Whoever is in political power makes no difference to the country.

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I just wanted to debate whether the party in power actual makes any difference to the overall economy of the country, or indeed the planet. It would seem to me that while the party in power can make local differences. A school here, a crossing there. When it comes to boom or recession they are just riding a wave that they cannot influence one way or the other. Boom or bust is just a cycle that we can do Little about. Of course the party in power will claim to have made a difference.
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I would have thought that political parties with diametrically opposed political philosophies would effect the success or failure of economic policy dramatically. Rather as we saw once Labour decided to throw to the winds the fiscal policy it inherited from the Tories and maintained for the first five years.

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The wrong party could screw the economy up pretty quickly! Ask the Greeks!
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And of course since no nation lives in isolation the perception of the wider world of a government's economic policy will effect the economy positively or negatively.
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While how we all fair is dictated by the fortunes of the 'business' (for which read 'banking') lobby, then who we vote for will always make less difference than how the 'market' is feeling at any one time. We would have to elect a government that believed in something else before that changed. That isn't looking too likely. Only this evening I saw a headline on the BBC.. "Ftse100 chief executives warn of a 'nightmare' SNP -Labour alliance, 'threatening' a possible socialist agenda". Well, these are Chief Executives of big business. They would say that.. lucky for them then that the Labour party do not have any such agenda, their offshore fortunes are safe. Don't have nightmares, chaps.. ghosts, monsters and Labour socialists don't really exist. While we are prepared to take what the particularly wealthy say as our political compass, then there will be no change from the situation the OP describes.
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Who ever gets in, it will be the same old story.1St, Giving themselves a Pay rise. 2. A Pension pot increase...3, Forgetting to actuate their pre election manifesto promises. Never fails. Jim. Lincoln .7

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I think the real problem here is that there are actually two (linked) economies, one private, one public, rather than one economy; the government has (almost) absolute control over the public economy but can only exert a limited (and costly) influence over the private economy (and the private economy must operate in a world economic situation that the government has no control over). An elected government has five years to prove to a (skeptical) electorate that the decisions the government has made have been good decisions; that isn't a lot of time to show tangible improvements in an economy but a short-term boost can be provided very quickly by expanding the public sector (the public economy). The downside of this strategy is that the government is already in debt and the country is in deficit so long-term it certainly is not sustainable because it is limited by the capacity of the country to borrow money. Influencing the private sector (the private economy) is a much more long-term proposition; realistically it is probably too long-term to show tangible improvement within the five year term of any government. A short-term boost is also possible but again this has to be limited because of what it 'costs' (more borrowing) in tax-breaks for example. The key to it all is sustainability; how much can Britain 'afford' to borrow?
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Apart from the irrelevant comments about politicians intentions and banker bashing (yawn) it is clear that political decisions can and do make a difference, in answer to the OP's question. Large corporations are affected by decisions on corporate taxes, minimum wage and social taxes. Big and small businesses are affected by these as well local taxes. So a political party can either encourage or discourage private employment as well as effectively managing public employment and conditions, as CD made clear. Whilst people's economic well being is almost always the deciding factor when the Election Day comes a good percentage will still vote for whichever party most represents their own general political philosophy.

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Considering the two traditional main parties, Labour and Conservative, there is very little to choose between them in either ideology or policies; yes, they will make efforts to highlight what the differences are but that is really more about perception than genuine large-scale difference. It is pandering to their traditional voters, not fundamental difference. The reality of the situation is that all parties only have the same amount of money to play with, or rather, the same amount of debt and borrowing to manage. The rise in popularity of the non-traditional parties is, I believe, due to them offering something popular (and in some cases unrealistic) that the other parties cannot offer. The rise of the SNP is due to them offering something that no other party can: independence for Scotland as a central policy. Will that make Scottish voters better-off? Maybe, maybe not. I certainly don't see how Scotland will have more money to play with, especially after falls in oil-price, and Scotland could certainly have a lot less money to play with. The rise in UKIP can be put down to several factors: general distrust and misunderstanding of the EU, concerns about immigration and a belief that the traditional mainstream parties are 'all the same' and none of them have met our (unrealistic?) expectations. UKIP are very thin-on-the-ground when it comes to detail about how they are going to manage the economy except for pandering to the widespread belief that all politicians have made a right mess of it so far because we've not all been made rich! So UKIP must be able to do better; how hard can it be, right? Don't know about the Green party; again their policies are probably pretty thin and you can't pay for everything just by cancelling Trident! Once a party is in power however it is often very difficult to make-good election promises and the voting public can be very quick to turn on a government that doesn't come up with the goods! In these circumstances the usual recourse of governments has been to borrow more money; push the problem into the future and let some other sucker deal with it! Most countries sail pretty close to the wind when it comes to debt and when the world economic climate changes many end up in big trouble (Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal) and even during the 'good times' some governments make increasingly desperate moves to make-good on election promises... ...for example Gordon Brown selling-off 40% of Britain's gold-reserve at knock-down prices!
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Considering the two traditional main parties, Labour and Conservative, there is very little to choose between them in either ideology or policies
Really??:confused:

