15 Sep 2009

At the TUC: Brown finally speaks of cuts

A small demo greeted the opening of the Prime Minister’s speech – some delegates held up “no cuts” signs until their arms got tired.

It was a generic sign for all occasions and who can blame them? No one knows what the cuts will amount to… we will learn more in the Pre-Budget Report and beyond.

Mr Brown says the choice (already lost count how many times he uses that word) at the election is between the “people’s priorities” and back to the 1980s.

The cuts quotes are in the script as promised – Mr Brown’s aides insist the cuts story is all a figment of the media’s imagination.

In fact, it has been a disagreement inside government since the Budget and it was only in the Chancellor’s Edinburgh garden in August that the PM fully surrendered his position.

No. 10 may be right that few people are following the nuances of this debate but they may be picking up a lack of candour and that would be very unfortunate for a Labour strategy that wants to emphasise Labour trustworthiness against Tory concealment.

The PM has just read out the “cuts” section without incident… but then it was talking about cutting inefficiencies etc, not freezing public sector pay.

I can see some UNISON delegates shaking their heads but it’s all very low key. The PM’s rhetoric hasn’t picked a fight and in Liverpool he hasn’t got one.

Related:  Will Brown’s talk of cuts leave unions baying for blood?
Brown, Darling and public spending cuts

Tweets by @garygibbonblog