As today’s YouGov poll shows – Wednesday’s Budget has not fooled the British people. The Conservative lead is higher since Gordon Brown got to his feet than it was before. Wednesday’s Budget has done nothing to alter the course of the British economy or the growth of the British state. Under Gordon Brown, Britain has become a much more European-style economy with high levels of tax and spending and with a huge increase in dependency. If only we had an Opposition willing to deliver a fundamental change of course (but that’s a topic for another day).
The 2007 Budget did nothing to repair the damage that Gordon Brown has done to UKplc. But it did – hopefully once-and-for-all – prove that the Chancellor is every bit as manipulative as Tony Blair. This was a Budget where all the tax rises were hidden and the tax goodies trumpeted.
George Osborne got it right yesterday during the Commons debate on the Budget:
"If people want to know what this Chancellor would be like in No. 10, they should look no further than yesterday’s Budget—stealthy, sneaky and unable to tell the truth. He is not the man who can restore public trust in Government, because he is the reason why people do not believe a word that they say any more."
It is a lasting legacy of the New Labour project – a project that we must never tire of describing as the Brown-Blair project – that hardly anyone believes a word from any politician. One challenge for Mr Osborne is to devise a new way of handling the
whole Budget process so that it is transparent and that announcements
will become more believable.