Popular squeezes - brilliant wheezes?

Announcements made today were designed for the year 2015. That is not just when the next round of spending cuts will begin. It is, of course, the year of the next general election.

George Osborne used his Spending Review to try to snatch political victory from the jaws of economic defeat - to win the argument about the need to cut government spending even while having to admit that yet more cuts were not in the original version of Plan A.

The chancellor believes the debate is now on his terms and his territory.

He can scarcely believe that he can announce plans for almost 150,000 job losses and a further squeeze on public sector pay as well as deep cuts to councils, universities and the police while generating so little political fuss.

What he hopes will cause a fuss is proposals for a new cap on half of welfare spending to come in on the eve of that election and a populist squeeze on jobseekers who sign on quickly or who can't speak English.

Mr Osborne thinks the politics is under control. The one thing that hasn't been brought under control, of course, is the economy, which is why today's announcements were needed in the first place.