Thursday, 26 August 2010

That IFS report

It's caused a right old stink hasn't it? And also drawn out some of the problems facing the Con-Dems.

First up, it surely demonstrates why it was stupid to attempt to brand it a progressive budget. It was stupid because a) it is false and b) everyone is completely sick of the P-word in its loose sense c) 'progressive' also has a techinal meaning that anyone with a bit of knowledge is aware of and so the attempt to blur the meanings in b) and c) makes those doing it look duplicitous.

Secondly, Iain Dale is quite right to draw attention to this article on LibDem voice because it, and more so the comments below it, show what a mess they are in when responding to independent analysis. Should they accept the broad message from the IFS, or attack it? The fact various folks out there are already seeking to portray the IFS as either inherently lefty and/or bending their analysis to suit the policy needs of those who paid for it shows how quickly standards can slip.

It may have been much better for the ConDems to set out an honest 'classical liberal' argument in favour of what they were doing. After all that is the ground on which the coalition is built. Instead they have basically tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the electorate and their own supporters. And Labour supporters know only too well that when you try that in a Budget, once someone has looked closely at the numbers the short-term advantage can turn to long-term damage.

And the really great thing about this story is that Labour didn't even need to be in it. A self-inflicted wound if ever there was one.

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