"Frustration is growing among Labour backbenchers over the Government's rescue plan for the economy. Several MPs believe a VAT cut was the wrong way of spending the bulk of the fiscal stimulus package, and others fear more should have been funded through tax reforms.
'Going shopping last week I was offered a little over a pound off a £35 item," the former environment minister Michael Meacher said. "It really isn't doing anything. It seems obvious that at a time when consumers are already being offered much bigger discounts, the VAT cut will have little effect.'
John Battle, the former energy minister, said: 'I always favoured injecting cash in at the bottom by boosting benefits. We should be using this money to take on poverty.'
The only major redistributive tax reform introduced by the Government is a new 45 per cent tax rate on those earning more than £150,000.
Disquiet on the back benches could expand to wider disapproval if it emerges that the VAT cut has failed to boost trade over Christmas."
Whilst I accept all that Peter Hoskins says, I think it needs to be borne in mind that the loss of the support of a few Labour MPs is possibly regrettable, but not disastrous for Labour (because most Labour MPs and the bulk of its core vote will probably continue to vote 'Labour' until Hell freezes over), but the more likely loss of a significant proportion of the middle classes who, unfathomably, put this shower of incompetents into power with such sizeable majorities for going on 12 years is altogether more serious. Or indeed hopeful, if the eventual restoration of some level of economic sanity in this country is what one desires to see happen - as I do.
Recent opinion polls seem to show an increase in support for Brown's failed policies, a phenomenon that I find completely inexplicable; maybe I went to sleep in May 1997 and have re-awakened in some kind of parallel universe where the normal rules of economic management and basic self-interest don't apply. Frankly that explanation makes as much sense as anything else I can come up with.