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June 25th, 2010

Judging the budget – Round up of political blogs 19-25 June


Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Blog Admin

June 25th, 2010

Judging the budget – Round up of political blogs 19-25 June


Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Chris Gilson takes a look at the week in political blogging.


Mike Smithson at asks if the Labour leadership contest is moving to the political left, with calls for tax breaks for private schools to be axed and a tax on £2m homes, while Alex Smith blogging at Labour List outlines the case for free school meals, and Labour Uncut says that Ed Balls is ‘courting’ the grassroots.

Conor Ryan at Conor’s Commentary is concerned about Tuesday’s emergency budget –  he says it lacks “any growth or jobs strategy”, while Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting also has budget-related concerns. Will Straw at Left Foot Forward is advocating more progressive taxation, rather than cuts, to reduce the deficit, while Gary Gibbon at SnowBlog is an advocate of a budget-VAT rise. Tim Montegomerie at ConservativeHome talks cuts – and says that there is a case for optimism about them, while Richard Exell blogging at Liberal Conspiracy took a look at public opinion of the coalition’s cuts. Wat Tyler at Burning our Money also has some thoughts on the impending cuts, and how France has dealt with their deficit. Anna Raccoon is critical of the civil service.

Alex Barker at the FT’s Westminster Blog has a look at a how savings could be made in public sector pensions, and how ex-Labour Minister John Hutton’s chairing of the reform commission is a ‘political coup’ for George Osborne. Hutton, for his role, has come under some opprobrium from his former colleagues, especially John Prescott. Peter Hoskin at Coffee House says that Hutton is a “good man for the job”.

Alistair Campbell has heard a rumour that the Lib Dems did not believe what they said during the election campaign, while Ed Wallis of the Fabian Society blogging at Left Foot Forward looks at the likelihood of the coalition government reaching certain ‘benchmarks’.

Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting has some comments on Chris Huhne’s infidelity and separation, which is to hit the papers on Monday; so does Guido, as does James Forsyth at Coffee House. Iain Dale is sympathetic to Huhne on his blog.


Stacey McNamara at Labour Uncut has a piece in support of Ed Balls as Paul Waugh at The Evening Standard finds that former Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy has no love for the new coalition government.

Peter Hoskin at Coffee House says that this will be a “big week” for Nick Clegg – holding together the coalition and selling budget cuts to the public and backbenchers. Tom Harris MP of And another thing… has ten uses for Nick Clegg. Sunny Hundal at Liberal Conspiracy is concerned that Labour’s opposition to the government’s cuts is not effective. Hopi Sen has some advice on what Labour’s response to the budget should be, and Stuart White at Next Left has some similar ideas, this time aimed more generally at the left.

George Eaton at The Staggers says that the upcoming cuts will hit the poor the hardest, while Nicola Smith blogging at Left Foot Forward has a round-up of why these cuts will be hard for job-seekers. Alistair Campbell says that the Labour leadership candidates must ‘pile-in’ on the budget tomorrow, to show that the Opposition has relevance.

Tom Harris at And another thing… warns that new Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s abandoning of Labour’s GP, A&E and treatment waiting times targets may mean the return of long waiting lists.

Tim Montegomerie at ConservativeHome is against a rise in VAT tomorrow, when there are many areas (which he lists) that we could still save ‘billions’ on, while Faisal Islam at Snowblog says tomorrow’s cuts “can not fail to redefine what the state really does in Britain”.

Tuesday- Emergency Budget Today

Tom Clougherty at The Adam Smith Institute Blog is upbeat about the emergency budget., as Tim Montegomerie previews with 10 benchmarks to judge it by. Iain Dale is annoyed at all the pre-budget leaks; the budget’s content will not be a great surprise.

Guido warns against tax rises and encourages George Osborne to ‘go for growth’, while Sunder Katwala at Liberal Conspiracy is against cutting income tax while raising VAT. Nick Robinson looks at the pros and cons of raising VAT. George Eaton at The Staggers critiques the budget’s strapline which is being presented as ‘fair and progressive’.

