Wednesday, March 21, 2007

That last Brown Budget in Full

Today Gordon Brown will announce his last budget. That is a certainty. He will not be chancellor next year no matter what happens. Either he will graciously accept the invitation to be Caesar and have rose petals strewn in his path, or he will face a serious challenger for the job of Leader of the Labour party who will win and will go off in a sulk that will make Ted Heath look like a good loser, and he will take his bitter cohorts with him. However what he will say tomorrow will be like this:

Ukrainian Tractor production* will be up again by 328.35%

(Gordon's forecast for growth will be met or surpassed, because he measures the winning figures. What won't make it into the speech is that whilst growth according to treasury figures is on or ahead of target, tax revenue is below target, and therefore borrowing is higher than forecast.)

Prudence, prudence, prudence, investing for the future .. cont. Page 04.

What he will fail to mention is Eddy George's evidence to parliament yesterday when the former head of the Bank of England admitted that the recession that every other country faced between 2000 and 2002 was avoided by a massive consumer and public borrowing boom leaving problems for the future, including very high house prices (See Sky article here).

Green taxes to protect the environment blah..

Bizarrely we have heard this before, because this budget like many new Labour ones has been leaked. Chancellors have resigned for this. You can read this here.

One billion to raise 200,000 children out of child poverty! (See another leak in the Guardian here).

This according to the article is because Gordon feels bad about how we got on in that UNICEF report. Firstly that amounts to £5,000 a head EXTRA per child. Secondly it assumes that whoever that money is going to is going to do something with it, or indeed that mere money is the answer.

The plan seems to be fiddling at the edges, more money for working tax credits and so on. The fact is that it is less the individual wealth of the family that counts but how cohesive the family is that counts, and where that may be in doubt, how cohesive the community is around it. For example how able a neighbor is to watch over your children? Mine are, are yours? In quite a lot of communities this is not the case because we are all scared of the consequences of telling off an errant child, or applying a sticking plaster to an injured one. We do not need to throw money around as if it will solve all our problems. We need to apply a bit of thought.

*I have no idea whether the Ukrainians make tractors or not and if they do, how that business is going, the expression "Ukrainian tractor production" is shorthand for silly government statistics that look a bit Stalinist.


Anonymous said...

I can't get excited about a Brown budget speech which has been been crafted over months and sounds like a "Stalinist" factory production report.
These days I prefer to wait 2/3 days for the experts to pore over the details not mentioned in the HoC, rather like waiting for a few nasty surprises or twists which he hopes the voters will miss.

Benedict White said...

ChrisD, Yes the devil will be in the detail once the soundbites are over.

Anonymous said...

Benedict, have you read "the servants of the people" yet?
It would have been an interesting read at other times, but reading it at the end of Blair's reign as Gordon awaits his "stalinist" coronation as leader has been fascinating.
Not surprised at either Lord Turnbull's outburst or Eddie George's comments having just read about their relationship with Gordon Brown...