Day to pour private money at unprecedented levels into the Tsunami funds. We’re good people, on the whole. It’s usually just the politicians that hold us back…

  28. I hate to be very simplstic on what is a very complex subject. But the only thing I can see behind this tatic is the make them afarid and they’ll vote for us. They are coming to this country to take your daughters away. It’s the same with old ideas towards the EU: do you want to be talking german by this time next year? You will be if we stay in the EU? All i can say to this kind of policy and I apoligise for using such a word around here to Mellissa and the big BJ, but its BOLLOKS…

  29. Stand up for the disenfranchised and discriminated against majority, the second-class citizens in the UK called the “English”.

    Demand an English Parliament on a par with the Scottish Parliament, and create an English Conservative Party to go alongside the Scottish one, etc.

    Bold, and would strike a chord with the increasingly fed-up English electorate.

    English students, English OAPs, in fact all the English who are subsidising the largesse of the devolved parliaments whilst having to pay for themselves will cheer to the rafters.

  30. The trouble is, Mark, that I must’ve got into a twitter with Vicus – that’s the effect he seems to have on me… must cure myself..

    The prototype idea – one of collective reaching out – that is everything we need

  31. Conservative MPs should stop trying to ‘Out”Thatcherise” Tony Blair. Your tax plans and waste cutting nonsense makes no sense if your party are not going to tell people how they are going to make people better off. The feeble tax plans do not make any change to this. Mr Brown would do it much better.

    All through the 1980s and 1990s indirect taxes went up while direct taxes were ‘cut’. This continues in the 2000s to feed the ever increasing appetite of gov. for our taxes.

    If we abolished government interest in some areas and worked on the idea that people should take economic and social responsibility would send UK forward in a new direction.

    Lets think of a real movement in UK to help the poor everywhere. Especially in our own country. Why are kids going without clothes or proper shoes or schools closing or no provision for excluded kids? Why are we not ensuring that every pensioner or ill person has food and drink and warm dry shelter?

    we need to realise that unless the groumnd opens up and swallows Tony Blair And Co the Tories are looking at a horrible election nationally. 3 times in a row.

    Tory MP look after your constituents to ensure you do not go down with the ship of fools along with Silkie Howard. Alternative is to join Liberal Democrats where they welcome all sorts.

  32. ‘Conservative MPs should stop trying to ‘Out”Thatcherise” Tony Blair’

    Mystere – I just love this idea it some how get’s to the heart of whats going on in the house of commons. And one of the reasons why there does not seem to any oppostion any more. We could get to the point in the next ten years where New Labour and the Conservatives will have to sit around a table and talk together rather then trying to talk against each other. This could easily be one of the next big events of british polotics. The need to talk about common ground has become more important then trying to make each other seem differnt. After all there is hardly any space between these parties these days.

  33. How about just shutting the door completely for a while? Not controlled, SHUT! Asylum? We’re full luv try France they have more room, our NHS is past it’s knees and on the floor now. Housing? Got none, try Germany. Oh you ARE an immigrant and you’d like to either establish or further a culture of guaranteed immigration by marriage? Oh that’s easy, if you love each other then being together is all that matters, for better or for worse, the door is closed. I’m sure the British citizen will move to you, they love you don’t they? Wasn’t that the point?

    We need more than vague promises and small gestures Boris. Some would say, lovely, that we need you. So if you were in #10 and Stanley in 11 Downing Street would that rival Blair and Brown do you think?

  34. Bugger me, I seem to inadvertently started a serious mini-debate here. Thanks for your comments Mark, and Melissa, I can see that we are gradually converting you. I would welcome you all to my new political party, but can not think of a suitable leader now that Janis Joplin and Jerry Garcia are both dead.

  35. A good love & peace leader – Paul McCartney must be getting tired of all that singing round the world – he could turn his mind to your cosmic idea Vicus!

  36. Oh come on, Kilroy is good for comedy value. Especially his repeated bouts of throwing the toys out of the pram.

  37. Only 1 thing will win Tories the election, a poster with Blair on and Boris on saying “Clear Choice”.

  38. David Wildgoose

    Are you sure about this ‘English’ thing? I’m one quarter Londoner with a smattering of Scots, one quarter Welsh, one quarter Surrey with a large does of Huguenot French, and one quarter Lancashire (with presumably a hefty dose of Norse genetics). No matter how hard I try to define myself, I always come up with ‘British’.

    I’m betting you’re the same. Most of us are. Of course it may be that you’re a fourth generation Anglo-Saxon on all sides of your family, in which case I have really bad news for you. Your ancestors were economic migrants on a national scale. Highly unpopular at the time, too – until everyone noticed that the long-term mix of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon culture was really rather a good thing for everybody.

    The minute you shut the door on the world, you start to rot. Look what happened to the Soviets.

