Daily catch-up: What George Osborne won’t do in the Budget next week

Plus a Greek Question To Which The Answer Is Oxi, and the Labour leadership latest

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The Independent Online

1. Here is a list of things George Osborne won’t do in next week’s Budget. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has put out a short note on possible tax reforms.

They include dealing with the 60 per cent income tax rate between £100,000 and £121,200 (caused by the phasing out of the personal allowance between those points), revaluing houses for council tax, cutting stamp duty and moving from fuel tax to congestion charging.

All far too sensible for Osborne, who is addicted to Gordon-Brown-style gimmicks and complications.

2. A lot of nominations for this question, asked by David Patrikarakos on Politico:

“Is Tsipras a genius?”

The Greek chapter of the QTWTAIN cult is now open for business. Thanks to DG Dimitrakopoulos for letting me know that in Greek it is correctly known as ΕΣΟΗΑΕΟ (Questions To Which The Answer Is Oxi).

The British handbook is still available here.

3. Dan Hodges has reverted to his aboriginal Brownism by coming out for Yvette Cooper for the Labour leadership, thus splitting the Blairites. I think Cooper would be a better choice than Andy Burnham, but Hodges’s only argument against Liz Kendall is that it is “too soon” for her. As soon as someone says it is too soon for a candidate, you know her time has come.

4. Perhaps Cooper could suddenly become a centrist once she is elected, but to be a good one it would help if there were some hint of it beforehand. I accept that Home Information Packs, which she implemented in 2007, were not originally her idea. As Housing Minister since 2005 she answered first to John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister, then from 2006 to Ruth Kelly, Communities and Local Government Secretary, and then to Hazel Blears, who succeeded Kelly in June 2007. But she bore immediate responsibility for the policy. Anyone who wants to be prime minister should have seen what a terrible idea they were and done everything to get them scrapped – instead we had to wait until the coalition government in 2010 to get rid of them. 

5. The possibility of Andy Burnham becoming Labour leader prompted Dan Kelly to ask:

“When was the last time someone was elected leader of a political party on their second try?”

I think the answer is Michael Howard, who tried in 1997 (when William Hague backed him and then decided to run himself), and was then elected unopposed in 2003. Before that it was David Owen, who challenged Roy Jenkins as leader of the SDP in 1982 before succeeding him opposed a year later (thanks to Mr Memory for reminding me). Before that it was Michael Foot, who tried in 1976 before succeeding (against Denis Healey, Peter Shore and John Silkin) in 1980, the last time Labour MPs alone elected the leader.

6. And finally, thanks to Moose Allain for this:

If I can’t remember the name for Sellotape I just called it thin gummy.

And to Chris Wirth ‏for this:

The little dance your fingers do when trying to find the end of a roll of Sellotape is called a “thin gummy jig”.

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