The playful Chancellor?

The final Brown Budget was the preoccupation of many bloggers this week

The Chancellor took a battering in the blogosphere this week - part of the fallout from his Budget. Some may have seen this final performance as a display of prowess from a man whose character - on this occasion at least - came across as jolly and playful. But some bloggers thought otherwise.

Curly’s Corner Shop showed a picture of Bart Simpson doing lines at school, writing: "I must not think that 2p off is cleaver, I must not think that 2p off is clever, e.t.c." Yes, this was tongue in cheek, but it makes an interesting point. Many people saw through the Chancellor’s effort and blogs were of course leading the front line analysis of this Budget.

A reader at Iain Dale’s blog pointed out something very devious in the budget. For people on tax credits, the cut in income tax from 22 - 20 per cent is cancelled by the increase in tax credit withdrawal from 37 - 39 per cent.

Birkenhead Labour wrote in to say: "Is this what budgets are for these days, to help one megalomaniac achieve his political ambitions? This sort of thing reduces Britain to the level of a banana republic though thankfully, much of the media and the public are now cottoning on to Brown's con trick." At least some one is paying attention to the small print.

Guido Fawkes joined in with many who saw the Chancellor shed a layer of skin this week, evolving into someone who knows he is close to taking power. He said: "He is a completely changed man, we are being spun, in time for the coming of the feared dark days of his premiership."

But the Budget overshadowed another huge move in the political world this week as the Government finally published the Lyons Report on local government spending. Dizzy
points out how a “pay as you throw” tax on the rubbish we make adds to what will hit low income families when their council tax bills go up after their houses are revalued.

He said: "All those low earning families hit by the budget and likely to be hit by a rubbish tax need to make one simple investment of about £50 for an incinerator bin. Don't worry about the pollution, it's called the law of unintended consequences, something this Government specialises in."

We must give credit where credit’s due said Recess Monkey this week. He said Barry Beef’s interview with actor Guy Siner was the political blog interview of the year. Decide for yourself – watch it here.

And I leave you with news of Jeremy Scahill’s new book about Blackwater and its private contractor mercenary army in Iraq. Teambio says: "Blackwater charges $950 per day per soldier to the US government, and they pay the majority of their mercenaries $350 per day." This is quality journalism which has been painstaking meticulous in its research.

Adam Haigh studies on the postgraduate journalism diploma at Cardiff University. Last year he lived in Honduras and worked freelance for the newspaper, Honduras This Week.
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Donald Trump vs Barack Obama: How the inauguration speeches compared

We compared the two presidents on trade, foreign affairs and climate change – so you (really, really) don't have to.

After watching Donald Trump's inaugural address, what better way to get rid of the last few dregs of hope than by comparing what he said with Barack Obama's address from 2009? 

Both thanked the previous President, with Trump calling the Obamas "magnificent", and pledged to reform Washington, but the comparison ended there. 

Here is what each of them said: 

On American jobs

Obama:

The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.  And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.  We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.  We'll restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.  We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.  And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.

Trump:

For many decades we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

Obama had a plan for growth. Trump just blames the rest of the world...

On global warming

Obama:

With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

Trump:

On the Middle East:

Obama:

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. 

Trump:

We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.

On “greatness”

Obama:

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.

Trump:

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

 

On trade

Obama:

This is the journey we continue today.  We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.  Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began.  Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week, or last month, or last year.  Our capacity remains undiminished.  

Trump:

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland