Was that it? A few crude bits of politics, a little petty cash moving around, and three wonky arguments.
I am so fed up with a Parliament which is sidelined by the government and insists on missing the main points. The government told us it was doing well with its investment in the banks, failing to mention the accumulated losses of £23 billion at RBS and Lloyds in two years or the £12 billion of potential loss on the shares revealed in the Red Book.
The government told us the deficit would carry us through the recession, failing to see how it was undermining the currency and pushing up interest rates. They press released later some large numbers for efficiency gains in major departments in future years , not wanting Parliament to have a chance to debate that. It was a budget with the spending left out!
The budget applied a £1.4 billion net stimulus to a £1400 billion economy – that’s just 0.1%. The Chancellor behaved as if he did not know that RBS and LLoyds slashed their balance sheets by £800 billion last year. He made no attempt to quantify how much negative impact that had on the UK economy, and offered no explanation of why they were doing it. He seems unaware of the lack of credit and money in the private sector, or of the way his quantitative easing is just designed to feed cheap money into the public sector to see them up to the election.
I will post my budget speech seeking to set out the magnitude of the problem and the reasons why our growth is so sluggish, once we have the transcript available.
The private sector is going to take years to pay off all the debts this government has piled up. We need a strongly pro enterprise policy to give us a better chance of surviving and flourishing. That means lower taxes on earning and working, an end to jealousy over success, and some value for the public money we do spend. Labour have started using some of the language of value for money in public services, after years of proving they do not know how to deliver it. Just using the language upsets many of their backbenchers – they were just there yesterday to cheer to the echo the latest tax increases.