14 September 2009

The non-debate on public finances

After all the weekend briefings on what Mandy will say later on the public finances, his Lordship gets the 08.10 slot on Today to ram home his message.  The whole interview was overshadowed somewhat by Nick Robinson successfully pointing out that Brown had used the term, “Tory cuts versus Labour investment” after Mandy had denied this.

Well, catching politicians out is great fun for the media, but are we any further forward following his interview?  Everybody knows that cuts will come no matter who wins the election.  Mandy will not have it and now wishes to use the term “deficit reduction” whilst saying that the Tories are into “public service reduction”.  Clever words that mean the same.

Of course Mandy would not be pushed on Trident and ID cards:

….the government will consider all these options but that doesn't mean to say that the assumptions that some people are making about the savings that those big projects would offer would actually come about in reality.

In other words, the government is considering them, there are employment considerations in Labour held seats and Brown will pull these rabbits out of the hat when it most advantageous for Labour to do so.

This morning’s non-debate was rounded off by Ken Clarke making many obvious points.

Mandy is attempting to be ‘too clever by half’ by using fancy language when what is needed is plain simple English  He should admit that Labour will ‘cut’ and explain where and how.  Until this happens the ping-pong match goes on and, more importantly, Labour can put little pressure on the Tories to say where they themselves would ‘cut’.

Has Mandy made a strategic mistake in not being honest, and getting himself bogged down in who said what and when about this most fundamental of debates in the run up to the election?

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