A week in politics

The objective was clear. To unite the party to the prospect of a full term coalition, to illustrate that the pain would be shared by all and to blunt any momentum by Labour’s ‘New Generat-on’. Where did it all go wrong? Well where didn’t it?
The prospect of middle class parents being deprived of their child benefit drew a storm from the predictable outlets of the Telegraph and Mail. The fact that the threshold was almost twice that of the current household income seems to have passed some by. A progressive tax system must seek to reward entrepreneurship, provide a safety netting for those less well off, but encourage those less well off to achieve greater things. I can’t see where a middle class tax benefit falls into this category.

The case for the defence is a poor one. Not a day goes by without the favoured outlets being briefed by Fox or Osborne’s men. Our defence procurement has been a shambles for decades. Last generation equipment being ready for next generation battles. The opportunity to reduce the time from conception to implementation should be grasped with both hands, as per the opportunity to actually increase the proportion of fighting men (and women) in the army. It seems that what is needed is not yet another outdated strategic review but a root and branch reform of the MoD.

Alan Johnson’s appointment is an interesting one. To mollify the Davidians, a stalking horse for the Balls-Cooper puppet show? Johnson is a heavyweight but is not in his element and will have little time to adjust and hurt the coalition when the spending review is unveiled. An opportunity missed by Labour.

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