If the spectre of Gordon Brown alone were sufficient to propel the electorate into Cameron’s arms, he would now be governing with a majority.
Expect big cuts in housing benefit, the removal of child benefit from out-of-work families with more than two children, and a reduction in the benefit cap.
The Chancellor says he will prioritise further cuts to the housing benefit budget before making any changes to universal pensioner benefits.
Ministers have pledged to fund policies like the extension of free school meals and the freeze in fuel duty through extra revenue from reducing avoidance. But HMRC is struggling.
In an attempt to achieve an economically worthless but politically valuable budget surplus, cuts to public services will continue even once the structural deficit has been eradicated – this is unworkable.
The IFS warns that further cuts to pay could make it "increasingly difficult" for public sector employers to "retain and recruit high quality workers".
The Chancellor suggests a future Tory government would make large welfare cuts, including a lower benefit cap.
Littered throughout the speech were references to northern towns and how they will benefit from the coalition's policies.
The Chancellor's ideological cuts are but one route to sound public finances. Alternatives, centred around investment, are available.
The first poll on the Autumn Statement shows that voters agree with Balls that Osborne is "in denial about the cost of living crisis".