Jesse Norman is the Member of Parliament for Hereford and South Herefordshire. His biography of Edmund Burke will be published in May. Follow Jesse on Twitter.
In politics, so the cliché goes, there are the surface waves, and there are the deep currents. Sometimes the two connect: intellectually, or emotionally, or both. When the two Eds attack reductions in the rate of growth of public spending, the surface wave is an argument about economics, the deep current a visceral attempt to turn voters against the government.
As has been well charted by Peter Oborne and others, it has been part of the Labour playbook from 1997 to treat the general public as fools. The left has thus lost no opportunity to exploit the country’s current economic difficulties for political advantage, with only the barest admission either of its own prior culpability, or of the degree to which Coalition spending has tracked its own early plans for the Parliament. They expect people not to notice.