Letter from the editor

THE Chancellor's annual Budget speech is one of those events that mark the newspaper year. In the diary for months, lots of build-up, everyone from staff to contacts to friends claiming to know what he will say, then the silence while he speaks, followed by a mad, exhilarating dash to produce the paper on time, to dissect, explain, analyse every single thing he said.

This year, as in previous years, The Independent did not produce one newspaper for the morning after the Budget but effectively two: a 20-page section poring over Gordon Brown's words; and our normal "non-Budget" paper, full of the other news that day. It was frantic and hair-raising - not least when I was told, with less than an hour to go before deadline, that our computers were finding it hard to cope with the information rush and were slowing down - but we got there.

While the Budget is a fixture in the calendar it is also one of the ways in which a newspaper can be judged. How did we do? How did our coverage compare with our rivals? The answer to both, I am delighted to say, was brilliantly. No obvious howlers, no gaping holes, no sense of getting the balance wrong. Mind, it was touch and go. When Mr Brown sat down we realised that thanks to the insistent prodding of his anonymous "friends" in Whitehall we had schemed in page 4 of the Budget section for pensions, ready for a major announcement. But, of pensions, barely a whisper. It was that sort of Budget: a lot of nudges and winks beforehand but little to set the pulse racing on the day.

ONE AREA where the Chancellor did send the right sort of signal was the environment - but not to the satisfaction of all our readers. On the morning after the Budget, one reader rang in to complain that Mr Brown must have something against tall people. I'm not against environmentally friendly cars, he said, but I can't pack a 6ft 4in body into an eco-friendly Mini Metro. The call made me realise what it must like to be the Chancellor, confronted by every minority interest going, lobbied on all fronts, constantly reminded by anxious civil servants to examine all the pitfalls. At least in a newspaper, we can try and address most people's views and problems but to actually take decisions that directly affect how many pounds they have in their pockets and even what car they should drive, must be hell - yet Mr Brown gives the impression of being in his element. Hmmm...

THE BIG news of the week was that the Government has now pronounced that men are no longer the official family breadwinners. This realisation, revealed in The Independent - we regarded it as so important as to put it at right of the top of the front-page in our "hamper" across seven columns - should herald a bright new dawn for all working mothers, of which I am one. Yet, what did we see in the Budget speech just hours previously? Very little to improve the lot of women struggling on their own to raise children and to hold down jobs. It is all very well for a male- dominated Government to notice a social phenomenon that many of us have known for years. Whether it will actually translate into meaningful reform of a system that still reflects a bygone age, when the man went to work and the little woman stayed at home is quite a different matter. I wait to be impressed, Tony and Gordon.


React Now

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

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ian Paisley used to pick out journalists in his congregation  

The Only Way is Ethics: Ian Paisley is rightly remembered for his intransigence

Will Gore
Residents of the Gravesham constituency are 10 times closer to what Peter Hain scorns as the “Westminster elite” than are those of Linlithgow and East Falkirk  

Will no one stop the march of localism?

Jonathan Meades
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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