Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How can you only have another year of a perpetual attack?

In today's column, Polly Toynbee writes that:

Tipping the boat on one side, Stephen Byers' latest assault in the Times from the Blairite extreme is outrageously provocative, demanding to cement the future long after the leader has gone. [...]  Every word Byers wrote implied that Brown is some kind of old Labour warhorse waiting to hoist the red flag in Downing Street - even though Brown has already fixed the comprehensive spending review to fall as a percentage of GDP, which hardly signals profligacy or taxing the rich until the pips squeak.

I am puzzled by the reference to the "fixed" CSR.  Gordon Brown certainly expressed in his budget an intention to limit growth in public expenditure to 1.9% in real terms, below the expected rate of growth in GDP (see, for example, here), but this is not the same as "fixing" the CSR.  Why, only last week we were being told that it was not yet set and that there would be debates up and down the country precisely on taxation and expenditure:

The comprehensive spending review will set Labour's future in cement for the next election. Before next July's deadline, Gordon Brown promises a roadshow up and down the country to expound and debate the choices in taxing and spending.
[emphasis added]

Wrote, er, Polly Toynbee last week.

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