Today's Times includes an 'exclusive' article (and I pass it on to my readers as an 'exclusive' article) containing reports to the effect that the Government collectively, and Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling specifically, acted 'against the advice of senior Treasury officials who argued instead for an increase in VAT' by their recent decision to raise National Insurance contributions next year.
Praise is implied for the David Cameron/George Osborne line which would not implement the full increase. In my opinion, they - Labour, Tory and Lib Dem - are all arguing about peanuts in the deficit debate.
The 'exclusive' article is at -
It contains the following paragraph which 'got my goat' (an old English saying of unknown origin):
"George Osborne gave the Tory campaign a jump start when he vowed to spend £6 billion easing next April's rise for workers and employees, sparking a wave of support from business leaders. However, his economic credibility was called into question last night. Two of the world's leading economists told The Times that it was not clear how his NIC surprise was funded and that it cast doubt on his ability to cut the record £167 billion deficit."
"The man (Osborne) is out of his depth. He and his mate Cameron (also out of his depth) will have to follow the Treasury's advice and raise VAT to 20%. The mandarins know that VAT is an easy tax to collect and is immediately effective. Labour will do it, too, if they get back.
Moreover, in order further to reduce the deficit, we (both major parties, if and when elected) should save many more billions by getting out of Afghanistan. As a famous lady said, 'There is no alternative.' And more importantly in Afghanistan, we should stop losing precious British lives on a pointless and wasteful adventure."