Time for Tories to support George Osborne

The BBC are up to their usual games, seeking to undermine a top Tory.
Conservative supporters should ask themselves why Labour, Mr Mandelson and the BBC are so keen to foment the Osborne story.
It’s because George has a good political mind and is important to Project Cameron. Life would be a lot easier for Labour if they did destabilise George.
So, Conservatives, don’t let it happen.

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25 Comments

  1. David Eyles
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    For once, I disagree with you – and very strongly too.

    Osborne clearly has an excellent political brain which has done much to help the resurgency of the Conservative Party and to make it electable again. But as a Shadow Chancellor, his performance has been less than sparkling. For many years now, the seeds of economic failure have been sown by Gordon Brown and have taken root. The outcome of that sowing has been predicted consistently by yourself and others. And yet George Osborne has failed to bring the profligate overspending by this government, its refusal to help manufacturing and its economic incompetence in just about every sphere of government to the attention of the voting public. The overall impression has been one of weakness.

    Now, more than ever before, we need a forceful and forensic exposition of the government’s economic failings for the consumption of the electorate. The recession that we are entering has been exacerbated by the flowering of Gordon Brown’s mis-management of the economy. And yet too few seem to be aware, or care, about the causes of their own financial straits.

    Of course, you are right in the sense that there is a risk that Osborne’s replacement as Shadow Chancellor will be perceived as another sign of weakness, but if he is to be replaced, then now is the time to do it – not after an election has been lost when it should have been won with a resounding victory.

    Labour have just won the Glenrothes by-election and this will be spun as vindication of Brown’s “experience” and, to be fair, it is almost certainly that impression which turned many floating votes into Labour votes. So it is only the loud, repeated, gloves off, repetition of Labour’s incompetence to the electorate that will turn this round. Remember that Blair’s landslide in 1997 was won by the constant, viscious repetition of “Tory Sleaze” ringing in the ears of the electorate as they went to the polls. The Conservative party are now up against Campbell, who is lurking in the background again, and Mandleson who is back at the heart of government. These people have been manipulating the media successfully for close on 15 years and are absolute masters of poisoning the minds of the electorate against their opponents.

    Now is the time to get really, really rough. Osborne needs to spend time as Party Chairman where his undoubted skills will be invaluable for victory. Shadow Chancellor needs to be be someone with experience and the ability to hit Labour in the groin, repeatedly.

    • Rose
      Posted November 8, 2008 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      But Mr Osborne was doing just that, which was why he and no-one else was picked off.

      • David Eyles
        Posted November 9, 2008 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        True, Osborne has started to come on the offensive a little more recently. But there is only 18 months left to the next election and the Tory leadership needs to go for the jugular repeatedly. My complaint is that this has not even started to happen until very, very recently. Osborne needs to change into pit bull terrier mode from now until then and, along with the rest of the Conservative Front Bench, he needs to constantly repeat the litany of Labour failures. If he needs to scream this message from the roof tops in order to claim the attention of the media, then let him do so.

        Naturally, if Osborne manages to do this, then I will forgive him almost anything. But speeches made to small, select audiences, no matter how good, reasoned or incisive they may be, are not going to win the next election. The message has to be got accross to the masses. And that means the constant repetition of straightforward, honest and clear messages put across with passion, even anger.

        The job of the opposition is to oppose. That has never been more true than now.

  2. adam
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I agree Osborne is a total failure so far. He has struggled to get any publicity at all never mind good publicity.
    His opponent Darling is dopey and clueless, he regularly puts his foot in it.
    Vince Cabal appears now to be the official opposition.

    What is there to support about Osborne.

  3. APL
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    JR: "The BBC .. undermine a top Tory "

    Mr Redwood, the Tory policy, or has it been retracted already, of knocking £5 off the BBC licence fee is really going to teach the BBC a lesson.

  4. mikestallard
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, the Labour government are scared of George Osborne's intellect. He also seems to have a great many jobs. He is also a personal friend of the leader of the Opposition.
    His disastrous incursion into High Life and his almost total silence since the beginning of the party conference at a time of complete government incompetence (see above) seem to me to be very serious flaws.
    His image has changed from an intellectual over the past couple of months into an upper class twit.
    When he comes on TV, Ken Clarke goes down very well, while the shadow Home Secretary last night on Newsnight was, I thought, excellent too.
    Please, don't lose the next election! We need to come out of this nose dive!
    Meanwhile Vince Cable is the darling of the BBC spouting all that stuff about bank nationalisation and lower taxes and much more political control of the banks………..

  5. Mark
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I quite agree that Conservative attacks on George Osborne are unwarranted. People seem to have forgotten his performance at the 2007 conference, a performance which led directly to Gordon Brown "bottling" the election decision and to the subsequent decline in Labour's fortunes.

    He also had a good conference this year.

    Some, temporary recovery from below 25% in the opinion polls by Labour was inevitable at one or more points between this summer and an election in, say, May 2008. That this should occur in the circumstances of the banking crisis, when responsible opposition meant being broadly supportive of government action and Gordon Brown dominated the news, was inevitable. It is silly to blame George Osborne for this.

