Archive for October, 2009

George Osborne’s Conservative Conference Speech

As GO took to the stage, he left a dramatic 3 second pause to start. Was he lost for words? Would these words have any substance?

Our politicians are obsessed with the past as a slate to wipe our mistakes and Osborne’s speech started with the ‘failures’ of the current government as a checklist. But the use of statistics merely serves to illustrate that one can read, not that one has the cognitive skills to analyse the issues, design a strategy and implement a successful solution. This speech was directed to the party faithful and the biggest unscripted cheer was a reduction of quango specialists second guessing locally elected officials. I’ll believe that when I see it. The Conservatives invented this tactic in the eighties to counter free spending Labour councils.

But we wanted a message to the nation. The Shadow Chancellor reiterated policy statements made over the last year: a reduction in MPs numbers, a 5% cut in MPs pay, a pay ceiling equivalent to the PM’s salary, loss of child trusts to middle income families, retention of the 50% tax rate but nothing new and no tangible theme. There was no reference to the raising of VAT and this will come. Perhaps the fiscal task we face is too onerous to have an economic dream, but once the Augean stables have been cleansed, where is the ideology?

Osborne is often described as a lightweight (amongst many comments, some borne out of inverse class snobbery).  His detractors will have found little to add here in these 33 minutes but nor would his supporters.

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Public Sector Pay Freeze

The Labour government’s spoiler declaration today was another pathetic attempt at gesture politics. If you truly wanted to make a gesture then 1) Freeze all public sector pay between £30,000 and £100,000; 2) All pay at or above.would be slashed by 10%. 3) All public sector bodies would be instructed to cut their contractor pay rates by 15%.
Schools, hospitals and social workers to name but a few pay large of their budget to contract workers. This must be addressed for both short and long term reasons.

Conservative Party Conference Week

As the conference kicks off, the Tories will seek to place an emphasis today on welfare. However the Fourth Estate are not interested. They want blood and gore over Europe. DC’s Faustian pact with the europhobes was always going to backfire but what a time to do so. Cameron needs to stick it to the Neanderthals and say “It is power on my terms, or no power”. The Conservatives will emerge from the May election the strongest party but a hung parliament is in the balance if the Continent is allowed to dictate the discussion.


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