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A Badgered Budget

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Badgered BudgetA grey day with a grey Chancellor

By time I had woken from my deep slumber I realised that I was not suffering from a somnambulist’s nightmare but it was indeed Chancellor Alistair Darling badgering away at the Despatch Box droning in tones that would sit happily in a hypnotist’s chair.

It was stultifying, as dull as dishwater, the whole occasion of the Budget was so grey, it could even have been John Major standing there! Looking about the House it was evident that the traditional day for dressing up had suffered too, one or two decent waistcoats on show but little else (apart from Caroline Flint) what a miss the late Sir Nicholas Fairbairn is on a day like today.

So, time to plan the big binge drink before the end of the week, beer to go up 4p a pint, wine 14p a bottle, spirits 55p a bottle, and cider 3p a litre, and what’s this idea of an “alcohol escalator”? Whoopee for Weatherspoons is all I can say, but with town centre establishments in South Shields already under the weather following the smoking ban, the measures announced today are hardly going to encourage anyone other than the feckless under thirties to abandon their comfy couches and supermarket “tinnies”. I’m afraid town centres will remain the oasis for the foolhardy who put no value on their meagre earnings and are prepared to stomach fizzy alcopops, tasteless ales, over fizzed lager, and other WKD concoctions at ever sillier prices. Just two weeks ago, Alistair Darling claimed that he was opposed to across the board alcohol tax increases:

“I don’t take the view that the best way to deal with this is to punish everybody for the sins of a minority.”

It’s all stunningly bad news for the traditional Labour voting working man who wants to fill his lungs with tobacco smoke, the price of twenty fags must be about a straight fiver these days, and if he drives a car too he’ll have to get used to the new idea of tax changes according to emissions, get ready for road pricing, and be prepared for another hike in fuel prices later in the year.

For those nearer the bottom of the economic pile claiming housing and council tac benefit, they’d better find some work, quick! The good times are about to end and those still out of work are likely to see their benefits slashed, and they’d better not be ill, incapacitated, or disabled either, as the grey man is intent on pushing them back into the ranks of the economically active.

And what was all that about eradicating child poverty in the next ten years? Wasn’t this one of Tony Blair’s pledges back in 1997?

Anyway, opportunities missed, priorities all skew wiff, responsibility and prudence touched upon rather than dallied with.

The budget deficit will continue to grow well past last year’s pre budget report forecast, the Chancellor’s growth estimates have been revised again towards a definite downward trend, inflation (both RPI and CPI) exceeds targets, the borrowing forecast has increased to £140bn over the next four years, up £20bn on the PBR of five months ago and up £34bn on the budget. Well if the Chancellor wishes to dispense bad news for us, he may as well have some back, and with figures like these he has been left with no room for manoeuvre to repay any of the £ trillions of the national debt. Didn’t the last Chancellor leave him with a nice pile to sort out after ten years mismanaging our funds. Let there be no doubt, the architect of this house built on sand is Gordon Brown!

The Conservative response is here

David Cameron said;

“High debt. High interest rates. High taxes. And now lower growth. Those are the facts that this Budget cannot hide. They tell the story of just how badly prepared we are for the downturn. And we all know why. In the years of plenty Labour put nothing aside. They didn’t fix the roof when the sun was shining.”

and Shadow Chancellor George Osborne added;

“This is a bad news Budget which kicks Britain’s families when they are down. The cost of living is already rising fast and the government has added to it with stealth taxes on cars and alcohol, when we believe that these kinds of taxes should be offset with tax reductions elsewhere.”

So, having catered for the non doms and the corporate providers of Labour’s funds he spent the rest of the afternoon kicking the very people who Labour relied upon to get them elected, there is very little relief for those at the lower end of the economic scale in this budget and no visionary zeal to deal with Britain’s growing financial problems as the world drifts towards a recession. This is not a budget for a poor man, but a poor man’s budget foisted upon a Chancellor ,with his hands shackled, by a poor Prime Minister unable to accept relinquishing his role of coxswain in a ship drifting towards the rocks.

(Even I managed to get to the end without mentioning NORTHERN ROCK)

Other blogger reactions

  • I am dying of boredom already. – Dizzy Thinks
  • Cranmer would give his right arm (if he but had one) to be rid of this tired and tedious and over-taxing anti-Christian government – Archbishop Cranmer
  • But the general public is going to notice their tax, council tax, shopping bill and the cost of filling their car up and paying their mortgage. And believe me that’s going to put all of us in a bad mood. – Man in a Shed
  • “By 2011, every school will be an improving school.” Every single one? What?
  • What’s in that tumbler, anyway? – Mr. Eugenides
  • This was a budget of penny packets that will have no overall economic impact, though it will annoy those in the drink trades. – John Redwood
  • Overall a boring budget from a boring man – Burning Our Money
  • This Budget doesn’t actually do anything to help ordinary taxpayers struggling to pay rising household bills and record levels of taxation – Tax Payers Alliance
  • It’s a recitation of revenues and expenditures not Madam bleedin’ Butterfly – Chicken Yoghurt
  • It looked like Darling was wishing Balls had kept his mouth shut. – Adam Boulton
  • How long can it be before it’s “Arise Lord Dacre.” – Nick Robinson
  • The most politically unexciting Budget since 1997 – Paul Linford

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Image courtesy of Conservative Home

And, finally,………..

Guido Fawkes provides this video clip of David Cameron putting down Ed “blinky” Balls. As Cameron was pointing out that we pay the highest taxes in UK history and the highest interest rates in the G7, Balls retorted “So what”



Written by curly

March 12, 2008 at 10:34 pm

One Response

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  1. I realised we were in a bad way with the economy and with lots of debt off the books but when this scots chancellor of the exchequer put up the tax on whisky,I know we are stuffed.


    March 12, 2008 at 11:00 pm

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