All week I have been telling people to ignore the headlines and seek the hidden elements before coming to a conclusion bout the Budget being good, bad or indifferent.
I am not taking my own advice, and I am making my (initial) judgements based on the headlines.
Reaction 1: As a country, just how deep in the shit are we that we need an emergency Budget rather than a pre-Budget Report?
Reaction 2: Given how bad it is, why are so many of the decisions having delayed implementation until 2010, 2011 or later? (Answer: party politics)
Reaction 3: The entire Budget is a series of political sops, with the 45% band for the highest paid being a supposed socialist, redistributionist policy as a flag to the Old Labour supporters and as a way of trying to trap the Tories.
Reaction 4: The option of cutting and running in May 2009 is being left wide, wide open, before the shit hits the fan and then the tax increases can be approved by the electorate.
Reaction 5: The headline policies are all waffle and insubstantial - the real substance is hidden in the detail. I need to read tomorrows papers and the full detail before coming to any conclusion.
Summary: Typical Brown micro-managing of the economy by proxy (starring A Darling as the fall-guy) with lots of tiny, complex and contradictory changes that will do wonders for the accountancy profession and almost nothing for the taxpayers.