Most people in Britain must have had a pretty good weekend – the weather has been glorious. Queasy Joe Perry, partner in 50 Miles of Elbow Room crime, has just told me that apparently the weather’s meant to take a turn for the worse tomorrow – so we’re pretty glad we got the most out of the last couple of days: al fresco meals, long canal works, general lazing. Bliss, even for closet fans of winter like, er, me.
Less sunny is today’s political and economic outlook. Though the cuts announced at the Treasury today might prove to effect the Liberal Democrats worst of all, with David Laws cast by Osborne as the Axeman, and Vince Cable as the most-cut minister), they are still significant and in places controversial: Child Trust funds are to be cut, HE budgets reduced by a further 3% following Lord Mandelson’s own squeeze, and whilst Health is ringfenced other areas – notably devolved administration and Local Government – are taking more than their fair share. In particular, and as a good post at Left Foot Forward points out, cutting the Future Jobs Fund seems to be an example of short-term thinking at the Treasury.
Also at Left Foot Forward, more on that Labour immigration debate. An equally important message for the leadership contenders is at Labour Uncut, from Jonathan Todd: “ It is always mistaken to react to election defeat by thinking that you were right, the electorate was wrong but, soon enough, they will see the error of their ways. Labour cannot afford such an elementary error, particularly after a ‘near death experience’.” In Peter Snowdon’s Back From The Brink, it becomes rapidly clear that this was the post-97 Tory party’s major mistake. “Of all the iterations we went through,” one Tory strategist of the time tells Snowdon of the party’s anti-Labour rhetoric, “the one thing that never occurred to anybody was that Tony Blair might actually meant it.” (pg. 36)
Denial and complacency are terrible things.