One immortal soul heading downstairs
"This is the day when the Conservatives have revealed their true manifesto for this country. There can be no doubt that the choice, whenever it comes, is between a Government prepared to invest in the future and a Conservative Party that is going to cut."
So said our OMG-is-he-still-there "leader" at PMQs today.
What on earth is he talking about? In the most recent Budget, his own Chancellor - second-choice Chancellor though he may be - gave us the biggest public spending cuts since Labour's last biggest public spending cuts in 1976.
One explanation is that poor Mr Brown genuinely believes his Government is not planning to cut. After all, down there in the bunker he's had a lot of harrassment lately, and the good Doc reckons he really could be cracking up. It's quite possible he simply doesn't understand how bad things are, and thinks those twenty fresh divisions he's going to hurl against the Russkies actually exist.
So in a spirit of helpfulness may we remind him what Darling told us in April (also see this post, and note that some of the following figures are lifted from the excellent IFS analysis).
Darling said that spending will increase from £671bn this year to £752bn in 2013-14, which were the numbers Gordo repeated today. But of course, those are cash figures - not discounted for future inflation - and they include the temporary pre-election spending boost.
If instead we concentrate on the period post-2010-11, and adjust the cash numbers for Darling's own forecast of inflation, we find a rather different picture. Overall spending falls by 0.1% pa. But within that, debt interest and welfare benefits will unavoidably grow strongly. Which implies that Darling is planning Big Cuts in other areas.
Here's the IFS's summary of Darling's spending plans post-2011:
So as we can see, spending on debt interest explodes by 8.4% pa in real terms (actually, we reckon it will grow even faster than that - see this post). Welfare benefits and similar spending grow by almost 2% pa. Which means that Darling is planning cuts in all other spending - including the NHS and schools - of about 2.3% pa in real terms.
Furthermore, as the unfortunate Andrew Lansley blurted out this morning, if you ringfence the NHS and overseas aid - which Cam himself has inadvisedly promised - then the cuts elsewhere will be even bigger... around 10% over three years. And that is precisely what Darling is planning (well, either that, or his numbers are even more nonsensical than usual).
So does Gordo not know any of this? Is he really that far gone?
No of course not.
He is simply telling the British electorate another of his Gigantic Lies. Just like all those lies he told when he was Chancellor himself.
You do kinda wonder what went on in that famous manse of his.
I'm sure Jesus never said lying was OK.
And personally, I wouldn't want to be explaining this at the Pearly Gates.