The Politics of the Winter Statement

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The Independent Online
Remember, remember the 5th of December. That is when George Osborne, the Chancellor, will deliver what used to be the autumn statement, before it became the Pre-Budget Report under Gordon Brown, then became the autumn statement again although it is going to be in winter.

Ed Miliband, at last week's Prime Minister's Questions (no PMQs today as the House is in recess until 15 October, after the party conferences), asked if one of Osborne's targets, that the national debt should be falling as a proportion of national income by 2015, was going to be met.

This was a Good Question.

The honest answer is that we do not know. It requires the economy to be growing faster than the national debt, and at the moment that looks a bit 50-50.

Benedict Brogan, the deputy editor of The Daily Telegraph, notes the importance of the "winter statement", but asks a related question:

Will Labour accept the Coalition's future cuts?

This is one of the smaller number of Questions to Which the Answer is Yes, as Brogan should have known, if he had paid attention to what the lead horseman of the austerity apocalypse (Ed Balls) has said, and if he had read my column 10 days ago.