The politics of the next four years will be about saving to exactly the same extent that the politics of the last four have been about spending. Interdepartmental cuts battles will replace those over investment. Alliances will be built around where axes will fall. And ministers will create contrasting political narratives over the right way to wield the axe, just as Blairites and Brownites bashed eachother over reform. Recent weeks have seen some early marking of turf—for instance Andrew Adonis’s pre-emptive interview in the Independent trying to save high speed rail. It continues in this morning’s paper as Peter Mandelson (who now, it seems, make such decision) saying that Labour would protect the defense budget.
So the question of the moment is how to save lots of money. In last month’s Prospect, we carried an article by David Halpern of the Institute of Government. Halpen mentioned