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It's not an accountancy contest

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Autumn statement: Jaw-dropping change of tack as Jeremy Hunt announces more spending – and sets trap for next election

All of this feels very reminiscent of the way George Osborne would approach his budgets – no wonder he’s been seen going into Downing Street in recent weeks and his old lieutenants are advising Mr Hunt behind the scenes.

The trademark Osborne move embedded in today’s decisions is to set a trap for Labour. By doing a Labour-friendly set of tax rises which focus on the richest, then squeezing spending in the next parliament, Mr Sunak and Mr Hunt want to challenge Labour. If they want to go into the next election promising to spend more on public services, where will they get the cash, they will ask. It’s a dilemma, and it’s unclear how Labour will answer.

It’s a weird business reading articles like this. It is deficient in hard-nosed cynicism and voters need to be as cynical as the political classes if they are to compete with them on level terms and stop the rot. 
Of course it is unclear how Labour will answer, but any notion that this will faze Labour tacticians is risible. Promises are cheap and vague promises even cheaper. As long as the promises appeal to Labour voters that will do. It’s not an accountancy contest.


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