The hon. Gentleman really is feeling very sensitive about these things this morning. I do not imagine that the by-elections can reasonably be discussed on Third Reading of the Finance Bill, so I will not follow the hon. Member in that. I am sure that he will get more than enough of an answer in the electoral consequences in the autumn, but we cannot anticipate that now.
The Chancellor was confronted with a situation in which the balance of investment and consumer expenditure could easily have conspired to provide a difficult and inflationary situation for this country next year. All the events which have occurred since April confirm that he was right in his judgment to choose to increase consumer taxation by some £100 million. Those pundits who accused him of being far too modest in his taxation proposals are having second thoughts, and the economy as it stands today certainly offers every bit as good a prospect of a steady growth without the kind of inflation which would follow from the proposals made by the Opposition.
I believe that this Third Reading debate is a clear demonstration of the fact that the Opposition still are not able to make any constructive comments on alternative taxation proposals, other than the comment that somehow or other, even if the amateurs on this side of the House produce better economic policies than the professionals on the benches opposite, there is something disgraceful about being a successful amateur.