Could we just be serious for a minute?
Boom. That was Greece. Crash. That was Spain. The creaking you can hear is the fabric of the Eurozone economy under enormous fiscal strain. Can Germany bail out the entire Southern Mediterranean? One for you John?
And here we are obsessing about whether reducing a future tax rise by £6bn is going to destroy the British economy.
The Tories have nearly lost this election because the electorate doesn’t like to be told that we’re bust and heading towards savage, Geddes-axe style cuts in expenditure. It prefers having its collective hand held and being told that we don’t need to start the pain until next year. And the Tories have, basically, obliged. On one level, who can blame them? If too much honesty loses you elections, politicians will inevitably go easy on the truth.
But on the other hand, we are blindly heading towards a really nasty situation. Everyone has been saying, for months, that unless something dramatic was done Greece would be facing sovereign default. Nothing sufficiently dramatic was done. And here we are. Everyone has been saying for months that unless we introduce massive fiscal retrenchment we are heading towards a ratings downgrade. And what are we doing? Arguing whether Westminster is a minor public school, or if David Cameron’s anecdotes are a bit dodgy.
It’s hard not to conclude that if we get a Hung Parliament, and the Liberal Democrats hold the balance of power, we will sodding well have deserved it.