Coffee House

Nick clegg debt

13 October 2012

9:17 AM

13 October 2012

9:17 AM

Britain’s national debt is rising faster than any of the basket-case Eurozone countries that George Osborne is so fond of disparaging but here’s the thing: only 16pc of voters realise that debt is going up. Why? Are they all thick? Or could it be that our political class is systematically misleading them? I’m inclined towards the latter. The odd debt vs deficit slip is forgivable. But ministers do seem to trying to exaggerate – even lie about – what they are doing to the national debt. And I’m afraid that Nick Clegg is my Exhibit A.

The Deputy Prime Minister was recently caught out telling Essex factory workers that his government would “wipe the slate clean” of debt – in fact, the coalition is upping debt by a staggering £465 billion over five years, more than the £319 billlion that Labour borrowed over five years. Even the Guardian picked up on Clegg’s unforgivably misleading ‘clean slate’ analogy. But it concluded that Clegg was guilty of a “sloppy mistake” rather than a lie. Sure, we all make slips. But on Five Live yesterday afternoon, Clegg repeated this false claim:

Here’s the question Clegg would have us ask: “is it the right thing to do to try and wipe the slate clean for future generations?” Is it right to rid the taxpayers of the “ball and chain around our ankles? Yes. But is that what Clegg’s government is doing? The below graph shows the amount of debt that the government is foisting upon the public.

Source: Office for Budget Responsibility


So Clegg’s government inherits national debt of £803bn and takes it to £1,480bn. By what stretch of the English language is this wiping the slate clean? to claim otherwise is not an exaggeration, but the opposite of the truth. Given the fuss caused by his last slate analogy, I’m not sure it can written off as another “sloppy mistake”. The word ‘lie’ is rarely used in politics and if CoffeeHousers can think of another, I’m all ears. Clegg is telling voters that he is “wiping the slate clean” when he the slate will end up with more chalk on it than any in our recorded history.

I regard Clegg as an honest and decent man – in general. So why does he tell such untruths? My theory is that Clegg has been told that everyone bends the truth when it comes to debt – bankers, politicians, journalists, everyone – and that it’s okay if truth is sacrificed in the simplification process. This is why George Osborne misleadingly compares the deficit to an overdraft. So politicians think okay to use an entirely misleading analogy about slates and chalk and dusters because no interviewer will pick you up on it. In most broadcast interviews, this is so. And I hate to say it, but Clegg has a good teacher. Here is David Cameron in ITV Daybreak only last month, claiming – outrageously – that his government’s “vital mission” is to “get the debt down”.

And here is Osborne at last year’s Tory conference:-

No wonder the taxpaying public don’t know that debt is rising. They are being systematically misled. Some ministers may genuinely confuse ‘debt’ and ‘deficit’ but Cameron and Clegg will know the situation precisely. And yet they choose to use such words and analogies. Yes, the coalition inherited an appalling situation. But lying about this situation will help no one.

Hat tip: Alistair Reid, who alerted me to Clegg’s porkie on Twitter. The only way politicians will stop misleading the public on debt is if they are taken to task for it. And if this isn’t done by an interviewer, it can be done afterwards on blogs and audioboo. I am working on a hall of shame, featuring audio and video of the the top ten porkies told about our soaring national debt. So if any CoffeeHousers hear any politician trying to mislead people, please do tweet it: I’m on @frasernelson 

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Show comments
  • HooksLaw

    In order to stop the debt rising the government would have to cut spending in a single year by £160 billion. Well more than that since costs rise.
    Please Mr Nelson tell us how. Take Health. There spending is being maintained, not cut but that alone involves massive savings needed to be made which the opposition make hay with as to all sections of the press whenever some sob story which results is highlighted. Vast and qui8ck cuts in spending are impossible and you know this well. Your wholwe article is disingenuous.

    As ever what we get is conflating debt with deficit. The huge impossibility of shutting off rising debt is one of the main reasons to condemn the chancellorship of Gordon Brown, the man who turned on the spending taps.

  • Daniel Maris

    Couple of points on debts.

