Coffee House

The Tory 2015 message: times are tough, but they’d be worse under Labour

13 February 2013

Today’s PMQs was not, as James says, a tricky one for David Cameron. He had some good jokes and embarrassing gossip to poke Ed Miliband with, even though the Labour leader chose to attack on the thorny issue of living standards.

The key to the next election will be whether voters feel their lives have improved under the Coalition far more than it is about the latest ONS release on GDP. And the key challenge for the Coalition is to be clear that though things won’t be rosy – as Miliband pointed out, the squeeze on living standards will still be taking place when polling day arrives – they would be worse under Labour. Cameron made this point today:

‘The answer is people will be a lot better off than they were under Labour, with a record deficit, with unreformed welfare, with a busted banking system, they will have seen a government that’s got the deficit down, that’s cut their income taxes, that’s dealt with the banks and as the governor of the Bank of England said today, is on the road to recovery.’

Claim your gift

You can listen to the full exchange between the two leaders below:

What Labour wants to do is present the next election as a simple choice between one party in government that is wrong, and one party in opposition that is right. That’s quite easy to do, but it is of course possible to have two parties that are both wrong, rather than a simple binary choice of ‘the Tories are getting this badly wrong, therefore Labour must be able to get it right’. Or it’s equally possible to have a party in government that is getting it right and the opposition party continuing to make the same old mistakes, which is what Cameron tried to argue today by mocking Miliband’s forthcoming ‘no new policy’ economy speech.

But at the bottom of all this needs to be a focus in the next Budget, and those budgets and autumn statements after that, on hacking away at the cost of living as far as is feasible. Perhaps there could even be room for another victory for campaigning MP Robert Halfon, this time on the 10p tax rate, as Cameron made reference to Labour’s abolition of that rate today. The autumn statement made good progress on that, but for the Tories to make an effective case that things would get a whole lot worse under Labour, George Osborne can’t let that focus slip between now and 2015.

Give the perfect gift this Christmas. Buy a subscription for a friend for just £75 and you’ll receive a free gift too. Buy now.

Show comments
  • Daniel Maris

    Osborne, contrary to his very high opinion of himself, has proved an unmitigated disaster, spreading economic ill ease wherever he directs his dull gaze or whenever he opens his mouth to deliver his glib paeans to austerity. He has single handedly stalled what should have been a modest recovery.

    Miliband is lacklustre but by 2015 people will most definitely have had enough of this useless administration.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …not enough windmills for you, eh?

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    The Tories. Slightly less cr@p than Labour.
    Should go down a storm (not).

  • Smithersjones2013

    The Coalition is an extension of the Blair Government. The Labour opposition are an extension of the Brown government. Both delusional both dishonest both dysfunctional and both incompetent.

    I voted to get rid of the Blair Government. I voted to get rid of the Brown Government.

    What idiot thinks I am going to vote for either of them to return?

  • Christopher Gage

    What a joke, eh? That’s the best the Cameroons can do?

    ‘It is bad, but, at least you don’t live in Somalia’.

    How about some supply-side reform to at least try and get the economy moving?

    We shall vote with our , ever-shrinking, wallets.

    Time to bounce Boy George. Post haste.

  • UlyssesReturns

    Times would certainly be worse under labour unless you were one of their client-state public workers, welfare spongers or third-world immigrants. However, it is not for Cameron to state that things would be hypothetically different with the labtards running things, but to actually improve the lot of the hard-working taxpayers under his administration. We all know that Milliband, Balls, Cooper, Reeves, the Eagle brothers and the rest of the labtard incompetents couldn’t run a corner sweet shop, but we vote Conservative precisely because we think the tories can.

    • Chris lancashire

      Very well put but I doubt that any government, however well run, can do much about living standards in the short term. It has become quite clear that Labour’s 13 years of mismanagement were exactly that. To be fair to them they shared that with a lot of the western world. We have a long, hard slog ahead with only three years behind us. It could be 2018 or later before things improve materially – and then only under the guidance of a Conservative government.

