Gordon Brown and the sorry state of the pound

Why is the pound at a 12-year low against a basket of other OECD currencies?

Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown have peddled some pretty good bilge in their time, but I don’t think I have ever seen anything so bare-faced and intellectually putrid as their attempt to blame the Tories for the sorry state of the pound.

In a few weeks, we are all off skiing. I am much looking forward to it. Or at least I was, until I realised that we are going to France, where they use the euro – and in all the history of the single European currency, the pound has never, ever been so puny as a purchaser of euro-denominated assets.

If I buy a lunchtime tartiflette to be shared between my four famished children, I can now expect to pay 25 per cent more than last year. And if I try to drown my sorrows with a vin chaud, I will have to cope not only with the outrageous Alpine mark-up, but with the plummeting of our currency.

I will be forced to sip that drink miserably, nursing it in a corner, while all around me hearty red-faced skiers from euroland will be singing shanties and calling for more, slapping their relatively un-devalued banknotes on the counter.

If that isn’t the definition of national humiliation, I don’t know what is; and what has intensified my rage is the Government’s unbelievable suggestion that any further fall would have something to do with George Osborne and his decision to point out what is happening.

Ooh, say the Labour MPs, he’s being disloyal! He’s broken the “convention”, they hiss. The shadow chancellor has been “unpatriotic”, say the henchpersons of Gordon Brown – and how?

He has simply had the guts to point out that past Labour governments have collapsed in sterling crises, and we must all do our best to stop it happening again.

How can there possibly be a “convention” that stops shadow chancellors from pointing out the baleful effects on sterling of an irresponsible fiscal policy? Surely that is the very definition of his job.

This is insanity, and the Labour attempt to accuse Osborne of “talking down” the pound is the most ludicrous and desperate attempt to evade the blame since – well, since 1992, when the Tories tried to blame the Bundesbank’s Helmut Schlesinger and Hans Tietmeyer for the fall of the pound on Black Wednesday.

If Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are right, and our economic difficulties are identical to those of developed countries the world over, then why the hell is it our currency that is taking such a pasting?

Why is the pound at a 12-year low against a basket of other OECD currencies? Who is to blame for the cost of my vin chaud?

I tell you who: it’s you, Gordon. You did it, by running the largest budget deficit in the world, now hanging round all our necks at more than £100 billion.

You wasted all that money in the good times, water-cannoning our dosh with so little thought or restraint that only Hungary, Pakistan and Egypt are suffering from comparable indebtedness, and Hungary and Pakistan are already in the hands of the IMF.

You weakened the pound, Gordon, because you expanded the public sector without reforming it.

You weakened the pound because you bloated the state pay-roll, and then you added the private finance initiative and the nationalisation of the Bradford & Bingley and Northern Rock, and all the time you somehow believed your own lunatic propaganda that you had personally defied the laws of economic gravity.

You really thought you had created a new paradigm in which you, and only you, had beaten the economic cycle and gone “beyond boom and bust”, and that you were therefore free to take whatever fiscal risks you wanted, and the markets looked at the whole thing, sucked their teeth and said, baloney.

They saw a man simply adding to his country’s obligations, while doing little or nothing to make the countervailing savings in expenditure.

Why are we still spending hundreds of millions on a new register of every child in the country? Why are we squandering billions on ID cards? Why does the Government still spend £800 million on advertising public sector appointments – very often in the Guardian – when they could be conveniently displayed online?

Of all the Government’s pretences, perhaps the most sickening and self-serving is that none of this matters, that there is no use crying over spilt milk, and that the most patriotic thing we can do is keep silent while Gordon the great helmsman gets on with saving the country and the world.

That, again, is phooey. We need to have an urgent argument about this devaluation and its causes, not least since devaluation is not, in itself, an unmixed evil.

We devalued after 1992 and, in spite of all the predictions, the economy recovered, and without importing inflation. We were liberated from the excessively high interest rates and the anti-competitive exchange rate that were forced on us by the Exchange Rate Mechanism.

British exports became cheaper, and Britain became an ever more attractive place to invest – all of which should remind you of the total folly of trying to solve this crisis by abolishing the exchange rate and going into the euro.

But the whole point about that devaluation – and one of the reasons why it was not accompanied by inflation – was that sensible Conservative policies on spending and borrowing allowed us to keep interest rates low, and paved the way for the sustained period of economic growth for which Gordon Brown has absurdly claimed credit.

The risk now is that Gordon Brown seems to be proposing not just to devalue, but also to launch a great unfunded borrowing splurge that could end up weakening the economy further.

We all want tax cuts. Of course we do. We need to stimulate consumption and confidence as quickly as possible.

The danger is that Gordon may be tempted to do this in such a way as to make matters worse. George Osborne is paid to warn of such risks, and he is absolutely right to do so.

[First published in the Daily Telegraph on 18 November 2008 under the heading: “Don’t blame George Osborne, the falling pound is Gordon Brown’s fault.”]

91 thoughts on “Gordon Brown and the sorry state of the pound”

  1. MIGOD I was so glad to read the heading of this article! WELL SAID BORIS JOHNSON, the economy is such a thorny issue, and Gordon Brown is stifling democratic debate with his outrageous bullying attacks on George.

    THEY ARE IN OPPOSITION, and thank God for that, they are just doing their job, and never was that job so needed as now! George and David Cameron are truly on the attack on this subject for the first time in ages, and I am cheering them on! I have been fuming like a pressure cooker with indignation and actual steam has been shooting frm the top of my head!

