“I’m sure the rating agencies and the markets will be looking… for a more detailed explanation of how the structural fiscal deficit will be brought down over the lifetime of the next parliament,” said Mr King.
“…more detailed explanation”: also known as spending cuts, post-election. Big ones. Note, incidentally, who appears to be really running Britain’s economic policy.
For the time being, however, it would appear Darling’s cuts-tomorrow strategy retains the markets’ confidence; the projected growth figures may be hokey, but the Cabinet behind them looks a better bet for the City than the chancers on the benches opposite.
Whether that confidence will hold until the general election is an open question. A single bad day’s trading could focus minds on the UK’s ropey public finances, sparking a speculative attack.
And in Greece, the protests are hotting up as the full, miserable extent of the austerity package there becomes clear. The question of a political alternative to the bankers’ diktat is going to be posed sharply: either we break the grip of the financial markets, or they will break us.