In his first post for Political Scrapbook, Nathan Trout casts a wry eye over a meeting of coalition minds.
Former Labour councillor Vince Cable is oftentimes rumoured to be one of the more uneasy members of the coalition, not entirely comfortable with the Tories’ cuts and small state agenda. One would imagine that he would make very uneasy bedfellows with a man who was a Tory chancellor before they “detoxified their brand” with compassionate conservatism. But here he is yesterday on College Green, getting on with the architect of Black Wednesday like a house on fire:
So what were Saint Vince and Lord Lamont talking about? They both studied economics at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and are only a year apart in age so it isn’t impossible they know each other from their student days. Perhaps it’s more likely, however, that they were musing at the content of yesterday’s budget.
Please allow Scrapbook to speculate on measures they evidently found so entertaining:
- The ruse of taxing people £200 less on their income even though they’ll pay it all back in VAT, an avoidable measure which both coalition partners had campaigned against?
- As if being a single mother wasn’t hard enough, abolishing lone parent benefits and cutting what remains when a child reaches six years.
- Cuts to housing benefits which, in the words of homeless charity Shelter, threaten to “trigger a spiral of debt, eviction and homelessness”.
- Forcing schools to send the thickest 25% of students home.
For Cable, there’s no distancing himself from a budget he claims to be “proud” of.
Perhaps he now takes Lamont’s view that “unemployment is a price worth paying”?