    1. Debt is not necessarily a marker for poor performance. Murdoch has been heavily indebted through most of his commercial life – but you’d be hard pressed to find a more successful media operator. So it is with nations. You can be heavily indebted and successful – as the USA has been. We were also laden with debt when we had some of our best economic performance in the 50s and 60s.

    2. If a government owes a debt to its people is that really in any sense a burden on the national economy? I don’t think so really – that’s why Japan can have the highest (proportionate to GDP) debt in the world…because nearly all of it is owed to its own people. If the Japanese government were to default on its debt it would have v. little effect on its national economy in any direct sense.

    I think it is a mistake to get too moralistic about debt. We need to be pragmatic in our approach to debt.

    The most important thing we could do to improve our overall position I think is to take radical steps to end welfare dependency: provide a work offer to all working age people, make it a legal responsibility for all adults to support themselves, and end the single parenting scam. It may take some initial funding to get the work offer established but I think we will see welfare costs plummet.

  • pigou_a

    Fraser, you are not in a position to criticise others for misleading people about government debt.

    As DeLong and Summers (2012) argued, when interest rates are at the zero lower bound and there is uncertainty about the efficacy of monetary policy, attempts to reduce the budget deficit can actually increase debt to GDP ratios.

    This is because cuts in government spending reduce GDP. If monetary policy is unable to offset these reductions, then the fall in GDP can be greater than the reduction in spending. An economist would describe this as a fiscal multiplier being greater than one (IMF 2012).

    Different types of government spending have different fiscal multipliers. Public capital investment has a higher multiplier than other forms of government spending. This is why Osborne’s cuts to public investment have been so damaging to growth.

    It is impossible for a sovereign state which issues debt in its own currency to default. The worst that can happen is inflation.

    The welfare effects of inflation are trivial compared to the welfare effects of an ongoing depression, (people whine about rising prices, whereas people are killing themselves because of the ongoing economic malaise, Barr et al. 2012). Lucas (2000) estimated that the welfare effects of reducing inflation from 10% to 0% was only around 1% of real income. In political terms Thatcher won three elections despite inflation never falling below 2.4% and averaging 7.0% during her terms in office.

    Public debt cannot be reduced by spending cuts, only by nominal GDP growth.

    Osborne’s only option is to instruct the MPC to target NGDP as argued by Woodford (2012).

    Yes Clegg, Cameron, Osborne and King are misleading the public about government debt. However, at present I see little evidence that you have any better understanding.


    Barr et al. (2012) “Suicides associated with the 2008-10 economic recession in England: time trend analysis” BMJ

    DeLong and Summers (2012) “Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy”

    IMF (2012) “World Economic outlook october 2012” page 41-60

    Lucas, Jr., R. E. (2000), “Inflation and Welfare” Econometrica, 68: 247–274.

    Woodford (2012) “Methods of Policy Accommodation at the Interest-Rate Lower Bound”

  • Rockin Ron

    “I regard Clegg as an honest and decent man.” Hard to believe that you spend some much time in close proximity to politicians from all parties and still hold this naive view, Fraser. Conclusion? You are either a simpleton or a naive innocent. Now, can you wake up and try to provide us with some incisive reporting? That cover article by Melissa Kite was appalling, Is she trying to be a B movie Liz Jones? It was a sloppy, barely researched admixture of hearsay and assertion with very little foundation. Please can you drop her; I thought The Spectator was about quality writing not this drivel.

  • Watcher

    Are you sure that YOU know what you are talking about?

  • London Calling

    May I suggest a Pork pie chart, followed by who ate all the pies…:)

    lies,why indeed Fraser,why indeed you must ask………:0

  • Dimoto

    There is no “evidence” that the UK is increasing debt “faster than the basket cases”, mainly because ALL of the stats are deeply dodgy. Furthermore, as Fraser correctly warned us a couple of days ago, these “projections” (aka forecasts), are not worth the paper they are written on (aka should be taken with a huge dollop of salt).
    However, Clegg’s craven and devious performance on Radio 5 reached a new low.
    “Honest and decent” ? I think not. How about cowardly, devious and untrustworthy ?

  • scheduled departures every day

    “By what stretch of the English language is this wiping the slate clean?”


