Here is the Prime Minister’s conference speech, and here is the Leader of the Opposition‘s. I am taking the by-election soon very seriously, and am nearly despairing about the Crisis and my future, so these are important to me. Urbi et orbi, the Party and the country, what do they want to say? Mr Cameron’s speech, I found one direct lie. He said, What are hard-working people who travel long distances to get into work and pay their taxes meant to think when they see families – individual families – getting 40, 50, 60 thousand pounds of housing benefit to live in homes that these hard working people could never afford themselves? A workless couple with six children in Kensington and Chelsea, one of the most expensive boroughs to live in the UK, will get £400 a week, £20,800 a year, in housing benefit.

On economics, the speech was poor. He argues that if the UK borrows more, interest rates will go up, for the Government and for individual borrowers, increasing mortgage payments. True. But if public spending goes up and this produces more growth, the UK will borrow less. He does not address the question of whether greater spending produces growth. With Keynes, we know that it does: though there may be a cut-off point beyond which it ceases to produce a benefit.

He did a bit of feel-good: things to be proud of Britain for. He attacked the Labour party- the “One Notion” party, that was the one joke I noticed in the speech. Labour “Wrecked our economy”, he said. That is disputable: the financial crisis is Global, and it is unclear that a Tory government from 2005 would have done better. Certainly unclear from this speech. Miliband talks of his faith, which I share:

A person of faith, not a religious faith but a faith nonetheless. A faith, I believe, many religious people would recognise. So here is my faith. I believe we have a duty to leave the world a better pl ace than we found it. I believe we cannot shrug our shoulders at injustice, and just say that’s the way the world is. And I believe that we can overcome any odds if we come together as people. 

What is the problem? The middle classes see that the system does not work for them but for the cosy cartels and powerful interests that government hasn’t cut down to size. That is a striking claim for the leader of the party in Government from 1997-2010. What would he do that Gordon didn’t?

I wanted to see what he had to say about “Predatory capitalism”: “Pressure for the fast buck means businesses just can’t take the long view”. What would he do? End the rule that companies must publish accounts every three months. Mmmm. Still, it is harsh to judge him on just this speech.

He names a topic close to my heart: Scotland can leave the UK, but the soul of our nation would be worse off as a result. Mr Cameron, too: We’re better together and we will rise together, possibly a reference to Flower of Scotland.

What about that factual disagreement? Mr Miliband says that This year borrowing is rising not falling. Mr Cameron says that We have cut a quarter off the deficit in the past two years. Both might be quoting selectively, both might be fibbing, but it makes it hard to choose between them.

Labour would work for The People. The Conservatives would work for The Go-getters- at the bottom of society as well as at the top.

I still don’t know.

9 thoughts on “Conferences

  1. I’m surprised you only found one lie. I joke not.

    Politics is about voting for the least worst in my opinion.

    In the last election here (Gibraltar) we voted for the GSLP (socialists)/Lib Alliance. They won by a narrow majority.

    Three aspects influenced my vote:

    Maintaining Gibraltar’s independence and right tripartite (Spain, Gib, UK) discussions on sovereignty
    Favouring Gibraltar residents over cross-border workers with regard to employment
    The perceived cronyism of the previous government – at least there would be different cronies getting favours with a change in power 😀

    A few political posts I wrote regarding the Gib election:

    As a general comment nearly 12 months after our election, I think they started off well, but seem to be struggling now. But as you mentioned regarding the global (aka American) crisis, economies aren’t necessarily to be laid at the government’s door. Did Nigel Lawson do well or was he in the right place at the right time? (for example).

    Liked by 1 person

    • The nearest thing to an existential threat we have is Scottish independence, on which I do not get to vote. Do I want the Government majority to be two smaller in a house of 650? Not sure that will do good. Which will be a better constituency MP? Don’t know, though Mr Sawyer’s dad was an MP for a fair time, he should know the ropes. As for the lies, I picked on one which is not possibly misinterpretation, to my own clear knowledge.

      Mr Brown proclaimed “The end of boom and bust” which was clearly false, and sold the UK gold reserves at a low point on the gold price. Mr Cameron will introduce equal marriage though Mr Brown, reelected, certainly would have about the same time. Andrew Mitchell, a whip so someone whose job involves terrifying rages, had a public rage so was forced to resign. I know stuff but nothing to help decide.

      Joe. Old man with a flicker of fire about him. So is “who would you rather have sex with?” the best way to decide?


  2. Haha! Well it wouldn’t be either of the two characters you put up. I think I’d be choosing Joe before their ghastly squeaky clean images.

    Selling the gold reserves was just plain idiotic. Total lunacy. I couldn’t believe it when I first heard it, on a forum I think. And this guy was a chancellor?

    I think the idea of boom and bust was originally a fairly short cycle, the classic one I remember was the late 80s boom and the subsequent recession. But at the moment the bust is well dragged out, so in that case I think he was technically right. I think it depends where you are living. Here in Spain the recession has been bad for years, say seven to nine, depending on your perspective.

    What the official line is, and what it is like for people on the ground are not the same thing. Only today my partner was talking about someone (clinically qualified) who says there are no jobs in London!! I always thought if you were stuck for work, there would be something somewhere in London.

    Equal marriage is well overdue. Civil unions may be a half-way road but it is still discriminatory.

    I think there is a dilemma between choosing a good constituency MP and voting ethically for a party. But fortunately that is no longer my issue. Good luck in your choice.


  3. Ho, Hum! They are both so young, that I find it hard to take either of them seriously. What do career politicoes know about economic hardship anyway?

    XXX :-))


    • As far as I can see from over here, the system of primaries and caucuses where at least in some states only registered Republicans vote for the Republican candidate has led to greater extremism. Here, after the Labour Party moved strongly to the Left in 1983 and had its worst defeat, its leadership moved centrewards, and the two main parties fight over the centre ground. The left has won socially: abortion and gay rights are not issues here. Because of the whipping system (MPs generally follow the party line) and the party rather than individual campaign, it might even be that it is better to have a larger government majority- more freedom to manoeuvre- even if one does not like the governing party.


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