Next budget – best chance to deliver

Posted on: 4th March 2020


Next week the Conservatives have a golden opportunity to prove they can keep their word – to “end austerity” – when they deliver their Budget.

The Chancellor’s Budget statement is traditionally the moment a Government can give itself at least 2 days of favourable news coverage (until the reality of the small print is examined. Though by then the media has become bored with it). Following Cabinet reshuffle we now know this Budget is effectively written by the real Prime Minister, Mr Dominic Cummings.

This is a great opportunity for the Conservatives’ to deliver their promise to “end austerity” and “level-up” an unequal country. It’s the most perfect time. During their honeymoon bounce. With an 80 seat majority and with leaderless opposition Parties in disarray. Brexit may not be “done” but they’ve successfully hidden their mishandling of it from the public gaze. And of course the Tory press can be depended upon to heap uncritical adulation while the BBC has been successfully neutered into obedience as the Conservatives maintain their perennial threat to abolish the license.

The circumstances could hardly be more ideal. All they have to do now is raise a few wealth taxes and close notorious tax fiddles – including those which have successfully accelerated the drive to turn the Cornish coast into a desert of second home ownership. Then use this income to promote real equality – ie put money back into the very things the Tories cut since they have been able to Govern alone five years ago. Things like our NHS, housing, re-introduce Sure Start, restore support for the poorest, invest in public service es delivered by our local authorities…

No excuses for not delivering.

That’s another Priti mess…

The Coronavirus, storms and carefully timed announcements (of another of Mr J’s innumerable offspring) masked deeply concerning news that Home Office chief – Sir Philip Rutnam – had resigned citing a “viscous campaign” by Conservative Minister Priti Patel. Though Sir Philip is hardly a household name and the event may seem an obscure Westminster Village skirmish I can assure you of its significance. And with it the implications that a new culture of arrogance towards and improper influence over the objective role of our civil servants is now well established by this Government.

(Taken from this week’s Column for The Cornishman and The West Briton newspapers)