    WELL SAID BORIS JOHNSON and their chances of muzzling you are absolutely nil, because we all know you would be ready to face a firing squad rather than surrender your right to say what you think. Kenneth Clark has spoken up and said it has never been a convention that Shadow Chancellors are not allowed to discuss sterling! Let’s have some more full blooded support for George Osborne from other leading tory MP’s please.

    As quoted in GLADIATOR

  2. I was so indignant I banged the wrong key, so must continue here, calm down Angela before you burst a blood vessel.

    As said in GLADIATOR in the Roman arena…”If we stand together we survive! If we fight alone, we die!” EXACTLY RUSSELL.

    Tory MP’s and Tory voters, we must stand together and your red blooded heart felt support for the vim and vigour shown by George Osborne and DC has never been more needed because the economy is a very complicated subject, so it is easy for Gordon to snow us and bamboozle us by never answering a direct question.

    Slimy sneaky Mandelson has just been on SKY “sort of” insinuating that taxes will rise. “There will be a mid term adjustment…. but we will be able to afford it….” PIFFLE, POPPYCOCK AND BULLSHIT!

  3. tHE PUBLIC MUST BE WATCHFUL. THE PUBLIC MUST LISTEN TO SEE IF GORDON BROWN ACTUALLY ANSWERS A QUESTION, INSTEAD OF JUST SAYING TO DC “Well in January you said that, and now you have changed your mind”. It is YOUR PERFORMANCE AND YOUR DECISIONS we are assessing, and that is the important crucial thing that is affecting all our lives.

    Just see if he actually gives a straight answer to anything. HE NEVER DOES.

  4. Mr. Mayor, also you mention the cost of everything when you take your family skiing. you have some Taurus planets, so know how to economise, in fact you can squeeze a nickel until a buffalo hollers “uncle!” We all hope though you will lavish your cash on your lovely wife and children, because you are, through your own efforts pulling in a fair whack and they have had a bit to put up with, one way or another what with you being Mayor and all.

    None of my business, but i am just saying!

  5. Unlike, it seems, the majority of inhabitants of these islands, I have not held a grudge against the French dating back to Crecy, and so I think it is a little harsh on that fine people to have yet more whingeing Brits in the form of the Johnson tribe foisted upon them. I think they have suffered enough. And, if I may correct your usage, Bozza, it is “we are all going skiing”. I am ‘off’ skiing, in the sense that I have no intention of doing, watching or applauding it. If you think that the sight of portly and inept upper class twits falling over and getting wet does credit to your country, then by all means go ahead. My liberal sentiments will not allow me to stand in your way.

  6. It’s excellent that Boris DOES know how to economise, because now we know we won’t be landed with huge extras for the Olympics, etc. Excellent characteristic.

  7. Angela

    You have got to be right in your perceptive priorities here!

    >you are, through your own efforts pulling in a fair whack and they have had a bit to put up with, one way or another what with you being Mayor and all.


  8. You sound very certain Boris.
    Even with the hindsight on which you base your assertions it’s doubtful a Conservative or a Liberal office would be able to avert the financial crisis. Without it perhaps a Conservative office would’ve clipped the wings of big business and lessoned its impact, thus heroically saving the pound. Perhaps they would’ve spent prudently and made only decisions that ensured national insulation from global economic chaos. I’m not convinced.

  9. If deflation is a threat next year, perhaps devaluation is not such a bad thing.

    A devalued pound means the price of petrol will not come down as much as it would, and imported goods like TVs will be more expensive than they would have been without the devaluation.

    Normally this would be a bad thing, but perhaps it is better than deflation.

  10. Deflation usually leads to economic depression. It means the prices of goods, property (!) and shares go into freefall – and that prospect will send shivers through city moneymen, businesses and the ordinary public alike.

    You might as well rejoice at the falling prices of food and things AND houses, too. But you will have to sell your house cheap and will you be able to find another property equally cheap to buy? Many people would rather stay put if they have no reason to sell their house.

    The sterling is losing its value fast each day. Imported goods will be expensive as the sterling has lost its value; how will businesses be able to pay for them if they are expected to sell them cheaper because of the deflation? How will they be able to pay their employees’ wages? This will be a total nightmare in the whole UK.

    All because the Labour government wants to borrow hundreds and hundreds of to spend, spend and spend in a desperate attempt to make the public happy in order to mask the real horrors of the present mega recession we are in right now. If you borrow money, you will have to pay it back. If you don’t have money to pay it back, you will have to raise it through tax rises, obviously. Everybody knows that.

    To me, this is Labour government’s instant economic recovery cons.

  11. M. Blackwell, you are so right and accurate in every word you utter. The only bit you have missed out is that Gordon Brown has the brass nerve to try to blame George Osborne for the collapse of sterling.

    I hope that David cameron and George Osborne continue to speak out in this courageous way and I do believe that time will prove how right they are.

  12. It must be very hard on the family of any public figure who wish to spend more time with their Dad, yes, even Gordon Brown’s family must wish he had picked another occupation at times. I join in wishing Mayor Boris the happiest of skiing trips and I too hope he spends a bundle on his family.

  13. We all wish Gordon had picked another occupation, not just his family.

    This is an absolutely brilliant article, that clearly and incisively lacerates Gordon Brown’s economic policy and skewers all his lies, in language anybody can understand.

    Mayor Boris is a genius.

