Politically, the challenge for the Tories is this: there’s an instinctive view among the public that the Tories’ cuts will be harder than Labour’s, so the Tories have to make and win the argument that significant cuts are needed. That is going to involve persuading the country that it cannot go on spending more than it earns indefinitely and that a few taxes on the rich are not going to be anywhere near enough to plug the gap. One key part of this strategy is going to be making people understand that Labour’s only plan when it comes to the national debt is to increase it. As David Cameron put it in his Budget response, Labour will be ‘borrowing £734 billion over the next six years.’
After the PBR, Peter Mandelson pretty much disappeared from the public view. By contrast, today he headed straight off to do a media round and well he might as Labour is now fighting the election on the fiscal turf he has long wanted it to.