Popular squeezes - brilliant wheezes?


Announcements made today were designed for the year 2015. That is not just when the next round of spending cuts will begin. It is, of course, the year of the next general election.

George Osborne used his Spending Review to try to snatch political victory from the jaws of economic defeat - to win the argument about the need to cut government spending even while having to admit that yet more cuts were not in the original version of Plan A.

The chancellor believes the debate is now on his terms and his territory.

He can scarcely believe that he can announce plans for almost 150,000 job losses and a further squeeze on public sector pay as well as deep cuts to councils, universities and the police while generating so little political fuss.

What he hopes will cause a fuss is proposals for a new cap on half of welfare spending to come in on the eve of that election and a populist squeeze on jobseekers who sign on quickly or who can't speak English.

Mr Osborne thinks the politics is under control. The one thing that hasn't been brought under control, of course, is the economy, which is why today's announcements were needed in the first place.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Margaret Thatchers there is no such thing as society has come true.

    People believe that benefits should be cut for others but not for themselves.

    Divide and conquer is working for the tories.

    Labour agreeing with them lowers their stock for people who want some hope for the future and the Lib Dems will become political minnows after the next election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    A weak opposition leads to a weak democracy and we must have the weakest opposition we have seen for a generation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    An element of Coalition is determined to 'prove that socialism doesn't work', to punish the vulnerable 99% (left such by Lab) - however many might still need 'persuading' - of our offence in not voting 'free-riding' (false 'meritocracy') & in forcing weaker Tories to go pink. Our need: jobs & fair-pay. Lab gave resented benefit-charity. Coalition engineered guilt & credit crunch @ Bank of Mum& Dad

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    "He can scarcely believe he can announce almost 150,000 job losses and a further squeeze on public sector pay ...while generating so little political fuss"

    Osborne believes the mood music is changing. He feels the private sector is slowly coming to the conclusion that the public sector is a predatory elite which uses its power to avoid its fair share of the pain.

    It's a plausible gamble.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.


    You're still here! Just like old times.

    Shame the BBC - and their infantile character restriction - doesn't permit proper discussion.

    Let's shout at each other instead. Everyone else does.


Comments 5 of 67


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