Political Scrapbook says that the seating arrangement in the Commons during Osborne’s budget speech, which obscures the Prime Minister is ‘no accident’.

Post-budget, Sunder Katwala at Next Left calls George Osborne dishonest over his announcement of a VAT rise; George Eaton at The Staggers is very negative about the rise in this ‘regressive’ tax; and Will Straw at Left Foot Forward says that the rise is “avoidable”, as does Faisal Islam at Snowblog. Tim Montegomerie over at ConservativeHome is also in agreement that the rise was ‘avoidable’, and says that it will ‘do nothing to restore trust in politics’. Similarly, Capitalists@Work is against the inflation-raising VAT rise, but says that the budget is a “big step forward”, but also “more risky than it needed to be”. Conor Ryan at Conor’s Commentary does not think that the budget is one that can lead the recovery.

Lynne Featherstone is relieved that the budget waiting is now over, and says that it “will affect everyone to some extent – but at least it is everyone”, while Iain Martin, blogging at the Wall Street Journal says that the budget today is a sign that George Osborne has ‘grown up’, and that he was ‘upfront about the pain involved’. Wat Tyler at Burning our Money gives the budget a 7.5 out of 10.

Tom Harris at And another thing… is critical of Vince Cable, saying that he has gone back on Lib Dem economic policies since becoming a Minister.


Sunny Hundal Liberal Conspiracy attacks the Conservatives hypocrisy over rises in VAT; Tom Miller at Tribune has some similar thoughts.  Ed Jacobs at Left Foot Forward has a round-up of budget reaction across the nations (Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting had a good discussion of how £5bn of cuts will affect Scotland). Jim Pickard at the FT’s Westminster Blog warns that departmental cuts might be on the order of 33 per cent rather than the 25 per cent announced in the budget.

Labour Uncut has a look at how MPs themselves will be affected by cutbacks in Parliament – higher cafeteria prices among the changes to be put in place, and Alistair Campbell attacks the ‘myth’ of £104,000 housing benefits. Don Paskini at Liberal Conspiracy blogs that the Government’s new policy of lowering the housing allowance will help to increase homelessness.

Iain Dale says that the Labour reaction the budget has been ‘blunt’, and that Labour would have announced very similar cuts to those announced yesterday had they stayed in office; Clifford Singer at Liberal Conspiracy has three ways to respond to the Tory cuts.

Tom Harris at And another thing… is not impressed by the new system of electing members of Select Committees.


Sunny Hundal at Liberal Conspiracy has a round-up of post-budget polling. The outlook? General public approval (other than for the VAT rise), but most feel pessimistic about the short term effects. Richard Murphy at Liberal Conspiracy reckons that the budget’s cuts could lead to over 1.6 million job losses, while Sunder Katwala at Next Left looks at the difference of opinion between Nick Clegg and the IFS over the effects of the budget on the rich and poor.

Sholto Byrnes at The Staggers is highly critical of the media’s ‘hounding’ of Chris Huhne.

Gary Gibbon at Snowblog says that Gordon Brown is back in town. Paul Goodman at ConservativeHome blogs on the Cameron/Osborne relationship.

Ed Jacobs at Left Foot Forward asks if Sinn Fein MPs should be able to claim expenses, and Tom Harris MP blogging at And another thing.. has some more criticisms of IPSA.

John Trickett MP guest blogging at The Staggers, looks at the government’s ‘small-state’ ideology as the reasoning behind budget cuts.

Guido asks if new Liberal Democrat Deputy leader Simon Hughes is manoeuvring against the coalition, later David Blackburn at Coffee House asks if Simon Hughes and Conservative MP David Davis are ‘fermenting rebellion’, by challenging Theresa May’s renewal of the 28-day detention limit.


Tim Worstall is very happy about government plans to raise the retirement age.

Paul Goodman at ConservativeHome is pushing for an immigration cap this year, while George Eaton at The Staggers asks if they will ditch the cap, as it may be damaging to the economy.

Trevor Cheeseman at Left Foot Forward says that the NHS may not have escaped the budget unscathed, after all.

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This work by British Politics and Policy at LSE is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.