Friday, 14 March 2008

Boring, boring, boring (AKA The Budget)

Was it just me, or was this year's budget the most depressingly boring in years? In a way, I pity Alistair Darling; him being the human face for Gordon Brown's "leadership" on budget day. Poor Alistair hadn't a drug-free-athlete-in-the-Olympics chance of adding colour to Gordon's beige economics. For me, it was the government's failure to introduce the much-discussed plastic-bag tax that summed up Labour under Gordon Brown. Such a simple thing, and yet it could so easily have added a spark to this year's banality and shown that Gordon Brown actually has the capacity to make forward-looking policy decisions. After all, who would the plastic bag tax have adversely affected? Apart from plastic bag manufacturers, no one is really going to find themselves in economic turmoil because of it...if you think about it. It is a tax on laziness ("just didn't bother to bring one") and forgetfulness ("oh, I left it at home again"), and yet this tax would have signalled a government commitment to make real, society-level changes on environmental policy. I'm in agreement with Nick Clegg on this one...this was a "meagre, tinkering budget" with little evidence of leadership, even between the lines.

Gordon Brown still thinks he has adequate time in the chair to make up for Labour's lost ground in the polls. However, if he continues to squander every opportunity to make real decisions, we could be looking at Primeminister Cameron in a couple of years time. Scary!

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