I found the budget sleep inducing, and that’s just reading the summary highlights. This might be an important point, because in the Osborne era you (and by which I mean most working people) always had the emotional feeling that you were better off after a budget; even though his management of the economy was poor in general and almost certainly stunted wage growth, he’d always be happy to give you a very small but unexpected and welcome tax break. So what I’m saying here is the Tories used to be big on style but short on substance, whereas now they’re lacking both. They are in an obvious danger here that since the opposition is so bad that they can meander towards mediocrity, which is true, but should the opposition suddenly sort itself out, they’re toast. This isn’t a completely impossible scenario; there are rumours that the Tory 2015 general election expense fraud might come to something soon and should that result in a set of by-elections in which they inevitably crush Labour, Corbyn’s position will become ever more untenable.
The chancellor didn’t explicitly mention brexit during the budget, which is interesting because his apparent complacency of the impending hard brexit, despite having previously predicted it would be a disaster, is juxtaposed with the gradual but very noticeable loss of confidence of many previously confident brexiters. A few days ago Lord Lawson decided we’d be getting a bad deal, despite only 30 days earlier employing the “they need us more than we need them, they’ll have to give us a great deal” rhetoric. It has been some time since I have heard anyone important voice the opinion that we’ll get a better deal than we had; everything now is silence or damage control.
This is also mirrored by sentiments on social media. My social media is a strange place full of brexiters, despite being full of demographics who really shouldn’t be brexiters, i.e. young, middle class and well educated. I strongly suspect this is caused by a predilection of otherwise intelligent people to go against the grain just for the sake of being different – because in their mind, this makes them more intelligent and truly enlightened. In light of stories about rising food prices and various analysis predicting that those hardest hit by brexit will be those in poorer areas who also voted for it, most of them have shifted their defence from “Stop moaning, it’ll be great” to the argument that consciously observing news articles amounts to gleefully delighting in the suffering of poor people, and it is terrible and we should all stop being awful people.
I think a lot of these young, middle class and well educated brexiters are soon going to discover that the most politically disheartening experience you can have is to vote for the winning side.