Politics Summary: Thursday, March 25th

The front page reaction to the Alistair Darling’s Budget is primarily along party lines. The Guardian says, “Keep calm and carry on” and highlights that “Labour reveals detail of £11bn cuts package”. The Daily Mirror calls him a “Safe pair of eyebrows” with a close up of his face and says “He taxes rich hardest”. The Times calls it “Nakedly political” with a cartoon paying homage to the famous poster for the Oscar-winning film ‘American Beauty’. The Telegraph calls it a “Tax raid on middle class … Darling grabs £19bn, but little sign of pre-election sweeteners”.

For the Financial Times, “Darling ducks deficit challenge”. The Sun excels itself with a reference to philandering stars: “Darling just screwed more people than JT, Ashley, Mark Owen and Tiger Woods”. While the Express becomes a party election poster for the Conservatives with a large quote from David Cameron and the headline, “A Budget of envy and spite”. Left Foot Forward has a summary of progressive reaction. The Tories’ lead in the YouGov tracker poll for The Sun, conducted before the Budget, is down to 2 per cent – the lowest lead in any poll since 2008.

Leading commentators are rather more positive but acknowledge that the big decisions on cuts were postponed. Martin Wolf in the FT says Darling did a “remarkable job” but the case was “ultimately not persuasive” and says, “the government bears substantial responsibility for the vulnerability of the economy and public finances”. CBI Chief Richard Lambert writes in the Times that Darling, “steered a rather clever course” between the electorate and the bond market but says the”worst is yet to come”. Nonetheless, he was clear on the question of when to cut: “it would be risky for the Government to slam on the spending brakes right now.” Will Hutton in the Guardian focuses on the growth package and calls it, “the first serious effort to support innovation and investment since the war”. He also highlights that, “similar – or exactly the same – ideas are being advanced by the Conservatives”. Examining the politics of the speech, Ben Brogan in the Telegraph says Labour will “fight to the death” while Steve Richards in the Independent says, “Darling delivered half a Budget and an entire election speech”.

Following revelations on Channel 4’s Dispatches programme, Geoff Hoon has been asked to leave his NATO advisory post. “It was the British Government that nominated Mr Hoon to be one of the group of 12 experts and he has served there with distinction,” James Appathurai told reporters in Brussels. “However, given that it is clear the British Government no longer supports Mr Hoon’s participation, the Secretary-General has decided to ask Mr Hoon to end his participation.” The Times quotes Mr Hoon: “I am disappointed that I won’t see it [the project] through to its conclusion.”

The Telegraph outlines that council tax rises of 1.8 per cent will be “the lowest annual rise since the tax was introduced in 1993/94”. John Denham, Local Government Secretary, said the below-inflation hike has been made possible by a 4 per cent increase in central funding for councils from next month. Caroline Spelman, shadow spokeswoman for communities and local government, said  council tax had more than doubled under Labour. The Sun‘s rehashes this line with a headline that reads: “Council tax doubles … the average bill in England is set to soar by another £25.”

The Israeli government will not be allowed to replace the Mossad diplomat expelled from London over the cloning of British passports unless it guarantees that identity cloning will never happen again, reports the Independent. The Israeli government has shown no signs so far that it will agree to Mr Miliband’s demand but the Telegraph suggests that Israel is keen to placate Britain while it is facing the United States’ wrath over its building plans in occupied East Jerusalem. The Times reports that other countries – including Australia and possibly Ireland, France, and Germany – are considering taking similar action to Britain.

Picture credit: Politics Home

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6 Responses to “Politics Summary: Thursday, March 25th”

  1. Billy Blofeld

    Gordon should be on trial for criminal negligence. He has wrecked the economy. Darling has done nothing to tell us how it will be repaired.

    This from the Adam Smith Institute:

    “Britain’s government sector is now bigger than its private sector. It accounts for 52.1% of Gross Domestic Product according to the OECD – the highest since the organisation’s records began. Sure, government was even bigger in the early 1940s, but then at least we were fighting a war to save Europe from Nazi dictatorship. There is no such excuse this time.

    In 1900, the government was a mere 15% of the economy. It was given a boost by World War I, but for most of the interwar years it remained in the 20%-30% range. After World War II it stayed below 40% until Harold Wilson’s 1964-70 Labour government broke that barrier, and now Gordon Brown has taken it through the next.

    Keynesians might rejoice: spend your way out of recession, they say. The trouble is that governments spend other people’s money. And those people, in the private sector, can spend – and invest – it a lot more efficiently than civil servants can. The Keynesian solution takes money out of the wealth-creating side of the economy and throws it into the wealth-spending side. That is no way to generate the new economic growth that we need to earn our way out of the debt dungeon. We need to reduce government spending drastically. And that requires nothing less than a complete re-think about what government departments, agencies, and programmes exist for.”

    Labour have really stuffed up the economy big style this time.

  2. Vicki

    Further to the media coverage referenced above, some of you might be interested in how the budget could impact on BME communities.

    The Runnymede Trust has written a post on its blog regarding this issue: http://www.runnymedetrust.org/news/155/359/The-Budget-and-BME-Communities.html

  3. Konnolsky

    Here in Smolensk we are very puzzle at strange rituals of British Budgetings. Today in butcher’s shop, where assistant Yuri is occupy with delicate business of prepare for visit of environmental health inspectors – ha! splat! there goes another roachcock – we are think about this until brains is bleed.

    First, who is strange man, Mr Speakeasy? He dress like Dracula, but is short silly man, and remind Yuri of Fantasy Island servant who is shout “the plane, the plane”. He say something about hors d’oeuvre. Then Darling is speak. I say before on site that he is some delusions if think he anybody’s darling as has eyebrows like my uncle Mikhail, who is give me nighthorses as boy.

    I also say before I amaze at government taxings of boozings and smoke. If such measures introduce in Russian Duma then rioting immediate, especially from childs. Our drink and puffs is make us happiest nation on earth and is not any harms. Drivers of car and tram and bus is relax with vodka bottle and deaths on roads is still only 2 millions in year. My dentist is smoke all way through give me root canal treatment, and fumes is distract me from excruciating pains. Dentist run out of anaesthetic two months before.

    But Western influence is menace. When it time for me to teach young Pavel, to smoke and drink, he is say not want it as bad for you. I use gentle paternal coercings of food deprivation and he fine now, solid 40 a day lad, with liking for local drink of vodka and ethanol cocktails. I reward with bike for 9th birthday.

  4. Mr. Sensible

    Billy I’m afraid that does not add up.

    If we didn’t spend like we and other countries have done we would be in a bigger mess; Ken Clark likes to tell you he left the economy in good shape. But what he forgets to tell us is that Cameron was an adviser to Norman Lamont on ‘Black Wednesday’ and I believe Inflation was around 10% for a time.

  5. Kurt

    Politics Summary: Thursday, March 25th | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/b46q0W

  6. Look Left – The Week in Fast Forward | Left Foot Forward

    […] This week saw one of the biggest events of the political calendar, the Budget, described by The Guardian as “Political but not profligate; No big headline measures, and […]

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