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Chancellor Debates 2010

April 8, 2010 1 comment

I’ve only just been able to catch the debate between the Chancellors for Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives that was broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK last week. My initial impression was that Alistair Darling ‘won’ it (if that is how we are to see it) on the basis of being consistent, being calm and being logical.

If you didn’t get a chance to see it, and you are in the UK you can watch it in full on YouTube here, if not you’ll need to watch it in segments here.

So who do you want running the Treasury Department from 2010 through 2015? To be fair, I think the Liberal Democrats put forward a great fight, and the reason I give the gold to Labour was not that the Liberal Democrats are not going to be in government (I actually took an issue when George Osborne so blatantly blew Vince Cable out of the debate with that comment), rather that Mr Cable, whilst being very fair on his economic plans, failed to mention the other policies the Liberal Democrats have – especially free tuition fees for university students. It seems unlikely that many Liberal Democrat policies will be able to be funded if they cut income tax on lower incomes or reduce spending across the board. I might agree with many policies of the Liberal Democrats, however I am a firm believer in tuition fees and those two don’t seem to fit together somehow.

With the country in as much debt as we are, it’s completely understandable how Mr Osborne’s “let’s cut things and get out of debt” is the most appealing. As a fan of Keynesian economics however, I do not buy his analogy that “any ordinary person in debt starts doing… blah blah blah”. Frankly, Mr Osborne, the way in which you run the nation’s finances is nothing like a family’s finances. To put it that simply is dangerous (but a brilliant election policy) in that ordinary people will think the nation’s finances can be solved as simply as them cutting to Tesco Value beans over Heinz beans.

Mr Darling’s policies were, strangely, more middle ground from my perspective. Whilst protecting the National Health Service from cuts (Mr Cable made little promises), he also acknowledged that an increase in National Insurance would be needed to keep us going. Mr Osborne, still in his ‘let’s give them what’s popular’ mode, insists that the increase is a burden on business and ordinary people. Suddenly the Conservatives are all about the people. An increase of 1% is minimal. We have all played a part in this recession – that credit card you got even though you couldn’t afford it? That mortgage you got even though you couldn’t afford it? That new TV you got on credit even though you couldn’t afford it? That loan you took out for items that frankly you didn’t need nor could afford? Um… you were a part of it.

Now, let’s pay that 1% increase and try to enjoy the relatively good social welfare we enjoy in the United Kingdom. Let’s keep it an make it better, not cut it back to the 1980s.

On a random note – GO BUTLER. BEAT DUKE.

NCAA message there.

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