The BBC’s post-budget coverage strayed into almost unheard-of territory this afternoon, with remarkably frank admissions by experts – unchallenged, for a change, by presenters – of the calamitous state of the UK economy under Tory government.
So calamitous that even the right-leaning Laura Kuenssberg couldn’t stifle a scoffing laugh when she heard a colleague ask about deficit reduction.
It started on the Daily Politics programme hosted by Andrew Neil, in which the BBC’s political, business and economics editors discussed the budget, even mentioning the Tories’ sudden increase in borrowing – then moved on to a recognition that, while the rest of the world has been ‘going great guns’ economically, the UK has not.
We’re stuck in the ‘slow lane’:
It then continued with an interview with a City expert at around 16.40hrs – not yet available on video – in which the financier echoed the same lament about the UK’s dramatic slow-down and contrasted it with the dramatically different fortunes of, well, virtually anywhere else in the world.
Of course, none of these commentators attributed the UK’s poor economic fortunes directly to Tory police – the BBC’s frankness only goes so far – but in the context of analysis of the Tories’ latest budget and the Office of Budget Responsibility’s major downgrading of the economic forecasts it issued just six months ago, it was hard to reach any different conclusion:
Tory (mis)management of the UK’s economy – in spite of their regular self-congratulation in Prime Minister’s Questions – has slowed down our economic recovery, not caused it.
Of course, many on the left have been saying this for years – but if the BBC is starting to make similar noises, it had dramatic consequences for the economic consensus and narrative in this country.
‘Spreadsheet Phil’s last budget was considered a disaster that he was lucky to survive – but this latest debacle may just turn out to be a fatal blow for him and even for the government.
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