The Conservatives used to be fond of urging people to look to Ireland for an example of how to organise your tax system. They have gone a little silent on the subject of late. I can't see why, since the hapless Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen is following the Cameron-Osborne prescription for what to do in a recession almost to the letter.
Cowen has increased VAT while Britain reduced it, which has led to a mass cross-border exodus to the bargain prices of Newry and a big VAT-induced boost for stores there. He delayed a bank bailout for months which has contributed to unemployment rising above 9 per cent. Now he is cutting public spending by slashing the pay of civil servants by imposing a levy of up to 9.6 per cent on their gross earnings to cut the Government contribution to pensions.
Gordon Brown should stop calling the Tories the Do Nothing party. He should spell out exactly what their prescription has meant for John Redwood's favourite low tax economy.
This post has been picked up by Slugger O'Toole and Hopi Sen.