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Philip Hammond just can’t do right, and his Budget is a lengthy exercise in putting his foot in his mouth [Image: The Sun (I believe).]

It wasn’t going well for Philip Hammond – before he’d even opened his mouth to deliver the Budget speech.

Early this morning, Labour released a video of a spoof Westminster WhatsApp chat that reduced both the Chancellor and his minority prime minister to objects of ridicule. It’s a fun clip – have a look:

Of course, some have tried to salvage the Tories’ reputation by trying to rubbish Labour:

… Unsuccessfully:

They tried lies:

Oh really? What about this?

Absolutely right. Here’s Labour again:

Tories still tried to justify their party:

On the day Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic was convicted of genocide related to the Yugoslav Civil War more than 20 years ago, that is a very topical point to make. And it isn’t just 120,000 people killed as a result of austerity – that’s only related to health and social care. Many, many more have died as a result of DWP persecution of jobseekers, the sick and disabled.

Ah, but what would investment do to the national debt? Tories think “investment” is a dirty word because they don’t understand the fundamental rule of business – that you speculate to accumulate:

Mr Draper is correct: Businesses expect a return on any investment and so does government. He is also right that people on low pay keep the economy going – they spend more of their income into the economy because they have to do so, and money paid in at the bottom accumulates more value before it returns to the Treasury as tax. That’s basic economics for you.

And what has austerity achieved? Has it cut the national debt by a single penny? No.

We know that the deficit last month increased on its level a year ago, of course, so claims that the Tories are clearing it have yet to be proved. Meanwhile, people are suffering. Investment is by far the better option.

Tory supporters are also flagging up the false claim that unemployment is at its lowest since 1975:

But we know – I wrote an article about it a few days ago – that the number of people out of work is 10 times the official unemployment rate. I have been criticised for including people who aren’t actually looking for work in this figure, but that is because the official statistics are unclear in this respect; people may be economically-inactive who would prefer to be in paying work.

Note also:

The Tories are pushing – hard – their lie that being in work is better than being out of work. It isn’t. In-work poverty is the UK’s biggest growth industry. And the taxpayer is picking up the cost of all these low-paid workers. Tories don’t care because they count people as being in work if the only do one hour a week.

Meanwhile, Tory Andrew Lilico has published his own alternative budget, in which he advocates the Tories stealing billions from public sector pension schemes and using the money to build houses (presumably for the very rich). Item 3) below:

His demand prompted surprise from economist Jonathan Portes, who made the obvious point:

Mr Lilico has been tying himself in knots since then, trying to claim that he wasn’t calling for the nationalisation of anything – and it is highly amusing.

Still, you can’t blame him for trying – the Tories haven’t managed to build a single house yet:

Meanwhile, the general public is engaging in its own mockery of the Tories and their feeble attempts at running the country:

This is the background against which Philip Hammond will deliver possibly the weakest Budget of the last seven years – and that’s an amazing achievement, considering the pathetic previous offers by both himself and George Osborne.

See if I’m wrong.


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