The Guardian columnists' view of the budget.
Jonathan Freedland’s offered an assessment that was no doubt similar to much of the Left's.
To see Alistair Darling deliver his budget was like watching a man pushed from a skyscraper window, falling calmly, even gracefully, as he somehow managed to remove his jacket, raise it above his head and tie it into a makeshift parachute. You couldn't help but admire his ingenuity and optimism - but you still felt sure it was bound to end in a sticky mess.
Polly Toynebee’s Labour-friendly, if no more optimistic, viewpoint - 'Polly Toynbee: At last, a budget where the super-rich's bluff is called. Shame it's all too late'
When the new 50% rate kicks in next April, this last social democratic flag may be drowning, not waving
Is this a people's budget? It did soak the rich - just listen to their indignation. The 1.5% who earn over £100,000 will yet again claim an assault on "middle England". They will protest that productivity, growth, aspiration and the very future of the nation will be imperilled by skimming just a little cream off top earners. […]Taxation is the only easy way to restore a very small measure of sanity to the unjust rewards of the rich. […]Wealth has lost touch with reality: however often the rich are reminded that 98.5% of people don't earn £100,000 and only 10% earn over £40,000, they insist they are only "ordinary" and "middling". How cleverly the newsrooms of the right, led by extravagant earners, have diverted popular wrath on to the handful of public servants who earn more than the prime minister - without adding that this is an inevitable, if reprehensible, leakage from private-sector greed. […]
On the cuts
It hardly bears thinking about what these numbers will do to the old and disabled, children in care, children's centres or prisons. Councils will be left with shrivelled budgets to meet soaring demands from more old people and more deprived children. After the years of plenty, public servants have no experience in how to manage the coming famine. George Osborne's promise to cut now and even deeper suggests he too has no understanding of the misery this means.
For more on the 2009 budget see