Monday 11 February 2013
Darling or Osborne?
'Badger' Darling presided over the most excessive boom and bust this Country had seen in generations, even putting the Great Depression to the test. Bullied by the politically driven insanity of Gordon Brown to spend as much money as possible, raise taxes and allow the Banks to do anything as long as they paid large tax revenues, Darling oversaw total catastrophe in 2008. Up until that time he made as far as I can see not one a single good decision. After the Lehman collapse, and the hubris that smashed the Government, Darling became much better. He took the big decision to save RBS and HBOS to prevent financial meltdown. The decision on Northern Wreck and other secondary institutions was less good. His final budgetary plans to push through consolidation in the fiscal expenditure was with hindsight not a bad plan at all.
Osborne started with a broken trainset, so his challenges were far worse to deal with. With events also moving out-of-control for the first two years, little that he did would really matter beyond the first austerity budget. This successful, tough fiscal consolidation bought the Government breathing room to work on more basic reforms of the economic system; sadly, the key area which is the over-complex tax system, has remained untouched. Added flexibility to the workplace is great for employers but was already a success in the UK. Worse, the fall in Government spending was barely matched by private sector expansion. As tax receipts continued to fall, the public finances and size of the state have become worse, not better. By the second budget though reducing of the top rate of tax was used to slaughter the budget. Osborne has never been the same since, hiding where possible and having a much lower public profile.
So there we go, the last 2 men at the helm? Who do you think has done the better job? There is a poll on the sidebar running until Friday.
(It's not got so bad that we need to ask whether Cable or Balls should be included, neither of them are within touching distance of sanity).