It's the Last-Joust Budget before the Battle Begins; Neither of the Main Parties Can Confidently Lay Claim to the Prize Terrain of the Election - the Economy

The Evening Standard (London, England), March 24, 2010 | Go to article overview

It's the Last-Joust Budget before the Battle Begins; Neither of the Main Parties Can Confidently Lay Claim to the Prize Terrain of the Election - the Economy


Byline: Anne McElvoy

THE sense of fin de siecle hung heavy around the palace of Westminster as Alistair Darling rose to give what might well be the final Budget of the Labour years. I spoke to one civil servant who has worked on Budgets since Mr Brown still had his glossy black locks back in 1997. "I never thought it would go on this long," he said. Neither, in their heart of hearts, did Labour or the Tories.

These we have loved (or not): Gordon Brown's early hubris -- "no return to boom and bust" -- his daring raids on private sector pensions, and other greatest hits, the Budgets for the Many, not the Few, Prudence, the pratfalls of minuscule pension rises and the 10p tax fiasco which hit the working poor.

The over-confidence of Mr Brown's Budgets: "Oh yes, Mr Speaker ..." has been succeeded by the soporific understatement of Alistair Darling. If only we could bore our way out of recession, we'd be through all the dips by now and out on a Bond Street spending spree.

Mr Darling has cannily profited by selling himself short only to exceed expectations. He can duly pride himself that he rises today as a Chancellor scraping the bottom of the spending barrel without accruing personal animosity for what has gone wrong. A considerable political feat. He is the true Macavity of New Labour: Mr Brown keeps getting caught out. With the exception of his Northern Rock wobble, Alistair rarely is.

Indeed, the Conservatives are rattled.

"There's a lot of fear around this place," says a former leader. Of course, debt remains scarily high -- but the Government is profiting from the perceived uncertainty of the Tories about their own economic nostrums.

It is little short of miraculous that a long-serving Government that led Britain into a serious and damaging recession and hung around with the toxic baubles of sleazy MPs and union barons brokering strike deals should be closing the gap on the Conservatives.

And according to today's Ipsos Mori poll, it's winning the argument on the planned rate of public spending reduction too -- which can only reflect on the Tories' weakness in the first months of the year, since no one in Labour has the faintest idea of how the Government's aim to half the deficit in four years will be achieved. If it is.

Today is not really a Budget but the warm-up bout for the election race ahead. It gives Labour the chance to solidify its newfound (if unearned) role as the reassuring party, to whom the voters can entrust a recovery. Mr Darling will point to the "crossroads" at which UK plc finds itself -- and advise against taking the excitable risks of the party opposite.

For the Conservatives it is essential that they use their own moment in the economic spotlight to sound as if they have finally decided what their message is -- and intend to stick to it. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

It's the Last-Joust Budget before the Battle Begins; Neither of the Main Parties Can Confidently Lay Claim to the Prize Terrain of the Election - the Economy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.