George Osborne insists we're an aspiration nation. Not true
What Matthew Parris of The Times and Max Hastings of the Mail thought of Osborne's performance
MPS ARE BACK in the Commons today to debate yesterday's Budget statement. From the thousands of column inches devoted to the subject this morning, we've chosen Parris and Hastings for the last word - for the time being, at least - on George Osborne's performance. Here's a brief summary of what they wrote:
DO TORIES SEE MERIT IN LOSING NEXT ELECTION?
Matthew Parris in The Times:
George Osborne is wrong to keep telling us we are an aspiration nation. We know what a mess we're in and we want a Budget for a desperation nation. There is no evidence that most of us consider ourselves to be, or even want to be, what the Tories like to call "strivers". Most of us are trudgers.
The British are stoical and for the stoical there was insufficient gloom in Osborne's speech. There is little public appetite for hope at present and a curious appetite for pain.
In prospect, the upcoming Spending Review in June looks awful. The scale of the cuts to state spending that must be made on the other side of the next general election is almost too dreadful to contemplate.
I did just begin to wonder as Osborne spoke whether — even if only subliminally — it is occurring to the far-sighted among Conservatives that it might be a wise precaution not to win the next general election.
GOD FORBID WE GET ED BALLS!
Max Hastings in the Daily Mail:
This remains a fumbling Government, often incoherent in its policy-making and incompetent about delivery, and the Chancellor is personally unlovable.
But is is impossible honestly to blame George Osborne for our economic slump. It was Labour that plunged this country into the worst economic mess of our lifetime through a decade of reckless and unaffordable expenditure. The juvenile crowing on the Labour benches as Osborne made his Budget statement was contemptible.
Osborne may have made mistakes and got his forecasts embarrassingly wrong, but he remains courageously committed to the towering objective of reducing our dreadful national deficit.
Voters will see many temptations to reject the Tories in 2015. But we must never forget that the only alternative government on offer will be led by Miliband and Balls. And their best offer to the British people is a ticket to economic perdition. ·