    The Deripaska non-affair made it even harder for George Osborne to convey any message about the failings of Gordon Brown as chancellor and prime minister. It was, however, a non-affair and he did nothing wrong. Contrast his openness with the attitude of Lord Mandelson.

    That does not mean that the Tories could not and should not do better. What is needed is a number of simple lines which should be repeated ad nauseam.

    They include:

    – IMF says Britain is worse placed; so do the EU. Sadly, they are right. Gordon Brown is wrong to say the opposite. His inability to admit his own responsibility makes it difficult, if not impossible, for him to see what needs to be done.

    – In 1991 (last time we went into recession) government debt as a percentage of GDP was 26%. This time it is 38% on Gordon Brown's figures, which the independent ONS do not agree and the real figure is far higher.

    – Because the government was planning to borrow vast sums on the incorrect assumption that there would be more boom, rather than bust, we are very badly placed to enter a recession.

    – Yes, there must be some more borrowing beacuse of inceased expenditure on social security etc. and declining tax revenues, but every attempt should be made to restrain and reduce other government spending, particularly in terms of waste and discretionary spending.

    – Bringing forward capital projects will do not good because of the time lag. If there is spare money or more money needs to be put into the economy, tax cuts are the answer.

    – The Tories acknowledge and learn from their mistakes. Gordon Brown never accepts he makes mistakes so he cannot learn from them.

    • adam
      Posted November 7, 2008 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Where can i read or watch Osborne defending the banking system or capitalism and attacking Gordons mistakes?

      All i have seem in the media for months if not years now is socialism.

  6. Posted November 8, 2008 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    I agree that the BBC/Labour are playing the man rather than the ball. It is also as Cameron has proved so resilient.

    However ….

    We are not even seen to be throwing punches right now – let alone making them count in the battle on the Economy.

    I realise how unjust that may seem to those in the know fustrated by the media refusing to publicise speeches, but inviting Vince Cable on TV every 6 hours.

    Its possible George should play a different role. Cameron is due a reshuffle. It would be embarrassing for a day, but then it would be yesterdays news.

    The problem is that Gordon Brown is making the running on his attempts to 'globalise' the blame and make himself look good. We need someone to stop him in his tracks and pin the shameful blame that is his failure to him. The stakes are frighteningly high – victory at the next general election is even now in the balance.

  7. APL
    Posted November 8, 2008 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Mark: "People seem to have forgotten his performance at the 2007 conference, .. "

    Do you mean the inheritance tax farce? Where he offered to tax rich foreigners so he could abolish inheritance tax, a tax any Tory ought be proud to say 'I would abolish it just because it is wrong!' No, we got the same old socialist wealth redistribution that the Labour party offer.

    The fact is, there are not enough Tories in the Tory party.

  8. Pat C
    Posted November 8, 2008 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps some of the people who spend such a lot of their time criticising Mr. Osborne, could offer some positive ideas as to how to cut through the anti-submarine mesh of the hostile BBC and some newspapers – even some so-called Tory slanted newspapers. I realise that the obvious short answer to that sentence is – if the cap fits – BUT that is NOT the point! If Cameron bowed to the critics and Osborne was shifted – then what? Even if he appointed Clarke, would there really be no more criticism? Would pigs fly?

    Why do so many, otherwise probably intelligent people, allow themselves to be manipulated by a biased government subsidised organisation and labour political activists?

  9. adam
    Posted November 8, 2008 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Yep he is a Blairite in that labels have no meaning. He would be just as happy on New Labour benches.

    According to his wiki he got a history degree from Oxford then go his first job in data entry. If that isnt a sign of lack of self confidence, what is?
    So that would explain why he is a no show when an important debate is going on over Britains economic future.
    Also his Blairite tendancy means he would rather wine and dine with the power elite.

  10. pp
    Posted November 8, 2008 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Excelent timing John

    I hope people take note!!

  11. Posted November 9, 2008 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    Saying that Osborne is a Blairite is typical of the absurd pretentions that weblogs generate.

    A certain Winston Churchill doubt holidayed with some wealthy people. Big Deal.

    'The' story is the stupidity of the media and their failure to expose Mandelson's sleazy connections.

  12. Posted November 9, 2008 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Pat C – see Philip Hammond on Newsnight last Thursday.

    That's how its done !

    It was one of the most effective performances on BBC TV from any Conservative politician I can remember in the last few years.

    Labour and the BBC attack George Osborne because of that photo from his University days that allow them to go for Cameron on the class issue, not because Conservative economic policy is brilliant.

    George Osborne is a good man and a great asset. But sometimes you need to rotate your assets.

    We certainly don't want the case as with Labour under Blair where the Chancellor becomes impossible to rotate.

    It is also the case that the Conservative message is not getting across right now. If we don't win and prevent Brown's linguistic programming of the electorate about "global" factors then it could mean 5 more years of Labour government.