    Perhaps it’s by the same stretch of the English language that had you squealing with glee over the faux “cuts” a couple years ago, Mr. Nelson.

    You remember, the “cuts” that were so severe as to bleed the treasury dry, as you claimed them to be?

    The “cuts” that were non-existent even as your tingling leg perverted the English language exclaiming them?

    That may be the stretch you speak of. I hope this helps.

    • Fraser Nelson

      do you have the link? I’m not quite sure what you’re referring to…

      • scheduled departures every day

        You truly live in a bubble, young man.

        The “link” would be the one on the mast of this leftist publication, and anything written by you when your precious was parading around a couple years ago, preaching about all the “cuts”.

        I have to admit, watching you play lackey for the Cameroons, but now heading for the tall grass, is entertaining. Unfortunately, it’s marked you for what you are.

        I give you Cameroons credit though, sticking with your sweeties, and piling it all up on Clegg. That’s as good a reaction plan as one could expect, I guess. Well done, lad.

  • Maidmarrion

    They all lie Mr Fraser ,didn’t you realise that?
    Lib,Lab or Con – and they do it unchallenged by an ” I’m alright Jack tax dodging media luvvies” , you know, that fourth estate thats supposed to be ferreting out the truth on behalf of their readers , taking people to task by asking the awkward questions not the one that is complicit in deceit ,disinterest or ignorance.

  • Daniel Maris

    It’s sad when political lovers fall out after a long-term relationship…Fraser is obviously feeling great hurt that George’s promises of a bright future, full of growth and debt reduction, have turned out to be lies, and that George has been consorting with ladies of loose virtue – Mary Quantitative Easy, Dirty Debttie, Carrie-Me Welfare …

    • Dimoto

      Those three are just the working girls, the Madame is Lagarde.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    Call him what he is. He’s a LIAR! As such he cannot be trusted.

  • LordBlagger

    Why are you lying about the debt?

    You are just as bad as Clegg.

    You’ve reported the borrowing figure. The debt figure is far worse. After all the state owes civil servants pensions. Under FRS17 and GAAP, that’s a debt. Likewise for the state pension, state second pension, expected losses on guarantees …

  • derekemery

    See the ‘5 Myths it suits everyone to perpetuate’ at The was published in June this year.
    Here ‘everyone’ means the UK political class. The first two myths are that public spending is reducing and that debt is reducing. Public sector debt/GDP is increasing at 9% pa from around 70% to reach around 100% by 2015 and rising.
    UK private sector debt is even bigger and puts us in the same class as Japan for total debt. In spite of several doses on monetary easing by Japan they are still stuck in low growth twenty years after the event.
    The IMF declared the US to be bankrupt in 2010 see
    and video

    The reality is the west has to rely on a combination of lying and hope about the economic situation. Macawber economics is what the west now relies on (Something will turn up) as the figures are so appalling.

    If lenders lose their nerve over sovereign debt the house of cards will fall down and the whole world will be affected. The west is the king with no clothes.

    • James102

      Time to consider if the west’s social model,particulary Europe’s ,has a future or is it destined to go the way of other failed societies and much faster than most people think.

    • Dimoto

      Ever thought of trying to think for yourself, rather than “retweeting” this garbage ?

  • David B

    The real question is “how much is the national debt?” The country has adopted accounting policies to PFI Debt and bank bailouts that would make directors of Enron blush

    • TomTom

      I would also like to know how much physical gold we have that is not pledged elsewhere and whether the Bundesbank gold held in London is physically there

      • David B

        Not sure of the amounts all I know is it is a lot less now than in 1997

  • justathought

    Surely its also worth mentioning the interest rate paid on the debt? It was 5% at the beginning of the recession and now it is 1.72% on 10 year bonds (lower than inflation). The flow of cash to the UK is unprecedented even though the interest on gilts is at a record low.
    UK exports to the EU is declining rapidly and UK tax revenue is falling. The markets are comfortable with UK deficit reduction plans. There is a good argument for debt to provide leverage to finance infrastructure investment however politicians and politicians should be clear not to deliberately mislead the public that debt is falling when it is rising.

