Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Can Cameron meet his own "honesty" test on cuts?

""Let me make it clear: they are not wrong to be planning cuts but they are wrong to try to cover up their plans for cuts. This is about honesty, it is about trust. This is about not taking people for fools".

So said David Cameron at his news conference today, excitedly promoting leaked Treasury documents about possible spending cuts.

Yet Cameron refused to offer any substantive answer to questions from Nick Robinson and others about what the Conservatives are planning, as Andrew Sparrow's liveblog for The Guardian captures.

But what is sauce for the goose ....

... especially if there are already secret Tory plans for cuts already under discussion in the Treasury too.

The senior and well respected Daily Mail journalist Peter Oborne seemed pretty confident in his report that the Tories have asked the Treasury to officially investigate much deeper cuts of 30% of departmental spending, as Next Left noted on Saturday.

As Oborne wrote:


The truth is that Osborne will be forced to implement swingeing cuts after the election. Indeed, I can reveal he has ordered the Treasury's permanent secretary, Nick Macpherson, to find savings of nearly 30 per cent in departmental budgets which would come into effect immediately if the Tories gain power.


Cameron's own words would surely now make it deeply hypocritical to cover up such a plan - or for Cameron and Osborne to refuse to offer a clear confirmation or categorical denial of Oborne's report, even if the Tory Treasury mole may, mysteriously, be less interested in leaking this information too.

But if David Cameron meant what he said today, he must be willing to offer a straight answer to these simple questions:

* have the Tories asked the Treasury to investigate deeper savings than current government plans?

* has any number or range for such savings been suggested in the Opposition's talks to the Treasury?

* Are Cameron and Osborne's discussions with Tory colleagues based on the belief that spending cuts closer to 30% than 10% will be needed?

After all ... ""Let me make it clear: they are not wrong to be planning cuts but they are wrong to try to cover up their plans for cuts. This is about honesty, it is about trust. This is about not taking people for fools".

So what's the answer, Dave?

2 comments:

Silent Hunter said...

At least he's not a f**king habitual LIAR like Gordon Brown and Tony Bliar before him.

Scrapbook said...

Great post. It's like a new form of political quid pro quo: you've leaked ours so now show us yours.

Half expect the answers to these questions may be faxed to a sympathetic ear in time for Tory conference. By accident, of course(!)