Thursday, 25 March 2010

No Bang no Buck - Now the Conservatives Can Land the Killer Punch

So that was the Budget was it?

How dull. But what great news for the Conservatives!

There was a possibility that the Labour government would use the budget to 'steal a march' on the Conservatives by outlining a sound, solid and logical plan for the UK economy. Instead it was just drivel - no big bang and no big buck (reductions in spending).

Over the last weeks and months, the efforts of the major political parties have been cancelling each other out and there has been little impact on the polls. We have had the Ashcroft thing, the Gordon the Bully Thing, The Lobby Jobby - and we are still in hung parliament territory. All these efforts have achieved is to convince the UK electorate that all politicians are discredited, dishonest scum.- it's a rational conclusion given the evidence presented.

So, we are awaiting a breakthrough.

My hope is that the Conservatives have realised that the Labour machine's ability to react to anything they do is formidable. But, being a large machine it's also quite slow to change direction and when the Conservatives,  make bold unexpected moves or circumstances change rapidly, Labour collapse into disarray and confusion for quite a while before they get a grip again - (e.g. When the Sun switched support to Labour in the middle of their conference.)

My hope is that the Conservatives have recognised this fundamental weakness and have realised that if they get their timing right, they can inflict a serious disabling wound from which, Labour will be unable to recover before election day.

In other words, I hope that the current bickering is simply a smokescreen that is concealing detailed Conservative planning to deliver a killer punch shortly after the election is called, and from which, the Labour party will still be reeling by election day.

Recent polling tells us that the economy is still at the forefront of voting decisions. Labour have now taken their position on it. They have said that they want to carry on spending way more than they receive in tax and their only plan to reduce spending is a vague commitment to reduce overspending to about half of what it is now in 4 years time!

They have not in any way outlined any plan to 'balance the books' - their only plan is specifically not to balance the books. There has been no analysis of the changes needed in the economy, no vision for the future and therefore no plan to get there.

So what inhibits the Conservatives from rolling out a real vista - a clear and positive economic vision for the future?

I hope it's just an appreciation of the need for precise timing. I hope it's not what Labour (hopefully) believe it to be - that if the Conservatives say that spending must be reduced by £167 Billion per year (plus enough to pay off the Labour debt - minus growth) then the electorate will believe that they will create mass unemployment and misery just like another political party called the Conservative party supposedly did in the late 70's early 80s.

The Conservatives need to say:

'Our plan is to reduce Government Spending by at least £150 Billion per year - the most basic responsibility of government is to Balance the Books - to spend only what it takes in taxes. Our responsibility will have to go further, we will also have to plan to pay off the Labour debt and to prevent it piling up further in the way that Labour currently want it to.'

Then they need to say:

'As soon as we have the opportunity to look at the books, we will immediately work out a detailed financial plan to Balance the Books in the shortest possible time we can without putting people out of work'.

But of course the Labour party will start bleating and say 'The Conservative plans will cause mass unemployment just like they did in the 1980s'.

To which the Conservatives must respond with something like:

'To hear the Labour party complaining about the Thatcher government of the early 1980s is just the sound of someone complaining about the way in which someone else cleared up the disastrous mess that they created. Frankly they are in no position to comment on this.'

and then.

'The steps that the Thatcher government took in the early 1980's to clear up the Labour mess were, in some cases crude, harsh and brutal. But remember, the solutions then were based on the crude economic theories and models of the 1960s and 70s - we are talking about ancient history. We have a far better understanding of how to manage an economy and how to avoid creating wasteful unemployment now.  Look, even the Labour party have managed to avoid racking up massive unemployment figures in the last couple of years. It's not by any means an insurmountable challenge'.

which will cause more urgent bleating.

and then the Conservatives must lay out a positive economic vision and model for Britain. It doesn't need to go into massive policy detail. It needs to build a vision of the future and then substantiate it with enough detail to make it credible - i.e. it needs to bear the weight of scrutiny - but don't offer the detail, just layout the vision and then win the media agenda by drawing them into scrutinising it.


The Conservatives could just carry on playing the game to the Labour agenda. Mistake timidity for cautious prudence, produce a hung parliament, cobbled together alliances, no clear agenda for the future, no economic solution leading to inevitable collapse followed by a new revolution.

Either suits me. But if the polls continue to slide slowly to Labour inaction could just create another Labour government.


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