December 09, 2006

If Cameron wants to be taken seriously, he needs to dump Osborne

George Osborne and David CameronIf there’s one thing making David Cameron’s bid to be Prime Minister look weak, it’s his right-hand man George Osborne.

From suggesting Gordon Brown was “faintly autistic” to getting someone to analyse his opponent’s handwriting, Osborne has been using the politics of the playground, and embarrassing the far more professional Cameron.

Cameron has styled himself as Blair Mk.II, and seems determined to replicate the close friendship with his Chancellor, no matter how inexperienced and useless he may be.

But for the party’s economic policies to be taken seriously, he needs someone presenting them who doesn’t look like a smug schoolboy. If Osborne is to be remembered for his pot-shots on Gordon Brown’s personality, rather than for new ideas about the economy, then he is in danger of becoming a major drag on the Conservatives’ new agenda.

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  1. I think the thing is Cameron has been working throughout his leadership to create the impression that the Tories are perfectly united, and to sack Osbourne (or even ease him out) would create too much tension within the party. It’s the old thing about him being better on the inside of the tent pissing out than the outside pissing in.

    09 Dec 2006, 19:15

  2. Praguetory

    I must agree with Chris although I don’t think that the autistic thing is an issue – the point is he hasn’t shown himself fit to be Chancellor. The opportunities to land punches on Labour have been massive and he hasn’t got his act together. I don’t think that his departure would create much discord in the party, but the media would have a field day.

    Nevertheless, the best time to make the change is asap, so that the new incumbent can get to grips with things before Labour’s new Chancellor takes the reins. Give Osborne the role of Shadow Deputy PM.

    09 Dec 2006, 20:07

  3. blamerbell

    Imagine him in power – it would be like Prescott but ten times worse. At least JP is working class, so that appeals to a handful of Labour supporting idiots. But Osborne… there’s nothing remotely likeable about the chap, or his politics.

    09 Dec 2006, 20:24

  4. Blamerbell

    Oh, and Chris, someone is being mean to you over at the other place

    It has Iain Dale’s paw marks all over it.

    09 Dec 2006, 20:30

  5. Luke, I don’t think that Osborne’s departure would cause much of a problem on the Tory backbenches. Unlike Gordon Brown, he doesn’t have his own power base, and is completely reliant on Cameron for the political oxygen he breathes on. That makes it very easy for him to get rid, even if it would cause headlines in the papers. As Praguetory says, better now than later.

    10 Dec 2006, 00:23

  6. At least JP is working class, so that appeals to a handful of Labour supporting idiots.

    He also, for all his faults, holds an elected position within the party.

    Re. whether it would be wise or not to get rid of him, personally I don’t really care who’s Shadow Chancellor (or even Chancellor really given that as far as I know the Treasury Mandarins keep a tight rein on things). However, if I were Cameron (which, thank goodness, I’m not) trying desperately to force reform on the blue rinse brigade and the unreconstructed neo-liberals within the party, I wouldn’t want to alienate any publically committed moderniser until after I’d succeeded.

    10 Dec 2006, 01:57

  7. Praguetory

    Luke – your conclusion may be sound. On the other hand, your characterisation of the party to which I belong is ridiculous. I must visit your site to see what positive vision you are offering.

    10 Dec 2006, 09:39

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