The Tory blogsphere continues to savage Alastair Darling's Budget. Yet in many ways, the far more sober Institute of Fiscal Studies has told the real story. According to them, we are facing up to a decade of financial austerity and George Osborne has, not surprisingly, jumped on this report to claim that every family faced a "bill" of £2,840 per year in tax rises or spending cuts.
That figure seems dubious to me but I don't question the thrust of the IFS report.
George Osborne is a declared fan of spending cuts rather than tax rises and while I understand the economics of that, the politics are going to be the problem. I'm far from clear where the Conservatives think the axe can fall though I did note this piece on ConservativeHome which is rather rambling, bordering on the incoherent and not wholly accurate on the subject of pensions.
The other news of interest today relates to remarks made by the London Mayor, Boris Johnson. Boris has had a surprisingly quiet first year as Mayor but I'll review that another time. He is "supposed" to have not ruled out serving just one term as Mayor and returning to Westminster politics in 2012.
Clearly, he would be a serious rival for David Cameron but I just don't see it. If the incoming Conservative Government hits trouble by 2012, it might look better to remain as Mayor of London. Otherwise, Cameron is safe and Johnson wouldn't risk a challenge.
Let's just see I wouldn't yet bet against Boris being the Conservative challenge in the 2012 Mayoral contest.