Milimania TV Debates


So who remembers Cleggmania?

Yes there was a time in 2010 when everyone seemed to fall in love with kind-hearted Nick.

Something similar seems to have happened this time around – whereas nobody could stand Ed Miliband a week ago, now a few people have changed their minds.

He did come across reasonably well on the debate last Thursday night.

Whilst the polls showed David Cameron as the marginal victor, and he was, despite a stuttering performance – Ed Miliband didn’t really have anything to lose.

At first Paxman obliterated Miliband, but seemed to lose it towards the end of the debate – perhaps he wasn’t prepared enough, perhaps he felt a little sorry for him.

But Ed came out fighting – stealing a phrase from myself which I can now never use again.

But during Ed’s grilling, there seemed to be little focus on policy.

Do you even know any Labour policies?  At least ones that stand up to scrutiny?  It was all about personality, and Ed showing that he cares about the country.

I don’t doubt that he cares.  But his semi-socialist policies of price freezes, tax increases, along with attacks on business and wealthy individuals will take the country backwards, will increase our debt and will reverse the good work, in fact excellent work under the Conservative government that has reduced unemployment significantly.

Even the Hull City AFC owner, Assem Allam, one of Labour biggest donors, has said that David Cameron has the best economic policies.

I accept that Ed Miliband passionately cares about our country.  But Tony Blair passionately cared about removing Saddam Hussein and building a democratic, stable and peaceful Iraq.  Gordon Brown cared so much about the UK economy that he eradicated boom and bust/

We know that Labour doesn’t work.  And I sincerely hope the country does not fall for the trap again.

Thankfully it doesn’t seem that there is any real sign of Milimania in the polls as both parties are averaging around 33%.

Meanwhile, David Cameron was hardly inspirational last week.  He seemed particularly nervous when facing Paxman and didn’t defend our record sufficiently, avoiding questions and seeming short of basic facts.

Hopefully he will improve as the election campaign moves on.

There is a positive Conservative record to be spread across the United Kingdom, not just about employment and the economy, but on health, education – even immigration.

We need to fight a positive campaign, highlighting our excellent record and showing how things can only get even better under a Conservative majority.

Of course, Paxman was the real winner of the night.

Grand Coalition

A Grand Coalition?

At the weekend I heard a uniquely absurd suggestion of a grand coalition between the Conservatives and Labour after the election.

But my mind instantly then considered what happened to the Liberal Democrats upon going into coalition – plummeting poll ratings and a likely significant shedding of MPs come May.

Anyone who wishes for a strong economy should desire the ultimate destruction of the Labour party, and one questions whether allowing the Liberal Democrats into power with us was just a gift to the Labour Party in 2010 – a party that having caused the worst economic crisis since 2010, and inflicted so much pain to people through their cost of living crisis, should fade into deserved obscurity.

A deceitful party that causes so much economic damage, over and over again, should be resigned to the waste bin.  Sadly the Labour Party still exist and one will live to see them cause another economic catastrophe in due course.

My anger is slightly removing me from the subject matter so I shall return.

If we did offer or accept a grand coalition, then the Conservative Party would also very likely bleed members.  How could we do a deal with a party that causes such disgust and anger in Conservative circles?

Many potential voters and party members would likely shift to either UKIP or the Liberal Democrats.

It would be hard to ascertain the likely damage to either party of such a coalition but it is safe to assume that there would be political damage.

I am a pragmatist and there are members of the Labour party that I admire – Steve Rotherham and Alan Johnson come to mind straight away.

Should there be a Conservative minority after the election and no sensible way to form a coalition, then we should look to work together with any party, including Labour.

Clearly we would never be able to work with Labour on their ideas for increased spending, increased taxes and increased debt, nor do they have any ideas on reducing the welfare bill, having rejected (I think) every proposal for reduced welfare spending during this parliament.

But there are areas were policy is relatively similar, such as housing, health, environment and some of the more day-to-day issues that are rarely discussed in the news, and we should look to whomever is the Labour leader in 2015 for support on such issues.

And grand coalition must be totally out of the question.  But working together for the sake of the future of the country is necessary.


Housing Policy

I noted with disconcertment the announcement the other day that help is to be given to 200,000 first time buyers to help them buy a new-build house.

This is hardly the wide-ranging policy that is required to solve the housing crisis – which to me, is second only to the debt/deficit in terms of priority.

