First of all, budgets this close to the general election are kind of meaningless anyhow. Particularly in this age of hung parliaments. I mean, even if we get another Lib-Tory, there will almost certainly be an “emergency” budget in the summer. So what’s the point? Historically, they are opportunities for the governing party to present the economic face they want to embed within the electorate’s consciousness without the usual worry as to how it will be implemented. Also historically, governing parties tend to screw this up (see: pretty much every budget made right before a general election in the history of parliamentary Britain).
Anyhow, this budget – was it good or bad for Osborne? Like pretty much all of the budgets post-“omnishambles”, George came out on top you’d have to say. He learnt his lessons from 2012 and has successfully applied them ever since. He put Labour into their usual corner around this time of the year, pulling a few rabbits out of the hat they were not expecting.
The cuts he announced weren’t as severe as Labour thought they would be. He got over the message he wanted: I’m competent, this lot aren’t. Labour could only respond with the usual: the Tories promised to cut the deficit by a lot more than they have done. This is astonishingly hypocritical on their parts, given they didn’t want to cut the deficit whatsoever. If you start out with the notion that no cuts are necessary, you would think it would be tricky to then criticise the government for having not cut enough. But that seems to be where we are.
Anyhow, Miliband did his best, going on about cost of living and how everything in the entire world comes back to the NHS somehow.
Looking back on this, I didn’t set out for this piece to an anti-Labour tirade, but somehow that’s what it ended up being. I’m not glad the Tories won the day. I’m just disappointed that Labour were kind of crap at this stuff as usual.