As I type this, Alan Johnson is doing his best to revive the fox which George Osborne shot. It doesn't look as if he is being very successful. Playing for laughs on a day of utter seriousness if not a very wise strategy, but I suppose he has to hide his lack of economic competence somehow.
George Osborne spoke for an hour. He announced many things which were uncomfortable and unpalatable, but most people in their heart of hearts know were necessary. To misquote Paul Keating, these were the cuts we had to have. Were they as drastic as some of us thought they should be? No, not quite. Were they as hard hitting as Labour were expecting? No. But will they be attacked as vicious and uncaring by the left and their allies? Of course they will. That's politics.
But the fact that at the end George Osborne was able to announce that instead of the 20% average cuts Labour announced in their budget his cuts amounted to an average of 19% rather shot Labour's fox. We all know that if Labour had been in power now, they would have had to announce similar cuts in spending. We know that. They know that. So their attacks on 19% cuts will ring rather hollow.