Budget Day is a bit like FA Cup final day: loads of build-up, all over very quickly and increasingly irrelevant. With both, there are things to look out for: for the arrival of team coaches at Wembley, see a grinning berk in a suit holding a red leather box up. For Abide With Me, see that same grinning berk in a suit stand up to loads of cheers. For Hansen & Lawrenson twittering away about defensive frailties, see Evan Davis excitedly leaping around and that woman with the monotooth from The Daily Politics. And for inane voxpops with face-painted fans on Wembley way decked out in their team's colours, see interviews with faded, balding politicians droning on about borrowing and tax, and telling each other off for stuff you don't understand. For Match of the Day, you get an extended Budget Special on the news, which tells you about some bloody 'average family' that bear no resemblance to anyone you've ever met.
Littlecock in the Mail said yesterday:
"All you need to know... is that when Darling sits down we'll all be worse off."
We, Richard? We? Do people who live in gated Florida mansions pay full tax in Britain now? Is that something I've missed? In which case, that's a development I welcome. Fuck everything else that Labour's messed up; if they're making Littlecock pay through the nose, then I'm going out dancing in the street with a red rose and a giant Labour banner. But... I'm guessing he doesn't really mean 'we'. He means 'we' in the sense of the Great British Public, whose spokesman he sees himself as, or as that other no-brain reactionary cockwipe Jon Gaunt would oxymoronically say, "The voice of the silent majority".
(Incidentally, I don't link to Littlecock or the BNP. Funnily enough they don't like each other much - the BNP don't like him because they think he should be one of them and he's denying his true self; he doesn't like them because he says they're neanderthals. I think they both protest too much.)
But Littlecock's view is pretty much that of most on the right: NuLab are going to tax you more. Not if you're a corporation, of course; then you get a nice tax break to make you more 'competitive' (='help consolidate those profits', or as Septicisle put it, robbing the poor to give to the rich). But shhh, forget about that. NuLab are bad, evil and nasty! They're milking the middle class, not giving tax breaks to the rich while the price of essentials skyrockets - oh, but don't worry, 'inflation' is low because ipods are getting cheaper! Just eat ipods for breakfast, lunch and dinner and you'll be fine!
Anyway. Turns out this year that Budget Day will be considerably less predictable than FA Cup final day, which is magical due to the possible appearance of Barnsley, Cardiff, West Brom or Portsmouth. Brilliant. All completely unfashionable teams. No kids in the home counties are going to be having their bedrooms kitted out in a Barnsley strip are they? I've been to Oakwell in the bad old days, staring up at the stars from the al-fresco toilets; I've been handed down death threats from disgruntled Pompey fans who didn't like what I wrote about their shit-hole of a ground; I've seen West Brom and Cardiff too, in my former career as a pisspoor football writer. They're all proper football clubs, free of the merchandising empires and international branding of the FA Cup final regulars. Tarnishing the showpiece? Not a bit of it. The only thing that does that are the corporate slobs, none of whom understand that you actually have to get back into your fucking seats to watch the football after half-time. I bet they're livid at the prospect of a West Brom-Barnsley final. Heh. Good.
Budget Day, however, is drearily predictable. It's going on as I speak. There's a ticker on the screen and some 'Whispering Ted' commentator is trying to tell me what's going on. But I don't care; I really don't care. There'll be some tokenism, perhaps the placcy-bag ban that's been trailed in the press and championed by the Hate - Labour always love to get the tiny slice of middle-class swing voters on side by whatever means necessary. There'll be some flannel about the economy. But there'll be nothing to seriously challenge the power of property and big business, and everything possible to make the CBI suits not grit their teeth and worry about that holiday in the Cayman Islands next year. According to Littlecock, 'we' will all be worse off, but I wonder if that's really the case.
Still, there will be endless round-table drivel and excitingly whizzy graphics on the news tonight to try and make it more exciting than it really is. Perhaps the Budget has had its day - the FA Cup can still throw up surprises, but I don't think the Budget can any more.