There is no doubt that Cameron and Osborne have been greatly influenced by the Canadian deficit reduction plan of the 1990s. Canadian PM Stephen Harper was one of the first international leaders to be welcomed by Dave and there are no prizes for guessing what they talked about. Part of the success of the Canadian plan was the uniting of the country behind the need to slash public spending – the PR job the PM embarked on so subtly yesterday. Part of the uniting process was the removal of ideological zeal from the process – something made much easier by being in coalition.
So what are the simple solutions offered by Canada? For the benefit of newbie Chief Secretary Danny Alexander, Guido has made a helpful diagram. The advice seems to be set a target, ring-fence nothing and stick to the target. On top of cutting general waste and government bureaucracy, take each piece of government expenditure and ask three very simple questions:
Though they may be credited with saving the economy and the country, the Coalition shouldn’t expect much gratitude – it will hurt, and without the convincing the voters of the scale of the crisis they will won’t be thanked at the ballot box.