Return of the eyebrows
A one-term Tory Government runs out of puff and loses, narrowly, to a Labour Government that has many of the same personnel, and mostly the same ideas as it had when it lost. It comes into office at a time of very gloomy economic forecasts, including rising inflation and a sizeable budget deficit. In its first budget, the new Chancellor announces a substantial increase in public spending, funded by increased borrowing and substantially increased taxes on the wealthy.
We've been here before.
With inflation already running at 17%, Dennis Healey increased public spending by an astonishing 35% in 74-5 and a further 25% in 75-6. Most of the cost of this was met in borrowing (the deficit sprang up to £8bn and then £11bn) but there were also tax rises - the standard rate was raised to 33% and the top rate to 83%. Corporation tax was jacked up to 52% - this was also the budget where tax on investment income reached 98%.
It's all a bit depressing. If Ed Balls really wanted to be like Dennis Healey, why couldn't he skip the early, lunatic years and skip straight to 1977?