The tone of the Tory press and commentariat, post-Osborne bean-counting, is little less than triumphalist. Four more quarters of uninterrupted economic “progress” guaranteed. The silver vote nailed. The Kippers smoked. Labour in the stew. All set fair for a walk-over in May 2015.
And then there’s only a few small matters outstanding:
- Crimea, Ukraine, Russia, Putin …
- … and, by the way, things could kick off quite seriously in the Middle East at the drop of a Syrian jet.
- Meanwhile, Britain seems to have mislaid any pretence of a defence policy.
- Russian tourist spending in UK sees sharp fall in February — and, oo err Missus, what’ll that do to the Kensington/Chelsea house price bubble?
- That’s just a small part of the trade gap issue: export orders are down, sterling is up and exports are therefore more expensive. One in four of those containers heading to Southampton, Tilbury and London Gateway came in full of consumer goodies, but are going out, full of English air.
- China’s growth is slowing, and that bizarrely is driving the dollar down. Oil and other energy is priced in dollars, so if sterling is up against the dollar, what happens to fuel prices?
- It’s stopped raining in Somerset and Oxfordshire, but what other slings and arrows does climate change (which doesn’t exist, of course) have in the armoury?
- Are we going to keep the lights on?
- UK inflation is a two-edged weapon: price inflation (and added consumer taxes, such as 20% VAT) means we’re all worse off than 2010. Meanwhile the Bank of England must, sooner rather than later, hike interest rates. How does that affect all those easy-money mortgages? Oo err Missus (revisited) what’ll that do to the South-East house price bubble?
- We have Frau Merkel on board on the EU-business, haven’t we? Haven’t we?
- Let’s not mention the Scottish referendum, OK?
- The NHS is safe in Jeremy’s good hands, yes?
- Iain Duncan Smith’s the kind of guy you’d go into the jungle with, so his Universal Credit has got to be ticketty-boo and cannot possibly be a bit iffy, right? Anyway, even so, that only affects the proles. So long as we don’t insist on biking out the main gate of Downing Street, they may not notice that (or our class consciousness). Best to keep stumm.
- Absolutely all of Govey’s “free schools” are working out really well, aren’t they? More of that verstummen, danke!
- Ditto re: Banks. Definitely!
- Have we annoyed any rural Tory voters by fracking at the end of the lane? By the way, we have to dissimulate on non-plans for coastal flooding. Nor should we mention that so many of these promised Little boxes made of ticky tacky are going to happen on flood plains.
Hey, there’s a good excuse for some distraction-therapy:
But there’s still those lovely Opinion Polls!
However, even there Anthony Wells is a trifle dubious:
As ever when you get a couple of polls indicating a shift straight after an event it’s tempting to conclude the event has had a big impact. Be a bit cautious – the YouGov and Populus polls conducted Wednesday night and Thursday morning didn’t show a narrowing, it’s these two polls conducted from Thursday to Friday that show narrower leads. They aren’t necessarily contradictory (many people in those initial polls wouldn’t have seen the details of the budget or the media reaction yet), but it means the evidence isn’t all one way. Wait a bit to see if this pattern continues into the week.
Everything in the garden is lovely! [E & OE]