James Forsyth

Seeing through Brown’s dividing lines

Seeing through Brown's dividing lines
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If you want an idea of just how strongly the press have rumbled Brown on his Labour investment versus Tory cuts line, read this blog from the Financial Times’ Jim Pickard about PMQs. Here’s an extract:

“Unfortunately it showed the prime minister at his worst.

No one will be fooled by his attempt to create dividing lines where they don’t exist (Andrew Lansley may have slipped up but the Tories subsequently made very clear that the idea of 10 per cent cuts across departments - if the NHS budget is ringfenced - is based on existing Labour figures).

In doing so (accusing Cameron of a 'dogmatic' desire to cut investment) he looked simply desperate. As usual, he resorted to reeling off strings of figures, ignoring the fact that Labour’s own spending 'rises' in the coming years are nothing of the sort - if you strip out an expected rise in benefit payments and higher debt repayments.

Cameron was left with the best jokes, eg, 'A prime minister who won’t ever tell 10 per cent of the truth.'

And the Tory leader’s accusation that Brown was 'just sinking and sinking' rang true.”

As that Politics Home poll shows, the public aren’t convinced by Brown either. If Brown wants to double-down with this dividing line, he is going to destroy whatever is left of his credibility.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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