Sunday, October 10, 2010

Child Benefit Fiasco

The extraordinary thing about the child benefit fiasco is that it appears to be so ill thought-out. It seems clear it wasn't discussed in Cabinet (It would be interesting to know if Nick Clegg knew in advance. Did Cameron and Osborne inform their coalition partner?). It seems that as the fiasco unfolded Cameron "wobbled" but that Osborne (who sees this a a clever political wheeeze ahead of October 20, allowing him to say that higher earners were hit first) took a hard line. Together with the Coulson affair - it is simply incredible that Coulson didn't know about the phone tapping (incredible as in "not credible") - it begins to look as if Cameron is becoming less sure-footed. Or could it be that for the first time the media is beginning to scrutinise the Tories (they had such an easy ride in Opposition)? Meanwhile Ed Miliband has made a good decision (which surprised me) in choosing Alan Johnson as Shadow Chancellor. (Johnson is a bit too much of a Blairite for me, but he is a fully-paid up human). It is probably also a good decision to stick with the Darling plan for deficit reduction rather than Balls alternative (although to be frank I'm not sure anyone - even, or perhaps especially, the professional economists - really knows how deep and how quick the deficit should be cut).


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