But here I think the fundamental difference between Brown's incompetence and Cameron's prudence will become apparent. And it's the difference between consumption and investment spending. Brown would hire a clown for a birthday, Cameron would buy a piece of antique silver. Tomorrow the clown will be gone, and there is nothing to show for the money spent, but the silver remains, as valuable an asset as the cash that bought it.
What Osborne is cutting on a massive scale is Brown's expenditure on clowns.
Cameron is well aware of the risk of a double-dip recession, and he's creating fiscal room for measures to avert it should it come (and it's by no means even probable that it will) - capital, or investment spending. Hiring a Walking Coordinator for £25k a year sounds like a minor spending decision, but the lifetime cost of the purchase over 40 years will be around £1.18m including pension costs. Firing a single Walking Coordinator can therefore save up to about a million. Spend the same first year cost of £25k on re-roofing a police station and you get an asset of immediately increased value, and even though depreciated over the life of the new roof the annual costs are a fraction of hiring a clown. And you can re-roof another one the next year. And the next. And if the fiscal danger is over, you can stop spending.
With infrastructure spending, you not only have the asset but get the same economic benefits as hiring clowns - but instead of the £25k going to one person it goes to thirty or forty, including the roofer, the builder's merchant, the distributors and the slate-hewer. None of whom are dependent on the one job for their livelihoods. But neither will any of them feel obliged to vote for the man who hired them, and this, last, reason was always the driving force behind Brown's clown hiring.