Saturday, February 06, 2010

Andrew Grice: For the first time, the Tories are worried – and with good reason - Andrew Grice, Commentators - The Independent



I am surprised that the Tories are surprised. Perhaps it tells us something about their inexperience in campaigning. Their strategy, it seems to me, was to glide to victory in May, saying little about what they would do afterwards. Lots of talk about "tough choices" but not much detail of where spending cuts would bite. A bit of vision but not much substance. Then, on taking power, they could say the nation's books were much worse than they thought, announce big spending cuts, put VAT up to 20 per cent and blame it all on Labour's mismanagement. It's an old trick: Tony Blair was still moaning about Labour's inheritance from the Tories after the 2001 election.

The Tories are making mistakes. They suspected a stronger return to growth than the feeble 0.1 per cent seen in the last quarter of 2009. One minute Mr Cameron was calling on Labour to "tear up" its spending plans. The next, he was saying that the Tories would not impose "swingeing" or "particularly extensive" cuts, an admission that doing so could imperil the fragile recovery – as Labour warns. The Tories insist they never planned swingeing cuts this year. But their repeated calls for the public deficit to be tackled certainly gave that impression.
Andrew Grice: For the first time, the Tories are worried – and with good reason - Andrew Grice, Commentators - The Independent
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