Political Promise

Seldom has a budget been talked about so much and meant so little

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2011 at 10:51 am

The Currer Ball is a great new blog with some humorous articles, like this great one in preparation for tomorrow’s budget, written by ilabouche and Jalal Azam.

Because all the really important stuff’s already been decided. That was the job of the Comprehensive Spending Review last November. The journey’s set. And we’re all going, whether we’re glad about it or not.

It was the Comprehensive Spending Review that established the Government’s plans to get rid of the structural deficit by 2014-15, and cut its departmental budgets by 19 percent.

4 months on, none of that’s going to change. That doesn’t stop the media licking its lips at the prospect of budget day; but why when it’s only over a few crumbs?

Because it’s the budget, you idiot! The set piece and spectacle of it all! Gees, even my goose bumps have goose bumps! And is it any wonder? David Cameron, George Osborne, and Eds Miliband and Balls, slogging it out over why fuel duty wasn’t cut, or (if Osborne does cut it), why it wasn’t cut enough.

Is that it? Is that what all this build up’s about? Seems a bit micro, doesn’t it?

In The Spectator this week, James Forsyth writes that there’s a feeling among Tory MPs that this budget ‘isn’t only Osborne’s best hope to get the Government back on track, but that it might be his last hope, too’.

Paranoid Tory MPs, I’ll stop you there. Because if you’re holding out for Wednesday to turn the tide, you can forget it. 4 years before an election, with a choppy 2011 and 2012 to navigate, this budget’s hardly going to be a game changer. Even if Osborne magics the proverbial rabbit from his top hat, flummoxing et tu Ed and Balls in the Commons, what’ll be the enduring effect outside it?

Some good headlines the next morning. Maybe even some the morning after that. And a bounce in the daily polls to go with it. But come next week, no one’s going to be talking about this budget – because it’ll have changed nothing.

And in sequent toil, as if to prove the point, there’s big strikes planned in London next weekend for public sector workers against the Coalition’s cuts agenda – an agenda that Wednesday won’t alter one bit. And you know what? I just can’t see the unions downing their placards and calling the whole thing off all because Osborne’s budget had a slither of good news for first time buyers, or a morsel of consolation for motorists, who are otherwise getting hammered just like everyone else.

Instead, make or break for this Government’s going to be whether or not people are feeling a lot better off by the time the next election comes ‘round – when a budget of 4 years before that told us nothing new will seem as insignificant as it is.

To read more from Currer, please visit http://thecurrerball.wordpress.com/
FOLLOW POLITICAL PROMISE’s COVERAGE OF GEORGE OSBORNE’s BUDGET TOMORROW FROM 11am, 23rd MARCH
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