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A Lesson in Foot Shooting From the Coalition

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It should have been a great couple of weeks for the government. They might not have had an actual hand in the production of a set of figures that would have bolstered any other leader on earth. They may well be being blown by the forces of the global economy and have little control over events, like a rudderless ship being tossed about on the high seas. Alternatively, they may be the architects of a renaissance of sorts, either way, it is a government's job to take credit for the good news. And there was such a lot of it about.

Government borrowing was down £700m in one month. That sounds like a lot, even to an investment banker. OK, public sector borrowing still stands at £12.8bn, but it's a start.

The take in tax revenue was up. This indicates a more robust picture of health. More taxes equals more activity - the corpse is twitching. A 3.7% rise in tax revenue and £42bn flowing in to HMRC is a pretty good result. You would think we would have heard about it.

To allay the fears of the anti-cuttists there was news that government expenditure actually rose, not fell. It was up by 3.7%.

What did fall was unemployment. That's right, it actually went down, by a not too shabby 50,000 people and the number in employment rose to the highest figure ever recorded - almost 30m persons in employ. There was a concomitant drop of 4,000 people claiming jobseekers allowance.

There was more: inflation is down. The consumer price index fell from 2.5% to 2.2%. Despite that figure being used to calculate the rise in a range of benefits, the state pension will increase by the higher figure, that is, it will go up by a larger sum than inflation. No cut there.

If you include mortgages in the mix, inflation was down to 2.6% from 2.9%.

Some economists are calling the end of the recession.

All great news, or at least great statistics, which a switched-on government could use as a weapon to batter the opposition, cow a revolting populace and blot the inky ire of a slavering press.

And did they? Well...no, because they spent the entire time on the ropes being punched about the chops by Andrew Mitchell's gate gate and then George Boo Osborne's First Class Debacle. That's all the press talked about all week. The government looked out for the count. Even leader of the opposition Hopeless Ed was allowed to land a few jabs. It could only have got worse if Jimmy Savile had been found to be Cameron's dad.

The Great Forehead-o, Prime Minister Dave even shared in the approval of no less an august institution than the Nobel Committee which awarded him co-ownership of their Prize for Peace. He responded by refusing to collect it. He actually started a war about a peace prize!

I know times are hard, and there is a push to cut spending on all but the most vital of projects, but perhaps a new PR whiz would be a good investment for the coalition. Someone who could persuade them against snatching defeat from the jaws of success.