The cupboard is bare... except for these guys
Following yesterday's post, Mrs T and others have once again warned Tyler to quit moaning and give Dave's new team a chance.
So we will. From now until the Budget on 22 June, we'll be following a new operating rule - we'll only look for the positives.
And in that spirit, let's immediately record that today's Osborne, Laws, and Budd Show was most encouraging.
For one thing, George suddenly sounded a lot more comfortable and credible. Yes, he did have an opportunist political bash or three at Labour for the mess they've left behind. But in the circs, that's surely fair comment. More importantly, for the first time he actually sounded like a senior pilot capable of flying us through an ash cloud back to safety.
We especially liked the fact that he'd brought along Sir Alan Budd in person to underline the importance of the latter's new job as head of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). And to repeat his pre-election assurance that all future budgets will be based on projections produced by the OBR. And that the OBR will publish independent assessments of whether the Chancellor's policies will actually deliver what he claims.
(Yes, yes, of course - there are lots of unanswered questions about how this will work in practice, and you might wonder quite how independent Budd's seconded Treasury officials will turn out to be, but we're not going there - we're accentuating the positive, remember?).
Laws came over very well as Chief Secretary. He sounded focused, tough, and entirely unphased by the letter left on the desk by his predecessor helpfully informing him there's no money left.
And we like the urgency: the Budget brought forward to 22 June, and announcements on this year's £6bn savings early next week.
What else? What else do we like?
Well, reopening all those scorched earth decisions made by Labour in the run-up to the election, that has to be sensible. If we can get out of them, we should.
And what about those skeletons reportedly clattering out of cupboards all over Whitehall? What can we say positively about them? The biggest and scariest of them is the simple fact that Darling's fiscal forecasts were fiddled, meaning that the overall position is even worse than he admitted. But in truth, that shouldn't have come as a shock to anyone (eg see this BOM post).
But no, genuinely, we did think the new Treasury team came across convincingly today. There may be no money left, but for the first time in many years we seem to be facing up to some reality.
PS As you will doubtless have spotted, despite our brilliant new Chancellor, sterling has been going for a bit of a walk lately:
The market seems to be betting that George will succeed in cutting spending. You may think that ought to be good for sterling - after all, haven't we been told we must cut in order to head off a sterling collapse? But the market is figuring that if George delivers real cuts, then the Bank of England will be able to hold down interest rates for longer. Which means sterling gets less support from short-term money flows, and therefore sags. Funny chaps markets... although longer-term, sound public finances will certainly mean stronger sterling.