27 February 2010

Have the Tories just announced Labour's pre-election budget?

Traditionally, one would turn to The Telegraph on the morning of any Tory gathering to see what was happening to the unchanged party.  These days we have ConservativeHome.  At the moment of crisis for Team Cameron, their main concern is the sale of Ted Heath’s former home.  That one is easy.  Give Michael Ashcroft a call.  Problem solved.

We do, however, have to turn to The Telegraph for a few little insights to what is going on.  The front page is just wonderful stuff.  The paper leaks the contents of a 12-point plan that will form the basis of George Osborne’s first budget.  This will make Gordon Brown’s day.  We can now expect most of these proposals to be adopted by Labour before the election.

Then we move to Simon Heffer, who is no great lover of Osborne, calling him Little George.  Not to worry, Michael White likes the chap and tells us so in 1,188 words.

It’s when you get to the conclusions of Heffer’s diatribe that he not-so subtly gives the game away over the 50p tax rate:

I am told that the Treasury is now convinced, and may even have convinced the present Chancellor, that the 50p rate is going to cost money, not raise it. How better to drive more nails into Dave’s coffin than for Mr Darling to announce in a pre-election Budget that he has suspended implementation of the 50p rate, and that he supports incentives for bankers to enable them to earn more money for Britain? It sounds mad: but the way things are going, and given Labour’s ruthless desire to win, anything could happen.

That is exactly what will happen.

Meanwhile, over at the Times details emerge of what Liam Byrne is doing in his spare time.  A programme of cuts are being quietly put together for the pre-election budget in an attempt to wrong-foot the Tories.

So, there we have it.  The Tories have started their weekend by the sea by passing their policies over to Labour, with Simon Heffer adding to the mix.

Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling will be smiling over their cornflakes this morning.

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