    Since Churchill was brought up he was willing to remove good men as commanders to replace them with those who deliver victory. The cause is greater than any one man.

  13. adam
    Posted November 9, 2008 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    The point is, he doesnt hold strong political views. He is climbing the ladder by schmoozing. Whether Rothschild yaughts or Bilderberg conferences.
    Camerons Notting Hill set is very third way, very Blairite.
    I dont begrudge him that but i wish he was more interested in defending right wing views. His newspaper articles read like something published by the Rowntree foundation.

    I have more experience in economics than he does and i wouldnt feel ready to be chancellor. I bet he doesnt.

    You could argue why its absurd.

  14. Susan
    Posted November 9, 2008 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I do wish all this carping about Osborne would end. I'm a simple soul so, for me, the bottom line is that since Labour are so desperate to get rid of him, we should keep him exactly where he is and let him get on with his job without having to look over his shoulder just in case he's stabbed in the back by his own party. The Mandelson/Campbell/Draper spinners obviously feel threatened by Osborne and they do a pretty good job of abusing him whenever possible; they don't need any help.

  15. Listen Ear
    Posted November 9, 2008 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    The current financial crisis could have been predicted before Nothern Rock was "marked down" by brokers in London. The run on the bank was due to the collapsed share price caused by Brokers and Short-sellers. I watched this happen.

    The thing is, Mervyn King, Trieche and Ben Bernanke knew what was about to happen and they continued increasing interest rates. They knew that increasing rates would cause millions more people to lose their homes.. yet they carried on.

    When Northern Rock was hit, King should have immediately cut interest rates by at least 1%. Instead, he sat and watched a total train smash of our Banking System, our investments and Pensions. The fact that he has now dropped rates by 2% in the past few weeks has confirmed he was totally wrong.

    Mr Orsborne was slagging Labour off making a political point that Labour will try to get King to reduce rates… When a cut in interest rates is what Osborne should have been asking for.

    The Tories need to find a more qualified shadow chancellor that offers the solutions to the crisis. Not cheap political slander. As Obama / McCain have shown, petty political posturing does nobody any good.

    Please!
    Listen Ear!

    John, Thank you for providing this forum to convey our concerns to the party.

  16. Rose
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    In a media led democracy there is also the queston of timing to consider when releasing fire power. Though an unattractive thought to simple souls, these base tactical considerations in opposition are fundamental to winning elections. George Osborne understands this as well as Messrs Mandelson, Campbell, and Draper, having learned from defeat and then the wilderness, and they know it. It is vital to their party's survival in office that they get rid of him.

  17. Posted November 10, 2008 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Rose,

    It could also be fighting the last battle, rather than the next.

    What was needed was the public to understand our general philosophy and critic of Labour's economic failures – espeically predictions born out.

    To be most effective those criticisms need to be made 'before' major events, not afterwards.

    Lets be straight – we are now proposing tax cuts as we don't want to be the last party in the UK not to be doing so.

    As people become more frightened and disillusioned they will look for those who have been standing firm to their principles to guide them.

    That should have been us.

    The danger is that the electorate conclude – "they are all the same", which is what playing the games of messrs Drapper, Campbell and Mandelson will communicate.

  18. Susan
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    How refreshing to find another 'simple soul' in Rose. The difference is that you are bought and paid-for – and I am not.

    • Rose
      Posted November 13, 2008 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, Susan, I am too simple to understand what you mean – please explain –

  19. Susan
    Posted November 13, 2008 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Dear Rose, I refer you to Man in a Shed's post above; also Trevors Den et al and JR himself. This non-issue should have, would have, long ago died a natural death were it not for the Conservatives picking at a bite.

    Just stop picking – and, while you're about it, stop being so facetious.

  20. A. Sedgwick
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    GO is totally right to be highlighting Brown's disastrous 11 year tenure with scorched earth and sterling warnings, of course Labour do not like the truth. This view is mixed with what you and most old guard Tories, not David Cameron's Conservatives, have been saying for years that we need to promote less state, less taxation and a fairer society to the industrious bulk of the population. Unfortunately the dynamic duo have been too concerned with trying to be clever by saying little, initially imitating Blair and pursuing peripheral policies.
    You should be on the front bench to encourage common sense policies e.g. abolish tax credits and reduce standard rate of taxation, abolish standard rate tax on savings, make council tax income related, abolish the pension annuity requirement, lift VAT exemption threshold for business to £500,000 turnover. There is a huge amount that can be done cheaply by tidying up our tax system by making it fairer, this vision has been sadly lacking for the past 3 years and the Libdems are now making the running in this area and could hold the parliamentary balance if DC and GO do not encourage the Tory core vote.

    • Rose
      Posted November 20, 2008 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      The Conservative Party is in the same position broadly that it was under Disraeli in the 19th century: Gladstone got all the booms and there were more liberal voters than conservatives. Being right wasn't enough: Disraeli had to show electoral intelligence as well, in order finally to procure glorious victory after a string of defeats. The difference was that his party kept him as leader through all those defeats.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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