All 4 entries tagged George Osborne

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November 15, 2008

Daft or desperate?

I sometimes wonder if George Osborne is making calculated decisions to try and put himself out of a job.

Whether it’s because he doesn’t really want to be Chancellor, or because he knows someone else could do the job better and he doesn’t want to admit it, the Shadow Chancellor seems to be digging his own grave as fast as he can.

After accusations that he’s been too soft on the government’s handling of the economic crisis, he comes out with this:

Britain is heading for a collapse in the pound

You bet it is when the Shadow Chancellor predicts it. Just watch the price of Sterling collapse on Monday morning. I’ve always thought Osborne came across as incredibly naive – this is the best example so far.

There are a million ways to tackle Brown and Darling on the economy. The Tories’ chosen ones haven’t been working. Labour is gaining on them in the polls, and the Lib Dems have been making the running on the issue for months.

Opinion is split on Conservative Home, between those who want Osborne gone (probably in favour of David Davis) and those who defend him mainly because he’s a Conservative. The Telegraph’s opinion of Osborne is pretty rock-bottom, with countless critical pieces written about him this week.

There’s no way that David Cameron can win an election and then keep Osborne in the second-most important job in the government. He might as well make the switch sooner rather than later.


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.


November 28, 2006

George Osborne is a pathetic playground bully

Writing about web page http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,17129-2475122,00.html

According to today’s Times, the shadow chancellor George Osborne has had handwriting analysis carried out on Gordon Brown which found:

The writer is not shy. The writer shows unreliable and poor judgment. The writer was not in control of their emotions and instincts at the time of writing. There are signs that the writer is someone who does not like to give a clear-cut image of himself. There are signs that the writer can be evasive.

Pathetic George Osborne

If this is the level to which Mr Osborne has sunk, is he really a credible Chancellor of the Exchequer? Not in a million years. Two months ago he called the Chancellor “autistic”. He’s making Punch and Judy politics look good.

The article later points out that Mr Brown can only see out of one eye and that the person who carried out the analysis said that the 14 words she saw were “insufficient information” to come to any firm conclusions.

Didn’t stop The Times toadying to Osborne’s pathetic excuse for news though, did it?


September 08, 2006

We need Maglev… and we need it yesterday.

Maglev. About twenty years ago it was “the future”. Today, it remains a figment of our imagination unless you happen to visit Singapore or one of the ‘toy train’ test tracks in Germany and Japan. The world’s first commercial Maglev train was – believe it or not – in Birmingham, linking the NEC and the Airport. It was replaced a few years ago with a chain-based train.

But since the 2005 election, politicians are starting to take the proposition seriously again. Labour’s 2005 manifesto pledged a high-speed rail link between London and Scotland (presumably something Gordon Brown will eagerly approve if given the chance) and the government’s report into the various options (basically either Maglev or something like France’s TGV) will – hopefully – come out soon.

It’ll revolutionise British transport. According to pressure group 500km/h you’ll be able to travel up and down the spine of the country at 311mph, which means London to Manchester will take 45 minutes. That’s forty-five minutes. Liverpool to Newcastle (perhaps a more vital link than London-Edinburgh) would take under an hour. Linford Christie couldn’t even come close.

There’s a tonne of economic reasons why we should do it, but I’m not sure they’re the real reason we should start building now.

The real reason is that public transport in Britain is a shambles. Why would most people want to take a train from London to Manchester when driving there takes only a little bit longer (if you ignore the traffic within the M25) and costs considerably less (a London-Manchester return for tomorrow is a minimum of £60 and more like £200 if you want to go in peak-time).

The premise that many people would choose to travel by train is a nonsense. If you enjoy driving even a bit, it’s just not worth waiting at stations and missing connections. And don’t even mention luggage. The reason people do it is that they’re often going somewhere where parking their car is impossible. Or they don’t have a car. Today’s train system is geared towards the business traveller, and a huge proportion of its potential customer base is put off by the sheer stupidity of the way it works and the amount it costs.

For sure, Maglev isn’t going to be cheap. In Shanghai though, it’s about £3 for a single fare. Bear in mind that the length of track there is pretty short and that it was built with what we would probably characterise as slave labour (at British prices anyway). But it is the most reliable railway in the world, and from the video (see below) looks incredible. And the environmental cost is a fraction of aeroplane use.

There’s a danger that the North-South line in Britain will be scrapped because rail bosses think they can just squeeze more intercity trains on to the existing tracks. But this would be a disaster. The fares would still be extortionately high considering the lack of utility gained by travelling on a train (over a car journey).

This line shouldn’t be about increasing capacity. It should be about making the railway attractive again. Per mile, it’ll be half the cost of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, which has been built on time and nearly to budget.

George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, favours Maglev. But apparently Gordon Brown’s allies say it’s too expensive and impractical. Brown needs to look above the parapet of Westminster bureaucracy and see the benefits of the Tories’ blue sky thinking. He has a simple choice between a revolutionary railway system or congested roads, environmental disaster and a growing North-South divide.

A final thought for you…

Cost of replacing the Trident nuclear deterrent: £15bn
Cost of building a Maglev line between London and Edinburgh: £16bn

Which would you prefer?


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