BUDGET SKETCH: Miliband’s Privileged Few

A Budget of the, by the, for the privileged, Miliband said, and it certainly felt like that. If you count business-owners, export-manufacturers, pension-holders, tax-payers, theatre-producers, ISA-investors, beer-drinkers, Premium Bond-buyers, children-keepers, bingo-players, pothole-haters, car-drivers and people with a propensity to vote as privileged then it probably was.

You’ll also be happy if you support the Magna Carta Trust – they got a handsome grant. I couldn’t catch how much they were given, but Osborne declared he wanted to support the commemoration of a weak leader who betrayed his brother and was humiliated by unruly barons into signing on the line. That was worth the grant whatever it was.

Ed Balls came up with a new gesture. Waggling one hand with splayed downturned fingers and nudging his elbow sideways. My deaf friend said, “Before the watershed? That’s just disgusting.”

Ed Miliband left his nice private voice behind in PMQs and ventured into his upper register. He really doesn’t belong up there. He used – or overused – the trope of asking the Chancellor to “just nod” if they were going to do something or other. It’s not funny any more.

He also described Michael Gove (sitting beside the Speaker’s chair) as being “on the naughty step”.

Those aren’t words to be used by an Opposition leader in a Budget reply as we head into election year.

Working people are worse off, he says. Working people are better off, his opponents say. They’re working.

So, the next election looks like the Cost of Living Crisis versus Vote for Your Job.

And this time next year, with an election a month away, the last Budget will promise a stonking tax cut to cut the cost of living, and a cut in National Insurance to secure people’s jobs.

And Miliband’s “privileged few” (see paragraph one) might just swing an outright majority for the Tories.


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