  39. Ure a grt debater Mark – I like your doses – sounds like you’re preparing a recipe: bit of pepper, bit of salt, bit of sugar, dash of malt ….

    international outlook is vital – am with you there

    The blogs help –

  40. I’m a fan of small government. You used to represent my interests from that point of view.

    Now you support ID cards.

    I cannot support a party determined to stage such a gross, fundamental and unwarranted intrusion into my daily life.

  41. A lot of interesting posts. This blog seems to be a lot livelier than anything happening in the Conservative Party!

    But let’s take another tack: As we all remember, Bill Clinton said ‘It’s the economy . . .’

    The Tories have concentrated on attacking Blair, his (lack of) integrity and his style of politics. However the PM is already discredited with most of the public and is heartily detested by a good half of his party.

    On the other hand, Howard and Co. have failed to make any determined effort to attack Brown and Labour’s handling of the economy.

    Brown has been allowed to hype up the supposed strength and robustness of the British economy to the extent that ordinary people in this country think that the rest of the world is in decline, or as Chris Patten said, the Chancellor is “giving the impression that the rest of Europe is having to depend on food parcels in comparison with the great economic miracle in the UK”.

    Labour are potentially vulnerable on productivity, modernization, the environment, and individual liberties, but if the Tories are going to win any seats at all, the main challenge has to be on the economy.

  42. The Economy –

    Gordon Brown inherited a golden legacy in ’97 but has been a massive spender and has been spending billions – he is creating a big black hole.

    A big issue in the election campaign must be ‘tax and spend’. Labour has been tinkering too much with spending and our position in the league tables has dropped – our economy is slipping down the global league.

    We must allow national sovereignty to drive policy and create more free markets and individual responsibility.

  43. Funnily enough I was thinking about not voting for Labour at this election but the recent pronouncements by Mr Howard on immigration has driven me right back into their arms. As someone who remembers vividly the mess that the last Tory administration made of the country, bad schools, a reduced NHS and atrophy and hatred across the land, I shudder at the thought of a repeat of that fiasco. Now this veiled policy, implicitly targeted at ethnic immigrants, will assure Labour of another comprehensive victory and you will only have yourselves to blame.

  44. There is only one way for the Tories ever to come to power, have a leader who wasn’t associated with the 1990 ish- 1997 era. Then they can’t have a go at them for doing rubbish back then, cos they wern’t around back then.

  45. On the matter of policies :
    1 Outlaw racist policies like those espoused by B N P

    2. Admit that we need immigrants to keep our corrupt and failing society going. With a declining birth rate who is going to pay for your pension and geriatric care if not our friends from the third world who come here?

    3. Anyone who wants to be elected is obviously working for her or his agenda – so professional politicians ought to be disbarred from High office. Only persons chosen to serve by electorate should be given power for limited periods. Politicians must receive counselling trauining from Samaritans.
    3.1 Any one with a sunbed tan to be deported as an undesirable alien( espcially former labour MPs former TV personalties who were in UKIP and now are not !)

    4. Anne Widdecombe for Prime Minister! If that does not frighten terrorists off we could try Princess Anne as foreign secretary. And Janet Street Porter as The Hoon (SEcy for Defence).

    5 Admit that we are bust twice over (1931, 1941 1967 and 1977+1992 nearly)in UK . This is because of unrealistic approaches by successive governments. Lady Thatcher sold our oil too damn cheaply in 1980s so balancing the books comes first. Long term we ought to be spending within narrower ranges. It appears to me that the armed forces are overstretched so we could try to redeploy all those threatened with redundancy by Brown’s civil service “reforms” to Army. That keeps them gainfully employed and out of dole figures. They can be the Home training and supply tail.
    Or they can work in Education or N H S as aides and assistants.
    5.1 Flat tax rate of 22% on all income over

  46. Melissa – thanks for letting me join in. Babbling in Boris’s blog provides a welcome relief from writing conference scripts (almost all of which seem to be about telecommunications nowadays sigh)…

    Simon Holledge – I remember what Clinton said. But are we sure he was right? Seems to me that my finances are in pretty much the same state whatever the governing party. To whit: it’s not how much you pay in tax that hurts, it’s what it’s wasted on. And that’s an observation that applies to every government since I started to take notice. Callaghan, Thatcher, Major, Blair. The minute they come to power they get their coat-tails caught in the machinery of government and become powerless to make the really brave decisions. As opposed to the easy ones, like backing George Bush or whittering about immigration…

    (I seem to have looped myself back to where I began here. Oh well. At least I’m being neat about it all)

  47. Mystere: quite a plethora of ideas.

    Quote: “7. British sports teams must be at least 66.67% British nationals to qualify .e g If Chelsea puts out more than 6 non UK citizens in each game they lose 1 point for each more than 6.”

    Hmm. Like it or not, British football is about the only national activity where we are at the highest international levels. It’s easy to see why: many of the best players and managers, irrespective of nationality, are here.

    Imagine British businesses, transport, health service, utilities, arts organizations etc. all run by top international managers, hired on their track record, irrespective of nationality.

