For a year now we have heard from Labour backbench dinosaurs about how awful the Tory cuts will be if they win the election. Famine, plague, babies eaten for breakfast and so on are the images conjured up by the denizens of Jurassic Park. And when it is put to them that Labour will have to introduce cuts, it is explained that somehow Labour cuts are good, Tory cuts are bad. The Labour mood music is that the Tories are instinctive cutters of services whilst Labour are nice people who support the poor (having however spent years sucking up to the rich and the City financiers). Whilst I have a modicum of sympathy for that view with regards to some Tories from the Thatcherite right (Tory dinosaurs to keep the metaphor running) actually trying to pin down what the Tory leadership stands for is far more difficult. Lots of spending pledges have been made, lots of tax cuts offered, lots of black holes in the accounts still to be explained.
Nevertheless, it would be interesting to hear what the Labour dinosaurs have to say about Alistair Darling's comments that a re-elected Labour government will make cuts rivalling those of Mrs Thatcher herself. Given that the Thatcher government failed to reduce the overall share of our wealth spent by the state, it could be argued that Darling is setting himself an easy target.
But for those Labour MPs who foam at the mouth at the first mention of Margaret Thatcher, Darlings comments must be a shock to the system. I'll be watching and listening with interest.
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