No room for manoeuvre: that is David Cameron’s mantra in response to Darling’s “resilience and stability” formula. The theme could hardly be simpler: we failed to put aside money for a rainy day (or “mend the roof” while the sun was shining, to use George Osborne’s metaphor). Now, Cameron says, we have no scope to spend wisely or cut taxes significantly. The politics of this Budget is absolutely straightforward. Do the punters look at Brown and Darling and, however grudgingly, see them as the greybeards best placed to steer us through uncertain times? Or are the voters psychologically preparing themselves to give Team Cameron a turn at the wheel?
Now Dave is turning his attention from the helpless Darling and laying all the blame at the PM’s door. The Tories see the Chancellor as a broken man. It’s Brown they’re really after…he got us into this mess, says Cameron, and can’t possibly be the man to get us out of it. A robust performance.