The Office for Budget Responsibility, set up by the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet, did not get off to the best of starts when Alan Budd, its first chief, decided not to stick around after his initially agreed first three months. Since then, there has been much speculation as to who would replace him.
Today the speculation ended, as Robert Chote, from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), was confimed as Budd’s successor. Osborne was suitably upbeat about the appointment, telling that Chote has been “one of the most credible independent voices on the public finances, taxation and public spending”.
So perhaps the right and libertarian side of the commentariat will be as happy as the Chancellor? Well, not if some of the previous verbiage coming from that direction is anything to go by. The IFS has recently asserted that Osborne’s recent budget was not “progressive”, as he told at the time, but regressive.
This conclusion caused deep distress to one commentator, who riposted that the IFS “swing to the left”. There was a suggestion of a conspiracy including the BBC. The IFS were a body with a “slightly pinko political perspective”. There is only one thing wrong with this analysis: it’s utter drivel.
So who was that commentator? Step forward – yes, it’s him again – Mark Wallace, former stalwart of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (representing less than one tenth of one per cent of all taxpayers, and still not publishing up to date accounts or a list of donors).
So far, the fearless founder of PlonkFartWally dot Com (Probably out to lunch) has not seen fit to comment on Robert Chote’s appointment. Fancy that. As the title suggests, we may be in for a long wait.