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Thursday, December 04, 2014 

You're talking hyperbollocks.

It must be awful being George Osborne.  There you are, making gags in the Commons that would frankly disgrace those £1 packs of crackers (gosh, Ed Miliband looks a bit like Wallace, how original, and rich, coming from someone whose nose more than resembles an arse), the right-wing press mostly lapping it up, and then you have to go on the BBC after Norman Smith dares to suggest that if you scratch beneath the surface you quickly find the cuts projected amount to a "book of doom".  Perhaps even Road to Wigan Pier-esque.

Hyperbolic, raves George, expressing much the same line of faux indignation as regularly voiced by Iain Duncan Smith.  Why, the BBC were saying exactly the same thing back in 2010, and has the sky fallen?  No, we're on the way back to the sunlit uplands, the public services have not collapsed, and if anything they're more highly regarded than ever.  The NHS only needs an extra £8bn a year, which no party has yet come near to explaining how they'll find, despite agreeing with Simon Stevens on how necessary it is, and well, who cares about how beds can't be found for 16-year-olds with mental health problems, instead forced to spend an entire weekend in a police cell?  As for actual lags, prison is meant to be about punishment.  If you don't want to spend 22 hours in a cell every day, don't do the crime in the first place.  Chris Grayling knows what he's doing.

Osborne and Downing Street's ire couldn't possibly be connected to how the BBC's journalists were for once bothering to do their jobs properly.  I even filched the title for yesterday's post from Nick Robinson, who himself had stolen it from elsewhere.  The harsh reality is Osborne's cuts are unachievable, as he knows all too well.  When the Institute for Fiscal Studies describes them as "colossal" and if put in place will by necessity force a "fundamental re-imagining of the state", the kind of statements the IFS simply doesn't make unless the situation is that stark, he really shouldn't have anywhere to hide.

The truth is Osborne can't be straight on just how tough the economic situation will be after the election as it would expose his deficit reduction fetish, undermine his insistence on "trapping" Labour, and worst of all, be to admit his own failure.  The best option would be to push back further the point where the structural deficit will be eliminated, as the markets show not the slightest indication of putting up borrowing costs any time soon, not least when Europe slumps once again into recession, and to bring the cuts/tax increases ratio to something approaching parity.  He can't and won't as Cameron has already insisted on promising the very opposite as soon as the magical surplus is achieved.  Labour, rather than pointing out the impossibility of Osborne's plans, continue to insist they will do things slightly fairer and in much the same time scale.  How and why they don't explain.  As for the Lib Dems, what more can be said about a party whose leader was elsewhere as the statement he agreed to was delivered?  Vince Cable meanwhile whines and moans in the same way as he's done for the past four years, while continuing to stay in government with people he considers to be economically insane.  With politicians like these, is it any wonder so many are looking at the only slightly loopier option?

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