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No, I actually don't think there is really; not in the grand-scheme of spending and policies. What is this election being fought-over? The NHS? Apart from a bit of scaremongering by Labour about 'privatisation' the NHS will still continue to be funded (and the nation will still have difficulty funding it whoever is in power). The national debt and deficit? Both parties have pledged to bring both under control; of course the Labour cuts (and they don't like to mention 'cuts' unless it is to criticise the Conservatives) won't be as bad as the Conservative cuts! Taxes? Both 'pledged' not to raise them.....I think (plus a bit of VAT scaremongering)! Apart from that I can't think of anything; it's all just pandering to their traditional voters.....or anybody else! So what is the fundamental difference? Anybody?
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The rise of the SNP is due to them offering something that no other party can: independence for Scotland as a central policy. Will that make Scottish voters better-off? Maybe, maybe not. I certainly don't see how Scotland will have more money to play with, especially after falls in oil-price, and Scotland could certainly have a lot less money to play with.
As you may recall I was a vociferous supporter of Scottish independence and was really miffed when the vote went the wrong way. Oh how I would be laughing now as an independent country led by Salmond and Sturgeon attempted to deliver the lavish, non-austerity spending plans with the oil price (a continuing rise in which was the basis of their policies) plummeting.
So what is the fundamental difference? Anybody?
A massive, unaffordable expansion of the public sector against even tighter controls on how much the non-productive sector of the economy costs each of us? Moggy
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A massive, unaffordable expansion of the public sector against even tighter controls on how much the non-productive sector of the economy costs each of us? Moggy
Keep talking like that and you'll be called a Thatcherite. :)
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Trouble is it can come down to individual politicians - if anybody is dumb enough to vote in the Millipede/balls team then as a 'brucie bonus' they will also get Broon - fiscally he is the most dangerous man in britain - he has screwed us over in a big way before and it would be disastrous if he ever got in a position of influence again ! I can never understand anybody believing he ever knew what he was doing as chancellor or PM !
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The idea that whoever in charge has no real bearing on the future is a convenient lie. It's a way of abstaining from blame when it all goes wrong. If any political party tells you that something happened when they were in power that they had no control over, it is nothing but an excuse. Of course the crash of 2007 is a case in point. Although that was mostly a global phenomenon, not every economy suffered, so clearly some could see it coming and took steps to avoid it. As to differences between parties? No, they are not equal, or even close. Fundamentally, the Tories believe in the power of the individual. The Labour Party believes in the power of the state. Much stems from that simple difference, but regardless of their specific policies, that is what it comes down to.

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A massive, unaffordable expansion of the public sector against even tighter controls on how much the non-productive sector of the economy costs each of us?
Well, even Labour claim that they are going to reduce both the deficit and national debt, they even mention 'cuts' although not so much now that the election campaign is under way (and that the population associate 'austerity' with the Conservatives). Anyway I'm sure the Labour cuts will be lovely and will only hurt those that deserve it! Plus, after New Labour, surely Labour won't make the same mistakes again? (Surely!!!) Also, I think that the Conservatives are unrealistic about their future ability to get government spending under control quickly; they've been proved optimistic so far but, at least, they are actually heading in the right direction! Result, there isn't that much difference between Labour and Conservative spending plans.....probably?

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Fundamentally, the Tories believe in the power of the individual. The Labour Party believes in the power of the state.
I've never heard it put as simply as that but how does that 'fundamental' difference manifest itself? I'll wager that 99% of government spending and taxation will remain completely unchanged whoever ends up in power after the general election so how big really is this fundamental difference?
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#12 as the cost of oil is falling making us all happy bunnies with more disposable income,have any of you noticed that the forecourt prices are going up?
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I've never heard it put as simply as that but how does that 'fundamental' difference manifest itself? I'll wager that 99% of government spending and taxation will remain completely unchanged whoever ends up in power after the general election so how big really is this fundamental difference?
Its a question of how the money is spent. Labour tend to move towards a larger state, with increased public services and state funded infrastructure projects. Tories tend to move the other way, towards a smaller state, and encourage private finance to build infrastructure. Thus Labour will always tend towards higher taxation to support their goals, and the Tories will move the other way. I think its notable that even looking at the Blair/Brown era, you can still see that fundamental design, and they were a long way from a typical Labour government. Likewise looking at the current coalition. That is hugely simplistic of course, but to my eye is the principal difference between them.
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When 'New Labour' came to power there were 5,221,000 public sector employees. By 2009, there were 6,070,000 Moggy

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I just wanted to debate whether the party in power actual makes any difference to the overall economy of the country,or indeed the planet. .
Probably not, considering that Blair was one of Thatchers biggest fans. Something he will live to regret when certain revelations are made public.