If only PMQs were more like select committee sessions. Sure, the latter aren’t
completely free from tribalism, even if it takes a subtler hue – but they are still considerably more insightful than Wednesday’s pantomime in the chamber. Frequently, they play like a
demonstration of how democracy can, and should, work.
Such was the case with George Osborne’s appearance before the Treasury Select Committee this morning. The questions, particularly those on whether the Budget hits the poorest hardest, were
generally measured and insistent. But Osborne stood up well through it all, pointing out how any party in power would have to implement hefty spending cuts and tax rises. And he seemed
to enjoy referencing the supporting testimony in those Mandelson memoirs.
What’s more, Osborne will have snatched the headlines with a welcome move: offering the Treasury Select Committee a veto on his
appointments to the Office for Budget Responsibility. This has been brewing for a few days, but, now it’s official, it should suck some of the sting from the
issue. As Andrew Tyrie put it at the end of proceedings: a "useful evidence session".