Little Lord Fauntleroy is apparently an excellent shot, capable of dropping two deer in quick succession. With a few words yesterday, Gordon showed himself to be superior as he skewered the Tories' tax cutting agenda and entirely wrongfooted Cameron. He's really put them in an awkward position - do they troop through the lobbies to back the Chancellor or vote against a tax cut? Either way, they end up looking distinctly foolish. If they now demand further tax cuts, they will have to answer tough questions about what cuts will follow to public services.
Outside the headline-grabbing 2p cut - a glance at the red tops today saw broad support for Gordon - there was a decent rise in child benefit. On average, families with children will be £200 a year better off, with the poorest 20% being up to £350 a year better off. There's also an increase in the first year tax credit paid to single parents who return to work, providing additional support to that beleagured group. At the other end of life, pensioners will see their tax allowances rise - taking 600,000 over 65s out of the tax system. The one dark edge to this silver cloud was the effect on those without children and living on an income up to about £18,000, who will lose out. I hope that something can be done in terms of the personal allowances to minimise the effect of the loss of the 10p tax rate.
A question - who leaked the changes in corporation tax to the Tories? Why else would they roll out a policy of little interest to most voters - most people are interested in personal tax and very few outside the senior echelons of business take any interest in corporation tax, so this is an obscure little proposal to put out to the public unless they thought that they could possibly work some political gain from the whole thing. Clearly, they knew what was coming.
On the whole, while it won't set the world alight, Brown's last budget has shown that he's ready for the fight and Cameron won't have it easy when Gordon steps over to Number 10. Snowflake 5 reports that her collection of tame right wing voters were at worst, neutral about the budget and most expressed a grudging admiration for the Iron Chancellor.
Gideon Osborne appeared on the telly tonight to give his budget response. While his performance improved towards the end of the broadcast, he started out looking incredibly unsure of himself, very wooden and apparently having trouble coping with the autocue. All he really had to say was to accuse Gordon of conning the public and to promise something different from the Tories - not that he had any details to flesh out these bones.
Nice one Comrade Brown.