Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gilt strikes and sloganeering

It was one of Mrs Thatcher’s most memorable sayings, that Socialists always eventually run out of other peoples’ money. George Osborne recently approximated this in his last budget response:

"In the end all Labour chancellors run out of money," he said with acid scorn, "and all Labour governments bring this country to the verge of bankruptcy."

Two bits of recent news have combine to make this look more and more imminent. The first, of course, was Mervyn King’s statement that the country was no longer in a financial position to afford another fiscal stimulus. In other words, the money has run out. The second was today’s news that the latest British gilt issue had failed to find sufficient buyers – the first gilt strike. In other words, we’re not even going to be able to borrow any more money.

It’s another reason why I suspect an election may be coming earlier than next year. And Harriet Harman’s performance in PMQs today adds a modicum of substance to this too. Her continuous stressing of Tory IHT plans, and references to ‘a millionaire’s manifesto’ along with renewed emphasis on the old ‘Tory cuts’ record look far more like electioneering than they look like Government. Watch this space.

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