Where There's Smoke...

Thursday, 2 July 2009

I am someone who is pretty good with numbers, I have to be for my job, but when the conversation or the public debate turns to macro economics and spending plans I am afraid I get a blurry eyed and a little left behind. I do try, but I have accepted that I will not pick all of the salient details up on the first pass, and it is best for me to sit down and slowly absorb pertinent information by reviewing it in print and the re-reviewing several times.

As such there are two invaluable bloggers who help explain what the treasury is talking about and what the hidden messages might be, they are John Redwood and Fraser Nelson.

Fraser has been following the budget numbers for a while now, and the future spending plans announced by the Government, and he has published his own analysis as a chart which he claims to never tire of putting up… so I hope he won’t mind if we share it here…

The chart shows is based on the projected numbers in this year’s budget and more importantly the numbers spelled out by Gordon Brown in the House of Commons during Prime Ministers Questions. It clearly shows that if you allow for inflation, debt interest and dole the Government is projecting a 7% cut in Government Spending.

Hang on a minute I hear you cry, that nice Mr Brown is clunking his fists against the desk and saying that investment will go up and it is the Tories that will be cutting spending. Except of course Gordon Brown is lying, and by reasonable extension that makes him a liar.

This whole situation is potentially about to get more interesting as it would seem that the newsrooms have taken note of Frasers blog and got the bean counters on it and general consensus is that Mr Browns pants are indeed ablaze; and they are ready to call him on it. So, don’t expect Mr Brown to be viewed for the next couple of weeks anywhere except the BBC. Brown has now enlisted Lord Mandleson and like Mr Wolf in Pulp Fiction, he is there to clean up a dirty mess that was completely unnecessary.

Gordon Brown is convinced his best line of attack leading into the next election is to bet the house on the dividing line being about Tory Cuts vs Labour Investment. But Brown has scored an own goal there because the Treasury has already put out numbers (see chart above) that show this is not the case, so Mandelson is now spinning that the numbers are not firm so that come the pre-budget they can be revised to paint the picture the PM wants them to paint in the final straight.

The main point is that not only has Gordon Brown been caught out by Fraser Nelson, but he has charged Peter Mandelson with spinning it back so that he can cook the books [more so] and set out the Labour election campaign on a lie. We all know about the proverbial house that is built on sand and what happens to it.

It is outright duplicity.

A second point is that for years Brown has bamboozled opponents over many years by throwing big numbers in grand statements. When these numbers are checked there is always a lot of fine print and room for manoeuvre; by the time the details is tracked down and highlighted the story, or the issue has moved. Here, we have the PM and the Treasury releasing numbers that have been crunched and are now available to be thrown back in Mr Browns face; it is a testament to how disorganised Labour has become and how adept people like Fraser have become at rooting out their dishonesty.

Mr Brown insists he has never lied, but the facts and the numbers tell an entirely different story.



2 Responses to “Where There's Smoke...”
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JuliaM said...

"A second point is that for years Brown has bamboozled opponents over many years by throwing big numbers in grand statements."

Doesn't that rather point up just how shockingly poor the so-called 'opposition' parties are, that they never seem to successfully challenge this?

2 July 2009 at 17:03
Daniel1979 said...

yes Julia I agree, Labour things too easy in the Blair years

2 July 2009 at 21:28