In an hour George Osborne's axe will come swinging down on the public sector. Half a million jobs, £83bn of budget savings, the end of social housing in England, the end of universal welfare benefits. This is all going to hurt.
No doubt the cuts will be described as "unavoidable", as Danny Alexander's briefing papers reminded him, "fair" and "progressive", a word you'll hear again and again as cover for what are really ideologically driven cuts process.
The last self-proclaimed conservative progressive was Herbert Hoover, the US President who response to the Wall St Crash was to cut the welfare budget and urge employers not to cut jobs or wages.(One good thing about Hoover - he ordered the feds to pursue gangsters for tax evasion and that snared Al Capone.)
On the other side of the ideological divide Jim Sheridan, Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has tabled an early day motion calling for the top 10 per cent of tax payers to make a one-off 20% contribution.
His idea for fariness is in his EDM for a Recovery tax, which states:
"That this House agrees with Professor Greg Philo, research director of Glasgow University Media Group, that the UK's current financial deficit could be significantly reduced if the richest 10 per cent. of Britain's citizens paid a one off tax of just 20 per cent. of their personal wealth, which would not have any immediate impact on their quality of life; notes that 74 per cent. of the British public polled recently agree with this proposal; further notes that if this were to happen there would be no need for drastic cuts to public services and armed forces, and there would be less need for major job losses; and therefore calls on the Government to explore how this objective could be achieved, either on a voluntary basis or by legislation if necessary."
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