Wednesday News Review

Labour’s fightback

“While Labour fights a leadership contest and Lib Dems wonder whether they can change the voting system as a reward for their loyalty, Osborne needs to win the argument that his measures are “unavoidable” – a word that recurred in his speech as often as “progressive”. The term is another convenient one, implying that there is no other course and therefore challenge is futile. Margaret Thatcher famously argued in the 1980s that there was no alternative to her policies. Osborne did not repeat the phrase, but “unavoidable” has precisely the same meaning and serves the same purpose.” – The Independent

“But neither that, nor a new bank levy set for next year, stopped Harman laying into what she called “a Tory Budget that will throw people out of work, hold back growth and harm vital public services.” She added: “This is the same old Tories”. David Miliband, running for the Labour leadership, immediately described it as a “give with one hand punch with the other Budget”. – The New Statesman

“They did not vote for this slash and burn approach. Nick Clegg has jettisoned the promises he made — promises he pledged to keep — with a speed that beggars belief. He and his team have put their own jobs before principles and have joined a Cabinet of millionaires that is now cutting without compassion.” – Andy Burnham, The Bolton News

“If the Tories really meant it when they said “we’re all in this together”, they would follow the Swedish example from the mid-90s where they made halving unemployment the central plank of their deficit reduction plan.” – David Miliband, The Mirror

“The budget will also be a defining moment for the Labour leadership contenders. All were agreed today that the budget is, as the FT columnist Martin Wolf once wrote, “strangely pre-Keynesian”. But if the budget works, they will face pressure to explain whether it was wise of Labour to run up Britain’s largest peacetime fiscal deficit.” – The Guardian

“What did the LibDems ­actually get out of this austerity Budget? Diane Abbott, a Labour leadership candidate, said: “The Liberal Democrats bottled it – all they got was cheaper cider.” – The Herald

“The biggest howls of anger from Labour MPs came when Mr Osborne announced his welfare benefit cuts and the VAT increase that Mr Darling and the Labour leadership contender Ed Balls had been predicting.” – Sky News

“Ed Miliband, the shadow climate change secretary, said: “It is a classic Tory budget of broken promises and unfairness. They promised they wouldn’t raise VAT and they have. It will increase unemployment by their own figures and reduce employment. And the poorest will be hit hardest. It is a regressive and unfair budget.” – The Guardian

“The Coalition will force them onto Job Seeker’s Allowance once their kids are five years old. Job Seeker’s Allowance is just what it says on the tin- you are expected to seek work while on the benefit. Even more than that, you are pressured, coaxed, cajoled, levered into getting work.” – Anthony Painter Blog

Just to prove that there is life outside of the Budget…

“Lord Ashdown said: “If there is a single person who is responsible for the fact that the possibility, slim though it was, of a Liberal Democrat/Labour coalition was killed it is David Miliband.” – The Telegraph

“LABOUR leadership contender Andy Burnham has blamed “factional politics” between supporters of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for the party’s fall from power. The former health secretary said that “infighting” between Blair and Brown supporters had “sapped Labour’s morale and energy.” – The Scotsman

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