Monday, December 21, 2009

Election TV Debate Gets the Go-Ahead

Good news today. There will be three debates broadcast during the election campaign. featuring the three main party leaders. One on ITV, another on Sky and the last on the BBC.

It will be interesting to see Gordon Brown continue to simplify political leadership into redundancy. His quote lifted off the BBC in relation to the story:
"Choices like whether we lock in the recovery or whether we choke it off; whether we protect the NHS, schools and police or whether we put them at risk to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy few."
If the choices really were as simple as this vs that then we wouldn't need ministers to make that decision since the choice would be so obvious. That mentality explains why he thinks its a good idea to print more money and have no inadvertent consequences. Ignoring a primary rule of economics which is that more money chasing the same amount of goods increases prices.

We can rephrase his first set of choices ("lock in the recovery or whether we choke it off") as:
The choice is to have more money in the system or stick with the same and hope things work out.

Soundbites may never die out again but that just means we need to ridicule them harder.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

"Efficiency Savings"

"Efficiency savings". I'm surprised I haven't seen journalists and news presenters raise their hands up and make quote marks in the air when they are interviewing MPs over them. It isn't that we don't believe that the public sector has become incredibly fat and bloated. It's just that we don't believe they will be found without performance issues.

After 12 years it is not viable for the government to find them. Doing so is an admission that they have been consciously careless with our money up until the point they were forced into changing tact.

The opposition parties need to be specific to be believable without leading to fear. That figure has to lead up to the £80bn-£90bn structural deficit too. Anything short of that isn't going to cut it with the public.

We don't expect everything to be quick wins like trident, ID cards, NHS IT systems. It should be a proper examination of the processes and productivity within each organisation. And it should have been, and continue to be, ongoing. Just like it is in the private sector.

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Friday, December 04, 2009

Land Value Tax gets a Question Time mention

Absolutely delighted to see that Clive Anderson brought up the notion of Land Value Tax when the Lib Dem's "mansion tax" was brought up on Question Time last night due to the presence of Vince Cable.

He's spot on with the problem of the "mansion tax" which is that it has a starting level. Any kind of threshold with rate jumps forces prices in unnatural directions. In the case of the proposed tax it would be downwards of £2m. Suddenly they'd be worth £1.995m.

Much better a lower flat rate with a starting valuation value of £0. Also to move away from property, which shouldn't be taxed, and onto land value which should.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Now Harman's at it

Apparently the G20 and the G20 Plus are the same thing. At least that is what Harriet Harman has just come out with at Business Questions, defending the Prime Minister in his statement at PMQs yesterday where he included Spain as part of the G20.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Absolutely Deplorable - PMQs

Gordon Brown's performance at PMQs as usual. David Cameron for once asks a direct question that demands a boolean answer on inheritance tax policy which the Prime Minister is so keen at ridiculing the Tories for.

That policy being that the current government have legislation lined up to increase the inheritance threshold. If they are so against the Tories doing anything with it then the government should scrap their plan (stolen from the Conservatives in the first place) immediately.

When asked will the government do that, the PM goes nowhere near an answer. Disgraceful, in the highest magnitude. This is what makes politics about personalities. The British public should not accept this type of behaviour when parliament is calling the government to account. It is an affront to democracy and should not be permitted to continue. This is exactly why Gordon Brown makes Labour unelectable.

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Daytime Television Tension

It's December so, naturally, I'm using up the last of my annual leave. That means the option of getting infuriated by daytime TV presents itself.

First up, Rip Off Britain. Good public service television. However, it takes about two seconds to work out that the programme should be called British Shoppers are Idiots. Rip-offs occur where there are essential goods at extortionate prices and no competition.

So covering store cards and going oh, they're so unfair is a nonsense. Don't like 30% APR? Then don't get one. It is incredibly simple. Gap insurance and extended warranties? Don't like the price, you don't need them. Or shopping around will bring the price down.

Don't mollycoddle public ignorance, making them think its not there fault they're paying over the odds when they it is entirely their choice. Corporations have their faults, there's no getting away from that, but the sooner we take some individual responsibility for our own money the less problems we'll have.

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