  14. Four hungry children have to share one tartiflette? How big are these ruddy tartiflettes and can’t they have one each?

    The picture of our Mayor, a lonely figure in a corner, nursing one glass of vin chaud somehow isn’t very convincing. I bet he’s the life and soul of the party wherever he is, knocking back three or four vins chauds at least and holding forth to a huge admiring audience all pissed as newts and screaming with laughter!

  15. “But the whole point about that devaluation – and one of the reasons why it was not accompanied by inflation – was that sensible Conservative policies on spending and borrowing …” (Boris)

    Surely you mean “… – was high unemployment.” Here it comes everyone – brace!

  16. I don’t buy the picture of the lonely Mayor nursing one vin chaud either. LUDICROUS. It’s about as likely as Gordon Brown receiving a candygram and a stripper.

  17. I’m afraid I agree with Mr Blackwell. It seems far less fun than disagreeing with him but there you are.

  18. Raise taxes to pay for borrowing while still gifting millions to ‘3rd world’ countries who have their own space programmes.
    The government shouldn’t be borrowing, they should be doing what every other right minded household in this country is doing. Reigning in their spending, looking at what is essential and what is a luxury and working harder to keep their jobs.
    I’m not rich and indeed I have debts. I’m certainly not the most financially astute person I know but even I can see that while going out and getting myself in more debt might alleviate any problems in the short term, in the long term it can only end in tears.
    I see the latest idea is a stealth tax for getting rid of cheap alcohol blamed on our ‘binge drinking’ culture, at a time when we could all do with a good stiff drink. First we ruined the planet with our gas guzzling then we were ruining ourselves with the evils of smoking and now drinking. Thank the Lord the government cares so much about us all to make these evils financially unobtainable. It’ll be food next, then who knows?

  19. They couldn’t risk him winning. It’d be the beggining of the end for phone vote shows (no bad thing). I’m holding out for Russell Brand as a replacement

  20. Jaq well I’m not, because the others danced so much better than him. It was funny for a while, but just too unfair to see really fantastic dancers leave, while he was such a limited performer. He wasn’t so funny that it justified him staying, and people were voting negatively to thwart the judges.

    They are going to change the rules that if someone is at the bottom of the points table from the judges, three strikes and they are out. That is much fairer.

  21. I agree with Dawn, it is better he has gone, because as John says himself, the joke has worn thin. I also agree, he was not funny last week, it was getting bitter and twisted and he was going to perform MURDER ON THE DANCE FLOOR and shoot the judges. They were all so upset already, it would have come over as nasty. John Sergeant has a lot of anarchic fans who like to get up the noses of the judges, but he was also upsetting an awful lot of people, not least the dancers who were all much better than him. A nasty side was developing and the show is meant to be frothy and light hearted.

    The judges better thank their lucky stars that Boris Johnson never entered. Apparently, he is a lousy dancer, and doesn’t know where to put his hands, but he is such a natural comedian, he would have have the audience helpless with laughter, particularly in the Latin dances, like the tango, Can you imagine! He would have won, lousy dancer or not.

    Hazel Blears and Mandelson want to go on, so does Vince Cable, but you have to rehearse non stop for seven weeks, so if they have the time, they should give their salaries back. David Cameron would be good in the dances requiring attack and emotion, and he looks stylish and commanding. I bet he has no problem taking the lead in any dance.

    George O. can probably show us some moves as well.

  22. When Gordon accused the Tory of opposing tax cuts because “they don’t care about poor people” I literally was nearly sick. The economy is a very difficult subject to understand and Gordon is blatantly playing on that fact to force the most putrid lies down the throats of the electorate.

    I will say one thing though. I simply do not believe the opinion polls. People may be grabbing at what Gordon offers in the short term, but if there was an election at stake, nobody would vote for him. I discuss the situation all the time, and I have yet to meet the person who even likes Gordon Brown, let alone trusts him and they all see what a pathetically weak leader he is, as well as a liar and a coward. I would bet everything I have – come an election, he will be out on his ear.

  23. Peter Mandelson, by your own mouth are you convicted! Mandelson has said John Sergeant is the peoples’ choice, so he is a quitter for leaving. He, Mandelson, is a fighter, and would not quit, therefore presumably being happy to ruin the contest.

    In other words, even if everyone else competing was much better than him at a job, and even though he was ruining the situation and upsetting thousands of people, he would still force himself on the electorate. (John Sergeant has an army of supporters, many of whom freely admit they are voting for him to cock a snook at authority, not because they think he is the best dancer, which nobody could possibly believe).

    This situation exactly mirrors the way Peter Mandelson was forced onto the country, most of whom dislike him intensely when there are many many people much more suited for the job he occupies, but he still persists in being there, even though he knows he is upsetting absolutely everyone and ruining absolutely everything. At least SOME PEOPLE like John Sergeant.

  24. Dawn – I don’t want to hijack this post for a discussion on strictly (but had to lament to the world for a moment) but I have to disagree with you – John Sergeant is a real man, a REAL man. In other words he’s not an actor that has gone through the Fame-like actor/performer school and does not earn his living with his face or making any physical gesture, he’s not an athlete. He’s a normal bloke. He’s someone’s husband, he’s someone’ dad, he’s someone’s uncle. He’s everyman. He’s us.

    Not only does he not make a living as a performer he is not a young chap – he’s 64 I think.