      • DWWolds

        After 2003, when Labour abandoned the economic policies of the previous Conservative government, we were living beyond our means until the bubble burst in 2008. Brown’s supposed boom was built on a mountain of debt, both personal and government. It was bound to end in tears. And the repair work is inevitably going to take a long, long time.

        • Andy

          Yes indeed. It will take a generation to sort out the mess.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    You gotta hand it to these Cameroons.

    “It could be worse.”

    Political savants, they are.

  • Russell

    I didn’t see any ‘thorny issue’ regarding living standards. Cameron answered the twerp Miliband saying living standards for the lowest paid workers would be better and the raising of the tax threshold halved the tax paid by the lowest paid.
    Miliband is really hopeless and his tonal qualities have not been improved by nasal operations. Rachael foghorn Reeves, plus the annoying tones of Eagle combined with Miliband make me and no doubt several million others reach for the mute button, that and the fact labour really have nothing to say about anything relevant to standard rate (20%) taxpayers.
    If Osborne does pull a rabbit out of the hat at the forthcoming budget like re-introducing the 10 pence tax, labour are dead men walking, especially with their no to an EU referendum and their past record of financial mis-management..

    • HooksLaw

      I don’t see any benefit in a 10p band. The money has to come from somewhere.
      The income tax rate should be 15% 25% and 35%. The real hard decision comes in where you put the bands.

      • Russell

        I agree with your 25% and 35% rates, but imagine the pure pleasure of of rubbing labours nose in the dirt by re-introducing the Brown 10% rate and specifically helping the lowest paid workers in the UK. I don’t think Cameron or Osborne could resist.

        • Andy

          We should just have a Flat Tax. Much simpler.

          • Angus McLellan

            Well, move to Scotland then. No, not a joke. That’s what’s in the Scotland Bill: flat tax on earned income. If it works, like with the poll tax, will it be introduced everywhere?

        • Chris lancashire

          Unfortunately you are right and it provides the perfect riposte to Labour’s taunts on the 45p rate. Economically there is no basis for it.

    • telemachus

      Forget it
      10p tax is a poisoned electoral slogan after what Cameron did to Gordon
      The Tories are dead in the water from now until perhaps 2030
      I would not be surprised to see Labour push them into second place at Eastleigh

      • John Fraser

        Labour winning Eastleigh?! Utterly delusional.

      • Colonel Mustard

        No, let’s not forget it – ever. You want all of Labour’s crimes forgotten but they won’t be. No right thinking person will forget 1997-2010 or Brown’s 10p tax nastiness against the lowest paid workers.

        Brown taxed the poor more. The coalition have raised the tax threshold.

        All you can do here is trumpet the usual premature triumphalism of the left. Toot-toot! Toot-toot telemachus!

        • telemachus

          I never heard any grumbles before Lehman
          I know a few glad to be alive who would have died on cardiac waiting lists
          I know thousands given back mobility for the 5 years they would have had to wait for a new hip
          I know mothers in Tower Hamlets glad their children had shoes at last

          • Colonel Mustard

            Make your mind up. First it was a trumpet, now it’s violins.

            And all these people you know, all eternally grateful to Labour with a tear in their eye.

            Walter Mitty tripe.

            • telemachus

              Those who get off their cushioned backsides in the leafy home counties and go to our great urban conurbations will hear the truth of our message
              We are fortunate indeed that the urban centres have the electoral maths

              • Colonel Mustard

                You think you know but you don’t. There is no truth in your message. Our “great urban conurbations” are being destroyed and for the ordinary people turned into nasty hellholes by idiots like you. Eventually, when it is too late, this will affect the wealthy too. The only truth is that ultimately authoritarian and arrogant socialism of the type you espouse is self-destructive. I have no doubt that to find itself again England will have to endure decades of your “East German solution”.

                You are a braggart on behalf of the Labour party. Your vision sucks and has ever sucked. A great majority of English people know this but despair of true choice.

