Peter Hoskin

The Tories’ waste-cutting message matures

The Tories' waste-cutting message matures
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Good work from the Tories today, who are finally taking the fight to Labour over Government waste.  Out of fear of the "Tory cuts" attack, they've tended to shy away from highlighting just how much taxpayers' cash this Government flushes down the fiscal plughole.  But no longer.  The report released by George Osborne and Francis Maude today is a clear and unabashed attack on Brown's spending record - there's even a "Roll-call of waste" - and it contains some sensible sounding methods for controlling spending under a Tory administration, including greater accountability for wasteful civil servants.  Whether the proposals will translate to government remains to be seen, but the message is encouraging - and refreshing - enough.

Events and the Government's reponse to them are certainly helping the Tories here.  The politics of belt-tightening becomes easier during a recession, and the continuing ineffectiveness of Brown & Darling's £billion "rescue packages" makes them seem like one big bonfire of taxpayers' cash.  Of course, the recession is cruel and harmful, but it's also an opportunity to erode that deblitating consensus which has equated "spending" with "investment", and which has contributed to the current mess.  On today's signs, that's an opportunity the Tories may well take.