Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lesson of the day : never rely on a Liberal Democrat to defuse a bombshell

It's slightly surreal to think that it was just a few weeks ago that the Liberal Democrats were unveiling 1992-style posters, warning of the Tories' devastating "tax bombshell". This was a direct reference to the "plans" - denied in non-denial fashion by David Cameron - to increase the rate of VAT, and it triggered a furious attempt by journalists such as Andrew Neil to force Lib Dem spokesmen to acknowledge that the Tories were in fact "planning" no such thing. The response was that, while the Tories weren't openly admitting their intentions, nothing but a hike in VAT could ever make their sums add up.

Well, one good thing can now be said for the Lib Dems - they were completely right and Andrew Neil was completely wrong, but given the circumstances I don't think that's going to do them a lot of good. Perhaps I just missed the small print on those billboards saying "but, hey, we love Tory tax bombshells!".

UPDATE : Until I saw this photo, I'd completely forgotten that the ill-fated billboard launch took place in Scotland. Tavish Scott does seem to have an uncanny knack of finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time (eg. Jack McConnell's government). Still, at least Charles Kennedy can hold his head up high.

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