Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Business
  2. Economics
15 September 2010

The cuts come under attack from all sides

The police, trade unions and the defence establishment all turn on the coalition.

By George Eaton

With Labour just a point behind the Tories in the latest daily YouGov poll (the lowest Conservative lead YouGov has shown since 2007) and the Lib Dems flatlining on 12 per cent, the coalition is beginning to get an idea of just how unpopular the cuts will make it. As Anthony Wells suggests, it’s surely not long before we see a poll that puts Labour in the lead. The prediction, by one Lib Dem cabinet minister, that his party’s ratings will fall to five per cent and the Conservatives’ to 25 per cent, may yet prove prescient.

So far this week the coalition has attracted the ire of the trade unions, the police and, today, the defence establishment, which must count as some achievement. TUC head Brendan Barber has called for “co-ordinated strike action”, the BBC walkout threatens to disrupt coverage of the Tory conference, the Police Superintendents Association has warned that the cuts will trigger “widespread disorder” and the defence select committee has attacked the strategic review as “money-driven, not threat-driven”. Welcome to the age of austerity, Mr. Osborne.

As the coalition first discovered during the schools fiasco earlier this year, Tory backbenchers will tolerate and even champion cuts until the point they start to hurt their constituents. The FT‘s Philip Stephens yesterday reported a cabinet minister echoing our own David Blanchflower and demanding: “where’s the plan B?”. If the coalition is to avoid fantastic unpopularity, Osborne had better come up with one.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
Why ports are the gateway to growth
We are living longer than our predecessors – policy must catch up
Getting Britain building