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Why did the Tories endorse Labour's spending whilst in opposition? Watch

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    Whenever any question is asked about the economy today, the standard Conservative response is "we inherited the worst mess in history" and "Labour spent too much during the good times". Sometimes it gets described as "the biggest spending spree in history" and has left the country "totally bankrupt".

    Fair enough.

    However it is interesting to see what Cameron and Osborne's stance was in September 2007 (ie just BEFORE the first episodes of the financial crisis with Northern Rock)

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/to...-will-mat.html

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6975536.stm

    "I can confirm for the first time that a Conservative Government will adopt [the Government's] spending totals. Total government spending will rise by 2 per cent a year in real terms, from £615 billion next year to £674 billion in the year 2010-11. Like Labour, we will review the final year’s total in a spending review in 2009. The result of adopting these spending totals is that under a Conservative Government there will be real increases in spending on public services, year after year."
    WTF???

    Were we not spending enough already after Gordon Brown had been maxing out the country's credit card for ten years in office. According to Osborne, spending needed to rise further!

    But here comes the explanation:

    "The result of adopting these spending totals is that under a Conservative government there will be real increases in spending on public services, year after year.

    "The charge from our opponents that we will cut services becomes transparently false."

    "At the same time the share of national income taken by the state will start to fall, as the economy grows faster than the government does. Any reduction we offer in one tax will have to be matched by a tax rise elsewhere.

    "Pursuing this approach over an economic cycle creates the headroom for sustainably lower taxes."
    Osborne was gambling on the good times continuing.
    His argument was, if we increase spending by 2%, we will get growth higher than 2% anyway, so the economy will grow faster than government spending.

    This was exactly the gamble that the Labour government was taking, and it backfired when the global financial crisis hit just after this point. A year later, at the Tory conference of 2008, Cameron announced a U turn on this policy and said the Tories would not match Labour's spending plans. This allowed him the freedom to offer an alternative - spending cuts - which is fair enough.

    However what is disingenous about this is now when the Tories are saying that we are in this mess because of Labour's disgraceful record on spending and so on. You cannot say that if you ENDORSED Labour's spending as recently as 2007. All that the Tories have done is been wise after the event.

    As for the Lib Dems it is even more hypocritical coming from them. They were the party who were under Charles Kennedy and to an extent Menzies Campbell, positioning themselves to the left of Labour wanting increased spending on public services. Even as recently as the 2010 General Election Vince Cable was criticising Osbornes plans for spending cuts.
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    Because to do otherwise would have been electoral suicide.
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    At that time it was all Cool Britannia, sunshine and roses. Sterling was two dollars to the pound. People actually thought Gordon Brown was a good Chancellor.
    The opposition have very limited access to government files. When you've been in opposition for over a decade you pretty much have to go off what the government tell you.
    Then when the brown stuff hit the fan people finally realised just how bad things were.
    So from Osbourne's point of view he was making the best judgement given the information to him. And to be fair they dropped the spending pledge in 2008, two years before the election.
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    (Original post by pol pot noodles)
    At that time it was all Cool Britannia, sunshine and roses. Sterling was two dollars to the pound. People actually thought Gordon Brown was a good Chancellor.
    The opposition have very limited access to government files. When you've been in opposition for over a decade you pretty much have to go off what the government tell you.
    Then when the brown stuff hit the fan people finally realised just how bad things were.
    So from Osbourne's point of view he was making the best judgement given the information to him. And to be fair they dropped the spending pledge in 2008, two years before the election.
    Everybody has access to the documents produced in the budget so they can see what the levels of debt are, what the current deficit is, what current borrowing is.

    Seeing as we are always told that it was Labour being reckless over 13 years not just the last two....why was Osborne in 2007 not saying that the Tories would have cut spending.

    What would have happened if the Tories had been in government during the years up to the financial crisis? They would now be the "party who had ruined the country's finances" and Labour would be in blaming them for the mess we were in.
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    2007 was an interesting time for the party, I personally believe Cameron did it in an attempt to kill the idea they would have cut spending had they gotten into power which was there platform in 97/01/05 elections.

    Cameron was in charge of a party he knew needed shifting towards Labours stance so took measures to facilitate it.
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    Political parties are forced to resort to populism in the vast majority of cases, but especially in opposition. Unfortunately, that is the nature of a general public that, on the whole, gives little in-depth consideration to policy, egged on by the tabloid media.
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    Because all the political parties are as clueless as each other!
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    Oh how different things would've been if Gordon Brown called an election in 2007...
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    (Original post by W.H.T)
    Oh how different things would've been if Gordon Brown called an election in 2007...
    Heh reason he didn't was because just as he was supposedly going to do it the Conservatives jumped ahead in the Polls.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    Everybody has access to the documents produced in the budget so they can see what the levels of debt are, what the current deficit is, what current borrowing is.
    Exactly, the "economy is worse than we thought" line just doesn't wash...
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    (Original post by Will Lucky)
    Heh reason he didn't was because just as he was supposedly going to do it the Conservatives jumped ahead in the Polls.
    Yeah guess he bottled it in the end it became too close to call, but bear in mind that at the end of Blair's time in office, the Conservatives were further ahead in the polls. These days, alot of people seem to forget that Brown was actually quite popular during his first few months as PM.
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    The government aims to reduce public spending to 2007 levels by 2016, so in effect they are going to match Labour's spending.

    Also, they pledged to spend the same amount of money as Labour, not spend it on the same things as Labour.
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    (Original post by Will Lucky)
    2007 was an interesting time for the party, I personally believe Cameron did it in an attempt to kill the idea they would have cut spending had they gotten into power which was there platform in 97/01/05 elections.

    Cameron was in charge of a party he knew needed shifting towards Labours stance so took measures to facilitate it.
    Well in the 1997 election, Labour were the ones who matched the Tories spending commitments, they said they would follow Ken Clarke's spending levels for the next three years as set out in is 1997 budget. Clarke himself has pointed out a few times that when you look at the country's fiscal position in 2000 (when Labour had been following his spending plans) it was in a good state - it was after they started using their own plans that the fiscal position started to deteriorate, mainly from 2002 onwards (after Blair's war spending started to notch up)

    The 2001 and 2005 election manifestos were not that different in terms of spending levels. The Tories had pledged to make some cuts but they were also offering tax reductions, and they had pledged to increase spending on law and order and defence, Hague wanted a lot of prison building in 2001. There were also quite big Tory commitments on education spending in 2001 especially in higher education.

    In 2005 under Michael Howard the plans were overall for a £6bn per year reduction in spending on Labour's plans. This would have meant had the Tories won in 2005, they would have gone into the financial crisis with nearly the same deficit level as Labour did, £6bn would have been a drop in the ocean really.

    With hindsight a 2005 election win would have been a disaster for the Tories, its the equivalent of if Labour had won in 1992 and inherited the collapse of the pound out of the ERM. Labour would have got voted back out in 1997 and would have been really discredited, there's nothing worse than having a long time out of office then getting a big crisis on your first time back. If Howard had become PM in 2005 then he would have had the financial crisis thrust upon him and got tarnished with it, which is what happened to Brown, and Labour would have won in 2010 (maybe with Brown as PM).
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    Op must be new to this whole political scene...
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    Do you really think that if the Tories had been elected in 2005 the deficit would be as bad as it is now, or that the decline in public services would have been so bad? Yes, overall public spending totals would have been the same but would welfare be left unreformed? Would the NHS be facing as much of it's own financial crisis? Would there have been as much restrictions on businesses to fuel growth? All questions to which the answer is no.
 
 
 
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