So we now know what a George Osborne budget looks like, without the Lib Dems to help him. The only thing that really surprised me was just how low he sets his aspirations. Ultimately whoever controls the purse strings, controls the government. The announcements made yesterday set the tone of the government for the next five years. No one argues that the country has severe issues to deal with. The argument is how we get there. One of the biggest challenges is the clapped out infrastructure we rely on every day. I expected some sort of rabbit out of the hat. Osbornes chief rival for the job, Boris Johnson gets it. As Mayor, hes been pushing for all manner of major infrastructure projects. These vary from the sorely needed such as Crossrail 2, to the bonkers such as Boris Island. The point is that Boris recognises that these projects generate wealth and economic activity. Sadly George doesn't get it. There is nothing to stimulate the country and make the country a better place. In fact his new dividend tax will hit small businessmen and SME's hard in the pocket. This measure is designed to raid cash from those who run small businesses and maximise their earnings by paying themselves low wages and high dividends. Not exactly a move to stimulate innovation.
I am not going to say too much about the attack on social welfare, it is clear that Osborne is a hard right acolyte of the idea of a "thin welfare state". Anyone who is unable to work due to illness or injury will have woken up to yet another attack on their pocket. If Osborne can sleep at night raiding such people to help the super rich, then I suppose there is nothing much to say.
I was also struck by his head in the sand approach to major international issues such as global warming. It seems like Osborne simply doesn't care about the planet.
All in all, it is saddening that we have a Chancellor and indeed a government that is more than happy to set its aspirations low. Never mind, we only have four years and ten months before we can do something about it.