I don't normally read the Observer on a Sunday morning/afternoon, as it's a bit on the worthy side. However, Ros picked it up this week and, whilst she lounged in the hot tub at the family 'entertainment hub' (and it really is that good...), I ploughed through the Business section to see how grim things are getting (don't ask, you really don't want to know...).
And indeed, things are getting grim, with sterling falling 3% this week against the dollar (the dollar, for pity's sake!), inflation at over 4% (and food inflation at 9%, apparently) and the housing market on a one way ticket to oblivion, it seems.
However, both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesmen were invited to offer their suggestions as to what might be done. Philip Hammond, the Conservative Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury used his opportunity to tell us what was wrong with the economy and what Alastair Darling could be faulted for. As for their 'concrete' proposals;
"We are consulting on proposals for a Fair Fuel Stabiliser, so that when petrol prices rise, the government uses the extra revenue it gets from North Sea Oil to cut fuel duty. We are campaigning for next year's planned increases in road tax to be scrapped. We believe we should cut tax rates for companies. We will improve the process of making tax law. And we should look at reforming insolvency law, so that basically sound companies are given time to come up with a rescue plan."
Good, eh? I knew that you'd be impressed. Vince, on the other hand, provides a mini-manifesto of options, suggestions and proposals. One of the two has a clear understanding of how economics works. The other is a Conservative.
I have a message for George, Philip and the rest of the Conservative Treasury team. Develop some policy, for God's sake. You're only looking good in comparison to the current administration, but if you don't get better fast, the financial markets will eat you alive. And I quite fancy collecting a pension some day...
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