All eyes turned to Chancellor Gordon Brown this week. With an election looming, would he yield to the demands of pensioners and the transport lobby, or remain faithful to his good friend Prudence?
Though he tried to disguise it, his pensions giveaway and fuel duty cuts were almost uniformly interpreted as a Government surrender. A 'craven and ill-considered act of political cowardice' sneered the Times (9/11), a sentiment echoed widely elsewhere.
While Brown's pensions handout received a qualified thumbs-up, opinion on his concessions for ultra-low sulphur petrol was mixed. 'The word 'ingenious' hardly does justice' purred the Independent (9/11), while the FT bewailed his 'lack of green nous' (10/11).
'Where is this petrol?' was the most common response (Daily Star, 9/11) amid further confusion over whether the oil companies would pass on the saving. Most commentators agreed that the concessions were not enough, and would not prevent further protest. The Sun, as usual, had the final word: 'Brown's taking the P!' it concluded (10/11).
Analysis and commentary by Echo Research.
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