There all all sorts of snags, inequalities and lack of detail about the long awaited fix for social care and linked boost to NHS coffers, to cope with the aftermath of the pandemic. Having promised a plan Boris has come up with quite an eye catching one, which he promotes with enthusiasm. How much of the detail he himself understands is not clear. But it is likely to be not much. Boris is a broad brush person, not a details freak. Without becoming entangled in the political wrangling or the sums of the pundits cluttering the media, I just have this to say.
For decades the Tory party has been a low tax low spend party. If money is needed it is met by borrowing and cuts. Cuts described as efficiency savings. Over the last ten years cuts have meant starvation of resource to every public service , except perhaps the border force. Tories have a thing about borders.
Boris’s Tory party is however different. It spends big. Fighting the pandemic was, like a war, without regard to cost. So borrowing soared to mega levels unknown for a couple of generations, although the true net figure is far lower because nearly half the debt is owed by the government to itself via quantitative easing.
In the past a Tory Chancellor would have initiated cuts to ‘get the public finances in order’. But not now. This latest development signals a major shift. Stuff will be paid for by raising taxes. Cuts to public services are out. It will be interesting to see if the Party has the guts to stay the course. The political shift is clear. Labour is in danger of ending up to the right of the Tories. That will certainly please Boris’s new red wall friends. But it could drive the blue wall faithful into the arms of the Lib Dems, the Greens and Labour’s growing southern appeal.
Politics has at last become interesting again.