Fraser Nelson

Cable vs Osborne

Cable vs Osborne
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George Osborne’s main opponent isn’t Alistair Darling. It’s Vince Cable. As former chief economist at Shell, he’s that rare thing – a politician who knows what he’s talking about. Today he releases an “open letter” saying what I have heard some senior Tories say in private. The charge is that Osborne has come back from Wall St having swallowed what the banks told him in his proposal that that the government should swap mortgage-based assets for government bonds.

PoliticsHome has the text. An extract:-

“You say the bankers agree with you.  Of course they do.  It is their job to maximise profits for themselves and lay off risks to someone else.  It is our job as responsible ministers or shadow ministers to protect taxpayers, not let the banks and other businesses take us for a ride.”

Osborne and Cable should not be competing to attack Brown. They should be competing to present the clearest and most steadfast analysis of events. Cable did so well on Northern Rock because he was as constant as the North Star from the start. He avoided the shrill attacks that I suspect Clegg would have attempted. He put the focus on explanation, not partisanship. And a baffled public warmed to him.

Often it seems the Tory policy is to work out what the government will do next week, call for it, and then claim the government is copying them. I have no idea if this has happened this time, but it’s a fool’s game. Now is the time to articulate a clear, coherent and Conservative way forward – one that can, above all, be grasped by ordinary voters. In spite of all this (and Cameron’s piece in the Telegraph today) they are still some distance away from this.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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