What’s going to be George’s big surprise?

What’s going to be George’s big surprise?

Are there any good budget bets?

Firstly thanks to Marf for her budget day cartoon. The reason that we’ve not seen much of her work on the site recently is that all her energies have been focussed on a special exhibition that opens in April in London – more details on that later.

On the budget itself the level of briefing and leaks that we’ve seen is reminiscent of Gordon Brown’s days at the treasury when lots of information and misinformation was put out to confound, confuse and, of course, to big up the event itself. I’ve little doubt, because it is Osborne’s way, that there’s a big surprise waiting for us this afternoon the question is what it is.

The amalgamation of income tax and national insurance contributions has been well trailed as has help for first time buyers and action to ease spiralling petrol prices.

The budget is the political year’s great set piece and Osborne, like Brown before he became PM, will use it to make the maximum political impact.

In recent days there’s been lots of specualtion about Osborne himself becoming the best placed person to succeed Dave when a a vacancy at the top of the party occurs.

The bookies have lined up their usual range of novelty budget bets including what’s dubbed “Budget Bingo” when you wager on specific phrase or words being used. Going through the Ladbrokes and William Hill lists it’s hard to see obvious value. “Hard working families” – that Brown regular – can be had at 6/4 and “the Big Society” is available at 4/1. The one certain word “deficit” is available at 1/100.

You can get 8/1 that “Vince Cable” will yawn, 16/1 that Ken Clarke will fall asleep and 33/1 that EdM’s phone will go off.

Mike Smithson

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