    And I don’t know WTF they’re ALL doing but it ain’t strictly ballroom – one couple were headbanging during their routine (and you don’t usually ballroom dance every single ance to the timing of pop music). It’s theatre, it’s entertainment, pure and simple. and John Sergeant fits the bill!

    He’s been pressured into leaving through comments like yours, mainly from the judges and lately from another performer. Well boo hiss. It’s a television show and IT WASN’T STRICTLY BALLROOM. He was my favourite dancer. I don’t think others danced better than him and his partner. My vote, my choice.

    Crikey we’re getting all politically correct about a tleviion show now!

  25. I don’t agree that it is entertainment pure and simple. A huge part of it is who is the best dancer, and to ignore that part is to make a mockery of the show.

    Only 4,000 people complained and since the viewing figures are in millions, that is not very many.

    Recently, the show has been losing to X Factor, and I believe that is because John S. is ruining the spirity of the show.

    It is to me very upsetting to see dancers who are really good have to leave when he is much worse and loads of people agree with me. There is a negative element that watches these shows who enjoy screwing up the system and I believe that this is what was in operation with John Sergeant. He appealed to a negative element and that was ruining things.

    In the beginning I agreed with you, and thought he was great, but he said it himself, a nasty element was creeping in, it was upsetting a lot of people and the laughs had run out. It just wasn’t funny anymore.

  26. Jaq, for me it was ruining the enjoyment of the dancing, and it was starting to annoy me how smug he looked.

    He was very sensible and mature to leave, because when so many people get upset, it’s time to go. The show is light and frothy. This was BULLETS ON BROADWAY.

  27. If a huge part of it was who was the best dancer then Bruce Forsyth would have won. The others weren’t that good.

  28. Whaaat! Weren’t that good? Austin Healey, Lisa Snowdon, Cherie, the pretty Irish girl, even that Tom chap, (a little self satsfied but excellent hip action) aren’t good? Austin Healey is a Gene Kelly in the making, his sense of rhythm and twinkling feet are magnificent! His quickstep! His tango!! These rugby guys are incredible competitors.

    I agree the guy from GMTV wasn’t up to much, nor were the two refugees from East Enders, nor the swimmer, bless him, and they should have gone before John S. no question, but they did! Anyone after that was MUCH better than JS, and Cherie danced her little socks off and still had to go.

    John showed a lot of dignity and sensitivity by leaving, and also in the way he left, but when it turns unpleasant like that, best leave, and he put it in a nutshell. He will get loads of t.v. work after this!

  29. entertainment.aol.co.uk/tv/strictly-come-dancing/sergeant-bows-out-of-strictly/article/20081119115609990001

    “He’s been pressured into leaving through comments like yours, mainly from the judges and lately from another performer. Well boo hiss”

    Not true. It was totally JS’s decision because he could see he was spoiling the show. Read the above article. His dancing had EVERYTHING wrong with it, did you watch all the time? And how can Bruce Forsythe win when he isn’t competing?

  30. Hey, Bozza, let me stick up for you for once!
    You post a serious article (however misguided) about the most serious news story of the moment, and your comments section gets hijacked by a load of daft women banging on about some third rate television programme. I wouldn’t tolerate it. Send them off to make a cup of tea or do some knitting while we chaps thrash out the crucial stuff.
    You are too soft. Can you imagine even that prize boob Cameron standing for a lot of fishwives banging on about George Clooney while he is busy at Prime Minister’s question time, pretending to have some opinion about something or other? He’d have them all turfed out in no time, mark my words.

  31. Vicus, what happened to John Sergeant is supposed to have parallels with our democratic system. Boris Johnson is interested in things like that, as a libertarian, so we are discussing the subject for his benefit.(lucky he is a libertarian, for you, I mean).

    He is also interested in knitting and frequently pleads for more information.

  32. Its because you are about to have the mother of all recession,one you have to have.
    It bright side is all those lovely exciting slightly used cars as smart over geared bankers exit in hurry,flooding a used car lots any time soon,also some cheap inner city housing expect good discounts of 50%-60% within the the next 14 months or so, so have shopping list here.
    Planning to return to London and expect discounted 5 star last year room rate next year expect 50%-75% discount here,this great and exciting for me.

  33. Such a funny anecdote in the newspaper from David Cameron yesterday.

    He reported that his little daughter said “My daddy’s job is reading the newspapers and also watching himself on t.v. when I want to watch cartoons. (!)”

    DC has a very good sense of humour, particularly when he laughs at himself.

  34. I’m afraid I agree with Jaq – Stricly Come Dancing is only entertainment, a good laugh for everyone watching. Fit, handsome men. Underdogs. Bitchings, tears… Everything. It’s not meant to be a professional dancing competition. My wife and I watch it, too.

    Kenny Logan, Austin Healey, Andrew Castle are soooo fit and hot – sexy manly haircuts, chiseled jaws, sexy manly blue stubble ( sigh ), those strong thick necks, sexy manly bulging chests, hard solid six-packs seen through the thin frabics of their tight shirts, sexy manly hairy strong arms, sexy manly snake-hips, thick bulging thighs, sexy manly solid pert arses – Really, they’re God’s beautiful and faultless work… That’s what my wife said, not me.

    I haven’t noticed the ladies at all, to tell yous the truth. John Sergeant’s also our favorite – genuine, funny, a great laugh, a typically likeable underdog.

  35. John S’s democratic rights are supposed to have been abused but what about those of the judges? If they think his dancing stinks, they have the right to say that. He chose to go, no-one tied his shoe laces together.

