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On this evidence, the Chancellor would appear to be a bloodless, technocratic sort of fellow — a remorseless (as well as a rather conceited) bean-counter, eager to pump the ordinary taxpayer for all he is worth even as he indulges big companies, which are promised ever-decreasing rates of corporation tax. He plainly has not taken Mrs May’s concern for the “Jams” much to heart. Unsurprisingly, it did not take long for the Treasury and Number Ten to cross swords. Hammond’s advisers were quoted in the Sunday Times as saying that Theresa May’s aides were “economically illiterate”, while they retaliated by suggesting that the Prime Minister had not supported the rise in national insurance which had been “smuggled into the Budget”. The latter claim can hardly have been true, since the measure was trailed in the press for several days before the Budget.

Given the divergent political outlooks of Mrs May and Mr Hammond, and the pugilistic inclinations of Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, trouble may well lie ahead. It would be bad for the government and the country, particularly during delicate negotiations with the European Union, if relations between Number Ten and the Treasury were to sour. We had quite enough of that during the Blair/Brown years. That said, Mrs May and her advisers were surely right to force Mr Hammond into withdrawing his proposal for higher national insurance for the self-employed. But the cost of this strong-arming may be that both the Chancellor and the Treasury are already nursing an animus against Number Ten.

The question is the degree to which the Prime Minister can help the “Jams” and improve social justice during a period of continuing belt-tightening. It is true there are some things the government could do which might not be particularly expensive. Most of us would cheer if the rapacious energy and utility companies — so greedily oblivious to the interests of the “Jams” — were taken to task, though I don’t suppose Mr Hammond would be overjoyed. But better hospitals and schools cost money and there isn’t an awful lot of it about. Nor does the government have much, if any, room to cut income tax for lower- and middle-income earners. There is a danger that Mrs May’s inspiring talk of helping hard-pressed people will ring rather hollow as it becomes clear that her options are limited.

Moreover, such scope as the Government may have will be further reduced if there is an economic slowdown or recession, which after seven or eight years of growth may well be on the cards, since economic cycles always come to an end. Needless to say, any downturn would be immediately blamed by Remainers on Brexit, even if it were not the cause. In such circumstances, Theresa May’s position, at present so commanding, would inevitably weaken — the more so if Labour were able to eject Jeremy Corbyn and acquire a proper leader. The Tory backbench rebellion over national insurance reminds us how the government’s small overall majority leaves it extremely vulnerable. Isn’t it likely that over the next couple of years Conservative Remainers in the Commons will prove less accommodating than they turned out to be over the triggering of Article 50?

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July 22nd, 2017
11:07 AM
I`ve changed my mind about Theresa May. I voted for Brexit and the Labour Party.

April 19th, 2017
1:04 PM
It`s good news Theresa May isn`t doing tv debates. The other party leaders are professionally jealous of her and can only rattle their bins noisily. George Osbourne is actually leading the retreat of the anti-Mayists. The majority of voters will give Theresa May her mandate.

April 18th, 2017
5:04 PM
After her announcement for June 8 Theresa May has my vote. 17.4 million Brexiteers may well have already decided to vote for her.

April 3rd, 2017
10:04 PM
George `Tampon Tax` Osborne claims the tax will raise £15 million to fund women`s organisations. £250,000 is going to the anti-abortion propaganda organisation Life. It`s deeply shameful and a disgrace. Osborne could pay the £15 million himself. Who in the Tory Party thinks it`s a great idea to tax the periods of girls and women ? Perhaps Theresa May could answer Suzanne Moore at the Guardian. Osborne is now also editor of a London junk mail freebie. It was his cocaine addicted banker friends in the City that caused the crash/robbery. He shares in their delusions of adequacy. The Brexit liberation needs no Osbornes in the Tory Party.

Arnie Ward
April 3rd, 2017
11:04 AM
In the opening paragraph Glover could have replaced the phrase "before going down from university" with a single word understood everywhere, "graduating". Such a quaint and anachronistic turn of phrase.

March 30th, 2017
4:03 PM
Theresa May is indeed mistress of all she surveys. Thanks to 17.4 million Brexiteers she`s now Prime Minister. The Remnants will never forgive us for destroying their illusion that they are the progressives and rebels. They are historical junk merchants. It doesn`t matter if Theresa May voted Remain. She`s now sincerely enacting the will of the people as Prime Minister. She should replace student nurse loans with grants. She should initiate a council house building project. She should fund Womens Refuges. Materialist solutions. At present which political party is even capable of delivering a pizza ? The glorious, chaotic dawn and magnificent Brexit victory was a civil war without muskets. No one at the BBC will say so. The artist Anish Kapoor is heartbroken in his Remainia. But it`s him and his set who are the small minds, small hearts (the Art Newspaper). The Ponces (as Julie Burchill has it). It`s entirely up to Theresa May and her team to prove the Tory Party can be other than `the Nasty Party`. She`s up for it and will probably get my vote in a General Election.

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