Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Cameron unconvincing on the economy

Cameron made a brave effort with Humphries on the 8.10 slot on R4's Today this morning. He's a skilled performer, but unfortunately only as good as his material. And this morning it was dire. He argued the technical point on the unemployment benefit vs. NI holiday proposals that his shadow chancellor has come up with - yes, £8k saving per person over a full year against a smaller fall in lost NI. Two years ago during normal pre-budget statement positioning it would have been fine. Even now, as a position on moving a billion or two around in the budget, it was OK.

However, it wasn't on a scale relevant to the challenges facing the economy. He's still a politician fiddling with a few millions here and a few millions there when economists are talking about economic measures worth 1% or 2% of GDP to counter the recession. It came across as banal and lightweight, as demonstrating he doesn't really appreciate the scale of the economic crisis. It was as if he'd signalled a major fiscal initiative then announced an increase in the stamp duty band from £250k to £255k.

Brown and Clegg's pronouncements will leave Cameron nowhere. This was a dreadful mistake. He desperately needs to be bolder. He could have said 'like Keynes, when the facts change I change my mind - and the facts now bear no relation to those even a few weeks ago'. He could have talked about GDP in big numbers, could have demonstrated his command of the economic situation, but instead got tied up in a techie fiscal budget footnote that should have been dealt with by a junior Treasury shadow.

It's not good enough, Dave.

3 comments:

Nick Drew said...

Spot on, and DC must carry the can

In detail though, my guess is the underlying misjudgement stems from Osborne, who is said to be 'a brilliant political strategist' and 'steeped in NuLab strategy' - and constantly at Cameron's right hand

he'll be giving advice something like this: it's coming our way anyhow, the election won't be until 2010, the economy is going to crater, everyone will blame Brown, we get the benefit of the Obama-change effect, all we need to do is keep a straight face

one can only reiterate your final sentence

Blue Eyes said...

Agree entirely. For once I think Brown is right. And of course if Brown is right and things are looking rosier in 2010 then isn't Cam going to look bad?!?

crackers said...

Lets wait and see what Brown proposes. It will be fringe stuff.
Cameron should eschew fence sitting and 'edging' along. The moment calls for bold action.

Either - no tax cuts or
- raise personal allowances

However tax cuts will not save us. Savings rate currently negative 1% and must rise to 8% before consumer will start spending. So tax cuts will not help very much.

We have lived high on the hog for a decade, its payback time and there is no easy way out. Deferring pain is dangerous. We need a deep recession.

Brown is a corrupt evil moron. And we are hynotised by his bullshit. We get what we deserve.