One of the chief weapons that a Chancellor has at budget time is the element of surprise. He can use it to wrong foot his opposite number and make him look ill informed and under prepared.
But in his desperation to control the news agenda and spin the Pre Budget Report, Alistair Darling forewent his natural advantage. By leaking virtually every major part of his report he enabled George Osborne to pre-prepare virtually every paragraph of his penetrating speech. And rarely has a politician taken such full advantage of such an opportunity. It was like a footballer who had been off his game coming back into form and scoring a 35 yard volley after the opposing defender gave him the ball.
Really? Ben Brogan as good as said that the leak had come from a Tory mole inside the Treasury.
"It was like a footballer who had been off his game coming back into form and scoring a 35 yard volley after the opposing defender gave him the ball"
Really? I haven't read them all so stand ready to be corrected but is there a single commentator or sketchwriter this morning who was similarly impressed with Osborne's response?
I have noticed that Labour Ministers keep claiming to have reduced debt in their first 10 years. See the National Statistics office graph here and remember they used Conservative spending plans for the first two years to see the truth.
What's amazing is that the BBC et al don't pick them up on it - oh hold on what am I saying of course it isn't surprising ...
Cassilis - George Osborne's response is here if you want to make up your own mind.
Osborne MUST have had that response prepared, and did well.
It was also a refreshing change to hear John Humphries tying Darling in knots on Today.
'Man in a Shed' - I will make up my own mind but it's the votes of the many millions who don't that Osborne needs to win....
Osborne dominated the house while he lectured and the Labour front bench looked very uncomfortable. Cameron looked worried over George's shoulder, has he got a problem if Osborne starts to look good? Overall a riveting performance by "Boy" George.
What I notice Cass is that the Labour tactic ( which is basically saying something like "Look is this any time to ask about how we got here"... , )has come unstuck.
For many voters yesterday was the first inkling of the state of the national debt and Osbourne certainly nailed that .
The actual fiddling was somewhat less impressive than the backdrop of flames and the message ..Labour are doping what they always do , in my humble, was a davastating sound bite
It is the performance outside that House whih counts. Cameron should pick up 2-3 reckless uncosted items in the budget and keep on using them at every opportunity in the media.
We are probably the worst makers of credit crunch in the planet through reckless borrowing by people, banks and the govt. But looking at my fellow countrymen who borrowed at will and who are the voters, I do not see them worrying about the mountain of debt the govt is building for atleast 4 generations. If they did they would not be in the position they are now as individuals and families. Intellectual arguments about debt would not wash. Hence Cameron should carefully plan his tactics with simple examples and keep on hitting Brown with them. Pensioners like me who may get a few tens of pounds more will not spend them. The VAT cut will not be passed. It is likely Brown's gamble may not pay off. But Cameron should keep his comments coming time and again. Visibility is the key and not hibernation during December and January. Othewise, I do not see him winning the arguments.
I didn't think this was planned at all. I suspect Number 10 and 11 are furious about the leak because they wanted their announcement to be seen as a dramatic move to save the economy, not some 24-hour-old glorified press release.
People in my office yesterday picked up the juxtaposition of record levels of public spending and the Sunday Times' report on how the government has fuelled an explosion of "non-jobs" in the public sector.
The general public will also make this connection: Labour has wasted billions to no purpose on an unreformed, unproductive public sector, pushing the country to the brink of bankruptcy in the process, and we are all now going to have to pay for it over the next 5-7 years.
That is a simple message and one that the Tories must hammer home.
This cheered me up no end.
I thought Osborne was silly - particularly compared with Cable immediately following him. Perhaps we all see what expect to see in these encounters.
Notice how nervous brown was during Osborne's speech,talking and fidgeting all through it.Typical labour"I'm not listening,I'm not listening,so there"attitude.Any wonder we are in this state.
Personally I am sick of listening to Cable pontificating .He is damn quiet about the loss of public money under National Northern Rock and quieter still about the fact that his weathervane Party were advocating even higher spending during the ‘extraordinary times’ when all this debt was , in reality , stacked up under Brown.
Good job no-one ever listens
I definately got the impression that on the live blog thingy on Guido yesterday that Draper didn't really know what was going on. He said and now comes the boy George when there was 20 minutes left.
He sort of almost expressed surprise when new topics came up too - 'and now a housing budget!' etc - made me think that whilst he may have been brought back, he's no insider.
Martin - I thought Cameron looked bloody furious which he always does when near Brown, but Brown looked, well, this is a family blog but I was scared. I'll go with self obsessed as has been used in the MSM but there is definately a problem there.
Darling on Today this morning described this record borrowing gamble as "living within our means".
It may be satire but it's not funny.
matthew cain..grow up! when you have a good source you hide it!!
blame it on the opposition and the labour crowd will believe it!
Could not have been Mrs Balls talking to Mr Balls could it now!!!????
Cassiis..the many millions have and it aint your lot!
(Iain, how many 35 yard volley's at West hamm this season?)
Thanks for the hat-tip... ;)
George Osborne was excellent.
The Broon looked decidedly nervous as George tore to shreds his claim for economic competence.
Labour leak/trail everything. This time it blew up in their face ,and about time to.
This budget is a financial joke and Darling knows it.
The "prosperity of the last 11 years has been built on borrowing. Nada mas nada menos. And now there is a monstrous bill to pay.
Much of the billions poured into public services has not been "invested" to provide the country with an infrastructure and services which match the demands of a modern society.
Billions have been wasted on atrociously managed projects, unecessary jobs, overinflated salaries, pointless quangoes etc etc.
An election cannot come quickly enough. Labour have reverted to type. They have mired the country in the poo and it'll take the Tories to restore some order. I don't envy them the task.
The Broon will probably float off to some gold plated job with an international quango. May God help them!
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