Wednesday 18 March 2015


Budget day is the culmination of phase three of the Osborne master plan for Tory victory. Phase one was the harsh cuts and austerity-painful but blame it on Labour. Phase two the recognition that they weren't going to meet their target of getting rid of the debt in one Parliament without crippling the country. So they resolved to spread the process out over two parliaments to ease the pain.

Phase three is a few months of economic window dressing of which the budget will be a part. Spend and invest on a scale you've previously said is impossible and disastrous. Cut taxes a bit though you've been saying you can't. Add in a few give always particularly to oldies and let them spend their pension pots to produce a great out pouring of dosh to make everyone feel better.

Then win the election and begin to grind the faces of the poor even more harshly by the massive cuts in welfare and spending that you've warned them about but which they'd never really believed  you'd be daft enough to do.Then when Labour complains you can tell them that that's what the people have voted for Phase four might be even more miserable than one and two but who cares. The Tories will have won and can roll back the state and give the tax cuts their rich friends have been clamouring for

So today will be fascinating because the scale of the giveaways will tell us just how panicked Osborne is. My view is that he believes they can win so there's no need to give too much away. But we'll see.


We're living through the second age of baronial power. In the first the barons had enormous power, They had armies and controlled the use of force. They didn't pay taxes.Their tenants owed them various duties and rents.

Now we have the new barons in banks, big accountancy houses, rich hedges and powerful utilities all too big to control who can enforce their will on people who are largely unprotected because no regulator is strong enough to deal with them.

Their power has increased, is increasing, and must be diminished if we're to build a fair society.The Tomlinson report showed how one of them, RBS, has been stealing companies and I've been taking up another in the way Price Waterhouse and Lloyds treated Premier Motor auctions in Leeds.

The general Counsel of PWC has told me off for this naughtiness "You  believe that Parliament has a role to play in resolving a dispute such as this. I do not agree with this view . The courts are the ultimate and appropriate forum in which to resolve disputes of fact and interpretation of law."

In other words don't go whimpering to parliament if we behave badly and take your company away from you. Sue us and our highly paid and highly skilled team of lawyers will clobber you in the courts to teach you not to  criticise us again. Size rules. Not OK.We must regulate to tilt the odds against such enormous concentration of power and give the small person and the small company more strength to fight the big bully boys.

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