    • Fraser Nelson

      That’s defo a factor, the OBR should produce graphs about the debt interest liability which will not be rising as fast. But a lot of the debt repayments are linked to inflation, and when QE is unwound it’s anyone’s guess what happens to that…

      • symphara

        QE will never be unwound. It will be written off, i.e. monetised. They couldn’t unwind it if their lives depended on it. It was always tacitly agreed that QE is simply money printing done in a careful manner as not to rock the boat.

      • James102

        No I think we know what certain people are guessing will happen.

    • TomTom

      Yes but the Treasury pays £10 BILLION a year in interest to the Bank of England for the Gilts bought back from the Banks. This policy is the direct opposite of that used by Thatcher/Lawson when they drove interest rates upwards by OVERFUNDING pretending this was a Monetary Squeeze and simply raised the National Debt by skewing long-run Bond yields – now the process is reversed and Bond yields are driven into the floor by imposing a Credit Squeeze through the Banks and making Velocity slow down to induce Stagflation.

  • Darryl

    Hold on a second, I do recall it being a Conservative election promise to slash debt! I also remember Cameron slating Labour for their spending. It’s the Tories that are letting this country down. Clegg is just a puppet.

  • Thomas Paine

    I heard Martha Kearney on TWATO let Clegg off with exactly the same thing.

    Laziness, stupidity or mendacity? I guess that’s the question.

  • dalai guevara

    Why? Are they all thick?


  • HD2

    Clegg is not merely an LD, he is the LEADER of the heard of cats that are the Liberal Democrat Party (a protest group, not a serious political Party*, and which is neither Liberal, nor Democratic, but we’ll skip that for now!).

    He is clearly, on the basis of repeated evidence listed above, a barre-faced liar and thus unfit for public office. The MOST that George Osborne has EVER claimed is that he (and the Coalition Govt) would eliminate the STRUCTURAL deficit by 2015, an ambition which has now been put back to 2017, at least.

    The reality, as any fule kno, is that we need to reverse the current imbalance between Govt income and expenditure by around £200 BILLION pa, AND hold that surplus (of around £75 billion pa) fr 20-30 years, at which point we will be in a position to attempt Keynsian economics again.

    That’s only possible, assuming that taxation levels are near their limit at present, if those we elect reduce their willingness to spend our children’s money by the equivalent of scrapping the entire DWP and NHS budgets. Since that’s not going to happen, we need to go back to individuals, and their families, paying their own way, such that only 10% of the population are dependent on the State.

    Scrap ALL Child Benefit payments – Universal Benefit covers those in desperate need.
    Charge modest fees for schooling – with scholarships, so parents push their children to win one.
    Scrap ‘free’ NHS care – making those in work pay for private insurance (ie adopt the same policy used elsewhere in the world)
    Raise the pension age to 75, with 20% of the final sum (min wage x 40/wk) being payable each year from 70, so the State pension becomes a staged, gradual thing, not an overnight, 100% entitlement. Scrap all additional ‘freebies’ above the basic pension.

    Privatise roads, so that our infrastructure improves,and, by 2062, every single yard of UK road has been upgraded and improved, from country lanes with more passing places to motorways with 6 lanes, not 3, and road companies paid by the average sped and volume of traffic their roads carry, with deductions for accidents and delays. 24/7 road working on road works would be expected and, indeed, required, by law, outside domestic roads, where 18/6 would be the norm..

    * If it WAS a serious political Party, it would have put forward a manifesto which was sufficiently popular amongst the British people to have been elected as a Govt at least once in the last 100 years…..

    • JabbaTheCat

      “he is the LEADER of the heard of cats”

      Do you mind?

  • John_Page

    The Lib Dems gave up having a political philosophy a while back, and their policies are now just a ragbag of “good causes”, which Clegg wheels out to distinguish him from the Tories. Lib Dems attract voters who like nice things. They definitely don’t like having to make choices.

    Much of the stuff in the Lib Dem goody bag costs money. If Clegg admitted how dire the debt situation is, even BBC presenters might start asking how his distinguishing policies could be afforded.

    That’s why he has to misrepresent the debt.

