I’m glad someone else has picked up on this: James Graham has at an especially witless statement from Gideon/George Osborne. What Osborne is doing here is far less stupid, and also far less honest, than usual; for a start, he’s managing expectations whilst at the same time bashing the Government, by pretending that he’s expecting something like the scene when the British took over one of the Boer statelets and found less than a pound in the treasury. Some people will believe it, and it means that if he does get to be chancellor, he’s almost certainly going to have a nice surprise available. It also serves his purposes in bargaining with putative Tory spending ministers, who will be easier to discipline if they’re scared.
And, of course, it’s easier than having a policy. Simply not fit for government.