George Osborne said the Pre-Budget Report represents “the greatest failure of public policy for a generation” after Alistair Darling announced plans to double the national debt to more than £1 trillion.

George, the Shadow Chancellor, described the report as a “Tax Bombshell Budget” and stressed that a debt of £1 trillion was “the bill for Labour’s decade of irresponsibility”.

“It is confirmation of the time-old truth that, in the end, all Labour chancellors run out of money and all Labour governments bring this country to the verge of bankruptcy.”

Bloggers and commentators are congratulating George Osborne on his response and pointing out little details like the £40bn of tax increases which outweigh the £20bn stimulus package. (And yet still we find record borrowing will be achieved.)

Watching BBC Parliament, the oafish smugness of the Labour front bench was almost unbearable. Here they are most likely ruining us but they are pleased with themselves. The Chancellor was particularly self-congratulatory as he compared the cost of borrowing now to the cost in 1997, but he forgets, or fails to understand, the market mechanisms by which British interest rates will be forced to rise sharply if the Government is to continue selling its bonds.

Was this a political pre-budget report? Oh yes. They hope to get away with maintaining their burdensome quango state at our ever-greater expense, by reducing taxes marginally before the election, only to boost them afterwards.

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