Peter Hoskin

Osborne steps up his game

Osborne steps up his game
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George Osborne must have changed breakfast cereals, or something, because he's suddenly a different man.  After the Tories muddied their economic message to the point of abstraction a few weeks ago, there's now a new clarity and directness about the shadow chancellor's languange.  Exhibit A was his article in the FT last week.  And Exhibit B comes in the form of his article for the Sunday Telegraph today.

It sets out five deceptions that we can expect from the Budget this week, and are all punchy and persuasive in equal measures.  But it's the first which, as I said on Friday, is the most important:

"The Chancellor might be so brazen as to claim he has a 'windfall' because it turns out he has to borrow a few billion pounds less than he forecast in the autumn.

It seems that borrowing £170 odd billion instead of £180 odd billion is what passes for good news in Gordon Brown's world. It is a staggering amount – the highest proportionately of any country in the G20."   Of course, a couple of articles don't add up to perfect economic policy.  And there are still gaps and inconsistencies in Osborne's agenda.  But Tory supporters should be encouraged that he is stepping up his rhetoric as the election approaches.