Is the Crewe and Nantwich By-election the most expensive in history? Of course it could be that today's decision by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to borrow another £2,700,000,000 to give another £120 to 22 million people earning up to about £40,000 per annum was nothing to do with the by-election. But you have to admit that it does look a bit odd, a bit of a coincidence.
In general, I've always been supportive of raising the personal tax allowance as much as can be afforded - to take people out of the income tax system altogether. So today's shock decision to raise the allowance for all 22 million taxpayers by £600 does sound rather a good thing to me - if its part of a planned budget. But today's announcement does not seem tp have been planned at all. It was Her Majesty's Government rewriting its March budget as a panic measure, with no real idea where the money is to come from, simply in order to save the Prime Minister's political skin.
I do not think this will work. The British people have never been impressed by a Prime Minister who has lost control - and Gordon Brown now has about as much control of his own destiny as a cork adrift on an angry sea. Still I shouldn't complain. I'm £120 better off tonight than I expected t be this morning, as well as the extra that's to come on my winter fuel allowance (unless he's changed his mind about that). But there is a problem, and its the usual one that appears after going on a spending spree with the plastic - there will be bills to pay tomorrow.