Dishonesty is not the best policy on public spending

Andrew Rawnsley writes in the Observer:

George Osborne concedes that his party has previously been “shy” of using the “C” word. In a recent article for the Times, the shadow chancellor declared himself a convert to honesty. “We should have the confidence to tell the public the truth”, that truth being “that real spending will have to be cut” across “many departments”.

His candour is, though, still heavily rationed. The Tories remain opaque about where the cuts will bite and how deeply they will go. It is easy to identify ID cards, “quango pay” and “the cost of politics” as candidates for the axe. No one is going to man the barricades to defend MPs’ expenses, quangocrats and ID cards from the chop. All are populist candidates for cuts which will save sums that are absolutely trivial in the context of the scale of the deficit.