From a business standpoint here is what you should be looking for. An honest assessment of the mess and ill health of the UK economy.
Gordon Brown can claim that he was a successful chancellor. The growth in the late ‘90s and naughties was impressive. Yet this was largely as a result of legislation put in place before his arrival. Freeing up our capital markets to allow and encourage foreign investment was key.
The development of Canary Wharf to entice major players to our shores and the investment in our high tech infrastructure was essential. Yet whilst our economy boomed Gordon Brown made mistakes. He didn’t regulate effectively. He saved nothing for a rainy day.
He encouraged banks and institutions to buy market share whilst proclaiming the end of boom and bust. He will claim that his policies fixed the world’s economies after the credit crunch. Whilst he did make some sensible choices, many of this actions cost the nation too much whilst his dithering made the outcome worse and ultimately more expensive.
He has stolen from private pension funds, spent government money unwisely, sold gold at low prices, borrowed far too much, regulated to the point of nauseous overload and begun to tax a nation to fund his social engineering. He will proclaim that only his plans will save the British economy. Rubbish. The reason unemployment has not risen to crisis levels are simply that he has not cut and reduced the waste in central government.
What we need now is for private enterprise to rescue us. That means tax breaks, simplification of the system, regulation that works and focused investment that really generates jobs rather than putting a sticking plaster over a gaping wound.
Just watch as Gordon goes on about changing the Inheritance tax system for the wealthy few. It’s an irrelevance as it raises little money and encourages those who we need in this country to move abroad. I’d rather have 40% of something than 0% of nothing.
I cannot emphasis just how bad a chancellor and prime minister Gordon Brown has been. When history is written he will be the man who made the largest number of bad errors of judgment whilst in a position of power.
So who would be better? Vince Cable is often seen as some sage Yoda figure who called the downturn, predicted the problems and identified the solutions. What nonsense. He got lucky. Look at his policies for recovery and they are even dafter than Gordon’s failed policies and plans.
Not only are his tax changes expensive but also they will be inflationary and unaffordable. His deficit reduction is based on fantasy and splitting of the banks will not only lose thousands of jobs but also be the most misguided of all economic endeavours.
For those of you who simply think of bankers as greedy, casino playing vultures, think again, these banks generate significant tax revenues for the nation. Corporation tax, capital gains tax, income tax and of course the VAT that is raised on expenditure by these people once they have earned their money. Take that out of the equation as some sort of crusade and you will ruin an industry, send it overseas and instead of generating the wealth we need to pay off our debt and invest in the future, we will get nothing.
The Chancellor Alistair Darling looks on at his would-be successors
As for George Osborne he has a problem. So far he has tried to appease the public with his banking tax comments whilst on the other hand promoting enterprise. On the latter he is right and David Cameron has to demonstrate clearly and effectively how we can cut waste and unnecessary expenditure to bring the nation’s finances under control.
There are some who think we can continue to borrow and that growth in our economy will rescue us. Only if the economic growth is based in and driven from the private sector. Many of the policies George puts forward will help companies and industry. He’s just not very good at selling them to you.
And whilst Alistair Darling and Vince Cable have a knack of coming over as a sensible hand on the tiller, George has an unfortunate turn of phrase and a slightly sneering delivery. Look through those unfortunate tendencies and you might be surprised by the sense in what he has to say.
Are any of the prospective leaders 100% right for the future? No. That’s why I have my “Badometer” to reflect who is least bad for our nation.
All I can say is that a hung parliament would be worse than any single party coming to power post May 6th.
Lib Dems remain at -10, which is as bad as you can get. Gordon Brown and his support crumbles away, his rating is at -8 whilst David Cameron has had a good week. He is beginning to demonstrate leadership, a willingness to take difficult decisions whilst promoting the aspects of our economy that we need to get moving if we are to emerge from this entire economic catastrophe stronger and better. He’s at -3
James Max is a broadcaster on LBC Radio, regularly appears on GMTV and Sky News and is a prolific podcaster