The last time the doomsayers were proved so wrong was when the Hadron Collider didn’t blow us all up. Osborne’s cuts have come and life, the universe and everything continue insouciantly. In fact, the cuts were nowhere near as deep as many expected.
As the graphic above proves (courtesy of ConHome), the press reaction is cordial, which was the best the Osborne could hope for. The Times (£) and the Guardian express concern about fairness, based on decile graphs that suggest the poor will receive less direct income from the state; and the Telegraph grumbles about the ‘squeezed middle’. But the criticism is mild, certainly compared to yesterday’s horror stories; besides, glum headlines about middle class hardship prove all are suffering together.
The Budget for the next five years is laid out and the Tories now hope to regain the torch of total economic confidence, which they surrendered on Black Wednesday – this economic plan is designed to translate into electoral success. So, mission accomplished for Osborne. Now his sums (particularly on employment) must compute because, as he says, there is no Plan B.