David Cameron and George Osborne must have hoped that their message from Davos today would be broadcast unimpeded. It is, after all, a blunt message, designed to smash through all the radio
chatter: we must continue with deficit reduction, there is no alternative, etc. But, inconveniently for them, there are other voices saying what we must do – among them Boris Johnson.
The Mayor of London’s interview with the Telegraph is at
once typical and quite intriguing. Typical, because he holds aloft the same standards as always. "I understand 50p tax politically," he says, "but there has got to be a sense of
where we are going and where we want to be as a country." He also makes a defiant case for London’s banks and its transport links, on the grounds that "we cannot go on shunting jobs
overseas to other countries." It’s what we’ve heard before, only slightly more vociferous, perhaps.
Yet quite intriguing because, after he has recommended a "course for low tax", Boris says the following:
"I know this is something George knows and he wants to do. Labour have created a climate that is miserable and anti-wealth creation and was resentful … it takes a real effort of
political will to dispel that. I hope very much that that is what George will do and I will lay money he will. That is the way forward and I know he thinks this."
The question is whether this is just a straightforward recognition of the Chancellor’s political make-up, as someone who "would like to reduce taxes" when he can. Or whether Boris is going to have
some of his fiscal wishes granted by the Budget in March.