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Anorak | Gulps & Phews

Gulps & Phews

by | 23rd, March 2006

‘IN keeping with Chancellor Gordon Brown’s idiosyncratic-style of speech – that guppy-like gasping for air makes it look like even he has trouble swallowing his own argument the Budget was delivered in a series of Gulps! for the painful bits (yet more tax) and Phews! for the rest (a freeze on the duty on fizzy wine).

‘Just fill it with fivers and nobody gets hurt’

And let us not forget the other bits. Let’s call them the Ers. There were lots of Ers…, those parts too few of us really understand (monetary policy).

And don’t suppose for a moment all MPs find this fiscal stuff interesting. When Brown began his address with a comment on economic growth, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott smiled wryly and mouthed “wow”. Knowing what we do about fist-talking Prezza, his appraisal of the Chancellor’s figures on economic growth suggested he too was a little un-wowed by the killer stats. Prezza can do irony. Wow.

What Prezza cannot do is take an enlivening drink as Brown gasps and gapes for 61 minutes. Tradition dictates that the Chancellor and no-one else can quaff alcoholic refreshment during the Budget speech. Not that Brown took a restorative dram – he sips natural mineral water (Scottish, colorless and unsparkling – very in keeping with the man).

Of course, Brown is far from boring. He is merely prudent and misunderstood. This was a political Budget to support his claim for the top job and lay out his ten-year plan. This Budget was not for today; not for tomorrow; but for the next election. Raise a glass of flat wine (up 4p a bottle) to the future – yours, Tony’s and Gordon’s.

Gordon is the steady hand. During his ten years, as he said in the opening minutes of his address, he has survived rapid house price inflation, the Asian crisis, the IT bubble, Tony’s guitar playing and Cherie’s singing. He’s just the man to foster a “culture of stability” in a dangerous and unpredictable world. A neutral Budget was the thing. And Brown delivered one

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Posted: 23rd, March 2006 | In: News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink