Blair blames his lies on the Tories


The Tories are split, just as we were
By Tony Blair
(Filed: 13/04/2005)

Perfectly understandably, The Telegraph yesterday asked how can we accuse the Conservatives of an economic plan that both promises spending cuts of £35 billion a year and spending increases of £15 billion a year at one and the same time? Isn't that a contradiction? The answer is yes and that is the whole point. Because the contradiction is not a Labour accusation. It is the Tory economic plan. The confusion is not in our explanation of it. It is in the plan itself.
The problem for Britain is that whatever criticism people may have of the Government, economic stability - the lowest mortgage rates, inflation and unemployment for decades - is a huge bonus to the country. But put it at risk and all the dangers of the past return.

The Letwin plan does put it at risk. And how he got himself in such a mess illustrates why the Conservatives are not yet ready to govern.

There are two wings to the present Conservatives Party, rather like Labour in the 1980s. One is proud of Thatcherism, believes in a radical reduction of Government spending and substantially lower taxes. The other, recognising they could not undo the support for public services built up since 1997, wants more Government spending. The leadership - stuck in the middle - has gone for opportunism, trying to be on both sides at once. Leave aside which wing might be correct. The fact is they are in conflict with each other.

When Mr Letwin published his Medium Term Financial Strategy last year he made it clear he wanted reductions in spending. He said his plans "provide the ability over a six-year period for us to be spending about £35 billion less per year in the sixth year than Gordon Brown's plans provide for".

He said he had agreed with his Shadow Cabinet colleagues "that the baseline for spending across all of these departmental budgets will be zero per cent growth for the first two years... I fully accept that holding programme spending within departmental expenditure limits other than the NHS and schools to a zero increase for the first two years and to what amounts to a zero real terms increase thereafter is a tough constraint."

That is a tough position, as he acknowledged. The Thatcherites had got their way. Unfortunately, the other wing rebelled. One by one, his shadow spending ministers - from defence through to pensions - insisted on spending more, and more even than Labour. Hence the £15 billion of spending increases.

But Mr Letwin realised he had a problem. He also had £4 billion of tax cuts promised. So how could he have £4 billion of tax cuts, £15 billion of spending increases and an annual reduction of £35 billion in Government spending by 2011-12. The answer they came up with was the last refuge of a failed opposition spokesman - avoiding difficult questions by claiming the sums can add up simply through tackling "waste".

So the James Report was produced. It claimed £35 billion - neatly enough - of savings from waste. But here he ran into a real problem. The Government had already planned the Gershon review, which had identified £21 billion of savings. So the true effect of the James report was only £14 billion.

Worse still, on analysis, many of the £14 billion of savings either don't exist - for example the £900 million saved from the offshore processing of asylum claims (how and where exactly?) - or are asserted without detail - for example the £1 billion cut in defence procurement without the slightest indication of how it would be achieved.

The result is a complete and total fiasco. The significance is that the division at the heart of the modern Tory party remains unresolved. To want to cut taxes is an entirely straightforward Right-wing policy. It would allow an honest debate. To cut taxes and increase spending at the same time is just incoherent. And the tax cuts they promised in their first budget with an immediate halving of council tax for pensioners, lie in disarray, shelved until later.

The state of argument within the Tories reminds me of my party in the 1980s. Everyone wanted to unify. The trouble was we had to decide first our direction and then unify. Eventually we did decide and became New Labour. Until the Tories do the same, they will continue with an economic plan which is a mess.

It was one of the most extraordinary moments in politics I can remember when they launched their manifesto. The Tory party - once the party which thought only they could run the economy - afraid to talk about it. That is why we can say today that it is New Labour that is the party of economic competence as well as social justice.

OK, spin your contradicting lies about Tory policies into it being indicative of Tory internal divisions & incompetence, but don't expect us to believe you! This is perhaps the most egregious bit of spin I've seen in quite a while. Who's betting that the Hand of Campbell had something to do with this?
Its pure Campbellism, nothing more or less. T BLiar is a nobody without old Campbell to spin, lie and cheat for him :evil:

He and his cabal are pulling out all the stops to lie their way back into power. The economy is doing well not because of them but by the World economics at the present time, much like the Clinton years.

After this election and the Liars get back in, then we will see the economy really,tax and tax again! He has said that they will not tax us, overtly but as we all know they are the masters of the hidden tax....mark my words people :?
Plastic Yank said:
Day by day, he sounds more and more like Geobbels 8O 8O
Complete and utter Goebbels if you ask me...

Look scrap the election, get the old Star Trek sets and let Howard the Impaler and Bliar go at it with tridents. The band of the RM can provide a crashing brassy soundtrack and assorted Bliar Babes in faux Roman costumes can recline on the polystyrene rocks, breathing excitedly as the fight develops.

Either Fatty Soames or Prezza can be the evil ruler and do the thumbs up/down routine when whichever one of Britain's finest politicos gets the upper hand. Paxman can then give the coup de grace...The winner then forms a National government and is seen repeatedly puffing on one of Stanley Baldwin's most reassuring pipes.

Yes, I really do pass my day thinking of stuff like this. Almost exclusively..the rest of the time I think about shooting animals and sex. With women, not the dead animals. I felt I ought to qualify that...
OldSnowy said:
Cuddles -

You are indeed a most strange and perverted person, and, Sir, I salute your indefatigability :D
I resemble that are just about kind enough!

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