As C@W posted yesterday, Devo-Manc is a superb tactic from Osborne to wrong-foot Labour. The tenet at the core of Labour's existence is central Statism; command and control of the nation from Westminster and Whitehall, with metropolitan micro-management of every aspect of the economy to achieve an enforced equality of outcome across the nation. Oh how they hate any devolution of power! Labour can never, ever, be a party of Localism; the idea is antithetical to the party's very being. It will lose them every seat they have in Scotland, and as Osborne is finding, can make deep inroads into the Labour vote in the North. George, with his new haircut, is shedding the haunted look of a furtive Onanist and is growing into a Mandelson.
But, Scotland apart, don't mistake Osborne's moves for Localism. Devolving Spend without also devolving Tax isn't worth a pitcher of warm spit. The powers of England's Cantons to set, collect and spend at least half the tax burden are yet distant; 95% of UK taxes are still determined and collected centrally, only 5% of Council Tax, capped centrally, is set locally. In Switzerland, the central government only levies about a third of total taxation; the other two-thirds is charged by the Cantons and municipalities. So a target of 50% in the UK is really quite conservative. And is nowhere in Osborne's plans.