That it doesn’t show as one of the top voter concerns is because ever-rising house prices are not a problem for those who own their house, which are the majority of the country.

I am 35 now and many people of my generation will never be able to afford a home before they retire now.  Think of it as a lost generation.  Certainly in the south and London, where house prices are absolutely exorbitant.  I was shown a house the other day for £250k.  A small two-bedroom terraced house in a slightly dodgy town-centre location, here in Reading.  It was nice inside but still – £250,000.00???!!!

My own position I can live with.  However the lost generation will be far greater a burden on society in the future.  For the lost generation will all need to be housed as without a regular income, the retired lost generation will not own a home of their own and will have to be provided for by the state.  This will be hugely costly especially on top of their health care provision (unless Labour privatises the NHS) and pension commitments.

I dearly hope that David Cameron and the rest of the Conservative party have far more up their sleeves to resolve this crisis, and are drip-feeding us housing policy announcements.

Back in the early 1950’s, a Conservative government with MacMillan in charge of housing, before he later became Prime Minister, built 300,000 houses a year.

Interestingly though the private market was often building around 150,000 houses a year – the rest were being built by local authorities.  150,000 houses is approximately what is being built now.

House building actually increased in the 1960’s despite (or because of?) the large volume of local authority housing being built.

There is an argument that housing is not so urgent an issue as it was after the war.  Most people do have access to decent quality accommodation now which one presumes was not the case in 1950 when MacMillan was arguing for such large increases in house building.

Also some of the housing built in this era was quite frankly, crap.

Yet for anyone earning a decent wage but totally priced out of the housing market, this is a crisis.  For those living at home with their parents in their 20’s or 30’s, for those not able to buy their first house with their spouse, for those without access to a large deposit – this is a crisis.

The policy announced this week is a drop in the ocean.  Unsurprisingly the Labour Party have no answer.  They promise to build 200,000 houses a year by 2020.  But provide no detail on how.

I am interested in their suggestion that landbanking is clamped down on.  I am not convinced of the market-worthiness and certainly do not accept any notion of land being confiscated, but I do feel that is an interesting idea to ensure land with planning permission is built on.

However we need to go far further.  My suggestions are:

1. Allow local authorities to borrow large sums to fund housing at the current very low interest rates.
2. Reduce red tape.  For example, why does a developer have to pay £45,000.00 per dwelling to build a house?  This doesn’t come out of their profits.
3. Build on the green belt.  Building on just 2% of the UK’s green belt would be enough for 2.5million homes.  That is worth reading again.  Just 2%.
4. Force local authorities to build a certain amount of housing where it is most necessary.
5. New towns/garden cities.  Build plenty of new towns.  They actually worked.
6. Housing First.  We should look seriously at the Housing First policy that has been implemented in a few areas of North America where the most venerable (ie drug addicted homeless repeat-offender criminals) are given basic housing, no question asked.

It won’t be easy.  But Conservative governments don’t take the easy options.  We build for the future.  We take tough decisions to resolve problems.

The housing crisis is our responsibility to resolve and now is time for affirmative action.


TV Debates

David’s Disappointing Debate Decision

I am disappointed that David Cameron is refusing to take part in a series of debates.

I accept that it probably took away the expected Conservative majority in 2010, allowing the Lib Dems to surge in popularity, though as a Liberal Conservative, the coalition between the two parties is as good as a majority.

There was a sensible solution to the debates that nobody seemed to propose.

Have a regional round, without the main party leaders.  For example in Scotland, you would have the SNP debating with the Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, and the Scottish Labour leader, Jim Murphy, plus other suitable representatives.

Meaning that us folk in the majority country, England, don’t have to listen to those economical-responsibility-free vacuums of the likes of the SNP and Plaid Cymru.  Nobody in England wants to hear from the SNP.  Well, apart from the Scottish in England.

The BBC have regional channels and could easily do this.  Likewise it could be shown over the internet.

Then you can have the 3/4 main party leaders and finish with a debate between Ed and Dave.

National TV debates are a risk.  But surely Dave couldn’t lose to Ed?

Anyway, I am disappointed.  I quite like David Cameron but have on occasion, particularly near the beginning of the parliament, been disappointed with his lack of backbone and belief.

Time to man up and lead us to a Conservative majority.