GEORGE Osborne has vowed to put futile gestures for working people at the heart of his Budget — and to hope that something magical occurs.
The Chancellor will make some gestures about getting rid of red tape, most of which is now imposed by the EU and which he actually can't do anything about.
Mr Osborne will make some gestures about "tearing up rules and regulations driving new businesses abroad", despite the fact that most of these also come from the EU.
But as well as making gestures about creating jobs, he also wants to make gestures about helping families on low pay.
- Some gesture schemes that will funnel people through work agencies at a large cost into the same jobs they would have got if they'd simply looked in the small ads of the Thursday newspaper.
- Some gesture rewards to hard working families, resulting in a pittance in their pockets.
- A gesture about cutting the borrowing and paying off the debt, while not actually cutting it at all, but simply increasing spending less quickly.
- A gesture to well-meaning simpletons about helping the armed forces that will be transparently nothing more than a token amount of help.
Mr Osborne said "We've got to create some good headlines for the people who think we're serious about this stuff, while doing nothing to rock the boat".
The Chancellor believes that producing these gestures can make a crucial difference. Sitting in his office in the Treasury, he went on: "What you are going to see next week is a Budget that ticks all the right boxes that I keep the Daily Telegraph and the Sun on side while making little difference to the incentives to work".
"it's very important that we keep those people on side"
"I have to at this point make some sort of gesture to show I'm in touch with the common man by talking about a fictional person that Steve Hilton imagined, to cover over the fact that I was born into wealth and have never worked more than a summer in the private sector in my life".
"My gesture is something about helping the working person more than the person living next door on benefits, despite the fact that we simply won't have the balls to deliver it".
Mr Osborne will also make some gestures about planning reform, despite the fact that his party doesn't want to do too much about that as it will piss off the homeownerists.
He also made some vague noises about cutting fuel duty which is designed to make car owners think he's on their side while having absolutely no intention of changing it.