There's a spring in my step this morning - my kids keep telling me to stop singing Porgy and Bess over the Pink Panther.
The Right Honourable Ed Balls MP, Shadow Chancellor. Has a nice ring to it. A pugilistic, defiant ring.
I can't think of anyone I'd prefer to square up to Osborne - to wipe the snivelling, Dickensian, sneer from his doughy face.
For people who don't spend every waking moment following politics, here's my Things-you-might-not-know-about-Ed section :
* Balls is an economist with pretty impeccable credentials.
*If you meet him in the flesh he's surprisingly twinkly, which is irrelevant but nice.
*He also tweets regularly, but usually about baking cakes with the kids and weekends as House-Dad, which is also nice.
*He's a Co-Operative MP and a Fabian, which I'm sure accounts for a degree of our leftie step-springiness too.
*He clearly ponders as you speak to him - and not about tomorrow's debate or his heaving inbox (snigger, you had to allow me at least one "Balls" pun, albeit obtuse) - and responds surprisingly thoughtfully.
*He's the WBA Heavyweight Champion of Westminster, swatting lesser opponents away like parliamentary-bluefly (Do you see what I did there? Do you? Blue-fly, geddit?)
*He's married to Yvette Cooper, who was overwhelmingly the most popular Labour MP in the election of the shadow cabinet. She too is an economist and has a brain the size of a planet and knows a thing or two about feisty.
Still, fond as I am of imparting my bloated sense of omniscience on the great and the good, a little advice for Signor Cojones if I may...... *clears throat officiously*
Can we once and for all nail the clap-trap that this is about
Cuts V No Cuts please?
Instead, I propose we start to talk about
Cuts that Cost money V Cuts that Save money?
Trimming away nonsense procedures and made-up-jobs in the NHS = Saves money.
Cutting the Film Council that made £5 for every £1 it received from the government = Costs money
Simplifying the benefit system = Saves money
Cutting the Independent Living Fund, forcing Disabled from their own homes into residential care = Costs money
Keeping unemployment low = Saves money
Allowing unemployment to rise = Costs money
Cutting tax-avoidance = Saves money
Cutting support for businesses and home-owners Costs money
We absolutely have to get across to people that we understand they want the debt to shrink & the deficit to come down, but arbitrary, zealous slashing won't do that. 27% cuts to council budgets won't do that (you simply try to juggle vital services until you drop them all.) Cutting social care won't do that (costs are just transferred to the NHS) cutting EMAs won't do that (more young people will be abandoned to unemployment) - so many cuts just transfer costs to another department, or even cost more in increased Jobseekers Allowance claims or reduced tax take.
Anyway, that's enough economics from me. Best I stick to policy and strategy ie Cuts that Cost V Cuts that Save, rather than telling Signor Cojones how to add up. He needs no help from me with the maths. Reassuringly, he probably doesn't need much help from me on his plans of attack either, in his official capacity as official Tory-Myth-Destroyer. And as Dave will wearily tell you, I don't say that often.