Peter Hoskin

Does the Government think we’re all doomed?

Does the Government think we're all doomed?
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There's a doom-laden air around Westminster today, neatly captured by Fraser's post earlier.  Will the fresh injection of £billions of taxpayers' cash do anything to help?  Few have any hope, let alone certainty, that it will - and that includes the Government.  Gone is the "we've saved the banking system" bravado of a few weeks ago, to be replaced today by statements on rising unemployment and - as the Standard's Paul Waugh blogged earlier - warnings that "global economic downturn [has been] intensifying in the past two months".  Sadly, green shoots are there none.

Perhaps Brown & Co. are starting to wake up to the lose-lose situation they're in during the run-up to March's Budget.  Either they tell the truth about how bad things are - in which case, we get a horrowshow Budget; full of downgraded tax receipts, dreary growth forecasts, and borrowing figures so high that - as today - an increase in national debt by £50 billion warrants little more than a footnote.  Or they paper over the cracks, as they did with the PBR, and face even louder accusations that they're being either too scheming or too optimistic.  Either way, there's not much room for political advantage - whatever Peter Mandelson might be able to conjure up.