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Ask the Chancellors - tonight 8pm.

13 replies

ShadeofViolet · 29/03/2010 15:10

Are you going to be watching tonight? I really think that the Torys have more to lose, if Osbourne is shown for what he really is.

OP posts:
ShadeofViolet · 29/03/2010 16:50

Just me then

OP posts:
Tashtodd · 29/03/2010 19:36

Shades: what exactly do you think Osborne really is?

Ariesgirl · 29/03/2010 20:27

I'm watching it now. Vince Cable is coming across as authoritative and knowledgeable compared to the other two. I think he's playing it just right. I read today that he's the number one choice in the country for Chancellor.

Tashtodd · 29/03/2010 21:24

Aries: which poll was that re no: 1 choice? He's too smug and self congratulatory imho. He will never be Chancellor - some suggest he would make a good governer for the Bank of England

claig · 29/03/2010 22:47

I thought Vince Cable came across best, Osborne was a good second and Darling was a poor third.

Cable had the guts to spell out some of the cuts he would make in the health service, removing the bureaucracy, cutting public sector pensions, cutting back IT projects, cutting ID cards, cutting Trident. Strong stuff on breaking up banking cartels. Good stuff about taking the poor out of tax, forcing banks to lend to businesses and cutting back on the casino capitalism of investment banks. He is the elder statesman with a reputation for having foreseen the crisis. He should stick to the kudos he gains from this and place himself above the normal political fray. He made the mistake of stooping down to the gutter by trying to score a cheap point off the Tories, accusing them of wanting them to get their snouts in the trough to pay off their backers. I think he has been badly advised to try those tactics.

Osborne was impressive. He mentioned the need to make cuts in public sector pensions, remove tax credits for families earning over £50,0000, which were not really helping to fight child poverty, reorganise the health service to remove central control from Whitehall and and to give more power to local doctors and nurses. He made a reassurance that the Tories would increase real spending on the health service every year, since the health service would be one of their top priorities. He emphasised the need to encourage the private sector to create more jobs and growth, and intended to cut taxes on jobs such as national insurance. He also said that he would maintain Labour's 50% tax rate for the rich. He said that relying on the public sector, which is Labour's main way of trying to create growth, would not work and that we needed to encourage foreign investment and needed to start making things in this country again, rather than just borrowing from China to buy Chinese goods. He didn't have the bottle to really spell out where the cuts would fall, unlike Cable. He was good on insisting that we needed to learn from the lessons of the financial crisis and that we now needed to change the way that the financial system is regulated, putting the Bank of England in charge.

Darling was poor. He didn't seem to be well prepared or well briefed. He had a lack of ideas and came up with the usual platitudes that he hoped that his sense of fairness would get us through the coming difficulties and that Labour were aiming to build a fairer, stronger society. When a topic was discussed his tactics were to try and steer the discussion in another direction. When public sector pensions were discussed, he quickly tried to change the subject onto care for the elderly. When NHS cuts were discussed, he tried to convince the audience that the cuts wouldn't be so bad because it all depended on how well the job market was doing at the time, since if things were going well then money freed up from having to pay for unemployment could instead be spent on the NHS. Essentially this meant we had to have faith in his forecasts. Osborne scored a point against Darling when he pointed out that Darling's recent stamp duty help for young people was in fact a policy recommended by Osborne a few years ago. Darling's only reply to this was to make a joke that this was an example of cross-party collaboration. Darling wanted to keep the system of tax credits for families earning over £50,000. Darling was not prepared to change the regulatory system for the financial industry, he said that doing this would take people's eye off the ball. Instead he wanted to wait for international cooperation.

On the financial crisis, Cable said that he had warned of it, but that he did not expect the world system to collapse like a pack of cards. Osborne said that the Tories had warned of the dangers of the lending culture. Darling was again weakest in saying that he underestimated how the connectedness of the international markets would lead to a collapse involving so many institutions if one particular institution began to experience problems. This seems a bit of a poor show, since many economists and pundits had been predicting this scenario based on the loosening of credit over a number of years.

edam · 29/03/2010 22:57

If you believe that Osborne would protect the NHS, or that the Tories have shown any preference for manufacturing over financial services as a way for the country to earn its living, you might be interested in helping me out with all this money I've got trapped in Nigeria. All I need is your bank account details...

Agree that Cable's the most impressive, though.

claig · 29/03/2010 23:01

edam, the problem is that Cable can talk a good game, but he won't have much influence. He talked about breaking up banking cartels, but that is a pipedream. At least Osborne will go back to Bank of England regulation. Also the Tories need to improve the balance of payments so will be forced to help local industry and cut down on imports.

edam · 29/03/2010 23:07

And who will these people be at the Bank of England? Bankers, by any chance? Same old clan, same old culture.

As for the balance of payments, you might hope that's what will happen, but there are no guarantees. Neither of the main parties has invested in manufacturing over the past 30 years, they've both been happy to run the economy in favour of the City. Seem to remember Maggie boasting about a service economy and no-one in power since has done anything to change that.

Alibabaandthe40nappies · 29/03/2010 23:12

Cable was good, and I also thought Osbourne did well.

Darling was pretty awful, he ducked a lot of questions and kept smirking when Cable and Osbourne were talking.

claig · 29/03/2010 23:15

edam, I essentially agree with you. They're all pretty much a shower. But Osborne seemed to have more concrete policies than Darling, who was really relying on borrowing to get us out of this.

Strawbezza · 30/03/2010 00:11

Good analysis claig, I agree. I'd just add:

Cable was certainly extremely impressive. What a shame he's in the Lib Dems. He shouldn't have made that cheap jibe about IHT to Osborne though.

Osborne did a lot better than I expected. Full marks for honesty and what looked like genuine sincerity. Pity he wouldn't or couldn't give us a bit more detail though.

Unsurprisingly Darling was on the back foot, seemed to think that the 'steady as she goes' platitudes would be sufficient.... sorry, not good enough.

I liked the format too, and would definitely like to see it repeated with the three party leaders.

claig · 30/03/2010 14:43

anyone who missed it and wants to watch it can see the programme "Ask the Chancellors" online at

ElenorRigby · 30/03/2010 18:37

Thanks for link and your thoughts claig.

Sadly still there are so few who understand.

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