By Tim Montgomerie
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When Ed Balls CALLS for a freeze in petrol duty – as he did yesterday – he is made the newspaper's HERO of the week.
When George Osborne DELIVERED a freeze in petrol duty earlier this year he was made The Sun's VILLAIN of the week.
I've pasted both of The Sun's explantions below. Perhaps The Sun is right to criticise the awkward manner in which Mr Osborne delivered June's freeze but it was more than Ed Balls ever did when he was Gordon Brown's right hand man, responsible for more than one hundred tax increases during the Labour years.
Why does the man who helped wreck the UK economy get The Sun's benefit of the doubt while the man who is trying to undo the damage gets The Sun's wrath? I don't get it.
"Ed Balls is the ultimate Marmite politician. There are some who love him, but plenty who don't. He's a blunt-speaking political bruiser who takes no prisoners. Recent revelations about his love of piano playing and cooking have done little to soften his image. But Mr Balls will be the toast of Britain's motorists this weekend after he launched a crusade to scrap the looming hike in fuel tax. The Shadow Chancellor will call a vote on Monday urging George Osborne to axe – or at least delay – the 3p a litre increase in January. Such a move would cost the Treasury £350million. But Mr Balls will argue ministers can pay for the move by cracking down on tax loopholes instead. The move will pile pressure on Tory MPs who will face a backlash from constituents if they vote in favour of the rise in duty. This in turn will crank up the calls for Mr Osborne to back down – and give millions of hard-pressed motorists a break in his Autumn Statement on December 5. It is a clever tactical move by the wily Mr Balls – and if it comes off, he will deserve the hearty congratulations of millions of families across Britain."
The Sun's attack on George Osborne (scroll down page to 29th June entry):
"The Sun was delighted when the Chancellor finally pulled the above U-turn on fuel duty this week. But it was the duplicitousness with which he did it that wins him our weekly wooden spoon. Having ignored hard working Brits’ pleas for months, George compounded his terrible misjudgment with the pretence that the rapidly enforced U-turn was actually a long planned move to help everyone, made possible by money already saved by underspending in other ministries. That tall story crumbled within hours, when it emerged that little money – if any money – had been underspent so far, but the Treasury would have to find some as the year went on. Worst of all, Osborne then entirely disappeared from view, Macavity-syle, to dispatch woefully under-briefed junior Treasury minister Chloe Smith to be flayed alive on that night’s TV shows, notably by Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman – for which irate Nadine Dorries called him “a coward as well as arrogant". Mr Osborne has shown great statesmanship at stages over the last two years, and we are continually impressed by his resolve as well as significant success in his Number 1 task of tackling the deficit. But it should now be painfully obvious to him that he wins when he is straight and honest. When obsessive political gamer George gets too clever for his own good he loses, like he did this week. People are not fuels you see."