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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 18 April, 2002, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Papers pore over 'gambler' Brown's Budget
Newspapers on Thursday, 18 April, 2002
The papers agree the Budget was a huge gamble
The papers were in imaginative mood when explaining Gordon Brown's sixth Budget to the nation, using medical and gambling imagery to give their impressions.

Many newspapers opted for the metaphor of the chancellor as a doctor "prescribing" his cure to an ailing patient.

The Daily Express led the way by proclaiming "It's Doctor Brown's Bitter Pill", with a cartoon of Mr Brown dressed as a medic releasing a syringe of cash.

The paper praised the chancellor's "bold blueprint for the future" but warned it was time to deliver.
This is a Budget which smacks of red-blooded Socialism and redistribution of wealth. That's not what this country voted for

The Sun

"Time to take your medicine", said the Daily Telegraph's front page, but the editorial inside described the Budget as a "flagrant breach of electoral trust".

It argued the rise in national insurance was a broken Labour promise and one that would punish every earner, not just the rich.

And it claimed Gordon Brown had staked his reputation on the health service improving as a result.

The Financial Times and the Times also joined in the medical analogy, the latter combining a cartoon of Mr Brown as a GP with the headline: "Chancellor gambles career and country on tax-and-spend strategy."

'The rebirth of politics'

The Financial Times depicted the chancellor in the same way but Nicholas Timmins writes that if the government gamble fails, then the NHS may be replaced within ten years, a sentiment echoed in the Independent.

The Daily Mirror visibly winced at the tax rises - "Ouch! That hurt Gordon....It had better work," it said on its front page.

But it fully backed the chancellor and his judgement.

And there was acclaim for Gordon Brown's performance from its leading columnist Paul Routledge, who said the chancellor rolled up Father Christmas, Nye Bevan and Houdini all into one.
Daily Mirror
The Daily Mirror said Brown could 'save the NHS'

In his opinion, the Budget was a skilful package, adroitly presented.

The Independent was unimpressed and noted the Budget as a missed opportuity which avoided the radical reform the health service needed.

Its editorial said: "Mr Brown has approached his task by closing down debate and taking the wrong course of simply pouring more public money into a centralised, unresponsive service."

The Sun was equally annoyed, but for different reasons.

Heady implications

It presented "Gordon's Gamble" as the chancellor placing a 40bn bet, staking the government's future and his own dreams of becoming prime minister, on taxes being the only answer for the health service.

And political editor Trevor Kavanagh chided the government's refusal to explore other funding methods which, he argued, could increase patients' choice.

A thunderous 'The Sun Says' labelled it "a Budget which smacks of red-blooded Socialism and redistribution of wealth".

The Guardian was the most upbeat of all the papers, although it shared the Sun's feeling that the chancellor was betting all on the NHS, hoping voters would see improvements before the next election.

This was "a Budget to celebrate", the paper said, because of the potential good it could bring to the health service.

And it carried wide and heady implications for British politics.

The paper said the way the tax hike clearly defined the government against the Tories was possibly the "rebirth of politics".

 VOTE RESULTS
The Budget: Has the chancellor got it right?

Yes
 43.20% 

No
 56.80% 

25637 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


Key stories

Analysis

QUIZ

BUDGET DIARIES

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

17 Apr 02 | Health
17 Apr 02 | Politics
16 Apr 02 | Politics
14 Apr 02 | Politics
18 Apr 02 | Politics
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