The Darling, Cable and Osborne Show

The consensus seems to be that Cable was the nation’s favourite and he did have a few good lines. Osborne was the least at ease and least convincing.

Overall, I thought the exchanges anodyne. Little was revealed that was not already in the public domain and most of the questions were handled in the usual obtuse political way.

Will the three set pieces between the leaders be different?

The level of cuts in public services seemed to be the most acute concern of the evening. The notion of ring fencing individual budgets was squashed – the impression created in me was that, despite protestations to the contrary, nothing is sacrosanct. This is a welcome whiff of honesty but still doesn’t tell us what is going to be hit or how hard.

In the area of health, simply eliminating the internal market in it’s entirety would liberate approximately 10% of the total budget. Scrapping SHAs would add to the pot of funds available for reallocation. Revising the purpose and scope of the NHS would permit funds to migrate toward those new and very expensive treatments for serious illness which are often the focus of concern.

The use of VAT was skated over very superficially in the debate. The scope for the exploitation of ‘double effect’ taxation measures is great. Why have the conventional parties not cottoned on to these yet.

As I have stated elsewhere in these blog entries, Mr. Cable does not constitute a one man government and, to judge by his book ‘The Storm’, his economic world view remains flawed at a very fundamental level.

This program is unlikely to have been decisive for many.

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