Three paradoxes that leap out from a quick reading of the executive summary of the Spending Review:
1. War is Peace: ‘Last year, Britain’s deficit was the largest in its peacetime history’; ‘The Spending Review fully funds Britain’s operations in Afghanistan.’
2. The Magic of Accountability without Regulation: the proposed public service reforms will involve both ‘cutting burdens and regulations on frontline staff’ and ‘improving the transparency, efficiency and accountability of public services’.
3. Less Money = More Power: ‘These priorities are underpinned by radical reform of public services… shifting power away from central government to the local level.’ Central government contributions to local government are set to decline by 26 per cent over the next four years; local government spending will drop by 14 per cent. (Yes, to the Tories ‘the local level’ means ‘the Big Society’ not local government, but that doesn’t make any sense either.)