Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Osborne Shoots Labour's Fox

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.


OldSlaughter said...

Osborne's comeback to Johnson was masterful, flawless and savage.

It was almost bullying. Very funny and so very telling about the shallow nature of the oppositions position. Johnson looked like a fool and Red Ed is not looking happy or competent.

Great performance.

Michael Fowke said...

I thought Alan Johnson was doing a stand-up routine, until I realized he was in the House of Commons.

Unknown said...

Tories don't shoot foxes, they hunt them on horseback.

commentor said...

With their plan for 20% cuts, Labour are simply not being realistic about the need to tackle the deficit.

Thank goodness the Tories are pushing ahead with the difficult but necessary 19% cuts.

MikeyP said...

Might that be "unpalatable"?

Still, you are correct, although the cuts should have been even greater and better directed.

p smith said...

So if Labour were going to bring in 20% cuts and the Tories have made cuts of 19%, just how is it that Labour are "deficit deniers" and have no plan for reducing the deficit, Iain?

Unless of course Osborne was lying which we know is impossible because he is such a good egg.

Keir said...

They'd make the cuts but not in the same aspects of each sector and not in the same depth - the time frame of deficit reduction in Labour plans is far longer therefore the depth wouldn't be as great.

This is a big gamble.

Penfold said...

As we well know, Nulab will defend the indefensible, as they've been told to fight to the last man and the last bullet, echoing the last word's from another bunker dweller.

Labour have not been known for their equability or for accepting the real reality and facts of life and existence. So it will be interesting to see the story develop over the next few days, particularly from the Marxist Broadcasting Society that is the BBC and the Grauniad, and the meeja luvvies.

A pox and plague on the swine and their fellow travellers, who got us into this mess in the first place and now expect us to swallow their miserable propaganda and lies.

Anonymous said...

Labour supporters prattling here after Gordo and Red Ed has left a car crash site to be repaired by this govt.

Jimmy said...

So Gideon thinks the level of cuts we proposed before the election were about right?

He certainly got us good there.

Maverick Ways said...

And then Johnson tore himself to pieces.

reigateILT said...


Tom Powdrill said...

Here's what the FT says:

"Mr Osborne cannot tell the difference between apples and oranges. In his peroration, he compared a notional 25 per cent cut in real departmental spending for non protected departments, which was in his Budget (actually, it wasn’t but that is a different story), with Labour’s 20 per cent notional cut in their unprotected budgets. But because Labour and the Conservatives were proposing to protect different departments, the numbers are simply not comparable. Not even close. Because Labour wanted to consolidate the budget more slowly, its spending cuts to departments would have been smaller. This sort of deception really should be beneath a chancellor of the exchequer. Sadly, it is not."

mike said...

A very weak post Iain. Agree with him or not Johnson was pointing out the human cost of this and the people cheering the cuts were the comfortable Tory back benchers. That looks bad. Johnson is a great communicator. Osbourne isn't.

As for 20% - you're joining in the Westminster nonsense. Nobody outside the Westminister bubble gives a toss about any (Con or Lab) politician's fudged percentage. When they talk in these terms politicians are (at best) ignored by the public. Did you learn nothing from Gordon Brown's approach to communication?

Paul Halsall said...

Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
Ezekiel 16:49 - describing Tories.

Tories are Sodomites.

The Purpleline said...

I think R-ed Miliband might as well have asked Eddie Izzard to become shadow chancellor. Labour turned Westminster into the Comedy club.
As a Tory i do not know quite why but I do like AJ but this was a truly dreadful performance to hide his lack of knowledge
PMQ R-ed was terrible worst performance I have ever seen by anyone including Brown

Ian Simcox said...

To those wondering about how Osborne can cut 'shallower', the point is a mathematical one.

Say I have a department with a £100bn budget, and my opponents say they will cut it by 20% over four years, at approx 5.4% per year. Spending in that dept would be £100bn, then 94.6, then 89.4, 84.6 and finally £80bn in year 5, a total spend of £448.6bn.

If I play the game and go for a 19% overall cut, I can do that by cutting 7% in the first year, 6% the next two then 1.4% in the 4th - giving spends of £100bn, 93.0, 87.4, 82.2 then £81bn. Total spend over the 5 years is then £443.6bn, £5bn less than my opponents.

So, I'll have spent less over the 5 years but I'm able to say "look, they would have cut more".

If you want the real numbers, you have to look at total spend over the 5 years versus what would have been spent if spending was unchanged, rather than just looking at where the endpoints are.

There's more than one way to get from A to B.

Robert said...

Even Osbourne stated that spending will rise over the period to 2015. As taxes will also rise starting with VAT in January 2011 this is just Tory tax and spend.

I note that our contributions to the troughers in Brussels will increase. Not sharing the burden then?

Daedalus said...

19%! Not a plan to reduce the state for idealogical reasons! It should have been 29%and it SHOULD have been done for ideological reasons. Socialist bastards, and thats the tories.


David Lindsay said...

Thursday 9th April 1992 - General Election. Wednesday 16th September 1992 - result of the next one became a foregone conclusion, even if it did take four and a half years to arrive. Thursday 6th May 2010 - General Election. Wednesday 20th October 2010 - result of the next one became a foregone conclusion, even if it will take four and a half years to arrive.

The economy had picked up by the 1997 Election, but who cared, or even noticed? Ed Miliband now has the chance to give us what we would have had if John Smith has lived. But he will need a body of MPs, even if initially small, both to hold him to that and to protect him against the more obnoxious sections of his party, people whose happiest day was when Smith died. AV makes such a body perfectly possible. If we use it properly.

Anonymous said...

David Lindsay can read my reply to his exact same post on Coffee House ... on Coffee House.

Johnson shuffled onto the commons stage with all the aplomb of a man waving a wacky cane, wearing a red nose and oversize boots and a button hole spouting custard. I'm surprised he did not sit on a whoopee cushion.

Mr Powdrill I thought Osborne was quoting 'representations' Labour made to him.

tory boys never grow up said...

I think your analysis rather ignores the impact of the benefit changes for which Osborne is unable and does not make a similar claim. Of course in your eyes these only affect the "underserving" poor or the "underserving" rush withe children, and support your ideological objectives so we don't have to worry about them or the pain or difficuylties that they will cause. Since we are all in this togetther Iain, perhaps you might wish to outline how much of a burden you will bear as result of the tax and benefit changes announced by the Conservatives - just so that we see how your share of the pain compares with those who have lost benefits. I think such a comparison might be quite illuminating.

tory boys never grow up said...

Why has the methodology changed for demonstrating the impact of the spending and benefit changes according to income distribution since that employed in the budget?

Why hasn't the new basis and the figures been reviewed by the OBR, given the imporatnce attached by Cameron to sharing the pain?

I think I smell a rather large Tory rat.

Goodwin said...

Not a bad start from George but he needs to hit benefits for the great unwashed and child benefits for the serial breeder a lot harder, also anything I am paying for illegal immigrants. He also needs to un-ring-fence the aid budget - aid for nuclear powers like India, Pakistan and China is just taking the p*ss. All payments as permanent member of the P5 at the moribund UN and all other international contributions should also be ripe for cuts. And as for Afghanistan? Where precisely is the value for money in that little escapade? Let's sort out this sorry little country first eh?

Unsworth said...

@ toryboys

No, what you're smelling is the decomposing corpse of the Labour Party.