Peter Hoskin

The media helps the coalition’s fiscal cause

The media helps the coalition's fiscal cause
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This feels like a watershed moment: a national newspaper devoting its cover to an image of the country's "debt mountain," with a small shaded-off area showing how little of it is covered by yesterday's cuts.  The paper in question is today's Independent.  And while the cover may not perfectly depict what's going on with our public finances – yesterday's cuts will reduce the government's annual overspend, not the overall debt burden which will keep rising for years to come – it is still a powerful reminder of Brown's toxic legacy.

In some respects, the coalition might not appreciate this kind of focus: after all, politicians don't much like mentioning the debt burden and their powerlessness in the face of it.  But, on the whole, it should be helpful for Cameron, Clegg, Osborne, Laws and co.  Any reminder of the position Brown left us in shields the coalition from blame.  And it makes the case for more cuts in future.  Indeed, there is a welcome realism about cuts generally in this morning's papers.  There may be concerns about this cut or the other - but that's healthy debate.  Otherwise, there's an calm appreciation that "this is only the beginning".

As for Labour, this is a debate they seem to be shunning at the moment.  There were a few noises about "detail", a few grumbles from Ed Balls, but, otherwise their leadership contest remains unsullied by the reality of our fiscal position. The more papers like the Independent focus on our debt, the more negligent that will appear.

Tim Montgomerie has a larger version of the Indy cover here.