Osborne to confirm economy is off course


It's an over-used word but perhaps, just perhaps, it's the right one for this week in politics.

Tomorrow the chancellor will have to confirm that the economy is well off course - that growth will be much lower and borrowing much higher than he planned.

It won't matter that the forecasters and the pundits have long predicted this.

The sight and sound of George Osborne reading out figures - described as "shocking" by some who've seen them - and the reaction of the House of Commons, will drive home to many people the sheer scale of the economic challenge the country now faces.

It is likely to re-open a debate about whether the government is on the right course.

And just as people are digesting that news, tomorrow many will be pondering how their lives will be affected by the biggest wave of strikes seen in years.

Hundreds of thousands may refuse to work - many for the first time in their working lives. Millions who are not on strike will have their travel plans, their children's education and their access to other public services disrupted.

The question at the end of it all will be how it affects the public mood.

How many will be reinforced in their view that bitter economic medicine has to be swallowed and swallowed now? How many will conclude that the cure is turning out to be worse than the disease?

Up until now resistance to the coalition's plans has been less than they feared or forecast. Will that still be true at the end of this vital week?