Osborne will use his Budget to try to woo the average voter

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You can bet that George Osborne will paint the UK as a land of milk and honey, with sunlit uplands when he delivers his Budget tomorrow.

You can bet your bottom dollar that George Osborne will do his utmost to paint the United Kingdom as a land of milk and honey, with sunlit uplands when he delivers his Budget this week.

But the normally cheerful Chancellor might find it more difficult than usual to remain his ebullient self this time.

He has already warned that yet more public service cuts are inevitable, on the grounds that it is better to face these problems straight away rather than delay and face the threat of those problems becoming insurmountable in the years to come.

The local authorities have already gone on bended knee to him, imploring him to leave them alone this time. But profligate town halls are usually an obvious target for Chancellors, so they too, once more, could be facing yet further enforced economies.

But what may well please the “average” taxpayer - if there is such an animal - is that Osborne is likely to target high-profile and high-earning television presenters, NHS bosses and railway chiefs who have been using perfectly legitimate loopholes in order to keep for themselves more of their own money.

This involves forming so-called one-man companies, which reportedly cost the Treasury huge amounts in lost tax.

There is nothing whatsoever illegal about this, but it is certainly a loophole the Chancellor will be anxious to close - an action that would gain general applause.

People like Fiona Bruce and Jeremy Paxman have been mentioned in this context.

It is likely that pensioners will be left alone - partly because they vote more than any other section of the population. Why kill the goose?

However, Osborne, in his usual style, will try to make the Budget appear agreeable to the average punter. It is only when the number-crunchers get down to crawl over the small print that the full harshness, or otherwise, of the Budget will come to light.

• The former Liberal Democrat MP David Laws has written a book disclosing some of the alleged secrets of the Cabinet, of which he was a member for just 17 days - one of the shortest periods on record.

He had to quit as Chief Secretary to the Treasury due to the disclosure of his Parliamentary expenses claims, described by the Parliamentary Standards and Privileges Committee as “a series of serious breaches of the rules, over a considerable period of time”.

He is, therefore, to put it bluntly, an expenses cheat, playing fast and loose with taxpayers’ money.

Yet imagine the surprise when his boss Nick Clegg, then Deputy Prime Minister, appointed him a schools minister. Surely, whatever the rules of the coalition were, David Cameron could have stopped this. Yet Cameron is a kindly man, anxious to give errant people a second chance.

So Laws repays this kindness with a book about the Cabinet of which he has had such fleeting experience.

It is a disgrace. And, anyway, how much of this material can we believe from such a discredited individual?

• The row over who leaked what of the Queen’s alleged remark that she’d prefer Britain to quit the European Union rather than stay a member after the June 23 referendum, will surely disappear as quickly as it emerged. It almost seems irrelevant.

If the European Union gets its way, eventually, the case for the very existence of a British monarchy may disappear, too.

So you do not need to be a rocket scientist, or even a humble Sherlock Holmes, to deduce the Queen’s preference.

Nick Clegg or Michael Gove may, or may not, have broken the rules in discussing a conversation with the Sovereign, but what was revealed has surprised no one.

It reminds me of the incident as few months ago when the Prime Minister said the Queen had “purred” down the telephone when he told her that Scotland had voted against independence.

It would have been astonishing if she had taken a different view.

• Who is the Labour Party’s prize buffoon? Some would unhesitatingly say John Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister. But I am now beginning to wonder whether Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, may soon qualify for that honour.

Livingstone is now having to scrabble around to find something in very “bad taste” to say in order to get noticed.

His latest target is Labour MP Dan Jarvis, a moderate, who many people would like to see as a future Labour leader to replace the left-winger Jeremy Corbyn. Livingstone has attacked the donation made to Dan Jarvis by hedge fund managers, saying: “It’s like Jimmy Savile funding a children’s group.”

He has rejected calls to withdraw this comment. Why should he withdraw it? By his own admission he has to find something totally objectionable to say, so as to cause a row.

Indeed, Livingstone appears to be giving the impression that he spends more time and trouble attacking fellow Labourites than in taking on the Tories.

This cannot exactly please Jeremy Corbyn, even though Livingstone is an out-and-out Corbynite since it causes yet more rifts in an already turbulent Labour Party.

Whenever Prescott did anything stupid (like, for instance, assaulting a voter during a general election campaign), Tony Blair used to explain it away with the phrase, “John is John”.

And when John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, was questioned about Livingstone’s latest outburst, he also took the easy way out and replied: “Ken is Ken”.

I have no doubt that when the Mayor of London puts on his next spectacular performance, we will be hearing David Cameron uttering, “Boris is Boris...”