    It would be like waking up and finding you were living in California!

  48. Mark Gamon: “I remember what Clinton said. But are we sure he was right?”

    Clinton was talking about election strategy, and yes he was right. He won two elections.

  49. Simon Holledge…

    Yes. I knew that. But was he RIGHT?

    Let’s all stop being pragmatic for a minute, and try and do what the world needs for a change.

  50. Goodo – you must be right Mark….

    BTW really admire your blogsite and ‘Clunk and Rattle writing section’ and book ‘Briton’

    very kl

  51. Wow. You looked. I’m dead flattered. Really. I’ll send you a free copy if you tell me where.

    Does very kl mean v. kewl? I lose track of this modern jargon…

  52. dat does mean cool – u haf 2 learn da slan’

    just to B Johnson c/o House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA wd be gr8

    c u l8er

  53. I be postin’ da lichrachure wi’ pleasure, mon. Gr8 of u to ask…

    Sheesh. I can’t keep ‘dis up… I’m a predictive text kind of fellah…

  54. i can’t believe the Tories are doing this – immigration is such a big NON ISSUE with folks.

    You have to do something serious radical – something that really gets people’s attention.

    FLAT TAX!! No reliefs, no highly complicated labrynthine Inland Revenue rules, no industry of tax consultants/lawyers. How many billions would be saved in efficiencies? How much money would suddenly be liberated in the economy?

    They’ve done flat tax in Eastern Europe with astonishing growth rates as a result. Do something radical Tories and wake me up out of my cant-tell-the-difference haze…

  55. Justin – flat tax? Eastern Europe? Which countries are we talking about here?

    I’m impressed by the astonishing growth rates. Just don’t quite buy the idea of everybody paying 20%.

    Oh. Unless you’re suggesting we all go up to 40%?


  56. flat tax rates, and implementation dates:

    Estonia: 26% since mid-1990s
    Latvia: 25% since mid-1990s
    Russia: 13% , Jan 1st 2001
    Ukraine: 13% , 2003
    Slovakia: 19% , 2004
    Romania: 16%, 2005

    good article here:

    Yes, I know the arguments for and against it, but it IS radical , and the Tories can gather the evidence on it’s effects from those Eastern European governments. Admittedly, those eastern European countries are starting from very low bases, so their GDP growth rates might be illusory ,and may well bed down once their economies mature.

  57. sorry , left out Georgia, and Lithuania. Georgia has the lowest – 12%. Key thing from reading about this is that it’s not just the rate at which it’s set – it’s the closing of all loopholes,and exemptions wherein the efficiency benefits arise. The aim is that you should be able to do your tax return on the back of a postcard, in terms of the simplicity of it.

    Czech Republic and Poland are seriously looking into it. Spain might well do it too, as one-fifth of the Spanish economy is in the black untaxed economy. Advocates of flat tax say that simplification generated by flat taxes can actually increase overall tax revenue. Corporate tax loopholes are closed as well – no exceptions , and no army of tax consultants and lawyers.

  58. There are two basic goals in a society
    1)Reproduction &
    2)Progress or increasing comfort/happiness.

    I think the focus in recent times has been on progress. Women have worked, communities have been lost and people are ever more dislocated.

    Add to this ugly looking surrounds and fiscal insecurity and its no wonder that lots of people are jolly depressed.

    Goodness who wouldn’t be?

    Honestly, I wish government would have a go at fixing some of our social problems.

    Playing the race card is a tricky thing to do.

    I don’t believe that most people generally dislike people from other races but like most people they want to be involved in communities of people who are like them (increasingly difficult).

    They are often quite jealous of tight knit ethnic communities.

    Yet politically, playing to this understandable instinct is difficult because it smacks of mean spiritedness. No-one likes to imagine that they are hard hearted and a leader that shines a mirror to this instinct may not do well unless they can come at the issue from a common sense perspective that the population can live with.

    The push for immigration comes from the top end of town and with their unnatural allience with the liberal progressives it seems unlikely that immigration will halt.

    More focus must be on structuring a society where people can reproduce and have communities

    Currently, we are in the thows of a social experiment where men and women have

    Early societies playing with progress, learning how to
    There is absolutely no point getting confused by progressive ethical dilemmas.

    The problems that we face

  59. You have got to make more of EU sleaze. A good idea would be to demand a freeze of all UK funding to the EU until they publish their accounts. When Blair refuses then you can portray him as part of the corrupt ‘EU establishment’.

  60. Missing the point

    If, as expected, the General Election is called in May, I won’t be entitled to vote. But even I can see that, if they don’t improve dramatically, the Tories are on their way to a monumental gubbing. As irritating and…

  61. My MP Didn’t vote against I D cards on 21st December !!! Why not ?
    He was not alone . Howard Herded the entire conservative herd into abstention poor dears.
    Boris Johnson ought to give a month’s salary to the Police Benevolent Society for this ( from all his jobs )
    MPs should attend the debate and vote. That

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