In a leader today the Telegraph highlights Osborne's speech to the ICA calling for a new culture of fiscal discipline in Whitehall. The piece describes an increase in public spending under Labour from £350bn a year in 1997 to £630bn today.
If Labour had kept spending at the safe Tory levels they inherited, how much should they be spending now? The answer's in the Treasury GDP deflator. £630bn a year now would have been £496bn a year in 1997/98 - £146bn a year more, at 1997 prices, than the Conservatives were spending. That's £185bn a year at today's value.
And for what? Lunatic social engineering experiments, schools that have failed utterly to teach the basics of literacy and numeracy, a tsunami of cash thrown at health that has only marginally reduced waiting times, a repressive and illiberal army of prodnoses, crumbling national infrastructure, a collapsing power grid, intrusive quangos that seek entry to our bins, wine racks and fridges, a paucity of manufacturing and industrial investment, hundreds of thousands of media studies graduates working in call centres and five million citizens locked into welfare slavery. That's what Brown's extra £185bn a year has bought.
And that's not counting the opportunity cost of having allowed people to make their own choices about how to spend their money, rather than Brown's State seizing that right. As UK plc goes into 2009 facing a time of intense personal anguish and hardship for millions of families, remember Harman's vacuous grin as she wastes yet more of that £185bn, remember Straw's smug smirk as he wastes yet more of that £185bn and remember that the self-satisfied inane certainty of Brown's cabinet that they're fighting some lunatic socialist crusade is at the price of hardship, pain, heartbreak and suffering paid by our people.
There are not tumbrils enough for this corrupt and depraved cabal.