Whilst many people are talking about the £2.7bn "unfunded" tax cut that Darling announced yesterday, and the fact that the Government has just neutralised the argument they always make against the Tories, it's worth noting that this isn't really a tax cut but is instead a deferred tax rise.
Were this measure being funded by surplus money on the balance sheet, or by genuinely cutting spending, then it would be a tax cut, but it isn't. It is being funded by BORROWING. When the Government borrows money what it is really doing is saying it is borrowing non-existant money from us... the taxpayer.
It is not "tax and spend" anymore, it's "spend then tax". That is the result of using borrowing to fund things. It is a way of deferring the problem of raising taxes - and hopefully you will be able to defer them long enough that you will lose power, and then the Opposition will be forced into corrective and unpopular measures.
Here therefore is a little prediction for you. Watch the Pre-Budget Report after the summer veryclosely. If there are not lots of tiny incremental increases buried deep in the appendices that conveniently adds up £2.7bn I will eat my hat (I would have to buy one first of course).
The Sun has only got it half right this morning. Yes it's a by-election bribe, but it 's also money that he's going to have claw back in a later budget with different rises. Like I say, we don't have a "tax and spend" Prime Minister, we have a "spend then tax" one instead. At least with the former you know what is happening, with the latter it is all done by stealth.