The Chancellor should begin by saying sorry.
He should say sorry for the deepest and longest recession since the Thirties of the last century.
He should say sorry for their regulatory system which did not see banks and building societies were going bust.
He should say sorry to all the people out of work or about to lose their job.
He should say sorry for the huge damage caused to many pension funds, leaving people with little or nothing for their retirement.
He should say sorry for heaping so much debt on the British people.
He should say sorry for the wild conduct of monetary policy in recent years, which stoked the boom and then plunged us into the crash.
Instead, he will probably play silly and dangerous political games, seeking to use the budget to vilify the Tories and set them policy traps. He will wrongly say Tories wish to do nothing, and wish to damage crucial services.
The Chancellor should then give us an honest account of the dire state of the public accounts.
He should tell us they may lose us £200 billion through the banks they have bought and guaranteed, as the IMF have warned. That’s more than £3000 for every man, woman and child in the country. Even his own rumoured figure of losses of £60 billion means he admits he has lost every one of us £1000 on his bank nationalisation madness.
He should tell us the build up of debt has been too fast and too great, and poses us a big threat to our future growth rates and living standards.
He should tell us that his forecasts a year ago were wildly optimsitic, and his forecasts last autumn were so wrong as to verge on the mendacious. He should give us a sober assessment of the extent and duration of the downturn
Instead, he will go for too low a figure for banking losses, continue to be relatively optimistic about the extent of the downturn, and continue to understate the debts by a huge margin. He will grow a forest of recovery out of his tiny green shoots, all based on surveys showing the rate of decline may be slowing.
Finally, the Chancellor should say that he intends to start getting the UK public sector to live within its means. He will not delay this until after the next election, and not treat reducing public spending as some kind of imaginary game or political challenge to the Tories. He will instead this year make large reductions in undesirable, wasteful and not strictly essential expenditure. Schools and hospitals, nurses and teachers will be safe. ID cards, centralised computer systems, unelected regional government, more subsidies to banks and other large companies, increases in regulation and public adminsitration will all go. He will require all MPs to cut their costs and the costs of Parliament by 10% to show a lead.
Instead, the cuts will be delayed, political, and often not for real. This will be a fantasy budget and a very political budget. It could turn out to be the McBride memorial budget.This government not only divorced Prudence, but continues to hold a drink and drugs party on her grave. That is bad news for all of us.