Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Babyface too easily rattled on spending and child poverty

Share
Related Topics

The Chancellor's answers on
Today roused pity and terror. The week before he'd been "safe". Now his answers sound like a senile man masticating porridge. That is, he sounds like the porridge, not the man. Formless, pointless, virtually without content, certainly meaningless.

In the Budget Resolutions he sat next to thrusting James Babyface Purnell. It was awful. Alistair has turned into one of those creatures kept by aggressive ants to have their essence sucked out to feed the predators' young. No wonder Balls is looking so lively.

Osbo gave us his gloss of the Budget's fine print. There's £1.3bn less on health than we were told and £2.2bn less on education. The big increase in defence spending is paid for by cuts in schools 'n' hospitals. I'd like to see a Tory government get that past Harriet Harman.

Osbo has developed a very impressive talent to annoy ministers. He goaded Baby Boy to great effect. Labour was copying Tory welfare policy. But, Purnell objected, it was the Tories who were copying Labour's Freud report. Ah, but Labour had abandoned the Freud report before the Tories picked it up, and Freud was a banker and Tory adviser anyway.

It's what Gordon calls a "shared national consensus". We call it "squabbling". But would Purnell undertake there and then to implement the whole of the Freud report? After enough needling, Baby Boy said he would. Tory joy! "You should have seen the Chancellor's face when he said that!" Osbo cried. Freud's central recommendation is a resolution between two departmental accounting methods that prompt internecine warfare in the Civil Service. They have Days of Rage about it.

Purnell retaliated by flinging his rattle at the opposition. Stand up and tell us right now how you are going to fund your spending promises! This was punctured by a Scot Nat, Stewart Hosie, who pointed out the government programme was funded by £43bn of borrowing, £581bn of debt and £189bn of PFI. Damn, but he's a handy man, that Hosie. Purnell hadn't finished getting worse. Child poverty! Tories won't pledge to halving it! They just "aspire" to by 2010! We pledged to by 2010! Osbo and other Tories pointed out that Labour won't make this pious target. The department had admitted it. But Purnell furiously insisted had "pledged" to "aim to meet" the "target". Is that so superior, morally? It sounded like an aspiration to me.

BTW: the Tories' "black hole" in spending promises amounts to 0.2 per cent of public spending.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: English Teachers with QTS nee...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Science Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Science Teachers needed for s...

Geography Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Geography Teachers needed tha...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The campaign has left much of Scotland divided  

Scottish referendum results: A change is gonna come – it’s GOT to come

James Bloodworth
The Prime Minister David Cameron speaks outside Downing Street after the result of the Scottish Referendum  

Scottish referendum results: And now for the West Lothian question – but resolving it won’t be easy

Rosie Millard
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week