A Tory ‘no-cuts here’ list is a double-edged sword

TIM Montgomerie over at Conservative Home has proved to be a rather good judge of his own party’s weak points when it comes to policy.

Having successfully campaigned for Do-Nothing to adopt a more austere economic package (no longer committing to Labour’s spending plans), he’s now asking: “Do the Tories need a ‘No cuts here’ list?”

He writes:

On Saturday’s ConservativeHome, Dr Rachel Joyce identified her public spending priorities.  They included a promise to protect all doctors, nurses, police officers and teachers in “frontline” positions.  She also called for special honopuring of the Military Covenant and investment in apprenticeships.

I have mixed feelings about such a list.  Part of me says, yes, it will blunt the nastiest of Labour attacks but I also worry that it will just focus more attention on those areas that we might be vulnerable to economies.  I’m also unsure whether we should make a commitment on anything.  There may well be overstaffing in certain frontline areas.

He’s dead right on this one, and I’m not revealing any dark Labour Party secret by suggesting that “Tory cuts” will be the two most used words in Labour’s election campaign.

The Tories are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place: if they do ringfence certain budgets (as Andrew lansley suggests has already been done in health), that exposes every other area not specifically mentioned. And the more departments or services they identify as being immune from “savings”, the more their overall policy will be seen to be… (how shall I phrase this?) less robust than it ideally should be.

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17 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Conservative Party, Labour

17 responses to “A Tory ‘no-cuts here’ list is a double-edged sword

  1. Chris' Wills

    Depends somewhat on which budgets they decide not to ring fence.

  2. richard

    The latest poll results suggest that most people would still rather have “Tory cuts” than a “Labour tax bombshell”.

    Labour now seems to exist solely to service its client base (e.g. 20 million public sector employees) who by now must be getting pretty damn worried that an incoming Conservative administration will sweep away vast quantities of taxpayer funded jobs in order to lower government spending.

  3. richard

    Hurrah, the world is once again safe from Ming the Merciless.

    Not Gordon, just flash…

  4. richard

    New slogan suggestions?

    “Not Flash, just Crash”

  5. Can someone please brings some incontinence pads? “Richard” appears to be having some trouble.

    The “Labour Tax Bombshell” twaddle was of course dealt a death blow by Steve Bell’s “ToryTubby VAT Bombshell Spotter’s Guide” cartoon of 27 November.

    PS How many public sector employees? And whatever the number is is that not rather less than when Maggie Thatcher and even John Major left office?

  6. Johnny Norfolk

    Tom can you not see what is happening to our country. You cannot sustain all this spending. There will more people employed by the state, not making money only spending it. It just cannot go on. The more you put off doing what you have to the worse it will be.

    Can you not see it. It just beggars belief. Labour thinks wealth grows on trees.

  7. wrinkled weasel

    Don’t worry, Gordon is here to “Save the World”.

    He has actually brought this country to its knees, and all those fluffy liberals and middle class dimwits who voted you into office, are now rather worried that poor Perry cannot get into a good school and that James’ job is on the line and this year they may have to give up Tuscany and they are paying hundreds of pounds in extra taxes and can’t even get their teeth fixed.

    Reality will bite, regardless of how poor the opposition are doing. Somehow, I don’t think you will be sitting comfortably on your fat majority come 2010. If Labour had been honest about their handling of the economy, and about handing over the leadership to a man who is clearly out of his depth, and deluded, we would not be having this conversation.

  8. Tacitus

    In simple terms, Tom

    WE cannot afford YOU.

    Got it?

  9. Tacitus

    Even The Guardian thinks it funny!

  10. ani

    “an incoming Conservative administration will sweep away vast quantities of taxpayer funded jobs in order to lower government spending.”

    Name those jobs.

    A gentle reminder that the ‘vast quantities’ of people in those jobs are tax paying, mortgage paying, spending members of the public who support their families.
    So, clever of you to add them to the alleged millions out of work, especially as currently there are only 600,000 vacancies in the economy.

    Still, adding to the dole queue has always been a Tory attribute.

    Not Flash, and no slash.

  11. Tacitus

    @Ani

    Quangos. c£125 billion per annum. Unelected, unaccountable. No taxation without representation, eh?

    Some bloke called Gordon Brown, said just before NL got elected, that there would be a “bonfire of the Quangos”. Erhm. 40% more of the buggers now, and growing by the day.

    Yeah. Start with them.

  12. richard

    Well, we’ve gone from 10 million government employees in 1997 to over 20 million in 2008. Are you seriously saying that not one of those jobs created could be eliminated without seriously impacting public services?

    As I’ve said before, government dole cheques are a damn sight cheaper for the taxpayer than government paycheques…

  13. Will Stobart

    “So, clever of you to add them to the alleged millions out of work, especially as currently there are only 600,000 vacancies in the economy.”

    The point is that it would be cheaper to put them on benefits. And thanks to Labour we probably won’t be able to pick and choose where we make savings.

  14. ani

    Tacitus, not wittering on about your favourite topic – RIPA?
    speedkermit got your tongue?

    “As I’ve said before, government dole cheques are a damn sight cheaper for the taxpayer than government paycheques”…

    ..”it would be cheaper to put them on benefits”..

    Tory history repeating itself.

  15. Will Stobart

    “Tory history repeating itself.”

    God, it sickens me that you’d prefer to put the future lives of every single person in the UK at risk rather than to make people working in non-jobs find alternate employment. Furthermore there is no need for these people to be unemployed, even if they do lose their current jobs. If the government was able to take the right decisions to create jobs for the economy (for example by reducing the minimum wage and boosting employment benefits for the people on lower wages), then we could easily transfer the vast masses of civil servants to other employment.

    You said that the people working for the government pay tax. Well that’s great, so what? How much does it cost us in taxes to pay their wages? Assuming they’re paying at the basic rate of 10%, then 90% of their wages makes up wasted taxpayers’ money. I’d rather not have the state pay those 90% thank you very much.

    As for what could be cut, I’m sure some people on this list might be able to find alternate employment:

    http://tpa.typepad.com/bettergovernment/files/080515_structure_of_government_1_unseen_government_immediate_release.pdf

  16. ani

    “make people working in non-jobs find alternate employment.”
    “reducing the minimum wage”

    Carry on feeling sick, and ranting for England.
    What you need to think about is selling that Tory message at the next GE.
    Good luck.

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