    • Dimoto

      Spot on !
      Actually, the most notable part of Clegg’s performance on 5 Live, was not the dodgy word games, but the way that under minimal “audience pressure”, he couldn’t wait to back off from any commitment or responsibility to tighten spending.

  • Magnolia

    Fraser asks for a word, well how about obfuscation?
    The country has grappled with the expression ‘quantitative easing’ so might just about get it if trained correctly. let’s face it, we all know the correct definition of a bigot now don’t we? Fraser will need to practise saying obfuscation very slowly and clearly on air and be able to offer a pleasant definition that hides it’s connection with lies while explaining that it’s a truthful and nice way of saying that the speaker is not saying the truth.
    Good luck.

  • dcepalewis

    Rid yourself first of ANY delusion that politicians are there to serve their Party or electorate, they are there to serve themselves. In order to maintain their personal position ALL coalition members lie, deceive, mislead and cheat to everyone, including and especially their own party members to justify the actions they are being “forced” to take for the sake of the coalition. To them, ANY and ALL actions no matter how far r4emoved from party policy or even opposing established party values is excusable.
    This applies to Fork Tongued Clegg as well as Dodgy Dave.
    Just look at the way they are obstructing an In / Out Referendum on Europe despite everyone knowing there is a huge majority in the country in favour of one.
    So, because they know they can’t get their own way they obstruct the will of the people.
    Is this democracy? No
    Is this just? No
    Is this honourable? No
    Is it the will of the people? No
    It is however in the Politicians interest so that’s all that counts.
    But our day is coming.

  • do little and get more

    what do you expect from an expence fiddling goverment, what els are they hiding?

  • Wilhelm

    ” Why does Nick Clegg keep telling porkies about debt? ”

    Likewise about Fraser and Neathergate.

  • anyfool

    If we had a Fox News at least there would be two sides to television news and these lies would be on air immediately they were made.
    Why do you not campaign for that or would it interfere with a cosy cartel

    • Dimoto

      Yeah, ‘cos Murdoch is such a right-wing or left-wing paragon of virtue (which is it ?), isn’t he.

      • anyfool

        Your attempted sneer is pathetic.
        It only matters about Murdoch to people who do not have a mind of their own.
        Try watching something without the prejudices someone else has given you.
        Fox is basically right wing so expect to get that perspective, anything is better than the smugfest that is the current MSM in this country.

  • TomTom

    I suspect Clegg with a degree in Archaeology & Anthropology like Prince Charles. The fact is they are like Gordon Brown on Steroids building the bonfire so high that the conflagration will destroy the evidence. It is clear we are headed for a major financial collapse unlike anything seen in English history and these idiots have made things much worse. They have taken a giant gamble underwritten by QE and simply trashed the real economy trapping people in unsold houses and real-balance debt problems. Clegg is a deluded pretty boy who should have been a male model and has quite a bit of company in The Clueless Coalition. I never really appreciate Alistair Darling, but realise that had Labour put him up front in 2010 Cameron would be history in the Conservative Party by now.

    • TomTom

      I see the end of my first sentence disappeared…… went “Is unnumerate and econonimically illiterate”

      • telemachus

        Like the media hoards you lack faith
        The problem is loss of faith, loss of nerve
        We need QE, we need low rates to promote borrowing, above all we need growth
        Will someone for Gods sake listen to Ed Ballls

  • anyfool

    Come on Fraser, Why does Nick Clegg keep tells porkies about debt, read the next line.
    I regard Clegg as an honest and decent man.
    That Mr Nelson is why he thinks he can get away with it.
    Journalists are not holding politicians to account and in some cases actively collude in it,
    remember Browns counting the same spending three times “pity we cant pay it back the same way” he was only pulled up on it when it become so blatant even the most partisan were gulping.
    It seems all politicians are getting away with bending the truth and i am afraid it is people in the Fourth Estate as you like to put who are not holding them to account.
    We can only hope this article is the first of many that you and your fellow journalists intend to put into print, “a Damascene Conversion” well maybe.