  • telemachus

    Problem is we can point to the triple dip recession
    While at the same time highlighting the Build for Growth to prosperity
    The electorate know that Gordon engineered us out of recession before Osborne choked it off
    They know the economy will power forward with his disciple the charismatic one, who incidentally was a visual star again at PMQ’s

    • Russell

      Judging by this comment and in fact all your comments, may I suggest an intensive course to Stafford Hospital with their leading psychiatrist . Anyone who regards Brown & Balls as anything more than sub human and continues to believe the dross, lies,spin and smear emanating from Labour HQ is obviously in need of medical help.

      • telemachus

        I think a majority of the electorate will signal their disagreement in 2015

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      You guys at the Labour Party instant rebuttal unit really give the rest of us a good laugh even if it takes,what, 10 or 11 of you to dream this stuff up. I Love all that Charismatic Superstar nonsense but wonder if you are referring to Elvis, Michael Jackson or Jimi Hendrix? I am not sure that any of them will be much use in stimulating the UK economy beyond a few record sales but there you go. That said, seeking the advice of dead pop stars certainly makes more sense than talking to Ed Balls so you may have a point.
      By the way, we have not had a triple dip recession yet so that is a bit premature. Also borrowing money to ‘pump prime’ the economy (or whatever silly phrase you guys use) can only work when you generate a higher return than the cost of borrowing the money and no government in the history of mankind has managed that little trick. Probably a bit much for you guys at labour HQ to understand that concept having tried it unsuccessfully for 13 years but give it a go. In the meantime, keep making us all laugh. By the way, which one of you makes the tea in the morning?

      • telemachus

        Not a silly phrase
        Why will Osborne not pump prime growth
        Every sage economist and the IMF advise it

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Hilarious you guys crack me up. But answer the question: which one of you makes the tea.

          • telemachus associates

            We have a rota

    • Colonel Mustard

      The electorate also know that Gordon is a moron, Balls is a lying thug, and telemachus posts endless tripe.

      • Andy

        They should all hang together.

      • telemachus

        You have a point
        Yes Balls is a thug but a thug who understands the economy and will show the muscle to overcome the bankers and other city types who have had Osborne in tow
        The muscle to drive growth

        • telemachus

          There is more charisma in his big toe than the whole of the drab Osborne

          • Colonel Mustard

            More toe rag than big toe.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      ‘a visual star’?

      Did he have his clown suit on again?

      • telemachus

        Just watch him on iPlayer

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Sorry no. He makes me vomit.

  • Olaf

    That is as crap an argument as the one they use for petrol prices. “THEY were going to put it up by 5p but WE’VE only put it up by 3p so now everything is great and petrol is as cheap as a cheap thing. Aren’t we nice?”. No it’s not and no you’re not! Most of us are not that sodding stupid, but still they try.

  • Archimedes

    The guy’s dad was a Marxist. If you’re not out pinning up photos of Ed with Soviet England in the background, then I dispair that democracy is truly dead!

    The Conservatives wanna be hammering this home about now, so that the election is left open for either a positive message or more hammering home of the same, safe in the knowledge that whatever happens, “you can’t trust Ed”. Saying that things would be worse under Labour is too qualitative. It’s best to leave things as much to the imagination as possible.

    • HooksLaw

      Campaigning about somebodies dad?
      I think we will leave Labour to that.

      • Archimedes

        You don’t campaign about his dad, you leave people to connect the dots. The point is that there are dots to be connected.

        • HooksLaw

          Miliband is a socialist. Thats not a dot its the Black Spot for Britain.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            That’s racist.

            You’re a racist.

            • Daniel Maris

              Is that what passes for humo(u)r on the cold, desolate prairies of North America?

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Shouldn’t you be shrieking about windmills or something, son?

          • Archimedes

            People don’t believe that socialists exist anymore, and I think it would be nice to give people something to believe in.

          • Smithersjones2013

            Cameron is the son of Blair. Thats a malignancy at the heart of Britiain!

Can't find your Web ID? Click here