Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Budget View from Earlham

As a political activist, the Budget is one of the great parliamentary set-pieces of the year. I could have gathered my A Level students around to watch it live and then spend the way bouncing from media outlet to blogs watching the reaction unfold.

However, given the utterly dull performance given by the Chancellor, Mr Darling, I am rather glad that didn't and I instead spent the evening with a team of campaigners in West Earlham. Amazingly, not a single person mentioned the budget on the doorsteps at all; but then, there wasn't much to mention.

So, the government got is figures wrong (again), booze and fags are to be taxed more and Darling cops out of any real reform at all. I suppose he was boxed in by the previous Chancellor - one, Gordon Brown - but still he could have done better than this, in terms of presentation if not actually policy changes. He was humiliated by David Cameron's strong, assured and detailed analysis and a few parliamentary speakers could learn something from Cameron about how to deliver a speech!

So given the budget was such a dud, I am pleased to have spent time on doorsteps rather than glued to the TV. We had a fantastic reception tonight, in roads that have traditionally not been good for us. What was marked is the number of people that said they would consider voting Conservative. I canvassed for the party in the mid-1990s; back then, barely more than a third of the country could ever see themselves as voting for us. From tonight, things are now very different. I'm sure Labour won't believe me, and because of their arrogance they wouldn't do anything even if they did, but they ought to be very worried indeed about the polling results in this community. Earlham believes Labour has failed them, and is actively looking for an alternative; it is now up to the Conservatives to step into the role of champion for the community.


Anonymous said...

Darling had very little room to manoeuvre; spending committments, pressure on tax revenues, rising household prices, stalled housing market, credit crunch on the public pocket. Keep things safe.

Actually I think he missed a trick or two, like encourage green energy schemes (solar panels, ground heat pumps, insulation) now, increased tax break later when installed and working.

Reinvest £3bn from scraped ID cards into solar panels incentives on domestic homes.

More work for installers, new growth for the economy, reduced gas and heating bills, pockest extra equity investments in houses for energy efficiency, less reliance on oil and less gas, more energy security, less need for middle east oil, less terrorism from intervention, less need for ID cards with £3bn price tag.

OK a bit simplistic.

Anonymous said...

It's votes in ballot boxes that count not people dithering on their doorsteps.

I had similar experiences for Labour in the early 90's - "finding votes" in Hellesdon, Thorpe and all sorts of exciting places. Come the general election those votes all went back to their usual home - and so they will in Earlham