    I am now fedup with the tubby little troublemaker and want to get back to watching the fantastic dancers on the show without all this aggro. and in fighting.

  36. Some naive newspapers are screaming from their roof-tops: ‘ OMG, OMG, Good news- food and clothes and stuffs are getting cheaper and cheaper each day! ‘. Really? Only a few pennies cheaper, anyway. If you look around the shops, say, Tesco or Sainsbury, you’ll see what we mean.

    Loads of people have lost their jobs. We don’t have much money to spend any more. The shops are desperate to get us spending. They are only selling their old stock. Any new stock imported from abroad ( fruit, veg… from Spain… ) will be expensive as the pound is losing its value against the Euro and US Dollar. New stock can not be sold cheaper than cost prices. Even big shops and big supermarkets’ warehouses only have room to hold stock enough for one or two day trading. New stocks are imported daily.

    Joke: Will the Pound shops have to slash their prices, too?!

  37. Vicus (and Mr Blackwell) are absolutely correct – i am awaiting a jolly good spanking from Boris….. ?


    No he is not staying, but this is the next best thing!

    They are arranging a specially nice exit for him from the show tomorrow. He will dance a special dance with his lovely partner and then they have arranged an exit constructed like the Big Brother House exi. A door opens, and then they are going to throw him down the stairs.

    The stairs are carpeted so he will not be hurt and it is really meant to be symbolic because of what he has brought to the show!

  39. 550,000 people have signed up to the campaign run by the Sun newspaper to protest against Haringey council.

  40. The economy is such a complicated subject, that if Gordon Brown tells lies about George Osborne, he gets away with it with a certain section of the electorate. How these people can possibly believe him if they think about, beats me, but probably they don’t think about it.



    It now transpires that he will immediately go on an all expenses paid luxury cruise, for which he will also be paid £10,000 to dance in front of the other guests. Possibly this had something to do with his decision to leave the show anyway.

    In today’s Daily Express, Anna Pukas declares that as a result of John’s departure, a part of her has died. She believes this all makes the public feel unimportant. She must be a total bleeping idiot.

    He CHOSE to go, probably to go on this cruise, and if your self esteem depends on whether you can influence STRICTLY COME DANCING, you must be a total fruit cake.

    Never mind Anna. Try to be brave. “If you can’t fix it, you gotta stand it”. Annie Proux, Brokeback Mountain.


    National Enquirer magazine, Nov 24, 2008 issue screams: ‘ The ugly feud between Mrss. Obama and Oprah has finally exploded publicly like Guy Fawkes fireworks on Bonfire Night! It’s an all-out war ! ‘.

    The heavy-weight battle between 2 heavy-weight Os has exploded into an ugly and bitter behind-the-scence war, with furious Michelle telling Barrack’s aides straight out that Oprah has faaaaaar to much control over her husband and ordering them to tell her to ‘ back off ‘ !!! OMG !

    Michelle believes ‘ Oprah is taking faaaaar too much credit for getting Obama elected and is already trying to have waaaaay too much say in his administration. And Michelle says there’s only room for one first lady in the White House – and it is NOT Oprah !!! ‘ Oh dear, oh dear !!!!

    then search: OBAMA’S WIFE RIPS OPRAH

    To be honest, this is not my idea to stir up trouble around here. It’s my wife’s.
    My wife says Ghost-Ugly ( and so are Carla Sarkozy and Gordon’s missus ) is trying to turn her family into another Kennedy clan with Ghost-Ugly as the First Lady. What.The.Hell ?!! Well, if that’s what Michelle’s trying to do then she will have to step over my dead body first.

    There was only one Jackie O. There will NEVER be another one, ever.

    Ghost-Ugly, Carla Left-wing and Lumpy-Sarah Brown – none of them is good enough even to wipe Jackie O’s ass for her, let alone trying to evolving into her ! Dream on, hons !

  43. Angela, you told ‘Ol Tom The Gardener off for his using the word ‘ poof ‘. You told him: That word is insulting to your gay friends.

    Now you just used the word ‘ fruit cake ‘ which my wife says is insulting to your gay friends too. My wife says you have betrayed and insulted your gay friends yourself, Angela.

    Angela, will you please apologize to gay people online right now, Angela? It’s not too late do it now, Angela. If you apologize to them online right now, then you will feel a much better person, Angela.

  44. The problem is that Governments in general display financial alcoholism. They cannot stop spending. Even when a crisis is upon them, they will then look to *borrowing* as a solution. Anything, anything, anything – except reductions in Government spending.

    Government is parasitic. It taxes the economy to the very point of stalling and keeps it there, barely alive, bleeding money from the host.

    How much tax do you pay?

    17.5% VAT. How much is it for petrol tax? 80 pence per litre? 20% or 40% of your income. National insurance – and your employer pays hundreds of pounds of NI for every employee. Council tax. Corporation tax – for that tax simply acts to increase the prices of the services and goods you buy.

    Imagine you didn’t pay VAT. Everything you buy being 17.5% cheaper. Imagine no petrol tax – 80p per litre. How much does that come to in a month? how much difference would this extra money make to your life? *what do you get for this money with it going to the Government?*

    Tell you something – I left the UK six months ago. I work in Holland now. They have a tax break for skilled expats – the first 30% of my income isn’t taxed. Where I buy a lot from the UK and some places don’t charge me VAT since I’m overseas, the big ticket items I buy are often 17.5% cheaper. I’m sitting here, living – just a bit – the life I’ve described, where there just *isn’t so much tax*. My income has gone through the roof – I’m saving, I can afford the things I want, it’s great. I’m *SO* much more motivated at work, because I can see I’m earning serious money for what I do.

