I knew this would happen.
The consequences of Gordon Brown's pig-headed insistence on trying to draw ridiculous and unbelieveable lines between him and his political opponents (i.e. Labour "investment" vs Tory "cuts") is catching up with him.
It has come out today that there is now a potential backbench rebellion from Labour MPs on Brown's plans to end a policy which allows benefit claimants to keep the difference if they can find a lower rent than the housing allowance level. The government think this will save about £150 million per year. Frankly I think this is misguided as the incentive on claimants to haggle will be removed and much of this "saving" will go into the pockets of landlords.
However, that isn't really my point. What is now starting to happen is that reality is catching up with the government. It is clear that spending needs to be reigned in but because of Brown's TORY CUTZ!!11 narrative they cannot just be straight with us. Instead, Treasury officials have been scrabbling around in the background trying to come up with wheezes to shave a bit off here and bit off there in the hope that it will all add up to enough to make a difference to overall spending but without people noticing.
This strategy is doomed to failure. Those who lose out will notice and will shout loudly. This will be the first of multiple stories like this with MPs threatening to rebell as they desperately try to hold onto their seats.
The other point here is that because there is no clearly defined strategy to this, and it will be mainly focused on what the government thinks it can get away with, the cuts implemented willnot necessarily be just. There may be more deserving targets for cuts which could be more high profile but because Brown is trying to pretend it is not happening they can't be touched.
There doesn't seem to me to be much evidence of his much vaunted "moral compass" in this latest revelation.