Anyway, on the economy Vince, who repeated his Shell never made predictions when I worked there in the 1930's and so I won't now said:
- UK GDP 2009, -4%
- Unemployment by end 2009, at least 3.5 million
- Government borrowing, £175 billion
- House prices have a long way to fall, he thought back to 3 or 4x average earnings (CU- 50% fall + in total as they reached 8.5x at height of boom)
He thought it would be a very unexciting budget as the Chancellor has fired his guns last year and has no ammo left. He also suggested it was a Monetary solution that was being followed and not a fiscal one. he thought he was very clever talking about Friedman and Keynes.
(CU- And wrong too. What is blindingly obvious is that the Treasury that has the money has splurged in a Keynesian fashion and the Bank of England that has the monetary supply has done QE as a cure. So we have a nice messy mix of both. Might work, might not; definitely the expensive option)
As for the Lib Dems, he said raise no tax threshold to £10,000 and pay for it by removing pensions incentives and harmonising capital gains with income. This is arch Brownian redistribution which even Labour have not tried. So much for Vince being an orange book man. Clearly a long-time since he had to work for a living in the private sector.
The only other thing he said of note was to agree with Reform who have a report out suggesting ways to cut public spending. happily he said all this can wait a while, big questions like public pensions, mass uni education, defence spending all need rationalising. But no now, not with an election in a year. Pathetic. At this point he made one or two partisan jibes, all aimed at George Osborne. Don't think he mentioned Darling once in the speech.
So now you know what a Lib Dem approach would be. Raise taxes, massive redistribution of wealth, promise to cut spending but never do it, bash the Tories. A vote for Vince is a vote for Gordon; can't see how they would ever go into Government with the Tories with these policies.
He had one good answer when someone asked if we should stop talking down the economy. he said all that sort of talk was nonsense, the economy was in a right state and we should admit it and try to fix it, rather than bullshit (quote) that thinking happy thoughts will make things right.
Guess he agrees with my short position on the FTSE then....