  45. Your wife is wrong in her understanding of the term, it just means slightly nutty in a jokey way.

  46. Mrs. Obama, the victory of your husband in becoming President was greeted with absolute joy by the majority of British people, who have been thrilled at the thought of such a strong, beautiful and intelligent First Lady.

    Every nation has its fruit loops and I know that you are understanding of this and also you understand that in no way am I referring to gay people, whom I cherish and respect.

  47. The internet is a make-believe world. Every character, every twist, every turn and every plot is there for a purpose – the excitement, the drama… It’s just like theater. Yet some still believe in it wholeheartedly; so deeply that they completely forget that they are only entering a make-believe world.

    Wake up, Angela!

  48. A change of subject, if I may.

    Your comments on an amnesty in London for illegal immigrants.

    “This will raise tax revenue”

    No it won’t. The ’employers’ will seek out more illegal immigrants to avoid paying tax – that’s the whole point of having illegal immigrants. The newly legal immigrants will have to go on benefits.

    “We may as well accept that they won’t be sent back” (I’m quoting what I heard on the news from memory)

    Why, Boris ? Easy for a former Bullingdon Club member to be so complacent – I doubt very much your life is affected by the huge changes going on in Britain and the effects that this clear message to the rest of the world that Britain is a soft touch will have.

    The sad truth is that the BNP (and I’m not a supporter)has policies which connect far better with the British public’s concerns than the Tories.

    Keep it up, Boris. Be loud and clear in letting your core voters know the truth – that a Conservative Government will do absolutely nothing to address their worries.

  49. Kevin, it is totally not true that the Tory Party do nothing to address the worries of the country. unlike Gordon Brown though, David Cameron doesn’t lie to us about it all being the fault of the US, he had to force Mandelson to admit that tax cuts now inevitably have to be paid for, and if Boris Johnson is looking at the problem of illegal immigrants, that is a problem that he is addressing, instead of ignoring immigration problems like Labour have done.

    Anyone who thinks that the BNP are connecting better with the concerns of the public has serious mental issues.

  50. Boris olde mate; you are certainly a brave man to address the illegal immigrant issue; if you dare to address the problem sincerely; politically it will be a no win situation for yourself; most politicians just go for the easy option and spew out a “load of populist bile” that appeals to their perceptions of gaining “Brownie Points” (no pun meant).

    However I see a bold trait in you and a certain iota of sincerity which is often missing in ambitious politicians.

    A word of caution though; you proposed amnesty should not be absolute and there should be certain “clawbacks” if that is the right word. Whilst many “illegals” are indeed being exploited by the ruthless trafikkers; be weary of giving them absolute right of stay; they must earn their “stars” ; show their worth to their “new country”; they should be aware that any involvement in criminal activities will immediately lead to their “right of abode” being rescinded; and if at any point if it has been found they have had “criminal form” or any other untoward / undesirable trait from their country of origin then it should be “adios” for them; please do think through the “conditions” very carefully.

    And most importantly they must fully divulge the source and method of their illegal passage to Britain; we do not want the trafikkers to benefit from this amnesty and gloat to future prospective potential candidates of how they have the power to “shaft” the system !!

  51. “Anyone who thinks that the BNP are connecting better with the concerns of the public has serious mental issues.”

    I gather you’re either a member of the Tory party or a supporter of it.

    I used to vote Tory – I’m not a supporter of the BNP. But how typical for those in the mainstream to dismiss anyone with an independant political argument with the ad hominem ‘… has mental issues’.

    And where do the Tories stand on immigration, crime and punishment, marriage, EUROPE ? Pretty much the same as Nu Labour.


    Have you read the BNP manifesto on issues other than racial interbreeding (which has mysteriously disappeared from their website) ?

    I’d say they connect with the man in the pub.

    I’m staying at home again come the next election. But I’d be sorely tempted to vote BNP in protest – it’s my rational side which prevents me, knowing full well the consequences of extremism and also my intense dislike of their eugenicist tendencies.

  52. “I’m staying at home again come the next election. But I’d be sorely tempted to vote BNP in protest – it’s my rational side which prevents me, knowing full well the consequences of extremism and also my intense dislike of their eugenicist tendencies.”

    You’ve got some common sense then.

  53. Anyone who votes for the BNP has to be deranged and the man in the pub is far too decent and rational to ever contemplate that. It is only a loony fringe who vote for the BNP, and the very thought of them makes me want to throw up.

  54. Catherine I think you’ll find it’s not a “loony fringe” that are moving towards the BNP but disenfranchised Tories.

    Angela – you seem to be passing judgement on Mr Peat but I suspect his common sense was never in question. Sadly I think he makes a clear and true generalisation that there is little choice between NuLab and Tory. Come the election there is no choice. So I think many voters will stay at home. Personally I’m wondering which would be the best of a bad choice. I think it may be Labour.

  55. Catherine – you’re dismissing as ‘loony’ people who have refrained from voting BNP thus far but who are now at the ends of their tethers.

    It is so terribly tragic that the the British people were cowed from airing their feelings about immigration through political correctness and through being slandered as racists when they were nothing of the sort. That the BNP remains a fringe party is of true credit to the British people who have been subject to intense provocation by our political classes on all sides.

