Skip to main content

Who is more guilty: Michael Howard or Howard Flight?

The linked article also has .wav files of the talk Howard Flight gave on 23rd March 2005. It was the original "timesonline" quote.

I have arranged for the .wav files to be transcribed and the transcription follows.

The big question for the Tories is whether it appears on reading the full text that Howard Flight is actually implying the Conservatives will cut more spending than the £35 Billion in the James Report. (Which includes Labour's £21bn cuts (Gershon savings) in any event.)

At the end he says: "I've probably banged on too long."

I would agree with that particular line. The real issue, however, is should Michael Howard have sacked him for what he said? I am not convinced that that is the case.

To me this shows how Michael Howard should not be trusted with any power.

What you can conclude from Howard Flight's talk is that
a) The tories have policies that are designed to attract support.
b) The tories have dumped suggestions that people would oppose.
c) Howard Flight is (was) a "dry"
On the key question as to whether he is suggesting that the tories would do something different to that in their manifesto I would say that the jury is out.

Personally it looks that Michael Howard is far more guilty than Howard Flight and that it is Michael Howard that should resign for abuse of power. Howard Flight clearly makes the distinction between his views and those of the party although he could have been clearer on the substantive issue.

The debate is quite a flawed debate as the Labour Party are proposing £21 billion pounds of cuts by the year 2007-8. These figures are included in the Conservative Proposals. We estimate that about £8,000,000,000 of the Conservative proposals are bogus anyway.

Transcription of Howard Flight's Talk to Conservative Way Forward
"But the the no the areas of actual tax reductions of only one have already been announced, which is nakedly political, which is the council tax deal. I think it is politically, sensible, simple and understandable and not respect with the protesting nonsenses and it just happens the two other areas in which er I have yet to be announced, but I anticipate are likely to be the two areas will be raising thresholds a bit and hopefully raising the IHT floor level a bit so that as it were Middle England comes out of the equation for the time being.

"And indeed the I mean I think the potential for getting better taxpayer value is a good a bit greater than the James findings and the James findings I think quite unashamedly have been if you like seived for what is is politically accept politically acceptable and what is not going to lose the argument by the main argument by a sort of welter of specific moanings and complaints.

"Now you all we all broadly want the sort of things that are being talked about quite when and how precisely (unaudible) I mean I know we are right therefore all you have to do is to say it and everyone will agree with it and then you will win an election life is just not like that (laughter) you have just got to be practical Birmarck's famous phrase "politics is the art of the possible."

"The real issue is having won power do you then go to it and then of course we are back to you know wets and dries and all that happened in the 80s and be sure where I stand once we gain power in terms of putting my maximum weight in the direction we go in.

"But I think where we are posited is absolutely correct in terms of the cycle where public opinion is where it is going perceptions where it can be misrepresented a whole lot of things and I go further I was disappointed that Andrew although I partly agree didn't like it I mean in many things and these aren't economic Michael said the unthinkable all those politically correct things you couldn't say if you said a word about immigration you were being racist If you said a word about travellers you were just being wicked. I mean all the things that common sense Middle England knows are a load of crap and noone dares to speak up. He has spoken up. What more do you want? People understand that."

Questioner: "Howard I did recognise that in my question."

"Thats how you win elections and instead of about what you do economically what you when you've got there

"But there is not yet a huge appetite and movement for saying come on lets get taxes down substantially. I think that will come as the curve continues because it is in part about levels of disposable income and in part about levels of interest rates and I think, whatever the fine principles, you have to win an election first before you can actually get on with what needs to be done. So I mean, that is a a brief summary of where we are what we are committed to the latter two not yet announced. I think everyone on our side of the fence believes passionately that it will be a continuing agenda and for it to be a continuing agenda there obviously has to be a continuing agenda of reforming public services of changing how a lot is delivered and apart from what I would call some more radical thinking some of which I think is very good I have been inspired by Lesley Chapman who Patrick may remember who was a Public Works Loan Board civil servant in the 70s and he sort of said I have had enough of this went round looking at overmanning and looking at use of property.
He set a 15% target achieved 35% and wrote a splendid book called your disobedient servant which alienated him from much of the rest of the civil service he writes to me (inaudible) he hasn't for 6 months. He has been writing to me previously about every quarter and really making the fundamental point that this is an ongoing exercise like any sensible business. How you run the public sector, whatever the politics, unless there is the machinery to go on all the time looking at it being run efficiency it will quickly go the other direction all the more because it is a monopoly.

"So there will be some announcements coming about implementation and they will include release of ideas about cutting waste.

"I've probably banged on too long.

"Thank you very much."


Popular posts from this blog

Statement re false allegations from Esther Baker

Statement by John Hemming
I am pleased that the Police have now made it clear that there has been a concerted effort to promote false criminal allegations against me and that the allegations had no substance whatsoever.
I would like to thank Emily Cox, my children, Ayaz Iqbal (my Solicitor), my local lib dem team and many others who supported me through this dreadful experience. There are many worse things that happen to people, but this was a really bad experience.
It is bad enough to have false allegations made about yourself to the police, but to have a concerted campaign involving your political opponents and many others in public creates an environment in which it is reasonable to be concerned about ill founded vigilante attacks on your family and yourself. Luckily there was a more substantial lobby to the contrary as well, which included many people who were themselves real survivors of abuse, which has helped.
I am normally someone who helps other people fight injustice. …

Homelessness vs Selling Books

Candidates in elections tend to find themselves very busy with lots of things to do.  It is, therefore, necessary to prioritise things to ensure that the important things are dealt with.

To me the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping is an important issue.  Therefore, when Birmingham's Faith Leaders group contacted me to ask me what I would propose and whether I would work with them to make things better I was pleased to respond with my views and indicate that I would work with them after the election.

The Faith Leaders Group (Bishops and other religious leaders in Birmingham) have now sent out their report.

Sadly, according to their report,  I was the only candidate for Yardley to respond.  The group in their report said:

"Particularly disappointing was the lack of response from some of those candidates seeking re-election as MP for their respective constituencies."
It is worth looking at the priorities of my opponent.
Interestingly today she has decided to be at th…

Millionaires and politics

The Labour Party spent most of the last election criticising me for being a successful businessman (aka millionaire). That is business in the private sector employing over 250 people. It is worth looking at the situation for the Labour Candidate now:

For the year 2016-7 Annual Income from Parliament74,962Specifically for her book51,250Other media income etc5,322.82Total declared income131,534.82

Traditionally anyone with an annual income of over £100,000 has been considered to be a millionaire. I did not use my position in parliament to increase my income.

I have been asked for sources for this. This BBC piece looks at how one should define rich. It was written in 2011 so the figures will be slightly out of date. There are perhaps 2 relevant pieces:
"In 1880 a rich person would have had £100,000 in assets or an income of £10,000 a year, he says. About a hundred people a year died leaving £100,000 and by 1910 this was 250 - "a microscopic fraction of the number of death…