Given the unalloyed enthusiasm which he engenders in some news followers, I think I’m unusual in finding Robert Peston extremely irritating. It’s something to do with the staccato emphasis, apropos of nothing, with which he imbues every report. I was therefore somewhat relieved and refreshed to hear Nick Robinson breaking the big economic story yesterday.
Robinson has discovered that, allied to an immediate cut in VAT, the government is to raise taxes at the next election, introducing a 45% band for top earners. This move will be impregnated more with symbolism and populism rather than practicality (as just as it might seem). It is likely to raise a mere £2billion, which is small change next to Gordon Brown’s planned borrowing, never mind that already incurred.
On the Today programme Robinson speculated that Labour’s main means of recouping some of its astronomical debt more likely lies in the realm of National Insurance. This of course would affect every wage earner and every business in the country. Smoke and mirrors is the phrase which springs to mind.