I noted this on Politics Home this morning:
A top Tory minister is set to blast Cabinet colleagues who are demanding more cash for their departments - arguing tax hikes would be a “contradiction of the Brexit vote”.
Liz Truss will argue fresh spending sprees would be “un-Conservative” and will urge ministers to wring every penny out of existing public spending.
Allies of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury meanwhile said a boost in tax and spend would see the Tories “crushed” at the next general election.
Hang on a minute! Was there anything on the Brexit voting paper that talked about the level of government spending? Or party politics? I know full well there was not.
So we can conclude three things. The first is that Liz Truss is making this up.
But more important, and second, in that case she must be really rattled.
And, third, that's because she knows that the whole policy of austerity is on the ropes and It is that policy that has come to define the Conservatives.
The supposed, and paltry, £20 billion settlement for the NHS, which will not be paid in full for several years, has made how much public services are underfunded in the UK. Other ministers are now queuing to make their claims and Liz Truss is the person commanded to say no. So, of course, she is staking out her position, but what she reveals is the weakness within it. There is no more to be wrung out of budgets after eight years of cuts.
People are dying now.
People are not getting the education they need now.
People are not being brought to account for their crimes now.
People are in poverty now.
And people have had enough now.
And if the reaction to that is that the Tories should be "crushed" at the next election, so be it. All people are asking for is what the country should and could deliver for them. And there's nothing unreasonable about that. All that is unreasonable is Liz Truss' refusal to act appropriately. Although it has to be said there is something very Conservative about that.