"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Live Business Debate

Robert Peston sat beside Andrew Neil for today's live debate.  They quizzed the unelected Peter Mandelson, Lord You-Know-Who-of-What&Where-But-Not-Why, (Privy Councillor, First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, and Lord President of the Council, *spit*); Ken Clarke, Shadow Business Secretary; John Thurso, LibDem Business Spokesman and John Swinney, SNP Finance Secretary in the Scottish Assembly/Parliament.

Labour: extend scheme to allow struggling businesses to defer tax payments; invest in low-carbon infrastructure; simplify regulation and avoid red tape; provide finance for growing businesses; raise shareholder threshold for takeovers; increase capital allowances to encourage businesses to invest.

SNP - Scotland only: compel government-controlled banks to ease access to credit; support an international bank tax; limit bonus payments; create construction jobs through increased capital investment; cut corporation tax; oppose National Insurance rise; oppose cuts to public expenditure in Scotland.

LibDems: break up banks and separate retail and investment banking (Glass-Steagall); introduce banking levy; insist banks lend to viable businesses on fair terms again; crackdown on bonuses; force regulators to consider the public interest when assessing takeover bids; establish Local Enterprise Funds and Regional Stock Exchanges.  Euro is a "very valid aspiration" in the long term, would "guarantee British people a referendum" if the time was right.

Conservatives:  stop Labour's jobs tax (NI), cut business taxes; cut red tape; boost high-tech exports; boost apprenticeships; superfast broadband.  Defended his statement that if Britain has a hung parliament and can't handle the debt then the IMF will be called in.

I didn't hear anything that made my toes curl or my ears prick up - it was pretty bland.  There were a few light-hearted moments when they all seemed to laugh at each other's policies but apart from that it was rather low-key.  There were no probing questions, nothing that elicited anything new.  Or perhaps I'm just feeling rather jaded today - there are four more of these debates still to come!

First of all, here's a link to Andrew Neil's Tuesday morning catch up; the Labour Press Conference begins at 01:20 with the Mandy/Boulton exchange. Hear all about Peppa Pig, Mandy and two Balls here at about 02:04.  It's ludicrous when Mandy-Balls and Co would rather talk about Peppa Pig than the £30bn black hole in their sums - but understandable.

And this is Brillo's answer:

Now for the thrills and spills of the Business debate:

Part 2
Part 3
With thanks, as always, to Swiss Bob at The Daily Politics for the business debate videos.

Oh, before I forget, did anyone else see the classic Paxman/Ed Balls exchange on last night's Newsnight?
Balls: ...I've never known an election campaign where there's been less scrutiny of policy than in this election campaign...
Paxman: I know you have a very busy life but I assure you we have done policy, policy, policy night after night on this programme and I'm asking you specifically ...[interrupted]
Balls: Not on schools you didn't.
Paxman (his voice rising an incredulous two octaves): We had a whole debate on schools which you took part in!
Balls: And it was a good debate.

It beggars belief that some people are touting Balls as the next Prime Minister or Chancellor in waiting.

Here he is, thinking about having another run round the dining table:

A quarter of Blackjacks to Grumpy Old Twat for the pic

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