Plus c’est la même chose, plus ça change…
The more George Osborne insists on sticking to his policy, the worse the results become.
He’s like a driver who refuses to reset his faulty satnav long after it becomes clear that the geography is nothing like what he’d expected. He’s still turning right in 200 metres, but the turn takes him into a ditch instead of the hoped-for motorway.
In 2010, we planned to borrow an extra £471 billion by 2015/16. Today I can announce that we will hit this target two years early.
He didn’t say that, of course. But it’s true.
So imagine what he would say about a Labour Chancellor who had presided over this:
At some point, the government has to take responsibility. Three years is past that point.
(Note on data: The public finance figures are becoming harder to unravel. The ones I’ve used above exclude the effects of various special factors such as the asset price facility and financial transactions. The result of this exclusion is to raise the borrowing and lower the debt in the most recent figures. See tables 4.36 and 4.37 of the OBR report.)