At a conference otherwise dominated by controversy over stiletto-wearing in the workplace ('Why is it only aimed at women?' frowned one well-meaning delegate, whose grasp of the issue at hand was not, Smarta feels, entirely comprehensive), Gordon Brown's address at Tuesday's TUC gathering was always going to draw attention.
As the Prime Minister admitted to the conference a £175bn budget deficit and rising interest rates mean the government will almost certainly have to cut public spending, reports from Westminster suggested David Cameron was jumping up and down on his chair, thumbing his nose at a television screen and screaming 'I told you so' to anyone who would listen.
For their part, commentators were using the occasion to gently mock Brown for descending to the point where he was forced to use the 'c' word. "That wasn't so painful, was it?" jibed the BBC's Nick Robinson while The Guardian mocked a performance by Peter Mandelson, who used the word 'investments' rather incongruously on Radio Four yesterday.
In keeping with the glorious spirit of 'I told you so', Smarta thought it would do away with its tradition of pointing out the Big Words this week, and instead look at the Prime Minister's sparse - but surprisingly effective - use of the 'c' word.
Cut (11 mentions)
Brown's speech was described as 'wide-ranging' by the BBC, which his use of the word 'cut' illustrates. He alluded to the Lehman Brothers collapse ("we saw what was the equivalent of a power cut right across the banking system of the world," he said, rather poetically), about the Tory threat to public services and finally, vowed to create 21,000 apprenticeships. "This is not the moment to cut apprenticeships," he said. "This is the time for government to support them."
Cuts (4 mentions)
After Brown's admissions, shadow chancellor George Osborne complained leaked documents show the Prime Minister had 'misled' Parliament on the scale of planned spending cuts, claiming the government intended to make 'near 10% cuts' in departmental budgets over the next four years. Brown, though, said he would be discerning about any cuts he makes. "Labour will not support cuts in the vital front line services on which people depend," he said during his speech.
Cutting (1 mention)
Brown said the government will be 'cutting costs where we can, ensuring efficiency where it's needed, agreeing realistic public sector pay settlements throughout, selling off the unproductive assets we don't need'. In its leader yesterday, The Times said Brown's language was 'softening' the fact the government will need to provide financial markets and businesses with a reassurance 'there will be offsetting tax rises and spending cuts when the economy recovers'.
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