As our one-time columnist has departed for Number Ten, we highlight some of the ideas advanced by the man described in today’s papers as the Prime Minister’s ‘political brain’.

On Tax Credit Cuts:

These dividing lines have served the Party well. They played their part in turning around the economy, put the Conservatives on the same side as the public, and helped to win the general election. They have also – in the infamous case of John McDonnell’s flip-flopping on the Charter for Budget Responsibility – thrown the Labour Party into turmoil. But, as a path dependence theorist might explain, George Osborne now finds himself trapped by the decisions he has already taken and the dividing lines he himself created…

These decisions meant that when it came to George Osborne’s post-election Budget in July, he opted to cut spending on tax credits. Unfortunately, during the election campaign just a couple of months earlier, Labour and the Institute for Fiscal Studies had predicted that this was what the Conservatives would have to do. In response, ministers either stonewalled or were forced to say that “we are not going to cut them”.” – November 2015

ConHome summary: Plan ahead – don’t talk yourself into a corner you’ve no way out of.

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