The Labour reaction to George Osborne's generally excellent budget has been hilarious to watch. They really do seem at sixes and sevens. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised bearing in mind their policies in large part caused the crisis we have today.
I said well before the election that whoever won would put up VAT and I firmyl believe it would have happened at some point if Labour had won. Alistair Darling knows full well that most of what George Osborne announced yesterday would have happened if he had remained in the Treasury too - except with some delay.
Darling had already announced £44 billion of spending cuts without actually specifying what they would be. Very courageous of him. He knows full well that most of the cuts announced yesterday would have been announced by him too. He knows it. We know it.
It is also interesting that the Labour attack yesterday was centred on the role of the Liberal Democrats. When I interviewed Yvette Cooper on LBC she was only too happy to stick the knife into the LibDems, following the lead given by Harriett Harman in her budget response. In some ways, it's understandable. I put it to Simon Hughes yesterday that not a single LibDem voter went into the polling booth on May 6th and thought to themselves: "I'll vote LibDem because I want to put up VAT, freeze child benefit, freeze public sector pay and cut welfare benefits." I would say it is to the credit of senior LibDem politicians that they have now recognised the dire economic crisis we are in and have endorsed the measures needed to get out of it. When I spoke to Danny Alexander yesterday he had no reservations in endorsing every single one of the measures outlined by George Osborne and I believe Vince Cable did the same on TV later.