There's a scene that I've had in my head that, no matter how crass or crude I make it, I just can't shift. It goes something like this:
A group of eight super-posh friends are sitting around the impressively filled dining table. Landowners, property investors, fund accountants, stock market speculators, it doesn't really matter. This is the hoi polloi and the food miles in front of them could get to the moon and back.
A question pierces the general chatter, to noone in particular - "So, have you had a good budget or a bad budget?". The pause is brief before the rib-tickling, back-slapping, caviar-spilling, slightly horsey laughter begins.
"Good one Jeremy but stop being a pillock and pass me some more ham."
Inverted snobbery on my part? The classic Scottish trait of looking down on success? Perhaps, but I hope and think not.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has described George Osborne's budget as "clearly regressive" despite assurances from both of the coalition's party leaders that they would be a progressive force.
It is perhaps unfair to single out the Lib Dems for special blame but, as the Guardian picks up on today, Nick Clegg stated that June's budget would mean that "the richest are paying the most... as a proportion of their income". I'm sure there is a lot of good in this budget but a Robin Hood redistribution it clearly isn't and the coalition's defence is particularly telling.
1 - The loudest rebuttal to today's headlines is that it's yesterday's news and a rehashed narrative. Yes, without a hint of irony or indeed shame, Lib Dems and Tories are complaining (in alarming harmony) that this has been reported before so is, presumably, invalid.
2 - A Lib Dem activist on Twitter today mentioned that the budget was juggling the need to put a roof over peoples' heads with "making work pay". I would have been surprised if that was a Conservative line but from a Lib Dem that is remarkable. When did the basic right of having a home become a flexible 'nice to have'? I do think political students for decades to come will study these days as an example of how power can corrupt principles.
3 - There has also been a focus on the fact that under Labour the gap between rich and poor grew over the past 13 years. I would rather have hoped that this would instil an urgency to reverse that direction of travel rather than sustain it.
Indeed, on that urgency, I do hope that Labour looks seriously at the recently suggested policy of a one-off tax on wealth. £4000bn of Britain's £9000bn total wealth is owned by only 10% of Brits. A one-off tax of 20% would repay the national debt and bring down the deficit.
Sounds like a policy worthy of deep consideration to me. Just a shame that the party that until recently would have been most likely to adopt it is facing the other way and enjoying dining at the top table too much.
More ham Nick?