    Britain has been ruined. This sentiment is extremely common. Clearly there’s nothing you can do about it, Boris.

  56. Someone needs to tell him that he can join the Eurozone, pity his party doesn’t want to. Looks like his vine chaude will be expensive for a long time to come. 🙂

  57. Hi Jaq, totally don’t agree with you, but no point in falling out. Britain HAS been ruined, but I have hope politicians like David Cameron will undo the damage done.

    One last thing…. the Tories are going to win the next election without a shadow of a doubt, and I would bet my property on it. You may all laugh, but when it happens, hope you doubters won’t mind when I say I TOLD YOU SO, because there is not a doubt in my mind. Then you will see the difference between the Tories and NuLab and you will finally understand…… still I don’t mind if you can’t see it now.

  58. Nope, can’t see it and still envy your confidence. Well, what I can see is that the Conservative party might win, sure, because they are not Gordon Brown, who is a bit of an arse. But that does not mean that any problems will be solved or anything will be much different (ie. better).

    I would very much like t be disagreed with and for you to tell me I TOLD YOU SO! ….when I’m proved wrong.

    Whatever happens you can’t blame the utterly fabulous John Sergeant: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2008/11/21/tories-blame-russell-brand-and-john-sergeant-for-polls-collapse-115875-20912421/

  59. MIGHT win Jaq? MIGHT win? They WILL WIN and don’t worry babes, I will say I told you so, but I would buy you a drink or several on the strength of it, because I will be one happy bunny!

    Jaq, I really like you, but really! El Stiffo similar to David Cameron? Monkey Boy Millibore and Beach Ball hairy tummy Ed Balls, who cravenly hides behind bureaucracy, and can’t bring himself to express regret until forced to by David Cameron? Loopy Loo, Harriet Harman, with her ridiculous politicial correctness?

    Jaq, you do not need to doubt or fear. IT WILL HAPPEN and nothing is more certain.

  60. ps. I will not tease anymore about John Sergeant, because I have upset enough people on this subject but I was only joking about the tubby little troublemaker and as usual I have a different spin on him, but for the sake of peace, I will keep it to myself.

  61. Actually the russell/ross embargo and the JS massive stroke of luck, I mean fiasco, did knock political issues off the front page and prevent the Tory message from coming across. Momentarily , because DC is such a clear explainer, he has since made his point loud and clear. Mandelson looked positively threatened when he sat on the same sofa as the immaculately groomed DC, and DC did not let M’s snidey remarks ruffle his calm for one second. His sang froid was absolute perfection and Mandelson just looked cheap and bitchy.

  62. David Cameron has fantastic instincts and that is why he will be one of the best PMs we have ever had.

    The economy is a very difficult issue. He was sussing out what to do and he has chosen his road and I firmly believe it is the right road. His analysis of the economic situation is correct, he is totally regaining the ascendancy and he will win the next election.

  63. Gordon might as well blow all the money he is borrowing at the roulette wheels at Monte Carlo, because it will probably work out better than what he is doing, in fact Monte Carlo would be less of a risk.

    Ken Clark says the debt figures are quite extraordinary and Gordon’s successor will face a huge problem. Ken says Darling is planning to borrow EVEN MORE OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS. They are candidates for Gamblers Anon! They will cause problems for sterling and we will NEVER be able to PAY IT BACK.

  64. Angela, you all right? No, you just say what you really think, love. So will everybody. It’s freedom of speech. You did not upset anyone at all. This site is too quiet; we do need to stir things up a bit.

    Kevin, why should we be polite and refrain from making any comments about overflow mass-immigration, bogus asylum seekers, bogus refugees through political correctness and for fear of being called racists? Most of the politicians and political parties seem to be under this political correctness pressure. How can they govern this country if they have to think about political correctness first before they DARE do anything? But then again, this is Labour’s way of thinking – they were the ones who invented political correctness. So they can not blame on political correctness for not doing things/ not taking actions/ not sorting things out.

    Look how America and Australia control their borders. Next year, Brits will have to apply for US visas online at least 3 days in advance so they can check your ID thoroughly – allies or not ! But we have to admire them really.

  65. Nigel Lawson says the only way forward is to lower interest rates even more and to force the banks to change their bloody minded attitude and start lending and that is the way forward. He says the way forward is totally not what Gordon is doing and it is far too risky and also WRONG.

  66. THANKS FOR THAT MR. B. I actually do agree with you about political correctness and it has run riot and is so stupid and they are afraid of it. TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU ON THAT.

    I also agree it was terrible that anyone who dared to say immigration was out of control was slated by Labour and pilloried as racist. RUBBISH. Michael Howard said so and he was ripped to shreds.

  67. OK, Mr Blackwell – am happy to partially agree with you and even with Vicus. (Welcome back, Vicus!)

    UK economy is a mess and anyone who joins the ‘tartiflette divided by 4 is exclusive’ bandwaggon is deliberately missing the point. The Euro has gained significant ground despite the weakness of the German economy, the ‘differentness’ of the French and the downright odd of much in the south. GB should have foreseen and should have figured a way out – but hasn’t.

    Not sure I can agree with ‘admiring’ of US border controls. There is something inherently stupid about any border agency that can have 350 people on a plane for 7.5 hours minimum and still not figure out if they should be allowed to land. If people think the UK is bad at data security, try the US. Asked a US immigration controller what he did with the data and he said, “We destroy it”. So, I asked, what point in collecting it? “Oh, um, we keep it to be useful”. Duh???

