Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Budget .... Whatever

Another …. Whatever today.

I still haven’t read all the papers I want to regarding the Public Services Policy Review and the Citizens Forums which preceded the review publication. I’ll probably find that I end up not writing about this at all but I can’t help thinking there’s a good story in it. Anyway, I’m not ready.

What is my … whatever?

I should talk about the Budget. Brown was typical Brown: rock solid presentation with a rabbit at the end and probably a few dead rabbits hidden in the text awaiting discovery.

Putting up road tax is a positive move – provided one doesn’t want a car which is to be clobbered. If the basis for putting cars into different categories is the CO2 emissions then I’m OK with it. I heard that a 2l petrol Renault Espace is in the highest band, which surprised some commentators, but provided it has high emissions the categorisation is fine.

I have a feeling that the removal of the 10% rate will be seen as a mistake.

I haven’t read very much of the post-budget comment but I feel that removing the 10% Income Tax rate will hit some on lower incomes more than they benefit from the reduction in the basic rate from 22% to 20%. Perhaps the very lowest will gain through other benefits.

But rather than talking about the Budget details I want to talk about David Cameron’s reply. Very weak! Very, very weak!

I know it’s much easier for the Chancellor because he knows what is coming but Cameron hardly laid a glove on Brown. His overused “Stalinist” jokes fell flatter the more he used them. He should have used only one: “The Labour Party are just realising their next leader has the tendencies of Stalin and the poll ratings of Michael Foot. His comment about Milliband standing for Labour leadership got groans- no laughter. He was over-prepared with jokes but under-prepared for detail. Robin Cook, in a similar position, would have been meticulously prepared ready to spear his opponent with detailed examples.

Early evening I was ironing and watching TV: my mistake was to watch the Budget debate – turgid. A virtually empty Chamber and MP’s with nothing to say saying rather a lot and taking rather a long time to say it. Compare that with me: A virtually empty house, rather a lot of ironing and taking rather a long time to iron. I know which made better TV.

Well, possibly tomorrow I’ll get round to Citizens Forums. Perhaps the Budget should be subject to the deliberations of a Citizen’s Forum. TB would love that: he’d probably get more advance notice of the Budget details.

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