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.