    • Fraser Nelson

      Anyfool, if you run for a bus it doesn’t make you an athlete. If you tell a porkie, it doesn’t make you a habitual liar. Clegg will have used the strange SW1 liemaking machine, where they “test” lines with focus groups and use the one that comes out best, regardless whether it conforms to what is going on. It’s a defect in the political system, I dont think Clegg would have come up with this line himself.

      • james102

        Yes it certainly is a defect in our system.

      • anyfool

        Well Fraser do you not think that is a disgraceful way to run your political life never mind a country. you could still campaign against it as it will eventually end up in disaster for the people of this country, you never know it might even take off with you leading the way, why not mull it over.

      • Wilhelm

        Nelson ” if you run for a bus it doesn’t make you an athlete,. If you tell a porkie it doesn’t make you a habitual liar.”

        A garbage analogy. If you steal a paperclip from the office or rob a bank, it’s still stealing something that doesn’t belong to you. If you tell one lie or a hundred lies, it’s still lying.

        • Daniel Maris

          Isn’t it a bit like Hitler and Heydrich having a few Jewish genes in them – you’re not saying that makes them less Aryan are you? (I am trying to put this in a way you will understand Wilhelm.)

      • Austin Barry

        No, it doesn’t make you an habitual liar, and I’m sure when Clegg tells people his name is ‘Nick Clegg’ he’s being honest. He is simply a discerning liar, but a liar nevertheless.

        • TomTom

          Some people call it “positional truth” or in the case of our Political Culture which owes so much to The Bar – “fluid truth”. Lawyers are the mainstay of our Legislature and their casual approach to veracity tends to rub off on the audience. It is a fact that our societies in The West are infested with lawyers and our Universities churn out so many more that sheer boredome makes them seek excitement and career advancement as Politicians so they may continue to use the verbal dexterity to throw sand in the faces of those before them

      • IRISHBOY

        Ah! The System!! Of course! The actual words coming out of his actual mouth are the fault of The System. He’s Leader of his Party, the Deputy Prime Minister of a Government whose self-professed salient

      • Boudicca_Icenii

        That doesn’t answer the point made by anyfool that ‘the 4th estate’ fails to challenge our lying political elite; fails to properly hold them to account and thereby colludes in the lie.

      • sarge

        But Clegg could choose not to lie,had any moral compass.That is the real point. Testing out ways to sweeten the lie actually make matters worse. How can he not be a ‘habitual’ liar if he operates a process which figures out what the public will swallow,regardless of whether it is true?

        • telemachus

          Not sure he consciously lies
          Like all LibDems he is not embed with a sense of right and wrong

          • Rockin Ron

            It’s there alright, but he ignores it, so it may as well not be there. Everyone has a sense of right and wrong – it’s called a conscience.

      • Nicholas K

        Fraser, your explanation only condemns your naive assessment of this limp creature; how can Clegg be generally honest and decent if he unquestioningly uses the output of a spin machine “regardless whether it conforms to what is going on” – i.e. irrespective of the truth? Your answer is tantamount to saying that the denizens of the Westminster Village are immune from any normal standard of honesty. Anyway, if you think Clegg has no past form on porkies, you must have a short memory – what about his absurd claim in the televised pre-election debates that most immigration to the UK was from the EU?

      • Victor168

        I don’t look at “running for the bus” as being the definition of an athlete however telling a lie makes you a liar in my book and Clegg’s a shifty, scheming, oleagenous piece of **** to boot.


    An honest and decent man, even if only generally, wouldn’t repeat a lie just because others were also telling the same lie.

    • TomTom

      Josef Goebbels had some words on this

      • telemachus

        His words were on the big lie
        Still I guess lies could not get bigger

  • alexsandr

    beacuse interviewers on the BBC don’t know the difference -indeed some seem to have the economic knowledge if an elephant.
    They need asking and bringing up on this point at every opportinuty. Coffee housers, tell your friends.

    But there again Cleg and the rest of them atr politicians, ergo they are liars, such os the state of politics in the UK. I despair.

    • TomTom

      BBC interviewers are otherwise engaged……

    • james102

      Whether they know the difference or not they know bucking
      the dominant culture in an organisation is not a good career move.

      If you accept debt is increasing and are not intent on
      bringing the system down then you have to accept the need to reduce the size of
      the state and implement real cuts. Not a popular message at the BBC.

      • telemachus

        Cut cut cut
        Shrink the economy
        Shrink tax receipts
        And you put up debt
        So why not start putting up debt and promoting growth
        The tax receipts rise and we begin to repay debt
        Even the BBC are happy

  • james102

    All three of our main political brands lie about this.

    Labour goes on about ‘cuts’ and the Conservative-LibDems about
    reducing debt, naturally the public believe it. This is what happens when
    politics is reduced to marketing.

    We should also consider whether having a state broadcaster,
    which is so large it dominates the industry, is a major contributory factor.
    Most people get information from the broadcast media, can you imagine the BBC
    campaigning for cuts in public expenditure and bringing debt down?

    • alexsandr

      BBC isnt fit for purpose. Obvious lefty bias, then its fiddling tax, and now its covering up for a possible sex offender (or offernders) Should be a bill to break it up in the queens speech.

      • Justathought

        I ask myself now when I watch BBC; is this presenter paying 20% tax or the proper rate that everyone else pays. Its a daily reminder and it makes me sick.

        • telemachus

          Why the hell do these semantics mattter.
          Surely what matters is that the country should grow and should increase the employment opportunities particularly for our youth
          You usually care little for what Clegg has to say

          • Hexhamgeezer


            • telemachus

              Truth is truth

      • Victor168

        The BBC – fiddling taxes and kids.

      • HooksLaw

        BBC is exposed as hugely hypocritical.

  • Zyxtyr

    why does Nick Clegg keep tells porkies about debt?

    keep tells….. keep tells….. keep tells…..

    can’t help but think there is something amiss in… keep tells….

    • TomTom

      Tell us about Student Debt….in the USA that is another bubble about to burst with horrendous default rates

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    Why? Because ‘dealing with the debt’ is the only justification for this pantomime-horse Government. If they admit they are not dealing with it, they will be faced with demands to end the coalition. Under current polling, that means the LibDems will be annhialated; the CONs will be hammered and Labour will be back in Government.
    I think this is a case of ‘the ends justify the means.’
    But they are lying: systematically, blatently and our media allows them to get away with it. But let’s not kid ourselves that Labour would be any better – when it comes to lying, they are far worse.

    • telemachus

      Pantomime horse is correct
      They need to look behind and act
      Ed Balls is honest enough to say sod the debt, let’s grow

      • Sarge

        Blimey, you are utterly deluded aren’t you? That would be sod the debt a la Soviet Union then would it? mmmm let me think what happened there.

        So Balls is being quite the opposite of honest,just like you -and Clegg.

        I am afraid this is not year zero. The past cannot be rewritten,nor the future as the debt mountain defines both.

        • telemachus

          No sod the debt a la USA
          They do not seem to be doing too bad

      • ehup

        “let.s grow” …spend spend spend – sod it, only idiots think that their could be a tomorrow.

        • telemachus

          Worry not
          The yanks don’t

        • telemachus

          Essentially the debate that haunts EU leaders is taking place in the UK. How do they get out of the crisis or in their words, how do they reduce national debt? The two arguments (which both assume that we poor folk should pay for the crisis) are this – should national debt be reduced through the austerity measures (cutbacks in public spending and tax increases) or through increased state spending to create jobs and generate tax revenue to help pay down the debt.

          Clegg fudges it
          Ed Balls tells it like it is

    • anyfool

      Worse with a large dollop of sanctimony thrown in.

    • HooksLaw

      The deficit is 25% down on what was inherited. Labour left a massive deficit which cannot be shut down instantly. Therefore it is inevitable that the debt will rise. The bigger the deficit the more difficult it will be to turn it off. The govt were in any event wisely only committed to abolishing the structural deficit. The cyclical deficit will only turn when the economy and the world economy turns.

      Such is the massive size of the deficit and the vast burden of spending left by Brown that it will be at least a generation before we could hope to return to a stable position and hope to start seriously to address the debt burden. The debt will be with the nation as a dead weight for far longer than that.

      I very much doubt that even now 99% of the population have the slightest inkling of the total and utter disaster Brown has been to the UK economy.