Two down & one to go

This time, David Cameron was more assured, confident but still somewhat fluffy. He tiptoed through the major issues, particularly on the economy. He certainly was more convincing but he didn’t deliver a killer punch or line. Nick Clegg, on the other hand, was exposed. Although many thought he continued to be strong contender, the points he made on the economy, banking industry and defense of the nation were the beginning of the end for him and his party. Although some of his sound bites strike a chord, his naivety on some of the most important issues  were laid open for scrutiny. The perception of the debate was far more along party lines this time around. Perhaps the novelty of Clegg is wearing off.

The most important matter to be resolved from the election result is how we fix our economy. Although the politicians seem to be happy to be diverted away from this issue, if you don’t fix the economy everything else is meaningless.

Business is at the heart of everything. I know talking about money is often seen as grubby and many people find such discussions difficult to comprehend. Yet without a return to prosperity everything the politicians promise cannot and will not be delivered. Of course I would like to see everyone wealthier, the economy booming and then the expenditure by government investing in infrastructure, defense, health, education and social ventures can continue. Until we fix that everything else is secondary.

Repairing the economy will be painful but the simple. We need to cut waste, reduce the deficit before interest rates rise and encourage business to thrive, expand, grow and develop. The money government needs can be generated in two ways. You can tax people more. But that only works in the short term. If you reduce people’s wealth then after a while they spend less, fall out of the higher tax bracket and the economy shrinks. The second is to grow the economy so tax receipts rise.

We don’t achieve anything by continuing to spend money we don’t have. This week’s inflation figures clearly announce that interest rates will have to go up. Even if the economy continues to grow… the latest GDP figures show growth of 0.2%. If inflation is a full 3.1 points above that, our economy is in effect shrinking. Unemployment has risen despite the massive injection of cash to avoid reducing government employment.

It is Gordon Brown’s denial of his involvement in the credit crunch and recession that I find most distasteful. Whilst it might have turned into a worldwide problem, that’s because the banking system is based in the US and the UK yet we have worldwide influence. And none of the parties are attempting policies that would stop this happening again. It’s not tax or splitting up banks that will work. What we need is a change to the way in which banks lend, the fees they can charge and the ways in which they are regulated. Going after Goldman Sachs might garner headlines and be popular yet it’s pointless. After all they packaged debt that comprised loans that had already been made. Who authorised them in the first place? Who allowed banks to lend 100% or more of an asset’s value turning loans into investments without protection? The whole lending system became rotten yet still changes have not been made to prevent it from happening all over again.

In simple terms Nick Clegg’s plans will pull money out of the economy, stifle growth, not encourage new business and put the financial industry in such a disadvantaged position that they will simply gather their toys and leave. I cannot emphasise enough how damaging these policies are to the nation. As someone who has worked in investment banking, private equity and the property industry I certainly do not think that the financial services industry are shining beacons of good practice. There are some massive changes required. What I do know is that the Lib Dems and their policies are utterly misguided.

David Cameron and his team understand that to pay for what we want to have to earn it first. He also understands that before we earn we have to stabalise the debt. The difficult message to get across is just how much waste there is to remove. It’s not popular to cull massive programmes from government expenditure. If you were shocked by MP’s and expenses if only you knew the true scale of waste, deception, fraud and maladministration in government spending across the board. I am sure we could spend up to 20% less and still ensure that people who NEED rather than WANT services will get them. Whilst I have yet to be convinced by George Osborne, Ken Clarke is the voice not only of reason but of experience.

My “Badometer” continues to work. -10 is as bad as it can get whilst 0 is ambivalent.

Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems remain at -10 with the needle wanting to go off the scale.
Gordon Brown is still at -8 although he might get to raise his game to -7 simply because the more I hear of the Lib Dems and their policies the more I worry how much we would be compromised should a hung parliament occur
David Cameron is up a point after tonight to -3. Not great but the best of a dismal bunch.