The Cunning Mr Osborne….
We are now in the political off-season. This is always a time for political journalists to let their imagination run riot but with the commencement of the Olympic Games, starting today, they are going to find themselves even more stretched to gain the attention of their editors, let alone the wider populace. So, what the hell, why not kick back and indulge their wildest fantasies?
I cant help but see the speculation around the future of George Osborne in that light. Osborne is a total disaster as a Chancellor, slowly but surely he is grinding the British economy into the ground under his oft clumsy as much as heavy heel, but nonetheless he has skillfully positioned himself at the heart of not just the government but also the Conservative Party machine. This is the real agenda behind him clinging so tightly to his role as the top strategy man. It is a pretty fire-proof insurance against any challenges to his position.
Were David Cameron to remove Osborne from a post within the Cabinet he defiantly wants then I think it is fair to assume he would not continue in his current position within the Party either. Chaos would ensue and in the chaos Cameron’s reign would surely be challenged too. The two are linked together, Cameron and Osborne and no amount of cat-calling from the press, from the electorate or the opposition will change that; in-fact, it is the closeness and neediness of that link that leads me to conclude attacks on Osborne are proxy attacks on Mr Cameron himself. As the economy careers off-course, as it becomes clearer and clearer to many within the Conservative Party that Cameron isn’t up to the job and tainted, Osborne is seen as the weakest link in Mr Cameron’s armour.
Keeping Osborne in situ also has another advantage for Mr Cameron, it eliminates him as a potential challenger and indeed that job is already done. By all account’s Osborne is fast becoming one the least popular members of an unpopular Cabinet, it would be utter madness to replace Cameron with the luckless and talentless Chancellor and any Conservative with even a small amount of nous can see that. So, don’t be surprised when, the morning after the reshuffle, Mr Osborne is still grinning like a lopsided Cheshire cat and is still in place. The real story of the reshuffle will be the hammering that the Liberal Democrats will take, expect them to be throughly humiliated as much as Mr Cameron feels he can feasibly get away with, offered-up as a blood-sacrifice to a rampaging and confident Conservative right. Speculation about the future of the Chancellor is just that, idle speculation, dreamt up by political hacks desperate to weave a convincing story out of the more outlandish meanderings of their very bored minds.