The commentators 19-03-15
...on the Budget
This was not a Budget, but a manifesto. In the House of Commons yesterday, George Osborne set out why the Conservative Party deserves to win the General Election and the Labour Party to lose it. He recalled that Ed Miliband and Ed Balls remain impenitent standard-bearers for the same economic policies that reduced Britain to near- insolvency in the first decade of this century.
- Max Hastings, Daily Mail
It was not only the Chancellor’s comedy routine that revealed his confidence about the election. If he felt the existing Tory campaign was going to fail, he would have designed an eye-catching policy to at least try to achieve that uplift, even if it meant granting some huge concession to the Lib Dems in return. Instead, he stayed his hand, boasting afterwards that no “short-term giveaway” could ever match a “long-term national recovery”.
- Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
There is no point complaining that Osborne’s budget was brazenly “political”. That is his job. As Machiavelli said, a prince who cannot retain power loses the option on goodness. The chancellor even boasted a little goodness of his own, promising not to “give away” the past year’s windfall of bank sales, welfare savings and lower interest rates. (He gave away something else instead.) As for his conduct of office, his apologia was simple: it worked - Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
It’s a great tragedy: had Mr Osborne cut further in his first few years in office, he would now have greater ammunition to reduce the burden of taxation in a more meaningful way. But past errors cannot be undone. The Chancellor has been stunningly fortunate over the past year, with a budgetary windfall allowing him to escape, Houdini-like, total fiscal humiliation. He will be hoping that his luck – and that of his party – holds up over the next few weeks.
- Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
The Budget contained little drama and no spectacular pre-election giveaways but that was probably wise. After years of preaching responsibility, a fiscally irresponsible Budget not only would have reeked of cynical opportunism but would also have shattered Osborne’s credibility. Instead of indulging in short-term expediency what the Chancellor set out was a package of pragmatic, sensible measures that will help to cement Britain’s economic revival, fuel job creation and improve living standards for most of the population.
- Leo McKinstrey, Daily Express
The Budget was a job half done. Half way towards accepting that Labour is right about the path of deficit reduction; half way towards dealing with the perception of the Conservatives as the rich people’s party.
- John Rentoul, Independent
Having restored some dignity to the victims, we have yet to learn not to glorify the killer - most particularly by not according him an identity that might secure him a place in folklore. That also means avoiding describing Emwazi as Isis's "star executioner" or saying that he "features" in the group's videos.
For six months we have been providing propaganda for Isis, and sprinkling words such as "evil", "vile", "depraved" around doesn't mitigate that failing.
- Emwazi is not a folk hero, let's stop treating him as if though were
Comment archive, 2015
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