"It's taking time, but the British economy is healing."
Not the opening gambit most had expected from the Chancellor. In fact he was booed loudly in the Commons. This was meant to be a bleak and sobering Autumn Statement that would be easy pickings for Ed Balls, but this opening - and much of the rest of the speech - put Labour on the back foot.
It is an extremely risky strategy from George Osborne. I can shut my eyes and hear Eds Balls and Miliband repeating those words time-and-again over the next two-and-a-half years as we approach the next General Election should anything less than the OBR's forecasts, now 1.9 percent growth in 2013, be met.
Ultimately, this was a re-endorsement of Plan A. "Britain is on the right track, we would be mad to turn back now", the Chancellor told the Commons with rapturous support from his backbenches and the customary shaking of heads across the aisle.
This speech focused on the strivers - those the Conservative Party needs to win over between now and the next General Election if it is to win re-election. The 3p rise in fuel duty planned for January has not only been delayed but scrapped altogether; the annual ISA allowance is increased to £11,520; the personal tax allowance creeps ever-closer to the holy grail of £10,000, up by a further £235 per year; and some specific infrastructure announcements - notably on the A1 in the North East, A30 in the South West, the Northern Line extension in South London, and spending in that tightest marginal Thurrock - will be extremely welcome in key seats.
In a less cosy Coalition moment but, again, one that will play to aspirational Middle England, the Chancellor announced that there will be no mansion tax, which left Nick Clegg animatedly shaking his head.
And it wasn't all about the marginal seats. Macro measures to promote growth were clear - a further £600m investment in science; increasing UKTI funding by 25 percent; and increasing funding of the British Business Bank by £1 billion to support small and new businesses just three such announcements.
There will be much positive talk about George Osborne's micro proposals today. Millions of people will be thanking the Chancellor in the short-term as these are policies that will ultimately put more money in their pockets. This is the Chancellor's biggest gamble of all - will the electorate remember this come May 2015, or the fact that the deficit reduction plan has fundamentally failed?
It's a gamble that rests on one thing: growth. This time next year we will as good as know whether this all-or-nothing Autumn Statement was a positive turning point in the Government's fortunes, or just a hefty dose of misplaced optimism.
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