American author Mark Twain once said that there are "three types of lies. Lies, damn lies and statistics". This nifty little phrase certainly comes to mind today, when you see that the Institute of Fiscal Studies have accused the government of using dodgy stats to support their claims that living standards are going up.
I mean I accept that it can't be easy for the Treasury or George Osborne. You come into office having to deal with the aftermath of a massive financial recession and you claim that your system of austerity and cuts will deal with it. Four years on, and a year before the next general election, you want to be able to show that you were right. And to an extent they have been. Their polices have bought about a certain level of economic growth - though having a former US Treasury Secretary tell you "Nice work, but you could have done better" can't have been easy for Osborne - but you also want the statistics to back you up. If you can't claim to have evidence that austerity works, you can't campaign on it.
The problem is that the statistics don't match up with the claims. Not only have the government been accused of fiddling the stats, but the real stats don't support them. The other main report in the I last Saturday was that local councils are running out of money to support people hit hard by the Bedroom Tax, or as Cameron prefers to call it, the Spare Room Subsidy. On top of that the number of people and families using food banks and other forms of relief services has risen by 170% according to the Trussell Trust, with the Trust also predicting that up to a million people could end up using food banks in 2014. The reason for this? Benefits are being cut in order to make savings elsewhere. Such as for top tier tax cuts.
This government's ideas haven't worked, because at the end of the day they aren't making cuts where they are necessary. While I am aware that driving big business away from the UK would potentially make the economic situation even worse, it seems that the Tories are more interested in making life easier for those in the Square Mile than anything else. And how do you find the money for top tier tax cuts? By slashing benefits and punishing those who don't have the resources to fight back. By taking away money from those who need it most, without considering the consequences.
David Cameron ran for the Tory leadership in 2005 on a platform of dragging the party away from its Nasty Party roots. Has he done so? No. He has proved himself to be just as tied to the country squire, aristocratic, ethos as his predecessors. He has shown himself again and again to be out of touch with the needs of the people, with a limited understanding of what life is like for the non-Eton educated. The man who couldn't even secure a Conservative majority has shown he doesn't have what it takes to run this country.
And now he's shown himself to be economical with the truth as well.