As far as the Tories (and David Cameron!) are concerned, George Osborne needs the forthcoming budget to work wonders for the party. After their Eastleigh by-election embarrassment, Moody’s recent removal of the UK’s AAA status and the latest fears of a triple-dip recession (following a surprise fall in factory output yesterday, which sent the pound tumbling below $1.50 for the first time in more than two years), Osborne will no doubt address his parliamentary colleagues with a supreme confidence that will placate his team mates… you know the sort of thing - providing the odd nugget of good news for the rich and (of course) smug justification of ALL his economic measures.My long-standing concern is that, at a time when government policies should be being chastised by an effective political opposition, it’s the government who seems to be “winning” most of the political arguments.
I’ve previously expressed my concerns and disappointment over Ed Milliband’s Labour Party leadership… and there has certainly been nothing over recent weeks to make me change my mind. By the same token, the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, SHOULD be having field day every week, but instead – despite his intellect and his confrontational, big-boy bullying image – he has become something of an embarrassment… scoring a succession of own goals instead of hat-tricks.
I think Alistair Darling was very unfairly criticised as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Gordon Brown’s Labour government and there have certainly been times over the past couple of years when I’ve yearned for his articulate, commonsense reasoning in parliamentary economic debates. So it was very interesting to read Marina Hyde’s article in the morning’s Guardian which expressed the view: “If only Ed Miliband would dump Ed Balls and recast Alistair Darling”.
If only… indeed!