Never before have we witnessed such a mess as a Chancellor trying to get out of a political hole by carrying on digging. Yet today that is what we saw today from Chancellor Darling as he tried to put the 10p tax rate debate aside by putting up the tax allowance on the basic rate. This will cost £2.7 billion but ...
It is a one-off payment, a one-off solution to a problem created by Gordon Brown.
It is being paid for by borrowing! We'll end up paying this back one way or the other.
22 million better off, but only 4.2m of those were impacted in the first place and Darling still misses 1.1 million people!
It may have caused a humiliating backdown from Frank Field but it won't pass the opposition or the media test. The news is pretty damaging and the papers will say so. Darling will always have this U-Turn around his neck and the issue will become attached to Gordon Brown too.
Am I the only one who thought Darling should have started with an apology too? I also thought that both Osbourn and Cable did very well ... but they did both have an open goal, I suppose.
Poor old Darling; the unluckiest Chancellor attached to the unluckiest Prime Minister ever.