  68. An election promise by Barrack Obama to roll back tax cuts on high earners may be scrapped after all as part of his economic recovery plan.

    Two aides to the US president-elect said the tax cuts could be allowed to expire on schedule in 2010 rather than being rolled back. President Bush’s tax cuts end in 2010 and would revert to 2001 levels, when the top individual tax rate was 39.6 percent.

    Meanwhile, in the UK, higher income earners will be hit in the pocket to pay for Gordon Brown’s rumoured £20billion borrowing gamble to get the country to spend its way out of recession.

    Reports last night suggested the government would have to up income tax to 45 percent on those who earn in excess of £150,000 a year. Analysts are sceptical of Gordon Brown’s plan.


  69. Angela you do make me laugh and come the election I’ll meet you in London and THE DRINKS ARE ON YOU!? Just don’t expect me to slaver over Cameron – with a momentary episode in favour of the utterly sexy John sergeant, my support is all for Boz Cat. (well ok I confess to a little in reserve for the really quite superlative Jesse Norman)

  70. Jaq glad I make you laugh, IT’S A DATE. JS is just a tubby little troublemaker and I don’t buy it that he was so upset at the criticism; political correspondents are tough as old boots and love making mischief, he left because it suited him. Anna Pukas must be mad expecting any control over those phone in things, half of them were dishonest anyway, and if we can’t control who our PM is, and how our country is screwed, why should we expect or care to control SCD? SHE IS JUST AN IDIOT.

    I don’t “slaver” over Cameron, I don’t think of him like that, you are sounding like Harriet Harman.

  71. The thing to worry about regarding Gordon and Alastair’s gamble is they are going on growth forecasts that are far too optimistic. He is banking on the recession picking up after a year, what planet is he on?

  72. Gill, so was this unlikely picture of the Mayor shrinking into a corner desperately nursing one glass of hot vino a symbol then? Of what, the shrinking economy? A bit subtle isn’t it? And it’s far from convincing in reality.

    Of course Gordon should have foreseen economic trouble, but he was too busy shoring up his shaky masculinity with a pathetic macho display by he flinging our money around. Still, he’s got the two big bullies behind him now. He always needs SOME bully to hide behind. It used to be that Stephen guy whom David Cameron called the Boot boy. Now it’s Alastair and Peter M. and together they form the Three Twitches of Eastwick.

  73. OMGodness I do NOT nor have I ever sounded like the Harman harpie. That is indeed a slur on my character!!

    Just heard on Newsnight that Broon will be borrowing the most money since records began! And that’s a lot. Have to agree with Osborne in his response in the House. More taxes to come and the cut in VAT won’t achieve what Broon hopes for.

  74. Jaq, I am sure you think I am the biggest pain ever, and you will not be alone. I just find it so offensive that if I passionately support Boris Johnson and David Cameron, the only reason is because they are good looking and I want to get into their trousers. SO OFFENSIVE.

    Do people who insinuate this honestly think that I am spending so much of my time on this website arguing for the Conservatives for such a trivial reason as that? Harriet Harman said straight out that that is the only reason we vote for DC and I took the greatest exception to her remarks, WHICH ARE INSULTING TO WOMEN, and I take exception to anyone who even hints at the same thing.

    However, I am sure you think because I care so much about how this country is run that I am the biggest pain ever, and you imply I think I am God. I am not. I just care about this country.

  75. The Stock Market rose 10 points last night but apparently that was because of what was happening with Obama in the US.

    This morning it has sunk like a stone, DOWN 35 POINTS. I think that sums up what everybody thinks about Darling’s economic measures. VAT is not payable on food or kids’ clothes and those are the things at families cannot avoid spending money on. If Darling and Gordon think by a 2.5% reduction on VAT we will rush to buy flat screen t.vs, and other goodies, they are off their bonces.

    It will also be expensive and difficult for retailers to implement the difference in VAT.

    He has just thrown away that money, they are playing a SHORT term political game and I curse their initiatives and the demons behind them. GOD DAMN THEM ALL TO HELL.

  76. Angela – no you mistake me, the ‘OMGod..’ bit was a typo which is why I put another comment underneath making that clear. And I didn’t for one moment think you supported Cameron simply because you fancied him. I too get annoyed at such assumptions. No, ‘slavering’ means to behave in an obsequious manner or to be effusive in praise of something. So to be effusive in praise of Cameron who is a position of power over us could be termed as slavering. Ergo if the Conservative party wins don’t expect me to be effusive in praise of Cameron.

  77. Oh well that’s alright then! Cos it is so annoying and offensive to women to be accused of supporting a politician because you fancy him, and I am not really a slaverer by nature.

    More stroppy and mouthy, but I DO admire David Cameron. Boris Johnson too!

  78. What people seem to forget is that we are running a budget deficit because our manufacturing industry is suffering. Now while this current Labour government has not done enough to prevent the situation getting worse, the rot set in with the previous Conservative government hastily privatising every industry they could because they knew they were going to lose to New Labour and wanted to leave a ‘legacy’. The resulting purchase of British assets by foreign companies is a key reason why we are in so much trouble.

  79. To all of you boring ppl with the good or bad comments above, one message for you:

    Come on Boris, I hope you win this!

    You don’t know what it means not to see your mum on mothers day for 10 years in a row, right?

    So just shut up and let the man do his job

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