This country now has a structural deficit £100bn, or around 7% of GDP. To tackle it effectively will require a clear vision, a steely determination to turn things around and the leadership ability to carry a significant proportion of the public with them.
It will not be tackled by those who created this problem by running large deficit through the boom years. Neither will it be resolved by those who see reality in terms of political point-scoring to influence the next opinion polls. Nor by someone who cannot even utter the word “cut”.
The longer we leave this situation, the more likely it is that any government will be forced to cut indiscriminately to save the economy from collapse, on the instructions of the IMF. A compassionate and caring government is like a compassionate and caring GP. They diagnose effectively, and tell you straight when you have a serious problem. They then recommend the best form of treatment, administered quickly before the ailment gets any worse.
Comments by Lord Mandleson can be found at playpolitical.com