Guido’s Lie-Ometer is flashing.
This ambush has been a long time coming, but come it has and it seems to have worked. The Tories, far from cutting public expenditure, plan to increase it by 4% year-on-year and Labour plan to increase it 5% year-on-year. So by 2011-12 the Tories plan to increase spending by £145 billion and Labour says it plans to increase spending by £180 billion. So no cuts, just less spending growth.
ITV reporter Nick Robinson single – handedly demolished the press launch for the poster, leaving the PM floundering with his line of questioning. Gordon smirked throughout Blair’s discomfort. Robinson asked: “Why do you persist in misrepresenting your opponents’ policies? You know they are saying they will increase spending but at a slower rate?” “Actually, that is not what they’re saying,”
the Prime Minister lied. “You can’t cut money that hasn’t been spent,”
Nick said. “You’re alleging they’ll make cuts. But now you’re saying they’ll spend less. The words are different!”
“They’re not different,” lied the Prime Minister again. Something tells me Nick Robinson won’t be getting any exclusives from Downing Street for a long time – or at least not from No. 10, No. 11 might have an open door.
Let’s see if the Liberals bring out a poster accusing Labour of cuts – because the Liberals plan to spend even more than Labour, which by Labour’s new definition of “cuts” means, well, you get Guido’s point.
Blair said that £35bn is “the equivalent of sacking every doctor, teacher and nurse in the country”. Does he expect anybody to actually believe that is the Tory plan?