Tim is right to point out that the process of cutting some spending will still be extremely painful for lots of people, and shouldn't be understated. But that doesn't mean that John Redwood, Dominic Lawson, Fraser Nelson, Allister Heath and countless others aren't also right to point out that the overall cut in public spending proposed is quite marginal.
All those right-wing commentators are right to point out that the overall spending cut isn't that severe, because it isn't. In 2006-07, when we were spending the same share of GDP that we will be in 2014-15, spending wasn't cut to the bone. That was after a decade of Gordon Brown as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
So it isn't spending cuts that are going to really hurt. It is the reallocation of spending from some services to debt interest payments and some other services. What Tim is right to caution about is that no one should make light of those cuts that are taking place. Lots of people who didn't make the decisions that landed Britain in its present predicament will find that they have less money in their pocket at the end of each month as a result of the decisions being taken to move Britain back towards fiscal sanity.
What we need to resist though is the characterisation of these cuts as part of a programme to drastically scale back public spending. Two sets of decisions have led to some areas of spending facing very sharp cuts. Past decisions to borrow so much that we have a lot more government debt, and need to pay more interest on it. And current decisions to ringfence the health budget and sharp increases in international development spending. Pointing out that overall cuts in spending are modest is an important part of the process of laying the blame for a lot of the pain that is to come where it is deserved, on those decisions.
With the massive scale of the national debt, serious action does need to be taken to get the public finances under control. The real debt is even bigger, as new TaxPayers' Alliance research by Mike Denham shows, and he explains in this video:
Please share that video and help us let people know about the scale of the debt the country is facing.
The nearly £8 trillion real national debt is the result of a decade of rapid and unsustainable rises in spending. That process is being modestly reversed, but that modest reversal will be particularly painful because it is only partial and in some critical areas the Government are still attached to the old attitude that says you can only care about results if you spend more money. That is the real reason why the necessary cuts being announced this week will be particularly tough in some areas.