SKETCH: Troops in the Trenches, Ammo to the Front

The battle lines are drawn, the pounding begins.

The ragged band of guerillas called HM opposition – demoralised and scarce, fortified no longer by the Speaker – goaded the Tory arsenal to ever-greater firepower.

Five full benches of Tories had the numbers – in the Chamber and in the Book of Stats from which they now draw strength.

Everything they want up is going up, and what they want down is going down.

It’s been two decades coming but suddenly it’s a great time to be a Tory.

Labour’s Shelia Gilmore raised her sixpenny jezail and said that 0.7 growth in the last quarter was lower than the 0.8 in the quarter before . . .

She’s got a big voice but not big enough to rise above the indignation she provoked. She folded her arms, shrugged, stood and took the Tories’ joyful rage.

Eventually, George Osborne moved the decimal point – under Labour, he said, the economy shrank by 7 per cent.

The Labour posture, he went on to say, is “anti-business, anti-recovery, anti-jobs, anti-investment and anti-Britain.”

Ed Balls. The other man who hates Britain.

Here’s what Osborne said was in the Tory offer: Tax-free childcare. Reducing small companies’ tax level, freezing fuel duty, taking the smallest firms out of business rates, introducing an employment allowance of £2,000, abolishing National Insurance for half a million small employers, removing NI for employees under 21.

This is quite a tax-cutting agenda. It’s sincere. It’s authentic. It’s what Tories believe.

Against this, Ed Balls has launched his 50p rate – opposed by business people but supported, polls say, by 61 per cent of voters.

It’s never a good principle to judge an economist’s future by his past but Balls has been catastrophically wrong twice.

Triple dip – wrong. Only a public sector-led recovery would work – wrong.

I’m going to bet he’ll make the hat trick.

For that, the 50p tax rate has to be an electoral disaster.

He needled Osborne, calling on him to say he wouldn’t reduce the top rate to 40p. Osborne declined to do this, so let’s guess it’ll be part of the Tory manifesto.

Labour offering a 50p rate which affects very few, and Tories a 40p rate which affects four or five million voters directly, and threatens however many more, heading towards the top rate, along with their pensionable parents.

And boy, do they vote.

For the public there may be an even more important consideration.

Denying Ed Balls what he wants more than anything else in the world. That is a significant electoral consideration.

NB: Employment statistics question. There’s been a whopping leap in private sector employment. Has this been boosted by the transfer of the Royal Mail’s 150,000 public sector employees into the private sector by virtue of the privatisation?


REMAIN TAKES PROJECT FEAR TO CHURCH REMAIN TAKES PROJECT FEAR TO CHURCH
SOUBRY’S BIG NISSAN-DERSTANDING SOUBRY’S BIG NISSAN-DERSTANDING
JIM SHANNON ORDERED TO REPAY £14,000 EXPENSES JIM SHANNON ORDERED TO REPAY £14,000 EXPENSES
PAY “ONLY REAL RED LINE” FOR BMA JUNIOR DOCTOR LEADERSHIP PAY “ONLY REAL RED LINE” FOR BMA JUNIOR DOCTOR LEADERSHIP
NET MIGRATION UP 20,000 TO 333,000 NET MIGRATION UP 20,000 TO 333,000
POLICE INVESTIGATING TESSA MUNT ELECTION EXPENSES POLICE INVESTIGATING TESSA MUNT ELECTION EXPENSES
LEAVE.EU ON HOOK FOR £500,000 BREXIT GIG LEAVE.EU ON HOOK FOR £500,000 BREXIT GIG
TRUMP SINGS “WE’RE GONNA BUILD A WALL” TRUMP SINGS “WE’RE GONNA BUILD A WALL”
OZBOT VERSUS ANDROGENOID OZBOT VERSUS ANDROGENOID
EDDIE IZZARD’S HOTEL BILLS NOT LAWFULLY DECLARED EDDIE IZZARD’S HOTEL BILLS NOT LAWFULLY DECLARED
POLITICAL PARTY RICHLIST POLITICAL PARTY RICHLIST
EU PLOTS TAX ID NUMBERS FOR EVERY EUROPEAN CITIZEN EU PLOTS TAX ID NUMBERS FOR EVERY EUROPEAN CITIZEN
MUNT ADMITS SHE DIDN’T DECLARE LOCAL CAMPAIGN TRANSPORT MUNT ADMITS SHE DIDN’T DECLARE LOCAL CAMPAIGN TRANSPORT
OZBOT VERSUS ANDROGENOID OZBOT VERSUS ANDROGENOID
“Fat Cats For EU” “Fat Cats For EU”
“CHEATED” LIBDEM PICTURED CAMPAIGNING ON BATTLE BUS “CHEATED” LIBDEM PICTURED CAMPAIGNING ON BATTLE BUS
CHRISTINE HAMILTON HIRED ON THE PUBLIC PAYROLL CHRISTINE HAMILTON HIRED ON THE PUBLIC PAYROLL
CONSERVATIVES IN: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE CONSERVATIVES IN: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
HULL UNIVERSITY THIRD TO DISAFFILIATE FROM NUS HULL UNIVERSITY THIRD TO DISAFFILIATE FROM NUS
CAMERON’S AIRFARE FABLE CAMERON’S AIRFARE FABLE
TELEGRAPH BLOODBATH: NEW JOBS CULL UNDERWAY TELEGRAPH BLOODBATH: NEW JOBS CULL UNDERWAY
CCHQ FREEZE MPS AND ASSOCIATIONS OUT OF VOTE SOURCE CCHQ FREEZE MPS AND ASSOCIATIONS OUT OF VOTE SOURCE
OSBORNE MISSED BORROWING TARGET BY EVEN MORE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT OSBORNE MISSED BORROWING TARGET BY EVEN MORE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT
POLICE INVESTIGATING SHADOW MINISTER OVER ELECTION EXPENSES POLICE INVESTIGATING SHADOW MINISTER OVER ELECTION EXPENSES
TOOTING BY-ELECTION CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF IN BATTERSEA TOOTING BY-ELECTION CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF IN BATTERSEA
ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON JOCK-‘COPTER CAMPAIGN ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON JOCK-‘COPTER CAMPAIGN
STURGEON DUCKS CHOPPER QUESTION STURGEON DUCKS CHOPPER QUESTION
NUS CHIEF EXECUTIVE PAID FIVE TIMES AVERAGE GRADUATE NUS CHIEF EXECUTIVE PAID FIVE TIMES AVERAGE GRADUATE
CORBYN CLAPPED COMMIE LEADER FOR REFUSING TO TOAST THE QUEEN CORBYN CLAPPED COMMIE LEADER FOR REFUSING TO TOAST THE QUEEN
SNP CHOPPER NOT DECLARED PROPERLY SNP CHOPPER NOT DECLARED PROPERLY